By kswann

My name’s Kelly Swann, and I’m drawing and writing a graphic novel about the Second World War .

I graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2007 with a degree in Studio Arts, graphic design emphasis, and have been working as a graphic designer at a newspaper since June of 2007.  Since I can remember though I’ve been drawing, and since around 7th grade I’ve been drawing soldiers.  My friends have been amused with this fact, as what is a twenty-something woman doing drawing battle-weary soldiers from over sixty years ago?  I’ve decided to use this; since many people don’t know much about WWII except what they’ve learned in history class and a couple of movies, I have decided to continue drawing the soldiers but with a story and attempt to show things about the war which many people have forgotten or never knew.  I enjoy reading and have studied history independently, learning from the masters such as Ernie Pyle and Bill Mauldin, and want to share what I’ve learned with my friends and anybody else who’d be interested.

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99 Responses to “About Me”


  1. 1 VAN
    3 May 2009 at 2:57 am

    Nice work man

  2. 2 kswann
    9 May 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks! You too!

  3. 10 June 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Kawann.. I am responding because of 2 reasons. (1) I am writing a blog of my WWII experience and also entering photos that I took while in the Army Air Force. (2) Your description of your childhood drawings, reminds me of my 7 year old grandson, who is actively drawing cartoons and now graduatung into robots. Whenever we go out to visit or to dine, his parents supply him with drawing paper and pencil or markers. He is constantly drawing. Were you that way also? IR

  4. 4 kswann
    10 June 2009 at 6:44 pm

    (1) That sounds very interesting; what’s your website’s web address? When were you in?
    (2) Ooooh yes. And when I’m at a restaurant without a sketchbook and they have paper napkins I often draw on them too. I’m not often bored in lines or waiting for a movie to start or wherever because with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, I’ve got something productive to do. Every artist I know does that, keeps drawing and drawing, so it’s good he draws so much, even if he doesn’t draw professionally later on. It’s also fun to look at one’s progress from year to year.

  5. 17 June 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Hello.

    I saw this while searching google images for eye photo references to draw soldiers.

    But anyway.. I am a WW2 reenactor and amateur filmmaker who started out drawing ww2 soldiers. So I think thats probably what fueled my interest “obscesion” with the wartime.

    I still draw and a while back i tried to do a graphic novel. Your page has inspried me to try again!!! I love your pictures and i have the same style. (Sorta- i wont copya!!!)

    My 3rd grade teacher always told me not to make feather marks with pencil while drawing.. only to draw straight connecting lines. But obviously it works for what you do!!!!

    Thanks a bunch.

    Sam

  6. 6 kswann
    19 June 2009 at 12:03 am

    Glad you’ve been inspired to work on the graphic novel again! They are quite an undertaking, aren’t they? But I hope to see yours out about the same time mine comes out. That you’re a WWII reenactor is awesome, you probably know a whole lot about the equipment as you’ve actually seen and been around the helmets and uniforms and weapons and all.

    And your 3rd grade teacher was probably right to some extent, but I guess whatever works for a person becomes their style, whether correct or not. Every year I draw my pictures seem to get a little better, that’s probably true for you too.

    KSwann

  7. 19 June 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Oh yes they are. I think ive finished only one about d-day but the drawings were just quick sketches and teh dialague horrible. Luckily I found a old Invasion of Poland by the German P.O.V. script I had done for a short film I wanted to produce but couldnt to make as the story for my graphic novel. It’ll be called Fall Weiss… which is the German Operation name for the Invasion of Poland called Case White.

    I see what you mean about the teacher being correct in away. Because it does lead to overly sketchy looking drawings I think.

    I saw your drawings were you did a black adn white deal. Did you just use a sharpie for the black??

    Sorry to write so much but when is yours comin out and how do I make one of these accounts showing my art???

    Sam

  8. 8 kswann
    20 June 2009 at 9:10 am

    Fall Weiss sounds like a great idea for a graphic novel; that’s one view (of many I’m sure) of the war that I’m not really familiar with but interested in.

    I’ve been working with ball point pens and “Staedtler” brand pens. I’ve found sharpies don’t give me the solid black color I want in those kind of black and white drawings.

    I’m not sure when my graphic novel’s coming out, I’m still writing and drawing it, but hopefully in the next couple of years… And to get an account just go to http://www.wordpress.com and click on the link near the top (on the header I think) that says to sign up now and follow the directions. It might be a little confusing but the important things are to choose a name for the site, a background/design, and to add new posts. It’s free unless you choose certain features. When you get an account definitely let me know the website address so I can see your work.

