Friday, September 30, 2005

Avril Designs

In 2004 I was contacted by a great guy, Hugh Surratt at BMG Records in NY, to design and board a piece of animation for a TV commercial featuring Avril Lavigne's new release. Unfortunately the actual execution of the piece was butchered by the company contracted to animate it...but I had fun with the designs. The third drawing was a self-rejected attempt.


A colorized version of an acrylic painting.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bomb Boy Designs

A little while ago, I did a comic story for Adhouse Books' anthology "Project: Superior". These are a few other versions of the main character of my story, Bomb Boy Benton. I was playing around with him, trying him both as younger and as the final story he was somewhere in the middle in terms of age.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More Legion Pages

Thunderfoil, the Epic

1971...Ottawa, Canada. A 12-year-old, a faded government office desk procured by father, a jar of Sheaffer ink and a Speedball dip pen. A stack of bond paper...endless ambition and enthusiasm...and almost zero knowledge of how to go about this thing called "making comics"...heaven and hell, heaven and hell, all on an autumn day.

By the way, if you're pining away to read the next page of the saga: there wasn't one! It was on to the next breathless epic...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Villain Rough Design

A rough design for one of the villains in the Legion of Super-Heroes story referred to in yesterday's post.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Legion Pages

The first and last pages of a 30-page story I did for "the Legion of Super-Heroes"...I didn't keep scans of the pencils, or else I'd post them...

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Mini-thumbnails done for the story from which I posted a page yesterday. I try to note all key changes, elements, actions, etc, planning the flow. Then when I get to the next stages I can relax and have fun, knowing I have enough structure in place not to miss anything important.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

3 Stages of a Comic Page

Pencils, inks, and color (by Matt Hollingsworth) for a Tom Strong page.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Morgue Rough

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Robot Roughs

Back in the 80's I did a series of paperback book covers for Byron Preiss. These were small gouache roughs I did to convey possible cover ideas.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Death at Twilight

She found him lodged in a gully beyond the battlefield, breathing in shallow gasps. As she crept closer, he gave her his last instructions...

Palace Rough

Monday, September 19, 2005

Crew of characters

A drawing done for an animation pitch (not mine)...let's just say the pitch was not successful...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hotel Rough

Prison Cell Rough

Rough sketch for a Justice League BG design.

Mister X

Good ol' Mister X...where is he now, in the City of Nightmares?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Boy and his Superjet

An illustration done for educational publishing.

Friday, September 16, 2005

3 Stages of an animation pan

Robot City Rough

I did a series of paperback book covers for "Isaac Asimov's Robot City", a series put together by Byron Preiss. I had a great time doing them and learned a lot. This was an unused rough for one of them. Thanks again, Byron.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Metal Hurlant

The back story on this one: about 1980, just starting out in comics and illustration, I received a surprising letter one day...from Yves Chaland! Of course, that was before he was world-famous, so I had no idea who he was. But, he was working for and with Metal Hurlant, the french precursor magazine to the North American Heavy Metal magazine, and he invited me to submit cover roughs. I did a few--this was one of them--and sent them in. As far as I can recall they never got back to me...probably they didn't like them, or maybe they ended up just too busy. Who knows...for my part I never followed up the correspondance with Chaland beyond that, something I regret. An opportunity missed! Chalk that one up to youthful idiocy... But, some years later, in 1989, I did look him up in Paris, and spent an interesting couple of hours with him.

Soldier 81

An inking experiment from 1981...colored with Pelikan inks. I dialed the colors a bit in Photoshop after scanning it, because I didn't care for the original color scheme.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

United Star

Funny thing about this illo: it's called "United Star" because that's the name of the "socialist-workers-unite" kind of magazine in which it was published, in black and white, back about 1980 or so. This guy calls up wanting an image, had next to no money, so I did it but managed to paint what I wanted... I have no recollection, now, of what the purpose of it was! All I recall is that the person who commissioned it was Kelly Jay, the lead singer for a Canadian group called "Crowbar"...the odd sort of assignment that happens when you are starting out and hungry for exposure.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hall of Battles

Following the Kirbyesque theme, here is a BG design from a Superman episode...

