Category Archives: Unseen artwork

Sketchbooks! We got Sketchbooks! Yay!

Last Friday, the school I teach at (Toronto Cartoonists Workshop) had an open house for students to come meet the instructors – which include the tremendously talented Leonard Kirk, Dave Ross, and Eric Kim amongst others.

A big part of what I teach at the school involves the rough work of comics, the layout, the thumbnail, the sketched figure on the page, and I wanted to have something to show to students that involved sketch work and ideas in progress, so they can see the more candid side of an artists life.

To that end I edited together some warm-up drawings, some rough work, some scribbles and doodles and bears (oh my!) from from a small sampling of my sketchbooks, and put them into a never-before-seen 48 page collection.

We printed up a small box of ’em to sell at the open house, and did a lovely brisk business, thank you very much…but we’ve got a handful left over.

It looks like this, with a wraparound cover.

A few of you asked me to make the book available on the blog here, and that’s what I’m doing today, but to be brutally honest, I’m not sure what the methods involved will be…Paypal?  Barter?  A pound of flesh?  I’m fairly sure we’re asking twenty dollars for the book, but my wife Keiren is by FAR, the better person to ask these vulgar details of.

I’m assuming Keiren will pop on the blog in a moment and supply some of these details below. **  If you’re reading this before she’s come on to finish this blog post, please come back in an hour or two, and it’ll all be solved.  I’m off to my bed.

**(send an email to, with your mailing address–books are $20/Cdn plus shipping. We’ll email you shipping costs, confirm purchase, send you a PayPal invoice).

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS sketchbook moment.

I'm fairly sure his legs are broken.


Don’t forget to pick up Mad Magazine this week:

Including a few pages featuring Spider-Man by Ty the Guy.

Unseen Sketchbook land. Dredd! Batman! Headless nudes!

Hey internet.  I’m actually drawing something in my lap as I type this, I’m so busy finishing up something that should have been done yesterday, but I wanted to pass along a couple of these images from sketchbooks past.

The school at which I teach (Toronto Cartoonists Workshop) is having a faculty show in a few weeks, and it’s been suggested I put together a sketchbook for the event, since I’m one of the few guys on earth who doesn’t have one available at conventions.

Wife insists we do this, I concede, and much scanning is planned.  So I’m posting a very small sample from just the first scanned book out of the twenty or thirty sketchbooks I have in my studio.   This will take time, in between my other gigs, to sort out anything worth looking in this vast wasteland of nude/figure studies and odd doodles, but I’m told someone might want to look at some of these pages, so I present a few of them before they get collected up in the book.   We’re just at the start of the winnowing process, so I have no idea whether or not any of these pages will make the final cut.

The Dredded Sketchbook begins.

From the nineties, when DC had the rights to Judge Dredd – I was working on a  Dredd pitch right around the time the series ended.  The script was written, or at least plotted, but it got stopped before any art was done.   Dredd figures abound in sketchbook pages of this period, either because I was thinking about him a lot, or because I was hoping to draw the script I was writing, I honestly can’t remember.  All my 90’s sketchbooks have Dredd pages in them somewhere.

Saw a guy wearing this on the history channel and HAD to sketch it before it left my head.  Back in the crusades, apparently, knights would wear candles on their helmets in crown formation, so they could raid the heathen locals at night, and because it was scary as fuck.   It’s not so much the sketch that pleases me about this doodle, but the idea that occurred to me as I was drawing it;  it looked like  a halo, and perhaps that was the actual purpose all along?

The typical thought stream of a sketchbook page.  I’m doing a warm up figure drawing and I see something on the history channel about hand paintings on the outside of caves being a universal image found all over the world, and I start to wonder if it began with bloody hand prints, made by early hunters, and almost without asking it to, my hand draws a sketch of a caveman killing the bunny.   Let’s hope there are no psychiatrists looking in at the blog today.

Speaking of cave-men.

Met this guy in an elevator at a Star Trek convention in Niagara Falls, sketched this in my book as soon as I sat down in the hotel room.  There was something about the crazy Klingon eyes and the double chin that made it all magical to me.

