Way Past Random

While I was sketching over the weekend, I had the Sonic Underground DVDs playing in he background (yes, my life is ridiculous). An episode came up with a cool-looking robotic hair-dresser named Do-Bot, so I decided to make a quick sketch of her. The sketch turned out okay, so I quickly colored her with some color pencils. And here she is:

I adjusted the scan so that the colors match the physical piece and added type–other than those small changes, I’m giving this one to you warts and all. Typically I’m overly-focused on over-producing slick artwork, but every now and then I get some artsy notion that it’s cool and “raw” to show off the gritty details of reality, like the gibberish on the scratch paper that I drew on.

Lately I’ve been feeling the need for a more tactile sensation while producing my sketches, so maybe we’ll see some more quick and dirty traditional media in the near future? There’s no way to know for sure… I’m a wild card these days.

Anti-Hero in a Half-Shell (Plus a review of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"!)

Last weekend, I was hanging out with Dave, filling his wallet full of my hard-earned cash, in exchange for some action figures that he had picked up for me, and buying some of his unwanted toys as well. He gave me a pretty good deal on a bunch of Transformers and Gobots, but feeling that I needed to evacuate more money from my pocket, I also bought a TMNT figure from him–Slash, the evil Ninja Turtle (not to be confused with Tokka). FYI, Slash started off as a villain, but later became something of an anti-hero, hence the title of today’s post:

This is 100% digital, painted in Photoshop. I kept Slash’s details pretty close to his toy incarnation, with a few exceptions… I gave his crude claws a bit more gritty detail (added twine and a wood spacer, in addition to the claws/wrappings), and I interpreted his octagonal belt buckle as a representation of the eight trigrams diagram, with the Taijitu in the center. In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t detail the belt buckle with the actual trigrams. I guess I got caught up in Taijitu madness. Lastly, I did not give Slash magenta weapons, but instead threw in a magenta light source as a nod to his garishly colored acsessories. I considered putting some magenta in his wardrobe, but decided that might create confusion with Donatello‘s signature purple.

Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about this one… I’m happy with certain parts, like his bandanna, and the rendering on his iron belt and wooden shoulder pads. On the other hand, I just don’t know if the piece works as a whole. Thoughts?

While you’re mulling it over, here’s a review:

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (In theaters now!)

I know that I have done my job informing the public that I’m a **huge Transformers geek when I am asked to weigh in on the movie by almost everyone I know. But enough of my self-congratulatory dorkiness, on with the review…

My experience with enjoying entertainment is that you have to have your expectations calibrated properly… I went into this movie expecting more robots and better robot fights, but also expecting more unnecessary toilet humor. I was right on both counts. Let’s break this down a bit–

Action… The fights from the first movie were widely criticized as being too chaotic and unintelligible. I said that myself, in my review. However, in subsequent viewings on DVD, I found that the fights were very easy to read–on a smaller screen. The battles in Revenge of the Fallen were better on the big screen (but still unintelligible at times), so I expect they will be even better on DVD. The tone of the fights brought the brutality of the first movie to a new level–the stakes are higher, the casualties are worse, and nobody is holding back–not the good guys, not the bad guys, and certainly not the folks who handled the movie’s record-breaking computer generated effects. The Autobots and Decepticons pull off many flashy, devastating combat maneuvers, and the results are spectacular.

Robots… there were sooo many new Transformers in this movie, and with a variety of sizes and body types/alternate modes. They got tons of screentime, but surprisingly few lines of dialogue–hopefully in the presumed sequel, the Transformers will get some more character development. But even so, more, diverse robots is a step in the right direction.

The toilet humor… or “edgy, adult” humor, if you prefer to be delusional, was unnecessary in the first movie, and even worse, totally unfunny. The bad news is that Revenge of the Fallen, unfortunately, has about ten times more toilet humor. The good news is that the crude jokes are occasionally funny, unlike the first go-round. The other bad news is that whether or not it’s funny, the jokes are still totally out of place, and add nothing. The really disappointing thing is that the non-toilet humor in the film is actually very charming and endearing, and more of that would have served the film better.

Story… there’s no two ways about it, there’s a lot of sloppy storytelling and bad editing in this movie. It doesn’t have any egregious plotholes–but there are several instances of questionable storytelling decisions that create unecessary ambiguity. However, the movie has good pacing–it marched forward at a good clip, and there weren’t any real lulls.

Verdict: For me, it was Awesome. But I’m not gonna lie–your mileage will vary. Since that fateful day in 1984 when I first discovered Transformers, I’ve been quietly rearranging my brain-space to more efficiently harvest Transformers information. In all honesty–I do not, blindly love everything with a Transformers label on it, but I am able to enjoy whatever good that does exist in the franchise, moreso than many fans that I have encountered. I’d like to think that I’m also capable of honest criticism, in spite of my affection for the franchise, but that shall ultimately be up to you to judge, dear reader. If you’re capable of enjoying mindless fun and eye candy, with some flawed storytelling, this is for you. For anyone else–save it for a rental, or a cable viewing. And specifically for the haters–please, don’t go just so you can smugly tell your friends, “I told you it would be terrible.” Save your money!

For More Transformers Goodness, But With A Totally Different Approach: Watch Transformers Animated! It’s charming, light-hearted, filled with references for long-time fans, but at the same time, totally accessible to n00bs.

