Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Love is the Reason

I'm very excited about my latest book, “Love is the Reason” which hits stores any moment now. The story stems from an idea I had in 2004 focusing on darker romantic tales, and I spent a lot of time planning, outlining, editing, and writing it. The overlapping stories of Aubrey, Michael, Tighe and Chase allowed for foreshadowing, and incorporated recurring motifs. While I was always true to the outline, I also let the story shift organically, as characters developed. I wrote the story in as a newspaper serial; those pages had to be a bit dense to bring readers back each week (Figure 1). As a counter balance, I planned for “mood building” and “character development” moments that would be book exclusive pages, including some cinematic moments (Figure 2). Stylistically, each of the main characters was giving a slightly different “theme,” with Aubrey’s heavy blacks to Michael’s ’60s background patterns to Tighe’s zip-a-tone to Chase’s angular grays. From the start, Aubrey is set up as a dodgey character. But then I began interjecting dark and somewhat disturbing panels to tease the reader: is this foreshadowing? a flashback? a glimpse into Aubrey’s mind? (Figures 3 and 4). I even used a metaphor!—representing the fragile nature of love and relationships to blowing bubbles (Figure 5). As crazy as it may sound to some people, this is the first time I’ve ever felt like an artist. I admit I’ve told some entertaining stories in the past, but I’ve never put so much care into a project, utilizing storytelling tools in a thoughtful way. Reaction to the book so far has been positive, which really makes the last 18 months really worth it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

No hidden agenda

Historically speaking, I have a good day job @ MIT. When my old boss enticed me back to the office with a promotion, it was with a good understanding of my comics life. She even announced during an all-staff meeting, "these meetings are important... you shouldn't be doing other work—except Tim, he can sketch." I ended up with some great sketches either on meeting agendas, or directly in my sketch book. They often have lots of white out (to block out the bits of agenda I drew over). I usually glue the agenda sketches into my sketchbooks, and sometimes glue them onto pages of original art to ink, if I don't want to risk losing anything by tracing it. Turn the clock ahead a bit and I've been acting director of my deptartment since July. More work, more stress, more responsibility. Worst of all, I barely sketch during meetings anymore! As if my full attention really meant something. However, recently I was at a real yawner, and produced a handful of sketches; two are posted here. I'm not sure what the first boy is doing... leaning against a counter or bar, maybe doing a pushup. He looks a little different than my usual drawings, so I like him. Below is a sexy caveman. Regulars to my sketchblog know how much I like sexy cavemen (Gnaark of the Teen Titan entries, etc.).

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Every once in a while I do some life drawing or draw models, or coerce a friend into posing for me. Andy was gracious enough to sit in some often-needed poses for me. On the phone, texting, etc. I asked him to take his shirt off and hold it mid-way through the take-off. I was shocked to see just how wrong I had been getting it in drawing. But, I've used that sketch as reference at least twice now, most recently in "Love is the Reason." This looks very little like Andy of course. I am extrordinarily bad at drawing actual likenesses.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dana Girls

A while back, I nabbed from my parents' yard sale pile some of my sister's childhood books. Among them was a Dana Girls mystery, Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, by Carolyn Keene. Like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls were written by several different authors in formulaic adventures. The Dana Girls were fairly independent, with their sea captain uncle as their guardian. In this book, they get mixed up with Gypseys en route to Portugal. I'm a bad judge of children's literature, so take my remarks with a grain of salt. Unlike Nancy Drew, I find the Dana Girls to be pretty flat. At least, in this novel, neither girl had a distinct personality or role. I did like the interludes of history/cultural lessons of Portugal. I understand from some Portuguese friends, the information is accurate, so you get a nice little taste of Portugal in addition to a mystery that made little sense. The girls ended up in my sketchbook with an early '70s flair. I started to use blue pencil, but then finished with my new favorite sketch pencil, which is super dark and super soft and flow-y.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fish after Piotrowski (sort of)

"Crazy" Tim Piotrowski was drawing his salesman character repeatedly during SPX. I really love the way he draws the salesman, and we brainstormed the salesman's backstory. As a result, Tim drew in my sketchbook the salesman dreaming of a buxom babe. On the way home from the con, I drew the babe dreaming of the salesman.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jam sketches