Last year for Christmas, my wife asked me to do a drawing of Batman for a neighbourhood kid as a present.  I treated the gig like any professional job and did three sketches of the idea for approval from an editor in my sketchbook.  (I think my wife stepped into the role).  My editor picked the Batman in the rain one, but I’ve really come to LOVE that dropping cape shot, I think because Batman’s mask is an almost perfect ying/yang balance of black and white in simple shapes.

Here’s the rainy shot in its final form, by the way.

So very Christmas-y.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your sketchbook BONUS moment:

Nudes and Judge Dredds.  It was bound to happen.

Unseen Mr. Freeze Cover Artwork from Gotham Adventures.

The first appearance of our villain, from 1959, by Curt Swan. He was "Mr. Zero" back then.

George Saunders: The FIRST Mr. Freeze on TV.

I got an email yesterday requesting I return to my series of never-before-seen cover sketches for my blog, and I do what I’m told, so today we look into the cover for Gotham Adventures #5, which featured the frozen monster, Victor Fries,  vs. Batman on the rocks.

Otto Preminger. Freeze #2

I normally did three cover sketches for each one we used, but this cover got up a little higher, and the one that ended up being chosen was unique for a reason I’ll get to at the end.

Eli Wallach as the sub-zero bad guy. Clearly he went through a few versions as well.

I’ll start with the three cover sketches I sent in first.  Let’s see if you can play Armchair Editor and figure out what went right or wrong with these, as we play Rejection Roulette.

Okay, not bad.  A little too symmetrical perhaps, but all the elements are there.

Pretty well the same design.  I’ll be honest, I was padding the trio of designs because I liked the third one best, and felt if the first two were essentially identical, I’d make the third one look interesting to my editor.

Now we’re talking.  The interior  story was about the TWO Mr. Freeze characters locked in a duel, and this cover told the story well.  I noted that this was my favorite, and felt the editor would agree, and off I’d go to draw it.  But the response was cold.

(I know that was unforgivable, but that’s what happens when you start to write about Mr. Freeze.)

I am to blame for all the puns.

So I did another one later that day, featuring the disembodied head-spider that Freeze was sporting at that point on the TV show.  It was creepy and the cover featured Nightwing and Batgirl, just to shake things up.

Rejected again.

So the next day, I went for a cover featuring a big action scene from the story, where Robin has to free a suffocating Batman with a baseball bat to the ice-encased head.  I tried two different angles, to give the editor a choice.  But I was sure THIS time, I’d come up with a dramatic moment and we were good to go.

This one had Freeze in it, in case there was confusion as to who was the villain.  Never mind.  They were both still rejected.

Finally the JACKPOT!  It had the spider-head Mr. Freeze thing.  It had Robin smacking Batman with a bat.  It had Nightwing and Batgirl, and it had a lovely design.  This was, by far, my favorite of the covers, and I was happy that the editor made me keep going until I had a truly memorable image.  That’s an editor’s job, to push until you hit the zone.

So I was quite surprised to see it get rejected.  Instead the editor went with:

Number Two.

This marks the ONLY time of the fifty or so covers that I worked on for Batman Adventures, where my LEAST favorite cover was chosen.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t submit a cover if I didn’t think it had merit, but this one was as close to filler as I’d ever sent in.  Still, it was fun to work on, as I was really starting to learn how to colour on a computer, and I got to choose the trade dress colours as well as the image itself.

Here’s the cover, without the logos, etc, straight from my files.

I had this up on the wall over my desk as a really nice print for about six months, because I really liked the colours.   I wish I’d gotten to do cover #7 though.  Sigh.

Ty the Guy OUT!


Choosing sketch #2 affected someone else’s life FAR FAR more than it did mine.  Meet Craig Kandiko, or at least a small part of him:

Craig is one of the biggest Batman Adventures fans out there, and he has quite a number of tats all over his body featuring artwork by Bruce Timm, myself and a few other BTAS artists.  Craig liked the image of Freeze on Gotham #5 enough to burn it into his flesh, so maybe I’m not the best judge of what makes a good cover.  You can see a little more of Craig’s ink here, where you’ll also find a link to his facebook page.

Unseen Spider-Man, and my LARGEST DRAWING EVER!!

A free sketch from a convention a few months back.

