Monday, July 27, 2009
An Old lady with a bag full of tricks ...
One of the things I tried to do differently last year was to move away from sketches to pin-ups. I'm doodler. I doodle at work. I doodle at home. I doodle a lot. The problem is that when I doodle, I grab whatever paper is around and I end up with hundreds of drawings scattered everywhere. There are drawings in my desk at work, my book bag, my desk at home, in my closet ... you get the picture. I know people who draw everything in their sketchbooks. It ends up being a perfect little record of their progress, the formation of their ideas, their character sketches from roughs to finished concepts – you name it. Not me. Nope. Oh, I have sketchbooks. Several in fact. But I tend not to draw in them because I have this silly notion that the work contained therein should be awesome. I know that's not the concept of keeping a sketchbook but it's the thing that people ask to see, so it ends up becoming an informal portfolio. So I'll start drawing in my sketchbook and then the task of creating perfect pictures for an audience (maybe like ... 3 or 4 people – tops?) becomes too daunting and I'll stop drawing in the sketchbook. Understanding one's insanity is the first step to a cure (or so I heard) but in this case it's like a 30-step program without professional supervision. The long-winded point is ... I have hundreds of drawings but no pretty pictures. And I want complete pretty pictures. Which brings us too ... pin-ups (or covers).
So last year I started to draw these faux covers starring these little characters that I doodle from time to time. Sometimes I come up with a complete story, sometimes I'm like "this dude is cool ... I need to do something with that!" So the cover presented here features a nice old lady that hunts monsters. She's part of a society of hunters whose ranks have all but died off. She's old, clever and can still move like a 30 year old (that is, until her arthritis acts up). She has grandkids, that she babysits, and every once in a while she comes across something that requires her special talents (think sleuth like Miss Marple). She has a bag that she pulls impossibly large weapons out of ( an eight-foot long sword or a bazooka perhaps?) and she's an expert on occult lore and knows various ways of how to destroy ancient demons bent on doing all sorts of nasty things.
I always liked covers that were more of a panel than a pin-up and the idea here was that the cover could actually be the first panel which leads directly into the first interior panel of the book. The reader would be curious about what was going on and that would be the hook and then the old lady finds the monster and there's really a surprise on who the monster is and the monster is really Mr. ... and the book could be like 16 pages and then for the second issue, I'll ...
So doing pin-ups became daunting too. This is one of three pin-ups I did that year (all faux covers or posters). The other one is an Austin Powers piece (it's not my character, I can just draw him and be done with it – although why no one ever has done a comic book series starring Austin Powers is beyond me ... that universe is full of goodies to play with) and the other pin-up is in watercolor limbo (it's half done, I just don't know what to do next). So I'm back to doodles. Hundreds and hundreds of doodles. On loose leaf sheets everywhere. No pressure there.
- Jeff Tuffenstuff
P.S. I still haven't come up with a name for the old lady ... maybe I'll simply call her "The Old Bag."