Inking (and coloring) Sesame Street Monsters

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? Great. Now tell me how to get away from these creepy alien muppets.

I kid. I love these guys. But they did give me the creeps when I was five.

In this video, I ink these monsters (and maybe a surprise monster, too) and Run Red Run and I talk about Muppets and Frank Oz.

Inking King Kong

If you thought I was picking a favorite in the Godzilla vs Kong debate when I inked Godzilla last week, you were — well, you were right, actually. I picked Godzilla. But Run Red Run insists King Kong’s gonna win.

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So, instead of agreeing to disagree, we dredge up the subject one more time while I ink Kong. Let them fight. -v

Inking Godzilla

I’ve always preferred human-sized monsters to giant, building-sized monsters, but…whatever. To each his own. I still had fun inking this Godzilla.

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Michelle (Run Red Run) and I talked about Godzilla movies, the old Godzilla cartoon, and some other Godzilla-adjacent subjects during this very short process video.

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It’s a quick illustration done with the Pilot Shinpitsu Pocket Brush Pen and inkwash. Nothing too elaborate, and it kind of explains itself but, basically, I inked in the basic linework with the Pilot Shinpitsu, then slopped on an ink/water mix with a brush.

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If you feel like killing five minutes, here’s the video:

Illustrating a Twilight Zone Gag (for Jim Horwitz’s WATSON)

My friend, cartoonist Jim Horwitz, had a Twilight Zone gag in mind for his 3-times-weekly strip, Watson, and he wanted me to illustrate it. I accomplished this entire project in Clip Studio Paint. From roughs, to inks, to toning. Below I’ve posted some of the process steps. I also recorded the whole thing on video.

Watson_Process01Based on Jim’s initial rough, I sent him my own rough. He approved this, so I moved on to the tight pencils stage.

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At this point, even with tight pencils done and approved, Jim was still working out which direction he wanted to go with the gag. He had a few ideas and wasn’t sure which way to go. But that was his job. Mine was drawing. So I moved on to inks.

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Now the inks are done and I’m about to move to the greyscale tones. The goal was to make it feel/look like an original Twilight Zone. The props and items you see scattered about the room are all from key episodes of the Twilight Zone.

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This is what the final piece looks like, right before Jim sent me the final version of his gag. The entire thing, start to finish, completed in Clip Studio Paint. This was a fun project and I got to re-watch some of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes for reference. If you wanna hear Michelle (Run Red Run) and I discuss the Twilight Zone, Jim Horwitz, and the collaboration process, you can watch the video below. -v

Happy Star Wars Day! Here’s a video of me inking a Baby Yoda.

Yes, I finally caved. Inked a Baby Yoda at a client’s request. My first one. I have nothing against the little guy. I was just kind of seeing how long I could keep the streak going.

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I also thought it’d be a nice opportunity to hone my ink wash skills. I’m told the Baby Yoda commission was a gift and the gift recipient liked it, so I guess I didn’t screw it up too terribly.

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And, side benefit, the gig got me to finally pull the trigger on that Disney Plus free trial (so I could watch the Mandalorian and see what this baby was all about). And I watched a few other fun things on there too. But I cancelled the trial before I had to start paying for it. What? I’m not made of money. Anyway, here’s the video. Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th Be With You! -v

 

Scooby Doo’s Space Kook : Trying Out Ink Wash

Hey, if you’ve been following these short process videos I’ve been putting up with my friend RunRedRun, maybe you saw us ink a werewolf earlier this week.

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But this past Thursday, we had fun trying out ink wash technique for the very first time with a quick illustration of Scooby Doo’s creepiest monster, The Spooky Space Kook!

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How did it all turn out? You can watch the video below and decide for yourself. In just six or seven minutes RunRedRun and I manage to squeeze in quick conversations about inking, Scooby Doo, and Star Trek while I work.

Reviewing the Pilot Shinpitsu Bristle Brush Pens (and inking a Sleestak)

Yeah, maybe I buried the lede. I inked a Sleestak from The Land of the Lost with the Pilot Shinpitsu Bristle Brush Pens. I liked ’em. But if you wanna see ’em in action, just check out the video. And, besides the pen review, RunRedRun and I talk about ’70s Sci-Fi Kids TV hit, The Land of the Lost because why not?

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Inking The Mummy

Time for another 6-minute video where I ink a monster and RunRedRun and I talk about stuff. This time, it’s mummies. Are they scary? What are their monster powers? Spoiler alert: We have no idea. But here’s me inking one anyway (with PIGMA Brush Pens and PITT Artist Pens).

