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Showing posts with label pinups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pinups. Show all posts

Sketches with Watercolour

Apologies, folks. It has been a little while since my last update. Things have been busy, but in a “slow simmering” kinda way.

The big news is that I finally took a deep dive into the world of WebToons. There’s an interesting learning curve there, mainly oriented around adapting my work to the constraint of that format. Plus the constraint of the specific platform I’m using (in my case, Naver WEBTOON). I get a little jealous of prose writers; as long as you respect a few guidelines, it is not difficult at all to transform one’s prose into .epub and have it beautifully reflow on all kinds of devices. Comics? Well, that’s a trickier beast.

For those not familiar, a WebToon vertically scrolls, so it makes comics ideal for reading on small devices like a cell phone. However, horizontal panels in comics (everything from wide panels to splash pages and a lot in-between) are not ideal. That means that things have to be “rejiggered” quite a bit. I’m still in the experimental phase right now, but it took quite a bit of research and a goodly amount of math to figure it all out. As with most things, trial and error does the trick.

I’ve put two of my short stories up. You can find these at https://www.webtoons.com/en/canvas/wizards-for-hire-cheap/list?title_no=959052

Am I going to continue with this format? Well, that’s harder to say. The big problem I’m running into — aside from the sheer amount of work that it requires to transform my comics to vertical scrolling — is that there are a lot of comics on that platform. A lot. It’s mind-boggling, actually. That means that discovery is a problem and one I’m not sure how to solve. That’s always one of the problems with the internet; it is an amazing resource, but the sheer amount of content on it can make finding things tricky. Even on a dedicated platform like WEBTOON, it’s not easy. To quote Wikipedia, “As of March 2023, Webtoon (sic) has grown to receive more than 125 billion views annually. It has 85.6 million monthly active users worldwide, and has become the top webcomic platform in the United States with 12.5 million monthly active users.” In an ecosystem like that, I am an incredibly small fish.

To transform WOLF’S HEAD into that format would require a good chunk of time. And the key point is this: it would take a lot of time WITHOUT any guarantee that I would find many readers. So it’s a bit of a poser and one not easy to resolve. I’ve got more figurin’ and thinkin’ to do!

And now, here’s some art!

Buck-A-Store Perspective Sketch with watercolour by Von Allan

Buck-A-Store Perspective Sketch with thumbnail and printout by Von Allan

Drawing Kids

Given everything that has been going on, when I get a chance to draw I've been looking for fun little pieces to work on. The illustrations below certainly fit that bill!

Drawing kids is a great deal of fun. Very challenging, but fun! Why challenging? Drawing adults allows for more "wiggle-room." In other words, there's more flexibility in how one chooses to render adults. Or rather, I find that there's more flexibility. That's partially based on style, probably mixed in with a bit of my own sensibility when it comes to figure drawing. If you over-render children, they immediately look "wrong." Generally my goal is to try and keep everything as simple as possible while (at least in these cases) still maintaining my own visual style. It might sound easy, but it's really not in practice. In the cases of all these girls, I didn't want to get too cartoony or abstract, so that also influenced how I approached each piece.

In the case of the middle illustration, I also decided to play a bit with colour holds (where I change my black linework to a colour). Why do it? Again, for fun! It's neat to play and see how the art (and, more importantly, the feeling of the art) changes with different visual approaches. I've done it before, something you can see in this little celebration of Mary Marvel.

One of the things I love about art is that there's no "right" way to do it. There are multiple ways and multiple approaches. How one feels about that is a reflection of them, at least in that particular moment. And, of course, opinions change about art, too. Even how I approach colour has changed over time (see this, for example).

I don't know about you, but I find that pretty exciting.

Illustration of young girls balancing books on their heads by Von Allan
Illustration of two 'tween girls chit-chatting and goofing around by Von Allan
Illustration of three girls raiding a bubble gum box and blowing bubbles by Von Allan

Smash Fascism!

Since apparently this still needs to be said, fascism and nazism are never cool. Never have been and never will be. Or, as Professor Henry Jones (!) once said, nazis are the “slime of humanity.” I decided to do a pin-up of Lauren from WOLF’S HEAD making the point… clearly. Art speaks for itself, right?

Lauren from the ongoing comic book series Wolf's Head tearing apart a Nazi swatiska flag by Von Allan

Biker Dwarfs in Zombietown!

This was a really fun illustration that I actually completed a couple of years ago. Technically part of a much larger image, but I thought it would be neat to isolate one of the figures (the aforementioned Biker Dwarf!) and incorporate some text into it. I just love Dwarfs and I especially love kick-ass BLOOD BOWL-style Dwarfs. Especially the world famous (!) Dwarf Warhammerers! Yes, damn it, while I may do serious stories, it's also a great deal of fun to cut loose with illustrations like this.

