Friday, December 30, 2011

Moving Into the New Year

I'm moving to a new apartment two days into the new year. I've already started to move stuff over to the new place (note my awesome bike trailer courtesy of Boulevard Bikes).

Anyway, no comics until I dig myself out of all these boxes.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bone Dog Single-Panel

Here's the third single-panel from my Ivan Brunetti homework (see my last post). It features my character, Bone Dog (as usual, click to make bigger).

For those of you who don't know, Bone Dog is my comic about a skeleton dog who lives in a dump with his rat friend, Sergio. Garbage eating is involved (just look here).

This comic was drawn with a nib pen. The image needs to be cleaned up; I'm sorry. I didn't get a change to run it through Photoshop. I promised I'd post it today, so here it is, smudges and all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More Single-Panel Homework

More single-panel comics based on homework from Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning book. Nothing fancy here. The homework was to just draw three single-panel comics (the third one is done, but I'm going to hold it until Monday).

Am I happy with these? Meh. They're OK.

I did them both over Thanksgiving weekend. This top one came from all the retro television I watched while were staying at my in-laws house in St. Louis. It's a bit dark for my taste. I mean, I generally a much more upbeat person than this.

This second one is based on something that actually happened to my wife while I was drawing the first comic(Quick disclaimer: This is NOT what my wife looks like. I just need to say that to avoid the "That's what you think I look like?" conversation). We were in a coffee house near my in-laws place and the woman next to us asked my wife if she could borrow her computer's power cord. She had the same type of computer, but it turns out a much, much newer model. The look of revulsion on the woman's face was priceless. And a little terrifying.

Anyway, these are both pretty rough, and if I really liked these, I might actually re-draw them. It was good practice, none the less.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday with Ivan: Single-Panel Exercise

As I mentioned previously, I'm working through this book. I just started week 2, which is about single-panel cartoons.

The single-panel cartoons below are the culmination of the first two exercises in week two. The first exercise involves writing several sentences or phrases based on writing prompts provided by the author. The next exercise is drawing several pictures again based on specific prompts (something scary, something sad, etc...).

Then you take the phrases and pair them with the pictures to see what works together. Here are some of mine.

I don't know that any of these really knocked me out or made me laugh, but that's probably not the point. Mr. Brunetti says in this exercise, "Surprising, even unintended, things happen when we combine words and pictures."

I like reading single-panel comics, but I've never felt compelled to do them before now. I've already started trying more (to be seen soon-ish)

If you want to see some really good single-panel cartoons, you can check this guy out. He's a friend of a friend and he's pretty funny.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey Doodle

I did this while sitting at my desk the other day. I wish that turkey baster didn't look so much like a microphone.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

88 Doodles

As I previously mentioned, I've been working through Ivan Brunetti's book on Cartooning. In coming weeks, I'll post my work here for you to see. I was thinking of calling this series "Wednesdays with Ivan" or some such silliness.

Anyway, don't expect me to post every single exercise that is in the book. First off, all the exercises teach something, but I don't think they necessarily produce great art (at least not at first). Secondly, if your interested in learning what Brunetti has to teach, go out and buy the damn book.

This exercise is supposed to be "zen" practice in drawing. It starts with drawing 100 squares in your notebook. My sketchbook is 8 1/2 x 11, so I found it easier to just make 88 one-inch squares (I owe Ivan 12 doodles). Then doodle in each square but don't take more than five seconds per drawing.

Sounds easy, right?

No. This shit was hard. It's hard just thinking of subjects! Brunetti suggests "persons, places, occupations, concepts, emotions, etc.." but man, that mental well runs dry shockingly fast.

What's way harder is keeping each sketch to under five seconds. I was rarely able to do that. If you spend only five seconds on 88 squares this should take less than 10 minutes. I think this took me over an hour (I worked on it several minutes a day over about four days).

I think the point of the exercise (along with others in the first chapter) is to try to get to the symbolic heart of an image. How little can you draw of something and still have it readable as that thing?

I like most of the drawings, but the whole sheet reminds me of those "fun" pictures on Facebook that people post and tag the drawings with their friends names (You know the ones I'm talking about)). Feel free to use this one in that manner if you're that type of person.

Difficulty level aside, I think this exercise was really liberating. I think I get caught up in making everything so perfect and (to the best of my meager ability) realistic. It amazing to think that you can make an image more readable by making it more abstract, not less.

I'm definitely going to do this again and time myself to see if I can keep each one under five seconds for each. I might make a list of subjects beforehand so I'm not wasting time thinking about what to draw.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Clare!

Today is my wife's birthday! To celebrate I decided to do a "collaborative" post of sorts.

When Clare and I first met, we bonded over drawing comics. I'd dabbled in them for fun since I was a kid, but she had actually sold comics to her college newspaper (the illustrious Mizzou Man Eater).

