It's been a while since I've shown off the monthly illustrations I do for the great folks over at Sports Illustrated Kids and, over the next few months, I'll be dedicating each Wednesday's post to catching up.
These illustrations are for an ongoing article called "What's The Call." Each month you're given three scenarios of something going on in a sporting event and you, as the official, have to make the right call. Good luck and enjoy the fun!
The Edgewater Express and the Fort Worth Force are playing a football game. A rainstorm is whipping around the stadium as Edgewater kicker Patrick Towson sets the ball up at the Express' 30-yard line for a kickoff. Just as Towson is about to kick the ball, he slides on the drenched field and into the the tee. He tries to stop himself up, but his kicking foot still makes contact with the ball. Instead of blasting one into the Fort Worth's end zone, he ends up kicking a slow grounder. A Fort Worth player falls on the ball at midfield, and the Force celebrate their strong starting field position. The Express claim they should get to redo the kickoff because the ball blew off the tee. You're the ref. What's the call? GOALIE GOAL
The Chester Crocodiles trail by a goal in the final minute of play against the Rowayton Rangers. The Crocodiles pull its goalie to get an extra attacker on the ice. The extra Crocodiles forward fires a shot on goal, but Rangers goalie Leonard Brill makes the save. Brill sees lots of open ice in front of him, so he decides to take a shot at the empty Crocodiles net. He busts out of his crease, races up ice with the puck, and shoots the puck from just inside his blue line. The puck skitters down the ice and into the net for what appears to be the game-clinching goal. But the Crocodiles protest. They claim that goalies aren't allowed to handle the puck outside their goal crease. Did Brill score a goal or did he earn a penalty?
Rasheeda Daniels is serving during a tennis match against Sasha Foust. Daniels tosses the ball into the air but doesn't like the toss and lets it drop. She picks the ball up on the first bounce and again gets ready to serve. But Sasha shouts that Daniels should be charged with a fault for allowing the ball to hit the ground. You're the chair ump. What's the call?
Here are a few finished pieces I did of Henry at the beginning of last summer when I was working to put the first OilCan Drive big fat collected book together.
They were meant to be used as the "this book belongs to" and title page for the book but I ended up using the figure of Henry for the "this book belongs to" page and used an entirely different piece for the title page. Ah well, you do the best you can at the time with what you have.
Still, I like the way each of these turned out and I'm sorry I didn't show them off sooner. That is the one benefit of being away for so long...I have a bunch of new art to show off that you may or may not have seen.
For now, enjoy the new pieces and I'll see you all soon!
After too long a wait OilCan Drive will resume it's stories again this Friday, October 14th.
I'll begin by showcasing the 24 Hour Comic I did earlier this month and show a page from that story every week each and every Friday. Hopefully this will give me enough lead time to get well into writing and drawing the fourth chapter of the continuing OilCan Drive story.
It's been far too long since I've visited the little band living inside my head and I can't wait to get this train back on the tracks. See you Friday at OilCanDrive.com!
One of the things I really enjoyed about doing the big 220 page collected OilCan Drive book was creating a new cover for the project.
I had a bunch of different ideas for the cover and I looked at a lot of popular album covers for inspiration when a friend suggested I make it as iconic as the original Star Wars poster. I did him one better and proposed the original Boris Vallejo Vacation poster which, to be honest, is pretty much itself a rip off of the original Star Wars poster. Still, it was good to know we were on the same page.
So I came up with the idea of the band in an iconic (but still funny...I love how Ryan is standing on Henry and Henry doesn't look too pleased about it) pose where they are all on top of a bunch of the original books I planned to collected into the new trade. After the initial idea was set everything else went pretty quickly.
As usual, I sketched out the piece in non-repo blue pencil to get the band's body language and poses down. From there I went to tighter pencils and then on to inks. Usually, at this point, I'd scan the piece into the computer and paint the whole image in Photoshop. But, this time, I wanted to do something different. So I painted the background by hand using gray ink washes and white out applied by regular brush and toothbrush. It gave me a very cool foundation on which to paint the background and it nicely mixed my traditional illustration with the digital painting.
