Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished Robot Girl

It's been a busy week of finishing up projects to send out to clients on Monday but I found some time to finish up the robot girl and get her painted.

And, not only did I do the piece the client needed but I also finished up my first idea of her and colored that as well. It's been a while since I had a chance to paint a metal person and, I have to say, I really miss it. I first learned to paint metal back in college by studying the work of Sexy Robot artist Hajime Soryama. Just seeing the way he did stuff and having a few things explained to me really helped me understand how metal works on a body. And, what I first learned to do with the airbrush I can now do in the computer with the same idea.

Personally, I loved the way this piece turned out and I wish I could do more cool stuff like this for clients. But, if nothing else, I can always do stuff like this for myself. A character like this might need to be put into the OilCan Drive universe just because I like her so much. We shall see.

And, because I was curious to see how it looked, I did a full black and white image of the robot girl using a zip-a-tone type pattern on her and making the image strictly black and white with no color and no grays, just black lines and dots. I love the way this stuff looks and something about it really speaks to me. It's funny, the more involved I get in doing fully painted pieces and intricate photo realistic backgrounds the more I find myself drawn back to the simple stuff I loved as a kid. Just black and white line art with tones.

I love that look and I think it worked well with this piece of a sexy robot girl.

Have a great New Year's Eve! See you all in the New Year! Be safe!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Inking the Robot Girl

Since I liked my original pencil sketch of the robot girl and the client wanted a slightly different face on her for the finished version I did something I rarely ever do with client work. I decided to finish both versions.

So, I inked up my original version and then created a separate face that I could then paste on digitally for the final piece. The new face is on a piece of board that has a lot of other images on it including some Sports Illustrated stuff and some work for another client. I figured it was such a small piece of art why put it on a piece of paper all its own when I could fit it on a piece with a bunch of other images.

So now it's on to scanning these two pieces into the computer and adding some color. It's getting there.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Robot Girl Pencils

Continuing the work I showed off in this blog post, I did some more detailed pencil sketches of the robot girl for my client.

My original idea was to make her a bit like a Terminator endo-skeleton but that quickly lost out to the idea of making her a sexy female version of C3-Po from Star Wars. I liked the idea of putting plates all over her body but still having all these gears and wires and circuits still peaking out from under her outer shell. I especially liked all the mess of wires and such I did for her brain.

I sent this first sketch off and the feedback I got was that her face looked a little too cute and fun. It was suggested that maybe she have a human face that was made out of metal instead of the original robot face I gave her.

So, I did a quick sketch and came up with a human face I could pop on over her robot face. But, honestly, I love that original face so much I just might go ahead and finish that one as well, just for myself.

The second version has been approved so now it's on to inking her and adding some color. I haven't painted metal in quite a while and I'm really looking forward to doing in Photoshop what I learned to do years ago with an airbrush.

This piece, by far, has been one of my favorite I've worked on in a long time. It's been fun to stretch my creativity and work with a client who trusts the vision I have and let me take it to a satisfying end.

Now, on to the inking and coloring.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a nice weekend. As always, here is my favorite Christmas song of all time, Bruce Springsteen's "Pilgrim in the Temple of Love":

And, if the player above doesn't work you can find the original music file HERE.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Official

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! The last few weeks have continued to be busy but the good news is that I'll have a lot of new art to show off once I dig my way out of the pile of work I've found myself in. It's telling that today, on Christmas Eve, I'm still working away trying to get ahead on a few projects before I head out the door and down to Denver.

But, I did find one day off last week and I spent it with Monika going out to do a little shopping. It was the first day we'd had off together in a long time and we decided, since we are getting married next June, to go out and look for a ring. The plan was to get some lunch and then head out of town down to Westminster to look around a few of the bigger diamond suppliers. But, for those of you who live anywhere near me, you know we got a ton of snow dumped on us both Wednesday night and Thursday morning. So, by the time we got out of the house on Thursday the roads were covered in snow and driving down to Westminster wasn't really high on my list of things to want to do.