    KSwann

  9. 21 June 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I will let you know when I finally post something. Right now I am sketchin characters faces and stuff for reference. Theres only 4 main characters.. but might make it 5 or 6… so it wont take toooo long.

    also since I am a German reenactor the GErman stuff I can remember easily. It is the Polish Gear that will take some time to remember.

    Also, were can I find those pens???? Thanks.

    Sam

  10. 11 kswann
    21 June 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Four to six main characters is a good size. And your website looks really good, just looking forward to seeing your work on it!

    I think you can find those pens at just about any art or craft store, or if they don’t have that brand they’d have something good. That brand does have a website at http://www.staedtler.com though I haven’t used it to buy any pens from them.

  11. 12 fallweiss
    24 June 2009 at 7:59 am

    Well i guess its gonna be 4.

    As of now Im working on character faces and such. Im not a pro at it but Im trying to find the style that would be most comfortable for me. Any ideas how to do this? Just play around im guessin?

  12. 13 kswann
    24 June 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Yeah, just experiment with different pens and pencils and charcoal and pen or brush and ink, some people even use the computer, there’s a million different styles from which to choose. But I’m trying to go with something practical that won’t take me tooooo long to do, is clear enough, but looks good too. Now coming up with characters is fun, Will Eisner talked about using animal faces as characters with matching animal characteristics, whereas other people use different actors or people they know as the basis for different characters. I’ve got my main characters in my head but picking the right style with which to portray them is tricky.

  13. 14 Jeffrey
    24 June 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Hello kelly, I’m a 14 year old student and I would like you to know that I hope to be atleast almost as good as you. I love ALL of your work from your most crude skech to your most detailed drawing! Their all wonderfull. When I saw your drawings I couldn’t help trying to copy them! they didn’t turn out half bad. (P.S. Sorry if you don’t like people copying you)

  14. 15 kswann
    24 June 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Glad you like them!

    When I see work that I like, I often “copy” it as well to see what that artist did. We would do that in art class sometimes to check out different techniques. A few artists whose work I especially respect include Kerr Eby (http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/artist/e/eby/eby4.htm for some of his work), Tom Lea (http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/art/holdings/texas/lea/ for some of his work), Howard Brodie (http://www.pbs.org/theydrewfire/artists/brodie.html for some of his work) and Bill Mauldin (http://www.stripes.com/02/nov02/mauldin/ for some of his work).

    Keep up drawing!

  15. 16 Jeffrey
    25 June 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks i definately will! Hope to see more of your work real soon 🙂

  16. 17 Jeffrey
    28 June 2009 at 5:27 pm

    By the way, If you enjoy reading other graphic novels then I suggest William A. Folley Jr.’s “visions from a fox hole” Its a pretty good read!

  17. 18 kswann
    30 June 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion Jeffrey! I’ve seen that book in bookstores, and have picked it up and looked through it and found in interesting, but I haven’t bought it or borrowed it from the library and read it yet, but I guess I will very soon now. His drawings from the war are quite haunting.

  18. 19 Jeffrey
    1 July 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Yes I do agree his images do have a bit of creepy vibe to them it makes you really think about what those men went thru.

  19. 20 Ian
    4 July 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Hey Kelly,
    Been looking at your drawings again– great work. Love the guy’s resting in the trench. Very comic book-y. For what it’s worth, my dad was also very impressed.

    -Ian

  20. 21 fallweiss
    31 July 2009 at 8:27 pm

    http://thatguy1992.deviantart.com/art/Assistant-MG-Gunner-1939-131550468

    heres probably the best sketch/ drawing/ whatever ive done. im not sure how to post pictures on this so i found a art website to post them on….

    Sam

  21. 22 kswann
    1 August 2009 at 2:37 pm

    That’s good! What media did you use? That would be a great style for a comic book, and I like his gesture. To post images here you can click on the “New Post” link at the top of the page and fill out the info, clicking on the star-looking symbol next to the words “Upload/Insert” to upload your image, then make sure you click the “Insert into Post” button at the bottom of that window, I was confused about that for a while myself. That takes you out of that window and back to the main new post window, and you hit the “Publish” button on the right and it goes on your site. I don’t know if that helps clarify anything but if you have any specific questions about how to do that I’ll do my best to try and help. I like this drawing and I’m looking forward to seeing more…

  22. 23 fallweiss
    1 August 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I just used a mechanical pencil and a regular pencil to do that one. The mechanical to do the details and the other pencil to do the shading.