I’ve been a bad blogger this week, and haven’t posted anything since last  weekend.  It’s because I’ve been too busy MAKING comics to spend any time yakking about them for the last few days.  Finishing up my little Great Lakes Avengers  short story for an upcoming special and putting the final production together for the Holmes Inc. comic #2 (that went to the printers yesterday, and took WAY more time to get camera ready than anyone expected – follow this link to download #1 for free!) and starting my new semester of teaching at the Cartoonists Workshop, has taking me away from saying hello.  (Plus some secret Hoverboy stuff that will someday be revealed).

BUT, I came across a few unseen Spider-Man things while cleaning up the studio this week, and I got the itch to share ’em.

First up:  Some unseen Spider-Man Unlimited stuff!  YIKES!

This was promotional material from that not-well-remembered SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series from a decade ago.  This was supposed to be a Wizard cover, but even Wizard couldn’t promote that series with a straight face and the art was shrunk down and used at postage stamp size on an interior page instead of the cover.

I still have the rejected cover sketches, and rather like one or two of the other ones.

I find it interesting that the 4th cover looks very much like the composition I used years later for my HERO 100 Spider-Man entry.

It’s not the same drawing, but the idea of crawling onto the ground from a wall is the same.  I probably did it subconsciously…

Here’s something else kind of cool I found when cleaning up a bit of the studio.  (If you wonder why I’m always “cleaning up” and finding things…I’m a hoarder, and my studio spaces are giant piles of photos, paper and mess).  It’s the largest piece of artwork I’ve ever been a part of…THREE STORIES HIGH!

The 10 year old boy making a face in front of the billboard is my son Kellam, who is now taller than I am.    There were a few of these giant billboards in different cities in Canada at the turn of the century, with only two in my town of Toronto.  Oddly enough, the building this one was attached to was literally next door to the building my studio was in, at the time, though  I couldn’t see it from my window as it was on the other side.   The Spider-Man figure was made of eight huge pieces of plastic, and I very much wanted to see if YTV was willing to let me have them after the promotion was finished, but my wife talked me out of it, saying “They’d end up in our garage taking up space for no reason.”

The art is grabbed from a much more crowded piece of art, originally done for a TV guide spot ad:

Over the years I’ve been in this biz, I’ve done far more Batman, Justice League, Avengers that Spider-Man, but because of that billboard, Spider-Man was always the BIGGEST project I ever worked on!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Spider-Man moment…a little one page story I did with Dan Slott last year:

I always like the colours for this story, one of four one-pagers Dan and I did for the mini-series, AGE OF HEROES

Unseen Batman Animated Art. But NOT from Batman Adventures!

Zounds!  Can it be true?  Did I work on more than ONE incarnation of Animated Batman?

Yup.  I’ve worked on a few different animated Batmans. Long before there was Batman the Animated Series, there was the cartoon Batman commercials I did for Zellers Department stores back in the 80s.

As regular readers of this blog might know, I drew practically every frame of this commercial (and a few others), except the last few seconds with Penguin fighting off the words at the end.  Killing Joke had recently come out, and I had a Brian Bolland thing in my head (which is why Bats looks like that), mixed with my Mad Magazine/Kurtzman/Elder style at the time (which is why all the characters overact like that) ..but this isn’t what I’m talking about… I’m talking about this:

unseen Batman: Brave and the Bold comics!

When the new, animated Brave and the Bold DC series started up a while back , I wanted in, and called up DC to practically BEG them to let me draw an issue of the tie-in comic book.  I’m a bit of an animated Batman fan, you know…

and the fine folks at DC comics were kind enough to let me twist arms, threaten family members and offer to do it for free if need be.  So I got a script for an issue and started plugging away…

It was a fun tale, with damn near every guest star you could think of:  Aquaman, Green Arrow, Guy Gardner, Plastic Man, Animal Man, and a PILE of others!

…including some delightful surprise guest stars who have never been on the TV version of the show, so I had the wonderful fun of getting to design them in the new style.

I won’t tell you who the guest stars are, or show you my designs quite yet…because DC never printed this story, and in theory still MIGHT some day, and I don’t want to put out any spoilers or give away the ending.  But it’s been a couple of years since I drew this issue, and when I asked about it at the office recently, I was told they had no record of the story being drawn, or even existing….and with the new re-launch of everything DC coming up, I’m starting to believe it will never see the light of day anywhere but here.

