Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blast from the Past #679: Sketchbook page 23, ideas for Foot ninja

On page 23 of the sketchbook, I was playing around with another look at the Foot ninja -- this drawing incorporates elements of the "scary face" masks shown in previous sketches, as well as some new weapons. The notes I made on this page read:

"Ice bullet guns
The assassin's choice:
No ballistic evidence!

Need to wear heavy gloves - cold protection"

I think I was inspired by some crime show I saw in years past which posited the possibility of making a bullet out of frozen water -- ice -- so that when someone is shot by it, the bullet eventually melts, thus preventing any ballistics evidence from being collected. I'm not sure if it would work, technically -- could a bullet made of ice survive the stresses of being fired out of a gun? -- but it's an intriguing idea, nonetheless, and I thought it might be appropriately stealthy for ninja assassins like the Foot. -- PL

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blast from the Past #678: Sketchbook page 22, penciled sketch of new costume ideas for Nobody

On page 22 of the sketchbook, I did a little penciling on an idea for some new gear for the character of Nobody, adding some utility belt-type stuff and weapons, as well as what looks like some flexible body armor in key spots. -- PL

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blast from the Past #677: Sketchbook page 21, inked drawing of new ideas for Raphael

On page 21 of the sketchbook, I did this more finished piece showing some ideas for Raphael's new look, including a chain belt and thigh-strap holders for his sai, as well as some physical manifestations of his new mutation.

For some reason, when I look at this drawing I feel a deja vu, like I've already posted it, a couple of years ago. But I can't remember for sure. -- PL

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Help Stan Sakai!

I was just made aware, via a comment posted today in my recent "Ask PL #11" blog entry, that CAPS, the Cartoon Art Professional Society, has started a fund-raising effort, though direct donations of money and donations of original artwork which will be auctioned, to try to help out Stan Sakai and his wife Sharon with the many expenses they have incurred recently as they have struggled with Sharon's health issues.

For more information, go to this link:

Blast from the Past #676: Sketchbook page 20, pencil sketch of new costume ideas for Leonardo

On page 20 of the sketchbook, I drew this sketch of Leonardo with his possible new gear, the same stuff he had on in the drawing from the previous page. -- PL

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blast from the Past #675: Sketchbook page 19, Leonardo leaping, new costume ideas

I like this drawing from page 19 of the sketchbook. I like the pose, the way I inked it, and the little bits of detail reflecting some thoughts on new costuming for Leo -- the different scabbard strap arrangement, the belt pouches (including one with the yin/yang symbol), and the "rising sun" graphic on his kneepads and over-the-head bandana. -- PL

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blast from the Past #674: Sketchbook page 18, Raphael leaping

This loose drawing from page 18 of the sketchbook gives me pause. I'm pretty sure I drew it, but it also has the flavor of a Kevin Eastman sketch, especially in the pose. Perhaps that day I was inspired by something Kevin drew in his sketchbook...?

In any event, this is another attempt at a new look for Raphael, focusing on his gear. Notice the said strapped to his leg, the hooded cloak, and the curious look to the kneepads. -- PL

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blast from the Past #673: Sketchbook pages 16 and 17, ideas for Donatello

On pages 16 and 17 of the sketchbook, I was working out some ideas for a new look for Donatello, including some more pockets and pouches for his various bits of tech gear, as well as headgear which presumably  would incorporate some vision-enhancing gizmos.

Sorry about the quality of the page with the blue pencil sketches -- I tried to tweak them in Photoshop as I'd done with other pages previously, but for some reason I couldn't get a clean selection of the blue pencil areas, possibly because the photo was a bit blurry. And I don't know what that yellow-brown arc is in the middle of the page -- it certainly isn't part of the drawing. It almost has the look of the residue that  might be left if part of a rubber band had been squished between the pages and left there for a long time. Who knows? -- PL

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ask PL #12

Unless I am overlooking something (always a possibility), it looks like it's been about a year since the last time I did one of these, so I thought it might be good to do another one. I'm well over the cold I was suffering from when I posted the last "Ask PL" in January, but, as in the introduction to that entry, I request that you don't ask me about the IDW TMNT comic book series (I'm not reading it) or the Nickolodeon TMNT show (I've only watched the first two episodes, and although I have just bought the entire season on DVD, I have yet to watch them) or the upcoming movie (I know nothing about it that hasn't been released to the public... which isn't much, I guess).

Got any questions? I might have answers. -- PL

Blast from the Past #672: Sketchbook page 15, Leonardo displaying mutations

Here on page 15 of the sketchbook is another unfinished pencil drawing, this time depicting Leonardo with his "new mutation" claws out -- at least on one hand.

As I look further at this sketch, I notice there is some texturing on his face, seemingly to indicate rough, scaly skin. Was this a consideration, to give Leo -- maybe even all the Turtles -- a slightly different basic look, with rougher, more reptilian skin? I can't remember... but it sure would have made them more time-consuming to draw!

There is also a slightly different arrangement for the straps which hold Leo's scabbards, as well as a belt which looks like it may have incorporated pouches or pockets of some kind. -- PL

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blast from the Past #671: Sketchbook page 14, ideas for further mutations

Not much on this page -- just a few quick doodles, trying to work out ideas for further mutations for the Turtles (apparently in this case specifically going in a sort of monstrous direction with Leonardo), along with some other potential story notes. Here's what I wrote on this fourteenth page of the sketchbook:


       Physical mutations:


       Play with more radical mutations/morphing

       -- Karai variations?

       -- Nobody as a woman?

       -- Foor Elite similar to Shredder Elite in "City at War" -- traditional garb, gear, and semi-mystical "Bushido" approach"

         It's interesting to me that roughly a decade before I had April O'Neil don the mantle of Nobody in the TMNT Volume 4 comic books, I was thinking about introducing a female Nobody. -- PL

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blast from the Past #670: Sketchbook page 13, Foot ninja design

Here on page 13 of the sketchbook, I was playing around with yet another variation of the basic Foot soldier design. This one has some more body armor and tech bits, though I don't recall what, specifically, these pieces were intended to do.

 Like the previous page, this one was drawn in photoblue pencil, making it difficult to see the lines. So I worked with it a bit in Photoshop to darken it up. What looks like spatter in the lower left hand corner is actually just an artifact of the photography and the Photoshop manipulation -- I think it was originally a slight shadow on the page. -- PL

Friday, November 15, 2013

Blast from the Past #669: Sketchbook page 12, Foot stealth corps

 This unfinished drawing on page twelve of the sketchbook is labeled at the top "Foot Stealth Corps"... which, upon reflection, seems a bit redundant -- I mean, as ninja, aren't the Foot supposed to be stealthy?

In any event, this appears to be an attempt on my part to think up a new look for some of the Foot clan's soldiers. I only partially inked this one, the remainder being in photo-blue pencil... which I had to mess with in Photoshop to get it to show up a little better, hence the rough look of some of those penciled lines. -- PL

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blast from the Past #668: Sketchbook page 11, Raphael posing on gargoyle

     Here's another partly-finished drawing from page 11 of the sketchbook, this time of Raphael standing atop a sculpted gargoyle on the corner of a tall building.

     I'm not sure why I drew this one, as there is nothing abut it which speaks of new mutations. Perhaps it was just something fun. I do like the pose and gesture. -- PL

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blast from the Past #667: Sketchbook page 10, loosely-penciled downward-leaping Leonardo with claws

On the tenth page of the sketchbook, I drew -- or maybe I should say "started to draw" -- this dramatic shot of Leonardo leaping downward, one hand grasping a sword and the other displaying his new pop-out claws.