    Im going to post a picture I did last night… I think you will like it even more than the one I showed you. It is now the best one ive done.

    And thanks for the instruction… im sure they will help!

  23. 24 fallweiss
    1 August 2009 at 4:14 pm

    O.K.!!! i put 2 pictures in there. check it out!

  24. 25 jeffrey
    7 August 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Somthing has been buging me. When your book is finished are u still gonna post drawings?

  25. 26 kswann
    7 August 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Of course I’ll still post drawings, at least I’m pretty sure I will; I’ve been drawing soldiers most of my life and probably always will so I might as well keep posting them. But the book won’t be done real soon, as it’s kind of a long book and I’m still writing it, and not only is there more writing to do, but of course also layout work, drawing, inking, and even a few more character designs, so you’ll see a lot of drawings before it’s done, and probably a lot afterwards if you’re still viewing my site by then. Have you been drawing anything interesting lately?

  26. 27 jeffrey
    8 August 2009 at 6:21 am

    I try to get at least 3 drawings done every week. And my best the week was a medidic shooting his pistol while tending to his wounded friend. I’d post it somware but I have no idea how to get it from paper,to computer,to a web site

  27. 28 kswann
    9 August 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I use a scanner to get the pictures on the computer, but a digital camera would work as well, and then as to putting an image from the computer to a website, that’s simple enough, but of course you’d need a website first, either a blog or your own website.

  28. 14 September 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Wonderful work!

    Please contact me from our Customer Support page on our website.

  29. 31 G.I. Joe
    2 November 2009 at 11:35 am

    Kelly: I have written a WWII novel that is near the publication process.
    (My novel may be published within the next nine(9)months.)I have what I think
    is a great idea for a cover: a collage of characters and action scenes from
    the book. I would like to create my masterpiece and present it to the Art Editor
    when my manuscript reaches that stage and perhaps persuade him/her to use my idea
    instead of whatever their’s may be. Unfortunately, I stopped drawing many, many
    years ago, and my attempts to sketch my ideas are grotesque! So, I have been trying
    to collect photos of soldiers, tanks, planes, ect., to do a collage, but I am
    having difficulty finding all the pieces I need. I’ve also though about hiring an
    an artist to sketch my vision for me. Kelly, would you be able to help me in any way?

  30. 32 kswann
    2 November 2009 at 10:08 pm

    G.I. Joe: I’d be very happy to help and sketch your vision for you. From your comment here I have your email address; can I send you an email from my email address and we can talk about it via email?

  31. 33 Dov
    21 March 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Hey Kelly, my name is Dov Kaufmann, I’m a senior at Princeton University, working on a collection of short stories about soldiers in the Israeli army. I was struck by the quality of your sketches and am wondering if there is any chance you’d be willing to help me with a front-cover sketch. I have the rest of the cover designed, and am only missing this main sketch, which hopefully will be of a bunch of soldiers, some with guns, others with pencils or anything else office related. Please feel free to email me. I completely understand if you don’t have time or are otherwise uninterested, in which case I just want to say again that I really admire your work.

  32. 34 Gene
    28 March 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I have a question concerning the possible use of one of your drawings. I would need to print only a small number of prints, probably less than 10 or no more than 20. Please contact me for an explanation of my application. I would very much appreciate hearing from you.

    Gene

  33. 28 October 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Hello! Love your drawings—I especially like the way the men souch and lean. That sounds silly but I swear people look different when doing the same things today.

    BTW, I rent WWII uniforms and gear as props for films/plays. I’d be happy to supply you, for free via email any photographs of gear you need or answer questions about who would wear what and when. I also have a number of staged pictures I’ve taken, or set up, of guys as WWII GI’s for self promotion if you’d like to see those. Like you, I base my stuff off original photos of GI’s in the field, Bill Mauldin and other combat artist works, and the writings of Ernie Pyle. Many who reenact kind of go for a fantasy WWII half based on what they wanted it to be and the other half on the 80’s/90’s/modern Army. I wasn’t there, but I know anytime men spend living in holes in the ground for weeks at a time they are going to be filthy, tired, gritty, and mean.

    Email me at ringneck@psci.net if you want any pictures or help wiht gear. Just put WWII Pictures in the subject line. Just give me a credit in your novel when you publish it.

    BradLaGrange

  34. 28 October 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Addendum to the above: The more I look at your work I’d like to ask if you’d be interested in an occasional small job sketching costume design for WWII and Vietnam projects I work on. Paying gigs, I MAY be able to get you a credit (not up to me)some of hte time too.

