Saturday, May 31, 2008

Portfolio Showcase: Bugged!

Back in 1997, I was hired to ink my very first Marvel Comic, called "Bug." for those who might not be familiar, Bug was a Micronauts character, and while Marvel no longer had the Micronauts license at the time, they still retained the rights to any characters that weren't toys, and were specifically created for the Micronauts series, published some years before by Marvel. It's a long convoluted story, of which I'm sure you can do a search on to learn the history, but the bottom line is that Marvel got to keep the rights to Bug. Lucky for me! Not only was it a fun comic to work on (one which very few people even know exist. I think I might have more comped copies of it than were actually sold!), but it also marked my first work with my now longtime buddy, Todd Dezago. It was a heck of a lot of fun to work on, and I really enjoyed inking my other pal, Derec Aucoin,who is now called Derec Donovan (another long story). The drawing below is NOT from that issue, but rather, a fan-requested sketch. If anyone is interested, I'll actually have copies of Bug, as well as some original art from the book, for sale at Heroes Con next month in Charlotte.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the drawing:

Speaking of conventions, while I won't be set up at a table, I will be tooling around at Wizard World Philadelphia this weekend, so if you see me walking the floor, feel free to stop me to say hello. Unless I'm in the men's room. Then you should wait. ;-)

On that charming note, have a nice weekend!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Portfolio Showcase: Ice Sculpture Design

Just a quick one today. I missed Friday, due to my wife's birthday, but I wanted to be sure to post something for the week.

Three years ago, my grandfather turned 90, and my family had a big surprise party for him. My mom wanted to do an ice sculpture for the party, based on an old photo of him, so she asked me to come up with a design. Here's the sketch we sent the sculptor:

This sketch is based on a photo of my grandfather in front of a 1933 Ford, and because of the nature of ice sculpture, I had to pare down the details, in order to make it easy on the sculptor to work out the construction. This sketch is also actually the basis for another illustration I plan to do sometime. If I can find the pictures of the ice sculpture itself, I'll try to post that too. Enjoy the rest of this long (at least here in the U.S.) weekend!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Portfolio Showcase: MinoriTeam

Back in late 2006, my pal Mike Manley was working on a cartoon called MinoriTeam, for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup. It was a politically incorrect take on superheroes, and the character designs were based on Jack Kirby's Marvel Comics style. As production progressed, it became clear that there was more work than Mike was able to do, and he recommended me to work with him on the show. It was my first time working on a cartoon, and it was a terrific experience. Although the content was definitely not for the kiddies, it was work that I'm still proud of. My job was to take the pencil drawings of characters and other assets, and not only ink them, but redo them a bit to get them "on model." This meant that any design that didn't look like Kirby had drawn it, had to be redrawn to capture that Kirby flavor. I can't tell you how much fun this was, and it was an incredible time of training for me. My output had to be fast and prolific. I did about 80 illustrations each week! The drawings were then scanned and sent in to be animated using Adobe's Flash program. I've since done a bunch of other jobs in this way, although in those cases, I generated the drawings from start to finish, but none has been seen by so many people. Anyway, enough talking. Here are some of the illustrations I worked on (I should be clear, and tell you that I didn't generate the original drawings, but I did redraw a lot of them. These are some favorites):

This character was the toady of the main bad guy (sorry, I don't remember a lot of the characters' names)

A nice group shot of the bad guys.

The above two are obviously a Frankenstein's monster/Hulk type. He was also a bad guy. Love the Hawaiian shirt! I love the look of this character, and truthfully, I didn't do much to the pencils, as I thought they were really well done as they were.

A stuffed killer panda. I don't know either...

The above three images should give you a basic idea of my process. On the left are the pencils I was provided, and on the right are my inks/finishes. A lot of the changes are somewhat subtle, but I think you'll get the overall idea.

Well, that's it for now. Have a nice weekend! I'll be back next week with more neat stuff, and maybe even an announcement!


Friday, May 09, 2008

Portfolio Showcase: Union Station Illustration

Several years ago a friend of mine named Ande Parks, then fairly well-known as a comic book inker, began a second career as a writer. At the same time, I, being fairly well-known as a comic book inker, began a second career as an Illustrator. Ande was the first friend I'd made in comics, outside of my buddies from the School of Visual Arts who had become comics pros, and he and I talked frequently. When Ande started writing his outline for a new graphic novel, he shared it with me, and I had the pleasure of realizing that this talented guy was going to be an incredible writer. While he was busy writing, I was busy drawing, and had begun to develop what is now my photo-realistic pencil style. The graphic novel outline eventually became the book called "Union Station," which is about a massacre that occurred at Kansas City's Union Station during a prisoner transfer of Pretty Boy Floyd in 1933. The tale is historical fiction but gives some insight into the beginnings of the F.B.I. as well as a terrific story of love, betrayal, and gangsters and lawmen. When Ande had gotten a few pages drawn by a penciler he knew, he was going to submit the script and pages to some publishers to shop it around. He and I discussed the idea of me doing a pencil illustration as a cover piece for the proposal, and here is what I came up with:

Although it was intended to possibly be used as the frontispiece to the graphic novel, the idea was nixed by the book designer, so it never saw print. However, it's still one of my favorite pieces, and I plan to do at least one more companion piece to it someday. Hopefully, that'll be something for a future Portfolio Showcase.

As for "Union Station," it's a wonderful graphic novel, with beautiful art by Eduardo Barreto. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It's something I don't think you'll regret.

I'll be back next week with more. Have a nice weekend!


Friday, May 02, 2008

Portfolio Showcase: Rex Steele

Since it's the eve of Free Comic Book Day (don't forget to go to your participating local comic book shop!), I decided to showcase a comics pinup I did a few years ago. My friend Bill Presing works as an artist for Pixar Animation. He's a really talented guy, and has this incredibly cool adventurer character called Rex Steele, Nazi Smasher. As the name implies, Rex doesn't tolerate fascist, racist hooligans, and his comic adventures prove this. a few years ago, Bill asked me to contribute a pinup to his Rex graphic novel, and here's the piece I came up with:

As is typical, I couldn't resist throwing a car into the mix! I drew and inked this traditionally on 11" x 17" board, scanned the art, and added the gray tones in Photoshop. I hope you like it, and I hope I'll see you in Delaware for Free Comic Book Day!


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Free Comic Book Day - May 3, 2008

This Saturday, as I have for the past few years, I'll be appearing at Captain Blue Hen Comics, in Newark, Delaware for Free Comic Book Day. I'll be there along with my friends, Mike Manley, Jamar Nicholas, Scott Neely, and of course, John Gallagher. There will be some other artists there as well. You can check the Captain Blue Hen website for more specific details. We'll also be doing workshops, and a bunch of community outreach stuff. Joe Murray, Blue Hen's owner, always has a lot of great things set up for families. John and I will have two FCBD books to sign... Our Kids Love Comics anthology book, "Comic Book Diner," featuring a brand new Roboy Red story, Buzzboy, and a number of other all-ages stories from our KLC friends, as well as the FCBD issue of NASCAR Heroes (the covers to both books are below). It should be a great day, and I hope we'll see you there! If you're not able to make it to Newark, I hope you'll look for these two books at your local comic book shop: