Thursday, December 16, 2010


Sorry folks, not an art post... just wanted to post my thoughts somewhere.

Just learned that my Tita (my Great-Aunt), died today. I didn't know a kinder soul, more full of life, love, and laughter than she had, always soft spoken, which is a trait not seen in most of my family, a trait that I love. Some of my strongest memories of her were when she would walk around a supermarket, she would go straight to the cookies/sweets, pick up a box (I always remember Nilla wafers), open it, and start munching while she shopped... or she might grab a single Butterscotch, eat it, and hide the wrapper behind a box in the market, the rest of the visit, she would walked around with a smile, drinking in the world around her.

I also remember how she knew little to no English, but would frequent Asian food markets and get along fine with people who she had no common culture or language with, no one else in my family did this (heck, I only ate Asian food once in my life before I went to college)

I remember she also used to make the BEST Cuban tamales. She took the time to use real corn husk (instead of foil), etc etc.

Edit-- Here is something my sister wrote "I remember being driven around in her little Honda. And finding out that she had been dying her hair for years, covering that lovely, salty hair - funny little secret. I want to make that delicious jello/leche condensada dessert that she'd make - so great."

And a memory from my cousin Suzy-- "I remember that jello dessert- yum. She used to give us a fresh little box of crayons every time we went to her house to visit. Sweet lady."

Anyhow... here is one of the only recent pictures I have with her (and my Grandmother)

Tita, Me, Abuela

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rogue and Warrior Lady

I was sitting here with a desire to draw a warrior lady, so I did... then I felt like drawing some quick studies of Rogue from the X-Men, so again, I did (I like the old costume, but I didn't do any research, so I know it's not right, but it's right enough). Added some color to those sketches so they would feel more complete in some way... enjoy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 8

More sketchbook pages.

I did these while sitting at Portos in Burbank two weeks ago. The little kid with the Finding Nemo backpack/leash... oh man, where were that kid's parents?! It was just him and his 10-12 year old brother (holding onto the leash). The kid had chocolate all over his face, was screaming at the top of his lungs (Such famous lines as "I WANT!" and "SODA!!!!"), and lunging at the people in line. He looked crazed!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I hate these calls...

I am not the most confident artist right now, well, I finally get past my own doubts and start to draw, literally 5 minutes in, I get one of those "pick up your portfolio" calls, and I stop drawing and start doubting myself again. They could have given me an hour of feeling good about myself couldn't they? No, I suppose not.

I wasn't going to pick up the phone when I saw the number, I know that number is from the studio... but the optimist in me thought "Maybe they are calling to give me a storyboard test? Maybe?"... that'll teach me! Should've let it go to voicemail and kept on drawing in ignorant bliss. It's now been three hours, and I still can't draw, so I scanned in some sketchbook pages.

Note: While writing this, my mom calls "Hi, I just want to see how you are doing. Have you heard anything from any studios?" I said "Yeah, nothing good, I have to go pick up my portfolio cause they have no work for me." She says "Oh... ok, well, I just wanted to know how you were doing, bye." Haha... that's not wanting to know how I am! That is just calling to see if I have a job yet... very different.

Below is some art that makes me feel good. I drew these pages mostly while watching "Ken Burns National Parks" documentary (nnd some House MD). Man, that doc makes me want to uproot and leave on a tour of the US. I remember a college professor once asking us what we wanted to do with our lives, and he said to think of it this way "If you had 100$ or 200$ million, you didn't have to worry about money, what would you do with yourself?" Many people answered "I would make an independent movie" or "I would draw a comic and publish it" or something along those lines... I now know, I would not draw comics or anything like that, I would just pick up all my gear and tour the world, see the most beautiful things there are to see. I am sure I would keep drawing, but I wouldn't draw with the stress of having to perform.

Friday, May 07, 2010

More Superheroes

Looks like I am on a Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine kick...

It started out last night when I discovered some videos online of John Buscema and John Romita Sr drawing and inking (links below)... WOW! Buscema inking with a brush absolutely blew me away. Right then and there, I decided I wanted to practice my old school brush work... but to do that, I needed a drawing, a realistic style drawing, not cartoony, so I did this drawing of Wolverine (straight onto Bristol board) tonight while watching some tv.