Inking Khan

I’ve been uploading some quick, short inking/making videos on YouTube lately that show my process. Here’s the latest. Six-and-a-half minutes of inking Khan while my needle-felting friend Michelle and I talk about Star Trek. You can subscribe to the YouTube channel to see stuff like this every Monday and Thursday (time willing).

Sleestak Vs. Gorn! Winner Eats Chaka!

So, if you’re into retro, ’60s/’70s sci-fi television at all, you might recognize these goons. The Sleestak terrorized the Marshall family in The Land of the Lost, and the Gorn famously kicked Captain Kirk’s butt around the desert in the Star Trek episode, Arena. I’ve watched rerun after rerun of these shows and these creeps still give me the heebie-jeebies. So I thought it’d be fun to do a mash-up where they battle each other.

SleestakVsGorn_VinceDorseI ran a poll on Twitter to see which monster people thought would win this scrap. 21% sided with the Sleestak, 79% went with the Gorn. I’ll embed a poll down at the bottom of this post. Maybe you guys have a different opinion on who’d beat who, but if you want to see how I put this mash-up together, you can scroll through my process below.

PencilsPencil sketch. I sketched these guys and scanned them in, put ‘em on different layers in Photoshop to arrange them, then roughed out a general idea of the background and masthead. This is the point in the illustration where I ask myself, do I really wanna blow off my current illustration job to goof around on this junk? As usual, my answer is yes.

Layer Color button in MangaStudioI pull the piece into MangaStudio to begin inking. MangaStudio has this great little button in the Layer Property palette called Layer Color that gives everything on the selected layer a specific color cast. You can choose any color, but the default is this light blue, which is perfect for what I need.

Inking in MangaStudioInks: I use the Layer Color effect on my pencil layer to give them the look of traditional comic pencils done in non-photo blue pencil. Then, on a layer above that, I start my inking. It’s a lot easier to see the inks against the light blue pencils then the regular black/dark grey pencils. If you’ve never used that Layer Color button, give it a try.

Background inksBackground Inks: Here’s a detail of the cover where you can see some of the background inks. I just scratched in some tree bark and long grass with a standard brush. To draw the fern-like leaves in the background, I first filled the space with black, then switched my “ink” color to white and painted in the leaves.

Imaginary comic pitting the Sleestak against the GornFinished Inks: So here’s the finished inks for the illustration. Those hissing sound effects were done in Photoshop. I’ll keep saying it until it changes, but the text tool in MangaStudio is subpar and most of the time I pull things into Photoshop or Illustrator to layout/modify text. I guess I could’ve hand-lettered those hisses, but I really like the look of that typeface. For those of you who’ve never heard it, here’s the sound of Sleestak hissing.

Flat colorsFlats: If you enjoy coloring books, then laying down flats is your dream job. Otherwise, it’s a spirit-draining exercise in painstaking rigidity. It’s all about filling in the shapes and staying in the lines and it has to be done so there, I did it. Ladies and gentlemen…the flats.

Modeling the backgroundModeling the background: Here’s where I get to add some texture to the environment. You can see I sprayed the ground with some speckles of black during the inking stage to give the idea of a granular, sandy surface. Now I can use a rough-edged brush to splotch in some lights and shadows on the ground, varying the opacity, layering the color, keeping it nice and random.

Modeling the figuresModeling the figures: For the figures I used a harder-edged brush to add highlights and shadows to the rubber costu— er, slick, leathery, reptile skin. I dotted in the idea of scales with some lighter and darker greens, supplementing the scales I brushed in during the inking stage. Look at that toothless, old-man mouth on that Sleestak. I can only assume, in hand-to-hand combat, they must be deadly with those horns.

More modelingMore modeling: I used the same technique on the Gorn’s skin. In this progression of images you can also see the flat-color tunic, followed by the highlight/shadow version, followed by the finished tunic with that trippy ’60s design. The Gorn were such space-hippies. I had a Great Aunt in Philly and that mini-dress thing looks like it was cut from her plastic-covered couch.

Masthead letteringFinally, the masthead for my fake comic book cover. I hand-scrawled “Sleestak” to emulate the hand-scrawled “Beware Of Sleestak” warning from the walls of the caves in the show. The Gorn text I typed after routing through some monster-type fonts on my system and finding one that fit the bill. So, now that you know how I did it, who do you think would win this fight? -v