Friday, October 08, 2010

New York Comic-Con

Really brief on this one. I'm set up with Jamar at the inaugural Comic Book Diner Booth at NYCC. Come see us at booth #432. John is right around the corner at booth #643. Hope to see you this weekend!


Friday, August 27, 2010

See YOU at Baltimore Comic-Con!

Hey everyone! This weekend is the always spectacular Baltimore Comic-Con. I'll be there along with my Comic Book Diner Tri-Hosts, Jamar Nicholas and John Gallagher. Appropriately enough, we will be at the Comic Book Diner All Ages Pavilion (I believe the program book lists us as "Kids Love Comics"), Booth 2401-2402. Please come by and see us there!

Additionally, I have a few pieces of VERY exciting news: First, John and I will be debuting our very first ROBOY RED GRAPHIC NOVEL!

Roboy Red: Nuts and Bolts collects all of the short stories we've done, as well as an all new sketchbook section, plus art tutorials and other fun stuff! We are very proud to be premiering this at what John and I consider our home convention. This Comic-Con Special Edition is an exclusive, with a very limited printing, so please don't delay! Come to Baltimore, and get it this weekend! This is the culmination of 8 years of hard work, and is just the beginning of big plans for our little boy robot! I hope you'll stop by our booth and check it out! We'll be easy to find. Look for Roboy Red (you might recognize the art) on the Comic Book Diner Pavilion banner:

If that wasn't enough, we'll also have another all new graphic novel at the show-- Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule!

John and I are very pleased to have this collection of the fun and funny three issue mini-series available as well. So, TWO brand new graphic novels by us at one show! How cool is that?!?

The other bit of exciting news is that we of the Comic Book Diner will be joined by our good friend Todd Dezago (Tellos, Perhapanauts, Sensational Spider-Man) as the hosts of the Baltimore Comic-Con's Annual Art Auction! So, if you're interested in seeing if we're capable of being as entertaining in person as we are on the podcasts (your mileage may vary), or if we fall right off the stage, here's your chance! It's all happening on Sunday. Check out the con website for more details, and show your support!

That's it for now, and as the sign says, I'll see you in Baltimore!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Comic Book Diner - Roboy Red!

Ok, so I've been VERY busy over the past few weeks. I'll have some news about that over the next few days, but for now, I just wanted to remind everyone about the Comic Book Diner, the podcast on the art and business of comics, that I "tri-host" with my pals Jamar Nicholas and John Gallagher. We've already done 8 shows! You can find us on iTunes, and at our own website, The latest episode is up, and it's one that we're particularly proud of! It features Jamar interviewing John and me about our process in creating Roboy Red, which ties in very nicely with...

Well, actually, I'm going to wait on that, as it's part of my news later this week. But, if you listen to the latest episode of CBD, you'll have a pretty good idea of what the news is. So, I hope you'll get over there and have a listen! Oh, and while you're at it, if you would be so kind as to rate the podcast on iTunes, and/or write a review and post it on iTunes for us, that would be great! We'd love to hear your feedback!

Thanks for reading... and for listening!

I'll be back in a day or so with more.


Friday, August 06, 2010

It's Gallagher!

So, as promised in my last post, I've done another portrait, this time of my pal and yours, John Gallagher:

I used basically the same technique as I did for the portrait of Jamar, but I still think it looks slightly different stylistically. I think the portrait of Jamar is a bit harder edged, maybe with more of a watercolor feel, while this one seems more like gouache to me. Perhaps because it seems a bit softer; I can't quite put my finger on why. Of course, both are "painted" digitally over my pencil sketches. I'd like to someday get back to exploring this sort of work in actual real world paint, but for now, I'm happy to play around on the computer. The next portrait I do will be that much-needed updated self-portrait. I'll keep you posted.

