“I Am The Land,” An Art Piece

i am the land american gods art illustration by kelci crawford

If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman’s book, American Gods, like I am, then you know why this piece is called “I Am The Land.” If you haven’t read the book (or read the comic, or seen the TV show) yet, you should fix that. Like, ASAP.

American Gods is one of those books that shook me when I first read it. Every time I re-read it, I discover something new about it. It’s dream-like and jarring yet also grounded (in the sense that the god characters act like people and not like high-concept “I am above petty emotions” personalities. Zack Snyder should learn a thing or two from this book).

One of the recurring characters in American Gods is a man with a buffalo head. He doesn’t outright murder anyone in the book. However, when I got the idea for this piece of art, I finished a section of the comic book adaptation of the novel – specifically, the section about Vikings landing in Canada and killing a Native American, and then the Natives killing every Viking in retaliation. Yes, the account is fiction, but there’s an element of truth to it, to the idea that America is a land stained in blood.

That’s why I made this piece.

This was drawn with my trusty mechanical pencil and Pentel Brush Sign Pen, with colors by my Copic markers. The background color was done with a Kuretake Zig Clean Color FB brush pen. It’s dying out a little though, so I’ll need to replace it soon.

Soon this will be a print measuring 11×17 inches. When it’s in the shop, I’ll announce it on the email newsletter first. It’s going to be a limited print run, though, so because of that, it’ll be a little more than just $10.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Fan Art (Among Other News)

Not gonna’ lie, most of the art I’ve made this week has been… fanart. Of Dragonball Z.

You have no idea of how much love I have for this series. (I wrote a little about it in this post.)

metacooler from dragonball z return of cooler

I also wanted to try some things in Manga Studio because I haven’t fully experimented with it until recently.

Anyway, the characters I’ve been drawing actually come from the movies in the Dragonball Z series, especially Return of Cooler and Bojack Unbound. Continue reading “Fan Art (Among Other News)”

Favorite Artist Friday: Kelsey Wailes

There are artists who only do illustrations. There are artists who only make toys. And there are artists who only make comics.

It’s like Kelsey Wailes just went, “I want to make ALL OF THE THINGS!” And she set out to do just that.

kelsey wailes sherlock print in colored pencil

This woman does comics, illustrations, toys, sculptures… It’s like she rocks any artistic outlet she sets her sights on. Pretty much anything she creates seems like something fresh, from colored pencil portraits to Doctor Whooooo toys.

doctor who owl toy in vinyl and sculpey by kelsey wailes

While a lot of the work she makes falls within the realms of fanart, it’s still great to see such well-executed work in such a wide variety of media.

I had the pleasure of seeing her work first hand at Intervention Con, and I even got to sit in on a panel she ran. The panel was all about how to make vinyl toys like the Doctor Whooo above. She’s a great educator and quite the inspirational speaker.

To be frank, all of that creative energy and all of the outlets she has to express that creativity…make me a little jealous. But in a good way.

It makes me want to experiment and try new creative things, learn new techniques, try new media…

sherlock fan comic from doctor kawaii by kelsey wailes


Plus, her comics make me laugh super hard.

You can read her comic Doctor Kawaii online, and you can also find her work on Etsy and Tumblr. Mostly I follow her on Twitter because I’m a weirdo.

So who are some of your favorite artists? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.

6 Things That Influenced My Art

Or: Now You’re Just the Fanart That I Used to Draw

I wrote about my inspirations before, in a previous blog post. Today I want to talk about the shows, games, and movies that made me pick up a pencil and draw.

When you first start learning how to draw, the natural thing to do is to copy those who have done it better than you, right? Actually, yeah. For a while. As long as you don’t try to be the kid that says, “Look at this story I completely made up on my own!” That’s a dick move.

But if you’re copying and you’re like, “Look how well I drew this other cartoon!” That’s ok. That’s how people learn to draw at first.

For me, these were the things that got me to draw. These were the things I drew over and over, and these things still influence the look of my art to this day.


Dragonball Z

The first influence on my art was this show. I drew so much (bad) fanart for this series I could have made my own graphic novel out of it. I especially drew the villains, notable Cell, Buu, and Raditz, because their designs were (and still are) pretty outrageous but fun.

There’s still a touch of the style in how I draw eyes sometimes, or how I draw body language. You can actually see a little of the influence in this early Johnson & Sir strip.

jak and daxter

Jak II

This game probably still holds the most influence to this day. I mean, the banter between the villain’s minions is what inspired Johnson & Sir, for Pete’s sake. And you can still see the elf ears carry over in the comic, as well.

