Tag Archives: Adobe Illustrator

The Original Black Cat

This time out, for no spe­cial rea­son, here is the orig­i­nal Black Cat. I’ve kind of had a soft spot for Har­vey Comics’ ver­sion of the Black Cat from the gold­en age for a while now.

If you’re not famil­iar with the char­ac­ter, behind the Black Cat’s mask in the comics was actress Lin­da Turn­er. She’d start­ed out her career orig­i­nal­ly as a stunt­woman, but had suc­cess­ful­ly tran­si­tioned into becom­ing a lead actress. The var­i­ous skills she’d picked up dur­ing her stunt­woman career enabled her to fight crimes and solve mys­ter­ies incog­ni­to as the Black Cat. The ’40s Hol­ly­wood milieu gave her sto­ries a lit­tle dif­fer­ent feel from oth­er, more typ­i­cal­ly NYC-fla­vored super­hero comics.

Sev­er­al artists drew her sto­ries, but the artist most asso­ci­at­ed with the char­ac­ter would have to be Lee Elias. Elias was clear­ly a Can­iff dis­ci­ple, and he did that style very well. He gave his hero­ine (and the strip in gen­er­al) a real charm and appeal.

Obvi­ous­ly I did­n’t both­er try­ing to mim­ic Elias’ work here. For some rea­son, I envi­sioned this from the begin­ning as using a vec­tor-based Adobe Illus­tra­tor approach. Yet anoth­er exper­i­ment. The beau­ty of this being my site, I can exper­i­ment with all kinds of approach­es.

If you’re curi­ous to see some Black Cat comics for your­self, I’m not sure where you could buy them now (with­out pay­ing the usu­al prices for gold­en age comics). I picked up a set of reprints some years back now via Bud Plant (and thanks once again to my bud­dy Eric Wight for alert­ing me to those back then!). Unfor­tu­nate­ly though, I don’t think those are in stock any­more. But, the good news is, you can view just about every issue of Black Cat online, cour­tesy of The Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um (What a great resource!).

And that’s a wrap for this one!

Obey the Bear!

Okay, I prob­a­bly need to explain about this one. To do that, I need to get into a lit­tle of the “behind the scenes” work­ings of Word­Press.

A few months back, I decid­ed it would be a good thing to have some kind of a hit counter for my site, run­ning in the back­ground. The beau­ty of Word­Press is that there’s like­ly a Plu­g­in you can install for just about any pur­pose. I want­ed a Plu­g­in that would give me an idea of how many hits my site was get­ting, where peo­ple were com­ing from, what they were look­ing at, etc. It’s been fas­ci­nat­ing to watch this info accu­mu­late as time goes by. In some cas­es, it’s been sur­pris­ing to see what posts and images get more hits than oth­ers. And one thing that’s turned up is that the Care Bears images on my site have been pret­ty pop­u­lar.

So, I’m no dum­my; it made sense to per­haps gen­er­ate one more. I revis­it­ed a Post-it draw­ing I did as a goof back when I was work­ing on “Care Bears,” pol­ish­ing it up in Adobe Illus­tra­tor. Some of you will rec­og­nize this as a play on Shep­ard Fairey’s OBEY Giant image, fea­tur­ing the late wrestler André the Giant done up pro­pa­gan­da poster style. Per­haps it’s a bit of an oblique gag to play off that icon­ic imagery with a Care Bear, but have you ever had one of those visu­al ideas that get stuck in your head and won’t go away unless you get them out on paper? You oth­er artists out there know what I’m talk­ing about.

So here you are, for what­ev­er it’s worth. And for those who won­der which Bear this is, I fig­ure it’s prob­a­bly Grumpy. Because he’s cool like that.

Rasputin

Cour­tesy of Turn­er Clas­sic Movies and my DVR (what a great inven­tion!), I had the chance not long ago to check out a cou­ple of old movies I’d nev­er seen before, both deal­ing with the infa­mous Rasputin. TCM played both films back to back when they aired. First on the agen­da was Rasputin and the Empress from 1932, with Lionel Bar­ry­more play­ing Rasputin (and doing a good and creepy job of it, too!). They fol­lowed that up with Christo­pher Lee play­ing the role in the 1966 Ham­mer Stu­dios film Rasputin: The Mad Monk. Lee, as usu­al, did a great job. He’s always a lot of fun to watch.

I don’t pre­tend to be any kind of an expert on the his­tor­i­cal Rasputin, so I can’t com­ment on the accu­ra­cy of either of these films. But they were fas­ci­nat­ing to watch. And obvi­ous­ly I’m not the only one who finds the char­ac­ter intrigu­ing; look­ing on IMDB, the first time some­one played Rasputin on film was back in 1917, only one year after his death. And he keeps crop­ping up as a char­ac­ter in films, to this day!

With­out try­ing for a like­ness of either Bar­ry­more or Lee (or the real Rasputin), I thought it might be fun to take a shot at a char­ac­ter draw­ing. I only meant to do one draw­ing, but then I was­n’t entire­ly sure about how it was com­ing out, so I kept going, envi­sion­ing dif­fer­ent approach­es. There’s a whole bunch of exper­i­men­ta­tion going on here, with styles, tools, col­or­ing etc. Instead of mak­ing myself crazy try­ing to decide which way to go, I thought I’d just go ahead and run them all up the flag­pole, let the chips fall where they may. And that’s prob­a­bly more than enough Rasputin for any­body in one dose!

I was a one-man meme!

Animation Insider

Pon­tif­i­ca­tion”

I did an inter­view with the site Ani­ma­tion Insider.com, which they just post­ed. You can check it out here, if you like. The site has inter­views with a num­ber of us who toil in the ani­ma­tion trench­es, if you have any curios­i­ty about what that’s like, what dif­fer­ent kinds of things we all do, or how we got there. We’re a pret­ty var­ied bunch.

And, of course, I got­ta post some art to go with this announce­ment. I had an idea of an image, and thought it might work to do it in Illus­tra­tor as an exper­i­ment. Guess the “no con­tain­ment lines” look of the project I teased in my pre­vi­ous post was still in the back of my mind. And that’s all for this one, before I get accused of liv­ing up to this illus­tra­tion!

Bloobee blee blah!