I’m a little disappointed in that outcome, as it was a full 22 pager which I penciled and inked, and it got lost in the office shuffle somehow.    Crossed fingers, and good behavior might eventually lead to it being published, but I’m currently in a not-holding-my-breath mode, so at least I get to show off some of it here.  At least the not-ruining-the-story pages.

There’s MORE non-Dini-Verse animated Batman lying all over the house, including pages I did for the Super-Friends series like this one:

Can you figure out the awful puns that adorn this page? I'll give you a hint: The first one is "butterfly".

There’s a few of these puzzle pages, penciled, inked, lettered and coloured by me, which was a rare treat, as I usually don’t get to do that.  At least the Superfriends stuff got published, but I’ll bet none of you ever saw it.

That’s the nature of the job.  I’m just a dancer and DC calls the tune, my friend.   But at Art Land, it all eventually gets shown off.

Stay tuned for more B&B pages in the near future, more puzzle pages, and some of my super-secret animated Justice League pages from before there WAS a Justice League Adventures.  Written by Roger Stern, penciled by Me the Guy, and inked by Burchett, in a story never published in a DC comic!

Who says this isn’t the Batmanimated Age of Blogging?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Batman Brave and the Bold moment:

My first ever Deadman comic purchased by my older brother, and still in my collection...not a bad place to meet the character, eh?

Unseen Batman Gotham Adventures Artwork…Two-Face edition

Time for another installment of “How Many Cover Sketches Can be Rejected?” before we land on the right one?  Today’s contestant is Gotham Adventures #2, perhaps one of my favorite covers for a bunch of reasons.

Let’s start with the first round:

Rejected. Probably a little too complicated for an Adventures book.

For the time I was on the various Batman books, I tried to make sure all the #2 issues (including #12 and #22) were Two-Face stories.  Not just because of the obvious connection to the #2, but it allowed me to write a Two-Face story at least once a year.  Considering he’s one of the best characters in fiction, I’m no fool, and I wanted at him as much as I could.  Gotham Adventures #2 was about Harvey Dent meeting his father on the set of a live TV show, to steal his prize money and destroy his father’s life.

Rejected. Probably because it didn't give us Two-Face

That’s why there’s lotto machines in the background and money on the ground.  I was very interested in making sure BATGIRL was on the cover, since she was a new regular addition to the series at this point, I wanted to feature her as much as I could.

Rejected. Probably too passive an image.

  I usually give the editor three sketches as a rule, but all three of my first group were passed up and I was asked to do another sketch to get to the right one.  So back to the drawing board, I came up with a few more, focusing on the black and white element to the animated Two-Face design.

Going back to the big fight scene, this time with Two-Face more featured. Now we're talking....rejected.

In the same batch was the following image, which I strongly pushed to be the cover…but was leery, because it didn’t have Batman on it.  (Something I usually included in my group of sketches, as the editors often allowed it).

Despite my pushing for this one....rejected.

But I was on the right track, and this final sketch was the one that we all liked.  It still didn’t feature Batman, but it was striking enough to get that thumbs up.

Maybe it's because there's so obvious a "thumbs up" on the image itself.

Normally, I get a little testy if I have to do more than three sketches, but in this case, our fearless editor (Darren Vincenzo at this time) pushed me for the right reasons…as the final turned out GREAT.

And look, not a colour to be seen!

I LOVED that they let me play with the logo.  I loved that I was allowed to run a cover in black and white on a “kids book” which is usually VERY colourful on the cover.   And I love that it feels balanced between the black and the white, without being symmetrical.  A winner all around.

The best part was that the cover was so simple in its linework, that I penciled and inked it at print size…the size of the original sketch, in fact.  The original art for this was ten inches by seven inches…MUCH smaller than the average cover would be drawn.  Because if its tiny size, it’s one of the few Gotham Adventures covers I still own, as I can’t really sell something that’s so small to a collector.

