TEAM ELITA

Eh… what’s this? *Blows dust off of URL* Oh right, I have a sketchblog! Well, I may as well post something on it. But I’m not coming up with a pun title dammit.

Ahem.

So a couple weeks ago @Brentosaur tweeted the following hypothetical scenario:

 
To which I replied:

 

And then I decided to take it too far and draw up my Autobot team. I would have posted sooner, but I didn’t have time to finish the colors until Labor Day…

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Elita-One, Tracks, and Minerva are pretty straightforward depictions, based on the G1 cartoons. Strika is based loosely on her appearance in Transformers: Animated, but with colors and elements from her original toy (I thought that made her more Autobot-y). Wheelie has proportions inspired by the original toy, but I kind freestyled it from there. For those who are wondering, Elita-One, Strika, and Wheelie were drawn without any real consideration to a Transformation scheme.

This started out as a quick and dirty pen sketch, but I ended up spending a lot of time on the colors and the background in Photoshop. I kind of like the contrast between the super scratchy lines and the very computery background… but I’d be lying if I said it was intentional!

I BET WHAT YOU’RE REALLY LOOKING FOR IS SOME NERDY BACKSTORY, RIGHT??? (The idea here is that this is a starting point for a new series with its own continuity)

* * *

While responding to a distress signal from a remote Autobot colony, Optimus Prime and Elita-One’s team of freedom fighters find themselves ambushed by Decepticons. During the battle, Optimus is rendered comatose by the notorious Decepticon warrior Sixshot, and the Autobots find themselves stranded behind enemy lines…

ELITA-ONE (leader, melee expert): With her mate and partner Optimus out of commission, the mantle of leadership falls solely upon Elita’s shoulders. She is renowned for her even-handed sense of justice, as well as her almost peerless hand-to-hand combat skills. She treats her team like a family, perhaps because she had to leave her actual family behind on Cybertron…

STRIKA (tank): Beneath her armored hide bristling with heavy artillery is… a total martinet. Like, exactly what you would expect. Strika is the only one on the team with formal military training. She often clashes with Elita’s unorthodox methods, but ultimately is loyal. In addition to providing the team with heavy firepower, Strika is a brilliant tactician and strategist. Don’t tell anyone, but I think she has a crush on Tracks…

TRACKS (flyer): It’s a toss up whether Tracks is known more for his prowess in combat or his insufferable sense of vanity. He’s a member of the Omnibot division, which accounts for his extra mode enabling him to fly as well as any Decepticon. When he isn’t dogfighting with Decepticons, Tracks is usually flirting with Minerva. He would claim that he’s just kidding around, but that’s probably because Minerva hasn’t responded to his nonsense…

MINERVA (medic): The second youngest member of the team, Minerva takes her duties very seriously, devoting most of her time to trying to revive Optimus from his comatose state. Minerva has also been entrusted with Optimus’s trailer, which converts to a mobile battle station/repair bay. BTW, she has a secret that only Elita knows about…

WHEELIE (scout): When Optimus and the freedom fighters arrive at the Autobot colony, Wheelie is the only remaining survivor. He becomes the youngest and newest recruit to the team. His outward demeanor is cheerful, but he’s acutely aware that Optimus fell in battle for his sake, and he carries that burden quietly. Wheelie is a fan of poetry and hip hop…

More to come if I get around to illustrating my corresponding Decepticon team…

What time is it? SHAMELESS PLUG TIME! (Also Adventure Time)

 

 
Whoa, take it easy, Ice King! I know, it’s shocking that I’m finally updating my blog. I am… the worst. Buuut, one of the things I was working on whilst neglecting my blog was art (pencils/inks/colors) for a 4-page story for the Adventure Time Annual! The script was by long-time crony Josh Williamson. And if I’m not mistaken, it should be in comic book stores this week!

Here’s a look at the title panel:

I’d show show you more, but this is already like 10% of the whole story. C’mon, it’s only a 4-pager, whaddaya want from me?

Make sure you pick this issue up–it is hilarious and purdy to look at, in no small part due to the inclusion of stories by Bryce Carlson, Dustin Nguyen, and Derek Fridolfs! Props to Shannon Watters for her expert editing of this excellent edition!

