Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Un-Blogged in 2011

'Boxer 1'  (Linoleum Block Print)

TOM - As 2011 comes to a close, I thought this would be a good opportunity to post some stuff that I haven't gotten a chance to post here on the blog. So often, I'm posting new work and process pics on my Facebook and Twitter, that I don't get the chance to post everything here. So, here's a quick look at some pieces that were un-blogged in 2011, hope you dig 'em!

'Boxer 2'  (Linoleum Block Print)

                                             Illustration for Bicycle Times
                                              Cover for Philadelphia City Paper
                                   Illustration about Mayweather/Ortiz fight. 

                                 'Sonny Rollins' (Linoleum Block Print w/ Photoshop)

Monday, December 19, 2011

True Story

TOM - I recently created a short, three page comic about a family I encountered riding the train a couple years ago. We never spoke, and I never saw them again, but for some reason, I never forgot them. It was one of those unexpected and positive experiences that sort of catch you off guard. Just from simply sitting across from them and observing, they changed the way I viewed parenthood and family life. Read the full comic here.

The original art from this comic is now up at LaunchPad in Brooklyn, NY, along with some very talented cartoonists work. Check it out if you're in the area. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some Stuff From My Sketchbook

TOM - I haven't posted any sketchbook stuff in a long time, so before the year is out, here's a small look at my current sketchbook. Hope you dig it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Print And New Art Show!

TOM- Things have been really busy around here lately and I'm lovin' it! I've been cooking up a ton of new images for my upcoming art show entitled, 'We From Here'. The show is going to be a multi-media event, with all artwork provided by me and a musical component provided by my friends, Brian Bonz and Mike Strandberg. It's going to be a celebration of being Brooklyn natives as well as artists.

Last week I had a great time in the silkscreen studio, printing up a brand new image for the show. It's a five color print and it measures roughly 19x26ish. I'm really happy with the way this turned out, I think it really embodies an overall vibe of Brooklyn, at least through my eyes. Gotta love the hoop earrings!

Here are some detail shots of the print. These will be for sale( along with many other new prints) the night of the show, Dec. 2nd in Brooklyn. If you're not in the NY area, or can't make the night of the show, I am selling these online. If you're interested, please contact me at contact@thomaspitilli.com

If you are in NY on Dec. 2nd, then you should come to this, it's going to be a blast! All the info is on the flyer above. Hope to see you there, I think I'm going to wear a tie!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

OC Weekly Cover

TOM - Last month, I was contacted by Laila over at OC Weekly to illustrate a cover for them. I always enjoy working with OC Weekly and I was super excited to do my first cover for their paper. The story was a sad one, about a mother being deported back to Mexico, leaving her teenaged children to live alone in the United States and their journey through that experience.

There was a lot of emotion in this story and I knew I wanted to depict that sense of separation and longing as best I could through my illustration. Laila and I discussed some ideas over the phone, then I hit the drawing board and sketched some stuff up, here's what I came up with:

I was really excited to take any one of these to finals, felt pretty strongly about all of them actually. I liked the idea of somehow representing 'America' somehow as a character in the image, so I tried several attempts at that which I think forced me into a more graphic approach. Pretty obvious as to which one they chose:

And here's a look at the final art. I'm super happy with the way it came out, hope you are too!

I've been real busy lately, cookin' up a lot of new work, be sure to follow me on twitter and facebook for all the up to date happenings!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MoogFest 2011 Print

"Moog Mountain"
18x24 Three-Color Screen Print (Including Metallic Silver)
Edition of 75. Signed & Numbered
 JAMES - I was psyched to once again be asked to create a screenprint for the SYNTH art show, as part of this past weekend's MoogFest here in Asheville. My piece, titled "Moog Mountain", is a 3-color screen print, featuring Metallic Silver ink and is now available on my website for $25 each: www.jamesflames.com/store/MoogMountain.html 

Here's a shot of the print on display at the SYNTH art show:

And here are a few more photos:
Detail Photo

Detail Photo

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dallas Observer Cover

TOM - A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by Alexander Flores of Dallas Observer to illustrate a cover for them featuring a whole bunch of accomplished Dallas musicians, including Erykah Badu and Rhett Miller of the Old 97's. It was a super cool gig and I was glad to finally get to work with Alex. Unfortunately, during the  production of this cover, my computer crashed! Thankfully though, I was able to borrow a friends computer for the scanning and coloring of the final image and everything went to press right on time, whew!

Here's a look at some of the process that went into making this cover.

This is an early sketch idea. The cover called for pretty much, just a group shot, so placement and composition became my main focus. I wanted to have Erykah up front, she's probably the most well known of the bunch and also the most visually interesting ( I was really looking forward to drawing her fro!)

Then we decided on this one, I really liked the idea of having Erykah's hair somehow incorporated in the logo itself, as if the logo were etched out of it. After a few failed attempts on Erykahs likeness, I had to scrap that angle all together  it and try again. I think a big part of growing as an illustrator is being able to admit  when something just isn't working and being able to scrap it and start again, no matter how much time you already put in. If it's not working, it's not working.

I was simultaneously working on some interior illustrations of all the musicians and thought that version of Erykah would work much better on the cover. A bit more iconic and less of a full frontal shot. It worked!

Got to work on all the other characters and the assembly begun!

Trough several revisions and a broken computer, I'm very happy with the way it all came together.

Here's a quick look at another interior illustration I did of singer/songwriter, Sarah Jaffe.

