Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Robots Need Sex

About a week ago my friend Lou came over and we recorded a song of his called "Robots Need Sex."

The idea was to record the song and then do a video so I rigged some cameras up to capture Lou playing and singing the song. I captured about eight different angles as he played the song a few times through. I figured it might be cool to have some footage of the actual song being recorded instead of trying to lip synch and pretend to play to a backing track later.

The video is far from being even started and Lou hasn't actually even heard this mixed version of the song yet (he's on vacation this week so I'm not sure when he'll get a chance to listen to it or if he'll even like it.) But, I wanted to share it with you.

And, since I figured a piece of video would be better than no video at all, I synched up one of the videos we took with the finished song.

I built a simple rig that let me attach my little GoPro camera to the headstock of a guitar. It's fun to see the shot pan around and the background move as the camera stays stable looking down the guitar's neck. It's a bit jittery as Lou was really banging away on the bass playing this song but I think it works and was a fun experiment.

We'll see how getting a full video done goes but, for now, at least the song is done so that's one step out of the way.

Well, of course, I'll have to make sure Lou likes the mix first but I'll worry about that later.

For now, enjoy "Robots Need Sex!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sports Illustrated Kids March

As I start the next round of illustrations for the Sports Illustrated Kids "What's The Call" article I thought it would be a great time to show off the illustrations I did for the March issue.

Sometimes art goes easy and sometimes it feels like I'm pulling teeth. Nothing seems to flow right and nothing looks right when I put it on the page. It's enough to make you want to pull your hair out.

But these pieces just oozed right out of my pencil and went really really easy. I love days and projects like that. They usually come few and far between but I'll take them when I can get them.

Here are the scenarios. You tell me, what's the call on the field?

1. A batter lays down a bunt, tosses his bat to the side, and sprints for first. The ball trickles and hits his bat, which is on the ground in fair territory. The ricochet causes the catcher to misplay the ball and the batter makes it to first safely. Should he be called out because his bat interfered with the play?

2. As time winds down in an NBA game,a player dunks the ball. The ball is clearly in the basket when time expires, but his fingers are still touching the ball. Is the basket good?

3. A golfer is putting. His caddy tried to remove the flag-stick as the ball nears the cup, but it gets stuck. The ball hits the stick and goes in. Does the golfer get credit for the shot?

Good luck and have a great day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

And The Finished Piece!

In celebration of the new OilCan Drive website launching this weekend here is the newest OilCan Drive piece all newly done and colored.

I'm sure I'll be using this piece of art in a few places over the next few weeks so it will be popping up here and there. So keep your eyes peeled.

One more piece down, a bunch left to go. As they say, "the only thing left do do is everything!"

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

And So It Begins...

Today I officially launch and start posting comic book pages on my web-comic site

The site still has a few glitches here and there and a few pages like the store and vault are still being worked on but, for better or worse, the pages start going up today.

The plan is to post three pages a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For the first year I'll be digging into the OilCan Drive vault and showing off every story and even some concept art I've done for the project over the past ten years.

I did a lot of books for these guys for no real reason other than to make myself happy. There was never a real plan to get published or be the next big thing in comics. I just really enjoyed drawing pages and telling stories this way. And I still do. Even after becoming a successful freelance artist working for big name children's books, magazines, and advertising agencies I would always carve out some time to do my own projects. I just couldn't stop.

And I still can't.

So, while the first year on the site will feature old stories, rest assured that while you are reading the old stuff I am working away on new pages and new adventures for my favorite rock and roll band.

But, back to the archives.

First up is the first OilCan Drive story I ever did. I came up with the idea for OilCan Drive sometime in 2001 and in early 2002 I was knee deep in drawing my first comic book featuring their adventures. I gave myself a self imposed deadline to get the book done and printed in time for the first ever Free Comic Book Day in May. It was also the first time I was really using Photoshop to color anything digitally and the first time I was attempting to letter a comic book by myself.

It was a lot to do in a short time but I was determined.

Even when they tried to kick me out of my apartment for a week to do some repairs to my kitchen I refused to leave and worked on this first story while walls were being torn down all around me. It was really a crazy time.

