Monday, November 29, 2010

Kolchak






Here is my latest Kolchak Cover with the original b/w mixed media painting included and some process photos. Though I have had to cut down on several commissions due to my Master's program, of the few jobs I wanted to hold on too, doing the Kolchak covers was one I was not willing to let go of. I love the source material and working with Moonstone is always great. I also wanted something that would be appropriate to send into the Spectrum and Frazetta tribute contest. When doing this piece I took the opportunity to really study what I loved about Frank’s work and try to incorporate some of that into my own. With the Frazetta tribute I am sure most artists will go to the Fire and Ice imagery of sexy damsels in distress or Death Dealer shoving a pike through twelve dudes anuses and there is not a darn thing wrong with that. Frank did that like no other, however I really like some of Frank's early comic stuff and his Movie Poster images that have a horror hi-jinx about them that can often be over-shadowed by his later oil images.
While, my subject matter can be a little lighter, Frazetta has always been a major influence.
Finally I was going to Illuxcon and wanted to have a new piece to shop around that was relevant to the subject matter of the convention.









Illuxcon 3 Short Review


With all conventions there is some commonalities in terms of networking and structure that occur, however each show usually caters to the needs of a specific audience. The audience in this case consists of fans and artists of science fiction and fantasy illustration. Illuxcon seemed to focus on three key goals: artist-to-artist interactions, education between students and professionals and finally facilitating the sales of original artwork to collectors.

Over the last several years while working on licensed properties I have noticed what a viable market there is in terms of the sale of original artwork. The days of being able to sustain oneself in a single sector of the market have gone the ways of the Dodo. So it is highly advisable for any artists to search out several creative ways to generate revenue within one’s given field. My Moonstone Kolchak work in particular seems to have a pretty avid fan base who is interested in owning originals so a convention that focused on that aspect of the commercial arts was of great interest to me. Conventions are a great resource for artists to network and promote themselves but one has to investigate which shows are worth investing in. This was my main intention for going.

First off let me say I really enjoyed the show and would encourage students who are interested in fantasy art to attend the conference and consider the Showcase for the more serious minded artists. The Showcase in my understanding is like the pre-show show audition that happens at the hotel conference room where you may be asked to be part of the actual show at the convention center the following year. But don’t be mistaken as the Showcase in my opinion featured one of the artists that made my trip. If you have never heard of or seen the work of Petar Meseldžija do yourself a favor and check this dude out. So with regards to hanging with some cool artist and getting feedback about work or seeing amazing originals this convention is great. I can’t really comment on the panels as I only saw one myself, which I did enjoy about painted comics from Chris Moeller. Several Paul Lehr paintings were there as well that simply blew my mind. These things can only be appreciated in person. In terms of whether I would be interested in an invitation to attend as an exhibitor or enter the showcase myself, I can say with my current body of work this show would not be useful for me but it is likely I will attend again in the same capacity as I went this year in. With that being said I could see a small niche for collectors interested in artists, that they have not yet purchased from, who have done major title book covers or substantial work in the field of fantasy. One final note that was worth a mention is several artists congregated after the show to have a killer jam session led my Mark Zug. The highlight of the final evening was when fellow CCAD alumni and artist Soutchay Soungpradith belted out a rendition of Voodoo Child and wrapped it up by playing the guitar with his teeth.

Here is a short list of the artists that made my trip worth it:

Petar Meseldžija

Eric Fortune

Soutchay Soungpradith

Paul Lehr

Joe Kovach

Bernadette Carstensen

Chris Moeller

Julie Bell

Anthony Palumbo

Winona Nelson

Michael Whelan

John Jude Palencar

Boris Vallejo

Donato Giancola

E. M. Gist

Cynthia Sheppard

Mark Zug

Allen Douglas

Patrick Jones

Todd Lockwood

Scott Altman

Jon Schindehette

Monday, October 4, 2010

Rob Zombie for Royal Flush 7


Here is my Rob Zombie final illustration with design and layout by Josh Bernstein for Royal Flush 7.
Here's a ton of info and links about the FLUSH below.