Draw… SOMETHING (03)

Everyone’s favorite Russian sibling mutant superheroes who are sometimes supervillains:

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My apologies–I drew a Soviet Union flag when I should have drawn a Russian flag!

Profiles In Nerdery

I stumbled across this old gem from ye olde daye jobbe, and thought I’d share it. It’s a staff profile of me that appeared in the letters/editorial section of Simpsons Comics circa 2003. ENJOY:

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A few things have changed in the past 10 years… buuut I’m still basically the same nerdy doofus. What can I say,I YAM WHAT I AM, Popeye styles.

Three Cops In One

I’ve been watching a lot of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 recently and tweeting about it, mostly while I’m drawing. A few weeks ago, this happened:

@jasonhohoho: Odo, Robocop, and John McClane are my favorite cops.
@slimebeast: @jasonhohoho Your drawing challenge: Odo. Robocop. ODOCOP.
@jasonhohoho: @slimebeast CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. One moment…
@jasonhohoho: My three favorite cops, combined. (Challenge issued by @slimebeast) #startrek #ds9 #robocop #diehard http://instagram.com/p/UdQCfti4Fr/

Thanks to @slimebeast for the inspiration–he and I have been buddies since the old days at He-Man.org. (Old days = circa 2007)

Oh yeah, I forgot it was 2013 and signed this drawing 2012. :-/

Draw… SOMETHING (01)

Maintaining this blog is a constant struggle between my desire for productivity, and my desire for quality–and sometimes I get paralyzed between these two desires and end up doing nothing! Finally, I have to arrive at the conclusion that something, anything, would be better than nothing, so here we are. With the 10 drawings in this post, I’ll be caught up, and ready to ring in the (Chinese) New Year with a clean slate.

I’ve been keeping a reserve of my quick scribbles from the game Draw Something, hoping to use them as a series of extra posts. Clearly the fantasy of having the time to make extra posts is not in the cards for me, so I will be using these Draw Something scribbles as needed. (Plenty more where these came from!)

Oh, and just FYI–almost all of my Draw Somethings are from mid 2012 and earlier, so it’s not as if I’ve been playing iPad games instead of drawing blog posts! Honest!

To start, here’s a random selection. To be honest, I’m pretty proud of the “bacon” drawing.

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For a little while, it started to feel as if my drawings were taking on a consistent tone and a recurring character:

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You know what… it feels really good to post a blog, even if it’s just random scribbles. I guess there’s a lesson to be learned here. Adios, year of the Dragon, you weren’t too shabby!

Two Robots (age before monstrosity)

First, here’s Kup, made to match some of my previous Transformers fan-art:

 
Roughly 3.5″ X 2.75″, drawn with color pencil, marker, and black Sharpie on a ticket stub from a parking garage.

Next up is the tormented Autobot X:

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This one is roughly 9.5″ X 7.25″, drawn on a piece of irregularly cut backing board.When I saw the misfit piece of board, I knew I needed to draw a character who would match its roughness. I made this a grayscale image with red as a spot color hoping to be evocative of old monster movies (since Autobot X is likened to Frankenstein’s monster).

Art dump, incoming!

The past few weeks have been busy and frustrating. Minor physical maladies (shoulder/neck pain) have made drawing difficult. I will not bore you with details! I am fine now, and the past few days I’ve been drawing whilst continuing to marathon Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I have enough posts to catch me up (5 total), but I’m going to split them up rather than group them all together in one post. Why? Because I am a nut for proper organization and categorization.

First up is your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man:

 
Roughly 3.75″ x 5″, drawn with black Sharpie and white color pencil on the back of an extra RSVP card.

SMILE

When I see green, orange, and purple color pencils on my desk, I say to myself, “Damn, I should draw the Joker.”

So, I drew the Joker:

 
You can probably tell that my idea of the Joker is heavily based on Bruce Timm’s animated version, with just a dash of Brian Bolland thrown in.

(This Joker is not intended to go with the timeline I have imagined for my “Sons of the Bat” re-designs, but I imagine I will use this as a basis for a future Joker if/when I get to the villains of that era!)

