Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy August!

I have some news slated for tomorrow's blog so I figured I'd jump ahead a few hours and change out the header today instead of waiting until tomorrow and ganging up the news with the changing of the art.

So, Happy August, even if it is a few hours early!

This month's artwork is of Ryan Burke, lead singer and guitar player in the rock band OilCan Drive.

I did this piece for a new OilCan Drive page and finished it up before I decided the page wasn't dynamic enough. So, I went back to the drawing board and came up with a much better sequence. The one thing I forgot about laying out comic book pages is that, when the story and pacing is really working for me, it feels like music. I can't explain it better than that but it feels like the flow of music when it's working right. And the new sequence I came up feels like that to me. So, I'm on the right path.

But, I did come away from the first attempt with at least once nice piece of art I could use for the blog. He may look angry, but for Ryan Burke, this piece is from a sequence where he's showing a lot of different emotions in a short amount of time. I'm just glad I could re-purpose it for something else and still show it off.

So, happy August. I hope you all have a great month!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Last Days

The EBay auction for the Amazing Spider-Man piece I put up last week is on it's last days and will end on Sunday night. So, if you haven't gone over to take a look at it head on over there now and see if it's something you might like to bid on.

You can check out the auction HERE.

I ask because I was just hit with a huge bill from my Home Owners Association out of the blue and any little bit of money to help pay it off will really help. Actually, it's such a big bill and came so badly out of left field that I am considering putting a bunch of guitars and musical gear up for auction just so I can pay it off. It's that bad and that much of a shock.

But, even if you can't help out, go check out the auction. It's actually fun for me to see how many people are popping their head in to take a peak.

Thanks for always reading this and wishing me the best. You guys are all great and thanks for coming along with me on this crazy ride!

Have a great one!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sports Illustrated Kids April

It's been a while since I posted any of the work I've been doing for the monthly Sports Illustrated Kids magazine. Between the wedding and how busy this summer has gotten the SIK illustrations just fell through the cracks along with a whole bunch of other stuff in my life. So I figured it was about time I fixed that.

As always, I do the illustrations for a monthly article called "What's The Call?" where three scenarios are laid out in various sports and it's up to you as the official on the field to make the right call.

April asks the following questions:

1) A quarterback looks to make a quick pass but no receiver is open, so he spikes the ball to stop the clock. The defense recovers the ball. Is this a fumble?

2) In a table tennis game a player goes for a smash. For support the fingertips of his non-swinging hand touch the table. Is this legal?

3) In an ice hockey game, a team removes its goalie near the end of the game. An opposing player gets the puck and sends a slow shot toward the empty goal. A defenseman slides his stick on the ice and deflects the puck before it goes in the goal.

So, you tell me, what's the call?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Red Cross Signed Posters

It's been a week since this happened but I thought it would be great to share this story anyway. Things have once again been busy this week but I really want to try and get back on track with the blog. I really miss how I started out this year blogging on a daily basis and I want to try and get back into that mode before the end of the summer.

I talked a bit before about designing a print for the American Red Cross volunteers down in southern Colorado as a way to say thank you to all the people that gave of themselves during the wildfires we had earlier this summer. The Chief Executive Officer who initiated the idea and asked me to do the piece really liked what I came up with and printed up about 250 of them.

And, last week, he and his son came by to have me sign them.

It was great to see them both again. I'd met them for the first time at the Denver Comic Con but, since you're meeting so many people there and it's an endless stream of talking to everyone at once, it was nice to sit down and have an actual conversation with them as I was signing the prints.

I learned a lot about the Red Cross and all the things they did. Honestly, I had no idea they did so much but it's really nice to know these people and services are there when needed. We also talked a bit about comics, how I did what I do and the things I've done in my career, and I showed them a bit around the studio.

In the end my favorite part, other than having some great company over, was trading some gifts with each other. The CEO brought me some Red Cross bumper stickers, a t-shirt, and a cap while he and his son left with a couple of printed piece of art and an OilCan Drive Henry paper toy.

