So here is a new thing I’ve been drawing lately. If you accept last November as lately because that’s when I started doing them. Sketch covers. Sketch covers are comic books printed with a cover that is blank except for the logos. The covers are printed on a heavy card stock rather than the usual gloss stock. The idea is that a fan can buy one of these comics (they’re variant covers that they only print a few of) and have his favorite artist draw a sketch right on the cover. Plus sometimes artists buy the covers themselves, draw on them, and then sell them for a few bucks to fans. I decided to be one of those artists. I like comics and I draw cartoons so why not?

Of course the first problem I had was what to draw. I don’t draw super-heroes much and, as I’ve mentioned before, I am really not much of a sketcher. I make drawings my own way that doesn’t really fit in with sketch covers so it was a bit of a challenge figuring out what to do. I decided to start by copying. The Wolverine drawing on the “All New X-Men” cover is taken from a panel in the comic. I blew it up and made it into the sketch cover. I did it in India ink and Copic marker. That’s what I’ve worked with for all my sketch covers. I think it came out alright and served it’s purpose but after a couple more coversfor which I took an interior panel and made it into the cover I was done with that.

The drawing of Cable from “Cable and X-Force” was the next step on my sketch cover journey. It’s taken from a panel in the comic but it’s not as much of a copy as the Wolverine one. I drew it more in my own style than the ones that came before it but still it’s not a whole lot like I’d draw normally. Or at least the subject matter isn’t. I’d never drawn Cable before and don’t have much reason to again. I decided to put some of these up on Ebay to see if anyone would want to buy one so I kept things pretty normal and what passes, to me, for commercial. Turns out no one really cared though. Even for the low price of thirty dollars no one bid on one. I’m pretty much losing money at that price too. Still I persevered.

For the next step I stared doing some of my own figures. They are generally less super-hero-ish than the sketch covers I had done before but at least this “Fearless Defenders” drawing of Valkyrie has a little more of myself in it than the other ones. I did this one as a black and white ink drawing to see if that interested anyone on Ebay any more than the marker ones did but it drew just as much non-interest. Eventually I colored it with markers because I like it better that way even if no one else cared. I like working in color.

Now we get to the one sketch cover that someone actually bought on Ebay. It’s a mash-up of Calvin and Hobbes and Wolverine and Captain America. It was fun to do and came out looking good but took me way longer than it was worth to sell for thirty dollars. Plus how many mash-ups could I do? I’m not a huge fan of them. They just feel a little cheap and exploitive to me. At least doing them does. Of course I’m doing sketch covers which already have me drawing someone else’s characters so what difference does it make? I did one more mash-up before I got tired of them.

Since nothing, except one mash-up, that I was trying to sell on Ebay sold I started drifting farther away from commercial art and more into my own quirky art style. This drawing of Aquaman has nothing to do with the Aquaman inside the book. It makes no attempt at a super-hero style and the character isn’t even on-model with the one inside the comic. It even has one of my weirdo building in the background. I wasn’t even thinking about selling this one and so worked only to please myself. If it’s not going to sell anyway who cares what anyone else thinks? I think it’s a fun drawing.

Next comes “Peace Sign Wolverine”. Talk about out of character. With this one I started making these sketch covers like I would any other of my drawings. I looked through my inkbooks to find a small drawing to work from and found one that inspired this. I have no idea why a small drawing of a guy giving the peace sign reminded me of ol’ Wolvie but it did. I drew the guy up as Wolverine in the cartoon style I had originally done the ink sketch in. I like it. It’s fun. No one one on Ebay cared. Such is life.

Next we have Thanos on a “Thanos Rising” cover. I had completely given up on Ebay and selling these in general at this point. You can tell because it doesn’t have the nice neat border and info type presentation that I was using for Ebay. Nothing but a plain scan here. Still I like this one. It’s more me. It’s fairly on-model for the Thanos inside but his face is twisted and marked up as I’m fond of doing in my non-sketch cover drawings. He’s not the oh-so-serious scary monster of the Marvel Universe but I think the drawing is interesting. At least I can look at it.

Finally we have what might be my least commercial drawing of the bunch. The character’s name is Arcade. He’s as on-model as he can get in this distorted style that I’m using but he looks nothing like the drawings inside. I like him though. I’m glad I could come up with something to do with him that wasn’t par for the course.

What did I learn from this whole sketch cover experience? I still have bad instincts for sales. Some people are good at having their finger on the pulse of what people want but I’m not. When I’m thinking about what other people might like my work gets boring. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. When I’m working to please myself I think my work is more interesting. The general public might not but it turns out that they’re no help to me anyway. Oh, well. Looks like I’ll have to go on being unknown for a while longer.