Monday, September 12, 2005


The hot summer of 1974. A 15-year-old obsessed with All Things Kirby and possessing an Insane Love of Detail. A bottle of Pelikan ink, a tray of watercolors, 2 weeks' worth of epic struggle, both heaven and hell intermingled.


A "production painting"---for a production that never was---from way, way back.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Another animation design...

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Unused animation design...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Design Drawing Rough

A rough drawing done in marker and black Prismacolour pencil.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rocketfiction, Then and Now

OK, you ask…why the name? What’s a “Rocketfiction”?

Well…it has to do with my Grade 9 art class at Sir Robert Borden High School, circa 1973, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The art teachers, two of them there were, being very Ottawa-ish straitlaced sorts of middle-aged ladies, did their best to propel their earnest young students towards studying the finer points of macramé and the quilting art of Joyce Weiland, with side forays into the wonders of Ken Danby and Greg Curnoe and Cornelius Krieghoff.

Unfortunately for them, at least two of their apple-cheeked young charges were having none of it.

For there we sat, Peter and I, immersed in our studies of Chris Foss, the cover paintings by Roger Dean for the group “Yes”, the comic mastery of Jack Kirby’s New Gods, and much more in the same vein. Try as they might, the Art Ladies could not mould us as they desired. In the feverish flush of youthful enthusiasm for Lowbrow Culture, we proved impervious to their siren call towards Higher Art and All Things Macrame. Canadian Art of all varieties was their God, and they desired nothing less than that we would join them in worshipping at its altar.

But we were resisters. No matter what the assignment, we steered it back towards spaceships and sky cities and muscular heroes risking all to punch out the villains.

Finally, one winter day, Mrs. Bowstead cracked. With a shrill note of exasperation, the words suddenly tumbled from her mouth uncensored: “You---you boys. What is it with YOU BOYS?? All you want…want to draw is…is… this…THIS ROCKETFICTION!!”

There. She had done it. She had named the cursed enemy! And then off she stomped, thoroughly frustrated. Peter and I quietly exchanged the droll glances only known to 14-year-old boys, smiling the small smile of victory. For we had won! The Art Ladies had been properly shown that, no matter what they did, we would not be bent or swayed from our path, and thus they had retreated back into the thickets to lick their wounds and examine their macramé and quilting and undertake fresh campaigns to thrust it upon other hapless students of the arts who found themselves in their clutches. To them, anything to do with science fiction or comics or animation and the like, was best described by that wonderfully-coined term, sounding like it emerged from the 1930’s: “ROCKETFICTION”.

I painfully, dutifully endured one more year of “art”, but after Grade 10 took the bull by the horns and did not renew art class for Grade 11. The relief was immense! But soon after the start of Grade 11, the other lady, Mrs. Davies, approached me in the hall, concerned upon hearing this news.

“Paul---you stopped taking art! But whatever are you thinking? What will you do now? You have art talent, you shouldn’t just---just DROP it!”

This Canadian-Nice-and Well-Meaning lady just couldn’t conceive that there was “art after art class”. To her way of thinking, without her and her art class, it was impossible that a student continue in the study of art, much less progress! My exact answer to her is lost in the mists of the past, but well do I remember her baffled expression as I explained that I was simply dropping her art class, not dropping art itself!

And so, some years later, I still continue in my study and unabashed celebration of all things lowbrow, especially that specific flavor of Lowbrow which goes by the name of…”Rocketfiction”.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


A ballpoint pen drawing from a sketchbook, which I colorized in Photoshop. It's not quite finished; I was going to add a whole background, but thass a lot of ballpoint-pen-lines...the hand quailed, deadlines intervened...

Robot Airman

I did this painting back in 1979...more of the avaiation theme...painted old school, with Pelikan inks brushed onto illustration board, airbrushed, then highlights pulled out with acrylic paint on top. Airbrush...remember that?


Another aviation oddity...

Night Mission

I've created this blog as a place to house my doodlings and various pieces of artwork as they emerge from what I lovingly call the "crankatorium"...and since it's late, and odd airplanes has always been a favourite drawing subject, I thought it appropriate to start with a drawing of a "Night Mission"...