Speaking of John and Jamar, my fellow trihosts of the Comic Book Diner, I just want to make sure everyone out there is aware that we've been podcasting weekly. We are up to Episode 5, and just recorded the sixth show last night, so if you haven't checked us out yet, you have some catching up to do! Please be sure to check out what we're doing. We're having a great time, and talking a lot about the business side of working in comics. We get a little goofy at times, but we're also trying to be as informative as possible. All in all, it's both educational and entertaining. Or at least it is to us! Please go to or you can find us on iTunes here, so please have a listen! The fries are on us!

I'll be back soon with more!


Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Jamar!

Or rather, a sketch I did of him.

I rarely draw just for the fun of it these days. I find most of my time is taken with drawing for work, or I wind up spending my work time doing things for my various websites. Yesterday, I was proofing some comic book stuff, in my capacity as editor for John Gallagher's Buzzboy, and I went to the web to check to make sure one of the visuals was correct. When I found what I was looking for, one of the other things that came up in the image search was a picture of me with one of my trihosts from Comic Book Diner, Jamar Nicholas. I liked the angle of the shot (the photo was taken by your friend and mine, Mike Manley, so no surprise that it was well composed), so I decided to do a little sketch of it. I thought it turned out ok, so I took a photo of it with my phone camera, and imported it into Photoshop to clean it up a little (that, by the way, is a little tech tip. If you're on the go with your art, and don't have access to a scanner, but need to upload it somewhere, you can take a picture of it, and clean it up in Photoshop later. I actually do this quite a bit now).

Well, I got kind of carried away, added color, and an hour and a half after I began, I wound up with a completed color sketch. What's funny, is that generally, I do a finished drawing, maybe ink it, and THEN add color digitally. and even then, I use my tablet to color, fairly precisely. This time, I used a mouse, on my dining room table. I don't normally work this way, so this was a little rougher than my usual finished work, but it was also liberating. It kind of felt like working with watercolors, and I think the finished drawing sort of looks like a watercolor piece. Anyway, here's the sketch:

I'm going to attempt to do a few more like this, beginning with a much-needed new self-portrait, and one of Gallagher as well, as I'm thinking we might be able to use them for the podcast website. I'm sure I can do one like this of me, but I have a feeling John will be a challenge. Ironic, since he and I have been friends and colleagues for over eight years, and I sit right next to him at every show I do. We'll see if that translates into an accurate portrait. I'll keep you posted!

I'll be back soon, so stay tuned!


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Podcast! Comic Book Diner

So, I have a new endeavor, and it's related to my art, but it's a bit of a step sideways in my career. While I've been an illustrator for over 17 years, a little over 24 years ago, I was a DJ on my college radio station. I was only at this particular college for one semester, and therefore did not have enough time to really explore that avenue of expression, but the experience has always stuck with me.

A couple of years ago, my good pal, Charlie LaGreca, a fellow illustrator, and an alumnus of the DC Comics trenches, interviewed my collaborative partner, John Gallagher, and me at HeroesCon, in Charlotte, NC, for his Indie Spinner Rack comics podcast, which spotlights independent comics and their creators. John and I loved the experience, and we've had an idea brewing since then. It's not something we actively talked about a lot, but over the past couple of months, John has had a real desire to do a podcast of our own. Early on in the discussions, I mentioned that our good friend Jamar Nicholas would be a fantastic partner on this project, as he has a natural charm and wit, and has plenty of experience behind a microphone himself, as the emcee of the Glyph Awards, a ceremony at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. We immediately contacted Jamar, and he was on board!

About two weeks ago, we all got on the phone together and came up with a plan for what we wanted to do, and so, The Comic Book Diner was born!

Basically, John, Jamar, and I are the (as Jamar coined it) tri-hosts of the show, in which we discuss, round table style, the art and business of comics, both web and print, and the future of each format, as well as whatever related (and unrelated) topics come and go with the flow of the conversation. We each have a different take on things, as each one of us comes from a slightly different perspective in our careers. It makes for interesting listening. We're all pretty decent conversationalists, and we tend to amuse one another, and we're told, others as well, so I hope you'll stop by our virtual hangout and have a listen. Our first show is right here, so please click that link, and then drop us a line to let us know what you think. Our contact info is right on the CBD home page, or you can always drop a line here, or from my website. I hope to hear from you soon!