By the by, the font is JSL Blackletter, created by Jeff Lee, and is terrific. JSL Blackletter was used to a large extent in LABYRINTH LORD* from Goblinoid Games.

* For those who don't know, LABYRINTH LORD is one of the first "retroclones" that came out based on the Open Games License. Released in 2007, LABYRINTH LORD is a very close approximation of the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Basic Set edited by Tom Moldvay. You can download a "no-art" version of LABYRINTH LORD for free on the Goblinoid Games' download page.

Biker Dwarfs in Zombietown! Black and white brush and ink illustration by Von Allan

Biker Dwarfs in Zombietown! Full colour brush and ink illustration by Von Allan

Ajamu Baraka illustration and Ottawa visit

Ajamu Baraka will be in Ottawa, Ontario on November 14th to discuss "Defeating the US/EU/NATO Axis of Domination. A Global De-Colonial Imperative." The event will be held at the McNabb Community Centre (180 Percy Street) sponsored by the Canadian Peace Congress (note that their website is currently being revamped, but their Twitter account is at https://twitter.com/CdnPeace). I was asked to do an illustration of Mr. Baraka for the poster promoting the event. The illustrations below are the pencils, inks, and final colour version I did.

Pencil portrait of Ajamu Baraka by Von Allan

Inked portrait of Ajamu Baraka by Von Allan

Colour portrait of Ajamu Baraka by Von Allan
As I write this, I'm not quite sure what the final poster design will be. Unlike the posters I designed for the Ottawa Transit Riders, in this case I'm not wearing a designer hat. Which is a little scary, but it did allow me to focus on the portrait and not worry about anything else!

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Home Page: https://www.vonallan.com
Art Page: https://www.vonallan.com/p/art.html
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scoundrelwizard

Inked pages from upcoming Wolf's Head stories

Really quick post today! Just posting some inked but unlettered pages from upcoming Wolf's Head stories. Plus a pinup, too!

And don't forget that the first three volumes of Wolf's Head are out! Links to purchase them are right over here.

Lauren Greene from Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Inked page from an upcoming Wolf's Head story by Von Allan

Another inked page from an upcoming Wolf's Head story by Von Allan

Professor Richard D. Wolff takes on Jordan Peterson

I've enjoyed Professor Richard Wolff's arguments and lectures for quite some time and this one, short at less than 5 minutes, is no exception.

If you've never listened to Wolff, he's well-worth your time. His lectures on Karl Marx are fantastic.

Which reminds me! I did a pen and ink illustration of Professor Wolff based off of a very lovely photograph by Don Usner. Probably about 2 and half years ago. It's been sitting in the ol' archive but the video above finally galvanized me to get it online. It's below:

Pen and ink illustration of marxist economist Richard Wolff by Von Allan

Concept art for The Two Magic-Users

I have a short story that will be published in the upcoming UNDERGROUND COMICS #2. My story features the fellas below, Lidean and Domyval, two very old school magic-users that can't separate their identities from their desire (lust, really) for magic. I really enjoyed it.

While I did the illustration below in colour, the actual story will be published in black and white.

By the by, the first issue of UNDERGROUND COMICS is over at IndyPlanet. While I don't have a story in it, it does have some really great work by the likes of Jeff Call, Jason Sholtis, and Trey Causey. Comics and dungeons...what's not to love?!

Concept art for the short story The Two Magic-Users featuring Domyval and Lidean by Von Allan

Skiing Snowman Concept Art

A few months back, I had an opportunity to do some concept art for a wee little project that unfortunately fell through. Generally I try not to start any work until I get the full go ahead, but in this case I had some spare time and thought it would be fun to do some initial brainstorming. The snowman below is the result.

Too bad about the project, but he was fun to play with! And since I've been working hard on my comic WOLF'S HEAD, it was nice to take a break and do something different.

Skiing Snowman pinup and concept art by Von Allan

Undead Skeletons

Undead Skeletons pinup by Von Allan

Fun little piece with undead. Skeletons! A gaming staple!

What? More Dwarfs?

Yes! More dwarfs. I love dwarfs. LOVE THEM. And, when I get a chance to game, guess what I play?

Inked Illustration of Two Dwarf Killerbeards by Von Allan

Inked Illustration of a Feisty Female Dwarf Killerbeard by Von Allan

I also like playing around with stereotypes when it comes to illustrations like this. Often (not always, but often) dwarfs are depicted as males. It's really fun to invert that and have very feisty female dwarfs. Why the hell not?

More Biker Dwarfs

Some more biker dwarf illustrations! YES! Very goofy but very, very fun! Colour versions of two of these (in different styles, too) can be found here.

