This was done about eight or nine years ago at a park in New Jersey using charcoals and conte crayons, I think. It's been a while, so I'm not exactly sure. But I liked it enough to frame it and hang it on the wall, so that must count for something, right?
I know I said in an earlier post that I wasn't going to upload any more rough strips of Dismal & Abysmal because of their illegibility, but then I realized that nobody's reading this anyway, so who cares?
There's a panel missing from this page and some of the dialogue isn't quite right (not that you can read it, anyway), but the photo of it came out fairly clear (again, I don't have a scanner, so I snap pics of my sketchbook with my digital camera instead). I normally don't like the things I come up with, but I have a special place in my heart for these characters. If I ever do finish that mini-comic I keep talking about, it'll mainly be because I want to see the Dismal & Abysmal strips completed. They might not be that great, but they make me happy.
By the way, in this strip, the characters talk about how cool it would be to go to the moon as they sit admiring its beauty amidst the black sky. When Dismal says it would be impossible for guys like them to go to the moon, Abysmal tells him they could be "the first idiots on the moon" and that he can prove it can happen. As Dismal replies, "Idiots? Speak for yourself", Abysmal steps away and comes back and straps a string of dynamite around Dismal's chest and pair of goggles over his eyes. Dismal asks him what he's doing, and Abysmal says, "I'm preparing your rockets for take off, buddy!" Dismal says, "What are the goggles for?", and Abysmal replies, "To protect your eyes from the blast, silly!" as he runs the long fuse far away from Dismal's body. Dismal says, "Blast?" and then continues, "What's the match for?" To which Abysmal says, simply, "Lift Off!" and drops the match. The next panel says "BOOM!" to signify that Dismal has either successfully launched to the moon or been blown to pieces. In the next (missing) panel we see that the answer is the latter. Dismal, his body charred and his limbs missing, asks, "What happened? Am I on the moon? I feel like I'm on the moon!" And Abysmal says something like, "No, buddy. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to go back and run some more tests before these rockets will launch successfully." In the last panel, Dismal - finally realizing that he's been duped once again - says, "Oh, how I hate you." And Abysmal responds, "Really? That's funny, because I'm fairly indifferent to you!"
Ha! Ha! So, you see? This is how comedy works. Ha! Ha! Hahahahahahaha!
Sketches of a character affectionately called Dumbass and his best friend, Dickhead (background, top picture). Like everything else comics-related on this blog, strips have been written in rough form for these characters, but nothing has been finished. By the way, Dumbass is the kid's real name, it's not a nickname. His mother is just an asshole. Conversely, "Dickhead" is indeed a nickname given to Dickhead by Dumbass's mother who is indeed an asshole.
This is probably only interesting to me, but it's my blog, so fuck you. The sketches above are my immediate impressions of that seedy little character that starred in The Smile That Wouldn't Stop, a true story documented on my other blog calledThe Lightening Revolt. I'm sure you've already read it, so I won't bother to summarize it here. If you haven't, it'll only take you about five to ten minutes to do so, so go ahead and check it out now.
I originally intended to tell the story in a comic strip in the forthcoming mini-comic, Mystery Ghost Comix, and I wrote down exactly what was said, verbatim, and my impression of what he looked like immediately after it happened. After a while, I'd done nothing with it other than these initial preliminary sketches, so I figured I would tell the story in prose form on that other blog just to get it out there. Judging from public response after it was posted, the world benefited the most from that decision.
Anyway, when I think of that strange man now, this is how I remember him. To me, this is exactly what that little bastard looked like.
I sketched this from a magazine cover I found online. I forget the name of the artist or the magazine's title, but it was originally done in the 1930s. I found the image striking in its simplicity and thought it was a beautiful way to grab attention from the other magazines that would have surrounded it on the newsstand. Nobody really does cover design like this anymore, and it's just another example of clarity being trampled over in favor of the modern mass consumption of garish effects. Go to a bookstore and survey the wall of magazines there. You'll be hard pressed to find anything as simple, beautiful, and effective as this.
Dismal and Abysmal, two soon-to-be-classic characters whose adventures and angst-filled friendship will be documented in the forthcoming mini-comic Mystery Ghost Comix (check your local newsstands in April!), in their very first comic strip. This is the initial rough layout of the first strip, and it pretty much summarizes their entire relationship. Innocent, trusting Dismal is tricked and maimed by Abysmal. No matter how poorly Abysmal treats him, Dismal always considers Abysmal his best friend. And, I think underneath all of the malice, Abysmal feels the same about Dismal. But you certainly wouldn't know it by his actions and the things he says.
