Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'"
Be good to yourselves and others this Holiday Season.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
December 9, 2008
Unfortunately we are getting toward the end of the year and in my nostalgia I fear I will make this blog another long-winded manifesto.
This autumn thus far has been one of my most productive seasons of my career. After several years of attending the cons they have finally paid dividends that I could not have expected. I have been pleasantly surprised and blessed with an abundance of work of late.
Whatever your field, be it plumbing or art, I would highly suggest finding out where the trade shows and conventions are. Every industry has several where like-minded people in the field gather. I have spent several years going to Comic Book and Gaming conventions. But it wasn’t until 2005/2006 that I started showing some work. I was pleasantly surprised at the good feedback and advice that I got but was subsequently disappointed in the lack of work that followed. It wasn’t until I took the time out from 2006 - 2007 without income and designed a portfolio that I was passionate about which was geared toward specific clients that I finally got the results I desired. To anyone following his or her dreams, be specific. The more specific you are with your goals and the greater the belief in that goal on the back of hard work, the more beneficial your results. It’s a pretty self-evident idea and yet I simply ignored it or better yet I believed I was doing it for years when I simply wasn’t.
Another key factor was a great bit of advice from Jon Foster, an amazing artist who I accidentally gave some really bad indigestion to. While I was attending a speech in Columbus Foster said whatever the job, find your love in it. Again some pretty simple advice but powerful and often over looked. It wasn’t until I looked back at a loveless portfolio that I noticed a huge difference in the work I was getting paid for and the work that I did for myself. In the middle of my career I was unhappy at the images I was producing on hour deadlines and shoestring budgets. I googled my name and simply cringed at the amount of terrible work I sent out into the world. I made up my mind then that no matter the pay rate I would put all of me into my art, because after all it was my art my expression, I then started to make art for myself and not the pay check and it was noticeable. The first piece I tried this on was my Van Helsing and while the image could be stronger it got me into Spectrum. So I was already on the right path when I heard Jon’s speech but his reminder when times were tough was a great reiteration of what I was already committed to. Another great piece of advice was to simply calm down, focus on what I could control. In my case it was making the art and then getting that art in front of people who would hire me. Again this is really obvious stuff, and yet it’s hard to make art that you love, which you give you all to and still be a good husband, a brother, and a good son. It’s hard to tell your wife, have faith, when there is no money and it’s raining in the hole in your ceiling. I am not putting this here to complain or whine, as there is no use in that. But it is nice to keep the flip side in mind when things are going well as they currently are for me. Not so you can wait for the other shoe to fall but to remember if you are doing what you are suppose to be doing everything will work itself out. So breathe, focus and do what you love to do.
I read a book that said our greatest enemy is our mind. That the mind has one function and that function is to solve problems. And like any organism or mechanism its core programming is to survive. To survive it must serve a function. The problem with the mind is sometimes there are no problems, so for its preservation your mind creates problems to solve. It cleverly disguises opportunities with fear and doubt distracting us from what we should be doing. Interestingly enough it’s that same mind writing these words. Regardless I am droning on so its time for an update of the work I have been producing lately. These are in no particular order:
First off here is the Edward Gorey Zombie piece I did for a group show in Chicago.
It was a fun experiment for me just for the enjoyment. It made me dust off the old airbrush to try something I have been meaning to play with for a while with mixed results. Nothing amazing but it sold so that something I guess.
Next is the CityBeat Obama cover. This was a real disappointment for me because it really could have been a nice piece but I was way over booked and only had a night to do the whole thing. Lesson learned though so it was helpful.
Now what took most of my October and November I am sad to say I can’t show until next April. I don’t think I can even talk about it. What I will say is I finally got a chance to do several pieces for Wizards of the Coast on the Dungeons and Dragon line. I am really happy with the way most of these pieces turned out. I have wanted to work for WOC ever since I was in grade school so it has been a dream come true. My art director was also a great pleasure to work for which always makes the work more enjoyable. One thing I will say I have never had to make so many changes in my life and while frustrating at the time I can honestly say every suggestion and change made each piece amazingly better. When I post the image after April I will make sure to include some progression so you can see the various stages.
