For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a commission involving detailed digital portraits of people like Steve Jobs. That’s been taking most of my time and energy. I have, however, had some time to work on some of my own stuff.
Recently I’ve been getting back into comic books in a big way, remembering my roots in The Flash and X-Men which were some of my favorite heroes growing up. My father had a considerable collection of comics he bought for a dime a book growing up in the 60s. He mostly liked DC, so I grew up with Batman, Flash, and Superman, but also a decent number of Spider-Man from Marvel as well.
Getting back into comics, a friend recommended Impulse to me, which excited me because he’s an interesting character, and he’s related to my favorite line of comics: The Flash. Excitedly I went to the local comic book store and bought myself Mercury Falling, one of the collections of Impulse’s 90s run. This book collected some of the comics from the 60s issue range.
Overall it was an excellent miniseries, and I also loved the incredible art. It had some of the most dynamic inking, with impressive blacks, very purposeful laying down of spots of complete black, and lots of detail. The artists (Ethan Van Sciver, Eric Battle), also added in some nice exaggeration. Since Impulse is a kid his head and feet are very large, while his body is relatively small. Along with the animated posing, and dynamic composition, this made for a very enjoyable visual experience.
Reading Mercury Falling, I was very inspired. I wanted to try my hand at both the interesting character design of Impulse, and also the unique inking style. So here I’ve included the penciling and inking of a pretty tame pose of Impulse standing up so I could try something simple for a first attempt. It was also a great example of the inking style and of the character’s proportions. It’s not a perfect first attempt (some things are a little off), but it is a first attempt, and I’m happy with how it turned out. It was also very fun to draw.
Lately I’ve been drawing a ton. I can’t remember the last time I missed a day of drawing, but it’s been somewhere around a month. I’ve made this challenge for myself: I must at least do some rough sketching with basic practice everyday, if I don’t have the energy to do something better. I’ve found that doing a warm-up of practicing lines, basic shapes, and gesture drawing both keeps you practicing and getting better, as well as getting you started drawing before you have a chance to be intimidated and never start.
I’ve been adding to a pile of drawings which I call my sketch stack. It keeps me motivated because I like seeing how big the stack is getting and also enjoy looking through it and remembering what I’ve done. Some of the stuff is pretty good even though it was mostly just for practice or warm up.
Here are some of my sketch/practice/scrap pages from the last week.
My name is Christopher Birnbaum, and I’ve been working hard at my dream of becoming a professional storyboard artist, character designer, and animator for a while now, but I’m just now starting a blog with my work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been posting elsewhere, such as on my website, here on my tumblr, and social media. But I thought it might be a good idea to have a blog as well so I could be a bit more personal with my sharing, and I also like having everything dated when I post it. Gives me a some security and claim to my work. I want this blog to be completely devoted to my art and journey as an artist.
With that, let me post some of my best work so far to get my blog rolling. This is work I’ve done over the past year or so.