Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sing a Song!

I did a quick attempt on Saturday night to animate a character singing along with a song.

I chose to use an Angels and Airwaves song called "The War." I figured animating to a song might be easier to do than simple speech because, usually, singing uses more pronounced words and I figured it might me easier to figure out each syllable the singer was using.

I once again went to the most basic of animating tools, Windows Movie Maker, and started.

It worked out OK but nothing I really want to show off.

The good thing was I only spent the time Saturday night between finishing dinner and going out for ice cream to work on it. And, in that time I illustrated the figure, painted him, popped in all the different mouths, and ended up animating about fifteen seconds of footage. Not bad for only a few short hours.

Mostly I learned what I needed to fix from this test and it gives me some new ideas on where to start with my next one.

But, for now, enjoy these quick little illustrations of a few different mouth movements I did for the test. Maybe next time, if I like it enough, I'll show off some of the test animation.

And, if you'd like to hear the song I was messing around with, you can see some REAL animation done for it HERE. It's from the starting of the "Start The Machine" DVD and the song starts at about the 1:50 mark.

Have a great day.

Monday, August 30, 2010


The punk rock girl from yesterday is kind of the mascot of the new Mythena website.

It's a social networking site that helps kids with learning techniques and helps them figure put the best way for them to take in the information they need.

This piece was done for their homepage and, when all was said and done, was made to look like a worn book in order to work with the existing page.

I can't wait until this website is done and up and running. From what I've been told it might be the next big thing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Punk Rock Girl

Here is a piece of art that will be used for an upcoming website.

She'll be all over the site and will be featured in a homepage I am working on for the site.

I'll see if I can put the art together for the homepage to show you tomorrow.

Until then, have a great rest of the weekend!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bang Your Head!

After doing the animated Bush dance and the Coraline trailer last week I thought it was time to take the next step and see if I could animate one of my own drawings.

I wanted to see if I could animate one of the OilCan Drive characters in time to a drum beat. It was time to make Ryan Burke bang his head.

I had a few ideas about how to do this and, for some reason, I started this project, like all my animation tests, sometime around eleven at night. I drew up the different parts of Ryan on the back of a piece of cardstock using blue line pencil and Sharpie markers. I figured if this thing was a total bust then at least I'd get the drawing done as quickly as possible.

I scanned the pieces into Photoshop, painted them, and put them together.

Now, it was time to animate.

I think I tried about ten different things. I could make this move or that move but it never seemed quite right. I was about to give up when I finally figured it out and built it in a way that it looked good. Moving him to the beat of the drums I created on the computer took a little more time. For some reason doing this so late at night I lost all sense of the math skills I needed to make it work and move him in time to the beat of the drum. But, when 3:30am finally came around I figured it out and was finally done.

I was done and I was happy.

So, here is Ryan Burke bobbing his head in time to the music. Make sure you turn the volume up to hear the drum beat.

The world of OilCan Drive just became animated.

Now, my next task...can I make him sing?

I have a few ideas about that but it seems like such an undertaking that it may be easier to actually do some OilCan Drive songs first. I think I've finally figured out how to get out of my own head and record some of the OilCan Drive songs.

It was simple.

Give myself a project that is even harder than recording an album.

Animating it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

From The Vault - Marvel Painting 1994

Here are a few more painting from 1994 in my days of airbrushing pieces for Marvel Comics.

Apparently these two pieces were used for ashcan comics. Back in the early days publishers would put out little preview books of upcoming comics and somehow these became just as collectible as the comic books themselves. So, pretty soon, everyone started doing them to try and make a little bit of extra money.

Whatever the reason, it just meant more work for me and I was happy to have it.

The cool thing about these two pieces is that the top one, the Punisher, was drawn by the master himself Joe Kubert. I had graduated from Joe's school just a few years earlier so to have a job where I actually got to paint over his work was incredible.