I kind of wish I'd finished this one -- I like the feel of it. But I probably felt too lazy at the time... I mean, I'd have had to draw all those windows and other building details, in extreme perspective no less! -- PL

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blast from the Past #666: Sketchbook page 9, penciled group shot of new-look Turtles

This sketch from page 9 of the sketchbook shows all four Turtles displaying their new mutations...

... except, apparently, for Michelangelo. I'm not sure why I didn't draw him any differently. -- PL

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blast from the Past #665: Sketchbook page 8, leaping Leo with claws out

     The drawing on this eighth page of the sketchbook interests me, because I rarely draw in this sort of "chiaroscuro" manner. I admire people like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Mignola who can really pull it off. I think I got about eighty percent there with this one.

     I suspect this drawing was done to at least in part demonstrate how Leonardo's retractable/extendible claws would look in action... or maybe I was just having fun. -- PL

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blast from the Past #664: Sketchbook page 7, Raphael in "Tuff Skin" morphmode

Here on page 7 of the sketchbook, I drew Raphael using the morphing power from his new mutation to change the texture and density of his skin. It looks like I used some kind of marker to ink this one.

Sharp-eyed readers will probably recognize the similarity here with the way the skin of the Thing from "The Fantastic Four" looks. He was always one of my favorite comic characters, especially the way Jack Kirby drew him (and, in my opinion, no one since Kirby has really drawn him as well, or as convincingly).

However, as I recall, this rendering was just a test to see what might work with this new idea, and if we'd gone forward with it, we'd have figured out a style which did not so closely ape that of the Thing look.

Or at least tried to. -- PL

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blast from the Past #663: Sketchbook page 6, inked drawing of new Foot soldier

     This next page of the sketchbook features an almost-finished drawing of one of the proposed new design Foot ninjas, wielding a non-traditional weapon -- some kind of massive hammer.

     Looking closely at this drawing, I can tell that this was inked by me back when I was still inking with a brush dipped in a bottle of ink -- something I rarely do anymore, having been seduced by the convenience and ease of use of brush marker pens. -- PL

Blast from the Past #662: SKetchbook page 5, more ideas for Foot soldiers

     Following in the vein of the previous page of this sketchbook, page five has some more conceptual sketches for possible new looks for the ninjas of the Foot clan.

     Apparently, I was thinking of leaning more towards a less traditional ninja type of garb, with some tech stuff and integrated body armor panels.

     And judging from the doodle at the top of the page, I was considering giving the basic Foot mask a scarier appearance... loosely inspired, I think, by the look of Jack Kirby's "parademons" in his "Fourth World" comics ("New Gods", "Forever People", "Mister Miracle") for DC back in the 1970's. -- PL

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blast from the Past #661: Sketchbook page 4, ideas for Foot soldiers

Here's the fourth page of the sketchbook, which features some loosely-penciled sketches of ideas for the soldiers of the Foot ninja clan.

I wrote:

"Every new Foot soldier has a third eye ("the Eye of Karai") which is a video transceiver device that constantly relays data back to Karai's central processing computer."

Apparently, I was thinking that a tech upgrade to the Foot would be appropriate… something that, in a different way, eventually came to pass in the 2003 4Kids TMNT animated series.

Further down the page, I wrote:

"Flying Foot soldier"

… next to a small doodle of a Foot ninja with some kind of pop-out winglets at arm, waist, and calf. I don't recall going any further with this idea, but I kind of like it. From the way it is drawn, I suspect I intended them to be gliders rather than powered flyers. -- PL

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blast from the Past #660: Sketchbook page 3, ideas for hulking mutated Splinter "were-rat"

On this third page from the sketchbook, I drew this rendering of how Splinter might appear in his "morphed" form. Here's a transcription of what I wrote on this page:

"Splinter could have the (limited) ability to morph into a huge were-rat

Perhaps he can't do this too much or too often, because it takes a lot out of him.

Whipping action tail!"

I wonder how this would have worked out if we'd actually gone forward with it? 

