Game Day

Game Day Ron Weasley drawing

It’s Game Day for little Ronnie Weasley! It’s always a good day when I get to draw Ron.

And another experiment in coloring gingers. The hair came out especially well; it’s more golden than the robust oranges I sometimes do. This is better. I’m pretty happy with this one.

Snape Snape Severus Snape

Severus Snape Harry Potter

Ah, Professor Snape…

Mixing it up a little today. No gingers. Instead, I sketched another of my other favorite Harry Potter characters, Severus Snape. I’m trying to envision him for myself, casting off the image of the wonderful Alan Rickman, who embodied the role through the eight films. I tried to capture his relative youth (he’s in his mid-thirties), his abnormally large nose and stringy hair. Did I get the sallow complexion and dour expression? Maybe. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but it’s growing on me. It’s my first try. I hope you like it.

You can find more sketches of the Harry Potter crew here.

Ginger Two–Teenage Angst

Another marker drawing of my favorite ginger, Ron Weasley.

Basking in an unexpected day off mid-week, I spent my morning browsing images, enjoying other Harry Potter fan art, generally goofing off. Until I found an image of Ron (Rupert Grint) from the Prisoner of Azkaban movie. I couldn’t resist his apprehensive teenage gaze.

I’m pleased with it overall. There are mistakes, some of my usual distortions, but yeah, I like it. The colors that go into creating vibrant ginger hair–and that set it off–make me so happy. Sometimes I think the only reason I draw is to have something cool to color in. I still haven’t got freckles down as well as I’d like, but I’ll keep experimenting. You’ll find more drawings of Ron (and his friends) here.



Ron Weasley, here to tell you I’m back

Ron WeasleyRon looks skeptical, but I’m back.

Or I’m going to try to be.

It feels good to be drawing more again after a creative hiatus last fall–stressful work, health issues, fun visits with my sister all seemed to throw me off. And after I’d had a good summer for drawing, especially with Prismacolor markers. I’m not sure why, but it seems after a break, I come back stronger. Maybe it’s just the cyclical nature of things. But it could also be that I stopped trying so hard to do so-called “great work” and just drew for the fun of it, just drew what I liked. I drew chibis, I drew Harry Potter, I used lots of color. I’m not a professional and I’m never going to be.

I’d also like to be active on this blog again. As a sign of that, here’s a recent marker drawing of one of my favorite Harry Potter characters, Ron Weasley. He, along with drawings from last summer, can now be found in my newly updated Harry Potter gallery. I hope you enjoy it.

Manga Drawing Vacation

2015-10-04 Black Clover

This time I didn’t go away on a vacation, but instead took a vacation from serious drawing efforts. I decided to copy manga. I’ve had a cold, I needed a break…

Now, I don’t know much about manga, so I chose one randomly, ending up with Yuuki Tabata’s Black Clover. The story doesn’t do much for me, but it is a shounen manga, which is intended for young boys (not middle-age women). Aside from the beautiful clear line style and the boldly designed shapes on some pages, I noticed Harry Potter-ish elements in the action. Aside from being a story about magic, I spotted a Dumbledore-like wizard and a Snape look-alike bad guy in the first chapter and broom-flying in the second chapter. Could the blonde challenger have been a Draco-clone? Possibly. I chose to draw a few of the HP elements. Yuno is way more of a bad-ass broom flyer than Harry though. Sorry, Potter. Better luck another time.

I really enjoyed laying out my page as I chose random images to sketch, but I have to take the blame for the color–this manga is entirely black and white. Just playing around. It was a lot of fun; I’m sure I’ll do more some day.