And the Doctor Strange piece is where I was really pushing the boundries of how I could paint using the old blue-line board technique. Back inthose days you'd paint underneath a sheet of plastic and the plastic would have all of your black lines on it. Well, on this one I figured out I could actually paint right on top of the plastic and add some special effects in a way I had never done before. In the days before computer coloring this was thinking outside the box.

So, there you go, a few more pieces of mine from the old coloring days at Marvel. It's amazing to see where my life has gone since that time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

OilCan Drive-Macbeth Footwear Art

I've decided to finally roll out the OilCan Drive piece I was working on a few weeks ago.

I did this piece for a few reasons.

One, I hadn't done anything OilCan Drive related in a while and it was nice to focus on a single piece after doing so many client projects over the past few months.

Second, it allowed me to do a piece to show the people at Macbeth Footwear, who I had talked to months ago and then heard nothing. I thought this piece might be a nice reminder of who I was and a reason to say hello again.

I was first contacted by Macbeth Footwear a bunch of years ago when I put the OilCan Drive project on MySpace. They saw some of my worked and asked if I was using their shoes and logos on a few of my characters (Ryan still sports an old Macbeth logo on the pick guard of his guitar.) I told them I was and, if it was a problem, that I'd be happy to take them off the art. I didn't want any trouble. But, to my surprise, they said they loved it and put OilCan Drive up on their website under the News section alongside bands like My Chemical Romance and Angels and Airwaves.

I thought that was that but, back in January, right around the time OilCan Drive was getting some radio play in Milwaukee, I got an out of the blue email from another guy from Macbeth. He told me that he remembered me doing the art all those years ago and liked what I was doing. Once again, I wrote back, told them I loved their shoes and told him I'd take the logos and shoes off the art if it was pissing anyone off.

Again, with a sigh of relief, he told me:

"We love that you are using the logo and shoes. Love, love, love it. We aren’t really focusing on the sitting griffin anymore but it says Macbeth which is great.

Thanks for showing me some of the images for the future. Maybe we should do something together? I’m not sure what your goals are with Oilcan or the comic book? I would need to speak to Tom first, but if you want to work together on something, let me know. It’s totally ok if you don’t and it won’t change anything. I understand that this project may be your outlet from the client work, and I know that’s important.

And that had me on the floor. Because, you see, the owner of the company and the Tom he was talking about was Tom Delonge. Yes, that Tom Delonge. The one from Blink 182 and Angels and Airwaves. The Tom that pretty much, whether he knew it or not, helped me figure out how to play guitar and then go on to learn more about music in general.

So, that Tom Delonge was somehow seeing my work blew me away.

So, of course, I wrote back and told him I'd love to hear what he had in mind and I'd love to do something with them.

And then I never heard anything back.

I emailed once again with some new art about a month later and then let it lie.

Until I had time to do this piece. I figured it would be a nice piece to do and a neat way to reintroduce myself to the company.

But, since I sent it a few weeks ago I haven't heard a thing.

Ah well, it was still a really fun piece to do. It reminded me of old school projects where we'd mock up ads using our art and design skills. It had been so long since I did anything like that that doing something like this was really a blast and I'm glad I finally found some time to do it.

If nothing else, it's another great piece of art to add to the OilCan Drive world.

And, as far as I can tell, Macbeth still isn't suing me for using their shoes and logo. So, I have that going for me. Now if I could just get them to sponsor the band or send me some free shoes all would be right with the world.

I'm a size nine, by the way.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coraline Trailer Test

In the middle of doing a few freelance projects I had time to do another video test last week. Of course, the free time I found was at 2am on a Friday night but I still managed to find it.

This time I tried taking existing clips of a movie and make them fit a different song. Since I originally had the movie Coraline in my head when I did a cover of the Bob Dylan song "It Ain't Me Babe" I decided to use clips from that movie.

I went to YouTube and found two different movie trailers and pulled them off the web. But, when I went looking for a version of my Dylan cover on this computer it was nowhere to be found. I didn't want to turn my other computer on just to get the song so I used The Outlets' song "Someday" and started to work.