Finally I got a chance to work on the Vampire RPG for White Wolf. This has been another goal realized. While I never have played RPGs I was always draw to the books for the great illustrations. This title like D&D was one that always caught my eye at Media Play growing up. Again as above, very cool art directors at White Wolf that gave me a lot of freedom. These two illustrations really turned out nice. On top of that the story was sweetly macabre, disgusting in parts and deviously wonderful. I really look forward to the release of this book.
Future projects on the horizon:
I am doing some concepting work for an independent Zombie flick, which should be a labor of love. The Talon Black piece (as seen earlier in this blog) was done for The Undertakers script, which is a predecessor to the concepts I’ll be doing for a trailer.
Also I am also doing some sample pages for a talented young writer, Kristin Royer, who has completed her first comic series. The story is in the vain of the classic pulp novels and film noir films of yester year. I think both experiences will really help me develop as an artist by forcing me to really play with light and dark in unique ways as found in the media referenced. I have always had a love affair for German Expressionism and its influences are clearly visible in the best of the Noir genre as well as in good horror.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I was very pleased with how my illustration turn out for Revolver Magazine. I was introduced to the art director Josh by a good friend and fellow artist Brian Ewing. If you have been to a concert in the last 10 years then you probably have seen Brian's work on the gig-poster. If you happen to be a cellar dweller who has not, stop looking at porn and check his work, you'll thank me later
Needless to say Josh was a pleasure to work for and hopefully we will get to work together again soon. I think his layout and the printing on the magazine looks great. The issue should be out November 2008 and has Slipknot on the cover for those interesting in picking up a copy.
So thanks Brian and thanks Josh.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This is the busiest fall to date for me. My boys soccer season has finally concluded with the best record for the program. While I have a great sense of pride on what we accomplished it will be good to have my focus back where it needs to be, my art.
I am currently working on Vampires for White Wolf and Arcane Magic for Wizards of the Coast. Unfortunately I will not be able to post any of the work until it is published.
For those of you in Chicago I have a piece in a group ZOMBIE show.
The show is light and fun a perfect for great Halloween Season put on by fellow CCAD alumni Kerry Flaherty.
I'll post my piece after the show is over. Here's the info and a few links:
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Here's a cover and a few preliminary images I just finished for Moonstone Books.
It a two story annual comic based on the old Kolchak the Night Stalker series. I felt very lucky to work on this as I am a huge Night Stalker fan. It was one of my fathers favorite shows and he turned me onto the show when it appeared on reruns on the Sci-Fi network.
Chicago Comic Con is by far the best place to meet editors and Art Directors for an artist. This year was no exception. I made some really good contacts which I will have to follow-up on and hopefully some really good work will come from these encounters. During my portfolio reviews a common comment was that they liked my palette. I found that to be a pleasant surprise, as I have had to work so hard to achieve it, and only of late have I come to understand the most basic comprehension of color. For any young artist interested in color theory I would highly recommend The DC Guide to Coloring and Lettering by Mark Chiarello. I was also given a lot of good advice on how to improve my work and garner some covers. Some suggestions had to do with subject matter while others advised more dynamic poses and straying farther from my reference. Another piece of advice was to really showcase myself and push my style farther to make it more individual.
Portfolio aside Chicago was a great chance to hang with tons of great people from artists and editors to just fans. Andrew also did really well which just added to the great benefit of the trip.
We got to eat at a great Metal bar/restaurant with kick ass food all named after metal bands.
We also got to meet up with some fellow CCAD alumni and were asked to be in a show in October. I'll post more about the show as the time draws nearer but the theme is Zombies so of course I'm down. After the Con and the unbearably long drive home which stranded us at The Bates Motel I was able to meet up with Eric Fortune. Like any good Cincinnatian we met over a Skyline Three-way. Then Eric showed us some of his current phallic art at Andrew's studio. And just for those interested I threw in some pics of the better Con costumes. Venom Pimp was my favorite. You go PlayA!
