Sketches

Rumination

Rumination

This is a self-portrait I drew for season two of my webcomic, Running on Empty, wherein my character is reflecting on his life. This quickly became my favorite self-portrait, and I used to use it in place of a photograph wherever I could. There’s a certain appeal in presenting myself as comic character rather than as a real person. Although, it’s a funny thing when people recognize me from a drawing, which has happened in the past.

Jane Pincus

Jane Pincus

Here’s Dan’s eventual love interest in the Running on Empty series, the shy but quietly strong Jane Pincus. I regularly featured her in season two of the comic to comment on how Dan is “kinda cute,” to which Jake would have some sardonic response.

Mr. Popular

Mr. Popular

"Mr. Popular" was a story arc that first appeared in the Running on Empty webserial, where the Dan character returns to high school to become the most popular kid in school. In the opening scene, Dan knocks out a nerd to start his climb up the social ladder. This is the image I created to capture that moment.

Officer Graves

Officer Graves

Officer Graves is a character I initially created back in high school as a Punisher knock-off. In college, I re-worked him into a sadistic fiend who was merely impersonating a police officer so that he could beat up hippies. He makes a natural enemy to the anarchistic Jake Alberts.

Dan Beadle

Dan Beadle

A previous version of my site featured a character section, which gave character stats and bios for the cast of my comics. The next few sketches were created especially for those pages, but they soon became model sheets that I use as reference whenever I use these characters. Here’s the cocky team leader of the Running on Empty trio, Dan (AKA me).

Sniper

Sniper

Sniper was a character I never intended to show, making him a total mystery. But for the sake of my character pages, I had to show him without actually showing him. Here’s the result. And yes, he’s ambidextrous.

Mr. Gray

Mr. Gray

Mr. Gray is the assistant of Dylan Thorne in the Dominion series, who essentially brokers deals with various contacts, and pushes Dylan’s schemes forward. Naturally, he has a gray motif, wearing gray suits, and having gray hair and eyes. Even his morals are a veritable gray-area.

The Annihilator

The Annihilator

The Annihilator was a character I created back in college, where I drew man covered in guns and ammo. The idea was that he was a defected Marine who decided to accelerate Armageddon on his own. This sketch was a later rendition of the character, which I eventually used on a Dominion teaser poster.

Linda Danvers

Linda Danvers

Linda Danvers was the alter ego of Peter David’s Supergirl. This sketch was based on one of her profile pages, which I thought captured that cute, punk chick look perfectly. This essentially became the inspiration for the Jane Pincus character I would later create.

Dylan Thorne

Dylan Thorne

Dylan Thorne is the primary antagonist of my Dominion series, who is a severely misanthropic businessman who has secretly taken over the world and now has to decide what to do with it. I had such a clear mental image of what Dylan looks like, that it was challenging translating that to paper. I often think of him as an older Patrick Bateman or Gordon Gekko.

Your Host

Your Host

Here we have Jake Alberts, host of his own offensive talk show, giving the audience a sadistic smirk. The basic inspiration for Jake’s show, and the idea of him as a host, came from Batman: The Animated Series, where the Joker regularly took over TV shows to commit some public act of depravity. I later reappropriated this sketch for a very dramatic shot of Jake in season three of Running on Empty.

Introductions

Introductions

…And here we have a very ominous sketch of my Stalker character, protagonist of The Stalker Imperative webserial. I created the rough for this piece at 4AM after seeing the video for Aqualung’s “Brighter Than Sunshine.” I later blacked out his eyes in Photoshop so I could use the image for a specific chapter of his story. I like the result.

You Single?

You Single?

This was an image I used several times in season two of Running on Empty, where the Dan character would be hitting on a girl at a classy party. Of course, I suck at that kind of thing, so it made for a good series of jokes.

Eyes on the World

Eyes on the World

I drew this image of Dylan Thorne with the intent to finish it in Photoshop. As such, I sketched the frame of the room and the figure itself, and then dropped in the floor texture and cityscape in post. This piece really bridges the gap between my pencil sketches and my exclusively digital artwork.

Pencil Sketch

Pencil Sketch

One day in art class, I was looking around for something to draw. My eyes fell to the blank page in front of me, and then to my hand floating above it. “That’ll do,” I thought.