The roads were so bad I actually got stuck coming out of my garage's driveway. The problem is that once you come out of the garage you take a sharp left turn and then go up a hill. Well, I got half way up the unplowed hill and the tires started spinning. I threw it into four wheel drive but that didn't seem to help at all. I couldn't even back up to the bottom of the small hill to get a jump start. And, even though I was slowly getting up the hill as my wheels spun, I pretty much had myself turned in such a way that I was stuck between the building and the fence to the side with no way to go forward or back. But, with the help of a few guys and a lot of pushing, I got up the hill and out of the neighborhood. Apparently the light on my jeep that says the four wheel drive is engaged simply means the light on my dashboard is working. I don't think I had four wheels going at all. Ah well. We were off.

Because we couldn't head down to one of the bigger diamond whole-salers we decided to see what kind of little shops were around where we were going for lunch. One place, right up the street from the restaurant, looked promising, so we left the jeep and walked over to the small store.

I really enjoyed the place and liked the man who owned it. We looked at a few rings, talked to him, and found one Monika really liked. But, we wanted to check one more seller so we left the store and went to another place across the street. And that place just didn't feel right. It felt very impersonal and not warm at all. After looking at a few rings there we both decided to head back across the street and pull the trigger on the ring Monika really loved.

At the start of our trek Monika was convinced God didn't want us to be married because he had thrown a snow storm in the way of us getting a ring. She wondered why things had to be so hard. But, after finding the ring in this nice little locally owned jewelers I am convinced God had us on the right track all along.

So, here is the engagement ring. And even though Monika was there when I bought it I plan to present it to her tonight at her family's home when we go down to Denver for a Christmas Eve dinner. Hopefully she says yes.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ace Kilroy Kickstarter

Today is the last day of my friends Rob Kelly and Dano O'Connor's Ace Kilroy Kickstarter campaign. So, if you've been thinking about donating any funds, today is your last chance to give a little cash and maybe make a difference in a few of my creative friends lives.

And, even if you don't have any cash to spare, you can still check out the daily Ace Kilroy comic strip they've been running since October 31st HERE. It's a fun story and I've really enjoyed what I've seen so far. I was lucky enough to see a preview of all of the current strips months ago and we're finally almost at the point where I have no idea what is going to happen next. I'm looking forward to seeing some all new stuff and see where the adventure takes us.

And even if Rob and Dan don't make their goal with the Kickstarter campaign I have no doubt that they'll figure something out to keep Ace Kilroy coming for a long time. And that alone is something to be proud of.

I'm very proud of both of these guys.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Robot Girl

Here is one of the projects I've been working on during the last few weeks. It's an illustration of a robot girl and here is the illustration in the early stages of development.

I did a few preliminary thumbnail sketches to make sure I was getting across the idea that the client wanted and then I did the sketch on the left in light blue non-reproducible pencil. I also showed this to the client to make sure the pose I had done using parts of both thumbnails she liked still looked good.

So far so good and now it's off to give this sexy robot girl some details.

Have a good one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing With Music

As busy as I've been one of the things I've been reading to take my mind off of how much illustration work I have on my plate right now is a book called "The Art of Mixing."

When I let a professional recording engineer listen to some of my music the advice he gave me was to learn about both compression techniques and how to use EQ. So, I've been reading trying to understand both. And this book really has it all. When I sit and read it at lunch I'm often asked if I am in school for music engineering because this thing is huge and looks like a required reading textbook. I tell people, "no, I just like to learn," and keep on reading.

And not only am I learning more about compression and EQ but this guy also explain in depth about how sound actually works, why EQ works the way it does, and other fun techniques.

On a chapter about reverb techniques and why reverb works the way it does, the author brought up a technique called "preverb." He said it was, by far, the most evil thing in the mixing process that an engineer can do. So, of course, I had to try it.

I took my good friend Adam Trapani's song, Start a Riot, from a demo he did a few years ago, and tried out this evil technique. Basically, you take the track and play it backwards. You then put some reverb on the backwards track and then flip the whole thing back to it's original forward playing state. This way, the reverb is actually coming before the original sound is played. It's used a lot in horror films and it is definitely the way you've heard a ghost or spirit talk in many a horror movie. It's eerie, it fills up some space, and I love it.

As the author says, it's a technique only the Devil could do. Because how could an echo happen BEFORE the sound? It must be the Devil's work.

I also left in a few of the backwards tracks in my final mix, most notably in the start of the song and during the bridge. It's funny how a lot of the sounds in my head that I've been trying to figure out how to create cane be found in these few techniques. Now I have a few more tools in my toolbox for when I go play with the OilCan Drive stuff.

