Saturday, October 23, 2010

World of Warcraft pitch

A few months ago at work, we got to draw some World of Warcraft illos in varying styles as part of a pitch for a proposed trading card series. This fight scene was my contribution. I decided to ink it as practice for The Independents even though the job only required pencils. I didn't spot too many blacks because I knew it was going to be painted by my friend Jerry Wilson. I knew Jerry would figure out his own light sources and I didn't want to get in the way of that.
And I'm glad I didn't because he made the goblin's sword a glowing light source. I never would've thought to do that. Go check out Jerry's site to see some more cool stuff.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Independents sketch covers (& post-NYCC wrap-up)

NYCC went really well. We made a lot of good connections and met a lot of great people all weekend long. Now comes the follow-up process, which means a lot of editors are gonna be receiving these bad boys in the mail wether they like it or not. Our plan was to just get some eyes on the books at the con and offer to send a copy to anyone who was interested, but some people were so receptive they wanted to take a copy right there! It was an awesome feeling and I'm just grateful to everyone who gave us the time of day.

Anyway, this is the first batch of sketch covers I did before the convention. I spent about 15-20 mins on each, and I got better and faster with each one, though some I wish I could take back. This kind of sketching is an art form unto itself just like the inking process. I used pretty much the same materials I did to ink the pages, but I threw in a gray marker for some half-tones. It didn't show up too well in the scans, but they look pretty cool in person.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Independents- inks

And now here are some inks!

Inking is a real pain when you don't do it all the time. I kinda got my bearings around page 5 or 6. Everything before that needed a ridiculous amount of cleanup in Photoshop before I was ready to show them to anyone. It was a pretty cool learning experience, all in all.
I did these mostly with microns and tech pens, but I threw in a little brush work when I was confident enough not to ruin them. Many, many lessons learned.

Check out for the full colored, lettered story in the coming months. That will be home base for everything Independents from here on out, and we have plans. BIG plans.

Stay tuned. 

Also, I swear I'm gonna try to update this thing more frequently. Promise.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Independents- pencils

Here are the pencils for The Independents short story "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" that myself and Mr. Ben Christian will be pitching to just about anyone with eyes and ears this weekend at NYCC.
This is the biggest project I've ever tackled and it was a great experience throughout. I literally had the time of my life working on these pages and I think I've proved a lot to myself in the process. Drawing comics rules.
Ben has been a phenomenal collaborator and I think it's safe to say that this is just the beginning for us as a team and the Independents as a property.
(fingers crossed!)

Tomorrow: Inks!

The Independents is copyright 2010 Ben Christian and Cory Smith

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Independents- character design part 4

Harris Olstein aka The Pugilist

This guy ended up being my favorite one of the bunch to draw. What's not to love about an old man wearing giant cosmically-powered boxing gloves, right? Harris is the elder statesman of The Independents and probably should have retired years ago, but his love for the game keeps pulling him back in. He's as old school as they come.

The more these characters bounce around in my head, the more excited I get to draw their stories. I've read half of the first issue from The Independents writer/mastermind Ben Christian and it's great. This guy knows what he's doing, folks. I'll just try to keep up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Independents- character design part 3

Desmond Terry aka Marathon Man

This character was the hardest to design. There are so many speedster-types it's hard to not be influenced by some of the great character looks out there. He's the most "image conscious" of the group, so his outfit is the most superhero-esque. I thought of it as a NASCAR racer's jumpsuit; something loud and eye catching.
Desmond is obsessed with his appearance. His jumpsuit is sleek and modern, his skin is (fake) tanned, and his hair is styled. As a once washed up D-lister, Desmond's experiencing a renaissance of sorts in his career and he's determined to make the most of it.
Up Next: The Pugilist!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Independents- character design part 2

Meet Archibald Forrester aka Archimago. He's a heavy-metal obsessed sorcerer who doesn't really fit in anywhere but with The Independents. He loves any- and everything to do with metal, from Black Sabbath to airbrush painted vans to flame-detailed clothing.

These are the rough sketches I like to put together when designing characters. Usually I start with a "junk page" where I scribble gestures and shapes until I find something that works. Once I've got a pose that speaks to the character, I tighten it up on a larger sheet and fill the rest of the page with drawings of faces, expressions, action shots, etc.

The characters in The Independents all have personalities that leap off of the written page, so creating their looks has felt pretty organic. Like I'm just adding definition to what's already there. There have been some minor road bumps, though, and here's one of them:

My first try on Archie ended up looking too "bad-ass". Writer Ben Christian thought he should look a bit nerdier, and after hearing his vision for Archie I agreed. This story takes place in a very real-world setting. So I got rid of the giant Gwar-like shoulderpads and I changed his hair to something that looked more like, um, hair. I was going for a Scott Weiland look, but it ultimately failed. Hard.
In the final version, I added glasses and changed his posture to slump a bit more. I kept the Kiss boots because they're gonna be fun to draw. Ben pointed out that this was not a confident guy who knew his place, but he still has fun being a hero, so I tried to reflect that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Independents- character design part 1

This is the first of a series of character designs from a project I've been working on lately called The Independents. It's the brainchild of a very talented writer friend of mine named Ben Christian. All of the characters and concepts in The Independents were created by Ben. I was given a general direction to go in for each character and from there I had free reign to take things wherever.

After the character designs I'll post the thumbnails for the 11 page story that we're going to try pitching as a "trailer" for a mini-series or a line of mini-series. This whole process has really been a blast, and I think the collaboration is gonna yield some great results.

This first guy is J.T. Chance aka The Quintessence. Ben described him as the "white-trash Superman" with a moustache that would put Burt Reynolds to shame. At first I had a hard time making him not look like Brock Samson (on account of the mullet), then I saw a drawing of him that Ben himself had done and he gave him black hair, so that settled it.
I added the gloves and the bottle opener on his belt loop. And I did a few drawings of him wearing a denim jacket, completing the "Canadian tuxedo" just because I liked the way it looked. The image of this guy with Superman's stature wearing a jean jacket that was too small for him and fingerless gloves from the 80's is just kinda cool.
I also used these illustrations as an opportunity to brush up on Photoshop and Illustrator. That learning curve is a steep one, so don't judge too harshly. I'm still congratulating myself for re-learning the basics (hooray for mediocrity!)

Over the next few days I'll be posting the rest of the characters with some bits of the steps I took and my thoughts during the process.

Monday, May 17, 2010

mikey vs. the goons

The Punisher pages in the previous post might be the worst things I've ever drawn in my life. Soooo, to make up for it here's a picture of Michelangelo (the turtle, not the artist) fighting Bebop & Rocksteady.

A ninja turtle heals all wounds. I always say that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Just a quick warm-up today before I start working on some other things. Plus it's been a while since I posted anything new here, so here ya go internet.

By the way- go see the movie. It's awesome.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I really tried to follow my instincts with this piece. I didn't put too much down with the pencil before I began inking- I wanted it to feel more organic and energetic that way.

When I pencil, I tend to labor over every little line I put down and I'm constantly changing my mind as to how I want to render things. When a correction is a simple as picking up the eraser and doing it right then, it's easy to get carried away and usually leads to completely starting the drawing over. It's one of the things I'm trying to change about the way I work and this was a good step towards that.

It may be hard to tell because I cleaned it up a lot in Photoshop, but I got pretty sloppy with the inks. This is the first time I've used a crow quill dip pen since school. I also used a couple different brush pens and of course some microns. I even broke out the white paint for a different texture in the background.

All in all this was a great learning experience and I'm definitely gonna try more stuff like this in the future.