Friday, June 4, 2010

From The Vault - Comic Images Trading Cards 1992

In 1991, in the summer between my second and third year at the Joe Kubert School, I got my first creative job as an artist's assistant for Mark McNabb at the McNabb Art Studio.

Most of what we did at the studio involved the production work for Comic Images' line of comic book merchandise. From t-shirts to prints to little card board stand-ups if there was some sort of comic related merchandise out in the early nineties there was a good chance Comic Images was doing it.

So, yes, we did a ton of comic book inspired trading cards.

The cards we did rarely had any kind of new art done for the card series exclusively. No, it was mostly us taking various comic book panels, cutting out the word balloons, drawing in the backgrounds or arms or feet that the balloons covered up, and making them into cards. I learned a lot about art that first summer. Once you have to try and figure out how Jim Lee would have drawn this rock on the ground your mind opens up a lot about different techniques and style.

Once the production work on the black and white artwork was done we'd have a photostat shot of the art and then paint right onto that...the same size as a finished trading card...2.5"x3.5"...with Dr. Martin's dyes, brushes, and airbrush.

It was were I first cut my teeth on painting the way I would up until I moved into coloring with the computer. Photostats, Dr. Martins Dyes, friskit, x-acto blades, small tiny brush work, all done at that very small size. It really makes you learn your trade quickly when there is no room for mistakes.

And, once I could paint that small, when I went on to work for Marvel Comics themselves, and they gave me these giant boards that were sometimes four times the size of the printed work, well...geez...painting that big just seemed too easy.

So, here are a sampling of some of the cards I painted all those years ago. From Spider-Man and Wolverine to the Punisher and The Savage Dragon, these are just a few of probably the hundreds of cards I painted in that studio over the years.

It was a great first place to work right out of school and kept me from digging ditches or moving back home to Mom and Dad. It was the start of a long road which got me where I am today. And, even though there were times it drove me crazy I really wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.

So, thank you Mark, thank you Comic Images, and thank you McNabb Studios.


rob! said...

Wow...blast from the past!

Sean Tiffany said...

Ah, the days of being berated by Dan and Mark...ha ha!