Hand and Foot

Here’s a dual post to cover last Friday as well as today. I had two pieces of sturdy cardboard lying around, so I grabbed some markers and did these two pieces:

click either image above for larger view

Sketched in color pencil, lineart inked with a Sharpie, silvers filled with a Sharpie, and reds and blacks filled with Marks-A-Lot markers.

I’m sure similar such cross-over pin-ups have been drawn before, but I thought this wold be fun! (For those who don’t know, Eastman and Laird’s TMNT was inspired by Frank Miller’s seminal run on Daredevil.)

[turtle pun goes here]

Something of a belated follow up to an older post, it’s Raphael:

Am I the only one who prefers cuttingly sarcastic, smart-ass Raphael over brooding, angry, thug-Raphael? The optimal characterization probably falls somewhere between the two, but he’s consistently been portrayed as pissed-off and thuggish in recent years. Just a thought.

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.

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 4 of 4): Ravishing Reporter

When I titled last Tuesday’s Krang sketch, Brains Before Beauty, I meant it. Here’s the Turtle Boys’ resourceful (and foxxy) gal pal, April O’Neil:

Like the aforementioned Krang sketch, as well as Splinter, and Shredder, April is modelled after the 90’s cartoon version, and the title for this post is a tagline from one of April’s 90’s action figure incarnations. For those of you who are too young to remember this, reporters in the 1990’s were all extremely attractive women who wore brightly colored jumpsuits, usually made out of vinyl.


This series illustrating TMNT supporting cast members follows a series from last year depicting the Turtles themselves:

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 3 of 4): Brains Before Beauty

My drawing of Splinter may have sent some mixed signals, and you might not have noticed the pertinent details in my depiction of Shredder–but today it should be perfectly clear that I’m drawing upon the 90’s cartoon version of the Ninja Turtles. Here’s Krang (with the Technodrome silhouetted in the background):

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This is my favorite of the current batch, which may be an unwise thing to say before I post the final one, but I’m satisfied with the others as well. There’s just something about the way the colors turned out on this particular one that makes me think I’m starting to get it. I’m also pretty happy with the irate parallel motion of Krang and his dopey android body.

This series illustrating TMNT supporting cast members follows a series from last year depicting the Turtles themselves:

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 2 of 4): Sensei

Following from last Tuesday’s post, here’s Shredder’s long-time nemesis, and the Turtles’ mentor and adopted father–Splinter:

The aim here was to make Splinter appear as serene as possible, reflecting his wise, zen-like approach to life. The tree in the background is supposed to be bonsai-like. Or maybe it is a bonsai tree, grown huge as a result of exposure to radioactive mutagen?

This series illustrating TMNT supporting cast members follows a series from last year depicting the Turtles themselves:

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 1 of 4): Ol’ Shredd-Head

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember this series of posts:

I decided to follow up on those with some drawings of the Turtles’ supporting cast. First up is their arch-enemy Shredder, standing in front of a Foot Clan family shrine or something:

I’m in a succinct mood again. Go and be merry, dear reader, but be sure to tune in on Friday for a special guest star, and again next Tuesday for another TMNT character.

Turtle Power (Part 4 of 4): Cool But Rude

The final one:

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Well, now that I’m done posting these, I can bore you all with some rambling on, as I promised previously. Raphael is probably my favorite of the turtles these days, on account of him being the abrasive smart-ass of the group. When I was a kid, I liked Donatello best, because I always liked characters who were inventors (like Wheeljack in Transformers or Panthro in Thundercats). Donatello is still a real close second for me.

Working on these turtle pieces was a lot of fun. It was quite a different experience for me–drawing clean, simple pen sketches in one shot is a far cry from my usual M.O. (which is either super-sketchy or super anal-retentive). Also, including an environment to emphasize each turtle’s personality and actually thinking about composition was quite a change of pace for me. Leonardo always struck me as a noble defender-type character, with a somewhat static personality, so I did my best to make him look stoic and watchful, but not too dynamic. Michelangelo is a total spazz, so having him jumping out of a building with frenetic energy (possibly into a battle, or possibly for kicks) seemed to make sense. Donatello, being the most pensive of the turtles, is the only who doesn’t have his weapon drawn, and instead is daydreaming on a fire escape. Raphael is, of course, looking disgruntled, whether because living in a sewer stinks (literally) or because he’s about to kick somebody’s ass. Incidentally, Raphael was the first of the series that I drew (I posted him last because I also thought it was the strongest of the four), and was inspired by my brief time having an apartment that smelled like garbage and wanting to kick someone’s ass because of it.

Lastly, you might note that each turtle was colored a different shade of green–this is something that was done with the original action figures in the 90’s, and was done again with the relaunch of the cartoon and toyline in recent years. I’ve always been a little bit baffled by which hues of green they matched with which bandana color–the combinations always seemed to clash. I did my best here to make the color combinations complimentary. Oh, and the titles for these posts paraphrase the themesong from the 90’s cartoon, in case you didn’t know.

I might try some more pieces like these–they’re very relaxing to do. Thoughts? (By the way, I do plan on responding to comments again, I’ve just been busy getting ready for Comic-Con… O_O )

The others in the series:

Turtle Power (Part 3 of 4): Does Machines

The next in the series:

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I didn’t depict Donatello displaying his mechanical prowess, though hopefuly his pensive pose relays his more intellectual nature, as compared to his brothers. I will be talking a little bit more about these pieces once I post the final one in the series–most of what I have to say involves comparing and contrasting the turtle brothers, so it doesn’t make sense to bore you folks until you’ve seen all four pieces. Then it makes total sense to bore y’all.

