Saturday, June 30, 2012

Coloring update...

Over the last year I've had the chance to collaborate with some great colorists on my blog pieces. Simon Gough, Mark Roberts and Kyle Ritter have all contributed to these sketches. I've stockpiled quite a few that I haven't had a chance to show off yet. So here are a few of the more recently colored sketches.

Blog Sketch Collaborations - 364

Etrigan the Demon from JLA month

Moon Knight from Avengers Month

Warpath from X-Men month

These three were done by Simon Gough. You can find his awesome gallery of work here

For Questions or Comments email me at

Friday, June 29, 2012

Joe Con Destro and Oktober Guard Cover Inks...

Here are the inks. Just the next step of the process. I'm having a hard time finding a decent size file of the colors. As soon as I do I'll post that up. I really like how the colorist added the Russian graphic design elements in the background.

GI JOE vs COBRA #5 Inks - 363

Actually my favorite part of this cover are the Iron Grenadiers peaking over Destro's shoulder. 
I don't think this is the best version of the colors, but you can see the design elements I was talking about. I also dig Destro's eyes.

For Questions or Comments email me at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Joe Con Destro and Oktober Guard Cover...

I did this cover for the GI JOE Vs. Cobra #5 comic. It was shown just this weekend at Joe Con in New Orleans. I wish I could have made it down for the con, but I've just got back from a 2 week long trip that included Heroes Con. I know my deadline work simply couldn't allow for it.

In fact I'm finishing up my Snake Eyes run in the next couple of days.

This cover was a lot of work, but loads of fun. I actually stayed up all night inking this thing. It had to get done that night  because I was leaving the next day to chaperone a kindergarten field trip for my son's class. Then immediately leave for Summit City Comic Con after we got back from the field trip.

It was a fun weekend, but I was seriously exhausted. I'm not as young as I used to be and pulling all nighters works me over now. I can function on 4-5 hours sleep most nights, and that's typical for me. But all nighters are pretty much out of the question anymore. Well.... except for conventions, I can seem to not sleep for almost the whole weekend because I'm so excited to be there and the energy of the show keeps me going. I usually pay for it when I get back though.

Here's the process of the cover.

GI Joe VS. Cobra #5 Cover Pencils - 362

Since I was inking it myself this is as finished as my pencils got. Most of the detail is there, but you will see that I really finished the Iron Grenadier soldiers and Destro's reflections with the inks. 

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Or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Karate Kid LOSH...

LOSH stands for Legion of Super Heroes, in case you were wondering. Karate Kid is one of the futuristic members of Superheroes inspired by Superman in the 31st Century. I honestly haven't read much LOSH comics, even though I worked on an issue based on the cartoon for DC a couple of years ago.

I find the concept very interesting,  and collected a few arcs in recent years. This is the second time I've drawn this character. I always enjoy the martial arts characters so whether I'm that familiar or not it's still loads of fun!

Karate Kid - LOSH - 361

I'd like some suggestions for decent arcs of LOSH someone could jump on with. I know the new DC reboot can be confusing, and without following LOSH since the reboot, I can't say if the current books are easy to jump onto.

For Questions and Comments email me at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Wouldn't that be funny if the X-Men started calling Magneto , "Neto" for short.... Actually, now that I say that out loud I take it back. I hope that never happens.

Here is another sketch from Heroes Con. Since my wife was there with me at the show, strangely enough I seemed to be more productive than usual with my sketches. heh. She was really cracking the whip for me to keep drawing during the con hours. It's a good thing though, it would be nice if she could come to more shows with me throughout the year.

This was actually the last sketch I did at the con and finished it up with just about 40 min. left to go. I spent the rest of the day on Sun. quickly walking through artist alley and saying bye to all the guys I knew that had stayed through to the end of the con. That is one regret I have, is not being able to see everyone else's work while I'm at the show.

Magneto - 360

For an interesting look at Magneto's origin, and his past during WWII,
 you should check out
Magneto Testament. You can get it for 40% off here at 

For Questions and Comments email me at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Raphael trashing some Mousers!...

Another sketch at Heroes con that was a blast to do. This was for Chris, actually the same proud owner of this Spiderman sketch and the Peter Parker Finger Puppet Parka. You'll have to read this post to get that.

Anyway, he started this convention sketchbook that he takes around to various artists to get their interpretation of theTMNT sketched in it. I absolutely love it when artists do their own take on the turtles and explore all the different directions you can go with these characters. I think my favorite approach though is a mix between the old 80's cartoon and current superhero-like proportions and rendering.