But, for now, back to work. Have a good one and I'll talk to you soon.

Here is the original track, before I messed with it at all:

And here is the mix I did with the preverb and backwards effects:

If you can't see either of the players above you can find the files for the original track HERE and the remixed preverb track HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Falling Off the Planet

That's about how I've felt these past few weeks. At least when it comes to writing in this blog and doing any kind of personal work. I feel like I've really fallen off the planet and, once I do that for a few days, it always makes it that much harder to start anything up again.

But, this weekend was the first time in a long time that I could see a light at the end of the tunnel and I didn't feel totally overwhelmed by everything. So, that means it must be getting better, right?

Only a few more weeks and I should have everything wrapped up and have some free time to get back to all things OilCan Drive and Exit 6. But, in the mean time, I'll try and post a few pieces of what's been keeping me so busy. All of it has been interesting.

And, I did find some time to play with the GoPro camera this afternoon. I set it up on a tripod on my deck and pointed it west as the sun went down. I set it up to take a photo every five seconds and, after a while, I had over a thousand photos. I plugged those into Windows Movie Maker, sped the whole thing up, added a little music, and you can see the results below.

I'll be back. Have a great day!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

While it looks like this month will be so busy that I won't have time to do my annual Christmas card to send out to friends, family, and clients, I couldn't let the year go by without drawing one of my favorite characters, Mr. Mucho!

For the last few years I've used Mr. Mucho on my holiday cards in a variety of poses and situations. It's always been fun to see what kind of trouble I can get him into every year. So, it made me a bit sad that so much client work has come through in the past few weeks that I wasn't going to have time in my schedule to do much of anything else.

It made me miss my little creation so much that last night, after I got done with the client work for the day, I sat down and did a quick marker sketch of Mr. Mucho and scanned and colored him in the computer. I figured I needed at least something new and festive for the blog if nothing else.

So, here is your yearly dose of Mr. Mucho. He wishes you all a happy holiday season even though you may not be seeing him in your mail box this year. It doesn't mean I don't care any less. It just means that while you're out there getting ready for the holidays I'll be working away, getting everything a little bit more done each day.

Have a great December and happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sports Illustrated Kids October Illustrations

It has been an incredibly busy last few weeks and, more than once in the last few days, I have felt like I might have bitten off more than I can chew. But, I just keep working along every day and, little by little, things seem to be getting done.

Of course, I did work a little bit on Thanksgiving and I did spend the holiday weekend chained to the art table but I did have some great food that Thursday so I really can't complain.

Ah, the life of a freelance artist where weekends and holidays don't mean much but I always tell myself it's better than digging ditches and I am still amazed I get paid to do something I love so much.

Sorry the blog has suffered in the last week but here are a few illustrations that graced the pages of October's Sports Illustrated Kids magazine. See if you can tell what's going on and let me know what you think the call is.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Alternate Soccer Cover

It was a really busy weekend and I spent most of it chained to the drawing table getting multiple projects a little further along on their journey to completion.

But, I didn't want to neglect the blog for too long so here is one of the alternate illustrations I did for the Jake Maddox covers I showed you last week. The kid playing soccer was my first attempt at the the cover before I was told to change it entirely and then to change it again until I finally got to the final piece. I didn't need to ink any of this character but I was messing around one night and I liked him so I laid some ink over him. I guess I didn't like his arms or legs too much because I stopped with inking a head and a torso.

Oh, and the headless basketball figure next to him? The one that was actually used for the cover? Well, when I did my initial illustrations for the covers I was working from provided photo reference and all the characters had their heads looking to the left or right. After I penciled them I was told that they wanted all the characters looking at the viewer. So, instead of erasing a perfectly good head and working over an erased and marred piece of illustration board I simply drew a new head separate from the body and digitally attached it once everything was scanned into the computer. It looks a little creepy here but it all turned out well in the end.

OK, back to work for me. But I thought it would be cool to show off some of the work that didn't quite make the cut.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Troubles and a New Toy

On Tuesday night I was working away on the computer I use to do all my artwork and music. After a while I started smelling something that had the odor of burnt plastic. I looked at the computer and hit the whole thing with a little compressed air. Then it smelled like burning bacon.