We'll be doing shows on a regular basis, so check back here for more scheduling info. I'll be sure to post whenever a new podcast is up, and when we establish what our schedule will be, I'll be posting that here as well. In the meantime, be well, and I'll be back soon!


PS: the awesome logos you see here were created by John Gallagher, our Designer-in-residence!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With 100% More Apes...

...than my last post.

I've had a t-shirt idea rolling around my brain for the past few weeks, and did a little sketch last night to try it out on paper. I won't say what I have in mind for now, but I was thinking about the idea when I just happened to read my buddy Matt Wieringo's recent post, featuring his OUTSTANDING Planet of the Apes illustration. So, I was definitely more than a little inspired when I drew this.

I hope you like it. I also hope my idea is as clever as it first seemed to me when I came up with it. If it is, you'll see more of it here soon.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

School Library Journal Interview From HeroesCon

Well, it's been over two weeks since I returned from HeroesCon in Charlotte, exhausted but happy. The drive is about 13 hours from door to door (about 9.5, if you subtract all the stops a little boy in the back seat needs!), and after all the activity that goes with a con, added to things on the personal side, it's taken me a couple of weeks just to feel rested again. Therefore, I haven't posted anything about the show.

Fortunately, I had something in my inbox this past weekend that spurred me to write. My creative partner, John Gallagher, and I were interviewed about Roboy Red at the show by Snow Wildsmith (yes, that IS her real name!) for the School Library Journal, which is "The world's largest reviewer of books, multimedia, and technology for children and teens." Quite prestigious! You can read the interview here.

And here's a picture I took of Snow interviewing John:

One of the people I met at HeroesCon was Tim O'Shea, who is a blogger for the excellent comics industry blog site, Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources. Tim indicated in his con report that he thought his might be among the very last of all the recaps out there. I had to chuckle at the time, knowing I'd be far behind him! So, at this late date, rather than post a true con recap, I'll just post some pictures with commentary. Links galore to follow.

John Gallagher, at our booth.

Our congenial boothmate, the multi-talented Dave McDonald. Always a pleasure to share space with Dave! Check out his Vincent Van Doodle cartooning kit at his website!

One of only a few sketches I did at this show, the Golden Age Green Lantern. As you can see, it was for Fred, who was quite a loyal customer at the show. Thanks, Fred! I was very flattered that this one caught the eye of my friend Joe Staton, former longtime GL artist, and a sweet guy to boot! Joe saw it as he was walking by, and stopped to watch me draw. He was very complimentary, despite my insistence at pointing out all the things wrong with it. Thanks for the support, Joe!

More friends:

My friend and Baltimore Comic-Con organizer, Marc Nathan. When I showed him this picture, Marc said, "Wow, Rich, that's a great picture of you and your dad!"(Marc is only about two years older than I am) On another note, his show will be my next con appearance of the season. Even though *ahem* I'm not yet on the guest list. I hope Marc sees this! Follow the link to learn more.

Tom Bancroft is an incredible animator and character designer. He also is in fact, tall enough to be my dad! Years ago, I introduced him to a friend of mine who worked for a book publisher at the time. She was looking for an animation artist to do a book on character design. In this picture, Tom's holding the end result, Creating Characters With Personality. Follow the link and go pick it up! It's a GREAT book! Tom was gracious enough to write something really nice in my copy, and to do a little sketch in it for me too! A true treasure!

Here's another boothmate and pal, Franco, of Tiny Titans fame, with 30 Rock's Scott Adsit. Franco did a sketch for Scott (who I somehow managed not to have a chance to speak with, despite numerous encounters over the weekend), and asked me to take a picture of them together, so I've appropriated it for this entry. Sorry, Franco!

Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Garney! Er... oops... moving right along...

Hey, more artwork! I did this Swamp Thing sketch for a friend of mine, Danna Bremer. Danna is the wife of another pal, Bobby Timony who does a really fun book for Zuda Comics called Night Owls. You should check it out! I did this one to repay Danna's kindness. She took pity on me the first day of the show when she saw me lugging my entire con setup baggage into the Convention Center. She generously offered (insisted, really) to take some of the stuff off of my hands and assist me in carrying it all inside. Thanks, Danna! I wish the sketch came out better.

Speaking of sketches, here's a shot of John drawing Buzzboy for a fan.

Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler, doing his finest Kirk-on-the-bridge. I love hanging out with Thom. We shared some great meals this time, and had a blast. Looking forward to doing the same in Baltimore!

Jason Horn and Dean Trippe. Dean is a buddy of mine, and on our last day in town, the Monday right after the show, his son, Field, and my son, The Boy, finally met. It was epic! Field was wearing his Superman shirt, and The Boy was wearing his Flash shirt. As soon as they saw each other, they both immediately took off, racing toward the elevators from the hotel lobby! We actually got to witness a live, classic Superman/Flash race! I'd like to tell you who won, but it was an exciting photo finish! And ironically, they both moved so fast, nobody was able to take a picture! Ah, well. Perhaps next year!

My buddy, Matt Wieringo, with Franco, and the COOL Nova sketch Franco did for him! Matt LOVED it!

Kelly Yates, one of the nicest men in the biz (right up there with Mr. Staton).

Artamus Studios alumni, Chris Kemple and Chuck Wojtkiewicz (Chuck will be pleased to know I did NOT have to look up the spelling!). You can tell they really missed each other! I had some wonderful conversations with both of these guys over the weekend. Chuck and I hadn't seen each other in over 15 years, so it was so great to finally catch up again! Chris will soon be famous. Mark my words! He and I have talked a bit over the past few years, so we had a nice time talking shop. Always a pleasure!

Additional Artamus dudes, Rich Case and Jeff Parker, hamming it up at con organizer Shelton Drum's "Dead Dog Party" Sunday night after the show. Rich is a terrific guy and I always have a nice time seeing him at shows. Jeff is an old friend, and one night in the hotel lobby, he and I had a profound conversation that I will always remember. I'll just leave it at this: Jeff is a good friend, and I appreciate that very much.

Here are a few of the costumed personnel who graced the convention throughout the weekend:

These were great costumes, but I really love capturing these folks when they're not "on duty." Hence the following:

A couple of shots of Charlotte's nighttime skyline. A beautiful city!

The building on the far left in the first picture is the official con hotel, The Westin, where we stayed. You will not find a nicer place or a better hotel staff in that city (well, actually, I've only been there once before, so I'm not positive about that, but we really liked the place!).

One more shot of friends:

Suzanne and Matt Wieringo. Love this couple! We had a few meals together, but the most memorable was the day after the show ended. Suze suggested that we eat at the food court in the Convention Center, as it was quick, inexpensive, and easy. It was deserted! The perfect, quiet way to end a busy weekend. As an added bonus, we got to see this:

The day after. The leavings of a crazy weekend (please forgive the sloppy melding of two photos)!

As you can tell, it was a really fun weekend, and something I've really needed for a long time. Thanks to Shelton Drum and Dustin Harbin for putting on an excellent show, and for their hospitality. I also need to add an extra thanks for giving me a cool poster I've wanted for two years! Thanks, guys! Looking forward to seeing you next year!

If you've read this far, thanks very much! I'll be back again with more soon!


Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18, 2000

I hope you'll indulge me one more time, in allowing my personal life to seep onto my illustration blog. Ten years ago, at just about the time I'm writing this, I was preparing for my wedding day. I wasn't a typical nervous groom. I was completely confident and happy; at ease knowing I had made a commitment to a woman who was my partner and best friend. It was, up to that point, the happiest day of my life (only to be eclipsed 6 years later by the birth of the beautiful boy she gave me).