I cleaned up my scan of the sketch and added the title to make it more "cover" like. I had loads of fun doing this sketch.

Raphael - TMNT - 359

For Comments, Questions or if you'd like the high res file to color this, 
email me at

I've just realized I've done a few Turtles sketches this year too. Besides this Raph,  maybe my next favorite was this 
Mikey vs Ash Ketcham from Pokemon

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Nightwing again, because I can't get enough of drawing this guy, well and because someone asked me to. This was another sketch from Heroes Con this last weekend.  Last Nov. a mother and son came to my table at the NC Comic Con and commissioned a sketch for their Dad's birthday. It went over really well, so at Heroes I got to meet the Dad. He came up and we chatted about his birthday sketch, and he commissioned this for his son, who is really into the character.

One of the best parts of doing so many conventions is the people I've gotten to know over the years. Both professionals and con attendees that have become friends from the shared experiences of the crazy world of Comic Cons. Even though I have a blast and get to chat with friends, the convention is certainly hard work. My wife used to think I went to these and it was like a vacation. But she's come to Heroes con with me the last couple of years and she understands now the comic marathon it is and the amount of work that goes into having a successful show. Always worth it though!

Nightwing - 358

For Questions and Comments email me at

Recently at Heroes con I had the first 3 volumes of my Blog Sketch books. I sold out of Volume 1 and 3, and only had 1 copy of Volume 2 by the time I came home ( I luckily brought a few more of those).

I do still have copies here that I can mail out, especially for those who came to my table wanting a book but I simply didn't plan for how many I would go through in a weekend.

Thanks for all the support, and for those that are interested you can email me to order these books. 
Volumes 4 and 5 will be out after the challenge is done July 7th.

366: Daily Sketch Challenge 
Volumes 1,2, and 3 are available for $10 each combining 180 pages of art!
$5 flat rate shipping for 1 or all 3 combined.

For sketchbook orders email me at 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

WilyKit - Thundercats...

For someone that doesn't do quick head sketches, I actually tend to do more than I thought. Especially at Heroes con. When I started doing conventions, I typically did a head sketch for each kid that came up to my table and asked for one. I'd spend 10-15 min. on it and if I had time even longer.

Unfortunately I realized that some guys were taking advantage of this. A couple years ago this little girl came up and asked if I could do a sketch. She was adorable and I thought it was cool she was into comic conventions AND aware enough to appreciate the artists behind the books. So I quickly agreed and asked her who she would like as I took her book.

She said, "Captain Midnite" all proud of herself. I'm sure I had a questioned look on my face, and then I heard her father from across the aisle say "No, No, 'We' wanted a Dr. Midnite, tell him Dr. Midnite" I do know who that is, and I was surprised that she would ask for a Golden aged type character from the DC Comics book JSA. I realized this father was actually bringing his daughter around artist alley and having her ask for free sketches to fill his sketchbook of JSA characters that she didn't even know....

Winner of the Best Dad of the Year goes tooooo.....not that guy!

Seriously. I still did the sketch because I suck at saying no, and didnt want this girl to feel like she didn't do a good job. But it did bother me. I also realized that if I did a sketch for every kid that wanted a "quick" free sketch I wouldnt have time to do the sketches for people that are actually paying me to do them. One quick sketch takes me 10-15 min. at times. This last con I did at least 6-7 on Sat alone.

Anyway I'm still trying to find a balance between giving a kid a sketch and it being the highlight of their show, and me getting work done for people that have come to see me and are willing to pay for my artwork. Generally it's a tough call....Unless they ask for a Thundercats character!

Then it's an easy call and I'll always do 80's cartoon character quick sketches. So if you want to find a chink in my armor, just ask for that. You'll get it every time. I will say that for this sketch, the family did offer to pay for the sketch after I did it. That was an appreciated surprise and restored my faith in parents. Also the girl who asked for this really knew the characters and this book was obviously for her.

WilyKit Thundercats - 357

This sketch was about 4" tall and took 15 min. or so.

Also I still have prints available for this group shot 
or for any single character that's included in this image.

For Questions, Comments, or Print orders email me at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gordon Shumway...aka ALF...

So again, a quick sketch...and again an odd request. I can say however I've never had the chance to draw ALF before. I wish I had some reference when I did this. It's pretty much what I could remember as best as I could. As I was sketching it, something about him looked way off and I couldnt figure out what it was. Then I remembered he had these huge black eyebrows, as soon as I sketched those in it looked close enough for me.

