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The Drawing Board
Interested in illustration? Drawing images that accompany news stories is a privilege that news illustrator Thomas Marsh relishes. Here’s a chance to look over his shoulder and see how he does it.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I could have focused on the errors of the past but lets face it, those things are well documented enough.

Yep, enough ... is enough

So I decided to get positive and literally leave the gridiron sins of the past behind.

This was obviously a straightforward composition. I liked the garbage can idea where the multiple team problems could be identified cleanly and symbolically trashed. I had another idea of Marco crossing a bridge into conference play but abandoned it cause the composition with the trash can would be less cohesive.

Hands are such an important part of these drawings that I pay special attention to their attitude.
I reworked the hands a few times to be sure I had the dusting off gesture right. I keep a mirror near my drawing table so I can position my reflected hands the way I want and ensure what I draw is anatomically correct and the gesture is expressive enough.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hot feet


Since Marshall has been having trouble defending the run, I initially thought of having Marco strattling the mouth of a giant meatgrinder. You know the kind your grandmother used when making ham salad for a picnic. I had the Bearcat ready at the handle waiting for Marco to fall in. However, I decided this was a bit too gruesome -- especially after seeing the movie "Hostel"
-- I won't be doing anything that moderately graphic anytime soon.

This was my other idea which is more pro-active for Marco. Trying to avoid getting chewed up by the Bearcats is not Marshall's goal, but trying to stymie the Cincinnati ground game is.

In doing this one, I was reminded of those weekend assignments I'd get from my college drawing class when the instructor wanted us to draw ten things from the dormroom -- an assignment that invariably included drawing a towel, a clock radio and either my or my roommate's shoes. (I still have a cowboy boot in a sketchbook somewhere.) I didn't want to put too much detail in the shoes as it is only secondary in importance to what Marco is doing to the Bearcat -- a little fire by friction. Ahh! Those Boy Scout days!

Monday, September 17, 2007

My reaction to New Hampshire


What the … Did we really watch that happen? It’s taken a while for that performance to sink in. The morning after, reading all the perspectives as folks are taking shots and blaming everything imaginable.
There’s not a huge difference between the top tiers of the “Conference Formerly Know As I-AA” and major college division teams who are not nationally ranked. But I had hoped for the kind of defense that played the #3 team in the nation to show up.

So what do we do now?
Well, to start with I’m not going to use this ruff for anything other than a reminder. Our focus this week is on the Bearcats of Cincinnati. For those of you unfamiliar, Marshall dropped the Bearcats in the 2000 Motor City Bowl. Four years later, Cincy returned the favor and ground out a decisive 32-14 win in the Fort Worth Bowl. Since then Marshall has had significant growing pains since joining CUSA although with their level of youth and talent, have a potentially bright future. Cincinnati is expected to finish 5th in the Big East Conference.

Whoop-de-do? Well, considering the four teams ahead of Cincy are #5 WVU, #11 Rutgers, #18 Louisville and #23 South Florida.

Still Whoop-De-Do? OK consider this. In its three games, the Bearcats have scored an average of 46.7 points and given up a TOTAL of 16 points (yeah, that’s total — not average.) They have collected 53 Top 25 votes for themselves as well.

Marshall, although it woke up offensively to put up 35 points in what could be conceivably called ‘garbage time,’ the defense has given up and average of 42.3 points per game.

The drawing this week isn’t going to be spilling over with a confident Marco this week. Not until this team can put together a complete game on both sides of the ball.

