Archive for the ‘Sketches’ Category

Sketch a Day (Cartoonist week): Jack Kirby

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Two sketches today. Bear with me…


Jack Kirby (Jacob Kurtzberg, USA, 1917-1994)

Comics Will Break Your Heart
(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 50 (+$5 postage)

This sketch tells the story behind the quote that opens Hicksville. It was told to me by James Romberger, an artist and cartoonist whose amazing graphic novel Seven Miles a Second (written by activist and artist David Wojnarowicz) has just been reissued by Fantagraphics.

In the 1980s, Romberger met Kirby at a convention in New York. Kirby kindly looked at Romberger’s work and then gave him a piece of advice: “Kid, you’re one of the best. But put your work in galleries. Don’t do comics. Comics will break your heart.”

Romberger followed Kirby’s advice for years, mostly exhibiting in galleries, while drawing comics for alternative and literary magazines – and occasionally for commercial publishers – on the side. When the first edition of Seven Miles a Second was published by Vertigo in 1996, Romberger mentioned in his artist’s bio that he’d once been told by Jack Kirby “comics will break your heart.” As soon as I read that, I knew I would have to use it in Hicksville. I’m grateful to Romberger for later sharing the full story with me and I urge you all to buy his & Wojnarowicz’s extraordinary book.

Anyway, after drawing this sketch, I felt so sad I had to draw Kirby again – but this time the young Kirby, on the eve of World War Two, when American comic books were new and he was one of the people carving its mythology out of nothing, at the beginning of his extraordinary career. So here he is…


Young Kirby
(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

US $ 50 (+$5 postage)

There you have it. Having done two today, I’ll probably take a break over the weekend and return with more sketches next week (and, hopefully, some new Magic Pen pages too).

Sketch a Day (Cartoonist week): George Herriman

Thursday, March 14th, 2013


George Herriman (USA, 1880–1944)
The great gentle genius George Herriman, writer and artist of Krazy Kat.

(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

Buy this sketch!
US $ 50 (+$5 postage)

Sketch a Day (Cartoonist week): Tove Jansson

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013


Tove Jansson (Finland, 1914–2001)

Writer, artist, creator of the Moomins. Go look.

(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

Buy this sketch!
US $ 50 (+$5 postage)

Sketch a Day (Cartoonist week): Hergé

Monday, March 11th, 2013


After last year’s enormously fun watercolour commission frenzy (see the results here and here), I’ve decided this year to try doing a sketch a day (for as long as it’s still fun). Each week will have a different theme*, and what better theme to kick things off than Portraits of Cartoonists! And what better cartoonist to start with than…

Hergé (Georges Remi, Belgium, 1907-1983)

Writer, illustrator, Boy Scout and tortured artist, Georges Remi is best known as the creator of Tintin. Remi pioneered the Ligne Claire style that dominated Franco-Belgian comics for a generation. An asteroid discovered in 1953 is named in his honour (1652 Hergé) and another (1683 Castafiore) bears the name of one of his creations, the Milanese Nightingale.

(pencil & watercolour on 300gsm paper)
A5 (148 x 210mm, 5.7 x 8.3 inches)

Buy this sketch!
US $ 50
(+$5 postage)

*Note: I reserve the right to repeat a theme if I like it too much to stop.

Making scratchboard art with Line Hoven

Friday, March 8th, 2013


Line Hoven Liebe schaut weg Reprodukt german comic

Get this book!

Yesterday I attended a workshop run by Line Hoven, whose beautiful graphic novel Liebe schaut weg (Reprodukt) is due to come out in English as Love Looks Away from Blank Slate Books.

Line is visiting New Zealand (along with fellow German cartoonist Mawil) thanks to the Goethe Institute, whose exhibition Comics, Manga & Co: The New Culture of German Comics is currently showing at the St Paul St Gallery (alongside an exhibition of New Zealand comics, Nga Pakiwaituhi). Line and Mawil are also doing workshops and other public events in Wellington next week. Thanks also to AUT University and the Auckland Arts Festival.