    In addition to that would you be interested in a longer/larger project? Use the above email addy and I’ll give you the details.

    BradLaGrange

  35. 37 Sam Patterson
    29 October 2010 at 4:34 am

    In response to BradLaGrange:

    Sir,

    I don’t know where you got your facts about reenactors, but the ones I know (myself included) research their impression heavily. We arent a bunch of fantasy/ 80’s 90’s reenactors.

    Sam

  36. 29 October 2010 at 9:22 am

    @Sam: I have also reenacted WWII since about 1996. I have met many dedicated people and seen some fantastic impressions. The Upfront Alliance/2nd Squad, the 90th Div out of Ohio However that is the minority. Here is alot of what I see as commonplace—and this is in recent years since 10+ years ago some things were not available and being farby couldn’t be helped.

    1) Wrong underdshirts. Brown BDU undershirts, modern OD t-shirts, white V-necks, modern white Hanes shirts(look completeley different than what was issued)–or incorrect OD shirts.
    2) HBT caps. These are worn by SO many reenactors but you almost never see them in pictures of ETO GI’s. But because we wear caps as civilians today we translate that to our impressions even though people back then just didn’t commonly wear caps.
    3) HBT’s in general. Yeah, they wore them alot, but usually OVER wools or just one piece. HBT’s weren’t the uniform ofthe day for the average soldier in France—But since HBT’s are cheaper and more comfortable to us they become common place
    4) Insignia. Amongst combat GI’s you don’t see many unit patches, and only NCO’s seem to wear rank routinely. But reenactors sew on any rank they portray (down to PFC) and unit patches to everything but their long underwear.
    5) The Big Top. Go to an event like Lowell and it’s a see of WWII Pyramid or post WWII GP tents. Tons of cots, everywooden folding chair they could buy, dozens of mermites and folding tables. Not really representative of the experience of the average GI in the ETO.
    6) Logo shirts. This is pretty recent but about every AB reenactor is sporting a US Paratroops teeshirt around here. Now other units have started this, I saw an 83rd Div unit that basically requires you to wear one. Not only are the T-shirts a modern cut but logo shirts would have been REALLY rare back then. Plus, in the 40’s, the only time you wore a T-shirt without an outter layer was while playing sports. But modern people wear T-shirts so reenactors like them for lounging around the big-top tent camps.
    7) M42 jump suits. Only about 1/3 of AB reenactors own M43 uniforms which is pretty much what you need to be wearing for at least half ofthe scenarios reenacted.
    8) Jump suits worn like jungle fatigues–i.e. the jacket just over a (probably US PARATROOPS) Tshirt. I especially like to see guys walking around with them open over hte T-shirt. Jumpsuits were usually worn over wools—but that is counter to modern sensabilities so it’s not commonly done.
    9) Lack of knowledge of 1930’s/40’s civilian life. I meet very few reenactors who can talk movies or music from the period. If music is played at an event its big band/swing, jive, or jazz. But at the end of the war the most popular singer as voted by Stars and Stripes was Roy Acuff. For everyone who listened to jive/jazz/swing there were a thousand guys who listened to hillbilly, western swing, or folk. Total lack of knowledge about the movies, or any non war related subjects.
    10) Undubbed boots. Reenactors seldom dubb their boots. They walk around in their bright tan roughouts and 2-buckle boots. Real GI’s dubbed those boots until they were almost black. Their feet depeneded on it!
    11) At the Front autnenticity. While ATF is a great company putting out great goods people just assume BECAUSE of that if they buy a package deal they are “authentic”. They put no real effort into researching HOW the gear should be worn, getting it nasty and filthy, etc.
    12) Field Manual units. Many units base their authenticity off pictures in field manuals. GI’s just didn’t look like that.
    13) 80’s/90’s Army mentality. While an Iraqi Freedom veteran has an insight into the combat experience of the WWII GI non combat vets can never even hope to approach in the slightest, people in the Army after it went volunteer have no concept of the WWII Army. It was over 80% draftee…..That means everyone from the junior officers through teh NCO’s to the PFC’s was not at all happy about being in the military. They did lots of things not allowed by the regs and had lots of behaviors that would get you in big trouble today—yet modern military veterans can’t accept that. I was at an event with a weeks worth of stubble for a Hurtgeon themed scenario and the “authenticity” inspector acted like I showed up wearing parachute pants and a 70’s tuxedo jacket. Another time our three days worth of stubble was rejected because another inspector said that his Rangers in the real Army never looked like that—of course they had Bic razors and fought in different kinds of conflicts, or that a WWII GI could have reached the rank he earned in 20 years in just one or two. The modern Army mentality is commonplace because it’s what the vets who reenact know, and many who haven’t been in the military don’t know any different.
    14) To clean. Before the war an American civlian probably only bathed 2-3 times a week AT BEST. Most had no access to deodorant. Manual labor was the norm. Modern laundry machines and detergents were YEARS away. So you can imagine that these people were not exactly spotless as civllians. Now imagine if you had to dig 2 foxholes in one day–you’d get dirty, right? Imagine doing that every day. Wiping your hands on yourself. Slogging through mud. Sleeping in mud. You help a wounded man back and he bleeds all over you. No water or time for shaving. Not only would your clothes be dirty, but you would too. Since we portray combat GI’s thats what we should look like. But most reenactors don’t. My unit does stuff like putting Brylcreeme into our hair so it looks greasy and unwashed and use movie tricks to make our faces and hands look filthy.
    15) Hair. I almost never see reenactors with 1940’s haircuts. And if you have one people act like it’s to long, basically because it’s to long for modern Army haircuts. It’s that modern military mentality again–or people not wanting to do something different from their modern civilian comfort zone. The fact is men in WWII had pretty long hair (they just kept it short and neat around the ears and collar) and the Army at that time was fine with it.
    16) Airborne, everywhere. AB was a slim percentage of GI’s in the ETO but represent maybe a third of reenactors. Why? It’s cool. No other reason.
    17) Fat people. Age you can’t control but weight you can. Loose it or don’t come out. Thats why I’ve been out of it for two years as anything other than a spectator–gotta loose the lard.