The basic idea was to see what we could do in 24 hours. The concept was borrowed from other comic book artists who do this yearly. Three NKU alumni and myself sat in a room for what ended up only being 8-14 hours but it was still advantageous for me. It was an interesting experience which forced me to do my least comfortable job as an illustrator, layouts. Each person had their own goals. I believe Adam and Oliver were actually trying to complete a comic while Tj was just there to make some collaborative art.
My goal was to thumb out and shoot reference for a short story by H.P. Lovecraft titled Dagon.
I have earlier posted an image I had done for this story and here I wanted to sequential explore the rest of the narrative. The night started out oddly by trying to find a suitable place to make the art and grabbing food. The event then degraded into a Gambit card throwing night of flute playing and other oddities. When all was said and done I had my layouts complete and some kick ass photo reference thanks to all three but especially TJ. After the San Diego Comic Con I can't wait to jump into the story and start working on these images.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I am in a group show in Columbus that runs through the end of June. The show's theme is Robot Hive. I missed the opening tonight but from what I have heard it was a good show with some great talent. Yesterday, I was able to meet up with Eric Fortune for a round of drinks and was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at his piece; it was great as usual.
You can view his work here:
EricFortune.com - Personal
I am satisfied with this piece because it works on multiple levels. Under the surface there are some personal issues going on here, while at first glance it is a competent illustration that pays homage to a Sci-Fi cult classic. Here shown is the final, some of my process, and the invitation to the show. Back to the desk. This week will be spent on my Kolchak layout and preparing for the 24 hour comic at NKU. Lisa thank you for you patience and understanding. You Rock!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Here are two spots and one full page illustration I completed, showing the founding fathers of UC Law school back in the 1830-1880's.
I am extremely excited about the current projects I am working on in preparation for Chicago and San Diego Con. I'll post my progression on these 4 projects as they develop.
The 1st project will be Robot Hive art show on June 7th that I am in. It's in Columbus Ohio with many other amazingly talented artists including Eric Fortune. The second is a cover for Kolchak/Dark Shadows. The last two images are for myself. I'm going to try my hand at sequentially narrating H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon and then I'll illustrate my favorite scene from Marvel Zombies.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Here are 2 completely unrelated images I just completed: Dagon and Dr. Jedi.
One was a portrait of a MD for another MD friend. PETA back off, it wasn't my idea I just paint the pretty pictures.
A few weeks ago while doing the Talon Black cover I was listening to H.P. Lovecraft stories on audiobook. It inspired me to do a Dagon image. I think I am actually going to sequentially panel out the rest of the story and see if it takes me anywhere. This image would be used as a plate for the end of the book.
Speaking of great books I also just finished Starship Trooper by Robert A. Heinlein. For those of you who have seen the movie you missed all the meat of the book. While I actually loved the movie with it's boobies, bugs, and macheezmo it was about as thought provoking as popping a pimple, but the book delved into concepts such as the right to vote, civic duty, justice and punishment, as well as providing a great analysis of why our current democracy is bound to fail.
On other unrelated topic I have currently become obsessed with Shaw Brother Films. My current favorite is The Bastard Swordsman and 5 Deadly Venoms.
On the art front I have just bought a new WACOM Cintiq in an attempt to make my work hold together better and to clean up my edge relationship which has always been a problem that I have struggled with.
Also last month I got some good insight from Jon Foster and I am trying to apply the new information into my working routine. The two general concepts aside from some technical process information was to find your love in every piece or don't do it. The second theme that resonated with me is find love and appreciate the process while focusing ones energy on things you can control.
The con season is right around the bend which has motivated me to produce, produce, and produce.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
For those of you in the CA area definitely check out this show. Brian is the big dog of gig-poster art and if you are into Art or Music you need to see this show.
All the info can be found here:
Sunday, March 16, 2008
This illustration is a cover for a short story called the Undertakers. The skinny is that a guy kills zombies with a katana-nuff said. In this particular story there was only one Zombie. I was originally bummed because one of the only reasons I took the job was to draw Zombies but what can you do?