Allies of the Bat: Phoenix

For those who missed the first round of drawings or want a refresher, these re-designs imagine a future timeline combining elements from the comic book continuity (pre-New 52) and the Bruce Timm animated universe. For context as to how far in the future this timeline exists–Damian Wayne is in his mid-20s. Here are links to the original Sons of the Bat posts:

I’m going off the reservation a bit for today’s entry. The subject is Kathy Kane, who was the original Batwoman (on either Earth-1 or Earth-2), not to be confused with Kate Kane, the modern day Batwoman who, if I understand correctly, is distantly related to the first Kathy Kane who may or may not be retconned from existence in the current DC universe. Listen, I know. It’s confusing.

I have further complicated matters by deciding that in my fabricated “Sons of the Bat” continuity, the mantle of Batwoman is now taken up by Barbara Gordon. This means both Kathy and Kate Kane need new identities. I’ll get to Kate soon enough, but for now I have renamed Kathy “Phoenix” which is a codename meant to match her niece, Flamebird. Just go with it:

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  • Age: Early 50′s
  • Although she had left Gotham and retired her “Batwoman” identity long ago, heiress Kathy Kane was more than content to do good in the world as a philanthropist and entrepreneur. But when her nephew and most of his family is killed, she returns to action, reborn as Phoenix, and partnering once more with her niece Bette Kane, AKA Flamebird. Following the trail of the murderers to Gotham, Kathy decides to move back to the city, bringing Bette and Rebecca (her orphaned grand-niece) in tow. While seeking answers and justice, Kathy inevitably crosses paths with the Sons of the Bat, who agree to aid Kathy’s investigation in any way possible.
  • Kathy’s ulterior motive for returning to Gotham City is to ask Dick for guidance, knowing that he has been through a tragedy similar to what her grand-niece has suffered.
  • With Bruce comatose, the safety of Gotham is tenuous, as is the security of Wayne Enterprises. Tim pushes for a longer term alliance with Kathy, both in her identity as Phoenix and in her civilian role as a businesswoman and investor. Initially, Selina Kyle-Wayne vetoes this alliance, questioning Kathy’s motives, but eventually the two develop a level of trust and respect.
  • Yet another case of a minor re-design, plus some color shifting. I wanted to keep her original costume’s red and yellow to match up with the phoenix/fire theme, but I added in some black to help ground the costume.
  • Her simplified emblem is meant to be ambiguous enough to be a bird or a bat.

I feel like the original Batwoman and Batgirl get crapped on a lot, so I wanted to respect the characters, and give them identities that moved beyond ‘heiresses with crushes on Batman and Robin.’ I also wanted to tie in the modern day Batwoman, which I’ll elaborate on later.

The black/red/yellow colors running through the last three posts have been unintentional, I assure you! Apparently that’s a popular palette for Batman’s friends and rivals, and I don’t want to change any character’s representative colors unless I can come up with a good reason!

Not sure what the next post will be… I have some Allies of the Bat ideas lined up, but I might take a break. You’ll have to tune in to see!

Allies of the Bat: Anarky

For those who missed the first round of drawings or want a refresher, these re-designs imagine a future timeline combining elements from the comic book continuity (pre-New 52) and the Bruce Timm animated universe. For context as to how far in the future this timeline exists–Damian Wayne is in his mid-20s. Here are links to the original Sons of the Bat posts:

Today’s entry is Lonnie Machin, AKA Anarky:

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  • Age: Late 20′s
  • As a child prodigy, Lonnie Machin developed an iconoclastic world view at an early age. In adulthood, Lonnie has managed to balance his idealism with realism while staying true to his beliefs. Though he and the Sons of the Bat sometimes find themselves at odds, they share a mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and skills. This alliance truly solidified when the Calculator orchestrated a physical and digital assault on the Sons of the Bat–Anarky came to Oracle’s aid, and was instrumental in destroying the digital criminal empire that Calculator had built.
  • I see Lonnie and Tim as kindred spirits. On the other hand, Lonnie and Damian have a somewhat antagonistic relationship, but their philosophies and goals ultimately have a lot of crossover, and I think someone like Lonnie would keep Damian honest. Jason is amused by Lonnie’s rebellious and subversive personality, and loves seeing others riled up by him.
  • This is another slight re-design. Actual costume changes are very minor, but I shifted a few colors around. You can see from the other drawings in the series that I like giving the lining of a cape a striking color that offers stark contrast to the character’s body, creating a strong silhouette.
  • It doesn’t really make sense for Anarky to wear a scalloped bat-cape. However, thematically it’s an abstract nod to the fact that Anarky has something in common with the Batman Family’s moral code, even though they aren’t always on the same side.
  • As a child, Anarky’s costume was built to create the eerie illusion of a tall adult. I like the idea that he’s since sprouted up into a weirdly tall grown-up. I should try playing around with body types more on the other designs…
  • In addition to being a melee weapon, his baton can discharge energy to stun his weapons, and has a retractable grappling line.

Maybe when I first encountered him, I was just at the right age to be receptive to a character named “Anarky,” but I think he’s an awesome character. In spite of his name, he’s not as obvious as the usual rebels and anti-heroes, plus he has an intellectual side that is sorely lacking in many comics these days. Definitely an underused character.

Allies of the Bat: Azrael

I was rather pleasantly surprised earlier this month when someone on Twitter pointed out to me that Project: Rooftop had featured my Sons of the Bat re-designs!

From the feedback I’ve read, people have generally been positive (which I truly appreciate), and would like to see Barbara Gordon as well as other female characters (which I would have guessed). As I mentioned before, I have every intention of drawing up the Daughters of the Bat. However, for the moment I decided to draw a few of Batman’s supporting players (male and female) who don’t quite fit the category of being his “children.” Allies of the Bat will be an open set of drawings and/or re-designs that I post here from time to time.

For those who missed the first round of drawings or want a refresher, these re-designs imagine a future timeline combining elements from the comic book continuity (pre-New 52) and the Bruce Timm animated universe. For context as to how far in the future this timeline exists–Damian Wayne is in his mid-20s. Here are links to the original Sons of the Bat posts:

Onwards! Today we have Jean-Paul Valley, AKA Azrael:

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  • Age: Mid 30′s
  • At various times Jean-Paul Valley has been an ally, substitute, and antagonist for Batman. After many years of chaos, Jean-Paul faked his death (unbeknownst to all but Bruce Wayne and a few others). He travelled the world searching for his own identity, as well as seeking to better his mind and body. He studied martial arts with Connor Hawke, and meditation with J’onn J’onzz. In Madripoor he sparred with a grizzled warrior, and in Texas he debated faith with a preacher. Newly grounded, with a fresh outlook on life, Jean-Paul Valley returned to Gotham City. When he heard that Batman had fallen and the Sons of the Bat were in dire need, he sprung into action as Azrael once more.
  • With the telepathic aid of J’onn J’onzz, Azrael is completely freed of his previous mental conditioning.
  • This is a verrry slight re-design. I basically streamlined and simplified things, and made his body suit black to offer more contrast against his red cape.
  • His retractable flaming blades have been replaced with the hard light constructs which are more precise and have no risk of collateral fire damage.

(If you caught the two non-DC Universe references in the quick little bio I wrote for Azrael, then you are a good nerd!)

So, to be honest, I’m rather torn about this costume now that I’m posting it. The problem with Azrael is that (I feel) everyone basically wants to see him in his (more or less) original costume… however, storywise, that costume represents everything the character is trying to escape. I guess I am struggling with Jean-Paul Valley’s identity as much as he is. I reserve the right to give Azrael a proper redesign in the future, besides which, I need to consider the Suit of Sorrows as well!

Anyways, during my preliminary sketches of Azrael, I did a really crude color study to see how I felt about the increased amount of black in the costume. I was going to use this as one of images in the backdrop, but when I monochrome-ized* it, I liked it enough that I thought I should post it. Plus, you know, I’m one post behind, so I needed to catch up. Two bats with one stone! So to speak.

*monochrome-ized… past tense of monochrome-ize… that’s a word, right?