Well, I was too tired to ink it tonight, but I decided to go on my ustream channel and do a little online fast sketch (check my twitter stream to see when I am going to be drawing live). I started out with a quick and dirty Iron Man.. then did a delightful Captain America (I just wanted to spot those blacks on his head, I love how the old Marvel artists used to spot blacks around the "A" so it would pop.) And then I decided to take a fast practice run at the Wolverine inks, just as practice for when I ink the real thing tomorrow, then I threw color on it too (since I was already there, might as well.) All in all, a good hour of drawing tonight.

Just as a note (mainly to myself), Not only do I want to start working on my inking technique, but I am also going to make a concentrated effort in creating "illustrations" rather than just character pin ups. I started with the Wolverine piece, tries to build in a story and bit of BG elements.

Here are the links to the videos I mentioned above:
John Buscema draw Cap, inks with a brush
John Romita Sr draws Spidey, inks with markers

Monday, May 03, 2010

Super Hero clean up

I've been wanting to work on finishing/cleaning up more of my art, so I decided to clean up the Captain America I drew a couple weeks ago, and then draw Wolverine. Wolverine (along with Captain America and the Thing) is a character I have never drawn properly (probably because I like them so much). I grew up with Wolvie's Brown/Yellow costume, so that's the one I went with here. I actually like both these drawings (at least today I do), and I forced myself to add some BG elements rather than just stop at the character.

I definitely have a long long way to go with my art, but I was happy to draw these and bring them closer to a polish than my sketchbook art.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 7

Man, time flies when you don't post!!! Yikes, two weeks already? Unacceptable. I need to scan all the pages I have drawn over the past month.

In the meantime, accept my apology with these 3 pages.

I did these character studies earlier in the year for an unfinished comic project (my unfinished Flight 7 story, I had to stop working on it to find full time work, which I still haven't found). I was trying to find the right look for the alien antagonist... I don't know if this happens to you guys, but I know who this character is, I have an image in my head of what this guy looks like, but when pencil hits paper, I can't remember what he looks like, he is like a shadow in the corner of my eye, every time I turn to look, he moves away. Really angering. I still haven't been satisfied with any of the designs I have done. I must keep searching for him, he is important.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Captain America Sketch

After drawing Iron Man the last day or two, I decided to try my hand at another character I have never been able to draw well, Captain America.
It's obviously just a sketch (with some quick color), you can see all the under-drawing. If I have time, I might go back and clean this up/ink it, but for now, this will have to do. I am pretty happy with this Cap, it didn't go straight into the trash which is always a good sign.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Iron Dude

I really like trying to draw Iron Man; and, I always liked Iron Man's antenna, so I added that in there.

I have been wanting to post more "finished" pieces up here, but I rarely do finished work, I usually just sketch. But this Iron Man was a chance for me to color something, I really wanted to see that good old Red and Gold side by side, couldn't leave it black and white.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 6

A bit of a miss match of sketchbook pages, but they must be posted!

This first page was drawn while watching "Oklahoma" and Dr Who.

This next drawing was the only decent drawing from a recent LA Zoo trip. I made sure to only draw 4 legged/hooved animals this time (my favorite animal is the Gorilla, but that's almost like drawing people, I need to expand my repertoire). I present a Gerenuk in repose.

And this last page is just because I really really wanted to draw the Iron Man helmet and armor. I was trying to remember what the armor looked like (I prefer the version from the early/mid ninties when I was beginning to collect comics). Funny how many details I remembered, and how many I forgot.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 5

More Sketchbook pages.

These first two pages were done while I was at a "The Living Sisters" show at the Getty Museum. It was a great venue, nice and clean, comfortable seats, super small and intimate... and free! I had a great time listening to their music and absorbing the ambiance. I was already a fan of Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Inara George (The Bird and and the Bee), and now I am also a fan of Eleni Mandell. Anyhow, sketches, I did these drawings in very dim light, I started trying to do detail drawings, then gave up and tried doing super simple drawings.

And then here are a couple more sketchbook pages while watching Dr Who. Some Tom Baker, 4th Doctor, Dr Who. And on the last page, a couple drawings while watching House MD.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 4

Here are some more sketchbook pages from the past 2 weeks. All of these are while I was watching Dr Who. These first two are whole pages with no additions or subtractions.

