Flash Gordon 3/1/1998 – Reference Pics


Reference pictures are crucial for me when drawing, especially for action shots or panels that involve a number of characters interacting. It’s the best way to get a proper feel for how figures interact.

For example, here’s the Flash Gordon page I did for March 1, 1998.

Click on images to see larger.

Now this page would have been done a couple months in advance – around Christmas/New Years. So luckily I had a number of models (in the form of in-laws at holiday get-togethers) to chose from.

Here we have my wife’s cousin Louie as Durok (the blue ape-man),
trying to blow off  Thun the Lion-man’s head – played by my wife’s nephew, Chris.


And for this shot we change it up a little with Louie as Flash Gordon, Chris reprising his role as Thun, and yours truly as Durok.

As you’ll notice, I don’t just copy the reference, but use it as a jumping off point.
This is CRUCIAL, as otherwise you get a stiff and lifeless drawing.


Speaking of which… Back when these pics were shot (late 1990s) I didn’t have access to any fancy pants digital camera that you could just take a picture then access it immediately. I took the pictures, then had to wait until the film got developed to see if my reference shots were even in the ballpark (much less in focus).

I still have that old album of Flash Gordon reference pics I took.

Lots of family got roped in to doing these over the years.
Some of the ones on the right hand side of the image shown above can be seen on a previous post: Flash Gordon 1/26/2003 – Photo Reference.

I’ll try to post more of these from time to time.
For me they’re a fun trip down memory lane…

-Jim Keefe

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For more of my work on Flash Gordon, just check out FlashGordon.com

And for those who love comic strips and can’t get enough, try out…

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Scouting Locations – Small Wonders Gift Shop

When a scene in Sally Forth calls for a specific locale (grocery store, movie theater, etcetera) I’ll often use spots around my hometown of Minneapolis for reference. Take the following…

A recent script for Sally Forth from Francesco called for me to create a store called Small Wonders, a store that resembled one of those arts & craft/greeting cards & candles stores you see in small tourist towns.

I always prefer taking my own reference pics over google images in cases like this so I can get a real feel for the set I want to use. Scouting out locations I chose one in biking distance of me called Digs Studio.

Digs – 3800 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN


Using the reference pic above, here is how Small Wonders ended up looking.

Sally Forth 9/19/2017


Digs’ owner, Katie Koster, was very generous in letting me take lots of reference pics. Invaluable for getting a good bead on the particulars of a gift shop like hers.

Front register at Digs.


And here’s Jackie’s new boss, Tashsa, with Jackie behind the counter.

Sally Forth 9/20/2017


It’s the small details that will make or break a good drawing, that’s why it’s so important for me to get the best reference I can. If something looks off, it’ll break the reader’s suspension of belief and you’ve lost them.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little behind the scenes look at the making of Sally Forth.

And if you want to know more about Digs,
check out their website at ShopDigs.com
or the Digs Facebook Page

Until next time…

-Jim Keefe

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Al Hirschfeld’s Lesser Known Brother-In-Law Al Keefefeld

This week’s Sally Forth (9/11-16) has a title panel drawn by none other than legendary off off off Broadway cartoonist Al Keefefeld (brother-in-law to Al Hirschfeld).

Coincidentally, same as Al, he also had a daughter named Nina. And as you can see by the number 7 by his signature, there are seven Ninas hidden in the line work of the drawing.
Can you spot them all?


For more on Keefefeld’s brother-in-law Al Hirschfeld,
check out Al Hirschfeld: Looking for Nina.

Also on Facebook at facebook.com/alhirschfeld

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The Homecoming

The Homecoming
Author: Archie Goodwin
Art: Al Williamson
Creepy #112 (August 1979)
Reprinted in Creepy #137 (May 1982)

This story I was fortunate enough to see the original art to when I visited Al Williamson in October of 1998. Al mentioned that Bruce Jones scripted the original concept (if I am remembering correctly), but after Al drew it he felt something was missing and shelved it. Al then talked to Archie about it and Goodwin offered to rewrite it – changing the focus and making it much darker than the original.

It is one of my favorite Goodwin/Williamson collaborations.

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Sally Forth Title Panel – 9/3/2017

Art by Jim Keefe

My daughter thought I gave today’s Sally Forth title panel a
Yellow Submarine/Pepperland sort of feel. Now when I look at it I hear “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

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Sally Forth Title Panel – 8/27/2017

Art by Jim Keefe

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The High Kings at the Cedar – August 22, 2017

Being that I am the totally unauthorized official Minneapolis artist for the famed High Kings, I thought I’d show you some art I did for their upcoming show at the Cedar Cultural Center. So first, here’s the inks.

And here it is cleaned up with type and color put in digitally.


And here’s my unabashed plug…
The High Kings
with Adam Coolong and Tony Comeau
at the Cedar Cultural Center
Tuesday, August 22, 2015 – 7:30pm
Doors Open: 7:00pm
Advance: $22.00 – Day of show: $25.00
Seated show; all ages

For tickets go to: the Cedar Cultural Center

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