I don’t recall why, but it’s one of the few covers I didn’t sign.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now:  Your Gotham Adventures #2 bonus moment:

When the cover ran in Previews and online, someone from the art department had added the yellow of his eye, believing that I meant for that “spot of colour” to give it extra oomph.  Fortunately, I happened to spot this before it went to print,  it went out without the yellow.


Tune in later this week, I’m itching to start showing off the goodies that are coming up in the all-new Holmes Incorporated Comic that I edit for The Toronto Cartoonist Workshop.  You can check out the early, early previews HERE.

Unseen DC: Rejected Batman And Robin Adventures #6 Covers!

Before we get to the unseen goodies from B&R Adventures #6, I have to  follow up on the LAST unseen DC post about the cover for Batman and Robin Adventures #7.  I had originally published the set of rejected cover sketches that looked like this:

Before the final one that got accepted…

And I thought that was the end of it.  But while going through the files for this week’s post about a different B&R ADVENTURES cover, I found another  rejected Ventriloquist sketch, that I’d forgotten until I saw the art today.  I really like this one.  I wonder why it got turned down.

I like the movement, the crying the gun to the puppet’s head and the basic composition.   And no, I have no idea who Eric is, and why his name’s on there.


We move onto Unseen Batman And Robin Adventures #6

For reasons not worth going into, this issue required an eighteen page rewrite over a single weekend, and that required a sleepless 72 hours, and a clever, helpful wife to get the final script to the office that Monday morning.  It’s about a newspaper tabloid that makes up a story about Batman firing Robin, and a dozen kids show up to audition for the job, one of whom gets kidnapped and held for ransom.  With all the drama,  it ended up one of my favorite issues of the run, and I always wanted to return to some of the “auditioning Robins” someday.     Here are the proud, the strong, the rejected cover sketches:

I was going for a “Silver Age” type of image here…something that Carmine Infantino or Neal Adams would have drawn in 1968….That sweep of Batman’s cape as he exits towards the reader is a little like a Neal Adams cover of that period, where Batman tells Alfred to close up the Batcave…FOREVER!

Focusing on the kidnapping element of the story.  There’s no Batman on this cover though, which may have been why it was turned down…

Hmm…needs more Robins. Rejected!

And here’s the cover that was finally chosen:

Now, here’s how much of a knob I am.  When I was drawing up the cover, I wanted to make sure the photograph of Batman and Robin looked as much like an image that was printed flat and lying on an angle, so I drew the image up properly, and figured out a grid that would allow me to transfer the image into perspective.  Oh you kids today, and your Photoshop transform commands!  Back in the day, we had to use our brains to do this stuff.  Of course, I could have just freehanded it, but I mentioned; I’m a knob.

Enough looking at rejection and misspent youth!  I have new drawings to get back to!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your bonus Unseen Batman Adventures Art:   The sign I used to tape up over our TV screen when I was out of the house during Batman time, in case one of my roommates was tempted to change the channel.

More Unseen Batman Adventures Rejected Covers!

Ol’ Batman has been hovering around my drawing board this week, as I’m doing portraits of Bob Kane and Bill Finger all day long for the Finger project.  But since I’m rummaging through the Gotham City wing of my studio anyway, I dug out some unused designs sketches for past Batman Adventures covers that were cruelly rejected…and since I’ve been encouraged to toss these unseen bits of nonsense up on the blog in the past, I’m going to do just that, because that’s my way.   If people like it, this may be the first of many such posts.

These thumbnails were for Batman And Robin Adventures #7.   I don’t recall why these first two ideas were turned back.  It might be that Batman was too small on either of them…

Or it might have been the live gunfire, or smoking guns on the covers, I do recall that the policy about guns was pretty strict.

Unless you were pointing the gun at a wooden puppet, then it was okay.  Still they rejected this one as well, but I do recall that I was encouraged to go back to this theme and try another angle of this idea.  Aiming the gun at the puppet was fine.

The final sketch that was approved.  This might have been the first of many covers editor Scott Peterson said yes to, that didn’t have Batman on them at all.  As I look over the run of many dozens of issues, it’s odd how many don’t have Batman on the cover.   I love that openness in an editor.

You’ll notice how little changed from the original little sketch to the final art.  I was so happy with the big bold lines on the sketch (originally three and half inches by five inches high!), that I blew it up and light-tabled it at 10 x 15.   That was a pretty common trick for me, to keep the simple look of the designs.