I walked around to the back of my desk and took a look at the computer from the back. The power source fan was not spinning at all, no air was blowing, and the whole power unit was burning hot to the touch. I shut the computer down. I knew I needed a new power unit but the last one I bought was at the now defunct CompUSA. I didn't know if anyone in town would actually have what I needed on a shelf and I was afraid I'd have to order something online and wait a few days and hope it would serve my needs.

It was too late at night to roam out around town looking for something so I'd have to do it in the morning. Needless to say I didn't sleep to well on Tuesday night.

I woke up early on Wednesday, unable to sleep, and set out to find my computer a new power source. I went to a local electronics shop I'd done some business with and asked if they had what I needed. I didn't think a big box store would have computer parts so I figured a local place might be my best bet. Turns out they didn't sell anything like that anymore but the guy behind the counter suggested Best Buy. I've bought TVs, DVD players, CDs, and DVDs at Best Buy but I didn't know if they had actual useful computer parts. I was a little skeptical but I took a drive over there anyway.

And, what do you know, they had exactly what I needed. Actually, the power unit they had was more than I needed but I was just happy to have something in hand. I was so happy I walked around Best Buy for a bit looking for an item I'd been reading about online for the last few days.

While watching the Amazing Race I noticed they used and were promoting a little video camera called the GoPro HD Hero2. It's one of those cameras that has all sorts of rigs you can build and attach it to helmets, a bike, or even the end of a surfboard. I've never owned a video camera in all of my life. The closest I have is the little webcam built into my laptop computer. The webcam works great but it's hard to run around with a laptop shooting video or suspending it above my art board so I can get some video of myself drawing.

So, feeling good about finding the power source, I bought myself a new toy. I am now the proud owner of a GoPro HD Hero2 camera. I even bought a few accessories for it so I could mount it in different spots. And, what's coolest of all, it lives inside a little plastic case that not only protects it but is water tight up to about 190 feet. I'm not about to go throw it into the pool anytime soon but it's nice to know I can.

After I went to lunch I got back to the studio to fix my computer. While I dealt with emails and phone calls from clients I had my computer on the floor, cover off, and pieces all over the place. I used to be a guy who was scared to even take the cover off of the computer for fear it would shine some holy light on me like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark and melt my face off. Now here I was, cover off, ripping out wires and power sources, fingers crossed that when I put it all back together it would work.

And, luckily, everything is now working better than ever.

With the work of the day done it was time to play with my new toy.

I rigged up one of my microphone stands so it now holds the camera as well as one of my vocal mikes. This way, I figure, I can record both audio and video in separate ways and then link them back together in post editing and get the best of both worlds. It took some playing to figure out some of the camera settings but here are a few tests I did with it.

First, using the microphone stand, I mounted the camera above my art desk. Originally I focused and framed the camera on a huge piece I've been working on that is 28"x17". So, when I threw that aside and started drawing on a little 8.5"x11" piece of copier paper I didn't quite have the shot framed right. But, you get the idea. And, if you click through to YouTube to watch this video, it's in 1080 hi def. The music I added is from the Angels and Airwaves' album Love, Part One. It's an instrumental of the song "Hallucinations."

And here is the second video test I did. I mounted the camera to my bike's handlebars and set off. I walked with Monika over to her gym and then took a quick ride around the block. It was a bit too cold to go on my hour long bike ride and I really wanted to see how the camera worked in low light. It turns out, when there is any decent light present like a lamp post, it looks really good. But when there isn't much light it almost goes completely dark. I sped up the video about four times so it wouldn't get too boring. No music on this one but I also muted the sound of me pedaling away.

So, what started out as a day full of not sleeping, being anxious, and feeling nervous, turned into a great day after all. Don't you love it when that happens?

OK, back to work for me. Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soccer Cover Figure

Here is the last cover I did for the latest round of Jake Maddox books and, believe me, it was the one that gave me the most headaches.

For the covers of this round of books I was given some photo mock-ups created by my art director to give me an idea of what he had in mind and how he wanted the figures to look. I went through and penciled all of the figures and did my best to match his ideas. There were a few initial changes that needed to be made and, overall, most of the figures were a go ahead to finish. But not this soccer kid. I made the changes, sent them back in, and was told that no one was really feeling the action. I was sent another photo that everyone agreed was better and I did a new pencil sketch based on that. Nope, no one liked that one either.

So, instead of sending me another photo I was told to do what I thought would look cool. I did a quick pencil sketch and emailed it over. And, what do you know, that was the one that was chosen to go to a finished piece. It took a while but I'm glad I finally got there and I'm happy with the way this guy turned out.

