Thirty pages, day 30

Day 30: And we’re done!

Here we are, much more than thirty days later, at the end of what really has felt like a long road. Still, I’m happy I did it, and even happier that I stuck the landing! I just really hope it hasn’t been too horrible seeing my unedited thoughts fly by your screen.

We end the project, and the trilogy, with my dream from last night.


16 October, 2010

I am alone at the end of the world, on a drilling platform in the Arctic which has been re-purposed for the job of storing all of the books ever written. All is silent but for the groaning of metal in the wind, but then: a shudder, a bang, an alarm sounds. I deploy the robot camera into the stacks, deep below.

Reaching the epicenter of the disturbance, I see that a shelf has overturned, books spilling out past the range of light. There it is, then: I will have to gather and read every one of them, to ensure the words haven’t been changed.

I may take a break from art for awhile, but then again, who knows? I do so want to try my hand at comics again. Hopefully the right idea happens by sooner or later. In the meantime, thanks for reading!


Thirty pages, day 29

Day 29: Two doodles this time, two pages. One more until we’re done!


Just a face. I may have been trying to channel Kate Beaton, especially her recent series of Nancy Drew comics. I wish!


What. I’m not even sure, in fact, I know that I don’t really want to explore what this is supposed to be. Sorry about this.


Thirty pages, day 28

Day 28: Another one from the dream diary.


1 May, 2007

I’ve been elected to Canadian Parliament! Of course I have to arrive late, and sheepishly try to slip into a random chair, but the PM notices me & laughs.

Waving, embarrassed, I find my way to my assigned seat, which is all the way in back. My chair is abnormally high. Next to me there’s a man eating pizza, who can’t stop complaining that he got some British version of pizza, and not an American one.

Turning back, I knock my tea over onto the woman in front of me. She yells at me for ruining her “expensive lingerie.”

I offer to replace it, after work. “I should,” I say.

“Yes,” she responds, “you really should.”


Thirty pages, day 27

Day 27: way too late.

I’m sorry! I’ve had a really icky cold (which I’m still on the tail end of) and have been feeling otherwise uninspired.

Still! Last week, David pointed me at this great illustrated Monster Camp dream by Emmy Cicierega. Well, I can only fantasize about being able to draw like that, but was inspired (& definitely have some vivid dreams!), so I pulled out my dream-diaries and chose one to embellish with some truly terrible art.

3 January, 2007

As princess of a kingdom at war, I’ve been held prisoner by my father’s enemy for two years. However, in that time he & I have become very close, and I’ve fallen in love with his son. The prince, however, is concerned that my father doesn’t know him, and comes up with a hare-brained scheme to start a fight with his own father in order to be banished to my father’s castle, in the hope that a similar friendship will form between them.

I think it’s a terrible idea & try to stop him, but he is undeterred, and soon I’m accompanying him back home (he encased in blue, stone armor, packaged in a blue shipping crate). Father greets him coldly, as I knew he would, but the prince keeps saying things like, “Would you like to have a cup of tea with me for a couple hours? We could talk and get to know each other.” The dungeon’s walls are cold, damp stone. “We could sup together,” he adds, & I roll my eyes. But somehow, my father is charmed and agrees to dinner. They leave together and I just stare after them in disbelief. Men!


“We could sup together”? Who actually says something like that?


Thirty pages, day 26

Day 26: It’s morning light I dread.


Symbolically, this would be morning to the night depicted here. At this stage, inevitably, I’m looking back and reworking old ideas. Things are taking longer than before as well — maybe my own standards are going up? Three pages discarded this time for the one that survived, and I want nothing more than to tear this one out as well.

Dreams have been fitful of late; I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep. I’m dying from exposure. From being exposed.


Thirty pages, day 25

Day 25: karaoke night. Only five more days!


This is the third sketch I finished last night. Two of them were abject disasters and I’m not at all happy with this one, either. Also, what is she wearing, a black dress or a knit tank and sweats? When you can’t tell, that should maybe a sign.

Also I can tell in advance that David is going to have a problem with this one. In my defense, I can only say: television screen.


Thirty pages, day 24

Day 24: in which, dissatisfied, she tries again.


Back to the pens & more of a manga aesthetic, I guess. Can’t really think of too much to say. I don’t love it, but no fixies is kind of the inherent problem with ink.

Oh, and clearly the blank stare is a facial expression I really need to grow out of.


Thirty pages, day 23

Day 23: again with the comics.


This is where trying to come up with poses without benefit of a reference image shows its disadvantages. Clearly I’ve a long way to go when it comes to action scenes.

X-23 for day 23. I’d never actually heard of her, so when David requested I try my hand I had to do a little crash course on the character. The short of it is that she’s basically a female clone of Wolverine. The long story is, well, I had to stop reading because my head hurt — never try to read a vita of any particular comic-book superhero, since they’re all pretty much insane. The perils of trying to find ways of saving the world on a monthly basis, I guess!

She doesn’t look much like X-23 here. In fact, I probably could have lied and told you this was Xena instead, or maybe Elektra on a bad day, and you would have believed it. Obviously I need to work on drawing cute goth clothes.

I also need to work on not taking two days per sketch. Eyes on the prize, Eden. You’re almost there.


Thirty pages, day 22

Day 22: Have probably already said this before, but just in case there was any doubt: I’m on Team Thane.


Romance! Romance is best done in pencils, I think.

I’m a day late, because this took longer than usual. But I’ve been wanting to do this subject back since day one, so I’m happy I got it done. Mass Effect 3 can’t come soon enough, and all I can say is they’d better find a cure, or I’ll be an angry panda.


Thirty pages, day 21

Day 21: in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.


Trying for an anime/manga style this time, so we’re not exactly swimming in verisimilitude here. Sorry, just wasn’t in the mood for scurvy and rotting teeth today. Maybe imagine she’s an sky pirate on a ship outfitted with a full-service salon, pillaging the penthouse suites of the rich and famous — I call her “Big Bad Stilla” of the airship “Le Mannequine,” in honor of my favorite sea dog.

Today’s main points of concentration: fabric, pose, foreshortening, costume design. If I squint, I think maybe my foreshortening works for once. Yes, I know her hands need something to do. I have no idea what a bad-ass anime sword looks like anymore — except for Cloud’s, which I think we would all agree would be a mistake. So! There you go.



Thirty pages, day 20

Day 20: I wasn’t going to, but…


I read Batwoman: Elegy last night. I liked it, but felt like there was some kind of something missing at the end. Does anyone know if this storyline is continuing, or was it a one-shot mini?

More importantly! J. H. Williams III (Promethea) may just be my favorite artist working in comics today, so … well, that’s what happened. Did only her upper body because it’s really hard to capture facial detail well on the tiny sheets of paper I’m using & I wanted to go in that direction for a change. Overall, I think this worked pretty well.

Might try coloring this too, because… well, having only gray brushes to work with is a bit of a crime when drawing redheads. Hmm, maybe it’s time to buy some more art supplies!

Full disclosure: I re-uploaded tonight after applying some more detail & “mood lighting.” If you’re interested, the original version lies behind the cut.



Thirty pages, day 19

Day 19: messing up with a pen is pretty near irreversible, so today you’re only getting half a picture. Sorry!


I have two theories about what might be happening here. Either the Phoenix entity has taken residence in the body of Cher, or somebody is in a whole lot of trouble. Either way, things are about to get shiny.

This really didn’t start out as more X-Men fan art, I promise — things just kind of happened. Tomorrow I’ll try and mix it up.. And really, I take requests. Especially if it’s a webcomic idea!


I experimented a little with colorizing yesterday’s drawing of Phoenix in Photoshop. It’s tacked onto the end of the original entry.

Good? Bad? The lighting’s weird, I know. I’m so hopeless at it.


Thirty pages, day 18

Day 18: More fan art.


In retrospect, this was inevitable, but for a reason I haven’t thought about in more than twenty years. I mean, Phoenix is the reason I wanted to learn how to draw comics in the first place — it was pretty much the second best thing to actually getting to be her. Unbelievably gorgeous, shiny costume, smoldering boyfriend*, phenomenal cosmic power, great death scene — what’s not to want? Or maybe I just had redhead envy.

This drawing isn’t perfect by a long stretch, but I don’t think I would have been able to do this at the beginning of this project (yay for results!!). My goal was to use ink in a more dynamic fashion & play with a pose that’s always given me trouble. Phoenix’s costume is great for practicing different textures and reflectivity, too. It was hard not to be working with color, especially when it was time to do her hair, but I think it works well enough without.

Rough, but getting closer! Maybe if I’m brave enough we’ll visit her at the Hellfire club someday.

*this was before he became a creepy tool in X-Factor. I mean, it’s possible he was always a creepy tool, but don’t tell that to the tween version of me!

If you’re interested, the original pencil version, as well as an experimental colorized version, are below the cut.




Thirty pages, day 17

Day 17: Going retro.


Wanted to get back to pure penwork & in a mood for some elegance, glamor. Plus! I didn’t have any good webcomic ideas and Halo: Reach took up some (okay, a lot) of my time last night.

Pretty happy with how this one turned out. Right arm aside.


Thirty pages, day 16

Day 16: A continuation of yesterday’s episode — which you should read first, or this won’t make any sense at all.


The idea was suggested by potato boyo, and I loved it too much not to draw it. No idea if I have the stamina to keep doing these, but I can’t deny how much fun it is!


Thirty pages, day 15

Day 15: a.k.a. my first webcomic, or what happens when we’re halfway through.


This probably reflects badly on my mothering skills, but I can’t be the only one who thinks thoughts like this, right?

On to Part Two


Thirty pages, day 14

Day 14: desperate measures call for fan art.


This is clearly where not using photographic references will bite you. Oh, well — as if their faces were the problem!

I’ve been watching a lot of Bones lately. It’s not high art, and the science can be painfully bad at times, but the characterizations and humor are surprisingly addictive. It also helps that it’s on Netflix instant watch! I’m especially in love with the always-changing relationship between Booth and Brennan, although I’m not sure how I feel about some of the turns it took during the fifth season. We’ll see what happens when new episodes start airing (soon, I hope).

Anyway! There’s your backstory. Hopefully that distracts you from how awful today’s sketch turned out.


Thirty pages, day 13

Day 13: an unlucky number.


What I was really trying to draw tonight fell through too horribly for words, but since there’s no crying in baseball, I started a little scribble on the side of the page. That’s all I have for you. I kind of dig her hair, but overall, boo.

Are these working for you? Is there a subject I’ve done that you’d like me to riff on a little more? Am feeling a bit withered on the vine.


Thirty pages, day 12

Day 12: back to the grind.


Trying for more of a cartoony style this time, in light of yesterday’s visit to the uncanny valley. More than one person, too, though I’ll leave it to you to decide on the narrative I’m trying to create.

Not sure why the coffee theme keeps reappearing, especially since I don’t drink at all. I think it’s because I idealize coffee drinkers, which may be a reason why I find myself in coffee shops all the time (ordering a venti iced green tea, mind you). This may also be the reason I own a coffee maker that’s never been used.


Thirty pages, day 11

Day 11: obviously, I’ve no idea what I’m doing anymore.




Thirty pages, days 9 & 10

Days 9 & 10: this will be a long one, so most of it is behind the cut. Day 10 first, revisiting a subject I tried a long time ago:


For your reference, here is the original rough sketch, from April of last year:


Not sure what happened to make the image go from hard-edged and cool to something out of the glamor pages, and I’m not especially happy about it, but I did let my pencils do their own thing so I think it suits the spirit of the project. And it’s just possible that the mood kind of survived, despite the changes in proportion, pose and viewpoint. Please let me know what you think.

Speaking of the rules from last time and “owning my mistakes,” this is a good example. My first take resulted a horrible Escher-esque contortion that was just painful to look at, and so ugly that I almost considered not posting it. Still, I had to fix it, and without an eraser. Here’s the before and after, side by side, so you can see what happened:


What happened to day 9? Disaster. As promised, I tried to draw a non-Potterish man, and only managed to produce a portrait of someone I could only call “Mr. Dooouuuuche”:


But there you go. Happy? Happy.


Thirty pages, day 8

Day 8: Something something on my mind today?


Mutant child alert! Mutant everything alert.

Tomorrow I’m definitely going to try and draw another man, because the last one ended up looking like Harry Potter & I don’t want that to be my legacy.

Why am I doing this again? I’m the biggest slacker ever, so without some kind of motivation I’d probably draw one thing every three years. But I want to get better, desperately so, and that won’t happen without practice.

It’s easy to get discouraged though.

The basic rules of my little project are: one sketch / cartoon / doodle per day for an entire month. Personally, I’m also applying the following rules, just to eliminate a few crutches: no drawing from life, no reference images for people (props, clothes are okay), and no eraser! That last one is killing me, but it’s also forcing me to own my mistakes. And whenever possible, I’m going to draw people, because, well, I want to do that comic someday. Someday soon, I hope!


Thirty pages, day 7

Day 7: It’s late, but I’ve been busy and didn’t want to half-ass another one.