So do you agree with the editor?  Did we do the right one?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS rejected cover moment:

This is the ORIGINAL cover to Amazing Fantasy #15, drawn by Steven Ditko, and rejected by Stan Lee, who asked Jack Kirby to re-design the image into the famous cover we know today.   Which looks like this:

…in case you’ve never seen it.

The Warm-Up Sketch

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a fellow cartoonist/illustrator, and we got to asking each other what we did for warm up sketches…those doodles you do on a piece of scrap paper, or in a sketch book, to start off your day of drawing.  You’ll never get a decent drawing first thing in the morning, so illustrators work out the kinks for twenty minutes or so with indulgent exercises to get the brain started.  In my case, about fifty per cent of these are just anatomical studies of some part of the body I was having trouble doing the day before.  The page above followed a day when I felt I wasn’t getting hands just right, so I built a bunch from the ground up the next morning, starting with skeletal forms, and tossing skin and muscles on.

Some days I doodle heads, constructing from scratch to remind myself of the basic maps.

And some days I’ll whip down drawings of the characters I’m doing that day as fast as possible, to reduce their forms and costumes to rote shapes.  These character sketches are never allowed to go for more than two or three minutes, five at the most.

I think I might have penciled this in five minutes, and inked it in five, as I was doing the pages for Spider-Man 657 a couple of weeks back, so it's a long sustained piece as far as sketch-book stuff is concerned.

Here’s one that came out of my hand in under two minutes for a day I was working on a Green Lantern spoof for a Mad Magazine thing (a Fundalini Page thing that never came  out, unfortunately).  I really do time them to be under two minutes as an exercise.

I have about fifteen books just filled with this sort of nonsense.   It’s part of the detritus that accumulates when you doodle for a living.   There’s one or two in the huge pile that are actually worth seeing, and I’ll probably find ’em and scan them for the blog someday.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS sketch-book page:  I was re-reading a Golden Age Marvel collection and came across this actual-not-making-him-up 40s Timely character about six months ago, and couldn’t help sketching him as my warm up that day…

There's a twelve issue mini-series in this guy...if only I had the time.

Baby Monkey Going Backwards on a Pig!

Family week continues, as we go from the sadness of the blog entry written by my son, to the joy of monkeys and pigs and my daughter.

It was my daughter Kate’s tenth birthday party last week.  She made the most profoundly wonderful statement a few days previous to the celebration and said that she couldn’t think of anything to ask for as a present, as she already had everything she wanted in the world. ( Of course, she scored pretty big on Christmas, a mere seven weeks before her birthday, with a new microphone, a guitar amp and pick-up for her acoustic, and a bunch of Taylor Swift CDs, so she’s got a point about having all the material stuff she wants in the world, she’s not THAT profound yet.)

She did have one suggestion for a present though.  A baby monkey riding backwards on a pig.  She asked for the monkey and pig a number of times.

This wasn’t a random suggestion on her part.  It’s  a video by Parry Grip on youtube that was hands-down, Kate’s favorite song last month.  She sang it a hundred times a day for a while.  If you’re willing to have this mind-bogglingly catchy tune infest your brain, click the video below:  (Be warned, it’s like a virus.)

There, that song is never going to leave you now.  It’s part of your DNA.  Your children will be born singing it.  But in the meantime, I found out how to get a present for the girl who has everything, and it only takes a lump of clay, a plastic fork (as my sculpting tool) and an hour or so the night before her birthday.

Get on that pig and hold on tight!

Ty the Dad Guy OUT!

Here now, your baby monkey on a pig moment of the day:


The SLIGHTLY toothless grin of a happy ten year old girl.


Tomorrow: I talk about Johnny Canuck (Northern Guard) #2 which is finally, actually OUT IN STORES!   And you get a preview of its beautiful art by David J. Cutler and KT Smith!

And later this week:  I get to show off a little project I just did with Roy Thomas that’s the most fun thing I’ve done all month (and I’m a married man).  Of course, it’s only March the 2nd, so there’s time to amend that list if my wife is watching…

Ty the Guy Again OUT!