Thanks for reading, more covers on the way!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"The Divide" Comic Book

JAMES - Oh man, I can't tell you how psyched I am about this one. Last month I was asked by the folks at Mondo to create a 12-page full-color comic book for the upcoming Xavier Gens directed movie, "The Divide." Not only that, but it would debut at the New York Comic Con this past weekend, one of the biggest comic events of the year (and this part I didn't even know about until I was done drawing and coloring!).
The comic serves as the back-story of one of the characters in the movie, Wendy, and her mother - sort of setting up the events that take place in the movie, as well as a peek into the untold fate of "Wendy" beyond what the movie shows. I got to work right away. The pic at the top of this post is the cover. Here are some photos that show my process for the rest of the comic, step by step, focusing on a climactic two-page spread - one of my favorite scenes. Click the photos to see them larger: 

It all started with these note pages, with the tiniest little sketches on them. The Director Xavier sent a very simple and rough outline of the story that needed to be told - so I had to figure out how to turn it into 12 pages and make it flow like a story. Everyone was cool with having no real dialogue in the book, so while it saved me having to actually "write", I did have to make sure the pictures could be strong enough to tell the story by themselves.

Next I made a better rough sketch of each page, which I drew actual size of the comic so that I could fee it out better (the final comic is a mini-comic - or "ashcan" - so I needed to take the size into account of how I'm going to compose my scenes).

Then I started drawing pencils for each page. I drew them almost double size - which is still kinda small for me, but after so many days in a row of drawing at that size, I was pretty locked in. I drew all the pages in pencil first before beginning any inks - this was probably the longest step in the whole process, because I was still making decisions about certain scenes and characters.

Next, it was time to put some ink on these pages. There are three acts to the story, and each one has it's own pace and vibe. The first act is very calm, domestic, and sad; the second act is all adventure (these pages are the end of the second act); the third act is cold and clinical. So while I kept my ink-style consistent throughout, I wanted to make variations for each act so that the style becomes an important voice in the storytelling.

Here's a close-up of the final inks for page 9.

And here is the final page 8-9 spread. I colored everything in Photoshop, and made all the necessary additions at this stage: the exciting panel borders on page 9, the sparks shooting out on page 8, the lasers for the guns, and lots of other stuff throughout the other pages. I kept my color palette very simple and consistent throughout - almost approaching it like I do with my screen prints - but I made good use of filters to set the tone again for each act.
This was one of the coolest things I've ever worked on, and I'm so proud of how it came out. Big thanks to Mitch at Mondo for putting this one together. The movie will be out in January 2012 (on my birthday, no less), and hopefully these comics will make return appearances at any future advance screenings. In the meantime, here's the trailer. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gigposters Book - Volume 2

JAMES - Ok, this is one of those things that just blows my mind. I just got my advance copy of the new Gigposters Book (Vol. 2), which I am excited to say has a couple pages of my art in it. And as I flip through the whole book, I feel so incredibly humbled and honored to be in the company of so many of my favorite artists. 

For fans of Vol. 1, the format is the same - it's a large, oversized book with perforated pages giving you 101 ready-to-frame posters (as it says in the cover). You can pre-order the book now, and you get a free screen print with each order - trust me, you want one of these: http://gigposters.com/book/ 

Here are shots of my pages:  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Prints & Posters

"Born Bad"
"Mixtape Make-Up"
"Asheville, NC"
JAMES - It been a REALLY busy end of summer, working on all sorts of exciting projects. I can finally start rolling out the first bunch - starting with these three.

First is my Garbage Pail Kids print, for the recent show at Gallery 1988. Those old cards and stickers were such a huge part of growing up for me, and it's no secret that I actually got my name from the original card (#317A) of "James Flames" - a little dude eating hot sauce and spitting fire. Well, when I was asked to be a part of the show, there was no question which character I would portray. The title of this one is "Born Bad", and I'll be damned if he ain't. The artwork and printing on this might be the work I'm proudest of to this point - the print is quite a killer in person, if I do say so. An 8-color screen print, 18" x 24" on 100lb White French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 100 - they're available now in my store for $30 each: http://jamesflames.com/pages/STORE-GarbagePailKidsJamesFlames.html

Next is a poster I created for the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC. Featured as part of the "Posterscotch" poster show at Amplified Art Gallery, I thought I'd get a little sentimental with this one. The title is "Mixtape Make-Up" - an homage to the days when a $2.99 blank tape and an afternoon with your records offered a better alternative to the sappy "I'm sorry" love letter. The print is based on semi-transparent colors overlapping each other, including the Black, which is thin enough to see the colors underneath peaking through. A 4-color screen print, 18" x 24" on 100lb White French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 75 - they're also now available in my store for $20 each: 

Last but not least is a print I created as a tribute to the town I've called home for the past 4 1/2 years, Asheville, North Carolina. I debuted these prints at the LAAFF festival in Downtown Asheville about a month ago, and it was great to see people connect with the artwork the same way that I connect to this town through it. Depicting the almost fairy-tale town nestled within the almighty Blue Ridge Mountains as the French Broad River roars to a waterfall end, these are all my favorite parts of living here. The hand lettering is the finishing touch to bring it all home. A 5-color screen print, 24" x 18" on 80lb Cream Spekletone French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 65 - these are available in my store for $20 each: http://jamesflames.com/pages/STORE-AshevilleNC.html

Thanks for reading. I should have more new stuff in another week or two. In the meantime, back to work...