So, this mess of a page that you see above is the first thing that happens after the idea for the strip comes. It's not intended to look pretty; the character's are crudely drawn and the point is to get the dialogue and some of the character's actions down while determining the use of time from panel to panel. I'm the furthest thing from an expert, but this is how I've been doing it. Once everything is fine-tuned, it can be committed to a final, inked version on bristol board. But, so far, I haven't gotten that far...
There are many more roughs of Dismal & Abysmal strips in my book, but I don't see the point in posting them here since the photos leave them mostly illegible.
I think I drew this guy in my notebook at work (the company unwittingly pays me for a lot of things that are entirely unrelated to my job). Apparently, I liked it enough to rip it out and stick it inside my sketchbook when I got home, but I'm not sure why. Anyway, the character remains nameless. If I thought anybody gave a shit about any of this, I'd start a contest called "name that goon" where the best submission would receive an original sketch of the character, with the irony being that I don't really care to name the character and I'm sure the "winner" wouldn't care to own an "original sketch" drawn by me. It would be a classic lose-lose situation and, thus, perfect.
This is a comic strip drawn quite a few years ago in a sketchbook. Bird picks up worm, bird gives worm to boy (an alien? a ghost? WTF?), boy eats worm, boy gets sick from eating worm and spits out worm over cliff. The end.
If you are, right now, marveling at the ground-breaking nature of this story, not to mention the glorious splash page (!) that closes the piece, then I think we have a lot in common. Now, instead of talking about it, let's go back and enjoy the many layers of subtext hidden within this wonderful narrative.
Over the summer, I experimented with using a nib pen for inking in preparation of the mini-comic, Mystery Ghost, which will, at this point, probably never see the light of day (considering that I haven't started it yet and have no immediate plans to do so). Here are some results of that short-lived experiment.
These are sketches of an idea I had for a poster to promote my band Red Orange Morning. They were apparently drawn on March 6, 2005.
When I look through my old sketchbooks, I usually despise what I see on every page, but I still kind of like this. One duck drowns while another sits close by, uncaring. There's something poetic about that. And, yes, I'm only half kidding.
This little girl sat quietly reading while most of the other kids ran around making nuisances of themselves. I realize the photo isn't very good, but neither is the actual picture, so consider it a favor.
Note: I currently don't have a scanner, so I literally took shots of the sketchbook pages with my digital camera. As you can see, quality varies.
Another page from my "sketchbook" (I say "sketchbook" because it's actually just a hardcover book that I stuffed and bound with printer paper at work. I don't imagine that these pages are what would be referred to as archival, and I fully expect them to yellow and age and fall apart someday.) The bottom sketch is of a man that I would see at Bryant Park more often than not. He was a grungy looking character, and I was never sure if he was a bum or just a slob. Either way, he certainly stuck out from the corporate suits that eat lunch there every day, and that made him all the more interesting to me.
The top right is a sketch of boy that was a part of class of children who were apparently on a field trip of some kind. He seemed like a nice enough fella and he sat still for the most part, which is my main criteria for a "subject", so I drew him. (Btw, I say "subject" because I don't take any of this very seriously at all; it's just something to do while I get the hell out of the office for a half hour or so. It works as a sort of meditation and takes my mind off of the mind-numbing bullshit that I have to do for 8 hours of every day of my life.)
Also, I have no idea where the sketch of the face in the top left corner came from. It was probably one of those bastards that just won't keep still, so I abandoned the drawing. Or maybe I just gave up on it because it was looking kind of shitty. It does look kind of shitty, doesn't it?
During my lunch breaks over the summer, I went down the street to Bryant Park to sketch whatever and whomever caught my eye. Drawing people can be difficult because they don't remain in the same position for very long, but this guy was a great model. He just sat there reading his book and was completely ignorant of the fact that I was sketching him.
I think sketching this Sleestack is what got me drawing again last year. I hadn't done anything in a long time (probably around 8 years or so), so it was a nice thing to rediscover. And I owe it all to this guy who was gracious enough to sit for me while I drew him.
Please be aware that all content appearing on this blog (including the Mystery Ghost title) is of an original nature and is copyrighted by the author. Therefore, the writings and artwork that appear here are protected by US copyright laws and cannot be reprinted or distributed in any form without the express written consent of the copyright owner. In other words, don't steal these works.
Also, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.