Category Archives: Art and Sketches

Lyle’s Sketch/Project of the Day: Fenrir-themed Viking Shield

I thought it would be fun to do a literary art/wood project, so I started brainstorming. While wasting time browsing Amazon, I found a place that sold a shield boss (that’s the round metal part in the center). Well you know I just had to have it. Now, about 4 months later, my Prose Edda literary art/wood project is complete! Here’s the stages of the project in photos. Enjoy!

My shield boss from Amazon
Next, I went to Lowe’s and bought a round tabletop blank and cut a hole in the center and routed out the sharp edge.
Once the boss was dry-fit, I marked out the hole
Shield boss pattern for later
Then I gave it two good primer spray coats
After finding the circumference center, I split the top in half with tape and a board to catch the overspray and painted half white.
After that dried, I repeated the process for the other half in green. The colors were simply ones I liked. No particular meaning.
In the end, I came out with this split-color shield blank
Then came the design elements. I decided to theme this project on Norse mythology in honor of my Finnish and Norwegian ancestry. I chose the great wolf, Fenrir, for the theme. This is the sketch pattern for the design of Fenrir.

In Norse Mythology, Fenrir is a wolf born of Loki and giantess Angrboda, the mother of monsters. Fenrir grew at an alarming rate to the Norse Gods and frightened them. Odin was particularly interested in seeing something done about this great and terrible beast when it was prophesied the wolf would devour and kill him during Ragnarok. The Gods tricked Fenrir into a game of strength by binding him with different strengths of chain to see if he could break them. He broke them all.

Little did Fenrir know that Odin went to the greatest craftsmen among the dwarves for a binding that could not be broken. They had just the thing: gleipnir. The super-strong silken bands were an enchanted concoction of a woman’s beard, a fish’s breath, root of a mountain, bird spittle, sinew of a bear, and the final ingredient, the sound of a cat’s footfall. Mixed together, they made an unbreakable bond.

Fenrir was wary of the God’s enthusiasm for this game, so when Odin proposed he try to escape a gleipnir binding, Fenrir demanded Tyr, the Norse God of Justice and Fenrir’s only friend among them, place his hand in Fenrir’s mouth while he tried to escape the gleipnir. They bound him up and as expected, he couldn’t break the binding. Fenrir bit off Tyr’s hand as he struggled to free himself but the binding grew tighter with every thrash and twist. Before long, the great wolf was trapped.

Fenris faces Thor concept art.

From there, Odin had Fenrir imprisoned on the isle of Lyngvi where the beast would be kept until Ragnarok. While Fenrir was free, he had two sons; Hati, the one who hates, and Skoll, the one who mocks. The white wolf, Hati, would forever chase the moon while his brother, the black wolf, Skoll, would chase the sun. Once the brothers succeeded, they would devour the heavenly bodies and herald the coming of Ragnarok. They would then free their father to take his revenge on Odin and bring about the end of the world.

The valknut symbol, often associated with Odin and Fenrir. Three interlocking and never-ending triangles.
The pattern for Hati and Skoll.
I cut them out to stencil onto the shield below.
I traced the outline of my design sketches to paint.
Four coats of black laid the foundation for the detailing to begin.
Laying in and painting details for the valknut, Hati and Skoll. Then came Fenrir. I used paint pens and acrylics for the details.
Once the designs were fully transferred, detail work was underway. Here’s my final detail on Fenrir.
Detail for Skoll, who chases the sun, with his binding rune.
Detail for Hati, who chases the moon, with his binding rune.
A leather band was added to the edge for a more authentic look, and the names Hati and Skoll were added in runic letters.
And the final product. Hati and Skoll are bound to always chase, but never catch, the sun and moon to try and free their father.

I hope you’ve liked this. I truly enjoyed making it and learning my ancestor’s mythology. It was a fun challenge that taught me a few things. In the end, it gives me a wonderful conversation piece I am proud to say I made. That’s something I love about hand made items: they aren’t perfect. They are just the work of a simple artist doing what they love. Now it’s your turn. Go make something awesome!

Lyle’s Sketch of the Day! May the Fourth: Star Wars Edition

Along with the rest of the fandom, I celebrated Star Wars Day with a couple sketches of my own while taking a break from writing Star Wars: Lifeboat. I suppose I fall into the category of fans that watched Episodes 7, 8, & 9 but wasn’t overly thrilled with them. However, I feel Disney is on the road to redemption with their direction of the franchise on Disney Plus.