Whenever I struggle with a piece these amazing friends and artists are always willing to point me in the right direction.
The first pic is the final cover. The second is some of the process I went through. You can see how bad some of my earlier versions were. At one point I even had to change some of the proportions of the main figure. I tried the Frank Miller palette but to no avail. It took me a while to get those warehouse window feeling right. The earlier versions were much to generic.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
A while ago I was lucky enough to be interviewed by a Fantasy Magazine in China who was familiar with my work. I was just sent a copy. They were very nice and had some interesting questions. The design turned out great now if I could only read the article.
Here is a copy of what I sent in but what the article actually says you tell me, plus some pics of the mag.
What are the factors made you become an artist?
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
I always loved to draw as a child and I was lucky enough to have two wonderful parents who not only acknowledged my talent but also nurtured it.
I drew early inspiration from the work that Rankin/Bass produced in the late 70’s to the late 80’s, which had the first memorable impact in my life. The animation has an organic quality in the line work, which contrasts beautifully set against the vivid watercolor backgrounds. The Hobbit, in particular, shaped the way I draw and its influences can be seen in my work today.
As I matured, the subject matter of the animation I preferred did as well. I fell in love with Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and American Pop. Mike Ploog’s still images from Wizards in particular have stayed with me over the years. The single greatest American animation that is near to my heart is HeavyMetal. Other early influences worth mentioning are: Mad magazine, Cracked, HeavyMetal magazine, Garbage Pail Kids, Fangoria, Spawn, and the short lived Monsters Attack. These films and books are the great loves in my life, which started me down a path toward art.
Can you tell us about your first assignment?
It was 1998 and I had just come back to Cincinnati with a BFA but no job and no ideas. I saw a local paper with an illustration for the cover so I called and set up a portfolio review with the art director. I nervously showed the art director my college portfolio. He thumbed through it quickly and said “Thank you, we don’t have anything right now but maybe in a few months.” I left depressed but somewhat hopeful. It turned out when I got home there was a call waiting for me from the Art Director. During college Norman Rockwell became a huge influence for me and it showed in my work. The A.D. said that he had a cover for me if I could pull off a Rockwell looking style. I was hesitant because I didn’t want my first professional work to be in someone else’s style and I didn’t feel right stealing from one of my idols. The cover was to depict Metallica who had cleaned up their act and cut their hair to be more appealing with general audiences. The Art Director wanted them to have a clean cut wholesome look and in a Norman Rockwell setting. I remembered from my studies Rockwell had done a barber quartet Post Cover. I told the A.D. that as long as I was referencing or spoofing that direct image and not trying to steal Rockwell style I would do the job. I got the job on Thursday night, started it on Friday and turned it in Monday morning. The piece All American Band ended up winning the paper a 1st Place Award for Cover Illustration in the Society of Professional Journalism. I have been working with that same paper and art director for 9 years now and hope to for many more.
We can see you get a lot of impaction from golden age of illustration, is that true?
While I am well versed in and draw strength from all of the great Golden Age artists, these 4 have the greatest impact on my work:
Edmund Dulac creates vivid colors that ooze with emotion. He can make you feel happy, sad, or fearful merely by his palette. In my mind he is the most versatile artist on my list. His illustrations mirror the cultures and artistic sensibilities of his ethnically diverse narratives. His influence can be seen in my color and watercolor textures.
Arthur Rackham, I believe, is the easiest to see in my work. What Dulac did with color, Rackham did with line. I relate to the world Rackham drew and have inhabited that world since I was a child. His influence can be seen in my pencil and ink work.
J.C. Leyendecker is one of the most innovative designers and draftsmen of any century. I think it is a crime that he is not more well known and studied. Though he is there you can see little of his influence because my skills as a designer are not yet what they should be. He then can be found in the intent and aspiration I strive for.
Norman Rockwell is the greatest of all the American illustrators. His impact on my work and on the industry can easily been seen without any effort. Like Rackham, Rockwell is clearly present in my process, subject matter, down to the application of paint.
