Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Star Wars Commission

One of the commissions I've been working on while I've had the time this past week is a Star Wars piece for a guy over in Ireland.

After seeing the Angels and Airwaves' (AVA for short) LOVE movie a few weeks ago I began looking online for any merchandise I could find from the band. There were really only a few things I was looking for but I had no luck finding anything really decent. Then, while reading through one of the Angels and Airwaves fan message boards I came across a post from Europe. A guy had a press kit from AVA's first album, We Don't Need To Whisper. It was a CD sampler and a DVD all in one package. That sounded like a pretty cool item to me so I messaged him and asked him how much he was asking for it.

I got a direct email from him to my gmail account. And, funnily enough, the email address and name looked familiar. It turns out that it was Ciaran, a guy I had done some artwork for a few years ago for his band. I did it for fun out of the goodness of my heart and because I liked the music he was doing. It turned out he was the one selling the press kit.

We chatted a bit and he told me he had a lot more Angels and Airwaves merchandise he was trying to sell. He even had an AVA metal wing pin that I have been on the lookout for about five years. I've just never been able to find one because they are so scarce (as he put it, harder to find than hen's teeth.) But, he had one.

He asked me if I had a Star Wars piece he had seen me do a few years ago and if I could send him a copy. If I had it, I would have probably sent it right over. But, I couldn't recall the piece he was talking about (I haven't done too many Star Wars pieces.) So, I made him an offer. I'd do him an original Star Wars piece of the characters of his choosing if he'd send me some AVA merchandise.

Before long we had struck a deal. So, I am getting a ton of Angels and Airwaves stuff and he is getting an original piece of Han Solo and Princess Leia. And, I am also helping his band put together the art for their first EP CD they are recording now.

So, here is the initial sketch for his Star Wars piece. It's in gray scale so the sketch would show up easier but, at this point, it's all still in non-repo blue pencil. I plan on doing the detail penciling soon and sending it off to him to see what he thinks.

Who says good karma never pays off?

Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Glowing Lights of Progress

Well it's been a while but I feel like my vacation from the blog is over and it's time to get back to work in telling you what I've been up to.

Back in February I gave myself a few personal projects that I wanted to complete by the end of summer. I had the best of intentions in trying to get them all done but, with August almost over, I feel like a complete failure because nothing I wanted to get done is completed.

The four projects I gave myself to complete were:
1. An OilCan Drive music CD of four to six songs.
2. A collected Exit 6 book that would compile all the work I did on my self published Exit 6 comic as well as a biography of my life as it pertained to the creation of the comic.
3. A book of the movie style script I wrote for OilCan Drive a few years ago complete with art and a new cover.
4. Start the next OilCan Drive comic book.

But, with summer ending and the client work gearing up again, I find myself with nothing complete and, because of that, I've felt awful and felt the need to be quiet for a while. That's not to say that nothing got done but nothing got finished. But, things are much further along than they were when I started them back in February.

The OilCan Drive music CD is over halfway completed. After a bunch of false starts I finally got into the groove and recording was going along really smoothly. I did hit a snag recently when one song got me bogged down so I put the project on hold so I could recollect my thoughts. I haven't recorded or played anything in a few weeks but I can feel the itch to start recording again. The way I usually know this is that when I want to record and don't have the time I start looking at new music gear to buy. Today I was looking at amp heads and speaker simulators that, together, would run me over two grand. So, I figure it's much easier to just pick up one of my guitars and start working again than to go into debt buying gear I don't need. It's much cheaper that way.

The Exit 6 collected book has all the art scanned into the computer and is ready to be put together. The writing of my biography is almost done and, from what I can gauge, I only have a few more chapters to write before I wrap that all up. I am stuck on a spot somewhere in 2001 where I felt like my life fell apart and changed dramatically. I'm trying to figure out how I want to word this chapter in my life but it is near the end of the story. I have about eighty pages of text written so far and, from what I can estimate, with art and story, the finished book should be about 350 pages.

While the OilCan Drive script book got put way on the back burner and the OilCan Drive comic hasn't even had one page of it drawn yet, I do have a nice structure in my head for the next OilCan Drive adventure. The story is taking shape and the way the books (yes, books...this one will have multiple chapters and not be a single, short story, adventure) are going to be laid out is slowly gelling in my brain. I did sign a quick "promise to start" contract with a few fellow artists saying there is a certain date we would all start drawing our books. That day isn't here yet but it's coming soon and I will start drawing OilCan Drive then.