And, while I have finally read the basketball book I did the cover for the other day, I still have yet to read the story about this soccer player. So, I am really hoping I got the feel of this guy right and it works with the interior story of the book.

Hopefully I'll know soon enough.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Basketball Cover Figure

Another one of the books I am doing for the Jake Maddox series is a new basketball book. The difference between this cover figure and the two I showed earlier is that, on the other two, I had read the books and already illustrated the interiors. I had already lived with the characters for a bit and had a good feel for them artistically.

This and the next one I am going to show I was asked to illustrate with no idea what the story was about, who the characters were, or what they even looked like.

I never like doing covers this way as I fell the cover should be the last piece you do when you illustrate a book. I feel it should be the best of the interior work and really portray a good sense of what happens in the book. Drawing the cover this way and having the cover be my first stab at the character always feels very backwards to me.

But, there are deadlines to meet and I understand this. I don't have to like it, I just have to do it.

But, I still think the piece came out well and I'm looking forward to starting the interior of the book sometime this week.

Have a great day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baseball Cover Figure

Here is the cover figure I did for the latest Maddox book I just finished.

It's the story of a little league baseball catcher who has lost his mojo and can't seem to throw the ball back to the pitching mound much less throw a base stealer out at second.

Here's hoping he can figure it all out before the next big game!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Football Cover Figure

As promised earlier this week here is the full color piece I did for one of the newer Maddox books.

Like I said before, since the colors will probably change by the time this piece sees print, I painted this illustration in layers to make it easier for the editors and designers to change my work. There is a layer of color under a layer of shading and, as far as I know, there will be some sort of background behind him.

As to what it will look like when it's all completed I have no idea. But, this is how I would have colored him if it was up to me. We'll have to see what changes on him once the piece sees print early next year.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Exit 6 Pin-Ups

Alright, the initial first draft of the Exit 6 book has been completely written. I am taking a quick breather before I take some time to go through everything I have written and make sure it is all written well and makes sense. The last section I had to write about before the first draft was finished was a chapter on all the artists who did pin-ups for me through the books first publication run.

From left to right, top to bottom, the artists who did the above pieces are Dan Eaker, Rob Kelly, Ken Truhan, Dominic Tucci, Jermaine Newman, Craig Patrick, and Dan O'Connor.

It was fun writing pieces on all my old friends who contributed some art to my little book. It also gave me a chance to get online, find some websites, discover what everyone is up to now, and share that information with the readers.

And it was fun to revisit how different artists rendered my characters. Thanks guys for taking the time to do these for me in the first place.

One more little step down and who knows how many more I have left to do before this book is finally a reality...

Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sports Illustrated Kids September Illustrations

Here are a few more of the illustrations I did for Sports Illustrated Kids magazine a few months ago that were featured in the September issue.

Here is what I was told about each piece:

1) A pitcher throws a pitch. The batter swings and misses, but the catcher misjudges the ball, and it gets stuck in the catcher's facemask. (I'm not really sure what the question is on this one but I did like drawing the movement of both the batter swinging and the catcher getting a ball right in the face...)

2) A women's college lacrosse attackman takes a shot but the ball whizzes by the goal and rolls toward the out-of-bounds line. On a shot out of bounds, the ball is awarded to the person closest to it. Player A outraces Player B, but player B holds her stick out in front of her so that it is closer to the ball than Player A's. Who gets possession?

3) A running back on Team A takes a hand-off and finds an opening in the defense. Just as he is about to cross the goal line, a safety on Team B catches up to him and punches the ball out of his grasp. The ball rolls out of the back of the end zone. Who gets possession and where is the ball placed?

So, if you're the official on the field, what's the call?

Have a great day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Zip-A-Tone Test

Here is another quick test I did this weekend.

Last week I was finishing up the latest round of kids book covers for the Jake Maddox sports line of stories. Usually I do full paintings for the covers, create the backgrounds, and turn in a finished piece of art. But, the last time around the art director and editors went through each piece of art I did, warped the backgrounds, and changed every color I painted on every character. Yellows turned to reds, bike colors were changed, you name it.

So, for this round, to make it easier for them to change my art, I was asked to keep the characters in layers of color. This meant I had one layer of flat color and one layer on top of it with the shadows. This way they could just go into the color layer, change the colors, and all the rendering and shadows on the characters would be kept intact.