    I don’t know alot of reenactors who read Pyle, or Mauldin. I dont know many who read books about the GI mindset like “GI”, or “The Deadly Brotherhood”. And I know few who read 1st person biographies (I don’t know hardly any that have read “To Hell and Back”). Most watch History Channel documentaries with the video game graphics and Mail Call(not so much now since it’s only on DVD) which just regurgitate the same basic half right facts over and over that they hear all the time. Or they read books about WWII weapons, uniforms/gear, and vehicles which is fine, but not really the insights one potraying the lowly GI needs to know.

    Those are just some biggies I see at events in the TN/OH/KY/IN/IL reigon. I know the bulk of what I consider authentic units are on the East Coast and hear there are alot out West too—but I know most reenactors buy the impression packages from the major vendors, tailor it to what fits their modern world view and comfort level and look at WWII through the prisms of an enthusiast and their knowledge of the modern military.

    Thats lightyears ahead of where it was when I started though when no, and then poor quality reproductions were available and many things unobtainable at all. Now it’s more like people have the toys available but haven’t yet put them into the proper context. And so few people get into the PEOPLE they are portraying and just get into what they wore and what they were shooting.

    I have no doubt you have a great impression and researched it thoroughly, however that is the exception, not the norm.

  37. 13 November 2010 at 9:45 am

    I’m a 13-year old who hopes to one day make it in drawing. Saw the site while looking for references, and I just want to say, the site is amazing. Just by looking at your work I can tell I’m going to get a lot of information about technique and style. Anyways, great stuff and I hope the book comes out great! I’m sure it will.
    Thanks, Anders

  38. 40 kswann
    14 November 2010 at 12:28 am

    Thanks Anders, that’s quite a compliment. I’m glad you’re getting something out of the site. Good luck with drawing, and if you get a website/blog up one of these days let me know, I’m sure the people looking at my blog would like to see your drawings, and so would I. It’s fun to watch a person’s style develop and grow.

  39. 22 November 2010 at 8:20 am

    Have been enjoying viewing your artwork and your style of drawings. Excellent!

  40. 42 kswann
    23 November 2010 at 8:48 am

    Thanks! And I enjoy your website, I’m looking forward to seeing more of the process of how you draw the pictures. Your landscapes especially create wonderful atmospheres.

  41. 8 December 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I came across your website when I found the need to describe what I’m looking for from an illustrator for my book trailer (about a dozen, single-color pen-and-ink drawings). Interestingly, the story also takes place during a time of war — the Russo-Japanese War. Would you be interested in providing the drawings for this 30-60 second book trailer? If so, how expensive are you?

    I look forward to your response.

  42. 44 kswann
    9 January 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I hope you got my email from earlier in December, but if you didn’t and are still interested, let me know.

  43. 45 Christopher Edwards
    31 January 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Hello, I am from St.Joseph’s as you probably know, and I am also in love with WWI, II, and Vietnam history. I am currently drawing Soldiers from the movie “The Pacific” and “Band of Brothers” HBO movie series. I also recieved your book the “Flying Legends” and the picture. Thank you so much! I would like to draw more historical scenes.

