Monday, April 28, 2008


detail shot

JAMES - this is a poster i did this month. a local band here, Sirius.B, contacted me and basically wanted a straight up poster of a husky or wolf, in a similar composition to the 'British Invasion' Bold Life cover i did, especially in terms of the extreme negative space. "are you sure you don't want blood dripping from his eyeballs?" "no." "how about if the wolf was covered with killer inesects and his fangs had hands coming out them?" "no."
i tried. but really, they were just looking for an intense, but not insane, look on a husky. kinda coming at you like. did a bunch of sketches of the pose and angle of him, and the lettering. they decided to not show too much body, and have the head coming around from the lower right corner looking out at you.

the inks were fun. mad fun. i feel more comfortable than ever with the brush, and so this was great to put alot of cool techniques together and rock out. just #2 brush and black star ink on 11x7 bristol. and then photoshop for all the fancies. i used the momentum i got from inking and coloring this piece to really attack the things i did immediately after (which were "Mister Potato Head", "Anyplace Else", and the new Bold Life cover, which i'll post next).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Can't Imagine Anyplace Else I'd Rather Be.

"I Can't Imagine Anyplace Else I'd Rather Be."
8x11, ink on bristol

JAMES - for the second piece, i figured i'd stretch out on some straight-up b&w.


i knew i wanted two panels, comic book style. i originally intended to do it as if it were an excerpt from a larger story, but when i sketched the first panel i went in more of a 'design' direction. very similar to the way i try and compose my pages at figure drawing. i did it super loose with half-dead markers, and i knew it would be a pain in the ass to recapture that looseness in the final, while polishing it up just right.

detail shot

this was the 5th and 5inal attempt. i kept practicing where the areas were that i wanted to hit - so that when i really went in for the kill with a totally loose hand, my hand was ready to go to the right spots and do what got done. by the 5th time, i was money. mostly #6 brush, and some #2, and some half-dead markers.

i've already shown this to tom, and he made some very valid points about the facial features maybe being too suggestive to be recognized properly. and even though i really meant it that way, if i had a little more time, i definitely would have gone in and adjusted some things to clear up his nose and lips - but no white out. i haven't used white out on a single piece in months, i can't believe it. i wanted this to look pure for the show, and i even added some ink-on-ink texture strokes. i am really curious about what anyone thinks of this one. i'm still getting used to it.

more soon....

p.s. - i actually did use white out to sign my name. it's like giving up the no-hitter on a bunt hit.

Mister Potato Head, And A Bucket Of Fun

"Mister Potato Head, And A Bucket Of Fun"
11x17, pencil, watercolor, acrylic and ink on bristol

JAMES - got alot to catch up on here - start with this new one. i needed two new illustartions that i just submitted to a local show here.
well, i needed two pieces; i wanted two NEW pieces. and it turns out that my favorite band the Spider Bags were looking for a tour poster, so i could use one of them for those guys too. it was a good excuse to really run wild, and push it - which i feel like i get to do less and less lately.

just finished it a week ago - but started it almost a month ago. did some sketching, picked a scene, and then i took some photos of myself for reference. i was making noises too, to add to the beleivability. gurp! rrrpt! ullrroollgurpt! then the pencil drawing, which i went tighter than i ever go - right down to the feathering and everything. that was on purpose, cuz then i spread a layer of Matte Medium to embed it there forever. then when i was ready to roll, quite a few other urgent projects came in, so this sat quietly for a bit.
the time for watercolors finally rolled around. there was a lot of standing up while doing this. after laying down the basic colors, i went in with some watercolor crayons and did alot of finger rubbing for effect (blisters, too). nothing like good ole elbow grease.

detail shot

the pencils were still showing thru enough to create a loose effect, and also add some movement and depth. then i hit it with ink. #2 brush. "Mister Potato Head" himself was inked with a mixture of a Sepia Shellac Ink, Yellow Higgins Ink, a touch of Black Star India, and a dash of water. the hands were inked with a mixture of Red FW ink, water, and a touch of Black Star India. no photoshop on this one - straight up.

"Spider Bags & Golden Boys: Tour Of Duty, And Falling Down"

for the tour poster, i wrote out the band info separately, scanned it in, and did a little photoshopping to incorporate it properly. these are two incredible bands - if they're playing by you, see them! NYC may 16th.

next post (i'm gonna rapid fire these out) is the second of the two new illos. gurp! rrrpt! ullrroollgurpt!

Friday, April 25, 2008


TOM - Here is the next piece in my series. My goal is to have each one be different in setting and/or time period, but all share the same theme of girls and flowers. I really got into the graffiti on this one, trying to make it seem like the wall was tagged up by several different artists, then of course tagged over with drawings of beautiful, sensitive flowers.

The black and white was done with a #2 brush and ink for most of it except for the flowers which were done with charcoal. I wanted to have a contrast of textures and style without making it look too busy and chaotic. It certainly was a challenge, but I feel the color helped distinguish all the elements, and making it less one dimensional.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

'Prom Queen'

TOM - Here is a recent illustration I did. It's part of a series of drawings that I'm setting out to do, all with some sort of loose narrative tying them together. I want to try an explore themes and ideas that I deal with in my sketchbooks and make them into more finished illustrations while experimenting with different techniques along the way.
With this one, I worked at "14x17", normally I work around "11x17" or smaller. It allowed me to use much more of my arm and I was able to whip out a big brush for the large black areas with the feathering. It felt god to stand up and work over it at times, a bit more physical than usual. I'm looking forward to doing a few more of these and seeing what comes out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Say Cheese!

TOM - Girl takes picture of her date peeing. That was the scenario for this week's 'Flavor of the Week' column in the New York Press. I decided to treat it as if it were a panel from a comic page. I added some 'manga type' gray tones and just a spot of color for the flash.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Super Heroes!

TOM- A few months back, Tim Leong of Comic Foundry Magazine contacted me to do an illustration for their number two issue. It turned out to be a great opportunity to do a published illustration where I would get to draw a whole bunch of characters from Marvel and DC battling each other! My own comics work leans more towards the 'indie' genre, but many cartoonists that I admire are from the 'mainstream' section of comics, so the pressure to do something even close to their standards was a bit nerve racking. Tim eplained to me the premise of the article. Pretty much, Marvel and DC are involved in two huge storylines to help sell books: Marvel's Secret Invasion and DC's Final Crisis. Both include events that will dramatically shake up each of their universes. The basic idea was to show Marvel and DC's prominent characters facing off. The first two sketches (above) are sketches I initially came up with. Tim liked them, but decided he wanted to do a play on the famous Crisis on Infinite Earths cover by George Perez back in the 80's. It's a pretty recognizable cover to most die hard comic fans, so the challenge was to do it justice, but at the same time make it my own. The third sketch (above) is what I came up with, a compromise of both ideas.
Here's George Perez's.

Here's mine. I inked it with the usual #2 brush and Windsor Newton ink. There was alot of challenges in this piece including composition, character recognizability, and trying to keep it energetic. As I mentioned earlier, I have always had a huge respect for super hero artists ( especially the monthly ones!), so I am still VERY critical of this piece. Looking back at it now months later, I realize all the ways I could have made it better, but I'm glad I got the chance to take a crack at it.

Here's what the tear sheet looks like. The magazine looks really great, I recommend checking it out. It gives a much more interesting take on comics than most other publications out there.