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.