Try try again

November 14, 2015

Five years ago I had an idea. I thought it was a pretty good idea so I tried really hard and worked out all the bugs to set myself up for success. I tried as hard as I have on any project to make it the best it could be. I got near to the end of the project when it became apparent that somewhere along the line, I had made a mistake. That mistake was compounded by additional mistakes that culminated in a stinking mess which is now physically painful to behold. Sure it had it’s redeeming qualities, but the overwhelming cumulative effect of the bad decisions overshadowed those qualities and obscured what was still a very good idea.

Bellow is the final result of the best of my efforts at the time:


I could list every place that I went wrong in this piece, but instead, I’ll just say that it all starts with the drawing. The composition is weak at best and the anatomy, despite my best efforts, left much to be desired.

Fast forward to about a year ago. I plucked this idea back out from the dust bin and decided to give it another go. This time I decided to really focus on challenging myself with the composition. I really pushed the idea of overlapping the figures and trying to create more interaction between them.

However, once again I was thwarted by my own bad decisions. The anatomy was still pretty weak and I just flat out jacked up a few of the faces. I got this one into the color study phase before I shelved in once again.


About a month ago I decided to give this idea yet another treatment. This time I was determined to work out every last detail before I went to the final. I started by revamping the concept a bit. Instead of having a sailer being drowned by Sirens (yes I know they aren’t the classical Sirens of Greek Mythology, but I think it would lose a lot of the charm if they had bird bodies) I decided to change the sailor to a fighter pilot. Perhaps he was flying over the sea when he heard the Sirens’ song and it compelled him to irrationally bail out of his aircraft.

To safe guard against bad drawing, I have committed to drawing and redrawing every part of this illustration until it is absolutely perfect. Or at least as close as I can get it before I am driven mad by the Sirens’ song myself.

Here are a few of my current layouts and a toned drawing. Hopefully this will only require a few more passes before I have all the bugs worked out.


The above sketch was still fairly early on in the process. I hadn’t even decided to change the sailor to an airman yet.


Here I inked the jump suit right over a printout of the drawing.


Finally I managed to get all of the faces to a relative place of acceptability and the bodies look ok as well… I guess. So next it was on to the tone drawing.

Bellow are a few crappy iphone pics I took to give you a rough idea of where I am at right at this moment.





This might actually be the first toned paper drawing I’ve ever done, so take that into consideration when judging it.

In conclusion, even though I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on this project, I have to say it really has been worth it. I’ve learned a lot about how I work and I think I’ve really grown as an artist. Hopefully I can grow as an artist and actually produce a piece that is eye worthy this time around.



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