I thought about drawing a diner behind him called "Roadkill Roadhouse , You kill it - We Grill it!" and ALF holding the Tanner family Cat in his arms. But that seemed a little too dark for this 8 year old kid that for some reason was waaaay into ALF. Instead I opted for the blank stare old Gordon was famous for. In hindsight I should have included the word balloon saying "HAH...I kill me!"

ALF - 356

Very quick 5 min sketch, about 2 inches tall.

For Questions and Comments email me at

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quick Sketch - Snake Eyes Penquin

Okay, this is one of those odd con sketch requests. I've mentioned before I generally don't do quick sketches at shows because I don't feel I'm very good at them. But this was for someone that's been very patient waiting for a commission and he just wanted this in his "Superheroes as Penquins" sketchbook.

It was actually pretty fun to look through seeing the various interpretations.

So here in all it's glory, the penguin ninja Snake Eyes...

Snake Eyes Penguin - 355

The sketch was only about 2 inches tall in a small sketchbook.

For Questions or Comments email me at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Donatello - TMNT...

This was another sketch I did at Heroes Con. Man I love the Turtles. While I was at the show I saw this  AWESOME poster!

I'm kicking myself now for not buying it on the spot. Hopefully I can find another at a convention. 

So I was asked to do this Donatello sketch on a blank TMNT comic. I thought it would be cool to do a newer, grittier version of him ripping through this old school 80's poster. Don't get me wrong, I love the old cartoon, but it's certainly a campy show. 

What I didn't think about was that this poster is actually a pretty positive message. You know, for the kids to stay of drugs and eat more pizza. So, according to how I drew this,  in fact Donatello is so against this message he's ripping through the poster....apparently my version of the turtles are drug-running, pizza haters.

Donatello - TMNT - 354

As you can see on the above comic, IDW Publishing is putting out a new GREAT TMNT book.
You can pick up the first vol. trade here at 

For Questions, Comments....or Complaints email me at

Quick Side note, this was also my son's 6th Birthday! Heroes con he got to go around and pick his superhero birthday gifts. Loads of fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fire Ice Girl...An Atkins Collaboration

Throughout the year I do various presentations to Elementary and High Schools in the area that talk about my work, how comics are made and what it's like being a comic book artist. I absolutely love to share what I do with the kids and generally they are very excited about it. My motivation for doing it is simply because I think if I was that kid and someone like me came and took the time to show me it was possible to draw comics for a living, I might have taken it seriously sooner in life.

Who knows, I was a pretty irresponsible kid, but there would have at least been that chance. Recently I was asked to come to a library in Indiana to do my presentation. Like the school presentations, I brought along an exercise for the kids to do after I talk. It's a "Create your own Superhero" assignment where I have a worksheet that asks basic questions, and then I provide figure templates for the kids to draw over. It's basically a blank mannequin-like figure the kids can put a costume on.

My son is REALLY into superheroes and seemed excited about the assignment. It had never crossed my mind to share this with him, but I was glad he took to it so quickly. So we worked on this character together. We took turns drawing different parts, I would ask him what he wanted on the character and he would pick from various design choices I gave him.

Reallly, this is his design, but I worked out the details to his satisfaction. It just took 15 min or so, but was a fun chance to do something together. The rest of our trip he talked about his new character "Fire Ice Girl!" Now that he's caught the bug we're going to create a whole team and villains for them to battle.


Here's the color version, he's heavily influence by X-Men colors. 

Here's the figure templates I hand out to the kids to use. They are kind of old now, I should draw some new ones my free time.

I dont normally bring the figure turn around, but thought I'd post that up here too incase anyone wants to use it.

So you can save these to your computer, print them out and draw costumes over them.
If you would like the "Create your own Superhero" worksheet that goes along
with the excercise, just email me below and I can send you the word doc.

For Questions or Comments email me at

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goliath- Masters of Evil...

This was a fun sketch to do. Like Giant Man, Apache Chief, or Giganta, Goliath here has the power to change his size and intimidate his enemies!  It was an obvious choice to go for the low angle shot here. But the challenge was fitting a character into the space provided, while making him look enormous, while still getting to see his face and costume elements.

In my mind, he was growing large to break through all that rubble on the ground and is pretty angry with whomever put him there in the first place. This was for my pal Shane and his friend that pass this sketchbook around through various conventions.

Goliath Masters of Evil - 352
 Another cool thing about this book is that I've already drawn in it! I had forgotten that I did this Iron Man sketch as well a few years ago.

