Archive for Sequential Work

Lords of the Cosmos; Page 1 – Pencils

So a broad establishing shot- the Planet Aiden- home of the action for the LORDS OF THE COSMOS and THE DISCIPLES OF UMEX.

Oddly this was harder than it looked to do, and I had to push myself to make a good composition, my original sketches were very narrow and small, just the kind of thing you would scold someone for in a basic composition class.  I think the simplicity of planets, orbits and circles tended to just blind me to how hard this was to do.  I was inspired by the old Flash Gordon comics from the 1930′s to add the “energy lines” coming in to give the idea that you the viewer are “swooping” into the action.

The moons helped build some much needed depth in conjunction with the “energy lines”

For an intro page, I think I got the point across.  Welcome to Planet Aiden!

Lords of the Cosmos Page 1 Pencils Jason Lenox


Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 22- Final Inks- FINAL PAGE & Two Versions!

The hangman’s noose ominously over the head of Jessica Belmont before her execution in 1852… Governor John Bigler later signs over the land the murders were committed over… later in 1852 constructions begins and then ends in 1854 on a new state sponsored construction project… THE SAN QUENTIN STATE PRISON- California’s oldest State Prison- which stands til this day in 2013- hello historical fiction at it’s finest and most violent- thanks to Boardwalk Empire and Gangs of New York for the inspiration for this tale of what MIGHT have been the true story of the San Quentin Prison’s murky origins!  Thanks to Elijah Holman, Jessica Belmont, The Chinaman- Xi Chou Long, El Alacran & Company and Sheriff Clyde for being such fun characters to, well… kill off violently!

From a layout standpoint, this page was totally changed from pencils #1 at the bottom that I made in January into a totally new page pencils #2.  Superstar Artist Tommy Castillo commented to me a critique I asked for at Philadelphia Wizard World a few weeks ago that the hanging was too super-hero-ish.  This combined with  a comment from another friend about “Where are the crooked politicians?” led to a new layout- less superhero hanging, more ALFRED HITCHCOCK suggested violence without showing so much in panel #1…. The third Governor of California JOHN BIGLER makes his first comic book appearance ever (as near as I can tell) …then I went to prison construction mode (with prisoners working like in the history books!) in the new panel #3.  I end with the modern prison shot in panel #4…now from the land side in version #2, not the water side like in version #1- since we never really address or look at that water/peninsula geography in the whole comic- so why now?  Exactly!  So that is a totally different shot of the jail, and that is the new and revised page 22 version #2!

This comic wasn’t going down easy at the end was it?  The last page took the longest and had two different versions, so if you have been following my posts, none of this is a surprise! 

From a technical standpoint, this was a nice portrait of Gov. Bigler signing a paper, a study in rope and two very annoying architectural renderings, so the page was less organic than the rest of the story, but very hard to pull off nonetheless.   Panel three looks like an old testament bible engraving, and I hated doing that panel, but it really worked in the end so I am glad I suffered through it.  I did less inking in the final modern page so Joe Freistuhler had more freedom to run with his only modern colored panel to pull a “Wizard of Oz” and go from sepia to full color at the last minute to show the “modern world” of 2013. 

As usual- I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below. 


The project on my end is done, all 22 pages for a full length comic with a wrap around 2 page cover!  I cant believe I’ve been drawing this for over a year now, the end of a mini era for me! Personally, this comic stands as my PhD Thesis in comics creation, but of course, I want to keep getting better.  Ill be taking a break from sequentials for a bit to do some pinups and freelance work, but of course, I’ll be back at it before you know it doing something totally different, and no doubt better than this project as I have learned SO MUCH from this process- from storytelling, to anatomy to general art skills!  Thanks to everyone who made this project possible- especially my wife Crystal Lenox and Son, Blaine Lenox, who let me have the time I needed to complete all of this work! 

Thanks, and I hope everyone checks this story out when it is 100% done and included in my next anthology- UGLI STUDIOS PRESENTS #2 later this summer!


































Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 21- Final Inks

The classic “Hero riding off into the sunset” marks the last image I’m doing of Elijah Holman for this story- great character, fun story arc.  I’ll miss the old white haired bastard with his long beard and two six guns as he leaves us passing the Lord’s judgement on the Villain, Jessica Belmont, who with a tad of exposition we show her in chains with her hair cut short looking up at the hangman’s noose that meets her on the final page after this penultimate group of images!