I highly recommend anyone who enjoys my work to immerse themselves in the worlds of these artists listed above.
And since that, what are the differences between you and these artists of golden age?
In our century the computer has reinvented our industry from the printing to the creation of the artwork, for better or worse. The industry that I went to school to learn about and the industry I graduated to find myself in were two different worlds. In the past, students would study at a formal academy, then go to work in a studio to work under a professional, and then move on to their careers. By the 90’s this practice was almost completely eradicated. In America throughout the 1950’s to the 1980’s art schools began springing up all over. They produced more and more artists fighting for the same jobs. With the advances in photography many illustrators found themselves out of work. Then stock art came in and crippled the once thriving industry driving prices down. As computers became a standard many older artists refusing to embrace change found themselves replaced yet again. These new advances in technology drive the price down while the demand for shorter deadlines increases. There is an excellence in craft and draftsmanship that has been lost and perhaps that is why I am nostalgic and inspired by the artist of the Golden Age. I think the world is growing tired of the mass marketed mediocre art consumed by the masses. I believe that something has been lost in this new rapid world of technology, something as an artist that I long for. However, not all of the effects of the computer have been negative for artists, quite the contrary. It would not be possible for me to create the images I now create without this amazing and wondrous tool. Like with any new media there is a period of change and exploration of that form. I think we are past that time and at the dawn of a new great revival in the traditions of these old masters. It will be led by artist like Dave McKean, Andrew Bawidamann, and Justin Sweet who use the basic principle of art and design that have never changed regardless of the decade. As at the birth of the Golden age each of these artists use this new technology to create work not possible before but with a skill and dedication beyond the average draftsman. They use the computer as a tool and not a crutch. The difference between the Golden Age artists and myself is that I am a traveler on the path to becoming and they are the destination.
What do you think the help from the traditional training of art to illustration?
When building anything that will stand the test of time a strong foundation is essential.
While at CCAD I was given a great balance in my education between the fine art world and the world of commercial art. The fine art training focused on drawing, anatomy, light and form, color concepts, and design. The illustration courses focused on history, technique, and running a business and selling art. Though often at odds with each other both drew upon principles essential to the other and by having multiple views on my education I learned more from both of them.
Can you describe the style of your art?
Organic is the best word that comes to mind. I think you will be hard pressed to find a straight line in any of my work. I want my lines to breathe and squirm. I want my color to sing and sometimes scream. I want my textures to make your eyes itch and I want my people to be known to you for who and what they are at a glance. I want you to get lost in my narrative as your eyeballs swim through my compositions and find something new each time. I want to give you one ounce of the awe and joy I feel when I am standing before a Maxfield Parish. Am I there yet? No. But I’ll keep trying until I get there.
What tools do you usually use to paint a picture and how many steps do you paint it, can you give us a detail of it?
Step 1 Preparation and Concept
The most important step in the process is the idea. Illustration is understanding the idea you want to convey and finding the best possible visual way to communicate that idea. I start with several sketches looking for the best idea. After I find the best way to communicate my idea (literal or conceptual) I need to think about design. I now know the elements of my piece, but now in thumbnails I need to figure the best way to organize the information. I keep in mind: shape, dominance, value, and color with special attention to the format of the piece. Finally I settle on a single rough draft thumbnail, which I feel best, conveys my intent.
Step 2 The Rough, Research, and Photo Layout
With the thumbnail complete I will do research followed by photo reference. I prefer to shoot most of my reference in my studio with my lights, props, and models. Now that I have shot my reference using my thumbnail as a guide I quickly cut and paste the photos in a layout in Photoshop. This layout is still subject to change but it helps me address problems I may have not yet encountered in my thumbnail.
Step 3 The Line Drawing and Reference
After I have figured out the design and my digital layout is complete, I print out photos of each aspect of the illustration separately on a white background. I draw each of the many elements as if they were spot illustrations. I use several layers of tissue or tracing paper to do my drawings; that way if there are parts I’m satisfied with I can transfer them to a fresh sheet where I will work out my problem areas. I am mindful to use the reference as exactly that and nothing more. If I have to alter or completely disregard reality for the sake of good design I will do so without hesitation. Once I have a solid line drawing for each part of my compositions I may scan them to create a line drawing to show the client.
