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


  1. It would be interesting to see the "before" on this . . . the "after" is outstanding! Very cool and insightful post to go with it, too!


  2. This is AMAZING! I wish Scarlett always looked this tough (and comely).

  3. Robert, this is a fantastic "touch up" to the original pencils! It was a solid sketch to start, and a steal on ebay. I really love the energy in Roberts pencils but felt that some ink would tighten this up. I know Robert did another sketch for me when we first met, that he hates seeing, and we have plans for him to ink/update it. I just figured this would give him a chance to play a little! Thanks so much Robert!

  4. Ohh, love the addition of "Robert Atkins Art" in the GI Joe logo!