School of Hard Knocks by Sturstein

Framed Prints

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Available to buy on…

Title page for chapter 2 of my webcomic Valentine’s Dei.

Generally inspired by vintage pulp detective novel covers, particularly those painted by Robert McGinnis.

Watercolour, pencil and Photoshop.

I may play with the design of this some more. It was initially formatted for a comic book cover (for the print version), but it was looking more cluttered than I’d like, and some of the elements are really only relevant to the comic book version. So I removed those to make it look more like a paperback novel, but I think I need to play around with the type layout again.

Print edition available at IndyPlanet .


comic, dei, detective, mcginnis, pulp, valentines


  • matthewdunnart
    matthewdunnartabout 4 years ago

    Whoah, this is so cool man! Fantastic layout, and the tones of the figure are outstanding.

  • Thanks man. Like I said in the description, I think I can probably improve on the type layout somewhat, but I’m happy with it for now. I think I’m really starting to get a feel for painting these things, but I want to play with some other mediums, like acrylic, to try to really get that McGinnis look. I’d love to just spend my days painting these; would be sooooo much fun :D

    – Sturstein

  • Christopher  Raggatt
    Christopher R...about 4 years ago

    Tuf n sweet.

  • Definitely tough, not so much sweet. She’s too jaded to be sweet ;)

    – Sturstein

  • Patricia Anne McCarty-Tamayo
    Patricia Anne ...about 4 years ago

    love that

  • Thanks Patricia :)

    – Sturstein

  • Coldtown
    Coldtownabout 4 years ago

    I think I would recognise one of your girls anywhere – they’re quite distinctive. It’s a great image!

  • I don’t doubt that; I do tend to draw girls of a certain size and build. Hopefully they’re as distinctive to the rest of the world ;)
    Thanks Coldtown :)

    – Sturstein

  • Stephanie Smith
    Stephanie Smithabout 4 years ago

    Your covers rock! I swung by the comic too… looks to be a really intriguing story, can’t wait to see what happens!

  • Thanks Stephanie! Likewise, I can’t wait to see what happens. I’ve been privy to snippets of the story, but I made it clear to Sammi that I don’t want to know how it ends until it’s time to draw it ;)
    Thanks for checking it out :D

    – Sturstein

  • Patricia Anne McCarty-Tamayo
    Patricia Anne ...about 4 years ago



  • Thanks Patricia!

    – Sturstein

  • msdebbie
    msdebbieabout 4 years ago

    The bandaid on the knee is my favourite element besides the words pnm the chalkboard – really like it. Not too cluttered for my taste xoxo

  • Thanks msdebbie. The idea of the bandaids just popped into my head while I was drawing her, and how could I not run with that!?

    – Sturstein

  • msdebbie
    msdebbieabout 4 years ago

    bleh – not sure where pnm came from! Meant on
    Go figure!

  • Evidently your hand is possessed by an evil spirit ;)

    – Sturstein

  • Patricia Anne McCarty-Tamayo
    Patricia Anne ...about 4 years ago

    Fan Frenzy Challenge

  • vampvamp
    vampvampabout 4 years ago

    wow gritty, fantastic. make sure you add this to teh erotic pen – art & writing group too!

  • Thanks Vamp! But I would call it sleazy before I called it erotic, LOL!

    – Sturstein

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