Another bad habit of mine is forcing my artwork onto other people's sketches. I've done that a few times to Monica's sketches; here I've added a body to a head Monica drew, and then added a boy for her to look at (we saw this tall cute guy with a weird jacket @ TCAF, so I drew him). Next, Adam was trying to draw a guy he saw @ a coffeehouse or something. I added the annoying girlfriend, (or "she-thing" as we call the GF of a hot guy). Any time we see the girlfriend of a hot guy we think should be gay, she is universally disliked. I do like my addition to the sketch though.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Rosheen Series

From time to time, during particularly painful business meetings at work, I draw downer art. Since I am often sitting next to my colleague Rosheen, I sign them by her and hang them in my office. Everyone knows who the real artist is, of course. The best part is when Rosheen gets riled up, her voice raises about 100 octaves... it's fun to do stuff like this to provoke her. My life doesn't suck, I know that. But we all have our maudlin moments. Even my acquaintance who vehemently claims not to have such moments is victim to his bouts of dramatic self-pity and sour grapes. The sketch here is a bit unique for me... it's in ball-point pen, which I rarely write with, to say nothing of drawing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Truth and Trust

Happy Armistice Day! Perhaps the best yet, for me—I finished my latest book! "Love is the Reason" is a bit late but should be on shelves early January. Barely finished creating the PDFs for the printer, I couldn't resist starting some work on the next book. Fish-philes recognize the pair to left from "Love is the Reason" as James Michael Chase and Terry as the same guys in my unfinished 2003 OGN (published in part on the Web). I couldn't resist coloring the image, and will likely use as part of my next book, "Truth and Trust." The book will be a collection—first, I will finish the aforementioned full-color OGN as the focus. Next will be the 2009 B&W newspaper strips. Instead of doing a serialized OGN for the paper, I will focus on snipets that form a short story each quarter. This book will include fan favorite Warren in "In Boys We Trust" and the much anticipated "Truth About Gordon." I'm not completely insane—I will be taking some time to rest and think; I haven't worked at this super-aggressive pace as I have been the past 3 months since maybe 4 years ago. I'm tired! I will, however, need to start drawing for the paper again in December.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wonder Woman vs. The Phantom Nazi

It's that time of year again—the Wonder Woman Day charity auction. Last October, my entry finished 14th, beating out a number of DC and Marvel artists—including a few who have drawn her book! I colored it, added a background, and posted here (search "Wonder Woman Defeats Nazi Germany). Since I love the Golden Age Wonder Woman, I decided again to draw her for this year's auction. I created the line art of an SS officer troused up by our favorite Amazon princess (you can see the evolution process in my prior post). When I began coloring the Nazi, I decided to color his skin a ghaslty grey, and settled on a backstory for the "Phantom Nazi". You might not think he's an actual phantom... but don't forget, her lasso is magic. Keep your eye out for the answer some day. And, keep your eyes on the charity auction in a month or so from now—it's a great cause!

Evolution of a drawing

(1) Thumbnail sketch for the annual "Wonder Woman Day" charity auction.
(2) Full size sketch, partially inked one day while bored.
(3) Second draft full size sketch; I felt first draft didn't fill the space quite right.
(4) Final inked drawing; traced to Bristol board via the light table. Changed face from sketch as she looked too light-hearted for capture of a Nazi SS man.

In (2) you see a pencil sketch of a monkey, which was a bit of a joke. I'd heard the best-selling comic books have either featured Nazis or monkeys on their covers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Doctor and Donna with kitty

I started watching Doctor Who for the first time since the late '70s. A while back, I saw an ad for the new series, and thought "that looks like Catherine Tate...haha." Then, I discovered it is Catherine Tate—now the Doctor's companion "Donna Noble" for series 4. Who could not love David Tennant's intense but goofy Doctor? The ultimate sexy dork. I sketched this in Adam's sketchbook, as part of the "____ with kitty" series. It started after we saw The Incredible Hulk. There were a few "Hulk with kitty" drawings (Hulk SMASH kitty!), a "Batman with kitty," "She-Hulk with kitty" (though in that one, kitty is a buff guy wearing a muscle tee that says "kitty" on it), etc., etc. I liked my sketch of the Doctor and Donna very much, so I inked it, colored it, posted it! In hindsight, I really should have added the TARDIS. It could have filled the white space to the right of Donna. Next time—!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No. 12

I was looking for some drawings at the request of a fan looking to purchase some art. sadly, both pieces he was looking for were well integrated into my sketchbooks. But, what fun to discover the drawings I did 3 years ago of this Tomboy. I recall having ideas to do a comic with her, but like so many other projects, this sat idle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

with love

for the she-bitch from last night.