The main link to pre-order the book now is here:
http://royalflushmagazine.com/merch/

This is a link to all the Royal Flush Festival Info • October 11-18
The Film Fest returns and screenings will take place at the Knitting Factory, This year’s killer poster was done by Brian Ewing:
http://www.royalflushfestival.com/rff/index.php

New York Comic Con • October 8-10 • Javits Center - We will be at Booth #646

Rob Zombie Book Signing • Monday, October 11 • Forbidden Planet • 6-9pm – Come meet cover boy Rob Zombie and cover artist Ed “Megadeth” Repka next Monday! Rob will be signing RF7 and Hellbilly Deluxe 2 exclusively. This will be insane.
Here’s the Facebook event page to sign up for and blast out: http://bit.ly/9nDOq5

2nd Annual Royal Flush Fest Kick-Off Party • Thursday, October 14 • Brian Ewing Book Release • ?uestlove, Black Taxi, Kid Savant, The Lifted Crew • At Brooklyn Bowl
Here’s the Facebook event page to sign up for and blast out: http://bit.ly/b381mi

10th Annual Royal Flush “Full Release Party” with KAIJU BIG BATTEL • Friday, October 15 • Warsaw • ALL-AGES • Join us for a live Japanese monster fighting event with live music from Poison Ivy League.
Here’s the Facebook event page to sign up for and blast out: http://bit.ly/cryjvH
To pre-buy tickets:
http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/9267/tfly

The ROYAL FLUSH / AMERICAN HARDCORE All-Ages Matinee • October 17 noon-4pm • Knitting Factory
URBAN WASTE plus (VERY SPECIAL!!!) NYHC guests. Plus Downlow, Yo! Skunt and guest DJs George Tabb and Marc Rentzer
Q&A and slide show by American Hardcore author/filmmaker Steven Blush
To pre-buy tickets: http://ticketf.ly/dp34WT

And on a final note – some exciting early press that I wanted to share from USA Today’s Pop-Watch
http://usat.ly/bpSRBl


Friday, September 17, 2010

Cincinnati Comic Expo and CityBeat Interview



For those interested I will be attending the Cincinnati Comic Expo
tomorrow Saturday September 18th.

The weather looks to be great this weekend and the show is only for one day so come out and see what the show is all out then head down to Oktoberfest.
I and a host of other very talented local artists will have tables at the show.
Cincinnati Artist attending

I will be selling at my table: copies of the local anthology 12-Way with Cheese, Kolchak The Nightstalker Comics, original art and a handful of prints.




Also contained within the current issue of Citybeat on newsstands I have a small article interview written by local writer Rich Shivener on my thoughts relating to comics and conventions. As with any interview it is usually cut down to only about 5% of the topics covered but all a the same I thought it was a good quick read. So for the short version running in CityBeat click this link. For those who are gluttonous for long winded manifesto here is the full written portion response to my questions.




San Diego Comic Con – how was it? What did you take from it this year? (In a material and perhaps mental sense)

This year’s con is already a blur but overall it was a great experience.
While every ComicCon has it on unique flavor this year was one of introspection for me.

This was the first year I actual put some merchandise on the table. That was an interesting experience. It really opened my eyes to what fans want as well as the profitable of moving my originals. The main function of con for me has always been to network but it was nice to make back a little money which allowed me to enjoy some nice dinners guilt free as well as pick up a few rounds.

As far as con booty is concerned, I always like to buy at least one sketch or piece of art at con to inspire me. Last year it was my Ashley Wood page and this year it was a killer Scott Hampton ink drawing. I can’t truly say how much Scott’s work has inspired me but for anyone who has not seen it, I highly suggest picking up a copy of his Upturned Stone. It is a great Halloween story with a Ray Bradbury vibe that instantly returns you to childhood wonder. Scott is a legend in sequential art and has a library of great books out there so getting an original sketch was amazing. I wish publishers were putting out more sequentially painted books, as they seem to be getting farther and few between.