Yes, today would have been the ten year anniversary of my marriage to Traci. I'm feeling a lot of conflicting emotions, as one might expect, but overall, I think it will be a good day. I'm going to spend the day with my wonderful father-in-law, who has been a rock for me, despite the enormity of his own loss, and my boy, the everyday reminder of the love she left me, and my constant source of humor and happiness in my life. The legacy that Traci gave me is not only encompassed in that boy, but in who I am today. I'm a better human being for having shared her love, and her positive attitude throughout her illness has helped to inform me about what's important in life. I would not be the man I am today, if not for Traci's love, support, and influence. I've become (or am becoming) the man she always wanted me to be. And that's a good thing.

I don't have any digital pictures of our wedding, or course, but I took out our album to show The Boy this morning, for the first time. He will always have those photos, and her memory. I snapped a couple of pictures of the album pages, some of which I decided to share here. For anyone who wasn't there, it was a spectacular day, and the beginning of something truly incredible. I wish I could share this ten year anniversary with my beautiful bride, but I hope that wherever she is, she knows that we're happy, healthy, and doing well.

I can't think of a better way to celebrate our marriage than to spend the day with her two (other) favorite guys.


Friday, June 04, 2010


Things have been really hectic due to family events the past couple of weeks, and in the rush to go here and there, I completely forgot to post that I'm at HeroesCon! It's a great family friendly show, and I'm back for only the second time, but it's quickly become one of my favorite conventions. I really like this show, this town, and these people. So, if you're in the area and want to come hang out with me, you can find me in Artist's Alley, at booth AA-227. I hope you'll stop by to say hi!

More posting next week.


Friday, May 14, 2010

More on FCBD... and a Contest!

This is the last Free Comic Book Day stuff until next year, I promise! My buddy Joe Murray, who owns Captain Blue Hen comics, where I did this year's event, sent me these pictures the other day. I thought it might be a nice way to wrap up coverage.

These are probably the views of me most often seen that day by people on my line... head down drawing, mouth open, talking!

I also wanted to link to a very nice write up about me. If you'll recall, I mentioned in my previous FCBD post that I had the privilege of creating the first image for someone's "leaping over stuff" themed sketchbook. Well, it turns out, this fellow, who calls himself "Doktor Andy" has a blog, and wrote about me drawing his sketch! Here's the link, if you'd like to read all about it from his point of view! Thanks, "Dok!"

Finally, as I was looking though pictures to use for this post, I came across a picture I snapped on my cell phone camera. I was visiting my Mom a few months ago, and took a picture of a painting she has, that I did while in college. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I attended The School of Visual Arts in New York, as an Illustration major. However, before students were allowed to actually pick the major, we had to do one year of foundation art classes. We studied fine art, art history, drawing, painting, etc. The following piece was done in my painting class, back in 1990. The idea of the project was to study the Cubists, and emulate their styles. I'm not sure which Cubist I was trying to emulate at the time, as the memory is lost in the sands of time at this point, but I do know what I chose as a subject. the painting is below. I wonder if anyone can guess what I "cubized" in this piece:

Feel free to share your guesses in the comments. For the first person who guesses correctly, I'll send you a set of signed Buzzboy and Roboy Red comic books!

Along the same lines as the above painting, I also want to share an original iPhone drawing done by my little boy. It's an abstract as well! I think he shows promise, don't you?

I'll be back next week with more. I hope you have a great weekend!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

BlueShift World

Some look-at-me press: My good buddy Dave DeVries did a little write up on me, regarding some coloring work I did for his new graphic novel, BlueShift World. Check it out: While you're there, click around the website. There's some really cool stuff to see! It's a science fiction story which takes place in the year 2061, after climate change has flooded the major cities of the Earth. Dave has told me a lot about the story, and it sounds like it's a really cool one, and a project he's put his heart and soul into, so please give it a look! Dave's team is incredibly talented, and what I've seen so far is very impressive!