**Actually, I’m not huge–just 5’8, 155 pounds. Yes, these are the jokes, folks. My sincerest apologies.

Nerdy Anticipation

Perhaps you will recall that I am a huge Transformers fan? And perhaps you will recall that I enjoyed Michael Bay’s first outing in the world of Transformers? And perhaps you will understand that I am bitterly jealous that the sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, premiered two weeks ago in Japan, and was released last week in the United Kingdom, while Canadians living in America (like myself) are forced to wait until this week?

And perhaps you will not be surprised that 24 hours from the posting of this blog, I will be sitting in an IMAX theater watching said movie, at long last?

For the haters, let’s get some things straight here… I’m not expecting Citizen Kane. I’m not expecting Shakespeare. I’m not even expecting Shakespeare in Love. I am expecting pretty much the best special effects around, lots of robots getting blowed up good, and Megan Fox looking Megan Foxxy.

The surge of nerdy anticipation within me is overwhelming, threating to manifest itself as a wave of destructive energy that will burn the surface of the planet to a crisp whilst arguing whether or not the new Revenge of the Fallen Human Alliance toyline portrays human characters in proper scale to their Autobot counterparts. Also, I drew this:

click above for larger view

What started out as kind of a quick sketch to commemorate the release of Revenge of the Fallen actually became a decent exercise in color and lighting, I think.



I was planning on painting at least one more noir archetype (or noirchetype, as I like to call it), with a Girl Friday as the subject. And as a matter of coincidence, my long-time crony Gavin commented, “I think you should finish off the series with a “good girl” in yellow”–so who am I to disappoint?

In my opinion, this piece is back on track after the previous one. Better contrast, bolder strokes, not so fussy. I actually tried out some backgrounds for this one, but everything I came up with seemed to distract from the Girl Friday herself, so I decided to leave it as is. As with the other noirchetypes, this one took about two hours from start to finish. Again, I’m unsure whether I’ll do more of these, but this certainly has been a welcome break from the nerdy grind. But don’t fret, fellow nerds, I’ll get back to the mega-dorky stuff soon enough (some of it is in-progress as we speak).

Plug Time!

Well, it seems the prolific young Joshua has become very difficult to keep up with recently–last week the third and final issue of his series Overlook hit stores.

Overlook is a gritty noir tale for mature readers written by Joshua Williamson, with art by Ale Aragon. The cover for #3 (below, left) is drawn by Ale with colors by Jacob Glaser. All three issues are available now (covers for #1 and #2 are shown below, right).

click above for larger view

And what’s this? DC comics is soliciting a Justice League of America 80-Page Giant which includes a story written by the same Joshua Williamson? And it also features a story written by yet another pal, Derek Fridolfs? And it’s on sale September 30th, for $5.99?

Excellent work gentlemen–can’t wait to read it!

I ate 23 tacos in the past week…

Not all at once, but over the course of 6 meals. Here’s the breakdown:

Tuesday (lunch@ Tacos Por favor):

  • 1 carne asada taco
  • 2 chorizo and cheese tacos
  • 1 chicken taquito
  • Tuesday (dinner@ Tito’s Tacos):

  • 5 beef tacos
  • Wednesday (lunch@ Tacos Por favor):

  • 1 carne asada taco
  • 2 chorizo and cheese tacos
  • 1 beef taquito
  • Thursday (dinner@ Tito’s Tacos):

  • 4 beef tacos
  • 1 bean/beef/cheese burrito
  • Saturday (lunch@ Coppelia’s Bakery & Cafe):

  • 2 beef tacos (soft)
  • 2 chicken tacos (soft)
  • 2 chicken empanadas
  • 1 slice of tres leches cake
  • Sunday (lunch@ Coppelia’s Bakery & Cafe):

  • 4 beef tacos (soft)
  • 1 beef empanada
  • 2 beef flautas
  • 1 slice of tres leches cake
  • In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I highly recommend both Tacos Por Favor, Tito’s Tacos, and Coppelia’s to anyone living in the Los Angeles area.

    Even while I was painting this piece in Photoshop, I was still desperately craving tacos. I decided that 23 was probably a good place to stop for the moment, and instead just dreamed of tacos while eating yogurt and granola. This piece took me about an hour.


    Let’s get soot-faced

    I’m continuing to build a generic archetypical noir cast. Here’s a soot-faced street urchin:

    I feel like my paints got too fussy on this one, not enough bold strokes. And the contrast stinks! Also it was meant to be less dingy and a bit more green. Oh well…

    I’m not sure if I’m going to do more of these–we’ll see if the weekend washes me back to nerdy shores, or if I continue on this path a bit longer.

    Not an egg…

    … but hardboiled nonetheless. Just a little practice painting (in Photoshop) of a random, nameless, sardonic private detective. Probably a tangential subconscious sideffect of borrowing The Thin Man (both the book and the movie) from Ren:

    I feel like I might be a little burnt out on my usual fan-art fare? I still have an unlimited number of pieces that I want to draw and post, but I just can’t seem to get it together these days… maybe a few more of these painting exercises will do me good. We’ll see–my muse is capricious! I call her Blogonia.



    Josh and I were chatting over the internets through the miracle of modern technology, and I drew this kunoichi with a program built into the IM program:

    I added the type in Photoshop, naturally. I admit, this post is at least partially motivated by laziness… but on the other hand, I am genuinely happy with how this doodle came out. It’s nice to bust out something spontaneous and simple every now and then, without all the planning, nerdy research, and pointless attempts at perfectionism.