From a layout standpoint, this really ends up being a farewell pinup at the top of the page leading into two images at the bottom moving the story into the final phase of ending the narrative. At the same time it leads into killing the last living villain before the reveal of San Quentin Prison at the very end, it’s simple and powerful, and the image of Elijah seems very “Old Testament” in my opinion.  There isn’t a huge “explosion” with this guy at the end, and the artwork conveys that calm sense of his being and how he chooses to end the conflict that has engulfed him and his town in a non tradition “action hero” way.

From a technical standpoint, big alterations on the horse and Elijah’s anatomy from the pencils- see the changes?  And lot of tweaks on Jessica in the final two panels- from the butt and chains to the hands and especially her eyes… now they are looking up- foreshadowing a noose!.  I was happy with the back lighting on the top panel with the contours on his clothing and stippling on the horse, and really pleased with the shading on Elijah’s face.  The striped prison jumpsuit looks cool too, in my opinion, from the stippling.

On one minor note, I made her prisoner # on her shirt my Son Blaine’s birthday, so there you go little dude, an Easter Egg for you!

As usual- I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below. 

One more page to wrap- lets get it done!

Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 20- Final Inks

We see a broken Jessica Holman running to the Sheriff’s side- and she is devastated from the loss of her lover/co-conspirator.  One of the things the reader can determine is the question of her emotional state- is it based on a real connection with the dying Sheriff, or a realization her plot has failed and she will be arrested or killed?  And we see the judgement and mercy of Elijah Holman to walk away from killing a “defenseless” woman…

From a layout standpoint, overlapping elements again dominate the main panel with the huge hand of Elijah in the foreground, and the raw emotion Jessica shows next to a dying man… and the bottom panel, just conveys the death of the redeemed sheriff and Elijah follows the way of the lord- “love thy enemy” … this layout is still, on purpose, to convey a lack of action. Also I really worked to not add too much to the grass behind Jessica to let her figure dominate that space and to shade away from her, to highlight her emotion/face/rage/anger fill the reader as the POV comes from behind Elijah directed to her.

 From a technical standpoint, move Jessica’s right hand to better effect below the Sheriff’s head, and really got more solid blacks and contouring into the mix to really keep that old school engraving look together, and build some drama with my use of lights and darks.  Really pleased with the inks to build Jessica’s emotional face, and dress texture. Also note the stipling and heavy line work under the sheriff to have the blood pool overlaid with shadows to show he is a bit lifted up by Jessica’s hand.  This was an added benefit of moving her hand- see the improvement from pencils to final inks on that one element.  It really improved the figures.  Also a slight change on the Sheriff’s right arm placement, and his left hand is now in a more natural position from the original pencils to the ink- these also really improved the page as well.

As usual- I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below. 


Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 19- Final Inks

Jessica reveals that she is a stone cold killer, and makes her move to eliminate Elijah Holman once and for all, but one thing ruins her vicious strike.. the Sheriff has a conscience, and gets in the way of the bullet, saving Elijah at the price of his own life, but will it redeem the Sheriff’s soul?  Jessica has a visceral reaction to her plans unraveling…

From a layout standpoint, overlapping elements of the three principal characters dominate the main panel, and tight and gorgeous profile of a screaming Jessica.  I felt I really brought emotion to the four faces on the page.

From a technical standpoint, I used contouring to great effect with stippling as the choice of texture for flesh.  Just falling in love with my insane textures for hair, it takes a long time, but you can’t help but get lost in the long odd textures of that black hair spilling down Jessica’s shoulders!  The large change from pencils was the sheriff’s right arm placement- the gun that led into Jessica’s face was a tangent causing nightmare- so it had to go, I was pleased with the new arm/hand and lack of rifle.

For me this page was another tough challenge- it seems like the closer I get to the end the harder each step takes- I’m going to do whatever it takes to get this monster under control and finish strong!! I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below.


Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 18- Final Inks

A showdown, and a Flashback from the Sheriff- gives the reveal that Elijah Holman was a preacher before (now a skilled gunslinger), and we learn that Jessica Belmont doesn’t care- and in her words “Elijah Holman can meet Jesus!”- the last few pages lead to an explosive finish as we continue to raise the stakes!

From a layout standpoint, this page was HARD- look at the changes from pencil to final inks- added panels, extreme changes etc. etc.  but dammit- it works!  Thank god I get some great advice from people to make changes to make my work better.  The flash back middle panel serves as a stark contrast to the top and bottom.  One of the tougher pages I have done so far.