    Thanks again,

    Edwards, Christopher J

  44. 46 kswann
    31 January 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Hey Christopher,
    I’m really glad you like the book and the picture. I wasn’t sure what part of WWII interests you the most as far as what theater of ops and whether more air or ground or what, but sure hoped you’d like the book. Hope you do draw more historical scenes, sounds like you’re doing that with drawing the pix from the movies, there sure is no shortage of good reference images. Would be great to see some of your pictures sometime.
    Kelly

  45. 47 Maverick
    17 February 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Where can I find your book?

    Shredzzdom@hotmail.com

  46. 48 Joy
    15 October 2011 at 4:36 am

    Kelly, I’m so glad I discovered you! I’m also a graphic designer with a huge appreciation for WW2 soldiers, particularly veterans of Okinawa and Normandy. I’ve had the same reaction from my friends—Why does a 20-something woman enjoy drawing/studying WW2 combat? For me, it seems simple enough: the survivors and heroes of that war are quickly dying off and getting lost in the fog of history. They were a generation like no other and we must remember and understand them! We have SO much to learn from them!

    I love Brodie’s art and while researching it, I discovered you. Excellent work! I’m glad there are folks in my generation with this kind of talent and interest. I hope you have much success as an illustrator.

    I create pictures from scripture (which usually depict more “family friendly themes”) but my current project will feature a soldier “enduring hardness” of some sort. Thanks for posting your work! It’s well done and very inspiring. I may contact you again if I can’t get my drawing to turn out right—you’re the expert!

    Best Wishes!

  47. 49 kswann
    17 October 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Wow! I’m so glad you found my work too; knew there had to be more than one of us!

    Brodie’s work is very amazing, there are two book’s I’d recommend that show his work: a book called “Drawing Fire: A Combat Artist At War” which shows some of his work from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as a book by James Jones called simply “WWII” which shows a lot of combat artists’ work, including his.

    Your work, creating pictures from scripture, sounds great; I’d be interested in seeing any of it. A great source to work from, that. Inspiring and positive, and your current project sounds interesting too. I’m sure it’ll turn out well.

    Best wishes to you too, and hope to hear more from you!

  48. 50 Jason C. Martin
    19 October 2011 at 10:44 am

    Love the sketch ‘tending-a-mule.” I am writing my disserttion on animal power and Army adaptability during World War II. It focuses heavily on mules. Quite timely finding your sketch since I just finished a chapter (a few days ago) on the Army Veterinary Service and the troops who tended the mules. Look forward to your book, and would love a framable sketch if possible.

  49. 51 kswann
    20 October 2011 at 7:49 am

    Sure, email me at historybuff@mac.com and I can send you a framable sketch. And I have a few questions about how to find reference regarding the use of mules in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations; if you could point me in the right direction I’d sure appreciate it, I’ve had a hard time finding certain details.

  50. 52 James
    3 February 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve colored these and my friends and family think your drawings are awesome and so do i,have a nice day

  51. 53 kswann
    4 February 2012 at 8:23 am

    Thanks, James! I hope you keep enjoying them! I’ll start posting a lot more often soon. Have a great one too!

  52. 11 February 2012 at 11:20 am

    A brilliant concept for a graphic novel. Fabulous sketches of battle weary soldiers.

  53. 55 John
    25 July 2012 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been sketching an abstract background art that is reminiscent of molecules and chemistry, and was planning to put a face into the background to add a human element. I found one of your sketches on google and decided to use it as a placeholder to see how the face interacted with the background elements. Problem is, once I put the face in I realized how well it fit the image, and now I’m stuck trying to draw a face that is struggling to capture the same vibe as yours. Its a fun struggle to be in, and I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your work.

    Best,

    John

  54. 56 kswann
    25 July 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Haha, thanks John, that’s quite a compliment! Sounds like a great picture, your idea, and I’m sure you’ll get it. It’s great fun to try to capture something out of something else, if sometimes frustrating. Thanks again, and good luck!

  55. 57 Matt C
    20 September 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I came over your work whilst studying for my GCSE art and I must say that some of your sketches are extremely creative and I feel that they capture the emotions of a WWII soldier incredibly well. I am keen to incorporate your drawings into my art. I appreciate your work very much and hope you continue drawing and improving your ideas.
    Good luck and keep drawing!

