Friday, April 29, 2011

From The Vault - Boulder Buffalos 1998

I did this piece of art for an old boss of mine back in 1998. He was part of a ping pong team and was looking for a t-shirt design for his team.

So, I made the biggest, baddest, buffalo-ist ping pong player I could think of.

This piece, like all the pieces I did in the nineties, was all done by hand. It was first penciled and inked by hand, then used computer lettering printed out for the logos. I then cut those out and actually pasted them right on the original art work. Finally I'd have the art shot on a photostat machine so the image was transferred to a slick, photo-like, paper and I painted the whole thing with my trusty old airbrush.

It is good to know, if all the computers fail, I can still do work like this. Of course, I don't think anyone makes photostats anymore. But, I'm sure I'd figure something out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Exit 6 Back Cover

The front cover for the Exit 6 collected book is all but done and colored. All it needs now is the type and copy laid over it and it should all be done. Of course, I have to figure out what I want to write on the front cover but I might let that sit in my head for a few days.

So, I am jumping over to coloring the image for the back cover of the book. You can see here I've laid out some little color swatches that I pulled from the front cover so everything would remain consistent. We'll see how it works out.

I spent most of the weekend doing client work and just feeling lousy.

I never sleep too well at night so Monika got me some herbal remedy sleep aid. It's a natural sleep aid that is drug free so I felt pretty safe taking it. It worked. It worked too well. After a week of being on these things not only did I sleep well at night but, after a while, sleeping was all I wanted to do. I would wake up and wander through the day, trying to get stuff done, but really wanting to do nothing more than go back to bed. I even felt whatever creative spark I have inside me fade away. So, I stopped taking them and am trying to get back to my normal self. I'll trade a few sleepless nights for have more creative thoughts and sparks in my head.

But, for now, I'm still feeling kind of sluggish. I hope I can get these things out of my system soon and get things back to normal around here. Too much needs to be done.

OK, back to coloring. Have a great day and I'll talk to you soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Little Bit More

So the Bone illustration has been put to the side and I've jumped back onto painting the cover for the Exit 6 collected book.

The shading and modeling of the characters is coming along and I'm getting a better idea of how I want the tones of the characters to vary from the foreground to the background. I just need to do some shading on a few more of the figures and then tackle the background image of Penangal. I know I want him to fade into the night sky but I haven't figured out exactly how I want to look yet.

But, it's getting there. And I think, so far, it's coming along great.

Have a great Saturday and I'll talk to you soon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

From The Vault - Sniper and Rook Pin-Up B 2000

As promised in last week's From the Vault Friday post, here is the companion piece to the civilian Sniper and Rook I did back in 2000.

I wanted one piece to show the secret agent aspect of the book, with the characters in tuxedos and evening gowns doing their thing. And, in this one, the second piece, I wanted to show the same characters all geared up in their outfits and ready to go to work.

Both pieces were a lot of fun to do and it's always good to take a break from your own stuff once in a while and play in someone else's sand box.

Like I said last week, if you'd like to see more of the adventures of Sniper and Rook you can check them out HERE.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bone 20th Anniversary Inks

So I inked up the Bone piece I penciled yesterday. I don't know. I think I might chalk this one up to a good effort but poor execution. I'm just not happy with it so I think I might just let it lie here and go back to doing some of my own stuff.

Like I said yesterday, if Jeff Smith himself isn't drawing these characters they just don't look right. So, maybe that is what's bugging me about this piece.

But good try, Sean, good try. Now go back into your own sandbox and play with your own toys.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bone 20th Anniversary

Over on Boneville, Jeff Smith's website featuring all things Bone, there was post put up that the San Diego ComicCon's Souvenir Book is now taking art submissions to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bone.

Being a huge fan of the Bone comic book (and seeing as how I just reread through the entire series in the last week) I decided to put pencil to paper and see what I could come up with.

The weird thing about Bone is that, unlike say a Spider-Man or a Bat-Man, unless Jeff Smith himself draws the characters they just don't look quite right. So I found myself struggling a bit with simply aping Jeff's style and trying to put my own style onto it a bit. But, the problem is that, the more I put my own spin on things, the more the characters just look wrong.