I painted the figures digitally in Photoshop and then took a whole day to digitally put all the little covers onto the pile of books the band was standing on. At the time it was really a pain in the ass but I think it turned out great.
Finally, I added the type and design to the book cover and called it a day.
Once the interior files were finally approved by the printer I ordered up a bunch of copies and, just like that, I had finally done a book so big that I had room on the spine to put my name.
Of course, it was a lot more work and took a lot more time and effort than simply, "just like that," but I enjoy the art and the process so much that none of it ever really seems like work. I think it's why the time flies by and, before I know it, I have enough pages and content to put together two books totaling over 320 pages, all on my own, with no client or paycheck to keep me moving forward.
It's just pure love for the story and the characters I've come up with and I can't wait to start tackling the next 320 pages this fall!
Enjoy these photos I took of the process as I went along and I'll see you all soon!
It's been far too long since I've visited my blog and I figured, after a few months away, it was time to come back and get it all started up again.
After my last post, the one about the DINK show in Denver last April, I kind of went into radio silence mode. That show wasn't the best for me and, while I enjoyed it and loved the way it felt, it cost me too much money to attend and I was left wondering if I was even on the right path anymore.
I had one other show to attend last summer, the big Denver Comic Con in June. I've attended that show since its beginning in 2012 and have always had a good time. But I also always spent more money to attend the show than I made and I wondered if I would ever break even much less make a profit. Leaving the lucrative world of illustrating children's books in order to follow my dream of doing my own books was starting to feel like a stupid idea.
But, still, it was a dream I had to follow and see it through.
For this last Denver Comic Con I knew I had amassed enough work with my OilCan Drive project to collect it all into one big fat book. I figured if anything was going to help me break even it would be doing a book like this.
I compiled all of my work and slowly started putting it together. I broke the book up into chapters based on when I had drawn each story. I wrote introductions and added in the 24 Hour Comics I had done as well. Before I knew it I had already surpassed the 220 page limit the printer had set for a collected book. I still had a large number of pages from my sketchbook so I decided, screw it, let's do a second book!
Putting the books together was no easy task. The printer had a limit on how big the interior files could be and it was hard to get my files under that limit. With almost every page being a high resolution image I learned FAR too much about how to compress a file in Adobe Acrobat and definitely stumbled along the way. Files were rejected for days on end and I never thought I would get the books done in time for the convention. At one point I became so frustrated and depressed that I started day drinking while at lunch with friends. "I didn't know you could drink at an Einstein's Bagel shop," one of my friends said. As I sipped on my cup I answered, "I can drink anywhere they have fountain drinks and I have my bottle of Jack Daniels." So, yeah, good times.
But, finally, after many attempts, the files were accepted and the books went to press.
What I ended up with was a 220 page collected book of all of my OilCan Drive comic stories and a 110 page sister book comprised of a ton of sketches and artwork I had done while doing those stories. It made for a nice set and I was very proud of how they came out.
I hit the 2016 Denver Comic Con with these two new books in hand as well as my previous books and a new printing of OilCan Drive Track Three. I had a number in my head that I needed to hit to break even. It would cover the cost of the table, the travel, and all of my printing expenses. The problem was that the number was higher than any amount I had ever made at the convention with OilCan Drive. Still, my fingers were crossed.
In the end, with these new collected books, I surpassed that number in my head. I made twice as much as I needed to break even and almost three times as much as I'd ever made at that convention.
So, maybe this dream isn't quite dead yet. And, after taking a few months off from OilCan Drive, I am ready to start it up again. Maybe it's heroic, maybe it's a fool's quest, I don't know. But it's mine. And, for now, that's enough.
You can purchase the OilCan Drive "Into The Zone" collected book on Amazon HERE and the OilCan Drive "Through the Goggles" behind the scenes sketchbook on Amazon HERE.