So, while I do feel like a failure, things are still rolling along. And, it's not like nothing is getting done. It's just taking longer than I thought.

And, over the last few weeks I've been busy as well. Since I last wrote I have done three freelance art jobs, taken on two new commissions from Europe, agreed to do the audio and video for a friends comic book trailer, signed contracts and begun working on the next kid's book, refinanced my existing mortgage, had new windows put into the condo, and had a friend (Jeff, not only is he a great artist but the guy can build a house with his own two hands, Lafferty) tear apart and build me a new deck.

So, it's been busy but my vacation from the blog is over.

Get ready for some new art, new stories, and new music and video projects soon!

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


OK, so after five years of waiting, I finally saw the Angels and Airwaves movie, LOVE, in the theater last night.

The movie was playing for one night only on about 500 screens across the country. In my haste to secure seats, the first theater announced even near me is where I bought tickets. I was so excited I didn't know if they would sell out or what, so I just bought them on impulse. I bought them for a theater in Westminster, about twenty minutes away from my house. Little did I know at the time I bought them that if I had waited a week or so I would have found out the movie was actually playing right down the street from me too. Oh well, no big deal, I thought. It's only twenty minutes away and it will be an adventure and it will be fun to bring a few friends and go check this thing out.

Well, I didn't factor in that the movie started at 6pm and, because I live in Boulder, rush hour traffic out of Boulder around 5pm is always a huge mess. I totally forgot about this. I wanted to try and get to the theater around 5:30pm because I knew they were going to show all the short films I've been blogging about the past few days on the big screen and I thought it would be cool to see those in the theater. So, with a mere twenty minute drive in front of us and some traffic ahead, with Monika at the wheel and my friend Jeff in the backseat, we decided to leave Boulder at 4:45 and take back roads to try and avoid the traffic and get there sooner.

We got so turned around and lost and stuck in traffic even on those back roads that when we finally got to the theater it was a minute or so before 6pm, right when the feature movie was starting. Five years of waiting for a movie and I was actually late getting to it.

We met our friends Brian and Ken outside and all rushed in. Brian, Ken, and I walked into the theater while Monika and Jeff went to get drinks. As the three of us walked into the theater the lights were already down and the movie had started. I'd missed the introduction by the film makers and I don't know how much of the movie itself. But, we found seats and I settled in.

Monika and Jeff got into the theater a few minutes later but had already missed the scene below. One of the most epic scenes in the movie and they had missed it. So, Jeff, watch it is what you missed before you came in.

From an epic Civil War battle scene the movie shifted to a man alone in a space station high above Earth. As he goes about his daily routine things start to slowly fall apart. The transmissions he gets from Earth slowly go from constant to few and far between and then, finally, no word at all. Looking at the Earth from space we see the lights of our cities slowly go out and plunge the world into darkness. One man, in a space station high above the world, is the last man left alive.

And then it gets weird.

I don't want to give too much away but it isn't your basic popcorn summer action type of movie. It's mostly about being isolated and how love and human connection are things that we all need as human beings. I loved the music, the feel of the movie, and I absolutely loved the cinematography. As for the story, I'll have to see it again once it comes out on DVD and really get a second look at it to figure it out.

But, for a five year wait, I wasn't disappointed.

More than the movie what impressed me was the way it was made.

After the movie was done the band, Angels and Airwaves, who came up with the concept of the movie, funded it, and scored it, did a live three song set from Boston of some of their most popular songs in brand new, pared down, arrangements. From there the singer and leader of the band, Tom, sat down with the director of the movie, Will, and the film's star, Gunner, and did a little Q&A session about how the film was made.

And that is what impressed and inspired me the most. For a movie that the director made on a small budget of five hundred thousand dollars it contained Civil War battles scenes, space stations, and alien (maybe?) visitors and really looked amazing. He ended up building most of the sets in his parents backyard with maybe one or two friends at a time. All in all, for the majority of the film, the most people working on the it at one time was maybe three or four souls. Sometimes it was just the director and the start of the movie going it alone. And that just impressed the hell out of me. It made me feel like I needed to do more.