Step 4 Transfer
The next step once the line drawing is approved is to transfer the multiple line drawings to boards using graphite paper. I use Strathmore Illustration board with a tooth or rough surface.
Step 5 Value
This is where the majority of the time consuming work begins. I create a black and white illustration with whatever medium seems to suit my needs best. Each medium has its pros and cons. Over the years I have learned these and I take advantage of all of them. I try to work one medium at a time on the each of the multiple illustrations on the boards in an assembly line fashion.
After I transfer my drawing to the boards I go over my lines with graphite or a rapidograph pen depending on my needs and the line quality I desire. Graphite, lead, combined with blending stomps are often used for bright clothing and skin tones. The key is to only apply very thin layers of pencil. Ink is used as a time saver but also as a way to get rich darks in my piece. Ink works great on black hair or jackets and even on backgrounds. I often seal this ink with a lacquer then go over it with white and grey colored pencil. A wonderful texture can be found this way for textiles and clothing. I use watercolor and acrylic interchangeable. My decision is based solely on the thought of will I later want to go back in with water to bring out highlights. If so I use watercolor, if not acrylic. I use gesso and not white paint for highlights for the thick texture it provides. I mix gesso with ink, watercolor, or acrylic to get a full range of value.
Step 6 Color and the Computer
The reason I draw my images on separate boards with white background is simply a matter of speed and versatility. I do this so after I scan the images into Photoshop I can select the white backgrounds with one click then invert the selection and delete the white. Once I have all the elements cut out and on their own layers I color them. I know this will sound insane but I use the mouse to do everything. I have never managed to master the pen tool or Wacom tablet. This limits me a great deal as I am told by many of my colleagues but I prefer the limitation it offers as a preference. This forces me to only use Photoshop to color and layout my images. People often ask how did you get this texture or technique with the computer? This background looks like watercolor how did you accomplish that? The answer is it looks like watercolor because it is. The works look like it was done by hand because it was. As I said earlier my style is the way I draw and Photoshop allows me to transparently add color to my drawing without changing the integrity of them. The coloring process is a simple matter of making selection then filling those selections while choosing the proper combination of multiply, overlay, and color settings in the layers options. Once my images have been colored I compose the illustration based on my design choices made earlier in my rough layout. In finishing the illustration it may be necessary for me to make the edge relationship work together in the frame of reference. This is a matter of sharpening, blurring, or erasing an edge. With that my image is complete and ready for press.
Generally, how do you get the material you need for the picture? Will you make some pencil sketch when your inspiration comes?
I always have paper handy. I am constantly doodling images that only I can decipher that will later be used for illustrations. If I wake up in the middle of the night I have a sketchbook waiting at my bedside for when inspiration strikes. I get a lot of inspiration from dreams, which have a direct impact on my work. The creative process is a three-part cycle: thought, word, and deed.
When you painting those famous people, how do you sketch their character of faces?
When I have to draw famous people or caricatures I start the same way as I would any illustration, with thumbnails searching to find the best visual design to tell my story. The difference comes in the extensive searching to find the right headshot or photo reference that suits my needs. I usually shoot the bodies myself and match my models to the angle of the photos.
As far as drawing the likenesses, some come easy and some come hard. People are my favorite subject matter. I could draw them all day. I sit with a photo by my desk. I start a rough drawing in pencil then define the shapes with a marker. Then I overlay multiple sheet of tracing paper on my drawing and revise it till it looks like my celebrity with the desire expression. In a worse case scenario I will end up looking at multiple heads and doing my best to combine them. When doing celebrities I find the better the reference the better the artwork.
What’s your everyday work schedule?