    Matt

  56. 58 kswann
    25 September 2012 at 7:31 am

    Thanks Matt so much! I know that I strive to showcase emotion, so when you say that does come across, it means I’ve done my job. And there’s nothing more that one can hope for than to help inspire someone else with their art. Good luck with your GCSE art and if you have a blog or website of your own I’d love to see your work. And stay tuned, I’ve got more work to upload very very soon…

  57. 25 September 2012 at 10:41 am

    A wonderful blog and a fine artist.

    I am here from Leslie’s blog. Congratulations on your award.

  58. 60 kswann
    9 October 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Thank you so much!

  59. 17 November 2012 at 3:40 pm

    What wonderful drawings!!

  60. 62 kswann
    17 November 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you!!!

  61. 17 November 2012 at 4:00 pm

    And I see you are following! Thank you.

  62. 64 kswann
    17 November 2012 at 4:19 pm

    And thank you for following mine! I like yours a lot, it’s positive and very interesting.

  63. 17 November 2012 at 4:25 pm

    My father was a WWII vet! Thank you for helping us remember…

  64. 66 kswann
    17 November 2012 at 4:27 pm

    May we never forget! And God bless your father…

  65. 17 November 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you! We must seek peaceful solutions. And it starts with remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. “In Flanders Fields where poppies grow…”

  66. 69 Hanna Sideshow Freak
    7 December 2012 at 12:39 am

    Must say, I really crazy love your drawings and especially the character designs. If I could, I would like all the posts but I’m only one person. Absolutely love them, love them. They are fantastic, beautiful and if your graphic novel is published I will buy it. 🙂

  67. 70 kswann
    7 December 2012 at 8:52 am

    Wow! Thank you Hanna! I’ll have to hurry up and get the graphic novel done! And I love your work by the way, the way you get the characters so tight with such feel. Disturbing a bit, and great!

  68. 71 Hanna Sideshow Freak
    7 December 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Well, thank you too!
    I most definately follow this blog. All drawings are just … I’m in aw.

  69. 72 Hanna Sideshow Freak
    8 December 2012 at 2:49 am

    And just so happens … I am also currently doing a comic/graphic novel that is indirectly about WW2 since it’s epilogue takes place in Sobibor transit camp in 1942 … it’s maybe not as professional and good looking as your drawings but it’s a fun notice 🙂
    This is two of the pages of that comic.
    http://blyertssmuts.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/you-are-all-shit/

    Keep up your good work!

  70. 4 January 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I enjoy your sketches and I am glad to found your blog. Keep them coming! Thank you for posting them. 🙂

  71. 74 kswann
    4 January 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you, for visiting, for liking and for commenting! And thank you very much for reposting on your blog! That means a lot, and I’ll definitely keep them coming. 🙂

  72. 23 January 2013 at 3:40 am

    Hey! I love!!! your sketches! 😉

  73. 25 January 2013 at 11:30 am

    Nice blog and outstanding sketches.

  74. 78 kswann
    29 January 2013 at 12:22 am

    Thanks, Animockery!

  75. 79 kswann
    29 January 2013 at 12:23 am

    Thank you for the nomination!!!

  76. 80 kswann
    29 January 2013 at 12:27 am

    Thanks, tunisiansonia! I love your photos!

  77. 81 yanyandf
    29 January 2013 at 7:54 am

    your very welcome!! 😀

  78. 29 January 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Beautiful work, Kelly! I can totally see the influence of Ernie Pyle and Bill Mauldin.

  79. 83 kswann
    29 January 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you, Richard, that’s quite a complement! They sure are enormous influences of mine. And I very much enjoy your photos, the black and white really does evoke a whole atmosphere that recalls “the old days” while still portraying today. It’s good work!

  80. 13 April 2013 at 2:51 am

    Each country teaches in history the stories that make them look good. Try to find first hand accounts of the war, look into archives and ALWAYS remember – there are two sides to EVERY story.

  81. 9 May 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks for visiting my site. Fantastic work on display here. They have a real sense of being characters and alive rather than just images. Again, great job.

  82. 86 kswann
    9 May 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for visiting my site; I’m glad you did, so that I could find yours! I love your style and whimsy. I especially like the “process” pictures, the before and after kind. It’s neat to see someone’s process. And if I ever come across someone looking for graphics and your style would work for them, I’ll refer them to you.