The other amazing thing that happened to me at con was having the opportunity to have my work reviewed by Marshall Vandruff and Justin Sweet. Both of these gentlemen have a rare level of excellence in what they do and I was extraordinarily lucky to stumble upon them this year. More over the pair could have not been more warm and generous with their time. The further I progress in my career I find it becomes increasingly harder to get meaningful insight to help me evolve my work so when I find it, its gold. I would love to go in great detail about the insight they gave me in those 30 minutes but I could fill this whole newspaper with the words and implications of that conversation, most of which I am still wrestling with. For the sake of brevity I will leave you with this, which affected me, the most. Every thought or action translates plainly to your strokes on canvas; beware of who and what you want to be, because to the trained eye it’s all there. The confidence as well as the insecurities, your art is a mirror to you, be careful and be aware what you want to show the world. I always thought this was artiste mumbo-jumbo, I was completely wrong!

There was one other thing that really moved me from the perspective of a teacher that I thought was brilliant. When discussing a specific topic with Marshall he would address them almost as a physician would. He would label the illness and then in a calm thoughtful tone give a prescription as to relive you of the ailment. It amazed me that such a clear organized method of teaching without passing judgment has never occurred to me before. I simply can’t say enough about this experience or these two gentlemen other than, Thank You.
And finally, most importantly above all what I learned at con was that TRON is gonna freak’n ROCK!




The importance, in your opinion, of comic cons.

Conventions are a great resource for artists to have essential face time with their fan base as well as with editors and art buyers. In the ever-growing global economy engulfed by the ever-increasing sea of meta data it is essential that a professional artist make personal connections whenever possible. From a fan’s perspective it’s like Christmas. You get to deal directly with artists you love and see sneak peek of media you are passionate about. Minus the rancor of basement dwelling man-children, what’s not to love?


What cues can other con organizers take from something like SDCC?

Know your market within the region you live and exploit its traditions, values and spending habits. Every part of the US has its own wonderful flavor of originally and the good shows take advantage of this because like any good artist they know their market first. Listen to your exhibitors and attendees feedback. Too many shows that where once lovely run by passionate fans with resources have went the way of the Dodo because businessmen bought them out to make a quick buck. They quickly lose the confidence and locality of the fan base with no thought given to the longevity of the show. These show either implode leaving the region without of are taken over.


Your take on the comic – and illustrator, for a large scope – scene in the region

One thing that has always amazed me about Cincinnati is the wealth of artistic talent here, in all the arts, but particularly in the illustration community. Whether it’s the vast array of quality education institutions found in Ohio or something in the water we got talent by the boatload.

However, I will say this in terms of geography and technology, Cincinnati is very limited in terms of what we publish in this region and who buys art. If you have the notion that the days of moving to the big city to make it are obsolete because of Computing and networking technologies I would ask you to reevaluate. While the amount of talented artists that call Cincinnati their home would suggest otherwise, I see a reemergence of the “scenes” in the various artistic circles. Being or not being associated with these groups definitely has an impact on the success of one’s career. This is where the earlier topic of conventions comes in. Conventions allow artists like myself who choose to live elsewhere in the country to be part of the conversation making them an active party in charting the course of their given field. As I said before getting yourself and your artwork in front of people who have the budgets and desire to hire you is often more important than producing your art. This obvious point is often over looked in my field by the young artists.


A walkthrough of your creating process

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

Now that the b/w painting is complete I scan the images into Photoshop. 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 work looks like it was done by hand because it was. 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. 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. I will also add any specific lighting effects I feel the piece needs and with that my image is complete and ready for press.

Recent works and upcoming ones

I am currently working on several projects and have a handful of books dropping this fall.

The most intensive and ambitious venture I am currently engaged in is my MFA Thesis for CCAD. The project is a sequential narrative work dealing the intimate stories of human interaction and the divine thread that connects one life to another. This project will conclude in 2013 with a published graphic novel in printed and digital format. You can find out more details about that project at The Golden Thread.

I am also part of a team working on motion graphics and promotion designs for a local filmmaker Anthony Francis Moorman. His film No More Blood is an independent action short getting ready for the film festival circuit and is in postproduction as we speak. Anthony has managed to wrangle some of the most talented actors, actresses and crew in town. The whole process has been extremely interesting and I have been simply awe struck by the level of commitment and talent working on this project. Not to mention the whole thing was shot on cutting-edge RED cameras. More information on this film can be found on the No More Blood facebook page.