The Clone Wars finale was outrageously good, The Mandalorian is phenomenal, and the slate of upcoming Star Wars projects (Obi-Wan, Cassian Andor, and more) looks great. So, in honor of May the Fourth and Revenge of the Fifth, here’s some Star Wars sketches. I even tried to learn a little Aurebesh. Enjoy!

Now that The Clone Wars is over, the best chance to see more Maul is if they finally make a Solo 2
“The Child” eyeing the biggest chiccy nugget in the galaxy!

Lyle’s Sketch of the Day! – April 11th – Heroic and Villainous

Feeling heroic and villainous today, so here’s a little of both! First up, in honor of the return of The Clone Wars final season, Ahsoka Tano – the best Star Wars character to not be in a film (so far). I prefer the black and white, personally, but here’s colored and uncolored. Okay, perhaps Thrawn is the best character not to be in a movie yet. We can fight it out between him and Ahsoka. Maybe Thrawn will be my next sketch of the day! (Oh, and I learned to write my name in Aurebesh!)

Then, poor Spidey has run afoul of Venom. I’m not thrilled with the final result, but not bad for an amateur! I haven’t seen the Venom movie yet, but I really do hope they eventually get these two on the big screen together. Tom Hardy’s Venom with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would be sweet. Morbius looks pretty exciting, too. That would be an epic movie trio!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend, stay safe, and stay healthy. Practice, practice, practice!

Lyle’s Sketch of the Day – Unfinished Sketches… Finished! – April 1st

I was thumbing through my sketchbook and was disappointed in myself for having a bunch of outlines with nothing finished. Tonight I decided to start trying to knock off some of my better starts and ink a couple. Sadly, there were too many to complete in one night, but here’s three I’m pretty happy with so far. I might even color the Dr. Strange. If I do, I’ll update the post. Enjoy!

Dr. Strange - I think I'll color this one later on.
Dr. Strange – I think I’ll color this one later on.
Still have more to go on this Hulk. I want to put in more cracks and damage under him, and maybe a smashed car or something above him.
Still have more to go on this Hulk. I want to put in more cracks and damage under him, and maybe a smashed car or something above him.
Poor Batsy... Ivy has him all tangled
Poor Batsy… Ivy has him all tangled

Bonus Sketch: Puff, the Magic Dragon!

I drew this a long time ago in a class (I should have been paying attention, but I wasn’t). It hung in my son’s room for a while until we moved. I found it in a box the other day and rescued it from certain doom. The very first song I ever performed live in front of an audience was Puff the Magic Dragon when I was about 9-years-old. I sang it with a friend of the family who was doing a solo gig at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, Florida. He even paid me $5 for my part! I love this drawing.

I hope you’re all staying safe and keeping well in these troubled times. I’ve got plenty more unfinished works to stay busy on. Keep your pencils sharp and practice, practice, practice!… from 6-feet apart. 😀

Lyle's Sketch of the Day – Judge Dredd – March 28th

Judge Dredd statue figure (not a drawing!)

The famous law man of Mega-City One. Judge Dredd has always been a favorite of mine. It can be dark and funny at the same time. His world is a dystopian nightmare, where crazy villains and daily waves of criminals are the norm.

It’s an unpopular opinion in the pop-culture world, but I liked Stallone’s 90s take on Judge Dredd. I liked Karl Urban’s updated movie more, but Stallone’s was decent. I especially liked Max von Sydow as Judge Fargo and Diane Lane as Judge Hershey. In Karl Urban’s updated film, I felt like it was closer to the intention of the character, mostly because Stallone’s Dredd took his helmet off. Dredd never removes his helmet! All that said, I think Urban’s Dredd deserves another movie. There’s so much more to the 2000A.D. universe to explore with him. In the meantime, I’ll just have to settle for the comics.

When drawing Dredd, the uniform is key element number one. It has a lot of parts and detail, especially the shoulder pads and badge. I need to do better detail on those. The second feature to get right is the frowny, scarred chin and helmet. Dredd never takes off his helmet, so the chin is a paramount feature since it’s the only part of the face you see.

Keep drawing!

Lyle's Sketch of the Day – Spider-Man – March 26th


By far, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is who I have drawn the most, and who I have the largest collection of comics from. He’s had so many great artists through the years. My favorites are Todd McFarlane, John Romita (both Sr. and Jr.), John and Sal Buscema, J. Scott Campbell, and Erik Larsen.