Vengeance

Vengeance

Visually, Vengeance was a combination of three different characters I created. He was essentially a survivor of Hell, who was looking to punish the people that put him there. Naturally, someone who’s been to Hell and back is going to look pretty messed up.

My Balls!

My Balls!

This is a quick sketch I drew of Jake getting a swift kick to the nuts. So many nice touches here, like the tear in his eye, the throbbing vein in his neck, and the tiny cigarette butt.

Wink

Wink

I drew this image to close out the “Mr. Popular” story arc of Running on Empty. The idea is that the Dan character is reflecting on what truly makes a man popular, and then he winks at the audience as he delivers the closing punch line.

Fuck You!

Fuck You!

I drew this picture of Jake for a special “Do-It-Yerself” issue of Running on Empty, where I invited the reader fill in the name of their “least favorite friend” in Jake’s verbal assault.

Reckless Youth

Reckless Youth

This was a promotional piece I created for season two of Running on Empty, where the three main characters were driving recklessly through the streets of Milford. I got an old friend to model the different character poses before I went to work on the drawing. The mailbox was a nice last-minute addition.

Model Sheet: Jake

Model Sheet: Jake

Season two of Running on Empty featured the addition of Jake and Devin (D-Man) to the regular cast. As such, I decided to create model sheets for each of the characters, which helped to identify their differences. Over time, the characters became more realistic than these model sheets, but the drawings really nailed down the core attributes of each cast member.

Here, we see Jake’s new design, with his trademark cigarette butt and bandages. His hairstyle further evolved after this drawing into the rhino look that he has today. The Wrist-Pain.com T-shirt is a reference to my dad’s carpal tunnel website, which he promoted by making my brothers wear homemade T-shirts with the URL on them. Years later, my brother learned that everyone at his school just assumed that the shirt was a masturbation joke.

Model Sheet: D-Man

Model Sheet: D-Man

Devin Manning, AKA D-Man, had the visual motif of an off-duty Air Force pilot. Just as Jake is never seen without a cigarette, Devin never takes off his sunglasses. This would become more important in season three, where Devin’s sunglasses are key to identifying him in silhouette.

Model Sheet: Dan

Model Sheet: Dan

Even though the Dan character appeared in Running on Empty season one, he got a slight redesign to help differentiate him from Jake. Both characters have short, spiky hair, so the idea was to have Jake’s hair curve upward, and Dan’s hair to curl down. This difference became more exaggerated in season three.

Smoker

Smoker

This is one of several sketches chronicling the ever-changing look of Jake. This was also an experiment on vectorizing my pencil work, in an effort to make the shadows solid.

Love Withdrawal

Love Withdrawal

I drew this shot at the beginning of 2006, when I was still reeling from the end of my summer romance. This was actually based on a piece by illustrator Brian Bolland. I added a few artifacts from my relationship, which included a plastic tulip and love note. This was such a great piece that I decided to use it in the season two opener of Running on Empty.

Seriously?

Seriously?

For those of you unfamiliar with Running on Empty season one, this was the style that it had employed. This shot of Dan appeared in the last episode of that season. The T-shirt is a reference to the superhero shirts I used to wear during that period.

Let's Dance

Let's Dance

This piece, based on a panel by Graham Nolan, draws a direct line between the Jake character and me. In essence, Jake is just and exaggerated and far more aggressive version of me, and this picture captured that concept perfectly.

I Walk Alone

I Walk Alone

I sketched this piece during the summer of 2005, when I was reflecting on the hollow feeling that I had after parting ways with my college girlfriend. I had also just starting listening to Green Day’s American Idiot, so that also came into play here.

Under the Sun

Under the Sun

I created this piece for a yearbook cover for CTY’s 2005 staff. For those of you who are unaware of the program, Johns Hopkins University created the Center for Talented Youth to basically provide a summer school/summer retreat for smart kids. There are satellite locations all over the country, and the staff consists of college students and professors who alternately teach and entertain the kids. I was part of the group that took care of the latter, by running sports and activities. It’s not easy to explain, but suffice it to say that it’s an incredibly rewarding experience.

A Soldier's Life for Me

A Soldier's Life for Me

In the summer of 2005, I drew a quick sketch of a very grim character in the rain. Years later, I dropped that sketch into Illustrator, and live traced it just to see what would happen. It turned out well, so took it to the next level and created white raindrops to isolate the character from a black background. Looks all right to me.

