Quick Sketch – Autumn Leaf

Princess has an assignment this week to find and draw an an autumn leaf. We picked up a bunch of leaves from our backyard last night. She’s not quite done with her drawing, but I decided to do one last night before bedtime. Here’s the results. This is just a quick sketch made with Faber Castell brush pens. Again, no pencil drawing. I’ve learned that when I just skip the pencil sketch and go straight to pen, I get a much better result. Things are looser, more fluid, and more organic looking. Penciling first makes my artwork look too awkward and constrained.

The Little Death – Inspector Slade

More character notes on “The Little Death.” Agent Robin Helki is the heart and soul of the novel, but without Inspector Michael Slade she’s got no reason to really live. Who is Inspector Slade, and what is his relationship to Robin? How long has he been on the Fifth Precinct police force? What crime is he investigating now? And how does that affect Robin?

In “The Little Death,” there are espers and there are norms. Robin falls into the first category, Slade into the later. OverWatch has decreed that the two classes of citizens shall not interbreed for any reason. It’s simply too dangerous. Will Robin and Slade heed that warning, or take the risk? And does Robin really dare trust Slade as she slowly descends into the madness all espers fall prey to?

For anyone who’s wondering, I’m doing these sketches on cheap art paper with Micron drawing pens and a Pentel brush pen. The painting is done in ArtRage Pro. It’s a quick job, but enough to give me a feel for what Robin’s world is like.

The Little Death – Who is Agent Robin Helki?

It’s PerNoFiMo (Personal Novel Finishing Month) here and I’m currently working on finishing a novel I started 2 years ago. The title is “The Little Death,” and I can best describe it as Blade Runner meets Wuthering Heights. I start podcasting this the first week of January at the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast. It’s a sci-fi noir tale, not exactly erotica, but it does have a great deal of adult content.

By the time the first week of January comes around, I want people to be anxiously waiting for this story. Maybe not a lot of people, but at least a few. And I want those people to be asking two questions when the time comes. Who is Agent Robin Helki, and what is the little death? Here’s a clue to the first question, just to get you guessing.

More clues will be forthcoming over the next two months. I promise.

BTW, this is for Alice Gray and CityDifferent, both of whom have been very supportive of everything I do, including this novel. And also for Matt Fuckin’ Wallace, because he told me to “keep my chin up.” This is how I do that, Matt.

More spooky art for Halloween

Because I’ve actually been doing a bit of drawing lately, here’s some more spooky art!

The vampire bat-cat, done in brush pens on watercolor paper. No, I don’t know where the idea came from. I just started drawing and this is what came out.

Medusa and Bats. This one was inspired by a cartoon of Medusa that I saw in Ben Caldwell’s book Fantasy! Cartooning and by the book Boris and Bella, illustrated by Gris Grimly. I did the sketch last year, and only recently scanned it into the computer to paint it in Photoshop. The painting has been slow going, as you can see, but I work on it a bit at a time whenever I can. I’m hopeful this will turn out well.

Hope you’re all having fun! I uploaded this a day in advance, so right about now I’m probably at the Rally to Restory Sanity and/or Fear. Hope everyone’s having a good weekend!

Spooky art for Halloween

I’ve been doing a bit more art lately, mostly just doodles in various notebooks, but some have turned out very interesting.



Basically, all I’m doing is grabbing a cheap sketch pad and a brush pen and just drawing freehand with no real plan. I like the quality of line I get with the brush pen, and I like not using a pencil because it forces me to draw without wasting time on mistakes. If I screw up a line, then I just have to work it into the sketch. That’s what happened with the Demoness, thus the bandages around her throat. It worked out pretty well, I thought!

I’ve been thinking about doing more stuff like this – no pencil, just draw and go. I’ve got another image I’ll scan in for later this week, done with color markers no less! Not lots of color, but enough to make it pop, I think. And it’s spooky too.

Anyway, enjoy the artwork. Hopefully I will get some time to paint these in Photoshop and then show them off again.