Line Hoven using my coloured pencils to make something fabulous

Line works with scratchboard (also known as scraperboard), and her workshop was the first time I’d really tried it. Scratchboard is an art board with three layers. The top layer is black ink, covering a layer of white chalk. You use a knife to scrape away the black ink, making a white line.

I’ve always been intimidated by it as a medium, but Line quickly overcame that fear and everyone there was soon happily scratching away, discovering a whole new way of making art. By the end of the day, I’d fallen in love with the process, which is slow, pleasurable and almost meditative. Each movement of the knife reveals a bright new line – kind of like pulling away the curtain to let in the light. It’s delicious.

The work I made was based on the cover of Atlas #2. It’s 250 x 307 mm, and you can buy it below (sorry – it’s sold).

ylena scraperboard

(Click for larger image)

(250 x 307mm, 9.8 x 12 inches, scratchboard)

US $100
+ $9 postage


Sketches – part 2.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Here’s another batch of sketches done earlier this year as part of my crazy bargain commission frenzy. You can see the rest here.

(click on a thumbnail to see larger image – and there are many more after the jump!)



Friday, March 16th, 2012

Here are some of the sketches people ordered last month (note: I’m still learning about scanning watercolours, so the colour on these isn’t entirely accurate). I’m steadily making my way through the queue, so if you’re still waiting for yours, you’ll hopefully get it soon!

(click on a thumbnail to see larger image)

I will draw you a picture – SOLD OUT (for now!)

Friday, February 10th, 2012

UPDATE: Wow! So many of you wanted drawings I got enough orders in a few hours to keep me busy for some time! So I’ve had to suspend the offer while I draw my way through the pile of orders. Apologies if you missed out, but I may do a similar offer some time in the future, if time allows. Many thanks to everyone who requested a drawing. This is fun!

Also, I’m still available, as always, for more substantial (and – er – expensive) commissions. Feel free to email me to ask about that. Otherwise, follow me on Twitter or Facebook to be notified of future offers like this.

I’m in the mood for drawing! Plus I recently got some new watercolours and I’m keen to try them out. Plus, y’know, bills to pay etc etc.

So here’s the deal:

Tell me what to draw and I’ll draw it: one of my characters, someone else’s character, something sweet, silly or even downright rude (you’ve seen The Magic Pen, right?). If it’s too complicated or tricky, I’ll let you know – but actually, I feel like flexing those sketchin’ muscles, so bring it on! And of course, if you can’t think of anything, I’ll just draw whatever I feel like.

I’ll then send you the original drawing, for you to hang on the wall or file in a drawer or give to a loved one or use as a bookmark or whatever else you want to do with it.*

The prices – did I mention they’re ridiculously low? – are only $50 for a colour drawing or $30 for black & white (+ $8 postage and packaging). All drawings will be on A5 paper (148.5mm x 210mm or 5.8 x 8.3 inches).

Now, those are not my usual prices. Hell, no! This is, you see, a one-off special Dylan’s In the Mood deal that will only last until I get too busy with real work or my hands are too sore to pick up a brush. So strike now while the pencil is sharp and TELL ME WHAT TO DRAW!

$50 (+p&p)

I would like a drawing of…

Black & white:
$30 (+p&p)

I would like a drawing of…

All prices are in US Dollars.
Postage & packing (to anywhere) is $8.
These are sketches, not fully-fledged commissions. If you want something more substantial, just drop me a line and let’s talk.
Copyright in the drawings is retained by me, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (i.e. you’re welcome to share, copy and remix them, so long as it’s non-commercial and you give credit).

Doodling at the gaming table…

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Gaming notebookIn the course of finding something for a rather nifty project Lark Pien is putting together, I found myself looking through various sketchbooks and notebooks looking for doodles. So I thought I’d put some of it online, because… well, just because.

The following, then, were all drawn during two Roleplaying Games: a Bushido game run by my friend John, and a Fudge-based game set during the First Crusade, run by my friend Matthew. I do a lot of doodling during games, and I often love what comes out. These pictures have nothing whatsoever to do with what’s going on in the games – it’s really just stream-of-consciousness stuff, letting my hand draw while my mind is busy elsewhere.

I wish I could draw comics that looked like this…