Since I can't show the actual page I worked on, here's the picture of me he ran with the bio piece:

Dave also posted some images of my work there as well. I hope you'll follow the link to see! Thanks!


Monday, May 03, 2010

Free Comic Book Day Pictures!

So another Free Comic Book Day has come and gone, and once again, Captain Blue Hen Comics turned in an incredible performance! From what I understand, roughly 1400 people came through the doors, most of them families with kids. And again, we artists spent the entire time sketching for kids and not-quite-kids-anymore-but-that's-OK. It was nonstop lines of people, and everyone seemed to have a great time. The CBH folks had their yearly food drive, and did very well for the community. This store and its people do so many great things that go far beyond just selling comic books, and that's only one of the many reasons I return every year. Thanks to Joe Murray, and his entire crew for inviting me to once again be a part of the festivities! Also, thanks to all the fans who came by to say hi, asked for my humble drawings, and who contributed to a terrific cause (or two or three!)!

Now, onto some art. I did a pretty good job of photographically chronicling the sketches I did. I recently got a new camera for myself, and am very happy with the clarity of the photos. This is a fantastic alternative to having to buy a portable scanner! It's also nice to finally have some new art to post, even if they're "just" sketches. So, here are some of the day's pieces:

A kind of sneaky looking Roboy Red. My first Roboy of the day.

This guy's name is Rico, and I was asked to draw him with a stick of dynamite. I'm not sure why, but I complied. I like the way it turned out, and had a good time drawing it. I should also mention that the pose was totally swiped from the reference provided (with apologies to the original artist).

OK, so this guy comes up to me, and says, "I have this sketchbook of characters jumping over stuff. Can you do something for it?" Uh, ok... So I ask him if I can see what others have done so far... "Um, well, you're the first artist I've asked!" Oh boy, talk about pressure! Well, I think it's a respectable effort, and it was cool to be able to draw a car in the shot! Please bear in mind that I drew this with a line waiting for me, so I didn't take as much time as I would have liked. I think the sketch has some issues, but I might revisit the pose another time, as I like the concept. It would be neat to see what I could do with it, if I had the amount of time I'd normally spend on an image. I'm grateful that the recipient thought it was cool!

Rich does manga! Of course, I have no clue who this character is, but it was fun to do the style.

This guy is an actor on some popular TV show, I'm told. I wish I could remember his name, or the show's name, but I suffer from television awareness deficiency these days... unless it involves Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George, or the like, I'm ignorant. Maybe you readers can identify him from the photo reference under the sketch, and make a game of it! See? I now have an interactive, fun blog! In any event, I was asked to do a more realistic looking sketch, and this is what I came up with for the her. It was kind of fun to do a likeness in this venue. Not typical, as I'm normally asked to draw comic book characters on Free Comic Book Day... go figure!

I really like the way this chunky/clunky Roboy sketch came out. A little different than the way I usually draw him.

An oldie but a goodie. Steel was my first comics gig, back in 1993. Mike Clarke, who wrote this terrific piece about the day at CBH, requested this from me at the end of the day. I was happy to be able to stroll down Memory Lane with this one.

Jamar is ALWAYS camera aware. I swear, he looked up from drawing for just a fraction of a second, just as I took this shot, then looked right down at his sketch again. There was no way he could have known I was about to snap it. I'm going to begin calling him "Radar!"

My setup at the end of the day. The cup was actually used as a circle template on one of the early sketches of the day. I'd be foolish to keep a filled cup near my drawing area... ahem... moving on...

So, that's my wrap. It was such a fun time, and again, many thanks to everyone involved. This really helped gear me up for convention season, which is almost upon me. I'm looking forward to some wonderful shows this summer, all of which I'll alert everyone to here, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I'll have another art post coming up shortly, so please stop back soon! Thanks!