Friday, March 27, 2009

From the Vault: Captain America 1995

I figure I'd take a break from the cars for a moment and try something out that my friend, Rob Kelly, has been doing on his blog for a while now.

It's called "From the Vault" Fridays.

Every Friday Rob digs into his portfolio and comes up with a piece of art from his past. I like the idea because, not only does it give him a lot of work to go through and showcase, ensuring each Friday he was something to write about, but it's also fun to see where he's been with his art and how far he's grown as an artist since then.

So, I figure, why not, let's give it a try.

During the early nineties, when I was living in New Jersey, I did a lot of color work for Marvel Comics. Back in the days before the computers and Photoshop and Digital Paint took over the art world every piece of art still had to be done by hand. Yes kids, before computers, when art needed to be done you actually had to pick up a brush and get your hands dirty.

Most of the work I did was drawn by another artist but still needed color to complete the piece. So, from time to time I'd either get a FedEx package or a personal messenger would show up with a new piece of art ready to paint. Honestly, it felt like Christmas morning every time I got to open a package and see what kind of new, amazing art I'd get to work on that day.

And, my tools of the day? Brushes, friskit, xacto knives, Dr. Martins' dyes, and my trusty airbrush. Geez, with Photoshop, scanners, and computers these days it's just so much different. Not better, not worse, just different. But, back then, armed with an xacto knife and an airbrush, I loved it.

Plus, the checks I got from Marvel had Spider-Man on them. Bonus.

This particular piece was for a Marvel Swimsuit Issue. Apparently Marvel was riding high at the time (before the days of its bankruptcy) and every year they'd put out a Sports Illustrated like swimsuit issue featuring some of its major characters. I know....silly....but, it gave me a bunch of work to paint.

So, I agreed to do a bunch of the interior pieces and when I opened this particular FedEx box out popped Steve Rogers, Captain America himself, in a WW2 inspired South Pacific photograph.

And, the best part? It was drawn by none other than one of my favorite artists, Adam Hughes.

Adam Hughes, for those of you not in the know, is simply an AMAZING artist! The guy can draw and paint circles around most comic book professionals out there. But, apparently something happened and he couldn't paint this piece himself. So, in steps young Sean Tiffany. Ha ha. This is probably the only time in my whole life that I'll be listed in any credits back to back with Adam Hughes. So, I have that going for me when it's time to start dropping names at the next big comic book social gathering. Ha ha.

I just hope I did a good job. Looking back, some of the detail I might put into the piece now is not there. But, who knows how long I had to paint this piece? Back then, if I got more than two days it was a long time. So, I'm sure I was just trying to go as fast as possible. But, I do like it. I like the washed out sepia tones I had to use to make it look like an old photo. Now, with computers and digital tchniques, there is so much more you could do to make it ook like an old photo. Now, it's almost too easy. But, back in 1995, this was as good as it got.

And, I must have liked it. It's one of only three or four pieces I kept from my Marvel days. And, that's out of probably hundreds of pieces I did for them.

So...Adam Hughes, Captain America, Sexy Island Girls, and Sean Tiffany.

Fun times, fun times.

1 comment:

rob! said...

Jeez, I remember you working on those pieces--the smell of the airbursh, leaky Frisket, desperate trips to the FedEx office, little kids playing with used Xacto blades...

seems like the Paleozoic Era now!