wattersmith part 3: comparing watterson and smith

To add one more layer of reflection to my environmental recreations from Bill Watterson and Jeff Smith, I attempted a Calvin & Hobbes drawing in a Bone-like style and vice versa. This really helped bring to light the physical and psychological differences when drawing from each artist. Read on for reflections on the work.

Continue reading “wattersmith part 3: comparing watterson and smith”

wattersmith part 2: reflections on drawing jeff smith

Next in my reflections on drawing environments in the working style of some of my favorite cartoonists: Jeff Smith and his classic Bone. (Read my Bill Watterson reflections in case you missed them.)


Tools and Process (gleaned from an interview of Jeff Smith by Sardinian Connection)

  1. Really loose or sparse penciling, more for laying out composition of the ink-based drawings
  2. #1 “horse hair” brush and India ink; couldn’t find exactly what this translated to in standard brush-speak, but I assumed it meant red sable
  3. Not stated but seems to be the case in Bone: pen nib for occasional cross-hatching / blending work — but, I could be wrong!

My drawing process here felt extremely tight and tense. Smith’s style is clearly cartoon, full of fluid lines, rounded shapes, and simplified forms. But it can get dense with tiny tic marks and carefully overlapping shapes. For some drawings I got the same sensation as when typing up quotes from a book — looking incessantly back and forth between my drawing and the original, tracking all the little visual details in an attempt to get my translation as accurate as possible.

Smith: Gulp.
Smith: Gulp.

Continue reading “wattersmith part 2: reflections on drawing jeff smith”

wattersmith part 1: reflections on drawing bill watterson

Starting back in December of 2013, I began a daily drawing practice focused on environments by some of my favorite comic artists. By now I’ve accumulated a sketchbook on Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes) and Jeff Smith (Bone). Taking on the tools, working processes, and styles of two other artists has been a challenge, but it’s also taught me some things. Here I’ll begin sharing my notes on the experience.


Tools and Process (gleaned from The Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book):

  1. Little to no penciling save for more complex compositions or items (mechanical equipment, for example)
  2. Red sable brush and India ink; I went with a “standard” #6
  3. Pen nib for a handful of small details (Calvin’s shirt stripes, for example)

There’s incredible vivacity and animation possible with the red sable brush. It can be hard to contain at times, but what life! Up until drawing Watterson I had only used synthetic, and I never imagined how much of a difference there could be between the two!

Despite leaving Calvin and Hobbes out of these drawings, there’s still an amazing amount of movement and energy to Watterson’s environments—especially ones from wagon-race strips.

Watterson: Decision Hill
Watterson: Decision Hill

Continue reading “wattersmith part 1: reflections on drawing bill watterson”

new (remix) comic: a predicament

As part of a graduate seminar, I’ve been asked to tear apart and reconstruct work of my own with that of others. I’ve cut up one of my semi-recent comics (which followed an R. Crumb-esque format) and supplanted it with quotes from notable thinkers and writers I’m reading.

I’m not sure I understand it. But I like it. Read it here.

towards the tail of the spiral

Towards the Tail of the Spiral
Graphite + Digital, 2014

My first contribution to an ongoing collaboration with a friend of mine in Providence. He wrote a poem; then I (significantly) trimmed it down, adjusted it, and put it to comic. The title comes from the original poem, reposted below with the author’s permission.Continue reading “towards the tail of the spiral”

jeff smith sketchbook: week 7 (final)

Above: Smith: OK. I’ll Go.

And so shall I. With this piece, my Jeff Smith drawing series comes to an end. It’s been a rewarding ongoing challenge, the impact of which I think I have yet to see fully in my own work.

Drawing Smith has given me a sense of just how tight and careful a cartooning can be–especially in light of the Watterson series I did before this. It would be interesting to compare my experiences between the two a bit more.

But for now, a break and a shift of focus! I’ll work from another artist starting sometime soon. Whose work that will be is yet to be determined…

View the Jeff Smith sketchbook.