The first Spider-Man comic I ever picked up was Spectacular Spider-Man #178 The Child Within: Part 1. My collection now holds the entire 263-issue run from 1976 to 1998. Even though I haven’t drawn many of his villains, my favorites are Kraven the Hunter, Vermin, Tombstone and The Lizard. Looks like I’m drawn to the darker, crazier ones. Coincidence? I think not! I’ll have to do some sketches on those guys at a later time. For now, here’s some Spidey. Enjoy!

I think on my next Sketch of the Day, we’ll lay down the law with some Judge Dredd! Until next time, practice, practice, wash your hands, and practice some more!

Lyle's Sketch of the Day! – Tomb Raider – March 24th

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

One of the rare times I colored a drawing!

When I was struggling with drawing women, I practiced heavily on one of my favorite video game characters, Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. I remember the sickest I ever have been was this one three-week period where I got bronchitis and was stuck at home. This also happened to be aroud when the very first Tomb Raider game came out on PlayStation, circa 1997. I binge-played for three weeks and still couldn’t beat it (the game or bronchitis!) but it was fun trying, and I was hooked. Lara became my muse for a time and a drew her a lot.

I think this is the first one I drew of her.
The only thing that separates us from animals is our ability to accessorize, and Lara has some accessories. I wanted to do just a fun “What’s in the bag” sketch of Lara’s gear.
This one started out as just a mountain scene but no mountian scene is complete without Lara Croft!
I guess this is how she got to that mountain scene earlier.
I had such high hopes for this one but it didn’t pan out the way I wanted.
Lara has outfits for all occasions.

Speaking of illnesses, please be safe out there amid this current virus problem. I wish everyone the best of happiness and health as we ride this out. If there is a silver lining, at least we can write and draw in our spare time!

The book on the right is a sketch by artist Andy Park from Top Cow back in the day when I was big into collecting. He and Michael Turner are two of the best, in my opinion, to draw Tomb Raider.

There are actually a lot more sketches of her in my sketchbook, but the others are pretty cringeworthy. After these, I worked a lot on making my scenes more dynamic and trying to use more perspective. In a couple days, I’ll share some of those I worked on with another one of my favorite muses, Spider-Man! Until then, ‘Nuff Said True Believers!

Lyle's Sketch of the Day! – The X-Men – March 22nd

The X-Men

Ah, who doesn’t love Marvel’s elite team of mutants? Er,… I mean… students from Xavier’s School of Gifted Youngsters?

I’ll admit, the movies had their hiccups. But the comics… those were always gold! I tap Jim Lee as my favorite X-Men artist and I love his drawing style. Here’s a few of my favorite X-Men drawings. I have several more I’ll share at a later date. There were some storylines I struggled to follow in the books. It was superb work, but X-Tinction Agenda and The Muir Island Saga were deep X-Men doctrine. I had to read them a few times to get a good grasp. Until then, I hope you survive the experience!

Wolverine – always a fan favorite
Storm – the mutant who never has the same hairstyle twice!
One of my early high school-era drawings, Iceman
I always enjoyed the bickering between Wolverine and Cable (before Deadpool was cool). This is another high school-era attempt at a less-than-static fight scene.
Magneto – one of my favorite of all time villains

A character I haven’t drawn yet that I really liked from the comics is GambitComics have captured the imaginations of young people the world over and are bastions of excellent art and story-telling. The X-Men captured the complications of human relationships on the pages of comics, and I loved it. Until next time, Excelsior!

Lyle's Sketch of the Day! – Batman and his Villains – March 20th

Batman and his Villains

My George Perez commissioned Batman sketch

Batman comics have always been a favorite of mine. The Caped Crusader has lasted decades, and kept readers and artists enamored since day one. I met Justice League penciller George Perez at a Comic Convention several years ago and commissioned a Batman sketch from him. He told me whenever you draw Batman, he’s known as the “Sharpie killer”, so keep a box of black markers handy! His sketch for me is shown above. It’s still one of my favorites, so I did a few of my own, as well as a couple of his villains. Enjoy!

Joker is unfinished, but the Clown Prince always has something up his sleeve.
Also unfinished, but the Joker here grew out of another idea. When I drew it, it was originally going to be someone completely different. However, it already looked like Joker so I went with it.
This one also started out as something different but this was what it turned in to. Catwoman is a fun character to draw. Her positioning is never static, so you have to find ways to contort her.
I intended to color this one, but never did.