62 Books

  1. Sinclair Lewis, The Trail of the Hawk (1914)tree_of_knowledge_BW
  2. Sinclair Lewis, Main Street, (1920)
  3. Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1865)
  4. Sinclair Lewis, The Job (1915)
  5. Will Eisner, Comics and Sequential Art (1985)
  6. John Berger, About Looking (1990)
  7. Sinclair Lewis, It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
  8. Sinclair Lewis, The Innocents (1917)
  9. Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853)
  10. Sinclair Lewis, Free Air (1919)
  11. Margot Livesy, Eva Moves the Furniture (2001)
  12. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)
  13. Walter Crane, Line and Form (1900)
  14. Ralph Adams Cram, Toward the Great Peace (1922)
  15. Ken Ilgunas, Walden on Wheels (2013)
  16. Mike Mignola, The Amazing Screw-On Head (2010)
  17. Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy (1992)
  18. Carol Armstrong, Cezanne in the Studio (2004)
  19. Ramiel Nagel, Cure Tooth Decay (2011)
  20. Richard Thomson, Edgard Degas: Waiting (1995)
  21. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1839)
  22. Frederick Buechner, Brendan (1987)
  23. Michel Daguet, Portrait of Jeanne Kéfer (2004)
  24. Barry Unsworth, Morality Play (1995)
  25. Elizabeth Cropper, Pontormo: Portrait of a Halberdier (1997)
  26. Arthur Wesley Dow, Composition (1914)
  27. Masterpieces of the Getty, Illuminated Manuscripts (1997)
  28. Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickelby (1839)
  29. Edmund Sullivan, Line: An Art Study (1922)
  30. Goldner and L. Hendrix, European Drawings 2 (1992)
  31. Bruce Perry, Fitness for Geeks (2012)
  32. M-M Gauthier and G. Francois, Medieval Enamels (1981)
  33. Patricia Anderson, Images of Charity, Conflict and Kingship (1981)
  34. Kristen Kimball, The Dirty Life (2010)
  35. Elizabeth Teviotdale, The Stammheim Missal (2001)
  36. Manga Study Society, How to Draw Manga, Vol. 3 (2000)
  37. J. Holmes, Notes on the Science of Picture-Making (1920)
  38. Charles Maginnis, Pen Drawing: An Illustrated Treatise (1903)
  39. John Crowley, Little, Big (1981)
  40. Andrew Loomis, The Eye of the Painter (1961)
  41. Paul Graham, Hackers and Painters (2004)
  42. Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half (2013)
  43. Arthur Guptill, Why Architects Still Draw (2014)
  44. Paolo Belardi, Lectures on the Science of Human Life (1849)
  45. John Caspar Lavatar, Aphorisms on Man (1724)
  46. Veronika Sekules, Medieval Art (2001)
  47. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998)
  48. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)
  49. Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul (1993)
  50. R. Poore, Pictorial Composition (1903)
  51. Rudyard Kipling, Stalky & Co. (1899)
  52. JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
  53. Henry James, Picture and Text (1893)
  54. Henry James, Washington Square (1880)
  55. James Hillman, The Soul’s Code (1996)
  56. Jay McInnerny, A Hedonist in the Cellar (2006)
  57. Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential (2000)
  58. MFK Fisher, Musings on Wine and Other Libations (2012)
  59. Kenneth Patchen, But Even So (1968)
  60. Theodule Ribot, Essay of the Creative Imagination (1906)
  61. MFK Fisher, A Cordiall Water (1961)
  62. Auberon Waugh, Will This Do? (1991)

Behold the prodigious reading of the past year… A few of these books I’ve written about already and I’m sure a few themes are obvious….drawing instruction books from the early 1900s… comics… art historical books (long ago college major)…six novels by Sinclair Lewis, five by Dickens…dabbled a bit more with Henry James (his novel What Maisie Knew, 1897, I read last year; it was a favorite)… and toward the end of the year, books on cooking and wine.

Little, Big was a book that came to me as a recommendation. The first part was some of the most pleasurable fiction I’ve ever read, fantastically imaginative in the way the first 200 pages of Helprin’s Winter’s Tale was; the middle painful, poignant, but perfect in its breath-stopping way; but the end was such a disappointment that I can’t in good faith recommend it. When it was right, it was as inevitably perfect as an elegant mathematical equation, but its failures felt like failures of vision, perhaps a desire in Crowley to make an end to the gigantic task he’d set out upon. Yet I will re-read it one day, hoping that the magic at the start is not tainted by my knowledge of the unconvincing end.

My choices were varied this year, drifting back as far as the 18th century and as contemporary as 2013’s Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas and Allie Brosh’s very funny comics on depression Hyperbole and a Half. I truly, deeply loved the Ilgunas book, which would be no surprise to those who know me, fondly I hope, as a bit of a tightwad. Ilgunas was buying freedom with his frugality and so am I. A great read about a very determined (and smart) young man. Brosh is best when she writes about dogs; she also draws them exceptionally well, not so much in a da Vinci sort of way, but more that her pictures capture the souls of dogs. Her style can be pretty goofy, but effective just the same.The other smart man I was excited to discover was  Paul Graham. His essays are profoundly insightful: he has a way of finding a new perspective on controversial ideas and curious phenomena, leading you through his thought process in his lucidly constructed arguments. God, I love smart people! I now read everything he writes as soon as it’s posted.

The “bests” though were the early Sinclair Lewis novels, Trail of the Hawk being the favorite of the ones I read this year (Our Mr Wrenn, another favorite, I read late last year.) There’s something about the sense of life you find in the writing in the early 19th century that I can’t get enough of. It’s a picture of youth and optimism, of chasing dreams and holding onto ideals, and when it’s important, going your own way. Maybe it’s the belief in progress and limitless horizons, a conviction in the goodness of living, that seems so utterly alien to the world we live in now. Reading these books is a refreshing, hip-pocket vacation. But it was apparently no easier for these writers to hold to these values than it is for the rest of us. Past 1920, it’s gone from Lewis: I found Main Street a depressing inversion of his previous values, though oddly, for a dystopian-future novel, It Can’t Happen Here was not so bad. Same goes for James Branch Cabell, another favorite writer, but it took a bit longer for cynicism to overrun his work. I feel I have an essay in me about the writers of this period, but I’m not done ruminating on it yet. Meantime, these books will be part of my regular, re-reading rotation.

