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Written on June 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm, by Doug Lefler

I have no explanation or justification for this piece. Sometimes drawings just happen.

Warrior Witches, Computers and Interrupted Journies

Written on July 8, 2013 at 5:00 am, by Doug Lefler

Some drawings recently posted on




In Praise of Franklin Booth

Written on February 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm, by Doug Lefler

Artists are thieves. We see something we like and we take without remorse. If we’re clever we mix techniques stolen from different sources to make our burglary less obvious. But some masters’ techniques are so specific they cannot be disguised. In the case of Franklin Booth it is best to admit your crime and plead for leniency.

Not only did I take from Booth while inking Seven Extraordinary Things, I delighted in doing so. Booth’s distinctive style was partially a result of trying to reproduce the appearance of wood engravings with pen and ink. I will refrain from posting examples of his work here for two reasons: 1) If I don’t own the rights to something, I don’t like to post it, and 2) my own art would suffer by the direct comparison.

Elsewhere on the internet…

WWW.DOUGLEFLER.COM has been completely reworked to function as a portfolio and blog.  My Scrollon® projects will soon be receiving a new home on their own site.

Some Thoughts on Style

Written on August 10, 2010 at 9:12 pm, by Doug Lefler


When I was in High School a friend said that he had recently seen one of my drawings.  “I recognized your style,” he told me.  This caught me by surprise.  I wasn’t aware I had a style so I asked him to describe it to me.

“Oh, you know,” he replied.

I told him I didn’t.

“It’s the way you draw things.”

I asked for an example.

“Like your clouds, it looks as if you could stand on them.  Or the way you draw faces with the eyes slanted to one side, and hands that look like talons.”  He continued on, but I’ve mercifully forgotten most of it.  What he considered my “style” I considered a laundry list of my mistakes.

Webster defines style as a particular manner or technique by which something is done, created or performed.  I always assumed style had to do with the choices you made, and at that point in my artistic development I wasn’t aware of having made any.  I was trying to make figures look like they had anatomy, women look pretty and clouds look like, well — clouds.

After this conversation, I set out to develop a style.  My objective was simple.  I wanted my figures to look like a combination of Frank Frazetta and Neal Adams, but with the sense of mood and caricature Bernie Wrightson brought to his work.  I wanted my line work to have the control of Charles Dana Gibson, but the freedom of expression of Heinrich Kley.  That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

Apparently so.

Nowadays I make more choices when I draw, but I have never conscientiously chosen a style for myself.  If people can recognize my drawings I still believe it is because they have become familiar with my recurring mistakes.

(NOTE:  if you think it’s impossible to ink with the control of Gibson and the spontaneity of Kley I encourage you to look at some of the pen and ink work done by James Montgomery Flagg.)

Digital Inking Demonstration 02

Written on June 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm, by Doug Lefler

Here’s a follow up to my follow up on “My Process of Complication“.  The final version of this image can be found in “Nocturnal Battle“.

Frank Frazetta 1928 – 2010

Written on May 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm, by Doug Lefler


Like many artists of my generation I can divide my early development into two categories; before I saw my first Frank Frazetta painting, and after.  I remember the day. I was crossing the floor of the Santa Barbara Public Library near a rack of paperback novels they recently made available for check out, when Frank’s “Death Dealer” stopped me in my tracks.  I studied it in amazement. Then it occurred to me there might be other books with covers by the same artist.  I searched quickly, fearful that someone else would find them before I did. My second discovery was “The Moon Maid”, which was not only a painting of a naked woman riding on the back of a centaur (more than I could’ve hoped for already) but the story was by Edgar Rice Burroughs (my favorite author, at the time).

I checked both books out, hurried home, took out pencil and paper,  and began to copy them.  From that moment on I knew I could not be satisfied until I taught myself to draw as well as Frazetta. He had set the bar.  In my youthful optimism I sought to match him.  Thirty years later I still haven’t succeeded in this ambition, and I doubt I ever will.  But this much is certain; however well I can draw today I owe directly to Frazetta.

Frank Frazetta passed away on May 10, 2010.  There will never be another like him.

Digital Inking Demonstration 01

Written on May 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm, by Doug Lefler

As a follow up to “My Process of Complication”, here is a video showing how I ink.  Although it was recorded while I was creating a drawing of Ziggy (featured in “Nocturnal Battle“) I used a similar process for Seven Extraordinary Things.  It also demonstrates an idea I wrote about in “Rough Sketches and Rehearsals” of leaving some of the drawing to be discovered in the inking stage, so your line retains a sense of spontaneity.

My Process of Complication

Written on April 12, 2010 at 6:41 am, by Doug Lefler

When I started Seven Extraordinary Things I told myself to establish a style of drawing and inking that was simple and quick to execute.

With that in mind I kept my initial drawings uncluttered…


…my first ink lines were clean…


…and unadventurous.  So far so good.


I added blacks to separate foreground from background…


…and thought, “It might be nice to cut some detail into the black areas with an erasure tool”…


…Hmmm.  That’s fun.  Sorta like scratchboard.  Now maybe I’ll add a bit of local texture and some shading on the figures…


…ah, what the hell?  May as well put some shading in the background.


Now I’ve managed to complicate it.  This work flow quickly led me to creating panels like this:


I remember hearing someone say it takes two people to paint a picture: the artist holding the paint brush, and someone standing next to him with a stick to make him stop when the painting was finished.

Favorite Drawing Books

Written on April 1, 2010 at 6:11 am, by Doug Lefler

Here is a shelf on my bookcase with some (but not all) of my favorite drawing books:


Featured here are the Famous Artists drawing course, Composing Pictures by Donald Graham, All of Andrew Loomis’ published books, both volumes of Walt Stanchfield’s Drawn to Life, most of George Bridgman’s books, and very old and battered copy of The Art of Animal Drawing by Ken Hultgren, Animal Drawing by Charles Knight, three books by  Jack Hamm, Stephen Peck’s Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist, Anatomy A Complete Guide for Artists by Joseph Sheppard,  An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists by Fritz Schider, Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth, The Vilppu Drawing Manual, The Big Book of Drawing by J.M. Parronmón, Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill and How to Draw Trees by Henry C. Pitz.

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