I think it came out pretty well and hit the beats I wanted it to hit. The only thing I don't like is that I forgot to take some of the wording out of the original trailer in the start and it feels a bit wonky as the music is going. But, in the end I left it in because it led up to the great shot of Coraline first hitting the mirror that works right in time with the music.

So, another test done.

I'm not sure what kind of little project like this I am going to tackle next but it is a great distraction from drawing client work all day.

Maybe if I get some free time this Friday at 2am I'll do something new...

Friday, August 20, 2010

From The Vault - Dolphin Table 2000

From the Vault...Monday? Ah well, I meant to write this on Friday but the weekend seemed to easily get away from me. The good news is I meant to write this on Friday and even uploaded the images. But, then it seemed to get easier and easier not to write it.

So, I'm sitting here on a Monday afternoon trying to catch up.

As promised last week, I dug deep into the vault and found a few images of me airbrushing and painting a dolphin table. Special thanks to Jeff Lafferty for taking the photos in the first place. I meant to take a bunch of photos to show the stages of painting but once I start painting I get so into it that I forget to stop and document the process.

The idea of painting a table started with one of my favorite restaurants that has since gone out of business. It was a bagel shop called Beatnik's Bagels that had bagel sandwiches with names like The Daddy-O and the Buddha. I loved it so much that I ate lunch there every day. And I don't just mean on the weekdays. I mean on the weekends too. And sometimes, if I got lucky, I'd even eat dinner there. So, yeah, to say I loved it there would be an understatement. One of the managers there, Paul, was an artist and painter and had the idea while they were doing one of there many remodels to have some local artists come in and paint the new tables.

So, one Thursday night (I remember the date well because it was the first night Survivor was ever on and I missed the first episode) a bunch of us got together and prepared to paint into the night. Paul was painting a table, I was doing one, some other guy was doing another, and even Jeff Lafferty came out and painted a table. While the other guys went with the regular paints and brushes I lugged down my airbrush and compressor and set up my table outside so none of the over spray would kill anyone.

Much like the way I was painting on illustration board at the time I started with a blue background and then painted the dark shadows of the dolphin on top of it. Then, when all of that was done I'd re-mask and paint the white high-lights on top. It sounds easy when writing about it but it took so much time that by the end of the airbrushing I had to bring my jeep over and paint by the lights of my Jeep's headlights.

Luckily, once the airbrushing was done I could move inside with the rest of the gang and add the details and fine touches to the table. I think we all ended up finishing sometime around midnight. It was really fun to do a painting from start to finish in one sitting and get it all done. I also seem to remember me having to go home quickly to get something and borrowing Jeff's truck. His truck was so big that I actually hit a curb, blew out his front wheel and, not noticing, ended up driving all the way to my house on the rim. Oops! Sorry Jeff!

The tables were done and lived at Beatnik's for a while. Then, there was a another remodel and the tables disappeared. Later, much to my dismay, Beatnik's closed down and I had to find a new place to feed me.

But, that wasn't the last time I saw the tables.

On one birthday night, I think in 2003 or 2004, I was with a friend and we went to the opening of a new local music recording studio. It was meant to show off the new place, see some friends, and hear some live music. And, while listening to the live band I saw, among all the people sitting, the painted tables we had done years before. Apparently the guy who's studio it was bought the tables in an auction when they were selling off fixtures from the restaurant.

Unfortunately, as quickly as that studio opened up the guy's wife or girlfriend left him and took a lot of the money and funding for the studio with her. So, it closed down soon after and the fate of the tables is now unknown.

I'd like to think that they are in someone's kitchen or living room having a good life and not sitting in some trash pile somewhere.

It was a fun night of painting and I was happy with all the results.

I wish I had time to do more fun stuff like that more often.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dance Dance!

Jeff wondered the other day where the G-Dub test was leading. Well, all I have to say is that it led to where every project I start will hopefully lead. To old George W. Bush dancing with Rumsfeld and Cheney on the White House lawn.

