Thursday, December 30, 2010

Inking Trouble.

 Inking is more than  tracing over the drawing with a pen or a brush.  As wikipedia puts it 
[Inking] can help control a story's mood, pace, and readability. A good inker can salvage shaky pencils — while a bad one can obliterate great draftsmanship and/or muddy good storytelling
It enhances weight, depth, shadow, light, textures, and general awesomeness.
And I'm rotten at it.
Here's a recent example.
I started with a digital pencil drawing of a snake. 
Not a masterpiece, but he'll do.
Now let's add some digital ink:
Yeech.  It's all lumpy and wrong.  No professional artist inks like this.
Time to try again.

I added some dimensional details to the pencil pic.  I even added crude  ball and shadow as a reference:
Now for the ink:
It's a bit better, but something's still wrong.  He's still flat and flabby.

I tried a third time:
Grrr....  I can't pinpoint exactly what's wrong, but it's like someone put the pencil drawing in a bag and worked it with a claw hammer, pounding out all rhythm  and whimsy.

Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong?  This is driving me batty!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Last Minute Very Important Letter to Santa

by Roscoe the Bratty Kid, Guest Blogger.

  Dear Santa,

  Hi Santa, how are you?  I hope you are doing good. 
I'm writing this because some people said I was bad but the truth was I wasn't being bad!!!
Remember when I got busted for setting the beanbag monkey on fire?  It wasn't on purpose.  I put him on the stove but I forgot about him being on the stove and then I played with the knobs and that's how he got on fire but it was a 100% accident.  Also my mom said a bad word when she caught me so maybe you could put her on the Naughty List.
Then at school I just happened to be sitting on the bench and there just happened to be an old pencil I found so I drew a robot on the wall but I thought it was okay because you can erase pencil.  The teacher didn't think it was okay.  So if she told you I was bad, then she told you a lie!  Maybe she should be on the Naughty List too.
That was the same day I got in trouble for shoving Rex, but I only shoved him because he kept going "Rosco bo-bosco bananna fana fo-fosco- me-mi-mo mosco! Roscoe" all day and he wouldn't stop. 
Also yesterday I got in trouble for singing "Baby, baby, soak your head in the gravy" to Rex.    I was just trying to be funny but he got mad and told on me.  That's why I got timed out.
I think Rex belongs on the Naughty List too.
So now you know the truth..  Also I did some good things this week.  I ate my broccoli and chewed with my mouth closed and I took my vitamins instead of hiding them in my old shoes.   So please put me on your good list.
Your biggest fan,

p.s. Never mind about putting Rex on the Naughty List because he gets a bunch of candy for Christmas and his mom makes him share when I come over.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Fool Around on the Swings

Guest Blogger:  Roscoe the Bratty Kid:

I like the swings.  They're the funnest thing to do at recess.  But why just sit on them?  Any baby in diapers can sit on on the swings.  Here's what do on the swings.
Standing Up:
  • Improved view
  • Looks cool.
  • If the sand is muddy the next kid who sits there might get footprints on his butt!
  • If the teacher catches you, you'll get kicked off the swings.
  • If the sand is muddy, you may accidentally sit down  and get footprints on your butt!


  • Makes the swings extra high!
  • Little kids will think you're really strong 'cause you can toss the swings over.
  • If you toss swings too high, you can't reach them.
  • Sometimes the swings get all crooked.
  • If the swing smacks you on the way down, everyone will laugh.
  • If the teacher catches you, no more swings for the day.
Twist 'em Up
  • Spinning action!
  • You can pretend you're a wrecking ball.
  • Some dumb kid might copy you and pinch his finger.  Then he'll cry run to the teacher and tell her what he was doing and that you were doing it too. The teacher will tell you "Now you go sit on the bench and think about what happened!" and if you say "It wasn't my fault the little baby got his finger caught," then you'll be in bigger trouble.
  • Side to side action adds exciting  range of motion.
  • You have to get to the swings before the other kids do.
  • The other kids might get mad that you're "hogging all the swings" and tell on you.
  • Side swings may come loose and smack into you.

Tether Ball Ride!

  • It's really fun!
  • Other kids will crack up laughing at you.
  • When ball breaks lose and you sprain your elbow on the blacktop, you'll hear "That's what happens when you make poor choices" from every grown-up you know.  You'll also hear "You're lucky you didn't break your neck, young man!"
The Bench
The bench isn't a swing.  I put it on the list because I get benched a lot. Teachers  are just picking on me because they don't like how I play on the swings.   Also because they're mean.  They say "swings are for children who choose to be safe" and "At least you won't hurt yourself sitting here."  
They'll be sorry some day if a poisonous spider is hiding under the bench.  He'll come out and bite me and then everyone will say   "If only we'd let him play on the swings!" 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tyrannosaurs Rex: Beast with the Least

I first learned about dinosaurs in the 1970s.   I was five.
The biggest, baddest one of all was Tyrannosaurs Rex.*   Illustrations showed him stomping around like Godzilla.  His mouth hung open, presumably for roaring. And those teeth!

In books and movies, T-Rex was either:
  1. Chasing dinosaurs
  2. Grabbing them by the neck
  3. Eating them.

 He was the dinosaur.  The king of them all!  Few would mess with him, except perhaps other T-Rexes.  And what battles those would have been!
A kiddie song about him went like this:
Tyrannosaurus king of the reptiles,
Teeth sharp like steak knives,
Fights all to live or die!
Tyrannosaurus he had a tiny brain,
But as the king he reigned,
By making the others lame.
Tyrannosaurus he was a great big guy,
Ferocious and feared by all,
Though his arms were very small.
Tyrannosaurus king of the reptiles,
Teeth sharp like steak knives,
Fights all to live or die!
As I entered my teens and twenties, ugly rumors were adrift.  T-Rex  probably held himself parallel to the ground, not upright, it was said.  Instead of lurching around like a bear on his hind legs, he was slinking along, like a naughty dog.. Even worse, it was speculated that this vicious predator might have been, in fact, a scavenger!  Instead of killing, was he picking through leftovers?
Ferocious beasts don't beg for left overs...

Recently, it got worse:
There's some evidence that T-Rex might have had feathers.  Feathers!**
Vicious,  brutes can't have feathers!
The once savage beast was now eating scraps and sporting plumage.
His rep as a beast has been destroyed.
As for the T-Rex fights I mentioned earlier, I'm afraid the truth might be closer to this:
Mrs and Mr T-Rex

*Okay, there were dinos much  bigger than he was, but they didn't count because they stood in swamps and chewed leaves.  I suppose I could have set "Biggest of the Baddest" or "Biggest as a subset of Baddest" but that sounds dopey.
**Actually it's believed that if they were feathered, it may only have been when they were young,