Current Mood: Productive.
Reading: The Elric Saga: Part I (just finished it).
Watching: They Live, Hellboy: Sword of Storms, and Danny Phantom: Reality Trip.
Still Listening To: the soundtrack for Transformers the Movie. NOTHING’S GONNA STAND IN OUR WAY!

The others in the series:

Turtle Power (Part 2 of 4): Party Dude

It’s odd that Michelangelo has now appeared three times on my blog, especially since Donatello and Raphael are my favorites. This is the second in a series:

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Umm, not much to say about this. The offset colors I’m using in the backgrounds on all of these is something I’m swiping from old Looney Tunes shorts. I think it’s a Friz Freleng mannerism, but I’m not positive. Anyone?

The others in the series:

Turtle Power (Part 1 of 4): Leader

I did some simple pen drawings during my recent plumbing/flooring crisis that I liked enough to digitally color and post. Here’s the first in a series:

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This is not a particularly strong piece on its own, but I think it works well with the others–but you’ll have to be the judge of that as I post the others over the next couple of weeks. No preliminary pencil on these–basically I just sketched out a few rough versions in pen and then drew one final version based on those roughs. Minimal photoshop clean-up.

The others in the series:


Here’s a little something I whipped up for Super-Munkyboy‘s Art Jam over at Deviant Art. The subject was Samurai Jack versus Shredder. Check out the other entries here.

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As you can see, I drew Jack in my own style, rather than matching the look of the show, and I was a little pressed for time, so I “cleverly” figured out a way to avoid drawing Shredder (except for his arm, obviously). I think it more or less works, though I really feel like my recent stuff has been suffering from a certain degree of blandness. I think I need to try something completely new to shake things up here.

Post Script: Oh yes, and for those who did not make the deduction, I started a Deviant Art (DA) account which you can find linked on the sidebar. But if you don’t want to move your eyeballs 15 degrees, just click here. Anything I post on my DA account will show up here as well, but you may be interested in going to my page to check out my Favorites, so you can see other people’s art that I’ve been drooling over recently.

Post Post Script: And if you scroll down to the post just below this and read the comments, you can see that me and a few of my regular commentors are having a grand old time! Check Mark’s Hale’s blog for more.

Post Post Post Script: Last one, promise–I caught up on replying to comments, all the way back to the Bumblebee post!

BONUS POST + REVIEW: Michelangelo is a Party-Dude!

In honor of TMNT, which I saw last night with Gavin, Marlene, and Hammers, a bonus post followed by a review:

This is an older illustration, from early 2005. These are pencils, scanned and colored in Photoshop–one of the first un-inked pieces that I ever colored, and for those who have not seen anything in the more anal-retentive style that I have mentioned previously, here ya go. As you can see, unlike most of the stuff that I’ve posted, this is a fully realized illustration with multiple characters and a background. The drawback of course, is that this thing took me forever, as opposed to the sketches i post regularly, which usually take a couple of hours of actual work.

The piece has some problems (particularly in the color department–almost no variation in value), but overall, I’m still fairly satisfied with it. I don’t often do complete illustrations like this, with a background and all. I need to start doing more! I do have plans to eventually follow this with similar illustrations of each of the turtles.

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Clearly, between the orange headband and Michelangelo’s opponents, this pic is inspired more by the cartoon than the comic, which I guess might be considered pretty sacreligious by some. But I needed an excuse to draw Bebop and Rocksteady, so there you have it. In my head I’ve sort of re-wardrobed each of the turtles into different outfits, and the results for Michelangelo are seen here. Oh, and for anyone who cares, Mikey is wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet + buddhist beads on one wrist, and a G-Shock wristwatch on the other. It all seemed appropriate for his personality.

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TMNT (In theaters now… and in case you’re, like, totally not with it, TMNT stands for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

A fresh re-introduction to everyone’s favorite teenage mutant ninja franchise, TMNT delivers what it needs to, with plenty of style–cool ninja fights, crazy monsters, ancient warriors, and good characterization and interaction between the core characters. The character models and animation are fitting and well executed, and the direction and camera movement are very dynamic. There are a couple of minor plot holes, some expositiony dialogue, and some cheesy humor for younger viewers, but nothing too off-putting. As an added bonus, there are a few subtle nods to continuity, and an obvious set-up for a sequel.

Verdict: Awesome. I paid for full-priced evening admission, and I didn’t feel ripped off–these days, that’s sayin’ something! Your mileage may, of course, vary, but I think just about anyone who’s nerdy enough to be reading this would be happy with paying for a matinee of TMNT. My only significant complaint: Donatello didn’t get to do anything cool!

For More Misfits Fighting Evil In The Shadows of New York: You owe it yourself to try out Gargoyles, which was, in many ways, the superior spiritual successor of the Ninja Turtles in the mid-90’s. In terms of mood and plot, watching the Turtles’ most recent foray into the silver screen was very much like watching a couple of strong Gargoyles episodes, albeit with excellent computer animation. The first two collections of Gargoyles are available on DVD now!

Cowabunga and Happy Saint Valentine’s Day Eve!

I’m winded from writing long rambling posts. I’ll keep it short today (for once!)…

Hope you all come out of your shells this Valentine’s Day. Eh? Get it? Shells? Like a turtle’s shell? Eh? Eh? No? Okay.

Original sketch in blue pencil, colors in Photoshop (using the same method that I colored Nina MC with). When I draw Ninja Turtles, I try and give them just a bit of a beak, so they’re a bit more “realistically” anthropomorphic. And that’s all I have to say about that!

Come back on Friday for a more involved sketch (not involoving Ninja Turtles) accompanied by a long rambling post–the kind that you have grown to expect from me.