Inked illustration of a group of fantasy biker dwarfs by Von Allan

Inked illustration of a group of female fantasy biker dwarfs by Von Allan

Inked illustration of a group of fantasy biker dwarfs by Von Allan

Inked illustration of a group of fantasy female biker dwarfs by Von Allan

Dungeon Crawling Robots and Some Monsters

Dungeon Crawling Robots by Von Allan

I love fusing fantasy and sci-fi. I know some people have trouble with that, but I love it. The idea of robots, armed with swords and carrying backpacks, looking for treasure in an old school dungeon is awesome...at least to me! In fact, when I play LABYRINTH LORD, I've added the robot class from James Spahn's WHITE STAR game into the mix.

In fact, that theme is fused in my Bill and Butch comic book stories. Wizards and Robots! Yeah!
Dungeon monsters by Von Allan

These monsters were done mainly as a warm-up, but I got a kick out of them. I have to admit that when it comes to monsters, I much prefer original creations versus the old standbys. I understand why it's fun to play around with ogres, goblins, and orcs, and whatnot, but there's something arcane and unknowable about a brand new monster that creates doubt and excitement. "What is it?" "What can it do?" "Our arrows bounced off!" "Our swords broke!" "Oh, shit, run!"


Head Turnarounds for the short story "I Was Afraid For My Life"

Growth and age changes in colour of the boy from the short story I WAS AFRAID FOR MY LIFE by Von Allan
Character poses at different ages of the boy from the short story I WAS AFRAID FOR MY LIFE by Von Allan

For my short story I Was Afraid For My Life, I did a number of turnarounds to finalize the growth and age changes that the main character (the nameless boy) goes through. The story is somewhat abstract, with each page of the story featuring a different point in the boy's life, so I wanted to make sure I was "on model" as I worked on it. It's a fair amount of work for such a short story, but I thought it was a good idea to do it. And I still do!

Boy and dog pinup from I Was Afraid For My Life

Boy and dog from the short story I was afraid for my life by Von Allan

This is a larger version of one panel from my short story I Was Afraid For My Life. This is the reverse of a typical character design; I did this one after the short story was completed, just to see how it would turn out. Even though this is from a couple of years ago, the characters and the story still resonate with me.

Illustration of a punky young woman

Black and white illustration of a punky young woman by Von Allan

This was a fun piece to do. Trying to capture a bit of character and movement in a very quick illustration. Sometimes I'll really do a lot of breakdowns and design as I try to capture a main character (turnarounds, head shots, you name it). In a piece like this, there's none of that. Just develop who she is as you go!

Dwarf Killerbeards in black and white and colour

Two Dwarf Killerbeards in colour illustrated by Von Allan
Black and white inked version of Two Dwarf Killerbeards illustrated by Von Allan

While I don't have a lot of time for gaming, I do like to game from time to time. When I do, it's typically in the "old school" style, probably best represented by early 80s DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (I'm particularly fond of Tom Moldvay's version) and it's retro-clone versions (especially LABYRINTH LORD by Dan Proctor).

And when I game, I love (love!) using henchmen. Or, in this case, henchdwarfs! You know, dwarfs-at-arms. Or, as I like to call 'em, Killerbeards! Enough, in fact, that I've included them in one comics short story I did. Why use humans when you can use dwarfs?! I love me some dwarfs!

Beatrix character design for the short story "When I Find You Again..."

Character Designs for the short story When I Find You Again It Will Be In Mountains by Von Allan

This was the main character design for Beatrix, the focus point of my short story When I Find You Again, It Will Be In Mountains. As with that story, this was done quite awhile ago, though I only recently coloured it.

Short stories can be a bit tricky from a design point of view. In this case, the story was only six pages long. How long is the "right" time to spend doing design work? I decided to cut it short and plunge right in, kinda designing on the fly (save for this piece), developing things as I went along. Not ideal maybe, but there's always a time/story balance that can be hard to get right. It really is tricky, a challenging reality of creating comic books.

Various Kids

Various kids of all ages illustrated by Von Allan
Various kids of all ages illustrated by Von Allan
Various kids of all ages illustrated by Von Allan

Some inked illustrations of kids of all ages. The first two were done as warm-up sketches a number of months ago. The last one was a bit of character design for a short story and includes some rough pencils, too. Drawing kids can be challenging (they aren't small adults!), but a lot of fun, too.

Close-up on a Dwarf Killerbeard

A close-up on a Dwarf Killerbeard. He is (or was) some kind of Hench. Illustration by Von Allan

As much as I have a soft spot for dwarfs, I have a soft spot for dwarf henchmen (dwarf-at-arms!) in particular. This is something that I think THE VENTURE BROS. have captured extremely well. As did Adam Beechen and Manny Bello's HENCH indy graphic novel. Of course, henchmen and other retainers are a big, big part of old school gaming; it can be a helluva lot of fun to see them develop in their own right. Especially after your main fighter gets ganked in the back by a bunch of Kobolds or something and you need a quick successor.

Henchmen...gotta love 'em!

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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I Am Still Your Child Trailer

Documentary Film Excerpt