But, I got it done just in time to debut the book for Free Comic Book Day. What is great now is that I can share with the world the stories I did that were only seen locally by a very few people.

And while it's sometimes hard to go back and see some of the drawing mistakes I now wince at I hope you enjoy a peek into my past, warts and all. As an artist I continue to learn and always strive to do better than I did before. Over the next year you'll see some growth, a few stumbles, and a search to always get better at what I love doing.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Onto the Color

And the coloring on the newest OilCan Drive piece begins!

Here are a few screen shots of the work in progress. The top piece is a close up of Ryan and Nicole. On the right side you can see how many layers I've built into this piece. Are they all needed? Probably not but, after years of working for clients, I find it's best to keep your options open if you ever need to do any last minute changes. I guess some habits are hard to break.

And this second piece is how the colors look without the original black and white line work on top of it. I always love looking at the art like this and seeing how much the form comes through even without the ink lines. It means I must be doing something right with the color and shading.

OK, back to it. I want to finish this piece up before I head to bed tonight.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

OilCan Drive Inked

The inks for the newest OilCan Drive piece are done and here are a few photos from the desk of the progress I made today.

The first is right after I finished all the initial inks. You can still see all the pencils lines underneath it and the little x's in all the spots where I need to fill in the blacks once I get those pencil lines erased.

You'll notice one little difference in between the pencil sketch I showed off yesterday and the way the final inks turned out. I'd tell you what it is but I think it's more fun if you can figure it out for yourself. Let's see how well you do.

And here is the finished piece once the pencils are erased, the blacks are filled in and I've done some touch up with a bit of white out.

Now I just need to scan the piece into the computer, clean it up a bit, add some color and shading, and call this piece done.

I think I'll use it for a banner on my blog to point people towards the new OilCan Drive web comic site. I know I need to put a permanent banner up and I think this piece of art will do just the trick.

OK, on to the color. Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

OilCan Drive Pencils

Since the new OilCan Drive website officially launches at the end of the week I thought it would be good to do another new piece of artwork of the cartoon band that lives inside my head.

When the website launches on Friday the first year will feature all the stories I've done over the past ten years of the band. This will give me time to do some new art and new stories so that, once the old material is exhausted, I'll have an all new story to show off.

And since I plan on starting some new pages this week I thought it might be a good idea to make sure I can still draw everyone. Judging on how quickly I penciled this piece I don't think I have anything to worry about.

Now I need to see if I can still ink these guys. Check back in tomorrow for the progress on this piece!

Have a great day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ace Kilroy, Part 2!

My friends Rob Kelly and Dan O'Connor have launched their second attempt on Kickstarter to help fund their daily episodic web-comic, Ace Kilroy.

And, because I love to help my friends, I once again did the music and video production for the video that is playing right on top of the Kickstarter fundraising page. The good news is that, this time, I didn't have to do any of the voice over dialogue and stress myself out. Rob was nice enough to get someone who was a little more professional on the microphone than myself. So that helped a lot and, because I did the first Ace Kilroy trailer a while ago, this one went a lot faster as I wasn't trying to learn things on the fly.

You can check out the video here:

And you can check out the Ace Kilroy funding page HERE. If you have a couple extra bucks, want to help out a couple of really talented individuals, and want to get some cool stuff, check it out.

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Finished Pin-Up

I had a chance to finish up painting the pin-up girl I'd been commissioned to do last week.

There isn't anything too out of the ordinary on this piece. I will say I do enjoy painting the shadows and lighting more on a pin-up than I do on most of the cartoony work I do. There is always a bit more detail and a little bit more attention to the form than usual. So it's always nice to do something different and flex a few different creative muscles.

I did crop this piece so it would be safe to put up on the blog but, if you do want to see the full image, you can take a look at it HERE.

I hope you enjoy and I hope you have a great day.

Friday, April 13, 2012

One Week

One more week to go! It's getting really close now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I meant to get a photo of this new pin-up piece in the penciled stage before I started inking it but I totally forgot about that and just dove in and started pushing ink around the page with my brush. Oops. I just cost myself a full day's blog post. Ah well.