The animation I did is done for this project and I can't wait to see the final video where it's supposed to be used. I'll be putting it up as soon as it's finished and tell you a little more about the project.

For now, enjoy the simply animated dancing!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

G Dub Test

I've never really been an animator. I always wanted to be one when I was a little kid but I veered into the direction of comic book art and illustration in my early teens and never looked back.

But, lately, with all of the toys at my disposal on the computer in front of me, I've thought more about animation and moving my art around the screen. Plus, with my new love of music, making my art move to the beat of the song seems the next logical step.

So, when I got an email today about doing some simple animation for a music video my first instinct was to pass the job onto a friend of mine who specializes in animation. But, then I sat back, thought about it, and decided to give it a shot to see what I could come up with.

Here was a test I did to make sure the thoughts I had in my head would work and to make sure I was on the right track with what the client had in mind.

Like I said, it's simple but, for what it's being used for, it works. And, when you hear the song it's going to be laid over, it really works in time with the music.

And, I made a still photo move.

I think I just opened a whole new door.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


...but not quite ready to show it off yet.

The Ryan Burke OilCan Drive piece I've been working on this week is complete but, to be honest, I didn't do it just for fun. I did it for a reason. And, until I send it off to who I want to see it and get some feedback I'm going to keep the lid on this piece.

I'd much rather reveal the whole piece when I can reveal the whole story.

So, hopefully, if all goes well, later this week I can let the cat out of the bag and tell you a cool story.

But, for now, here's a little taste.

Friday, August 13, 2010

From The Vault - Dolphin Painting 1995

Here is another airbrushed painting I found in an old portfolio book that dates back to sometime in 1995.

It was my first attempt at painting a dolphin.

At the time I was still airbrushing heavily and experimenting with more monochromatic paintings using dark shading, a monochromatic color on top, and then airbrushing white highlights on top of it. A dolphin seemed the perfect subject to use for this style of painting.

I was looking at a lot of Wyland's art work during this period. He is an amazing artist who does paintings and murals of all sorts of sea life. A girl I was seeing at the time was really into his work and loved dolphins.

So, of course, to impress her, I painted this dolphin.

What's funny is that this piece turned out to be pretty much the study for another dolphin piece I painted five years later. This time, instead of on illustration board, I painted a dolphin on a table. Maybe I'll pull some of those photos out for next weeks "From The Vault."

I'm sure I dedicated that piece to her too.

I wonder where both of these pieces are now...

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Because I was having such a good time yesterday inking the Ryan Burke OilCan Drive piece I scanned it into the computer and spent most of the night coloring it.

I've still been a bit under the weather but I am at the point where I am coughing stuff up so I think I'm almost completely over it. Maybe one or two more days of rest and I think I'll be right back to my fighting self.

And, just in time. Sports Illustrated has called and the new job is a go for starting next week.

Being sick. What a fun way to spend your down time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting There

I'm not feeling one hundred percent yet but I figured I was healthy enough today to sit at my art table and ink the new OilCan Drive piece.

I was a bit shaky at times with the brush but, overall, I think Ryan turned out well.

I'm getting a little bit better every day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday Update

Still sick.

Nothing getting done.

Not happy...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Still Sick

I'm getting there but, for now, I'm still a bit sick. I can feel it slowly leaving me and it can't leave fast enough. I hate being sick. I always have things I want to do and feeling awful always takes the wind out of my sails. But, I have spent the last handful of days catching up on old episodes of Law and Order and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I wouldn't call it a total waste of time but I definitely haven't been getting anything done.

But, I've been having a great time watching a few friends do their thing over the last week.

My good friend Jeff Lafferty has been busy working away on his self-made stop motion animation project. After taking some time off from the project to get some work done and take care of his newly pregnant wife it seems like the fires have been lit under Jeff and he's really been getting some cool stuff done. He even posted an animation test on YouTube. It looks really cool and I still can't believe he's doing this in a corner of his living room.