Reading is a real adventure for me. I don’t travel much or do much that’s daring, except in my head. I never know where I’ll end up when I start reading or even what sort of thing will appeal, and while I do try to complete certain programs of study, half the joy is the serendipity of finding a kindred spirit in the pages of the book. Some of the best people I’ve known live in them….and always will.


Week in Review

2014-12-17-18 sketches + DShelton 2014-12-18 sketches 2014-12-18-19 sketches DShelton  2014-12-20 Your Ministry Remains Strong  2014-12-19 sketches 2014-12-21 Rat Gone sm -Final

Quite a lot of little drawings this week, done sporadically. This week I enjoyed studying the sketchbook pages of David Shelton–he frequently posts pages from old sketchbooks along with his new work. He consistently seems to draw A LOT. I really enjoy his loose way of capturing gesture, expression and character. I feel that a little copying breaks me out of my ruts and frees me up. I don’t think my two color drawings from the weekend–both Harry Potter themes (Books 6 and 3)–resemble Shelton’s work at all, but without all the drawing I did thanks to his inspiration, I doubt they would have happened. They were really fun to do and even I like them. I’ve tried doing more realistic drawings of the Potter characters before but I think the more playful style better suits my best feelings about the books.

Six Books


  • MFK Fisher, A Cordiall Water (1961)
  • Auberon Waugh, Will This Do? (1991)
  • Jay McInerney, Bacchus & Me (2000)
  • Theodule Ribot, Essay on the Creative Imagination (1906)
  • Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams (ed.), Meeting the Shadow (1991)
  • JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)

I’m always vaguely aware that I have a few books going at once, but I was a little surprised to discover how many I’m reading right now. Six. See, it’s all about the different reading circumstances: the bedside books, ones on my work table at home, things to read on the bus. It’s also a fact that I ordered way too many books from the library in a gout of bibliophilic enthusiasm, and when they—naturally—all came at once, I faced a task requiring disciplined, dedicated readership. I am very good at that; it is one of the few personally useful skills I picked up in grad school. Not to say I don’t enjoy it–I could read all day.

As you can see, there is a refreshing variety in my reading material. Fisher is warm and chatty, sharing her experiences and research into old “cures,” while Waugh’s biography is cynical and amusingly self-deprecating. Both would have been great dinner guests, full of humor and stories, quirks and preferences to keep conversation flowing across a long, leisurely meal. Or so I imagine it…

McInerney writes in such a boisterously poetic way about wine with metaphors that come alive for me. I’m too much of a novice to do much with apricot fruit, tar and leather undertones and long finishes, but when he described one wine as the Catherine Denueve to the other’s Baywatch blonde I knew what he meant precisely. Art, poetry, literature all are part of his metaphorical mix. I enjoy that he will describe the rare, “life-changing” treasures you’ll likely never taste while giving practical advice on where to find an exquisite experience for under $20 a bottle. I haven’t read his novels, but maybe I should; he seems to have a unique vision.

Ribot’s book is in the line of fin de siècle books on art and creativity I have been consuming this year. There is a particular flavor to the works of that time, of people meeting their lives and their work in clean open air, with the sun about to rise and nothing to stop them from joy and achievement. I intend, one day, to write an essay about this sense of life—to steal a term from Ayn Rand, who, whatever you may think of her philosophy and politics, captured this sense of élan in her novels—especially as embodied in illustration, Frank Capra films, and the early writing of Sinclair Lewis. One day I will, definitely. Ribot is serious and scientific in that “we now know everything” way of the 19th century that makes Sherlock Holmes so much fun. One of my favorite things is tracking down his casual references to men of letters and science strewn throughout his book, men mostly long-forgotten. Without the Internet, it would be impossible…or really really frustrating.

The essays about confronting the Shadow elements of one’s personality was taken from my shelves during my dismally depressed summer, as was Harry Potter, who always cheers me up. (Though anymore, it’s mostly the fandom that makes me merry.) I’m still moving steadily through both works, though my mood is much improved. I’m sure they are both partially why it is much improved, though other elements, personal, cultural and bibliophilic, all have done their work.

I have a few more Fishers and McInerneys on the shelf to read and I am looking forward to getting my hands on Tom Spanbauer’s new book, I Loved You More. It’s been out since April! How in the world did I miss that fact? I’ll likely finish about half of these before year-end, bringing my total for 2014 to around 65 books. It seems like a lot until I realize how many things I still want to read….