Am once again not feeling any desire to clean this up at all — finding the sloppy details fit my mood. Hands and feet are getting better each day, though they still need a lot of work. Not happy at all with what I was trying to do with the lower leg; something to work on for next time.

After scanning this, I was suddenly struck by the similarity to this piece. Feeling much the same sense of melancholy. I hope the long weekend brings renewal.


Thirty pages, day 6

Day 6:


This is about when I throw up my hands, realize I’m not an artist, and go back to writing about KitKats, you know?

On the other hand, lettering is fun and I’m obviously out of practice. Be warned, you may be seeing twenty-four days straight of nothing but “Mrs. Edward Fairfax Rochester” over and over again.

Link-dumping in this entry, because for once I feel like I’m actually posting too much:


Thirty pages, day 5

Day 5: Yellow, a yellow flame.


I had a concept in mind for this but it didn’t really come out as I’d intended. Went with all pencils this time, shadow as a main focus. Key learning: it’s much easier to ruin fine facial features irrevocably with a 2B pencil than it is with a 4H, so handle with care! Sadly, one of my silent rules so far has been “no eraser,” so — live by the sword, die by the sword.

Bonus points if you recognize the subject.

Edit: the jacket she has on is his. Draped around her shoulders, empty arms. I need some more time studying the ebb & flow of fabric.

I’ve gotten feedback that this project has resonated with some people, and really, nothing would please me more than to share the experience with others! To that end, I’ve set up a Thirty Pages group blog — if you’d like an account to post your own pages, please drop me a line and I can set one up for you (my email address is on the top-right of this page).

Kindle tomorrow!


Thirty pages, day 4

Day 4: Lacking inspiration, put pen to paper and follow the line. Kōjiki.


An actual idea bouncing around in my head for the next one. Hopefully it won’t feel as much like a cop-out.


Thirty pages, day 3

Day 3: Moving away from Commander Shepard this time:


Idea this time was stylize, stylize, stylize. Started with the concept of ancient Egyptian art, but maybe depicting a Starbucks or something. From that I dialed back a bit, kept the pose and the coffee shop but went back to more of a magazine glossy cartoon vibe.

Tried to go outside my comfort zone a bit more, playing with darker skin & full-page colors. I started out super-stylized which is why her forearm is too long, which I totally regret now, and her outfit is unfortunately influenced by people sharing links to the Cami Secret parody video (nsfw!!) all day. But fauxhawks & studs — well, I love them, and I’ve never drawn either before.

Aside from her arm, I kind of like it! Probably wouldn’t choose these markers again for skin, since they don’t handle overdrawing very well and her face looks a bit scarred because of it. And I so wish I’d scanned in the pencil version this time to compare. Cutting corners!

If you have any ideas for upcoming attempts, I’m taking suggestions!


Thirty pages, day 2

Day 2: Another day, another try. Continuing yesterday’s Mass Effect theme, I decided to insert Shepard into a situation where she might have woken up to a firefight — mostly because I wanted to try and not use bulky armor as a crutch this time.

This is about a half-hour’s worth of pencils:


Definitely not perfect. I think in my imagination she was a little more buff than this, or maybe I drew her head bigger than I should have. Her pose is a little awkward, but at least it’s more adventurous than yesterday’s straight-on concept. The hands and lower body are totally undefined and the total effect is really amateurish, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

Normally, this is where I’d leave well enough alone, but we’re in a learning experiment here, so why not risk losing it all?

Here come the inks:


I think Shepard’s face, in particular, lost a lot in the process. Or at least morphed into something else entirely — who knows? — maybe it’s more appropriate for the subject matter. I’m pretty sure I overcompensated in trying to dial back the delicate features of the pencil sketch.

Overall, I’m not really happy with how this turned out, but I’m glad to have tried it. One of my problems in the past has always been bringing a piece of art to completion, so hopefully all this practice and acting outside my normally risk-averse instincts will pay off.

Anyway, I doubt this is as interesting for you as it is for me, but I think putting this stuff up, warts and all, has pushed me to grow a little more than I otherwise might have. And last time some of you said that you were feeling inspired to pick up your pencils too. I do hope that happened, and that, maybe, you’ll share, too!


Thirty pages, day 1


I totally bought this to be my next sketchbook, because the form factor was perfect! Nothing to do then, but to produce some ill-advised  Mass Effect fan art, fifteen minutes’ worth. In the interests of tracking my growth, though, here it is.


How embarrassing! Looks like it’s time to re-learn some basic anatomy. Sigh. It’s a journey, right?

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