As far as appearances the Cincinnati Comic Expo is this September where I will be selling comics, original art and debuting 12-Way with Cheese an anthology showcasing 12 very diverse Cincinnati artists. Later in the fall I will also tentatively be attending Mid Ohio Comic Con in Columbus.

With regards to publication Spectrum 17 the Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art will be out this fall, which showcases some of my Kolchak Comic covers. Dungeons and Dragons: Monster Manual 3 from Wizards of the Coast has just been released in which I have a handful and creepy crawlers. Moonstone will be releasing two more Kolchak : the Night Stalker comics for which I do the cover illustrations in the end of Autumn. Finally I have a pretty fun interview about Good vs Evil in WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil by Marvel author Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman by Citadel Press.




We're in the thick of the Digital Age. What do you think the future holds for comic, comic art, and perhaps even RPG art? Is the Digital Age changing your process?

One of the most important things an artist must be aware of is his changing environment. After all art is often just one’s interpretation of the world they live in. With that in mind I have to acknowledge the changing dynamic of print in my field, to ignore it is to become obsolete. One of the latest issue of Time magazine features a large Steve Jobs head staring at you telling you why his iPad will replace the printed book in a few years. Technology for better or worse has changed the way artists interact with their audience and the world. How does this relate to a commercial market and the world of sequential art? You need only look at the new deals IDW, Marvel, and DC comics have made with Apple to exclusively launch their content on Apple’s new product the iPad to answer that question. These companies are using this new medium, but they are not taking advantage of it’s true potential.

The Golden Age illustrators of yesteryear became renowned not only by excellence in their craft but also by utilizing the new technologies available at the time, which in their day was the new full color printing press. I also intend to let new technology expedite my progress as well as enhance the way my audience views my art.

Sequential art has been a long, tried and true method of left to right viewing that has been perfected within the context of a printed book. New technologies don’t have the same workspace limitations as the printed page. We can now tell a story that goes up, down, left, right, diagonal or we can zoom in or out to infinity which adds a new dimension to the story telling aspect of the narrative. There are no limitations in terms of size, direction or flow. Specifically concerning my MFA Thesis I can further push the notion of my non-linear story and show this illusive divine thread I have mentioned by stringing the stories together on the computer like a family tree rather than a timeline. The beginning of one story can be the end of another, as well as the middle of yet a third. The entire tale is intertwined, in this way an audience can experience each story on it’s own merit but can also view the implications of each story as a whole. These concepts are clearly and eloquently explained in a book called Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud where he critically discusses the past, present and future of sequential art.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of Summer Wrap UP






The last vestiges of summer are passing rapidly and this very sweaty August is subsiding to autumn’s cool breezes. With summer’s passing fades several memories and a very full work season. This summer is a complete blur with every day bleeding into the next and as such I have found no time, save for now to jot down all the events and important details from the last few months. This entry will be a catch all for all the remnants floating throughout my mind.

First off I wanted to thank Scott Hampton again for this amazing sketch and post the rest of the swag I snagged from comic con here.

I have mentioned very little of Indianapolis Gen Con because it always comes in the wake of the Monster that is San Diego Comic con. And though I was still on autopilot mode never the less it was a pretty interesting year. My good friend Shane once again was gracious enough to give us room and board and spending time with his little brood is always a blast. It gave Andrew and I a little time to catch up since Comiccon was so hectic and the chance for me to kick his butt in out Lego Pyramid race. I had a nice dinner got to meet several fellow artists and ADs from Fantasy Flight Games, thank you Zoe. It’s always nice to touch base with the folks over at Wizards of the Coast who are always so generous with their time. So all in all it was a good quaint show. After some prodding the other artists convinced me to get a table for next year’s show so it looks like I better produce some good fantasy art this year so I can validate the cost of that table.

While I am speaking of conventions there is a new one I plan on attending this September. Cincinnati Comic Expo is a new show to the region but hopefully this event goes well and become a local tradition. I will have table set up and post a few more details before the event later this month.

In other news several of my originals have found a new home in sunny California. An interested collector called and purchased all of my Night Stalker work. So it looks like old Carl had to pack the convertible and move out of town once again. Thank you again Juan and I am very glad my artwork found a place in your heart and your collection.