Batman has always been a draw (pun intended!) to me because he’s a super hero without super powers. What he does have, however, is a super bank account and that makes up for a lot of shortcomings! In the comics, I’ve always preferred the darker Batman stories. I think The Long Halloween by Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb, Brian Bolland and Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and the crossover one-shots with Judge Dredd are some of my favorite Batman stories. Hush was pretty good, too, but I liked the artwork more than the story.

Cityscapes are hard to draw because they can be tedious, but they make compelling backgrounds. This one is also unfinished. Are you sensing a pattern here?

I realize this will make hard-core Batman fans mad, but I didn’t like Frank Miller’s Year One and The Dark Knight Returns. They didn’t appeal to me that much, but they are definite fan favorites. What’s your favorite Batman story arc?

Until next time, practice, practice and practice some more!

Lyle’s Sketch of the Day! – March 18th

As promised, I dug around through my portfolio from back in the day and found a couple sketch-outs of a character I made up. She has no name or backstory, just happened to come to mind. Due to work schedules, I didn’t draw anything new today, so you’ll have to settle for another archive entry from 2002.

Sharpies can be your best friend with a black costume!

For the longest time, I struggled drawing women. So, I did what every other aspiring teenage artist would do; I studied them! Medical anatomy books helped, and I also practiced in the style of a couple of my favorite comic book artists: Michael Turner, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane and J. Scott Campbell. Their figure drawings and muscle structures are superb. I learned a lot just by studying their work and seeing how they did it.

Character positioning sketch
What should her name and origin be?

Another thing that helped, especially trying to draw heroic figures both men and women, were fitness magazines. I’m sure to the Barnes and Noble clerk I looked like a pervy little creep buying women’s fitness journals, but they really were for research! I’m also not ashamed to say I made copies of some comic splash pages I liked and traced them as a training tool. It helped to condition my hand and give me a better feel for where curves and shadows should go.

What I use

A kind person sent a message asking what equipment do I use to draw. (Thanks for the question!) I use .07 and .05 lead mechanical pencils. I like Pentel, but the brand isn’t as important as feel to me. I like these mechanicals because they have metal parts and feel heavier and sturdy in my hand. For bigger marks, I use a regular #2 lead pencil, and then I have full graphite pencils for large areas. My only preferences for those are round instead of hex cut, and I prefer solid wood instead of compressed fiber.

I also do not use the erasers on any of those pencils. I use these click erasers exclusively with white refills. The red and black Rotring Tikky you see below has been with me since high school and has seen a lot of work cleaning up my mistakes. The blue one is my back-up in case ol’ “Tikky” breaks down, but she’s been going strong for almost 30 years!

For inks, I haven’t found anything I am partial to necessarily. Sharpies and their equivalents are good, but will fade and brown over time. There are specific art pens with India ink professionals use that won’t fade, but I have found many of them run out of ink quickly or dry up if you don’t use them that often. Plus, they can be expensive. For casual sketching, plain old black markers and ink suit me fine.

Until next time, practice, practice, and practice some more!

Lyle's Sketch of the Day! – Dragons – March 17th

Instead of catch of the day. See what I did there?

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a comic book artist, Ever since Middle School, I felt a draw to drawing. I’d like to think I’m pretty decent, but after visiting a few Comic Cons and meeting the people who do this for a living, well… I learned I have a long way to go. So for fun, I’ll post a couple sketches each week that just happen to come to my mind.

Today, my mind was on dragons. Don’t know why. I haven’t read or watched anything particular bringing them to the forefront. I just happen to like the overgrown lizards. Here’s a sketch I did today, just to pass some time:

Dragon sketch, 2020
The sketch of the day!

I feel much better about my abilities after drawing this one. I haven’t drawn much in years but today, the mood struck. In between writings, I’ll plan to draw a few times just to brush up on the old skills. When I dug through my archive, I found this gem from, wait for it… 17 years ago! We’ll call him a throwback dragon from 2003.

Dragon sketch, 2003

I’ll rummage through the archives and see what else I can dig up! I never learned to do any digital drawing or color. I do everything in simple pencil with a soft gum eraser and a black art pen. If I ever color any, it’s with colored pencil.

For my artistic friends: practice, practice, practice. Enjoy!