I was contacted by a model on and asked if I would do a pin-up of her for her new web-site. Always one who is easily won over by an almost naked woman how could I say anything but yes? So she sent me a few shots of her and I chose one that I thought would look good in my style.

So, the inks are done, she is scanned into the computer, and now it's time to apply a little digital paint. The results will be shown here soon.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

OilCan Drive Webcomic Website

Alright, so as some of you already know and many of you might have already guessed, the OilCan Drive project I've been working on for the last few months is the new OilCan Drive website.

It will give me one place on the web to put all the art, music, and comic book stories of my favorite post-apocalyptic cartoon band. It's taken me longer than I would have liked to build but I think it's finally at a point where I can share what I've been working on.

There are still a few spots that still have "Coming Soon" signs on them like the online store and the video section but, as the site moves along, I'll eventually get those parts of the site up and running.

The best part of the site will be the online web comic. The plan is, for the first year, to post every OilCan Drive story I've done in the past ten years on the site. Three times a week I'll put up a new page that will show the evolution of the band and the characters. That should cover the first year. Which will actually give me a chance to get ahead on a whole new OilCan Drive story that, by my estimation, should take me the next three or four years of my life. Yes, it's time to stop doing little stories here and there and time to finally tell a nice long narrative.

And I can't wait!

So, go to , take a look around, and let me know what you think.

The web comic begins on April 20th, 2012. I hope you'll all be there to help me celebrate the beginning of something new and fun in my life!

Have a great one!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Coming Soon, Part 2

It's still coming soon, and it now has a launch date, April 20th!

More news tomorrow!

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Volcano Island! Part 6

The first bit of trouble on this piece came when my art director showed a mock up of the cover to the main client. She had come up with a really great logo for the box art cover that, to me, seemed very reminiscent of CBS's "Survivor" logo. It was detailed, painterly, and realistic.

The clients loved it so much they wanted the rest of the box art to look more like her logo. It didn't matter that changing the logo to reflect more of my style would be easier than changing my style to reflect the logo. They wanted what they wanted.

Initially I told them that if they wanted a more realistic painterly style that I probably wasn't the artist for them. But, because the deadline was closing in, I made an attempt to create something that would make everyone happy.

For an entire Saturday I built a background out of different photos in Photoshop. I cut and pasted together a ton of different elements to make an image like the client was looking for. In the end I pasted my characters over the new background and sent them the results.

They loved the new background but then turned their attention to some of the figures. They wanted changes on all the character's clothing and a few more tweaks here and there.

It was at that point I felt like this job was never going to end. So I did something I have never done before. I cut my losses and bowed out of the job. I think if the client knew what they wanted and wanted work in my style we could have come up with something really cool. But, as things went along it became apparent that they really didn't know what they wanted and were kind of making things up as they went, making changes on the fly, and hadn't even really settled on any specific style yet.

The art director I worked with on this project was really amazing and probably one of the best I've worked with. She asked questions and brought up concerns that I've never seen an art director tackle and was always doing her best to create the best piece of work she could.

But, in the end I think what was best for the project was for me not to do it. After all that work none of what I created would ever be seen except here on my blog. Oh well.

But, I did do a recent Google search and found this image for the game. It looks like they got exactly what they wanted and the box ended up looking great. I'm glad they found an artist who's work fit exactly what they were looking for because I don't think I could have pulled this look off in the time allotted if they had held a gun to my head.

And, it's not that I think the art is any better or worse than my style. Just different. And, sometimes that's exactly what a client wants. Something different. I'm just glad I'm slowly learning at what point they want that and the point where it's time for me to take a step back and let someone else step in.

But, who knows, there is always next time!

Have a great day!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Volcano Island! Part 5

While waiting for feedback on the color rough for the box art I turned in I decided to paint the main figure in a little more detail. Luckily, because the final piece was so big, I decided to cut it all apart and paint each piece separate. So mucking around with the kid didn't take much work at all. I was asked to have him lit a bit by the exploding volcano behind him so I did my best to make that happen.