As for work though I have been busy I can’t remember the last time I actually posted any. I can’t of course post the gaming stuff until it is published so I will post a new Kolchak cover I completed as well as a Rob Zombie piece I just finished for Royal Flush, both will come out toward the end of fall. Also due out this fall is the new Spectrum 17 and a new book I have a pretty good interview in called Wanted Undead or Alive by Janice Gable Bashman and Jonathan Maberry.

Balance has always been a tricky business for me and this fall that struggle will become a lot more complicated and exciting. I have just began my MFA program at CCAD and with it a new blog that will layout the details of where I will be investing the majority of my passions for the next two years. For those interested in following the project: The Golden Thread. The other little factor that will wonderfully change my life is that my wife and I have created a new life so we will get to see what that’s all about. At the present its just somewhat incomprehensible but exciting. On a final note I have been so overwhelmed with all the new changes in my life I haven’t had time to follow up with all contacts from a very full con season so I think this week will be a great time to wrap up the past and lay a course for the future.



Future post:
Cincinnati Comic Expo Details
Books List of where to find my work

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010 in Review







In and Out

This years con is already a blur but overall a great experience. I flew out on Tuesday and left Monday July 20th-26th. The additional time makes the whole process much more enjoyable and I believe I may opt to extend the trip by yet another day next year. Likewise the red eye flight home is quick, dark and enjoyable which makes returning as painless as possible.

Baggage

I arrived late Tuesday night in San Diego and was picked up from the airport by our local con Mother Jen. Anywhere I can save a dime is great because the trip is not cheap. Luckily over the years we have nurtured a good friendship with a few folks in San Diego and they have always been more than generous to our small collective. This year was the first year I actually decided to shop my wares so I was a little inconvenienced by the fact that Delta lost all of my clothes and box of merchandise. Fortunately my box did show up Thursday with enough time to get set up for preview night.

The Con

Preview Night oddly enough was my biggest night where I made the most money selling a few originals. The flow of the con was very different this year from years past so the beginning and then end was good for our booth while the middle kind of lagged. There are discussions happening now to see if it is possible to relocate toward the concentration of other artists for next year. The main function of con for me has always been to network but it was nice to make back a little money which allowed me to enjoy some nice dinners guilt free as well as pick up a few rounds.

Work

The networking was interesting this year. There is no point to go into great detail about that as the jobs I garner or do not will be a direct result, mind as well let time tell that tale.

Booty

As far as con booty is concerned, I always like to buy at least one sketch or piece of art at con to inspire me. Last year it was my Ashley Wood page and this year it was a killer Scott Hampton ink drawing. Unfortunately I had to have it shipped to Columbus. As soon as I retrieve it in the end of August I will post the image, its great! I can’t truly say how much Scott’s work has inspired me but for anyone who has not seen it, I highly suggest picking up a copy of his Upturned Stone. It is a great Halloween story with a Ray Bradbury vibe that instantly returns you to childhood wonder. Scott is a legend in sequential art and has a library of great books out there so getting an original sketch was amazing. I wish publishers were putting out more sequentially painted books, as they seem to be getting farther and few between. I also got great doodles from: Mark Brooks, Gary Gianni, William Stout, Dave Johnson, and Brian Ewing in the books I picked up from them.

Critique

The other amazing thing that happened to me at con was having the opportunity to have my work reviewed by Marshall Vandruff and Justin Sweet. Both of these gentlemen have a rare level of excellence in what they do and I was extraordinarily lucky to stumble upon them this year. More over the pair could have not been more warm and generous with their time. The further I progress in my career I find it becomes increasingly harder to get meaningful insight to help me evolve my work so when I find it, its gold. I would love to go in great detail about the insight they gave me in those 30 minutes but I could fill a whole blog entry with the words and implications of that conversation, most of which I am still wrestling with. For the sake of brevity I will leave you with this, which affected me, the most. Every thought or action translates plainly to your strokes on canvas; beware of who and what you want to be, because to the trained eye it’s all there. The confidence as well as the insecurities, your art is a mirror to you, be careful and be aware what you want to show the world. I always thought this was artiste mumbo-jumbo, I was completely wrong!

