Bale of the Banshee: a Dirk Maximus Mystery



Emily looks concerned about the state of affairs.



My poor ole Graphire drawing tablet finally died on me. I can occasionally get power if I maneuver the cord into a particular upright position. But since that is not conducive to getting work done, I've decided to make good on my threats and buy a grown-up tablet.

First Panel


That's what could have happened...

...but how about this?

With a finished story outline and the first few pages scripted, I sat down to create the first page. I tested out implementing the various techniques I've been nurturing through this preparatory phase.



Art Night

I made some brushes I’d been meaning to last night, and I did these doodles while hanging out at Barnes & Noble with the Art Night crew.

Missing shipmates

This one isn’t a Dirk Maximus image... I’m in the middle of re-reading Dracula to get some inspiration. It’s a novel with some very potent imagery.

Dramatic lighting

For a while, I was hesitant to post images of too many side characters here in an attempt to curb spoiling too much. Looking at their scenes however, it's going to be immediately apparent that the way these characters act is not always what you might expect from their appearance.

Character Design

I felt that this character needed some work, so I did a quick sketch this morning. She gets a bit easier to do every time. I’d like to make sure that each character has a distinctive look, and that they don’t suffer from same-face.


It’s a lot of fun creating brushes that will expedite drawing backgrounds. It took a while to ideate some of the brushes used here, but actually utilizing them is incredibly quick. Very satisfying to see my library of brushes increasing in size; I’ve created every single one with a specific purpose in mind. At this point, I’ve begun taking old brushes and modifying them to get a new effect instead of having to start from scratch each time.

Backgrounds are very exciting for me, since I’ve never been much of a fine artist. Comic artists have a tendency to draw figures against a void, which I’ve long since tired of. Backgrounds can really be used to help tell a story and set the mood. Looking beyond figures and beyond line art is very freeing, and I hope it will help this book become what I’ve got in my head.


In the Blizzard


Spooky House?

Wish I had time to do some background elements here, but I've got to get to some paying work now. But here's me playing with brushes and colors.

The stars at night

Dirk spends his nights in odd ways.

So I bought Red Dead Redemption and even though I'm not much for westerns, the scenery is excellent. The background here had its inspiration in that game.

Still experimenting more with brushes. At some point I'd like to get into some more "painterly" effects, with more emphasis on value change and texture, etc. But for now, I'm having a lot of fun figuring out how to use brushes to create quick background effects.

Some days the bear eats you

This woman will be showing up early in Bale of the Banshee, though not wearing this weird outfit.

Man, I just don't know about this one. I really tried to make it into a real painting, and it did not agree with me. So this is where I went with it, and then closed Photoshop.

Taking a stab at painting

Emily in Football Stadium at Night

This is Dirk's neighbor, Emily. They grew up together, and she'll play a leading role in Dirk's adventures.

I'm no painter, but recently I've decided I'd like to be. Dirk Maximus needs painted backgrounds, and I've become more and more unhappy with my coloring work. I don't like inking backgrounds, and I don't like my cell-shaded-type colors that I use in conjunction with those inks.

When I draw backgrounds, I now envision shapes and textures instead of lines. I'm constantly dreaming up new brushes to accomplish effects.

I have a moderate understanding of how light works and color theory, but I certainly haven't put it to use in my work thus far.

I've always thought of my artistic interests as fairly narrow. I believe the reality of the situation is rather that I choose to become comfortable with one area before I move to another. I'm comfortable with inking now, and I need to add a new tool to my repertoire.

On the practical side of things, I believe this will also speed up my work. It sounds odd, since painting can be very time consuming. But I tend to draw and ink very slowly, especially backgrounds; and so far, I've found the looseness of the painting really speeds up the process (in addition to giving a neat contrast to the sharp stark inks).

Anyway, there's my painting ramble. I'm excited to see how it all progresses, and hopefully readers will be too.

Bale of the Banshee: a Dirk Maximus Mystery

Bale of the Banshee: a Dirk Maximus Mystery

A preview pic for the book!