Thursday, December 15, 2011

New commissions -- Capt. America, Dr. Strange, Ms. Tree and Black Lightning

Here are several commissions I just finished today.  These will be winging their way to their new owners ASAP.  It seemed bittersweet to be drawing Captain America today after just learning of Joe Simon's passing.  Oddly enough I'm wearing a Capt. America shirt today -- just pulled randomly from the drawer.  Jack and Joe are now both gone, but Cap lives on....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RETURN TO PERDITION gets good ink!

 Return to Perdition has been getting great press and reviews since it's release Nov. 15.  Here is Lee Bermejo's cover illustration (above) and a promo illo by me (below).  Scroll down for links.  If you know of any more on-line reviews of the book, please contact me with links.  Thanks!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here's wishing you all a Happy Halloween!  I celebrated the season by assembling and painting this gorgeous "Kimba the Witch" model kit from Tweeterhead Productions.  I stuck with an orange and black color scheme to evoke the look and feel of vintage Halloween holiday decorations.

Green styrene Lantern

Now that the Green Lantern model kit that I designed for Moebius Models is on store shelves, I thought I'd share some images here.  The first pic is my concept sketch with notes.  I wasn't convinced this pose would be possible, but sculptor Joe Laudati made it work!

 Here is an early draft of the illustration for the box top.

 And the final version of the box, as designed by Bob Plant - some art revisions by me.

 Finally, here are a few shots of my build-up of the actual model kit.  It was a thrill to be involved in the production of this piece. Reaction from collectors and builders has been very positive.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Come see me -- at KC Fan Con -- Nov. 6th!

I'll be making a personal appearance at KC Fan Con #32, Sunday, November 6th at the Clarion Hotel (I-435 and Metcalf) in Overland Park, KS.  The show runs from 10AM to 4PM and admission is free.  I'll have advance copies of Road to Perdition and the Green Lantern model kit at my table, along with the usual batch of comics, original art, sketch cards, etc.  More info on the show and the other guests HERE.  If you're in the KC area, please stop by!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sketch cards are go!

I recently drew a big batch of "sketch cards" in order to have something new and fun at my FallCon table -- thinking (rightly) that I wouldn't be lucky enough to have my copies of the Return to Perdition graphic novel or Green Lantern model kit show up in time to take along (they arrived at my Missouri home the day after I left for the Minnesota convention -- of course!)

A few of these sold (Dracula, Wolfman, Creature and "Brave & Bold" Batman) -- but the rest are still up for grabs.  If anyone is interested, please email me for details -- you can find the contact link at the bottom of my webpage.  UPDATE: also sold Ms. Tree, Dick Tracy, Doc Savage -- and Comic book Capt. America, Phantom, Superman, Thing, Johnny Dynamite)

I simply drew a bunch of characters I like and enjoyed drawing -- so there are movie monsters mixed in with comic book heroes and Saturday afternoon serial characters -- and a few of my own characters (Ms. Tree, Wild Dog, Johnny Dynamite) as well.

 Note: The Urban Legends/Shock Stories artist proof cards in the top row below are repeated in another image further down the page -- but there is only one of each card -- they just got scanned twice...

 The following cards are authorized "artist's proof" original art cards from series for which I drew sketch cards that were included in card packs.  First off -- the Project SuperPowers cards featuring The Claw, the character once known as Daredevil, the original Blue Beetle, Green Lama, Skyman, and Black Terror.

The creepy creatures below are my artist proofs from the Monsterwax Urban Legends and Shock Stories sets.  My sketch cards were black and white, while these were done in full color.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Bad Companions CD cover in progress

I was recently hired by Twin Cities-based musician, Al Subola, to create a CD cover for his band The Bad Companions (formerly Al's Rockabilly Trio or Quartet -- depending).  I was given several possible scenarios and went with this clueless couple driving their hot rod off a cliff.  Below is the first draft black and white line art for the piece.  The car is based on a photo I took at a Twin Cities car show -- cartooned up a bit for the illustration.  The rockabilly couple is straight out of my head.  This was drawn using the inking tools in Manga Studio -- all digital.

Here it is with color and copy.  I had initially thought I'd do retro "big dot" comic book color -- but  tried it and felt it didn't look as good as this version.  I did keep the "tanned newsprint" background from that version -- lending it a bit of a vintage/aged look -- there's no pure white here at all. I was quite pleased with this -- but Al pointed out (rightly) that it could be seen as the car flying, rather than hurtling off the cliff.  He also felt the warm colors were bit too cheery.  So, some changes were made.

A darker background color, the car pointed down and a revised background made for this approved version.  The copy may still change, as the band may be supplying a new logo -- so if there are additional changes, I'll post those here when done -- along with ordering info for the CD -- as it'll be well worth getting -- even if it didn't have my art on the cover!!!  I thoroughly enjoyed this project and would love to do more like it.

Commission Trio.