Both sketches are about 9x12 size

For Questions and Comments email me at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Walking Dead - Michone

For anyone that knows me well, you gotta know I'm a bit squeemish when it comes to Zombies. Even doing a little sketch on this cover, I conveniently had paper cover the outer border with all the zombie faces.

So quick post, quick sketch and on to the next one.

Walking Dead - Michone - 351

I will say I read the first trade of this, and even surprisingly watched the first season. Even for someone like me that literally can't stand's actually pretty good. 

Get a great deal on the collected trades of the Walking Dead here at 

Most Trades are less than $9!

For Questions and Comments email me at

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Batgirl Process...

For these sketches, I rarely get a scan of each step of the process. I just got these colors in from Simon Gough and had to share.

Batgirl Process - 350

To pick up the most current stories of Batgirl check out 

For Questions and Comments email me at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flash Rogues...

Just got back from a week and a half long road trip that included Library presentations, a family reunion, getting burned on the beach and Heroes Con in Charlotte as the grand finale. So needless to say, I got a little behind on my blog. I would have tried to post while on the trip, but surprisingly I had terrible luck getting a decent wifi signal even at the various hotels we stayed at.

At anyrate, I worked on a few sketches while I was gone, and especially during Heroes Con that I can post to help me catch up for this final stretch of my year long challenge.

This was a cool jam piece I did with Freddie Williams on a Flash villains commission. I enjoy working on these, and think its a fun idea when an art collector gets a variety of artists to contribute to one piece. This will end up being larger and include more, but we were the first two to do work on it.

I had the pleasure of drawing Captain Boomerang, probably one of the worst character designs in comics, but actually one of the more intriguing and well developed characters in recent years.

Captain Boomerang - 349

In a similar theme, I had drawn Professor Zoom earlier in the challenge and Simon Gough has colored that up so I wanted to share.

For Questions and Comments email me at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Usagi Yojimbo vs. The Hidden Fortress...

This was a cool commission idea I had to do. Usagi Yojimbo is a fantastic comic that has been ongoing for over 20 years. Created by Stan Sakai, Usagi is a samurai rabbit who has adventures in an anthropamorphic fuedal Japan.

I record a podcast with Co-Creator and friend Quinn Johnson called the Darkhan City Times Podcast. You can find links to the podcast here on the left of my blog. Our very first episode, Quinn does a pretty indepth review of the character and the series if you're interested in knowing more.

Again this was on a blank comic cover. Very fun change of pace, I dont get to draw "cartoony" that often.

Usagi Yojimbo vs. Cobra Temple - 348

For Questions and Comments email me at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Most artists I know are pretty humble about their work. Some are very good, and if you want to know how good they are, well, you can just ask them and they'll tell you. But with the exception of those few, most artists are constantly striving to become better. With each sketch that I do, I can very often come back a month, a week or even a day later and see what I could have done better. If that's the case, then you're lucky because it means you're in the middle of a steep learning curve and moving in the right direction.

That said, usually after a piece of art is finished, it's done and you dont typically revisit it or rework it over and over. Especially with the kind of art that I do. If I do a sketch, and sell it, then it's gone and someone else owns it. If I do a comic page and turn it in, then the book is printed and it will always look that way in the comic. Often if you come across that art later, or look at past comics you've worked on, you might cringe a little on the inside knowing you could do a better job now.

In the case of this sketch, my good friend Shane had bought this gem of a sketch off eBay for $20 I believe. I did this drawing for someone in pencil at a convention and they had owned it for roughly 3 years. Shane snagged it up as a chance to own a sketch of mine for a relatively cheap price. He contacted me and asked if I'd ink it.

He ALSO asked if I could "fix" it. I know he meant it in a kind enough way, but even he could see that in the past 3 years I've grown a bit as an artist, and this was definitely not one of my best sketches even at the time. When he mailed me the sketch to ink (a.k.a. "fix") I thought it would have been bad, but as soon as I saw it, memories of mediocrity washed over me. I was SOOOOO glad to have this sketch back and actually have the chance we artists so rarely get. It was like I had the chance to go back in time, smack my 30 year old self in the head and say..."No, you do it like this! You look like a Darn Fool when you do it wrong!"

I actually forgot to scan in the old version, (I promise that's the truth) and if I can get my hands on a scan of it, I'll post the two side by side. But here is the revised 3 year old sketch.

Scarlett  (got a little "work"done) - 347

For Questions or Comments....or if you have an old sketch of mine you'd like "Fixed"
Email me at