I am beginning to feel less and less like and artist and more like someone who is simply creating jig-saw puzzle pieces so someone else can put together the puzzle. But, that's not the point of this post.

Anyway, to do a quick zip-a-tone test (making basic gray scale painting into dots of pure black and white to replicate gray) I took the shaded layer and put it through a few tests in Photoshop. Basically what I am trying to do is replicate the old zip-a-tone sheets of tone I used to use back in the days when I did Exit 6. I like it graphically a lot better than a simple gray wash over everything (to me, simply graying everything always turns everything muddy) and I think it turned out well.

Some of the future art I do will look like this but probably not as rendered in the shading with all the dots. But, I still think it was a successful test.

I'll try and find the time to post the full color covers I did last week so you can see what I've been up to. But, I can pretty much guarantee that what I show you here won't look anything like the printed product that will be coming out soon. Oh well...

Have a great day!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Test Page

I've been thinking about starting a new OilCan Drive comic book story lately. The way I've always been taught to do comic book pages was to draw them at a 10"x15" size and then shrink them down to fit the actual book. But, I've been working at different sizes for so long lately that I thought I might be able to draw a comic book page a little smaller to save some time.

I figured it might be good to do a quick test page to get a feel for how it would be to draw the page at a smaller size. I have been so busy these past few weeks that I just never found time to do it. Until, one night, right before bed, I decided I'd sit down and simply draw out the boxes and see how big a space I was dealing with.

I started drawing and laying out the lines of the page at around 3am. Once I got the layout done I figured, to heck with it, I'm just going to sketch out the page until I am tired. So, with a blue pencil in hand, I started sketching away. And, in about half an hour this is what I came up with.

I shot the photo in color but turned it into a grayscale piece so you could see the drawing a bit easier. I did like the way the drawing felt at this size and sketching out the page gave me an idea of what I might need to change or some of the problems I need to address in the future when I do a page. One of the first problems I saw is that it's been so long since I've done a comic book page is that I didn't leave too much room for word balloons or dialogue. So, I'll need to keep that in mind a bit more when I start drawing actual pages.

And, as far as decisions, after doing this test page I think I will go back to the 10"x15" page size. It will give me more room to draw and, hopefully, will let me draw stuff around the same size but still leave room for dialogue.

But, it was still a good test. And it felt great to sketch out a comic book page again.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New OilCan Drive Piece

As promised the other day, here are a few photos of the work being done on the newest OilCan Drive piece that I used for the blog header this month.

I didn't do this piece for any real reason in particular other than I hadn't drawn the characters in a while and I simply missed them. It also gave me a chance to look at each character and think of ways I might change little details here and there as I looked at the finished piece. Some things I love but other little things bugged me so this piece helped me sort out some of those problems.

I also gave myself a few free hours yesterday to sit down after lunch at Einstein's Bagels and write a good chunk of the Exit 6 collected book. It felt a little weird to sit there for about three hours in the corner typing away but the people working there like me and came over to chat a few times as I worked. For some reason I have a hard time sitting at home and writing anything of length other than a blog post or an email. So it was nice to sit somewhere else for a while surrounded by people and just write.

The good news is that, because I sat there and gave myself the time to do it, the first draft of the Exit 6 book has been completely written. There is one more part I want to write about the people who did pin-ups for me when the original comics were published but the bulk of the story of how I worked on Exit 6 and what happened after is now complete. It felt good to write those last words and feel like I had completed something of worth in telling my story. Now I just need to go through the whole thing again and fix whatever needs fixing and then give it to someone else to read and see what they think.

But, after counting pages last night, depending on how I format the book, it looks like there will be about 230 pages of art with about 150 pages of the story behind Exit 6. I'm really looking forward to getting all of the writing done so I can get to the fun part of designing the book. But, one step at a time. I felt like yesterday I made a nice giant step.

OK, back to work for me. I have a few pages of a kids book to finish up today.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November!

Wow, it's November already. Things have been so busy around here that I honestly can't remember the last time I took a whole day off of work. It's been so busy that I didn't even have time to color the newest OilCan Drive piece I did for the blog header. So, you'll have to live with just seeing some nice line art up there above the blog for the next month.