Another good friend, Adam Trapani, had his one music show of the year last night at The Rutledge in Nashville, TN. Luckily for me, living in Colorado, the Rutledge features a live streaming webcast of all of their live shows. So, as he played last night I could watch and listen from my the little ball I was curled in on the couch. He's backed off doing music as a living and has gone back to school so seeing him play again made me realize how much I really miss seeing him perform live. It looks like he had a great time and I hope he keeps doing it. He's just too good not to.

So, I'm glad someone out there is getting something done while am laid up. The sick is slowly leaving me so, hopefully this week, I can get back to some of the projects I have lined up. We'll see how it goes.

But, for now, enjoy a few projects from two people I take a lot of inspiration from. Thanks Jeff and Adam. You guys are great!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Kids Books

Yesterday there was knock on my door from my local UPS delivery man. I had no idea what he had for me since I couldn't remember ordering anything recently that might be coming by way of UPS. So, when he handed me the big white box I was a bit surprised.

Inside were the newest Jake Maddox sports book that I finished up last January. They were four books that interconnected and dealt with four members of a junior high school football team.

So, here you go. The 47th, 48trh, 49th, and big number 50th books I've done for the Jake Maddox line.

Add all of these to the four I just finished and we're even past that. So, fifty books down and here's to another fifty more!

Friday, August 6, 2010

From The Vault - Bakugan Try Out 2010

I didn't have to dig back into the vault too far to find this piece. Honestly, I thought I'd already posted it on the blog but, when I was trying to find this piece on the blog to show a friend, I realized I never put it up.

I probably held back because I did this piece as a try-out for some sort of project for the people who produce Bakugan. But, given that that was about six months ago and I haven't heard a thing since I'm going to safely say I probably didn't get the job.

Which is too bad. It was such a fun project to do that I actually went above and beyond what they asked and not only did the pair of characters in an action pose but also did a second piece featuring head shots of both of them. So, while I think I did a good job and had a great time doing it, I never heard anything back from my contact at Bakugan.

Ah well. It was a fun idea while it lasted and, after doing years of kids playing sports, it was fun to do something a little more sci-fi related.

Maybe next time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


It never fails.

Every time I finish a long stretch of work and finally get some time off a few things always happen. First, I get the job done and I'm free and clear and have some time to myself. Second, I still have that weird adrenaline rush from working so much and I feel like the man who has run off the cliff but his legs are still moving like mad. Third, I finally accept that I am done and have some time off.

Then, inevitably, I get sick.

Today seemed to be the worst of it. I started feeling bad last night so I took it easy. I was looking forward to getting as much sleep as I could but Monika hitting the snooze alarm for the fifth time early this morning had me awake and not able to get back to sleep. After she left for work I brought my laptop into the bedroom to watch a movie or TV so I could have something to occupy my mind and hopefully lull me back to sleep. But, nothing seemed to work. Finally, after two hours of being awake I put some music. That seemed to hit the spot and I fell back to sleep with the soothing sounds of Angels and Airwaves in my ears.

I finally woke up at 1pm.

I got some food into me, took a shower and took it easy most of the day. After dinner I fell asleep again for a few hours and woke up at 10pm. Now, a little after midnight and my internal clock is all screwed up.

So much for my plan to try and ink this new Ryan Burke OilCan Drive piece I penciled yesterday.

But I am feeling better now.

So, maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Happy August!

For this month's new blog title I thought I'd do something a little different. Instead of showing a character or person or something I've been working on I thought I'd go with something a little more mechanical.

So, here is the airship OilCan Drive use to get around from music gig to music gig in the wastelands of future America. It's called a Cloudhopper and, while the band didn't actually steal it themselves, let's just say that they'd be in a lot of trouble if any law enforcement type was ever allowed close enough to run its ident-tag numbers.

But, they did pay for it. I swear they did.

They just like to think they got themselves a really good deal on it.

Happy August!