Marina

Marina

Marina had a nice face, so I drew it. Boom. End of story.

Doomed

Doomed

As I mentioned before, when people find out that I can draw, they always ask me to draw them. And if they happen to be banging anyone at the time, they ask if I can throw them into the shot too. This was one such sketch, which was a favor for the female on the left. Shortly after I handed this over to her, she and her boyfriend split up, and the picture quickly became obsolete.

Execution

Execution

Yet another in a long line of self-portraits. This piece would later serve as the inspiration for some comic art for Running on Empty.

Iverson

Iverson

This piece was one in a series of photo-realistic portraits I created for some friends of mine in college. I was drawing like crazy back then, so I cranked these all out in a few short hours.

Foxy

Foxy

The next in the portrait series, featuring Foxy Brown.

Jack

Jack

…And another portrait for a friend who liked 24, featuring the unstoppable Jack Bauer.

Mraz

Mraz

This portrait of Jason Mraz is what started the series of portraits you see above. I drew this as a spontaneous gift to a special lady friend, and then covered my tracks by drawing additional pieces for other friends. Being shy takes a lot of work.

Tinted Reflection

Tinted Reflection

I caught a glimpse of my reflection in an old computer monitor, and I thought it’d make a great drawing. This is the result.

Window

Window

An old friend of mine drew a picture like this years ago, and it always stuck in my mind. It was very ominous and incredibly intriguing; a picture that hinted at a much more elaborate story. I recreated it from memory and here it is.

Flag Face

Flag Face

I drew this in a few seconds back in college, trying to capture that sense of aggressive patriotism that would later become a key component of Jake’s persona.

Half

Half

Trust me, this isn’t an unfinished piece. The idea of kissing a phantom captures that sense of being in love with the idea of love, but not actually having anyone to love. Does that make any sense to you? I also tried to work with the concept that if this sketch had a female in his arms, the couple would form a heart shape.

Heart Like a Hole

Heart Like a Hole

Here I go taking the symbolic concept of having your heart ripped out to the bloody extreme. I love the pinhole pupils, not to mention the tear running down his cheek.

All Dressed Up

All Dressed Up

I’ve always been a fan of dressing up for classy events, and that old Hollywood notion of giving a girl flowers on a date. Of course, sometimes you have no reason to dress up, and no girl to give flowers to. That’s the story with this sorry son of a bitch.

Lost Cause

Lost Cause

This man fights for a lost cause. It’s the only cause worth fighting for.

Pulp

Pulp

I’m honestly not sure if this is a self-portrait, or a picture of Jake. Back in 2003, shortly after I created Jake, he was just an alternate version of me, so we basically looked the same. I drew this picture to capture the idea of being beaten to a pulp for hitting on some tough guy’s girlfriend. I later folded this basic concept into Jake’s personality, in that he loves fighting so much that he doesn’t care if he wins or loses.

We've Got One Hell of a Show

We've Got One Hell of a Show

This picture is historically important because it was the first time that I drew Jake as a talk show host. The concept evolved into The Jake Alberts Show series of comics and serials, which serve as a spinoff/sequel to Running on Empty. In drawing this picture, I created the Jake Alberts logo, along with his trademark “Fuck Coffee” coffee mug.

Guardian

Guardian

This sketch was the last in a long line of character sketches beginning in 2002. It started with me drawing alternate version of myself, like me as a skater kid, or me as a cop, etc. As a result, I had ultimately created dozens of characters I would later use in my comics. Here, we see the Guardian, who would become Dylan Thorne’s primary antagonist in the Dominion serial. I used this sketch as the conceptual basis for a Running on Empty comic.

Glare

Glare

Yet another self-portrait I created upon returning from basic training. I was still getting used to having short hair, so this was the first opportunity I had to draw it.

Form

Form

In high school art class, we were asked to draw a figure in three sequential poses. I chose to draw Sagat from Street Fighter II, throwing a killer jump kick. Not a bad result.

Peach

Peach

This piece started as a boring still life of a piece of fruit. Since I had some time to kill before my next class, I added the water and sky, as well as the little boy. You get the reference, right?

