Saturday, September 29, 2007


JAMES - i'm just really not that psyched with this month's cover. it's good enough i guess, and i was really into it as i was illustrating it, but when it came time to add the photo, it became kinda lackluster. it was a tough assignment, because it had to be about this 'ghost hunter' guy in Asheville, but instead of me just doing a full-on illustration, the publishers wanted me to incorporate a photo. except the photo wasn't given to me until the last minute, and making an exciting composition within the limitations of the photo was real HARD. not to mention the deadline was quickly approaching.

so i came up with the best idea i could, and quickly got to work. first, clean and detailed pencils with minor watercolor washes. then a layer of matte medium, and then more watercolor around the ghosts with charcoal and some acrylic.

tightened it up with red ink lines and more matte medium, then white paint to spook out the ghosts.

once in photoshop, i did alot of color adjusting to get it where i wanted and added that photo - which was tough to cut out and place in my painting. i slapped the logo on and showed it to the folks at the office. the first reaction was "Cool!", then another couple of reactions were like "Oh, look - sperms!"
well, shit, i guess i didn't notice THAT. so back to photoshop for some emergency color adjusting. i have to say the ghosts look cool to me, but as a cover and as a compostion, i just don't think it's effective or clear. striking, yes. good, no. oh well, next month should be alittle easier, since i already know the cover story (the first time i have it so early) so i'll get started on sketches this week. i have a little redeeming to do.

Friday, September 28, 2007


TOM- This is my latest contribution to the Shelton Diagram Correspondence Club. I've been getting some really cool drawings in the mail that have been making me want to draw something cool in return! I used this as a good opportunity to mess around with a classic superhero, in somewhat of a classic style. Those guys back then were so f*ckin' good that it makes me sick! Then it makes me want to try harder! I colored it with the same method that i used for my last post, except this time i added a bit of a halftone pattern.

And here is the black and white piece that I sent in the mail. Later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

'Perfect' Final Color!

TOM- So here is the final full colored version of my 'Perfect' story for the Ka-Blam-O anthology. My goal was to make it look like an old comic printed on newsprint. Back when comics were cool, when the pages were thin and flimsy and they smelt like a moldy basement. I had alot of fun working on this one. Eventually, i would love to work on a longer story in this same style and actually print it on newsprint!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh no, Tombies!!!

TOM- So this is how I spent my Saturday. Getting turned into a Zombie by the special affects make -up extraordinaire, Jenai Chin. These photos were done for her promotional postcards for Halloween. If your looking for some cool make-up during Halloween, be sure to contact her. And if your looking to scare the shit out of some little kids, give me a call.Thats all for now, more drawings coming very soon!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Figure Drawing

1 minute poses
1 minute poses
15 min & 17 min poses
JAMES - my first figure drawing session here in North Carolina. i was a little rusty, but the model was fantastic and it was alot of fun. the short poses are always my favorite - these are all just vine charcoal on 19x25 drawing paper.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Down By The Riverside

JAMES - i've been spending alot of time outside in Asheville, and especially by the French Broad River. there are some nice parks all around, so i bring a sketchbook. trying my best to establish different textures, lighting, depth and convey all the nuances of nature that i can while just using a pen. it's great practice, and it's very relaxing too. the vertical one was really hard, cuz the distance between the wood planks in front and the building in back is really far - i may try that one again. i tried to make up for it by really accentuating the tree hanging in the very front.

there are lots of people around too - great sketching subjects (i'll post that another time) - and lots of them come up and talk for awhile. like yesterday i met a little kid, couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 - his dad says he draws 4 hours a day and already had some stuff in a gallery that he collaborated with someone else. hope he keeps it up.

all the drawings are just with Micron pens (#0.2, 0.5 & sometimes #1). and the paper in this book is super!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


TOM- Here is page one of a two page story entitled "Perfect". The story will be featured in a new anthology created by Edowyn Vazkez called Ka-Blam-O. On top of there being four other great artists featured, the book will be COMPLETELY SILK SCREENED in a two color process! I'm excited to see what it's gonna look like when all is said and done, which should be this winter. I am really having alot of fun working on this. I feel like i'm piecing ideas and design elements that i've had in my head for a while and are now finally coming out. A big inspiration for the layout, especially the first panel, was Archie comics. Just the way they always have that big introduction panel with the title and everything gives it a kind of built in cover which I always loved.
Real quick: here is my pencils. I'm still trying to figure out how tight or loose i need to go with my pencils. This seemed like it worked, just enough info for me to start inking and figure shit out along the way. I inked it with a #2 series 7 W&n brush, some nib, and some pens. Next page coming soon!

"Listen, Sweetie" + The Man In The Boat

JAMES - so i was doing some sketching, and i had a long weekend coming up, which allowed me some time to work on some illustrations using techniques i wanted to test out. then Tom Dash emailed me about some shows he needed flyers for, can i do them? for the Spider Bags, hell yeah! plus Glenn Mercer (ex-Feelies). put 2+2 together, and i have some incentive to work on those illos.

the top sketch is a riff on a panel in one of Alex Toth's comics (i can't find it again, or i woulda posted it). originally i had the idea to do the illo just like that, in one color ink. then another illo right on top (in different color ink) with the characters in a different pose. with the bottom sketch, i hit a nerve somewhere and i went with it.

"Listen, Sweetie" obviously ended up very differently. i just kept layering paints + inks. brown shellac ink, black india ink, watercolors, acrylic matte medium, yellow, white and red FW inks, many brushes, all on vellum bristol (which stayed pretty strong). at the end, i put a piece of clear acetate over it and painted the lettering on that, so the illustration is separate from the text.

with 'The Man In The Boat', i was keeping Mike Sniper's posters in mind when composing it, and got real fancy with the #2 brush when inking. i liked the colors on the original sketch, so i just used the same markers to color it. then a little post-production, to take it further than i usually do with these style illustrations. a louch of watercolor, lots of pencil over the inks, white paint, white crayon, white chalk, and finished the details with some Micron markers (#0.2 + Permopaque). same thing with the lettering on a layer of acetate.
they're both 8.5x11. i did them both at the same time, and pretty quickly too, considering that i did some extra steps to preserve the un-texted illustration. what's next....