These two comics came from a bet we had over the WBEZ traffic reporter (Who at the time was the enigmatic Abby Ryan). We had been talking about how it seemed like she was on the air all the time, but neither of us could remember her name. We both took our best guesses at her name and agreed that whoever was wrong had to draw a comic for the other.

As it turns out, we were both wrong so we both had to draw a comic for the other.

Clare's is first (click to make bigger):

The one below is mine (And, yes, I know I can't spell so save it):

Mine was based on the fact that I would set my alarm clock to wake me up to WBEZ and I would frequently have dreams that people I knew were telling me about the traffic conditions.

This is also one of the only self-portraits that I have of myself (sans glasses at that!).

These were both drawn before we started dating. Now we've been married almost four years and have two kids, so I guess comics are a great way to start a relationship.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monday, Friday, whatever.

I'm always conflicted when I post late as to whether I should address my lateness or just ignore it. No one likes reading blog posts that basically say, "OMG! I'm so busy right now. Too busy to even write these words!!!" Then again, if I don't say anything, you might think that I've gotten lazy and abandoned this blog. Then you take me out of your RSS reader and never come back.

Also, I have this urge to make sure everyone knows that I'm not lazy. God forbid. No, I'm working harder than ever. Unfortunately, I've had some projects siphon away my drawing time.

First, there was this:

That's my 11 year-old son in his Master Chief costume that I made with my own hands!! I'm morally opposed to store-bought Halloween costumes. While this may show that I have craft-based integrity, it also means that I end up committing to outrageous projects that take waaaaaay too long. Goodbye pencils and paper, Hello craft foam and glue gun. For two long weeks. Seriously.

Not long after Halloween, we received an offer to buy our condo. We've been trying to sell our condo for nearly two years. For those of you that are not involved in the buying or selling of a home right now, here is my depiction of what the real estate market is like at this point:

(Burning and sinking, I know!)

So yeah, it's a miracle that we sold our place and I'm happy about it. However, this means there is a lot of work ahead with packing and shit.

Anyway, enough bitching and moaning. There are a few things I want to plug.

First off, Sarah Becan has a Kickstarter going. You should give her money.

You should also give these people Money:Rave Archive. You can go to their site and listen to mix tapes from the 90s for HOURS.

Also, I just started reading Sailor Twain. Totally awesome.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanks, Ivan Brunetti!

I just got this book:

And I totally love this quote:

...moreover, you will likely go through a long period of trial and error before you find the tools most suitable to your temperament. Do not be discouraged; this is actually quite normal and, in fact, healthy.

When I'm struggling with learning things like dip pens, brushes, technical pens, and India ink, I ask myself, "What the hell am I doing?" Or "Why am I torturing myself?" Maybe it's common sense, but it was good for me to read that it's OK to experiment.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll read more from me about this book in the future.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween (Robot Costume)

It's Halloween and it's also my birthday! Happy Birthday to me!

Anyway, I found this drawing in my sketchbook but I don't remember when I drew it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I drew it in pencil and my wife inked it.

The drawing is of a Halloween costume I made 8 years ago. I wore it one night to a party at Alex Ross's house. Below is a picture of the actual costume. The autograph on this photo is from Rich Koz (A.K.A. Son of Svengoolie) who is the guy in the middle dressed as the Penguin. The guy the left is my buddy Chris Turek dressed as a Kanamit (From the Twilight Zone Episode "To Serve Man").

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"By Crom!!" (Sketchbook: Conan)

Here is my weekly Monday post only two days late.

This sketch was based on a still from the 1982 Conan the Barbarian film which makes me a complete poser, I know. I did change the head to be more in lines with the traditional comic version (Specifically John Buscema's work).

This is the first time I tried a deliberate comic style on a drawing. Meaning I looked at way some Conan comics were inked and tried to ink that way. I used a Pentel Brush pen for this.

I like the drawing, but my wife pointed out that in black and white, it's much more obvious that his sword is a stand-in for his penis. I guess this wasn't as obvious in full-color photograph? Whatever. I think it's better than some of previous brush-inked drawings, obvious phallic symbol or not.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bone Dog: Page 5

There are a few significant things about this page. First, it's the first I've done with a dip pen (a.k.a nib pen). It's also the first one I've done on this larger size of Bristol board.

I consider the dip pen a success. They are hard to use, but India ink out of a bottle is so much blacker than using markers or Mircon pens. Plus, if you use a more flexible nib, it's a lot more expressive.

Up until this page, I've been doing comics on 9x12 Bristol board. I really wanted to have more space, so I "upgraded" to 14x17.