Shoe Shine

Shoe Shine

Another art project, which was a massive pencil rendition of a leather dress shoe. Doesn’t look half bad.

Dealers

Dealers

For my high school studio art class, each student had to create several pieces of artwork in a bound sketchbook each semester. I was always pushing it to the last minute, and would pull all-nighters to get the work done. The next few pieces are from that sketchbook.

Here’s an ink drawing I created, based on a panel by Graham Nolan.

Instigator

Instigator

And here’s a quick sketch woman’s worst enemy.

Trauma

Trauma

This is a colored pencil rendition of a traumatized Bruce Wayne, based on a piece by Howard Porter.

Identity

Identity

This is a pencil and ink sketch of Clark Kent’s shattered lenses from the “Death of Clark Kent” story arc.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

This is a re-creation of a poignant moment during DC’s Final Night.

Birth

Birth

This is a detailed sketch I created to capture the hatching baby raptor scene from Jurassic Park.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia

Any fan of Watchmen will recognize this piece as the bottle of Nostalgia perfume that shattered Dr. Manhattan’s glass house.

Burning Skies

Burning Skies

Back at the turn of the century, I created an apocalyptic tale that told of a white-haired hero battling demonic forces in an effort to save humanity. Clichéd? Yer damn right it was. But there was the seed of a good idea that I later rolled in to Dominion. Pictured here is that initial story’s hero, who is currently known as Mr. Light.

Despair

Despair

A very captivating image of angst and infinite despair. This was inspired by an old print ad for Doom. I cranked down the brightness, and this was the result.

Big on Chocolate

Big on Chocolate

This is a more contemporary still life, based on the “Big on Chocolate” ads of the 1990’s.

Swordplay

Swordplay

Here’s a colored pencil rendition for my studio art class. Nothing much to add here.

Demon Castle

Demon Castle

A charcoal castle. I intended to show more detail on this one, but I gave up and turned it into a silhouette. I don’t mind it, though. It came out much more creepy that way.

Tim

Tim

As you can see, my illustrative style has varied wildly over the years, swinging between cartoony and realistic, and everything in between. Back in 2000, I attempted to nail down a specific artistic style. In order to do so, I began emulating the work of Humberto Ramos. You’ll notice his influence on several of the above pieces, but here’s where it all started.

Hero

Hero

This is probably one of my favorite pieces from studio art, which really illustrates the strength of charcoal artwork. The details on the right half of Superman’s face were created entirely by smudging the charcoal.

Gordon of Gotham

Gordon of Gotham

And here’s a pencil sketch of Batman’s pal, Jim Gordon. This sketch gets a lot of hits on DeviantArt for some reason. Must be the title.

Wheels

Wheels

This is a stylized look at a non-descript sedan, using inks and colored pencils. Very sleek.

Chirp

Chirp

Anyone remember “The Death of Superman”? This little bird was the first thing that Doomsday killed when he busted out of his prison. Naturally, because this was for art class, I had to give him a human hand.

Engagement

Engagement

This is a colored pencil illustration of Lois Lane’s engagement ring.

Nurture

Nurture

And here’s a mother and child sketch I created during a rare moment of sentimentality. Very out of character for me.

Kiss

Kiss

This was a very majestic rendition of Wally West reuniting with Linda Park at the conclusion of the “Terminal Velocity” arc.

Still

Still

It doesn’t get much less interesting than still life. However, I was proud of the reflective surface I created on the vase.

Gray Life

Gray Life

…And yet another still life piece. Can you guess what that is?

Please

Help Me

In studio art, we were asked to choose a painter and emulate their style in an original piece. Any guesses as to whom I chose?

Glass Eye

Glass Eye

This was a favor for a friend, who was trying to promote his band’s latest gig. I’m not sure if “Glass Eye” was the band or the venue, but the picture turned out all right.

The Legend of Beowulf

The Legend of Beowulf

This was tabloid-sized movie poster I drew for English class back in high school. The thing took forever to create, but man, it looked great.

Toward

Toward

The next two pieces are part of a series of illustrations I created for my high school newspaper, featuring the school’s hawk mascot. As you can see, the superhero comics I was reading at the time heavily influenced these pieces.

Descent

Descent

…And this was the debut of the hawk character. I later used this figure on a similar image of the Guardian making a dramatic descent of his own.