Behind the Scenes Drawings Illustration

Drawing In Illustrator (The Radio Edit)

Hello All,

I’ve occasionally come across those who would like to see my method to drawing/inking in Illustrator. You see, I don’t really draw/ink on paper very well due to me having a very unsteady hand. Technology helps me realize exactly how I see the illustration in my head and… makes me actually look like I have talent. :)

Many folks don’t understand how I can literally “draw” in a software program, let alone Illustrator… which tends to have a misconception as an unfriendly drawing program. But, to that I say, “Au contrair!” -Not sure if I spelled that right, but you see what I’m getting at. Illustrator has proven to me to be THE drawing program. Each version is more user-friendly than the last. I highly recommend it and despite popular belief, there really isn’t much of a learning curve.

My method is to scan in my roughly drawn sketch, make adjustments in Photoshop, then place the art in Illustrator and go to town. This is a sped up version of that very approach. The background song is “Yakety Sax” by Boots Randolph.



Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)



Comics Drawings Graphics

A Comic From Script to Page

Well, this month 2 years ago I officially received a paycheck from DC Comics for a little web comic I helped create with my good buddy, Brock Heasley. Boy, those were the days. It was incredibly exciting for the both of us and a few months later it became quickly heart-breaking. I’ll give you the cliff notes version of what I’m talking about.

For those of you who didn’t know, Brock and myself entered a web comic contest back in February 2010 on a site called Zuda was an imprint of DC Comics. We won the contest against 9 other web comics submitted and consequently received a 1 year contract to develop the web comic, Monsterplex, for Zuda/DC and in return we would receive money and fame. Well, at least money.

However, a few months later DC dropped Zuda and 95% of all the web comics that were a part of the imprint. Let us all cry in unison now. Bwhhaaahaha!! But, it didn’t end all bad. DC bought out our contract to make us go away quietly AND we got to go to San Diego Comic Con for three years for free. Cool, huh.

So, in light of the two year anniversary of my first and only professional comic creating gig, I thought I would swipe an entry from our Monsterplex blog that we used to promote the comic during the contest. This one is showing how we create a page for the comic  going from the script to the final page.

Brock originally came up with the concept of Monsterplex and he was also the script writer. We both developed the characters and I actually got to contribute some plot ideas that Brock was happy to incorporate. But, my main job was to do the artwork and the layout of the comic. We then enlisted an ally of Brock’s named Mike Devito to do the colors.


-Page 5 Script – 

1- Ryan helping Lina up, who is none too pleased.
You mean you don’t

LINA (coldly)
Why don’t you
explain it to me?

2- Ryan escorting Lucy and Lina through the theater. Ryan is sweating bullets. We see some beetles crawling on the wall nearby. This is the mighty exposition panel. Panel doesn’t need to be very large, but I need some space for the dialogue.

Happy to oblige!

Here at Corman Cinemas
we cater to a very specific,
thrill-seeking clientele.

We pride ourselves on
the chillingly authentic experience
only we can provide.

We don’t just exhibit
monster movies, we show
you real monsters!

3- This is the showcase of this page. Panel 3 is really a series of 4 panels as Ryan and the ladies walk by the four posters outlined below. The posters themselves are free-floating on the page, like panels. Ryan, Lina and Lucy walk by the posters. (See SuperFogeys 45 from Chapter 2 to see how I did a similar thing—though I would not recommend going full body shots on our trio, from about the chest up should do it.)

panel a – “It Came From the Back Nine” – Show the swamp monster from page 4 terrorizing golfers. Tagline: They Never Should Have Gotten a Hole-in-One.

panel b – “Aunt Attack” – Show aunt wielding a knife and scaring kids. Tagline: Where’s the Fun Uncle When You Need Him?

panel c – “Beetles in the Breadbasket” – Show Beetles spilling out of breadbasket on fine restaurant table, much to the horror of the couple in formal wear sitting there. Tagline: Shh! This is One Ingredient That Should Stay Secret!

panel d – “Vampire Love Boat” – Show a Titanic Poster spoof with Vampires. Tagline: Love. Blood. Boat.

Imagine watching a vampire
on screen, even as you avoid
him in the aisles!

At Corman Cinemas
we import monsters
of only the highest quality from
the lowest of dimensions.

Our mission is to turn your
hair white with fright, all
within a safe and controlled

I ate a bug!

4- Ryan and the ladies at the door to “Vampire Love Boat.” Ryan is reaching for the door, as though he is about to open it. Let’s be sure and see the marquee above the door or the poster or something, if possible.

Yes, well, I won’t say we
haven’t had some…issues

No worries!
Our staff is well-trained and
I doubt we’ll be seeing
any more trouble today!

5- Same as 4, but now the door has flown open and a stream of vampires is rushing out of the auditorium, completely obscuring our view of Ryan and the ladies. Vamps shouldn’t be in tuxedos, ala Dracula. Should be more pedestrian looking. Like a modern gang with fangs, pointed ears and the same reversed-out look to their eyes that Priscilla has.

-End Script-

Now the idea here is to take his script and draw a comic around it. Sounds easy, I know and I thought it surely was. However, it proved more difficult than I imagined, in large part because I was a complete novice to the comic-thing. I don’t really even read comics anymore let alone analyze how they are put together. So, Brock and I would go back and forth often until his vision of the script was realized. So with that in mind check out the process of pencils to ink.

First attempt. The page was lacking something and Brock felt it was the posters that the trio were walking past. So, back to the drawing board..


2nd attempt. That did it. Just putting the posters slightly askew made it feel more like the trio was walking in an abstract space instead of past a boring wall. It gave Ryan's monologue kind of a "montage feel."


Refinement. I'll let Brock boast of my approach: "Here Dave is fleshing out his layout. It always amazes me how rough his pencils are in light of how exacting the inks are."


Inked Version. Now to be sent to the colorist - Mike Devito.


Final Version.


That’s it. Easy, huh? Well, it was definitely a fun run for me. So, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “Whatever became of this awesomely talented trio of boys?”. Thanks for the compliment and allow me to retort.

Brock has another web comic that he has been doing long before Monsterplex came around called Superfogeys. Check it out, it’s quite good. He also has just finished a memoir … yes a real book not a comic. As you can see, Brock has got a little bit of talent in him.

Mike Devito is the founder of Th3rd World Studios which hosts some great web comics, including Superfogeys.

I, David Schlotterback, am currently writing this blog. Oh and I run a little company called California Dingo. I also collect rubber duckies and love to watch paint dry.

Thanks for checking out today’s post and tip-toeing down memory lane for little ol’ me. I’m much obliged.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)