Also, looking at the concept art for this game is what got me into drawing with markers. The colors in this game are just gorgeous, and the gritty, mechanical environment design is something I may drawn on when I work on The Uthers (working title, mentioned in this post).


the emperor's new groove

The Emperor’s New Groove

I didn’t draw the characters or scenarios from this movie in my sketchbooks. But the colors and unique line quality still had a subliminal influence on me. I watched this movie on repeat for a long time, and during that time, I could see my art begin to get more colorful and vibrant.

This film touched me more obviously in my writing style than in my art. There’s something to be said for its silliness, its characters, and its well-paced jokes.

chou from rurouni kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

So Dragonball Z was the first artistic influence on me. Rurouni Kenshin is the second. To be honest, though, I didn’t start drawing the characters until the Jupon Gatana showed up. And then I went nuts in my sketches.

This show is where I got my line quality from, and where I got a lot of TERRIBLE costume ideas. I’m glad those ideas fell by the wayside as I got older.

I also practiced the swords from this series a lot. While a few of them are not very realistic (Chou’s whip-like sword seems the most improbable to me), the ones that were were fun to practice.

hunter x hunter

Hunter X Hunter

This is perhaps the newest on the list, because I didn’t discover this series until the later years of high school. I still flip through some of my more recent sketchbooks and see sketches of Gon, Hisoka, or any member of the Phantom Troupe. I especially drew Uvo over and over, because men who are built like tanks fascinate me.

This is also the manga that influenced how I draw faces. A lot of expressions and proportions I practiced came straight from the pages of this series. Noses especially caught my eye, because almost every character in the series has a different type of nose.

The other day, I took some of my old sketches from my sketchbooks and made collages. A lot of those sketches were Hunter x Hunter sketches. That, and the last feature on this list…

kingdom hearts 2 final mix

Kingdom Hearts II

Not so much the first game, but the second game in the series had a hold on me for years. Sure, it’s awesome to see a lot of Disney worlds in a video game. However, I was especially fascinated with Organization XIII, and they frequently appeared in my sketches I made years ago.

Many of them had similar face shapes, but Xigbar I drew over and over because I wanted to master his cheekbones and chin. His face stood out the most from the rest of the Organization. Xaldin also appeared a lot in my sketches because I wanted to draw his braids/dreadlocks and sideburns until I got them right. Luxord was especially challenging (at the time) because his face was so square, but it had the best beard. And his piercings are still a carry-over in a few of my character sketches, notably those for Charlie & Clow.

So those were the features that got me drawing in my early halcyon days of illustration. Nowadays I draw influences from many different sources. But these features listed here were what got me started.

So what got you started drawing? Who or what did you draw a lot of when you started drawing? Do you still like those works? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday – where I’ll finally have a book to feature for a review!

The Art of Chloe Rose

I don’t usually update on Mondays, but when I do, it’s for a friend.

Chloe Rose is not only a good friend, but a fabulous artist. So maybe consider this a bonus Favorite Artist Friday…on a Monday?

Anyway, to Chloe’s work, because it’s worth talking about.

chloe rose artsycloudypard frozen artwork
Chloe made this piece for the recent Toledo Art Walk.

She doesn’t have any webcomics out (yet), but the things she would perhaps be best known for are her fanart (on her Tumblr) and her concepts for her original work, Queen’s Heart.

For example, this is perhaps one of my favorite things she’s done with Queen’s Heart.

queen's heart by chloe rose

Yes, it’s unusually large, but look at it! The colors, the amazing lighting, the visual effects, all of it is still stunning. This was originally made to be a three- to four-foot tall poster as part of a show she exhibited at, and you can see why it needed to be so large: the dichromatic colors and the intense lighting demands to be seen on a larger scale.

Chloe and I actually did a few pieces together, as part of our doujinshi circle called “MACPILT.”

puella magi madoka magika macpilt art piece

fullmetal alchemist brotherhood macpilt art piece

We’re both huge fans of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and we wanted to make our tributes to such great characters, stories, and art.

While she does great work with character design and line quality, her best strength (in my mind) is her use of color.

Do you see the Madoka Magika piece above? With the five girls illustrated? That’s Chloe’s mad coloring skills at play. And she has only gotten better since then.

This lady knows how to blend colors, how to design characters with colors that highlight their personalities, how to make light and shadows mix well, and how to use color to show mood. She’s even taught me a few Photoshop tips and tricks, and flipping through her sketchbook always makes me try harder to use color.

She updates her art mostly on her Tumblr nowadays, so if you haven’t seen her other work, you should. She also recently got a Facebook page.

She’s also getting ready to go to grad school, starting this quarter. So, to help fund the effort, you can get either of the MACPILT prints by going to my online store. For September only, all sales from either of these prints will go straight to Chloe, to help pay for classes and things. After that the sales are split evenly between the both of us.

Thanks for reading! And I’ll see you all tomorrow, where I review one of the comics I got from Interventioncon.