Sunday Contentments – 4th of July

Contentment is a backyard barbeque/pool party with your best friends and their kids. When I arrived at the party this afternoon, I realized, Pixie has never celebrated 4th of July anywhere else but at this particular party in this particular backyard. She was only a month old the first time we went, and Princess was 3 1/2. Every year, the hostess (the mother-in-law of one of my best friends) says the same thing. “My goodness! Look how big they’re getting!” It was a lazy afternoon, full of splashing in the pool and chatting in lounge chairs while we ate burgers and dogs. Fireworks will come later tonight, in the form of some sparklers that we picked up at a roadside stand. Kids have never had sparklers before. Running around in the twilight, chasing fireflies and waving these brilliant wands of shimmering light – that’s one of the strongest, most colorful memories I have of summer, when I was Princess’ age. There is no better way to spend the 4th, in my opinion. Hope you guys all enjoyed yours.

Weekly Doodle – Five minutes on kittens plus Sponge Bob!

We are continuing to do our five minutes of drawing in the evenings, though I will admit we can’t seem to get it done every day. Between homework, required reading, baths, etc., even five minutes can be a challenge to fit in. Still, I made sure to sit down with the girls this past weekend to do some drawing, and we decided to draw our new kittens. Well, two of us drew the kittens. Pixie drew this…

From left to right, this is a mommy, a baby, and a daddy. I can clearly see each figure, and I’m rather impressed by Pixie’s work! As for Princess…

She did opt to draw the kittens, but whipped through it very quickly as she was more interested in playing with her subjects than drawing them. Still, you can see Toothless and Hiccup, over which is Princess’ hand with one of the small fuzzy mice we bought for them. She did this in about 2 minutes.

As for me…

I drew a cat as opposed to our cats. I had thought I might be able to semi-accurately represent at least one of the kittens getting ready to tussle, but the moment I drew the eyes I knew it wasn’t happening, so I went with generic cat. Hey, you’ve got to be flexible when drawing straight in pen. I also think this drawing illustrates the fact that a mediocre cartoon can be saved by a decent punch line.

Finally, one last note. Princess had to go to church on Sunday with her dad. Here’s how the Hubster kept her from squirming in her seat during mass.

Yep, that first sketch is Mr. Squarepants, as drawn by Princess. The second is an angel, a bird, and the Communion wine and bread for the mass, so you know she was paying at least some attention to church today 😉

Weekly Doodle – Take a look at Five Minute Marvels!

We’ve started something new in la casa de Madden. The girls and I are drawing in the evenings for just five minutes! Yeah, I know, not a huge thing maybe. Or is it?

I got the idea from 5 Minute Marvels, where people are drawing comic book characters with their kids for five minutes a day. And I love the idea. Rather than draw comic book characters, we’re drawing anything the girls choose. I’m using it as an opportunity to cartoon and have a little fun with the girls. Princess is learning to draw. And Pixie is doing whatever Pixie does best, which is be her own hysterical self.

Here’s a sample of what we’ve done so far. The girls and I were completely enchanted with the movie “How to Train Your Dragon,” so we all decided to draw dragons one evening.

Here’s Pixie’s drawing (her dragon is wearing a dress):

Here’s Princess’ dragon, being taken out for a walk by Princess:

And here is my dragon:

I had not meant for my dragon to look like a cow, but once Princess declared it to be a ‘cow-dragon,’ I just went with it. I even drew in a little ‘cow-dragon’ pie 😉

Be sure to check out the 5 Minute Marvels website. There’s some really cool stuff there. And if you’re so inclined, why not try drawing for 5 minutes with your kids? You don’t have to be good at drawing. Trust me, your kids won’t care if you’re not Leonardo Da Vinci. But they’ll love you for drawing with them!

Weekly Doodle – Another Robot and Butterfly

This is the sketch that inspired the Art Rage painting last week. I try to keep a sketch pad and drawing pens on hand, in case I get the urge to doodle. Sometimes I’ll go as long as a couple of months without doodling, which is stupid because I really ought to draw at least a few minutes a day. Other times, I’ll draw on a daily basis. I suppose this on again/off again cycle has a lot to do with my schedule. It’s hard to do anything on a daily basis when I’m already writing a different story every week. That’s going to change come this fall, because I need to give myself a bit of a break. And because I want to draw more.

Anyway, I’ve been drawing lots of little robots lately. Sometimes they have little word balloons over their heads like this one does, with jokes told entirely in Steam Punk, the native tongue of robots. This one was drawn on a 3.5″ x 5″ sketch pad with Faber Castell’s sanguine art pen set. I mainly used the brush pen with the small point pens for detail work. The initial sketch was done with a mechanical pencil. I love mechanical pencils for sketching. I always get a much crisper drawing when I use a mechanical pencil.