It was nice to have all that breathing room. I really felt that it made drawing the details a lot easier, since everything was bigger. The lettering was easier too. Great success all around.

Then, I scanned it.

The first problem is that my scanner is 10x14 (or thereabouts), so I had to scan this sheet in four pieces and put it together in Photoshop. I didn't mind the extra work so much, but my 6-year-old Mac did. The file on this thing was huge. I think I actually heard my computer wheezing when I tried to do any kind of manipulation. I can't tell you how many times I had to restart my computer while working on this one page.

Anyway, if you see stray pen marks or mistakes on this page, I'm sorry. I just couldn't torture my poor ol' Mac anymore.

On the upside, the India ink scanned great!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sketchbook: Cuttlefish

This is a quick and dirty scan from my sketchbook. This is a cuttlefish from another National Geographic article.

I think I saw the original picture and said to myself, "that looks really hard to draw, better get to it!" This is how I torture myself.

I inked this with a micron pen, in case you were wondering.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sketchbook: Hiram Bingham

This is based on a photo of Hiram Bingham that I found in a National Geographic article about Machu Picchu.

I used a Pentel brush-pen I bought so I could practice brush inking even when I wasn't at home.

I've been getting back into EC comics lately and while I wasn't trying to emulate the style exactly, I was definitely inspired by it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bone Dog: Page 4

I've been sitting on this for a while. In fact, I put this in a four-page mini-comic (micro mini?) that I've been giving to people (If you're one of those people, welcome to the blog!).

Here it is after three months of sitting on my hard drive, Bone Dog page 4!

Also, I have decided to try to post in this blog every Monday. I think I need some kind of deadline situation to motivate me to draw more. See you next Monday.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sketchbook: Wanda Jackson

This is a sketch I did around the same time I did my Hamid Karzai. Again, it was to practice inking with a brush. I guess I was going for a Charles Burns look.

I'm not very happy with it, but every drawing is a chance to learn something. What did I learn with this? I learned that I'm no Charles Burns.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bone Dog: pages 1-3

I've posted the first two before, but I figured I'd post all three together.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sketchbook: Karzai

This is a sketch of Hamid Karzai. It's based on this picture. I did it to practice inking with a brush.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sketchbook: Bigfoot

Here is a drawing from my sketchbook of bigfoot. This a simple scan without any processing/ digital cleanup. It's a preparation sketch for a bigger piece that I'm planning.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who I Am, What This Is, and Why You Should Care

My name is Scott Kroll and I'm an aspiring cartoonist. I have been into art most of my life and have recently decided to get serious about making more of it.

I'm a little intimidated by this since I have very little formal training. I've been an obsessive doodler most of my life so I have some skills. However, I need to sharpen my art skills so that my comics will at least look like something.

I do have some experience in writing since that was my major in college. I'm not using that degree in my work situation, really. I'd rather not spend the time explaining my job to you, so let's just say I work in law, with computers.

I'm a big believer that you learn by doing and that the doing part is the most important. I've been trying to draw everyday even if it's just a doodle.

I decided to start this blog for several reasons.

First, I'd like feedback. Something like, "You are an artistic genius and I'm giving you money." Realistically, the feedback will probably be more like, "You suck and visiting this blog was a waste of time." Either way, please leave comments. I'll appreciate them, good or bad.

I also hope that I can use this blog to get more involved in the comic-creating community at large. In other aspects of my life, I've learned a lot from friends who know more than me. I don't know many comic creators, but I'd like to.

Going along with learning by doing, I hope that I can learn more about web design. This blog is pretty plain right now, so I hope to learn how to Fancy it up (I've also registered a domain name!)

So if you enjoy comics, enjoy watching someone make stupid mistakes, or enjoy watching someone struggle through learning hard things, please take this blog and stick it in the blog-reader of your choice.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bone Dog Page One, Edited

Here is page one of Bone Dog, again. Since I last posted this, I was able to re-scan it and do a little clean-up in Photoshop.

I learned a lot about scanning and image files by doing this. Scanning images tends to magnify mistakes. Lighter lines nearly disappear and uneven lines look lumpier. In the future, I'm going to need to make my panel boarders thicker and bolder and generally be more sensitive to my sloppiness.

The more complicated part was making sure the right resolution and image type. I'll spare you the gory details, but I'm just glad I learned it now when I'm just starting out.

I have to thank Aaron Schmidt and Marie Martino for giving me advice on this.

Also, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden, authors of Drawing Words/ Writing Pictures, were nice enough to respond to my e-mail questions about scanning and image files. If you're interested in making comics, I can't recommend their book enough.

I still have a lot to learn about turning paper pictures into electronic files, but I feel like I'm on the right path now.

Anyway, Here's page two of my comic Bone Dog (click on it to make it bigger):

Saturday, May 7, 2011