Plus, I'm not sure if I am just spinning my wheels doing this piece either. I doubt I'd be selected to be in the book at the end of the day. It seems anytime I put my stuff out there into the comic book world I get a polite, "thanks but no thanks" kind of vibe. Maybe I should just stick to my own stuff.

Ah well, we'll have to see how it looks when I ink it.

OK, have a good one. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Up in the Air

The last few days have sped right on by and things have been so up in the air that I haven't had a lot of time to sit at the drawing board and get anything done. But hopefully I can remedy that this week and have some new stuff to show you.

But, even through it all, I did get a little bit of time to work on the color for the front and back covers of the Exit 6 collected book.

It's not much, but it's getting there.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Zone of Terror 2

Here is the illustration of Vince with a bit of color added to the piece.

Two down, two more to go. Half the band is done and now it's on to the rhythm section. It may take a few more bike rides to figure out the poses and attitudes I want for both Nicole and Henry. I have an initial idea for Nicole's piece but for Henry, at the moment, I haven't got a clue.

I'm really enjoying doing these pieces just for fun. It really reminds me of the pure joy of drawing and creating when I'm not on a deadline and there is absolutely no pressure on me, internally or externally, to get it "right."

Just some fun. And a zone of terror.

Have a good one!

Friday, April 15, 2011

From the Vault - Sniper and Rook Pin-Up A 2000

Back in 2000 I was still attending most local comic conventions around the Denver area. I know Exit 6 was, at that point, finished and I was shopping around some new ideas I had rattling around in my brain.

At one of these conventions I met John Metych who was working on his own self published book called "Sniper and Rook." It was a mix of international spies, assassins, and super heroes. He asked me if I'd be interested in doing a pin-up illustration for the back of the book and, since I liked what he was doing, I not only did one pin-up, but two.

Here is the first one I did. I'll post the other one next week.

And, if you'd like to see more of John's book, you can check it out HERE.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back To It

The new computer got here on Tuesday morning and I spent most of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning trying to get it set up. I loaded all the programs I needed on it and got everything up to date. When I was finally satisfied that everything was on there that I needed I moved out my old computer out of the way and put the new one in its place.

And that is when the problems started.

The computer I use to do my work is a five year old machine which has only been connected to the internet a handful of times. I use it to do all of my artwork, record the OilCan Drive music, write, and do my finances. It's pretty simple. It works and does its job. I figured the new computer would blow this old one away. But, after a few headaches in getting it set up I found that both the scanner I use to get my had drawn artwork into the computer and all the music gear I use to record with are not compatible with the new system.

So, after not being sure what to do I finally put the old computer back where it belonged, hooked all of my old gear into it, and got it working again. And it felt comfortable.

I scanned in the three pieces of art I was waiting to use on the new computer. And, like I expected, everything works fine for what I need. You can see them all here, prepped to be colored.

The new super computer is now sitting in a corner, waiting for what I am going to do with it.

But, I'll tell you this much, I know I am much happier working on the art side of things than trying to do tech stuff and make a computer work. And, I think, in the end, that is what matters.

So, we'll see what happens.

And before anyone says it, I'll say it myself just to get it out of the way.

Maybe I should get a Mac. ha ha.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zone of Terror

Here is the inked piece of Vince fresh off the drawing board. Since I simply took a photo of the piece some of the details in his face got a bit odd with the camera's flash but you get the idea.

The new computer should be showing up today and I'm hoping I can get it set up the way I like it and get all of the programs I need on it installed before the day's end. Then, maybe, I can get some of the illustrations I've done in the last few days scanned and prepped for paint. I'm really looking forward to it.

The funny thing about this piece is, because of the way Vince is posed, it reminds me of a scene from the TV show "Friends." I found the clip I was looking for on YouTube so give it a watch and you can see why I am calling this piece "Zone of Terror."

And, yes, if you're wondering kids, that is the man who directed Iron Man.