It was a really great afternoon all around and it's something I'm very proud I was a part of. If I can't be out there fighting fires and helping people myself I figure it's the least I can do to show those people how much they're appreciated. So, thanks again to the CEO and his son (I am keeping their names private because, ya know, you never know.) It was great to meet you both again and thanks for giving me such a great opportunity.

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

This July has definitely been a weird one. From the beginning of the month we had fires all across the front range in Colorado. Around the fourth of July I found out a guy I used to work with had taken his own life. Later that week I found out another guy I used to work with finally lost his battle with cancer and is no longer with us. And this week we had the tragedy that occurred at a midnight showing of Batman here in Aurora, Colorado.

And, even thought none of these things directly affected me or my family it's just been a weird month over all and I'll be glad when it's over.

One bright spot was that Monika and I got a chance to go out and see the new Spider-Man movie this last week. I was a little nervous about seeing it because I had read a few reviews about how it was unnecessary and simply a rehash of the first Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire from ten years ago. But, I tell ya, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great retelling of the origin, felt a lot better than the first movie, and Andrew Garfield did a much better job as Peter Parker.

It's one I'll definitely be buying on DVD or BluRay once it comes out to own.

I was so happy with the movie that I had to sit down and do a new piece of Spider-Man art. I've always loved Spidey. He's been my hero since I first started reading comics as a little kid and he's one of my heroes to this day.

Inspired by the lean look that Andrew Garfield brought to the role I wanted make a "lean and mean" Spidey. Also, because I liked Garfield's rendition of Peter Parker so much I also wanted to rip the mask off his face and let Peter shine for a bit.

Also, to test out a new technique, I blue line penciled the piece, skipped my usual detailed penciling with a graphite pencil, and went straight to inks. This saved me a lot of time both in the detailed pencil work and in having to erase those lines later after finishing inking. I then scanned the piece into the computer and had at it with some digital paint.

All in all the piece was done from start to completion in one night. So, as happy as I am with how it turned out I'm also really happy with my efficient use of time and getting it done so quickly.

And, because I wanted to use this piece to test something else out, I just put the original signed black and white piece as well as a photo print of the colored piece up on EBay for sale. I haven't sold anything on EBay in years so it will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

You can check out the EBay auction HERE.

With all that has happened this month at least there are little victories I can still cling to like getting a nice piece of art done in a decent amount of time. I hope you're all doing well and staying safe. It seems like it's getting more and more interesting out there in the world every day.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ryan Burke Tests

Things have been busy here this last week. I've once again been juggling a few client jobs but I've also thrown a new ball into the mix. Working on OilCan Drive while I'm doing client work.

Usually I'll wait until I have a break in my work schedule to tackle any new OilCan Drive project but I've found that if I do things that way none of my own projects get done. So, the only solution was to throw my own project into the mix and get it done alongside the client work, not waiting until I had some free time.

It makes for a busy day but it also makes for a more satisfying day.

So, here is a shot from the desk of a few Ryan Burke pieces that I've been messing around with you get myself back into the swing of things.

And, believe me, this is only the beginning!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thanks to the American Red Cross

Last week I was contacted my a gentleman I met when I was at the Denver Comic Convention. He is the Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Pikes Peak Region. His chapter covers 18 counties of the Southern, Central Mountains, and Southeast Colorado and they have been responsible for the Waldo Canyon Wildfire disaster response. They opened five shelters to help house the 32,000 people evacuated by the fire.

He was looking for a print to be created to thank all of the volunteers who were selflessly giving there time to help the people of their community in their time of need.

I didn't have time to do a completely new illustration but I offered to take one of my existing pieces of art and make a custom print for him to give out.

So, this is what I came up with.

I used an existing OilCan Drive illustration, created a custom background from photos on the Pikes Peak chapter of the American Red Cross Facebook page, and added a few quotes that he and I came up with.

The piece went over well and the prints have been printed. I now need to meet up with him sometime this week so I can sign them all. Then he can get them out to his team and show just a little bit of thanks for what they've all done these past few months.

Thank you to the American Red Cross, the volunteers, and for everyone out there keeping my fair state safe!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

OilCan Drive Pencil Sketch

Whenever I do a new comic book story there is always a page or two when I start the book that I end up throwing away.