a study of Titan boys

Gearing up for a Titans fan's request, I have been sketching away, and you get to see a few. First, a standing around shot of Beast Boy, Golden Eagle, Gnaark, and Mal. Next, Robin finds a clue with Speedy and Lilith behind. Lastly, a thumbnail of a Titans beach party: Speedy tosses Kid Flash a frisbee while Gnaark noogies Robin and Golden Eagle is surfing (tough to see here). below is larger renderings of GE surfing and Speedy tossing the frisbee.

the range

My work's all fairly cartoony... rarely have I dipped into realistic or life drawing. Here's a sample range from my work from the top:
  • Straight up super-hero style Blockbuster (with Batman and Robin)
  • More Tim Fish-ized hero Cannonball from my story published by Marvel Comics
  • Classic Tim Fish cute boy
  • Stylized from my unfinished OGN
  • A hint of manga

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Goth Queen

I feel like this pin-up has been years in the making! My comics pal Lynx Delirium—and lead colorist for my YBIL book—had asked me so long ago for a pin-up of one of his characters. I agreed in my usual "I'm too busy" fashion. Then I think Lynx delayed his plans for the pin-ups, and perhaps even changed his mind which of his creations to feature. Tick the clock forward, to a request for the Goth Queen. This time, I did not hesitate with my consent, and after a spell Lynx shared the bio and design sketches with me. And—to my surprise—I actually followed thorough. And, promptly! So here we have the Goth Queen in her tattered prom dress, sitting on some grimey floor. Her legs look a little weird, but overall, I am happy with it. Lynx will color her for an upcoming publication of his. As Lynx loves to say: "Meow!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Arbeit Macht Frei

Knowing how to party on vacation, I took a day tour of Austwitz. It was a very powerful experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to go. By the end of the day, I was emotionally drained. When I got back to Krakow, I tried to read in the park. However, sitting there in the Planty with my book, all I could do was stare off into space contemplating the horror, and feeling thankful for my life and circumstances. Then I realized large very smushy spiders were crawling on me. Freaking out, I went to my tourist apartment and did a full body search, finding spiders under my shirt, and one in my underwear. I reiterate "freaking out." Perhaps a fitting end to the day?
The final sketch page has some misc. stuff... my frightening taxi experiences in Prague and Krakow, and the woman I saw in the Planty. She caught my eye because her neck was so fat. A second look showed her huge gut. But other than her fat neck and huge gut, she was not a large woman. I mean, she wasn't svelte or anything, but definitely disproportionately fat in the neck and gut areas.

Monday, June 16, 2008


By this stage of the trip, I'd spent ~ 2 weeks in Germany, 4 days in Czech Republic, and had transferred to Poland. I liked Krakow very much, but the travel was wearing on me, and you can see it in the moody sketches. On the left, "trappings" illustrating how I feel my life is boxed in by 4 key reasons. On the right is a lovely sketch I made of the Planty (green ring aroiund Krakow's medieval city center). The sketch was the inspiration for the setting of Michael's BF's lakeside cottage in CAVALCADE. The page is a TPB exclusive, so you won't see it until the book hits the shelves in December. If I'm lucky!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Statement and response

On the outskirts of Wittenberg (a university town and where Luther supposedly nailed his thesis to the door of the church, sparking the Reformation), was a seedy looking bar. No name on the establishment, but a neon beer brand logo sign; a condom machine (common for most public men's rooms in eastern Germany); metal guard door pulled down and padlocked shut. On the metal door was spray-painted a grafiti request: "HEY BOYS—FUCK OUR HOT PUSSY'S [sic]" along with a grafiti response: "NO THANKS." So, I am assuming this was a gay bar.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A better plan

Friday night, I U-Bahned down to Kreuzeberg and grabbed a quick curryworst @ Curry 36. Either I was far off the tourist track, or I did not appear too foreign, because no one approached me in English. After walking around the neighborhood and grabbing a beer @ a gay cafe, I U-Bahned over to Charlottenberg to get to the A-Trane jazz bar. Two 12 year old boys approached me in German, and were visably annoyed when I told them "Spreken sie kein Deutsche." The next day, I was back on the clock for MIT, and had an awful encounter with an alumnus. We were talking along fine, when suddenly:
Alumnus: "What are your career aspirations?"
Tim, diplomatically: "Well, I have a great job @ MIT, and I—"
Alumnus: "How old are you?"
Tim: "...38."
Of course, I have a plan, but my role is to represent the school, not myself; nor is it my place to minimize MIT with an explanation of my complex thoughts of the future. I couldn't do anything but nod my head and smile awkwardly in response. The rest of the day was a struggle to be cheerful. But, things looked up as we boarded the MS Frederic Chopin.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Comiczeichner und Künstler