And I finally got some direction on the little tiki token piece in his hand so I did a black and white sketch of that to make sure it looked right before I had him holding in.

But, big changes were coming and, while I tried to make everyone happy, the changes the client was making made it look more and more like I wasn't the right artist they were looking for.

More will be explained tomorrow.

Have a great one!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Volcano Island! Part 4

One of the problems with this job is that I'd turn in pencil sketches and designs on Monday and wouldn't hear anything back until Thursday night. With a new deadline on the following Monday I was usually really busy over the weekends trying to get stuff done.

So, when it came time to ink this giant detailed piece I only had two days to do it. But, I sat down, put some music on, and got my hands dirty with ink.

The token the kid has in his hand hadn't been designed yet so I left it open so I could put the approved design in later. And I was asked to put some more vines and leaves up on the cliff the kid is climbing. There always seemed to be little changes going on all over this piece.

I finally got the inks done, scanned the piece into the computer and laid down some quick color on it for the color rough. I knocked the background down a bit to give the piece a sense of atmospheric perspective.

I figured with the inks out of the way and the initial color laid down most of the heavy lifting on this piece was done.

But, sometimes you aren't close to done, you're just getting started.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Volcano Island! Part 3

My clients looked at the initial pencil sketch I did for the Volcano Island Countdown box and had a few changes. They wanted a lot more jungle detail in the background and wanted the main characters face completely changed.

So, taking the sketch they sent me as to what they thought he should look like, I re-penciled the main character's face and noodled a lot of detail into the background.

Time was running out on the deadline and the next thing they wanted from me was a color rough of the whole piece. Unfortunately, to get to that point, I knew I needed to ink this entire piece. And, because the box would be a big piece of finished art and I drew this image in a larger scale to get more detail into the piece, I had to ink a giant 28"x17" piece over a weekend.

I definitely had my work cut out for me. We'll see how it all looks tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Volcano Island! Part 2

With the initial rough sketch approved (with a few changes, of course), I sat down and penciled out the sketch for the Volcano Island Countdown box.

I wasn't given too much direction as to what the characters were supposed to look like but I knew it was a tight deadline so, at this point, I winged it and did my best. I knew a lot of the details to the jungle and island would be added when I inked the piece but, for now, I wanted to give my clients a good idea of where I was going with the piece.

Tomorrow we'll see what changes come down from above.

Have a good one!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Volcano Island!

Last fall I was tapped to do the cover box art for a new board game coming out this year.

The game deals with players running around a spooky island with a giant volcano at the center. Not only is the volcano in danger of going off, covering everyone with ash and lava Pompei-style, but there is also an angry Tiki God to contend with who simply wants you off his island.

I got the initial idea from my art director (which you can at the top of the photo) and the first thing I did was a pretty detailed roughly inked concept sketch of the whole piece. I wanted to make sure we were all on the same page before I started penciling the finished piece and I thought this would be a good way to start.

The sketch was approved and I was off to pencil a giant, double paged, piece of work. I think, in the end, the final piece was about 28"x17". But, this sketch was a great place to start.

Tomorrow, I'll show off some of the pencils for the piece.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April!

I'll admit it. I hit the wall last week in terms of writing a new blog post every day this year. I wrote last Sunday about my new guitar, finished up some client work, and found myself on Monday with absolutely nothing new I wanted to write about.

So, I took what I am now calling a spring break.

When I call it a break it just means that I worked a little bit on a lot of things. But, I did get a chance to go to the movies on Tuesday and saw "The Hunger Games." I really enjoyed it even though a few things bothered me about it. But, they're the kind of things that bother me in a really good way and the whole premise really fired up my imagination. So, of course, I went out and bought all three books in the series and started reading the first this morning.

I got some writing done this last week, recorded some music, did both the audio and video for my friend Rob Kelly's new Ace Kilroy Kickstarter campaign, colored a few black and white pieces, did some new thumbnails for a client, and even got some more work done on the new OilCan Drive project.

So, even though I kept busy, to me, it still felt like a break.

But now I feel refreshed and ready to get back to it. Let's see if I can go another two and a half months before I need another break.

Have a great one!