Several more commissions drawn recently.  The Atom, Wild Dog (hey, people still remember!) and Wonder Woman.  Gotta love those primary colors!  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My latest commission -- a "fantasy" cover for the first Ms. Tree story!  I've really been enjoying the subject matter clients have requested lately -- that's especially true for this piece. Click on the pic for a larger view.

 I'm gearing up to attend FallCon in a couple weeks, back in my old stomping grounds of the Twin Cities.  If anyone would like to order a commissioned piece to be hand delivered at that show, now would be a good time.  I'll give a $10.00 discount for those orders.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bela's got a brand new head

Here's a personal project I'd been wanting to do for some time. below you see a promo pic of a remarkably well sculpted Bela Lugosi head on a "nodder" or "bobblehead" produced by Neca. That's a Ray Santoleri sculpt -- and it's just fantastic. But it's always bothered me that this wonderful realistic portrait of Bela was attached to this cartoony nodder figure. I had it in my head that Ray's Bela would look great as a bust -- and that the nodder could use a more appropriately cartoony head.

This is in no way a criticism of Ray's work -- it's amazing -- but I couldn't resist the notion of turning this cool piece into two cool pieces!

The only problem was, that the nodder was out of production and hard to find at an affordable price. I mentioned that I was looking for one on the Universal Monster Army website -- and much to my surprise, my UMA pal, Packy, gave me his as a gift! The nodder has been sitting on a shelf "as is" for some time -- and this weekend I decided it was finally time to get started -- so, off came his head!

Now I should have taken a "before" picture -- as the head on my nodder was not quite as well painted as in the prototype pic here (snagged off the web somewhere).

And here's Ray's Bela head, removed from the nodder and hit with a coat of primer, so it can eventually be repainted.
This is my cartoony replacement -- sculpted in polymer clay (Super Sculpey) -- sorry that the pic is a little blurry.
And here it is, placed on the nodder. You'll note that it's considerably bigger than the original. I felt that was more in keeping with the tradition of the sort of "big head" caricature style I was going for here. I'm quite pleased with the end results, and hope you'll think it's nifty, too. Making the original head into a bust will have to wait, as I have other work on my plate, and I've taken up too much time for now with this personal project. But one of these days there will be a "Part Two" post for this project!

And before we get on with the pics of the end results, a reminder that I am available for commercial sculpting work and private commissions -- I can be reached via the contact links at my website.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wild Dog Breaks Loose!

After the four issue Wild Dog mini-series appeared, Max Collins and I did several serialized Wild Dog stories for Action Comics Weekly. Wild Dog appeared on some of the covers -- but none of those covers were drawn by me. Below is the cover of #615, penciled by Barry Crain and inked by Rick Magyar. Recently a client approached me about recreating the cover, to see what it would have looked like had I inked it -- so, with Barry Crain's OK, I did just that.

I scanned and enlarged the printed cover, dropping out the color to get a black and white version of the logo and DC bullet, etc. But the end result needed a lot of cleanup work. I replaced much of the type in Photoshop, and dropped in a cleaner version of the Wild Dog logo from a scan of one of my covers from the original mini-series. When I had all the copy cleaned up, I printed that onto a blank sheet of bristol board.

The next step was to use a lightbox to roughly trace the artwork in pencil. I then tightened up the pencils, using the printed cover as a guide. I did make some minor changes -- but mostly stayed faithful to what had gone before. I then inked the piece -- mostly with brush -- but also some pen work on the guns, crosshatching, etc. Rick's original inks were great -- and I don't think mine are better or worse -- just a little different. Barry certainly went to town with all those different breeds of dogs -- and the extra guns for our masked vigilante! All in all, this was a fun project, and a treat to revisit the character. Despite having had a fairly short run at DC, quite some time ago, Wild Dog's fans just won't let him die.

For further evidence of this -- here's a pic of me with an attendee at the recent Free State Comicon in Lawrence, Kansas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1001 Riddles by George Carlson

I wrote about 1001 Riddles for Children in one of my studio tour entries, noting that it was one of my favorite books from childhood -- and in searching through my storage boxes, I discovered I had an extra copy -- so I'll be letting one of them go -- but not before sharing some of the illustrations with you.

I'd guess that most comics fans first heard of George Carlson from Harlan Ellison's essay about him and his Jingle Jangle Comics in All in Color for a Dime -- but I knew of Carlson from the beat-up crayon-marked copy of this book that was part of my childhood library. That particular copy is long gone -- but it seems I replaced it in my collection twice! This copy does have a dust jacket -- but the art on that is not by Carlson -- so never mind about that.

It seems Carlson's best known work is the spot illustration for the original dust jacket of Gone With the Wind (yes, that Gone With the Wind) -- but for me, he'll always be the guy who drew the dozens of illos for this fun children's book. What's shown here is just a sampling -- there are multiple illos on nearly every page!

As for the riddles -- well, they're not as memorable as the drawings, but I do like this one: What does an artist like to draw most? Answer: His salary!

So on that note, here are a whole bunch of illustrations by the wacky and wonderful George Carlson. I do so love that laughing parrot! Enjoy!