Tomorrow, when I have a bit more time, I'll show a few more photos and scans of this newest piece. But, for now, it's back to work.

Have a great month!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ace Kilroy

Happy Halloween!

This Halloween has been one I've been especially waiting for. And "why is that?" you ask? It's because this Halloween marks the launch date for a project a few old college friends of mine are doing called Ace Kilroy. Two of my good friends, Rob Kelly and Dan O'Connor, guys I met on my first day of art school, have teamed up to do a daily web comic book project and today is the day that the whole thing goes live.

You can check out Ace Kilroy at the main website HERE and the guys have launched a Kickstarter project to try and raise funds for the whole thing HERE.

And, the best thing about the Kickstarter project (well, to me at least)? Because I really liked the project and really wanted in on the fun I offered up my services and I got to do the video promo for the project. Yep, that's right, I believe in the project so much and think so much of these guys that I did both the audio and video for the project just so I could someday say, "yeah, I worked on the project once."

So, go take a look at the website and, if you like what you see, think about helping my friends out in their creative adventure. Oh, and here is the video I did. Enjoy that as well.

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 8, Finished!

Well, those of you who chose the fourth Chase Cooper version yesterday as the one that was used were dead on right. Give yourself a prize!

Although, I never thought of the reason Manu gave as to why the logo I designed wasn't used. Manu apparently thinks of things that never even enter my mind. The reason I was given that my logo wasn't used was that it looked like it could easily be confused with an "E" and didn't read enough like a "C". Manu apparently thought it had something to do with the way the dark red background of the "C" looked a little too much like a phallic symbol. Believe me, I wish I was smart enough to be that subversive. I'm just not. ha ha

But, here is the finished version of the illustration and the book that it was used on. Ann Wachtler was kind enough to send me a copy of the book along with a great "Thank You" card last week. The book is now on my pile of things I need to read when I find some free time.

You can find a copy of "Super Power of the Day" HERE and, if you'd like, you can read all about the design of the book and how Ann is marketing the book on her own blog HERE.

It was a fun job and I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few books bring.

Have a good one.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 7

After getting the inking done I went straight to the computer and started coloring away. There were a few changes and variations made but, at the end of the day, the piece was done and the client was happy.

Now, let's see if you can guess which of these characters made the final cut and made it onto the cover of the finished book.

I'll post the final book tomorrow and we'll see if you guessed right.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 6

With the pencils approved and everything hunky dory I went back to the drawing board and started laying down some ink. It was a pretty straight up inking job and I always love doing these simple kind of characters where I can really play with the thick and thin of the ink lines.

And, while I got the inking done, I also did a color logo of the "C" emblem that would go on his chest. I wasn't sure if the client would like it or not but I really liked the way the 'C' turned into a part of the overall oval emblem.

Next up, a little bit of color.

Have a good one!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 5

Boy hero Frankenstein!

Because the client liked a bit of each from the last two attempts I used the head of the second version of our hero and put it on the body of the third version. It fit well but I still missed the head and smile of the third version. Ah well, you can't win them all and when you're working for someone else your first goal is to make them happy.

So, with this version approved it was back to the drawing board to add some ink and go to color.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 4

With enough changes needed on the previous version of our hero I decided it might be easier to simply go back to square one and start over from scratch.

Using the thumbnail sketch I originally did as a template again I came up with this new penciled version.

Personally, this was, by far, my favorite look of all the pieces I did and I would have been super happy to simply ink him, color him, and have a great piece of artwork done and out the door.

But, while I was getting closer there was a little bit the client liked of this piece and a little bit the client liked of the previous versions. So, I went back to the old piece and did a little Doctor Frankenstein work on both pieces to create the ultimate super hero kid.

I wasn't there yet, but I was getting closer!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Need a Hero! Part 3

Even though it was back to the drawing board luckily I still had the original thumbnail to work from. So, I pulled that out of my sketchbook and did this new version of our hero.

The client didn't like the idea of giant manga type eyes so I went completely in the opposite direction and gave him a set of Lil' Orphan Annie button eyes. I really love the look of eyes like this but I had yet to find any client at all who liked the look. That was, until now.

I did a couple of changes at the client's request, making the eyes a bit bigger and giving more definition to his legs (which, thank God, we didn't end up using.)

I even came up with a logo for his chest.

We weren't quite there yet, but we were getting closer than my initial pencil sketch.

More tomorrow!