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Good luck against New Hampshire

Playing to the level of competition


Marshall has always seemed to play to the perceived level of competition. It has historically played hard against big name teams, and a bit too soft against teams one would think they can put away in the first half. These teams wind up hanging around deep into the third quarter — requiring the Herd getting back on track in order to pull the game out of the fire.
Remember in 1998 when the Herd was looking for a bowl berth against Louisville and the final game was a “bunny” contest against the I-AA Wofford Terriers? Well, Marshall scored all their points in the first half, then subsequently fell asleep while the ferocious Terriers ran up and down the field — scoring 20 unanswered points. Only a missed Wofford field goal in the final minute preserved Marshall’s win and bowl berth. How about 2005 when William and Mary made it a contest deep into the third quarter — leading the Herd 24—23? Again, Marshall had to fish out a 36 — 24 victory.

So there's the theme. I'd thought about doing a historical perspective with mascots from teams who gave Marshall problems in the past, but abandoned that idea as the composition would get too busy and confusing. So I'm keeping it simple with the task at hand.

Going with a weight-lifting theme (not as overused as the boxer thing) yeah but still cliche'.
Despite that, it gives a fun opportunity with facial expressions. An alarmed, uncertain Marco lifting a bar laden with dispassionate Wildcats. (see Wildcat below). I lowered the position of the bar from the earlier sketch as Marco is supposed to be having difficulty with the lift. Otherwise, it looked like he pretty much had it up. Getting the straining body English will need to be emphasized too.
Next, how to get the Wildcat balanced on the bar. I was going to just have them sit there, but decided it would be more visually fun to wrap them in such a way that would be both logical and relatively more comfortable if one was actually going to do it. At first having the legs over the bar as well, but realistically, this would have the Wildcat hanging to far back that you couldn't see his face. So here the bar is under the arms, and he's locked his hands together under his legs. Its simple, thoughtful, disciplined and methodical way to hang on the bar — dangerous characteristics when applied to a football team.

I may also make some reference to Marshall's two earlier games against Miami and WVU.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Festivals abound in the Tri-State


Hey folks,
Been real busy putting together this caricature for our Entertainment section, that I haven’t had much time to get to this week’s gridiron challenge of New Hampshire. At some point I’ll explain a bit of my caricature process — which can be generally more time consuming cause getting a good exaggerated likeness is the key.

I’ll get back with you tomorrow over the New Hampshire challenge but generally it will have something to do with the Herd taking on a much easier opponent, but needing not to take them too lightly as they have struggled in the past in games they should win easily.

In the meantime, enjoy the festivals!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Final vs. WVU


This worked pretty well. I enlarged the Mountaineer and made him a bit more menacing. Also, repositioned the knife in Marcos hand to enhance the cutting rope action and also to avoid making him look like he was picking his teeth with the thing.

Be nice, be safe and enjoy the game folks!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Working out two ideas


I planned to use something to do with coal and the fact that WVU has a possibly unstoppable offense. Also, include the aspect that the Herd could be its own worst enemy in regards to turnovers and mistakes. I was toying with the idea of the Mountaineer in a high-speed train, but abandoned that idea as I basically would be confining the character in a box — compositionally boring. So I went back to my earlier idea of the Mountaineer in a coal car, literally splicing my earlier rough together with my most recent rough. The composition works well, and I’ll have space for the header and copy — which the original title of “Runaway Train,” obviously will need to be reworked.

Stay tuned …

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Busy week leading up to WVU visit


There’s plenty going on to prepare for Saturday’s unprecedented (since 1915) visit from our mountain brethren from the North. After both teams posted very different results from last Saturday, I have more idea options to play with. And as I mentioned before, how much I’d like to avoid the overly used ‘showdown’ motif, I still like using the team mascots as there’s so much personality that you can have fun with.

So I’ve got uhh … the Friends of Coal Bowl — O.K. something with coal, maybe a coal car … and WVU scored 62 points last week ... O.K. they have a powerful offense … and Marshall shot themselves repeatedly in the foot last week … O.K. I see Marco pointing a pistol … wait a minute, this could be too violent.

Stay tuned folks!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Eye of the Storm


To firm-up the concept of a huge hurricane over the earth, I added the shape of Florida at the last minute. Otherwise, it was looking like a mere battle in the clouds.