My schedule changes from week to week especially when I have a tight deadline. As a general rule I follow the routines and work habits I developed at school. I usually wake around 10 am. The mornings are spent reading and answering emails and quoting jobs and any other necessary paperwork. I usually have lunch for an hour sometime between 1 to 4 pm and later I have dinner with my wife around 6 pm. I find it terribly difficult to do anything creative while the sun is shining so I often read or do my research during this time. I watch my shows or movies while I eat. My work begins as the sun goes down and it ends when the sun comes up. This being the case I am far more productive during autumn and the winter. I usually work till 6 am when I see my wife off to work then go to bed. On the last two days of a big deadline I will often work 48 hours back to back breaking only to eat. I try not to do this too often, as there is always a price to be paid after.
Are there some special things in your studio, and can you tell us?
I have a modest studio, but it is filled with things that I love that inspire me. One half of my room is designated to my Mac and computer equipment while the other half is filled with my library of favorite books. Near the bookshelves rests a drafting table my father gave me where I do most of my work. The artists that I love cover my walls. Three of my best works hang beside the idols. Each of the three represents a stepping-stone in my evolution as an artist. These are the images, which elevated me to a new understanding in my art. Two twin Kukhris from Nepal rest on a stand nearby and will be featured in a graphic novel I am working on. Several masks and a samurai helmet hang from the hooks on the back of my door. The two shelves nearest my desk hold my Monster Bobble Head collection, followed by my Berserk, and Guyver Figurines. My studio is also where I house my audio book and comic book collections as well as my rather extensive DVD collection. And finally a framed picture of my two favorite people sits upon my desk, my wife Lisa and my dog Rockwell.
What’s your state you have been when you painted? Do you listening to the music?
If I am creating layouts for sequential work I need utter silence and often go to the public library to force distraction from me. This work is very difficult for me and I need greater levels of concentration to get anything accomplished.
When I create my layouts for a single illustration I often listen to classical or meditative music.
Once the hard work is complete and a long night of technique and the routine of execution in terms of rendering begin, I let my body do the job without me and my mind travels to other worlds with a little help from audio books. Stephen King has got me through many a long project with no rest.
When coloring an image I often listen the music that best conveys the mood I am trying to achieve in the piece.
What do you do recently? Compare with the work you have done before, what kind of progress you have made?
As far as the specific projects I am currently involved in, I have cut back on the some of my freelance commissions so that I may focus on writing and illustrating two stories of my own. Eternity is a complex mini-series set in the biblically bleak future. It is a historical fantasy dealing with many serious struggles I have dealt with in my life, especially those that deal with a man searching for his purpose and what role does the existence of God play in that search. The other title is a lighthearted pinup comic called 36DD full of nostalgia and sarcasm.
In terms of the differences between my older to newer work, the older work was technically adequate but without soul. In my early work I also had some serious problems with color and value that I have rectified. All these problems stemmed from me searching for my voice or style. It has only been in these last few years that I have come to know my purpose as an artist.
What is your favorite movie? Do you plant to transform the scene of the movie into picture?
To give one movie that special honor among all the movies that I love would be impossible. In regards to a movie that I have found a deep personal meaning in I can say The Razor's Edge (1984) has been my favorite. If we are talking about cinemaphotography and story then Kurosawa’s RAN (1985) is at the top of my list. I wish this interview was just a list of my favorite movies but I’m afraid there wouldn’t be enough room in the magazine so I will end that topic by just naming these two.
Besides painting, what’s your hobby in your normal life?
I am obsessed with all forms of media: comics, manga, novels, audio books, animation, and movies. I love technology and apple computers. I am a history buff. I love playing chess. I have been playing soccer as long as I have been making art and continue to this day in several men’s leagues and a co-ed with my wife.
Please say something to Chinese readers.
I would like to thank the Chinese readers for giving me a venue to showcase and speak about my work. Your ancient culture is full of beauty and mystery, which continues to be a fountain of inspiration and wonder. I hope you have enjoyed my art as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you. Communication is at the root of all art. It transcends language, economical, and cultural difference. This experience serves to remind me of who I am and what it is to be an artist and for that I am grateful.
Thank you so much for this interview!
Thank you for your time. I have included a few links, which you make publish in the article about my art if you see fit.