Go figure. ha ha.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vincent Pencils

I enjoyed doing the new Ryan Burke piece last week that, while waiting for the new computer to arrive, I did a new one of Vince, the other guitarist in OilCan Drive, as well.

The thing I really enjoyed about both pieces is that I just penciled them with no planning other than the idea in my head. Usually, when doing work for clients, I always do thumbnail roughs so I can show everyone what I'm thinking before I actually do it. It's a good way to visually communicate with someone and let them know what's going on before too much work on the piece is done and you have to go back and start it all over again if something isn't working. Of course, there are still times people change their minds and I still end up having to go back and start over but doing thumbnails greatly reduces that from happening.

I've been going the thumbnail route so much these past few years that I even do thumbnails for myself most times. I have an idea and I sketch it out quickly in my notebook to make sure everything looks right. Like I said, it works well.

But, what I am really enjoying with these new pieces is that I am drawing without any pre-planning at all. Just drawing for the pure joy of drawing and seeing what comes out. Poses change and even, on this piece, his hands moved around more than a few times, but it's really fun and I'm happy with the outcome.

Now I just need to crack open the ink and lay down some lines on Vince. Hopefully I can have him inked and finished and ready to show to you tomorrow.

Have a good one!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Exit 6 Cover Inks

Here we go, fresh off the drawing board, the inked illustration for the Exit 6 collected cover.

One of the things I really like about the design of the cover is the way Keith is looking back over his shoulder at all the antagonists in the story. It subtlety gets across the whole point of this book which is not only the collected comic books but also a journal of me looking back at that time in my life. If it hadn't already been taken by the great Berni Wrightson book, I'm sure I would subtitle this book, "A Look Back."

I should be getting my new work computer on Tuesday so I think I'm going to hold off on scanning the front and back covers until I get it all set up. But, once everything is up and running again I'm looking forward to diving in and getting some color on these pieces.

For now, back to the drawing board on a few new pieces I've been working on and maybe a little more writing on the Exit 6 book.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 8, 2011

From the Vault - Exit 6 #4 Cover 1998

I had a request a week ago if I ever colored the cover for the original Exit 6 #4 cover. I had to pull it out of the vault but I still have all of the original black and white and colored covers I did for the Exit 6 series.

Looking back, when Exit 6 ended, I did offer a copy of issue #4 to whoever wanted it but I'm pretty sure I sent the copies out sporting only a black and white cover.

So, I think, other than here on this blog, the only other place this color image ever showed up was in Diamond's Previews catalog back in 1998. It was in there, solicited for sale, but the plug was pulled before I ever got the sales numbers for #4.

So, after thirteen years, here is the colored cover for Exit 6, issue #4.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exit 6 Back Cover Inks

Here is the inked illustration for the back cover of the Exit 6 collected book. Things are going really great with the art side of the project. Now if I could just sit down and get the writing part all hammered out this thing would be almost completed.

It sounds like I need to schedule out some time this weekend to revisit my past a bit more. It's a fun place to visit but I'm not sure I'd want to live there again.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Exit 6 Back Cover Begins

I figured, while doing the front cover pencils for the Exit 6 collected book, I might as well tackle the back cover illustration as well.

While I didn't want to make Keith Howard, who is a vampire in the Exit 6 story, all vamped out on the front cover (I thought it might take away from the heroic pose I chose for him) I did want to take the opportunity to draw him as a vampire again. So, I opted to do a Keith and Courtney piece for the back cover where Keith is in all his vamped out glory.

Originally I was going to put all of his face other than his eyes and teeth in deep black shadow but, as I started drawing him, I kept all of his facial features there and may tackle the dramatic lighting when I go to the color stage. We'll have to see how this goes.

As I draw both the front and back cover for this collected edition it made me realize how much I miss doing comic book stories and telling tales sequentially. I think the comic book bug may have bit me again. We'll have to see if anything comes of it.

But, for now, I'm really enjoying revisiting these characters who I have not had a chance to work on in over a decade.