These next two were cobbled together because there were drawings on there I can't show yet. Some character designs for a comic project I am working on. So I deleted those drawings and filled the gaps.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life Drawings from Dr Sketchy's marathon - pt 2

Here are the other pages of my Life Drawings from the Dr Sketchy Marathon.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life Drawings from Dr Sketchy's marathon - pt 1

Earlier this year, I took part in a Dr Sketchy's 26 hour life drawing marathon, and yes, I stayed the whole time except for 15 minutes to sleep in my truck, and an hour to have breakfast in a diner (I took that break during an hour pose that I wasn't interested in drawing from anyhow).

What a great experience, it really renewed my love for drawing, it helped that they had some great models... I do wish they did more 1 or 2 minute poses (allows the models to be more dynamic), but it was all good anyway.

I finally scanned in my drawings, I thought I would have more drawings after 26 hours of drawing, but I only filled 3/4 of a newsprint pad. This is a selection of the drawings I liked best.

Actually, this is half the pages, I will post the second half later, maybe Monday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 3 - Beisbol

Since I posted about baseball yesterday, here a couple sketchbook pages I drew last week to reacquaint myself with the, Francisco Sanchez, the lead of my "Beisbol" comic stories (printed in Flight Comics vol 2 and 5).

It was fun drawing Francisco again after not touching him for probably the better part of a year. I have finally started trying to work out a solid story for a planned graphic novel starring Francisco. Planned for when? No clue, but I know I wont draw it unless I am happy with the story, I know where I want it to start and end, but the middle is a mess right now.

I know these pages aren't terribly impressive, but I need to remember how to draw his face! (Sorry Francisco, it's been too long)

Anyhow, I can't wait to keep exploring this world. Actually, Here is one of my favorite pages from "Beisbol" part 1 (I rewrote the text in better handwriting than the original printed story), it is a montage page talking about real life Cuban Baseball legends from the early 1900s, Adolfo Luque, Martin Dihigo, and Cristobal Torriente. One of the things I hope to do with telling the fictional story of Francisco Sanchez is to highlight the real life characters of forgotten players from Cuba, the Negro Leagues, the Major Leagues, the Nippon Leage, and other countries from around the world. I really love the history of baseball.

Torii Hunter and the impostor statement

Man oh man... there has been some outcry today in the baseball world about Los Angeles Angels center fielder, Torii Hunter's, choice of words in an interview about trying to get black American kids (or African-American children, if you prefer) interested in playing baseball. I am going to try to be clear and concise and not all over the place, but I make no promises...

Here are the two sentences that incensed people.

"'People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they're African American," Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter says. "They're not us. They're impostors.'"

"It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?'"

Here is the full original article from USA Today about getting African American children back into the sport, and the challenges of that goal... You can see the context that these statements were pulled from.
USA Today Article

And here is Torii Hunter's non-sorry apology for his choice of words...
Torii Hunter's blog

I read quite a few comments on Torii's blog, ESPN, and other news outlets, and some people's logic really seemed off to me (of course, that is personal opinion I suppose). I feel the need to address those using my own experience and logic.

Many people were angry that it sounded like Torii was bashing Hispanics by calling them "impostors", but those who know how Torii speaks, knows that there is hardly a more loving, passionate man in baseball. He shoots from the hip, he has fun, and the media and fans love him for his colorful use of language. The "impostor" comment was not said with malice towards anyone, it was his playful way of letting his friend know that there IS a difference between a black man from the Dominican and a black man from Arkansas, he was saying "They aren't black Americans, they aren't the same as me, please don't think that." Yeah, he could have said exactly that, but that's not Torii's style, he is more colorful/playful than that; and, this is an interview, not a speech, he was retelling a story he experienced, so he used the same language he used with his friend.

Here is a story that I feel flavors why I side with Torii on this one... I lived for many years, in high school people/friends would always call me Mexican or group me in with other Hispanics (anyone who spoke Spanish was a Mexican to them) I would tell them "I am not Mexican, I am Spanish and Cuban" and they would say "Same thing". It is irritating when people don't respect your roots and I am sure it is just as irritating to Torii when white people (or anyone) say "You guys all look the same to me, there is no difference." What? Really? A black kid from Cuba is no different than a black kid from the US? Now THAT is an ignorant/racist comment. So Torii's "impostor" comment may sound like a knock to Latin Americans, but it's more a knock to everyone who just looks at skin color and can't/wont differentiate between cultures.

