Evolution of a Geek: A Journey Through My Old Sketchbooks

A week ago when I went home for Thanksgiving, I ended up rooting around in my old toy box and came back with a post I had a lot of fun making. But that wasn’t the only group of memories I unearthed while I was there.

I found my old sketchbooks, nearly a dozen of them filled with my past creations. It’s another interesting look into the psychology of my geekdom that has led me to this career, and I felt a follow up post was in order. One with lots, lots more pictures.

I went through and photographed what I thought were the best, worst or weirdest examples of my own art. They start from when I was probably about six or seven, and end a decade ago when I stopped drawing recreationally for good. Commentary and lots of pictures, both awesome and embarrassing, follow.

I used to try and redesign existing characters into more “badass” versions of themselves. Here’s “cool Mario,” which involves sunglasses, cleats and lots of straps.

Here’s redesigned Thor which involves shoulders that are almost as long as he is tall.

My attempt at a new version of Mega Man, despite playing the game a grand total of five times. I think he’s having joint problems judging by his knees.

For a long period of time, I got really into shoe design. I’ve no idea why. Nike was my brand of choice.


More lines = more muscles. Good lord, look at that anatomy.

My sci-fi space fighter. Has “lazers” and the ever-deadly “Krillon Rockets” and “Syro Bombs.”

Those hands…

I don’t even know.


Alright, now we’re moving on to a few years later. This is “badass Ash,” from the height of my Pokemon years. You can tell he’s badass because his name has an anarchy symbol in it and he’s wearing an upside down and backwards visor.

And a little badass Misty to boot. Love those capris.


Assorted sci-fi weaponry. I wanted to do video game design back then.

Space armor man. This was back when it was cool to part your hair in the middle.

I’m not sure who this guy is, but he’s pretty cool.

I went through a phase where I graduated to trying to draw badass versions of myself, rather than pop culture characters. This was me as captain of the soccer team. Sort of sad, looking back, but Junior High/early High School wasn’t exactly the most fun time for me. I did actually play soccer though.

Another taller version of me. I did have that shirt and haircut, but that’s about it.

Early experiments in the “female form.” Some imagined girl I wished I could be dating.

Another effort. Legs at least four feet long here.

Alright, back to badass stuff. Graduated to having slightly more control over the anatomy of my characters. I always like this dude. I imagined him to be a government agent for some covert branch whose symbol was the crosshairs on his chest. He’s an updated version of the blue and silver guy earlier.

This was the guy’s female counterpart. If you’ve read my book, this was probably the first iteration of Asha, looking back. She’s been a character in my mind for a long, long time I guess.

Pseudo Asha in action. I think I stole this pose from a Lara Croft comic.

I was into aftermarket car design for a while after watching the first Fast and the Furious. Thankfully I avoided buying a bodykit for my Ford Focus.

Rear view of the awesomeness.

An attempt at designing a Soul Calibur character based on me.

Designing my own Pokemon. An psychic Eevee evolution before Nintendo actually made one themselves. Mine’s better.

What if Charizard could evolve again? RAWRRRRR SIX WINGS AND STILL CAN’T FLY!

Redesigning TIE fighters.

And lightsabers. See the light-nunchucks? Amazing.

Hard to see, but this is when I graduated to loving ACTUAL guns, not sci-fi ones of my own creation. If Call of Duty had been around when I was a kid, it probably would have been my favorite game of all time.

So I had an idea that was a take on high school class wars. It was a sci-fi story where preppy Abercrombie kids were pitted against skaters in deadly combat. At the time, I was a skater, but by the time I finished drawing the idea, I actually worked at Abercrombie. Such a sellout.

Skater kid. Volcom armor, silenced Uzi, tiny head. They would fight in a walled in jungle arena to the death at the behest of a war-torn United States. This was years before The Hunger Games mind you.

The skaters were more samurai-like. This one is wearing the ZERO skull as a mask and has his board as a shield.

Amphibious F.I.T.C.H. assault trooper.

Imagine the possibilities of fighting with a bladed skateboard.

I got into professional wrestling for a spell. This was my create-a-fighter “Rival.” Obviously very “Neo” inspired.

My friends and I’s imagined rock band. JNCO jeans and wallet chains.

Designing tanks after playing Command and Conquer.

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  1. “JNCO jeans and wallet chains”

    1998 was a weird time for us all…

    You’re stuff is pretty good, it’s too bad you gave up on it. I kinda grew out of drawing for the same reasons too. I really liked coming up with my own designs, but was never good at anything but a stationary shot of the character standing and looking off to the side. Eventually I stopped finishing anything and just sketch designs out, thinking I’ll get back to them at some point, but deep down knowing that I most likely will not.

    A few months ago I threw out boxes of old sketches and designs from my parents house and now I’m feeling pretty nostalgic and regretful about it.

  2. “You can tell he’s badass because his name has an anarchy symbol in it and he’s wearing an upside down and backwards visor.” OBVIOUSLY.

    The guy who’s cool but you don’t know who he is—could he be a badass medievalish Spawn? His cape and mask seem about right. I remember when Spawn was pretty much everywhere.

    This and your toy post are both awesome.

  3. JNCO jeans and wallet chains. hahahaha In my mind its still and always been 1998! jk

    Those sketches and drawings were awesome. I sill got my old books in the basement somewhere. Created a whole comic book universe of superheroes to rival DC and Marvel.

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