Dalton Stevens copy

Dalton Stevens copy comparison

Sometimes I do suffer for my art! Recently, I determined to improve the delicacy of my handling of painted skin tones. Skin tones should (underline should) seem almost transparent and lovely, especially for women but also for men. Even if the skin presents as rougher and more weathered it should still seem like there’s blood flowing beneath it. I love portraiture but to-date my skin tones have been subpar, according to my own standards. I decided to try my hand at pastels in order to break some bad painting habits.…

Inktober and Guy Gifford

I always enjoy #inktober. Pen & ink is one of my favorite illustration techniques and probably the one I use most often. I always find it fun to do a few extra drawings in October for #inktober. Here are the two drawings I’ve done so far in 2023. As you can see, my 1930’s theme remains. Each of these drawing uses a different approach. The girl has quite a bit of stippling but the hoodlum has none, using instead parallel ink marks with some cross-hatching. I’m getting used to my…

Two new articles, a story in progress, and a drawing for practice

Rocketeer alien series meme

There seems to be a lot going on at the moment. For the next few weeks the ROCKETEER is going to highlight aliens in honor of the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party—a local event celebrating everything UFO. (It’s like McMenamins UFO Festival only smaller.) I’ll be discussing pulp-era and slightly later stories with the themes of invasion, alien manipulation, control, and humanity fighting back in stories ranging from the absurd to the deadly. The first in that series came out this week: “Tactical Error: This Star Shall Be Free.”  The story…

Virgil Finlay and the Art of Scratchboard

Virgil Finlay meme

Before I get to the ROCKETEER’s post-of-the-week I wanted to say something about writing and money. I have been a non-fiction journalist since 1985. I have been paid for my work more often than not. I do not charge for the ROCKETEER, nor will I. Although it takes quite a bit of time and effort to write every post that doesn’t mean they have monetary value. We seem to have this thing nowadays were we feel we’re owed payment for our efforts–always. I’m not sure that’s true. My favorite writing…

Reconstructing Otho

In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m talking about a character from the “Captain Future” pulp stories, the android—Otho. More people today know him from the Captain Future anime from the 1970’s than the original stories. The anime takes some liberties with the character’s original design. In my post I talk about those changes and how Otho was originally conceptualized. You can read “Reconstructing Otho” on Substack. I’ve been noodling around with some Otho drawings using the original design from the 1940’s. Because he’s supposed to be a master of disguise and…

Inking Round-up May 2023

Inking Roundup for May 2023

Art is all about practice, and I practice all the time! My father used to marvel at the fact that I didn’t need any impetus to do art, I just do it. This month I’ve focused on improving my line and brushwork with ink. In this week’s ROCKETEER I show you what I’ve been up to, including a short video, detailing my practice pieces for the month of May. You can read this week’s newsletter here.

Linework and New Pens

Brush and ink after Cartier

Recently, I have become frustrated with the quality of my brush and ink linework. I was aware that  the type of lines I wanted to create should be created with a real brush and ink but I stuck to my brush pens. They are more convenient, certainly more tidy than dipping a brush into ink. Plus, I have good control over them. Decades ago in graduate school I used a dip pen and brushes with ink. Honestly, when good quality brush pens became available I was glad to make the…

Two items of interest today

I just finished a pulpy commission for a fellow writer of science fiction, Sarah Anderson. She wanted an alternate cover for her new book, as well as something she could use for postcards. I was happy to oblige and here is the result. I have to admit that it’s fun to paint people with dramatic expressions. Screaming and running from a creepy monster…what’s more pulpy than that? You can find out more about Sarah’s new book here. Next, on this week’s ROCKETEER I talk about how I conceptualized my award-winning…

Roy V. Hunt: A Retrospective, a review

Roy Hunt: A Retrospective book review

I don’t often review books, mainly because I’m either too soft a touch or, if the book is too bad, I don’t want to talk about it. But here is a case of something well worth a review, not just because the book it’s good, but because it’s historically important. Roy V. Hunt: A Retrospective is a treat, both for pulp fanatics and for artists. You can read my review here.