I'm back! It's time to get this train rolling again!
A few weekends ago we braved the spring snow, headed down to Denver, and attended the first ever DINK (Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo) convention at the Sherman Street Event Center. It was the first ever convention in Denver that was dedicated to small press and independent creators so I would have kicked myself if I'd missed it.
It was a really fun show filled with independent comics, artists, authors, and musicians. Everyone was doing their own personal thing and there wasn't a table filled with prints of mainstream characters anywhere in sight. Being a lover of personal work I have to say that this is the first convention I've ever been to where, if I could have, I would have bought something from everyone's table and felt like it was well worth my time and money.
There were five floors of exhibitors and we were set up on the fourth floor mezzanine above the main floor. It gave us a great view of all the fun and a really neat place to set up. The building was eclectic and had some really nice character to it.
Charlie La Greca, who put on the event, did a wonderful job and he, his family, and the team they put together really made the whole event a lot of fun.
It was a great weekend and we had a great time. We got to sell some books, see some old friends, and meet some new ones. I will definitely be doing this event again when it comes around next year. If you're into art, cool stuff, and personal work, this is definitely the convention to go to and, hopefully, Denver's newest independent convention will someday rival both the west coast's APE convention and the east coast's Small Press Expo.
My fingers are crossed!
Oh, and while registering for the event I was asked to submit a questionnaire about who I was and what I do. I figured it might be cool to share some of those answers. Enjoy!
First comic you ever read and what you remember about it:
I had a variety of comics growing up like Richie Rich and Lil Hot Stuff (my parents thought the super-hero stuff might be too scary for me) but the first book I bought for myself was The Amazing Spider-Man #227. Previous to buying this issue I wanted to be an animator for Disney when I grew up but this book changed all of that. Comics were now a big part of my life and I am still amazed at the stories you can tell just sitting by yourself with a piece of paper and some simple drawing tools.
What is your favorite thing about making art or comics:
My favorite thing about creating art and comics is that supernatural sense that you are channeling something bigger than yourself. Sure, you can work on your style and technique and hone your skills as much as you want to get better but, when things are flowing, no matter your skill, you've tapped into some energy in the universe and you're relaying all that information that is being transmitted to you in the best way you can. And even though it doesn't happen all the time, when it does, nothing beats that feeling.
As to why I like creating my own art and my own comics, I love having the ability to tell MY stories MY way without any editorial interference from anyone else. There is a huge freedom to being able to control your own art.
Tell us why you should be considered for the DINK FELLOWSHIP:
I am sure there are many other writers and artists who deserve the fellowship much more than I do.
All I can say is that I love doing art, I love creating comics, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I have somehow successfully set myself up in a way that it doesn't matter if I have no audience, no publisher, and no money, I can still do my comic. Nothing can stop me now but myself. To put myself in a position like that where I've taken away every single external obstacle is something I am very proud of.
I just love making cool stuff and showing it off. And I just hope someone else out there in the world likes it as much as I do.
As much as I've loved working for various professional clients my heart always returns to personal work and a DIY attitude. I attribute it to seeing books like Jeff Smith's Bone and Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise at a very formative time in my life and once that bug bit me it never let go.
Please describe the various genres and style of comics or art you have published or created:
I've previously worked for Marvel Comics as an airbrush painter and inker. I self published my first comic, Exit 6, in 1998 which was a mix of humor and horror. My style is cartoony with a touch of anime. The book I am working on now, OilCan Drive, mixes science fiction, humor, and rock and roll.
I have been a freelance artist for the past 25 years working for a variety of clients such as Marvel Comics, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, multiple ad agencies, and I've illustrated over 60 children's books. I gradutated from the Joe Kubert School in NJ and even taught there for a few years before moving to CO. I've self published my own book, Exit 6, and am now working on my new book, OilCan Drive, which mixes web comics, print comics, music, video, and rock and roll.