As for Torii saying they sign Hispanic players for "a bag of potato chips"? Again, this isn't saying that Hispanic players are worth a bag of chips, he is saying that for the most part, the MLB can sign Hispanic kids (at a VERY young age sometimes 9-10 years old) for next to nothing and put them into an academy (where they are schooled, fed, given room...all these things might be more than their families can provide). If an American kid was asked by a major league team to move to an academy when he is 10 years old, you know there will be an agent and significant money would have to change hands, and it wouldn't be "a bag of chips" because things are done differently in the US... Those other countries don't play by our rules of child labor and the such, if they did, those academies would be out of business, and it would probably be a bad thing since those academies are a boarding school for many of these kids, giving them a better chance at life. Of course, I don't know any of these things for sure, it is just information I gleaned from articles, and from watching documentaries and films like "Sugar"

Yes, yes, a few very talented Cuban exiles sign large contracts, not a bag of chips at all, but that is a minority (and they are usually older with plenty of experience), the truth is the majority of these kids are paid very little to dedicate themselves to the baseball academies for many years (this is the equivalent of a minor minor league). Again, Torii could have said "You can get a Dominican guy for much less than a black kid with an agent" but that isn't Torii's style of speech.

So Torii made a statement so he could clarify what he meant by the "impostor" statement he made in the interview, and he said this...
"What I meant was they're not black players; they're Latin American players. There is a difference culturally."

Holy smokes, people jumped down his throat again... his implying that a black Dominican is not "black"... Ugh... people are so stuck on the semantics and the details of Torii's words. People started jumping down his throat saying that he is ignorant and that all blacks in the New World came from the same place... yes, totally right, but that's not what Torii's talking about. He slipped up "again" and most probably meant "black Americans" are not the same as black Hispanics.

People on the forums were saying that black is black, white is white... that color was more important than culture... I think those people are way way off base.

I don't agree that skin color is more important than nation of birth (or tribe or family). I think there is a difference between people from different cultures/nations, even if skin color is the same. It is funny that people keep calling out Torii for being ignorant, when Torii's "impostor" comment was a story related about the naive ignorance of one friend thinking that all dudes on his team with black skin are the same. The truth is that the plight of the African-American, (or the American black man), is very different than the plight of other black skinned people around the world, they do not share a common modern history (last 200 years), yes they share a mother land, but that distant history has been lost to them for a long long time. It seemed to me that the civil rights movement of the 60's was there so that we could move away from that separation, so that the black man living in America could finally be accepted by his adopted home (yes he was forced here, but it is his home now) and be a full fledged black American citizen. Making a comment that "black is black, black Americans and black Dominicans are the same because they all came from Africa" is like saying that Mexicans and El Salvadorians are the same because they both came from "olive skinned" Spaniards. THAT is ignorance.

Again, I think most of this outrage is because people are focusing on the details, they are more interested in the drama of controversy rather than supporting a good cause and a good human being... People are losing track of the tone/emotion of Torii's mission, he is not out to start a war between nations, he simply wants black American kids to take up baseball and he doesn't think it's right for people to naively say "There are tons of dark skinned people on the field, they're black like you, so we don't need anymore."

I support Torii. I think it is very big of him to humble himself to his fans on his blog.

A number of people on his blog posted a Bible quote, and I think it is appropriate when people are calling Torii "ignorant" (even after he admitted there was a misunderstanding) with his naive/innocent choice of words... it is from Matthew 7:3-5

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sketchbook Pages 2

Hey hey! More sketchbook pages! Hurray!

Again, this stuff was drawn while watching tv and movies. As you can see, I was really focused on hair and fashion on these pages. I have really been concentrating on drawing more hair lately, it's such a bundled mess to me.

The first page has drawings from Dr Who (the second Doctor) and some webisode of a show on IGN guest starring Felicia Day.

The second page has drawings from Frost/Nixon and from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sketchbook Pages

I want to start posting more often, and that means posting sketchbook pages because I rarely take anything to finish, I usually spend most of my time studying faces, hands, clothing, etc etc... When I post pages, I will try to post the whole page with no subtractions, I wont hide my bad drawings just to show the good ones. I feel this is important.