  83. 12 July 2013 at 6:36 am

    Really great sketches you have there, i find it very interesting to follow your process in making the graphic novel. I wonder, how far you stand with it, maybe you can give some tips to a beginner like me? That would be very kind 😀 greets

  84. 88 kswann
    12 July 2013 at 7:27 am

    Hey, thanks so much! To be honest, I’m still fairly early in the process, kept rewriting the beginning, trying to figure just where I wanted to go with it (I got it to be a pretty symbolic story that paralleled Greek mythology and was fairly epic, but figured out that I wanted a different kind of story), so I’m not even completely done writing it, and in talking to a writer, it may be better to finish the whole story first, unless you have a story that’s more of a comic that serial, and you don’t necessarily know how it ends as you would if you’re writing a graphic novel or say film or novel, as talking to a really good artist who has written and drawn several graphic novels revealed. Mine is a graphic novel, so I think I do have to really finish the script before I get the drawing done, which is why it’s so slow for me (besides having a job, etc., but then that doesn’t stop a lot of people). I do have the first page drawn though, and that helps me know the tone I want for the rest of it. But something that helps me with the writing process is to have a tagline that is the basic statement of the whole thing, like a tagline to a movie that sums it all up in a way. For instance, mine is, “Over there, it’s anybody’s war.” That’s really what it’s about. Other than that, just keep going and get it done, which obviously I’m still working on, seems like all the good ones just draw their characters so much that they have them down and know all about them, but also sometimes if you go too much into having a backstory for all the characters you’re busy doing that and not getting it done (also a problem I’m having), but then if you don’t know anything about your characters, it’s no good either, because people’s past experience helps shape their future responses and actions. And since you’re illustrating it yourself too, just doing sketches of everything like you’re already doing on your blog helps when you need to draw anything in your story, so still sketching everything while writing and getting characters drawn and the story illustrated helps too.

  85. 13 July 2013 at 2:01 am

    thanks for the great feedback and success with your project!

  86. 90 Matt Spangler
    27 November 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Hi, Kelly, love your work! Just curious, do you do animation as well? I’m making a WWII history documentary that I was hoping to add a little animation to …

  87. 91 kswann
    27 November 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Matt, thank you! I haven’t done any animation other than a couple animated gif’s I did in college some time back, so I’m not sure I’m your person for that. I’d be happy to do character sketches for you, but I’d be afraid to committing to doing something I haven’t tried much.

  88. 20 February 2015 at 6:54 am

    Fascinating project. Keen to see it develop. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now).

  89. 93 kswann
    20 February 2015 at 7:00 am

    Thank you, Thom! And I’m enjoying your blog; I love music and the stories in and behind it. Best from Kelly.

  90. 20 February 2015 at 7:16 am

    Thanks. Let me know your responses to the songs chosen here when you have time. Thom.

  91. 95 Jo
    11 May 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Hello ms. Swann,

    I actually wanted to say something a bit more serious. Not too long ago, I got some drawings of mine published in my school literary magazine. The thing is, one of the drawings was inspired by your drawing of a soldier sitting on the floor. I didn’t actually realize that this was that case until i rediscovered your website and therefore the drawing. I didn’t trace your design or anything and I assume the rough sketches i orginally made years back when i first sketched this was referencing your drawing, which i did not use to draw the actual product but it still looks similar enough to bring to your attention.

    I wanted to apologize for indirectly taking your idea and having it published without your full permission. I’m not gaining anything from this drawing but i would still like to let you know since it was published in my school’s literary magazine. I can assure that i had no intention of accidentally mimicing your design. I want to right my wrong and formally ask for your permission to have this piece influenced by your art work in the magazine, (even though there’s not much I can do now since its published) and pay my respects to the original source, as well as cite you as the influence of this piece.

    From what I’ve seen so far your a very talented artist and i think its admirable that you would give recognition to this important part of history, who which i myself have been learning and passionate about for since i was 10, 8 years ago. I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors, and look forward to seeing you succeed.

  92. 96 kswann
    12 May 2017 at 5:52 am

    Hi, Jo!

    First of all, congratulations on having drawings published in your school literary magazine!!! That’s a really neat thing.

    And most importantly, I’ll try to find a copyright article somewhere to back this up, but sounds to me like your art was merely inspired by mine, especially since it’s one image and not a storyline or something, so there’s no need to cite me as the influence, though I sure appreciate your bringing it to my attention just in case.

    So I don’t think there’s any need to apologize, just glad to know there’s another artist doing their best to portray this part of history with a passion and respect!

    And best of luck on your endeavors!


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I'm an artist writing and drawing a graphic novel that takes place during the Second World War. On this blog I will display the sketches I do in researching and preparing for the book. Check out the about page if you'd like to learn more about me, or subscribe to the RSS feed if you'd like to receive updates.

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