After the Q&A the band Angels and Airwaves debuted their new single from the Love 2 album (the first Love album was released a year and a half ago as a free download) that will accompany the film when it makes it's way to DVD later this year.

Overall I really enjoyed the night and enjoyed the hell out of the project. It made me want to do more and create more and do more cool things. And this is coming from a guy who, at any time, is not only working on client work but it also working on a new comic book, writing a book of his life to accompany a collected book of his work, and recording an album of music.

It inspired me. That's the best way to describe what effect the movie had on me.

And, in the end, that's usually what I am looking for. When I go into a book store, watch a movie, or talk to people about projects, usually what I am looking for is inspiration. Inspiration to fire up my creative soul, inspiration to create new projects, and inspiration to finish the projects I have already started.

This movie and project gave me that. So, I say thank you to the director, the cast, and the band who made this movie happen. Thank you.

Now I just have to wait a mere few months until the movie is on DVD and I can be inspired all over again. I can't wait.

Have a great day and enjoy this clip from the starting of the film.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Off to see LOVE

I am on my way out the door to see LOVE, the movie I've been talking about so much over the last few weeks. I just hope it's good.

Here is the last short movie clip that is sort of a prequel to the movie

OK, I am off. I'll let you all know what I thought about the movie tomorrow.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kick Starter

A lot of friends and I have been discussing the Kickstarter website lately and wondering if it's actually as good as it sounds and if it can actually generate you money to do your own projects.

Well, now one of my friends, Jeff Lafferty, is involved in a Kickstarter project so, hopefully, we'll find out if it works soon enough.

Jeff has teamed up with a few other artists and is providing the artwork for a garage model kit another artist is putting together. They are looking for a total of $4500 to fund the project and I already kicked in a little money myself. With 26 days left and only 4 people contributing it looks like they are already one fifth of the way to their goal.

I really hope they make it.

It would be nice to see someone I know benefit and do some great art at the same time.

Have a good one!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Few More Videos

It was a busy weekend and it feels like a lot of my life is up in the air at the moment so, once again, there isn't much illustration work to show. I've still been writing the Exit 6 book as well as working on the music side of the OilCan Drive project but it's hard to really photograph any progress on either of those projects.

Add to that trying to refinance my mortgage, renegotiate a contract, and trying to decide whether I should move my art studio out of the living room and into an actual office outside of the home and it's made for a busy weekend even if I don't have anything to show for it.

But, if you've been reading any of the last few weeks worth of posts to this blog, you know that the movie LOVE is showing this Wednesday night so I have that to look forward to. And, because of that, here are a few more of the band's live videos from Red Bull studios. Not only do they play a few songs but each performance is book ended with a little bit of information about the movie.

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

Young London

Flight of the Apollo

Friday, August 5, 2011

From The Vault - Exit 6 #2 Interior Pencils 1997

Continuing the look at the making of Exit 6, here is the penciled version of page eight from issue two.

It's stuff like this I hope to include in the new book I am working on. It's been a long week and a particularly long day but, from looking at the manuscript I am writing, it looks like I only have a few more chapters left in the Exit 6 book.

I'm hoping I can get the first draft done by the end of the weekend.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More from Love

Here is the third of four short films that serve as, I guess, a prequel to the LOVE movie showing for one night only next Wednesday. I am really enjoying each of these and trying to figure out how all the stories tie together in the final movie.

Only one more week until I find out!

Have a great day.

Love Hallucinations

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little More Love

Things have been busy here but there isn't too much to show for all the work I've been doing. So, I thought, since I can't show you what I'm doing, I can show another video short from the movie, Love, which I am really looking forward to seeing next week.

I still have no idea what the story is about or if it will even make any sense but I love the music and the imagery. I love the way the director, Mark Eaton, uses a camera and the light available to him. It's some very beautiful cinematography from a very young guy who, I think, is very talented.

So, enjoy the video while I get back to work.

Have a great day.

Soul Survivor

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August!

Happy August, everyone! I figured since things have been so busy around here and I haven't been able to draw an original new piece for the blog header this month that I would use some of the cover for the new Exit 6 collected book I've been working on.

I can't wait to get the first draft of the book written and get a little bit closer to getting this thing together and printed. After the years I worked on the book in my twenties and devoting a lot of my extra time to it this year it will be nice to finally have a collected book in my hand.

But, for now, back to work.

Have a great month!