I find it a little amusing that I provided Spinter with some modesty-preserving torn shorts in this drawing, much like the Incredible Hulk and his purple pants. -- PL

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blast from the Past #659: Sketchbook page 2, ideas for new TMNT comic

This second page in the sketchbook I found yesterday begins with a mistake -- I wrote the wrong date! Instead of April 18, 1994, I indicated that this was actually done on April 18, 1984 -- which would have been a neat trick, given that at that time, the first issue of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book hadn't even come out yet… and I'm already writing notes about their second stage mutations? Obviously, it was a "brain fart".

Anyway, once past that absent-minded error, here are the notes I wrote on that page:

"Second stage mutations: Turtles are undergoing an ongoing mutation… where will it end? We've seen the first stage -- now they enter the second stage, each changing somewhat… their bodies develop new organic armor/weapons (except, that is, for Donatello… for some reason, all that happens to him is that he gets more muscular.)

to the second power
TMNT: The Next Mutation


Retractable claws (Leo?)

Pop-out forearm spines

Chameleon morph ability: Allows them to pass for human (this would work great for Mike, plus it has some neat story potential: What if he likes shifting to a human shape.. too much?)

Morphing power (from one body texture to another) (Raph?)

Don doesn't mutate physically, but mentally… maybe he has some kinds of telepathic/telekinetic powers.. which cause him some problems

Can shift from regular flame resistant impact resistant cold resistant"

It's interesting to see how -- in classic sketchbook tradition -- I was using this medium to try to work out some as yet-not fully formed ideas. For example, near the top I refer to Donatello getting more muscular… and then further down the page I write that "Don doesn't mutate physically, but mentally".

I also find it interesting that in the sketch of the Turtle in the lower right-hand corner, I added a "T" (for "Turtle"...?) belt buckle kind of thing to his belt. Was I really thinking that was a good idea? -- PL

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blast from the Past #658: Sketchbook page 1, drawing of Donatello with new costume ideas

I had completely forgotten about this.

Looking around in my incredibly messy room today for a few blank label sheets that I could use to create some return address labels for my wife's new self-publishing venture, Stone Door Press, I noticed an old, well-worn sketchbook tucked away under a pile of stuff.

I pulled it out and was surprised to see that it was from about 1994 and had forty-eight pages (if I am counting correctly) of drawings related to a couple of different proposed TMNT projects Kevin Eastman and I were working on at the time -- specifically a new TMNT comic book series and the fourth live-action TMNT movie.

Neither project came to fruition, but a few of the concepts lived on (sort of) in various iterations of TMNT in the years that followed.

(I think it was around this time that Kevin and I had agreed to reconnect, "get back to basics", and work closely together on a new TMNT comic book… and we went so far as to get come carpenters in to Mirage Studios to move a wall between our two adjacent offices so as to make our offices the same size, and to also install a sliding glass window in the wall. The idea behind this was that we would set up our drawing tables so that we could slide open the window and pass pages back and forth as we worked on penciling, inking and toning them, in a manner similar to the early days of working together on TMNT Volume 1.

It never happened.)

The drawings in this sketchbook range from very loose conceptual doodles in blue or black pencil to completely finished inked works. It's strange for me to look at them now, because although I can tell that I drew them, I had completely forgotten that they existed, in this sketchbook.

So here is page one. It's a drawing in black pencil of Donatello, with a notation by me at the top which reads as follows:

"4/15/94  Don: Maybe he has failing eyesight and has to build himself some kind of cyber-gear to enhance his vision"

I seem to recall that this was an idea which either I alone or in concert with Kevin had come up with for some other project. 

It appears that with this drawing I was playing around with some changes to Don's costume and gear, and I'd given him some kind of device -- a weapon, probably -- which sort of reminds me of the "Gravitic Equalizer" from the Donatello "One Issue Micro Series" Mirage published some years earlier. -- PL