The first page is of Gorillas at the LA Zoo. They are hands down my favorite animal, and the LA Zoo has a great new Gorilla enclosure. This page is the first page of gorillas I drew when I was there, and you can tell from all my side notes, that I had to reacquaint myself with these creatures.

This second page is a page I did while watching Dr Who. Excuse me, while DEVOURING Dr Who. I would watch 2-5 episodes a day and draw the entire time. I will probably be posting plenty of Who drawings. This is a page from Series 4 with companion Donna Noble.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Il Brutto

Lately, I have been drawing a lot while watching TV shows and movies. I just re-watched "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" the other night, what an amazing movie! I always forget how great it is. The shot compositions, the music, and I love the actors, but especially Eli Wallach, I couldn't stop drawing Tuco. He has such a great face, great expressive eyes! Here is a shot from the film.

"There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting." -Blondie

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baseball, Steroids, and My Hero

Growing up, Tim Salmon was my baseball hero...

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love the sport of baseball. Baseball is art to me, it is beautiful, it flows, it represents life. Recently, with all the steroids and home runs, I feel the sport has been more like a wrecking ball; it's all about mashing and power rather than speed and gracefulness. I really love that the sport is now starting to go back to speed and defense, but I think things like guaranteed contracts and pitch limits are still hurting the sport (but that is another conversation).

Today, Mark McGwire admitted to taking steroids throughout his career. I don't think this comes as a surprise to anyone. I am not angry at McGwire, I am relieved that he is now able to free himself of this burden. I think this, non-anger, comes in part because he never lied about it (in congress), he did refuse to answer questions, but he never lied. I think this humanizes McGwire, he felt guilty, and didn't want to talk about it, but he wouldn't lie about it like so many other players did.

It seemed that every athlete used steroids, everyone from the late 1980's to the mid 2000's is vulnerable to allegations that they took steroids. That is unfair, but it is the truth... this is also the time that I became a huge baseball fan, unfair to me, but it's the truth.

My good friends from high school know that Tim Salmon was my favorite player. When the 1993 season started, I chose Salmon to be my favorite, while my sister chose JT Snow as our favorites. Snow started the season strong (until Roger Clemens threw behind his head, and Snow started failing at the plate), but Salmon was slow and steady, and he eventually won the Rookie of the Year Award!! Through the years, every article I read about him made me love him even more. Like the time he accepted less money (by 3-4 million a year) to stay with the Angels, or the article where it said he would sit in the clubhouse before games and rather than play cards or goof around, he'd be reading books to his children.

My good friend Lil Mike (whose favorite player was Mark McGwire) has asked me "What would you do if you found out Tim Salmon used steroids?" I always said "I wouldn't doubt if he did, I guess everyone did it for one reason or another, but I have to hope that he didn't or that he used substances that were legal at the time." This leads to today...

While listening to's coverage of this McGwire story, former MLB pitcher, Al Leiter came on and mentioned players who went to the players union to try to get MLB to have steroid testing... and he repeatedly mentioned Tim Salmon as being a strong proponent to have testing, that Tim Salmon was very outspoken in trying to clean up the sport.


Hearing this almost brought a tear to my eye, literally, I started choking up. This is the power baseball has on me, the power it had in shaping me as a man... Today, the little boy in me feels a great weight being lifted off. My hero was clean, and he was trying to clean up the sport I loved. Wow. Now, looking back on Salmon's career, I feel a bit of bitterness towards all those steroid users. Salmon never made the All Star game, and while he was an above average player in every way, there were many other (roided) players that diminish his numbers.

I found this quote by Salmon (in an 2009 LA Times article by Ben Bloch), it makes me sad, but this is probably the story of many players:

"For me, as I broke down and my play became less at the level that I expected, I always was thinking it was because I was getting older and things like that," Salmon said Friday at Angel Stadium. "I'm facing guys that I used to be able to hit and all of a sudden I can't hit them anymore and I'm going, 'What?'

"I always took that personally, like, man, I'm losing it. Now I can look back and say, 'OK, maybe it wasn't so much me.' . . . Maybe I can look back on that and say, 'It wasn't because of my talent, because I was doing all the right things.' "

Tim, you were not only talented, but you were a great role model. Thanks for being you, you helped me become the man I am, and you didn't even know it.