So, I figured I'd get that out of the way early with the new OilCan Drive story I started last night. I sat down, laid out the page, and then began blue pencil sketching the whole thing. I didn't like the way it was turning out so I took a break. Usually when you get to a point where you know you're not going to use the page it can be fun to keep drawing on it just to see what happens because whatever pressure you had on you to do a "good page" is now gone. So, I sat down and kept going.

It's not a bad start but I can still see things in it I don't like. I've decided to keep the idea but change the camera angle of the shot. The piece in the photo is all actually blue pencil but I turned the photo to grayscale and tweaked it a bit so it could be more easily seen.

But, at least I got one bad page out of the way. Here's hoping the next page is a keeper!

Have a great Fourth of July everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Air Conditioner and Custom Made Cover

Last weekend, with four days of record breaking heat here in Colorado and temperatures over a hundred degrees, I finally broke down and bought a new air conditioner for the condo.

Originally I had an AC unit in the condo that was here when I moved in. It had probably been here since the building had been built and it just didn't work right anymore. I later found out that it was a 30watt AC unit wired into a 25 watt breaker. So, with it being so old, when you'd turn it on, it would get to about 27 watts of power and blow the circuit breaker. It would last for about five minutes before this happened.

One electrician I talked to said he could only find one AC unit that was the right wattage and size for the existing hole in the side of my wall. The problem was that the new AC unit would cost around a thousand dollars. I figured, screw that, I'll just be hot for the one or two weeks that we really get awful heat here in Colorado.

But, then this last few weeks happened and we were hitting temperatures that were shattering records and it was only June. I figured July and August weren't going to get any better so Monika and I went to Home Depot and got a little window unit (for much much less than a thousand bucks) that fit pretty well in the existing hole. We tore out the old unit, lugged it down to the dumpster, and threw it away.

The new unit fit well from top to bottom in the old hole. The problem was that there was about three inches on each side of open space. Being a window unit AC it had those little accordion folding sleeves on either side but I didn't think, in the long run, that that was good insulation for the summer. And I didn't think it would be much help in the winter when we got down to zero and the only thing between me and the outside cold air were a few pieces of plastic.

So I thought about it for a little while and came up with an idea. I put a little three inch wide piece of foam board on either side of the new unit, back towards the outer wall. I edged these pieces with some sticky foam insulation so they wouldn't move around too much and then filled the gaps with some pink insulation. I then put another piece of foam board on top and closed up the sleeves. It was pretty tightly insulated but, as you can see by the above left side pictures, it didn't look all that pretty.

I sat on the couch and stared at it for a while, thinking I would make some kind of wood frame for it or maybe get some dry wall and make a box around it. But then, one morning when I was waking up and was in between that dream and awake world, it hit me. Why was I going through all this trouble to make something that I really didn't have to?

I took a page out of my good friend Jeff Lafferty's playbook and figured out a better way to make it look good without doing a ton of construction work. Jeff has been constructing puppets and sets for his own animated feature for a while now and I was amazed what he did with simple foam board, masking tape, and paint.

So, I built the wall you can see in the above picture on the right hand side. And, yes, for as real a wall as it looks, it's made from foam board, masking tape, spray texture, and paint.

Yes, there were a lot of people who said I should have done it differently and that this is the way they would have done it or that was the way they would have done it. But, in the end, I was also worried about what I would do if I ever had to rip the new AC out and replace it with a better model. And I figured ripping through some foam board and tape would be a lot easier that ripping through wood, screws, and dry wall.

Plus, it looks good and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

And, yes, it is much cooler and easier to work in here now. I should have done this years ago!

Have a good one!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy July!

Happy July! I finished up the Lily piece and figured I'd use it on the newest blog header for this month.

Like I said yesterday there are still a few things that bug me about this finished piece but it was a good piece to get me back in the groove of drawing after being away so long due to the wedding and honeymoon.

Plus, it gave me something new to blog about. And that's always a good thing.

Have a great month, everyone!