I hope you enjoy and have a great day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Exit 6 Cover Pencils

I got the pencils done for the Exit 6 cover the other night. Everything looks good so far and I'm really glad I made a preliminary collected book of Exit 6 for myself so I had some reference on hand to help me remember what all the characters looked like. I'm just amazed by the 90's hair styles some of these characters had. There are a couple of mullets in this book I wish I could just forget.

I also made a photocopy of the pencils and went around it with a sharpie marker to help give me an idea of how the finished book cover might look once I block it in and add the titles and text. Originally I was going to let the art bleed right off the cover but the more I played with this mock up the more I found I really liked the idea of a black border around the piece. For some reason it seems a bit more elegant to me and fits better with a collected edition.

OK, off to pencil the back cover and maybe start inking on this piece today. We'll see how things go. Maybe I'll even find some time to write a bit more of the interior manuscript. It's getting there.

Have a good one!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Exit 6 Collected Cover Begins

The writing for the Exit 6 Collected book has been plodding along and almost all of the original pages have been scanned in and cleaned up so I figured why not start the cover already?

I was trying to figure out a movie poster sort of design that would incorporate all of the major characters in the Exit 6 world. After more than a few sketches in the notebook I settled on a design that I think works.

Yesterday I started sketching in with blue pencil the cover on bristol board. In this photo you can see the initial pencils, the thumbnail sketch in my notebook, and one of the pages from the original series that will be included in the collected book. Honestly, it's been over ten years since I drew these characters so I had to pull out some reference to make sure I remembered how to draw them. And, at times I had to remind myself what each character was wearing as well.

But, it's a start and I hope to get the finished pencils done for this before I go to bed tonight.

It's fun drawing Keith and Courtney and the old gang again. It's like revisiting old friends. I never realized just how much I missed them until I started sketching them again. And, it will be cool to see how they look today with ten more years of drawing experience under my belt. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

OK, back to the drawing board. Have a great end to the weekend!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy April!

I decided to skip putting the new blog header up yesterday because I wanted to continue the From the Vault Friday posts. Plus, I didn't want to try and come up with some odd April Fool's Day joke for the blog so I skipped doing that altogether.

I inked up the illustration I did of Ryan Burke late last week and decided to use it for the new header. As much as I like putting images I've done in the past into the new headers I am going to try, from now on, to do new pieces for the blog. I really enjoyed doing the Ryan piece and it reminded me how much fun I have simply drawing for myself when I can get out of my own way.

I liked the piece so much I tweaked it a bit to make it its own illustration. I stole the logo the band The Who use for their merchandise (which they themselves stole from the RAF plane insignias so I didn't feel so bad) and put it behind Ryan. I think it works really well. Ryan is a big Who fan so it seems to fit.

I put the image up on Facebook a few days ago and a few people said I should make it into a T-shirt. So, it might be worth a visit over to Zazzle to see what I can do with it. I think with a few little tweaks it could make a cool new shirt. What do you think?

Whatever it is, enjoy April and the new warm weather it brings with it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

From The Vault - Courtney McKay Commission 2000

While working on the Exit 6 collected book I ran across this commission I did of Courtney McKay in a pile of copies in one of my portfolios.

While the book itself folded in early 1999 it looks like, based on the date on this piece, that someone out there liked the work enough to commission me to do this private piece sometime in 2000. All I have now of it is a photocopy.

And, on last week's From The Vault post I got a few questions about the upcoming Exit 6 collected book:

"Did you do a painted cover of issue #4? I have seen a scan of the B&W cover of #4. Will you also be including all the covers in the collected works (including the ash covers)? "

I did do a painted version of Exit 6 #4 that never saw print. I have the original painting here somewhere so I'll have to dig it out for next week's From The Vault post. And, in the collected works book not only will all the covers be included but all the ashcan covers, alternate covers, unused covers, unpublished issues, unpublished penciled issues, original character sheets, and everything else I can find that that I have that is Exit 6 related. All that art plus a biography of my own life as it pertains to the Exit 6 story and I foresee this book running between 200-300 pages long.

It's been a long time in coming but it's almost here. I just hope it's worth the wait.