A Lesson in Artistic Anatomy - Pen and Ink Drawing

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As I was finishing up as a graduate art student, I taught life drawing for a year or so. Teaching life drawing is a bit like watching paint dry. You just need to make sure there is a model present and then run the students through various practice exercises. Basically, my criteria for passing the class was to just show up (and yet there would always be one less-than-moron who couldn’t even muster the energy to do that).

However, mastering rendering the figure requires a bit more work than showing up. A very important part is to familiarize oneself with the basics of human anatomy. I was never really taught this (the University of Illinois art department was, how shall we say, lacking in this area) so I took it upon myself to learn what I could and then impart my knowledge onto my students. I would deliver this information as weekly handouts that took the form of a comic book, This was the most basic of basic anatomy overviews but it hit some of the more important topics.

I eventually went to Kinkos and bound the entire thing up in a cheap cover. I was recently reminded of this work when a random visitor to this site (yes, your favorite site on the Internet) informed me that they were given a copy from drawing professors Fennell & Becker. This visitor informed me that, on occasion, they had used the comic in their own drawing classes. Very cool. In the process of reminiscing I scanned the comic and here I am making available to the Internet for the first time ever. Download the PDF, print and enjoy!

Jellyfish - Pen and Ink Drawing

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Here is the drawing I created of a killer jellyfish for the Nox Archaist game manual. Along with this creature, there were a few other real-world beasts that were in the game. I think I managed to make this look a little more fantastic than what you see dried up on the beaches of Florida.

Nox Archaist: Jellyfish
The Jellyfish as it appears in the Nox Archasit manual.

Swamp Dweller - Pen and Ink Drawing

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This is another drawing I created for the Nox Archaist manual as part of their Kickstarter’s call for artwork. We were given a list of creatures from the game but I didn’t really have a specific one in mind when I drew this. I had labeled as a nightmare. They decided this worked better as a swamp dweller and worked some of my design choices in to the creature’s description:

Swamp Dweller manual page
The final page in the Nox Archaist manual featuring my Swamp Dweller illustration.

Cultist - Pen and Ink Drawing

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This was the last of the ink drawings I created for the Nox Archaist game manual. At the time of this writing I don’t know whether any of these will make it in to the final printing, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a “cultist.” I tried to make him look a little like one of the healers from The Bard’s Tale. I own a know that looks like that.

The Ettin - Pen and Ink Drawing

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Earlier this year I decided to support a Kickstarter campaign for a new Apple ][ game called Nox Archaist. It is going to be an RPG in the style of the 8-bit Ultima games. There are was a call-out for artwork submissions to be included in the manual. I decided to try and produce some drawings for the project. In the end I made about half-a-dozen pen and ink drawings of various fantasy creatures. This one was perhaps my favorite of the lot. As of this writing they were still looking for more art and, if I can find some time, I’ll try to do a few more; continuing my long-standing tradition of not being paid for my art services.

PRF Activity Book Submission - Pen and Ink Drawing

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This was a drawing I created to be part of the PRF 2015 Activity book. It was to be a book full of in-jokes and references to the bands and people of the PRF music community. There was a desperate last-minute call for submissions, so I obliged and stayed up into the wee hours of the night putting this together. Of course they didn’t use it and I feel like I completely wasted my time and energy. Oh well.

The Last Page - Pen and Ink Drawing with Digital Coloring

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Digging through some old files, I found this is a comic strip I did for the last issue of the Madison, Wisconsin art magazine, Artzine. I had previously done a few other comics for the ‘zine on while I was graduate art student in Madison, but this one I did after I moved to Chicago in the early oughts. The “Scott” in the last panel was Artzine’s editor and the current proprietor of Western Exhibitions Gallery here in Chicago, Scott Speh. This is a pen and ink drawing that was given shading and tweaked digitally.

View a close-up of the full image here.

The Coug - Pencil Drawing

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This is a drawing from my sketchbook that I did when I probably should have been working. John “Cougar” Mellencamp as a vigilante hero. We went hunting for The Coug when we visited Bloomington, Indiana several years ago and spotted him zooming by in a convertible Porsche. A rare Coug sighting indeed.