From a technical standpoint, I used alot of solid blacks – this is for the mood of this page going bad as it moves forward and to switch up the style a bit to not get too predictable- a touch of Frank Miller in the bottom panel?  It really highlights the detail work in the middle panel on both sides and acts as a solid frame for the wonderful inks in the background of Jessica at the bottom with Elijah’s dark frame all around her.  I loved the contours of the hand at the top, and the religious banned in the middle and Elijah’s hair in the foreground at the bottom.

For me this page was like a wall to get past when I pencilled it and was a barrier in the inks- It was hard, like the wall you hit creatively to get to the finish- I’m sniffing the end of the project now! I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below.

Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 17- Final Inks

Elijah- our hero- is now out of bullets, out of friends, injured and on the ropes with an enraged and armed Jessica Belmont with the Sheriff in tow.  The two plotters  having just dispatched “El Alacran” with a shotgun blast to the back,  aren’t in a forgiving mood after telling Elijah Holman to leave town, advice he told them he couldn’t follow… murderin’s still a sin….

From a layout standpoint, this page was my pinup for Jessica and Sheriff- I wanted to give them that one nice (almost) full page to really show them off.  Also to establish that Jessica was the “Gangster Bitch” and in charge of the relationship as the dominant one, and the Sheriff was the passive one following her orders as she pulls the strings over all of San Quentin.  This is also in keeping with the reveal of her as the top villain of the story- you were never quite sure until now if it was her or the Sheriff in charge.  Also, Im keeping up the theme of Elijah’s eyes being hidden, he’s building up to something that’s been bottled up- a secret perhaps?

From a technical standpoint, I had alot of fun layering and texturing Elijah in panel #1- especially the texture on the beard and gun.  The main pinup had some fun shadowing effects with the ruined building and El Alacran’s body.  I used stipling to really build out Jessica’s dress, and had fun with the skin tones on her arms, the hair texturing, and her facial features which were a struggle to get that combo of “hot” and “psycho” on a slightly off profile point of view.  Finally I was really pleased with the Sheriff- from his hands, to folds of fat on his face to the wood and metal on his double barrel shotgun.

For me this page worked from a story telling standpoint, character establishment and as a technical piece- I’ve included the pencils, line work and final inked rendered page for review and analysis below. 




Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 16- Final Inks

Page 16 leads us to the third and final act of “The Painted Ladies of San Quentin”.  An explosive re-introduction to the Sheriff and Jessica Belmont who we last saw in flashback form on page 5.  Now this page establishes how violent they are, last time their “evil acts” were shown as an aftermath- three women burning- discussion of them burning the whore house- now I wanted to show them literally cutting a hole through El Alacran by shooting him in the back, and we see it as a POV shot.  As my good friend Brian Berg said about this project this week….

Quentin Tarantino will be envious of the bloodshed”

… Indeed, we can only hope so!

And on the artistic notes from the pencilled page to the inked page- not much changed on page 16.  Of note is the highly stylized old time look of the gore, I’ve found with this particular inking style my inks make blood and guys look like an old medical drawing- which is a fun way to make a hold in a man’s gut look- so enjoy this piece as we race towards our bloody showdown and conclusion over the next 6 pages!




Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 15- Final Inks

Page 15 could be described as … “LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR” from Drowning Pool!  Four Dead Bandits laid out for you to see the bodies, and Chinaman finally gets the big send off with a shot in the back from “El Alacran”, showing his true villain’s nature.  The story is moving towards the third act and finale as the second act comes to a close.

Technique wise- I loved the geography of the bodies and characters in the long panning shot in panel #1 and it was fun to do the detail on the dead bodies panning back towards the horizon line, and of note is the small blades of grass I added to the ground elements- arms, dropped gun, shoes etc.

Correction-wise, Elijah’s hat got lowered which corrected an error and made him seem more “angry” so that was a big improvement, and I tweaked El Alacran in panels 2 & 3 from the pencils a tad.

Confession- I was happy to kill off Chinaman, I was SO TIRED of drawing that damn outfit I designed last summer- R.I.P Xi Chou Long, it’s been a great 9 months together!




Painted Ladies of San Quentin; Page 13-14- two page battle sequence

The two page fight sequence spread- from thumbnail – to pencils, to final inks.

This is the “behind the scenes” anatomy of how I made this complex two page gun and sword battle.  It really is fun to see some of the small doodles get fully rendered now after all of these months!
















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