Day one of my trip, I walked around Schöneberg, the goverment area, along the river Spree, through the Tiergarten, and was introduced to yummy Baumkuchen by yummy Felix. Baumkuchen is this cake-like treat that is a dough layered with chocolate and mayeb ground almonds; the layers are very fine, so it looks a bit like pinstripes. Then, it's covered with chocolate. That evening, I did a presentation @ Prinz Eisenherz to a cozy crowd. I was slightly nervous this time, and spoke a bit fast for non-native English speakers. And, I forgot to provide my handout listing the resources I spoke about. Arg! The next day, I spent some time @ the Pergamon Museum, and sketched out the cutest gay boys there.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My pretentious Euro-tour

I recently took a 3-week jaunt to Europe! About 2/3 of the trip was for my day job, and 1/3 was Tim-time. I sketched every day, but I will only share the most fun sketches with you. Oh—before you ask, I did not forget my camera as I did on my last trip (see prior sketch blog entries)! My office travel office screwed up and never bought my ticket. They had to scramble at the last minute to find an affordable ticket. The resulting itinerary sent me to Berlin via Rome. That turned out alright, as I got frisked by a very hot security guard!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Artistic eyes bigger than artistic stomach

A few months back, I was inspired to draw Leela and Frye from one of my favorite shows, Futurama. Actually drew Frye in Adam's sketchbook, and he inked it. My rendition was a bit more "Tim Fish" but Adam made him a bit more Frye. I had intented to color them, and draw all the characters from the show Fish-style. Well, above is as far as I ever got. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Johnny's Crush

The last of the G-rated sketches I scanned from my collection in Adam's sketchbooks. This one is based on a sketch Adam drew of a fellow whom Johnny (a.k.a John, a.k.a. JD) saw on the subway or maybe spoke to or something. Seemed like a hot but angry looking guy. So I gave it the ol' Tim Fish try and Adam added the thought bubble, a tormented moment of sensitive desire juxtaposed with the jock's angry body language. Johnny should have called him!

And yes, if you read between the lines above, I scanned many X-rated sketches by me from Adam's sketchbook. Adam's sketchbook is the official home of my dirty drawings.

Boy Wonder

Found this gem of mine in Adam's sketchbook. It's Robin girlishly kicking a villain (presumably), allowing us a nice view of his package. That may be unfair, since classic Robin always offers package opps with those skimpy speedos. Not sure what else I can say about this one.


Another set from 2 years ago, I think. Adam had started a series of sketches in his book: sexy tellings of myths, and sexy drawings of the Greek/Roman gods. I added three to his series, two featured above: Mercury and Apollo. Adam inked Apollo. All Adam's entries were gods in the buff, but only my rendition of Mars is naked (well... he has some armor and a helmet, but nothing protecting his wing-dang-doodle). It's only pencilled, and it really deserves to be inked (some day) as it's the best one!

Herman and Sissy

Gosh, it's been a long time since I posted to my sketch blog. I admit it's more work than I'd bargained for. But I have found a few fun older drawings I can post, but also have a number of new ones to post in the coming days. For now, here is an old drawing I did for an art fair jam comic in 2004. Page 1 was this little boy Herman balancing a ball on the tip of a triangle, about to reveal what he was constructing. My revelation on page 2 shows it's a time machine, and adds a sidekick, "Sissy." I thought I did a nice job on my page, but then a mom and child added pages 3 and 4, sending Herman back in time to a Florida Dunkin' Donuts. I was really angry.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm so comforble!

I tend to draw my racy sketches in my friend Adam's sketchbooks. The nastiest ones I sign with his name. And sometimes, I sign his best sketches with my name, so it all works out. :)

I'm told I don't draw enough women. Hence, the run of she-sketches lately (Janelle the hooker, the odd couple, now the bikini girl).

Maybe I will post some old drawings of my characters Arche-Lady, Mimi Chandler, and Simone.

Oh—that's Adam's note to himself that I sketched over, about the figure model.