Friday, November 30, 2007

A Sharp Dressed Man

JAMES - looks like Tom and I are on the same wavelength this month....
when i was last in NY, i mentioned to Tom how the next cover is gonna be about 'bagpipers' - and he says, "oh wow, so you're probably gonna do something cool with the plaids, huh?" actually, i had a couple of vague ideas, and i hadn't even though of playing up the plaid. thanks tom!

so 4 sketches came pretty easily, all using the plaid pattern - some making it very prominent, others just as a minor element. from the first time i saw his work in '92 or '93, i was heavily influenced by the style of Evan Dorkin - and one of the first techniques of his that i copped was how he would draw patterns (plaids, etc) into his characters' clothes (here's a good example - kinda similar to how Tom did the shirt pattern in the previous post). so i figured to make that technique a part of this cover. i also wanted to use actual plaid - for the sake of the sketches, i just downloaded some patterns - but the plan for the final cover was to use real plaid somehow.
the first three sketches are pretty cool, in keeping consistant with previous submitted sketches. i especially liked the first one, which would have been a really detailed illustration amidst the sea of plaid. but i also consistantly try to include a sketch that's a little different - more graphic design oriented or so. and this time they actually chose that last sketch for the cover. so i was psyched to flex some other muscles.

laid it out with simple pencil lines, with the help of a ruler and an enlarged copy of the original sketch. then onto painting. i knew that besides the pattern of the plaid, i wanted texture to be a big part of this piece. so i used a 'blended fibers texture gel' as a medium under the color for the hairy parts of the painting (the hat, pouch, rope, socks). and then i also used some kind of glue called 'mod-podge' over the yellow paint on the left side of the painting to greate a more fluid texture to contrast the clumpy texture of the hairy parts. i also made sure to be heavy handed with the layers of paint for the skin parts to show off the brush strokes.

once into photoshop, i did a little color adjusting, as well as contrast adjustments to show off the texture as best as possible. then i scanned one of my many plaid cowboy shirts - and did alot of color adjusting to get it to be mostly red & green. i cut out all the 'red' parts of the painting and put the plaid shirt in its place. not only did the scanned shirt bring in the pattern of plaid, but it also contributed another texture - the weave of the shirt. then i got really crazy and started airbrushing drop shadows all over the place to give it more depth and make it look more like a photo of a collage.
the only bummer is that the final photoshop file with all the little pieces and layers became corrupted in a transfer to my hard drive, so i can't go back and take the logo out or do anything else to it. oh well. next month: speech-makers? hmmmmmm....

Sunday, November 25, 2007


TOM - So this was meant to be an illustration for the online drawing contest blog called Free Fridays. James actually told me about this site. It's pretty cool. They give you a word a week to illustrate anyway you want, the only catch is to some how to include the words "fecal face" in it, the winner gets a prize (comics, music, supplies...) I was meaning to Photoshop in "fecal face" later on, but i got caught up with a few other things, and never sent it in. The word that week was 'Patterns'. This is what I came up with.
I used this as a chance to mess around with Photoshop, tried to break away from the way I've been using it lately. I wanted to give it more of a textured feeling without making it look cheesy computer colored. I didn't ink the drawing, I just did a really tight pencil drawing indicating line weight and shading. The point was to make it feel a bit chaotic with all the patterns, but not tacky. I still love using ink, and will continue to, but I'm having fun trying out other approaches.

Also, my website is now updated. Check it out:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Figure Drawing

JAMES - thank god for figure drawing. and even though i probably could be doing more of it, every Monday at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts my arms are allowed to be as free and flowing as they want - no second and third guessing, and lots of experimenting, mixed with applying new techniques i'm becoming comfortable with. these are my favorite drawings from some recent Monday nights. most of them are a mix of charcoal, my trusty Pentel brush-pen, a few grey and black markers, and these Caran D'Ache water soluable crayons that i'm really starting to LOVE.

Sept. 24, "Brett", 15 min each

Sept. 24, "Brett", 20 min each

Oct. 1, "Meagan", 15 min / 10 min

Oct. 1, "Meagan", 15 min / 20 min

Oct. 29, "Ingrid", 10 min / 19 min

Oct. 29, "Ingrid", 20 min / 16 min

Nov. 12, "Meagan", 10 min each

Nov. 12, "Meagan", 20 min each

Sunday, November 11, 2007

N.Y. Visit - part two

JAMES - another great trip back home, and i brought back some souveniers courtesey of my sketchbook and my camera. above are some sketches done at Prospect Park, hangin with Tom and Stephanie (Steph's hood got into the first sketch).

i also got to see my buddy Nate (, and we caught up on life and art. Nate's an incredible animator and designer, check out his site. anyway, on the bumpy train ride home i did a page of my night, both waiting for Nate at Union Square and of our conversation at the diner.

Tom sketching at Prospect Park. whoop whoop.

Hank and I at Washington Square watching Tom's second favorite all-brass street band.

the NYC Marathon also ripped thru Bay Ridge, and i woke up early and snapped some nice shots.

apparently there was some kind of hurrican swirling around Long Island, so the sky over the Verrazanno in Brooklyn was pretty nasty looking.

by the way, Tom is the devil.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time Out!

TOM - I recently did an illustration for Time Out New York. The article was about how to catch a cab in some of New York's worst spots. The basic idea given to me was to illustrate a group of people having no luck getting a cab, and the smart guy who knows all the tricks just around the corner hitting the jackpot. I did several sketches for the AD, and he went with this one, my first idea, pretty straight forward and to the point.
When I started to pencil it, i tried to give the foreground people a bit more personality and desperation, not as relaxed as they seemed in the sketch. Threw in some perspective and detail and... the inks. I inked it with my usual Winsor & Newton #2 series 7 brush on bristol, scanned it, then...
...into photoshop for some color. After a few revisions, this is what came out.
Check out this weeks issue to find out how to catch a cab!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Another Go...

TOM - My friend Mike and I have recently been toying with the idea of collaborating on some kind of Illustration / Design project. We've decided that before anything, we should do some test runs to see if our styles are compatible. Here's what he did to an earlier post of mine. Pretty cool for just about ten minutes of work, I'm excited to see what might come of this.