There was one other thing that really moved me from the perspective of a teacher that I thought was brilliant. When discussing a specific topic with Marshall he would address them almost as a physician would. He would label the illness and then in a calm thoughtful tone give a prescription as to relive you of the ailment. It amazed me that such a clear organized method of teaching without passing judgment has never occurred to me before. I simply can’t say enough about this experience or these two gentlemen other than, Thank You.

Thank You

Finally I need to say thank you to our whole con crew and especially to Mike who not only gave us multiple rides to con but also a great place to stay. Thank you to Kevin and the X-Sanguin crew for our booth and a killer party. Thank you to my three girls Pfunk, Jennett, Tj and our other booth assistants. Thanks to Mr. Brian Ewing and his crew with his brilliant launch of his new Dark Horse book. Thanks to the San Diego Drink and Draw group, I had a great time and now have a great book. Bawidamann you owe me your life but thanks anyway even though I saw you for 15 minutes the whole con. Thanks to Jerry at USA Today for a nice plug. Thanks to Cathy and Arnie and the rest of the Spectrum crew I can't wait to see what surprises the next book holds this fall.

Finally thank you to my beautiful and amazing wife Lisa with our new bean who allows me to run around the country living my dreams and always reminds me I have place called home that I want to rush back to.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Comic Con 2010 is Coming



For those of you that are attending San Diego's Comic Con 2010 and interested in seeing me I will be in the X-Sanguin Booth #433 per usual.

This year I will have a modest amount of comics, prints and originals to sell.
I will be sharing some space with the master of modern day pinup Andrew Bawidamann.
Once on the floor follow the numbers and walk under the 400 sign then head toward the back of the Con toward the bathrooms and you can't miss us. If you are lost in the swell of humanity look for my banner which will have my Dracula's Pitt image displayed or Bawidmann's Pinup.

As with every year, since we started doing the show the X-Sanguin guys have hooked us up and packed a killer roster for the booth including Tim Bradstreet and Brian Ewing.

Here is a complete list of the lineup for the booth: X-Sanguin Booth #433

And if that wasn't enough sensory overload Royal Flush will be selling a con exclusive limited edition run of their Hispanic Batman comic in which I have a loose-stool pinup and Bradstreet graces the cover. This con looks to be amazing.
For all those going I look forward to seeing you and bide you fond wishes for the aroma of deodorant in a sea of con rancor.


I have included some shots of some of my available prints as well as what the heck the front of the booth, Bawidamann, Ewing and I will look like.

And for the last time people no I am not Sean Astin and I will not sign your replica LOTR Samwise frying pan or Notre Dame Helmet unless you are Monica Bellucci in which case I am Sean Astin and I will see you in VIP to sign whatever you like.

No More Blood Movie Teaser Poster







A local film maker Anthony Moorman assembled an amazingly talented crew then hired me to be part of a short action film he was directing. My artwork is a homage to all the great exploitation film posters of the 70's which is very much in vibe with the energy of the film . I have now worked on a couple of film projects but this is the first one where I was allowed on set during the filming and the process was amazing. Seeing how much work goes into a shot was very educational. I was inspired by the level talent and dedication to their craft the actors and director brought to doing what they love. Watching how much detail the crew put into lighting and framing a shot really gave me a new perspective on how to use reference in my own work and composing and lighting my models. As the project progress chance are I will have more artwork to post for this film.

Here is the promo film Poster, a few behind the scenes pics and two frame grabs from the actual film.

NO MORE BLOOD

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Monster Manual 3






Wizards of the Coast just released their new edition of the Monster Manual 3.
Here is the work that I completed last winter for the book. I got to do four Monsters:
The Cave Fisher, Runic Gargoyle, Ghast, and the Old School Intellect Devourer.
There is more graphic version of the Ghast that was not approved but I like the illustration enough
that I will take it to a final and post it later on this blog.

Working with Wizards licensed characters is always interesting and Monsters are
always fun to do so hopefully I get to do more soon.

As of right now my June is slammed. I just completed a test shot for an undisclosed project that I think turned out well. The No More Blood teaser Poster is almost complete. I am working on a logo for a company called Irish Buddha. I am also in the process of completing my Dracula's Tomb image and revising a FFG Lovecraft card. When I make some head way on those projects then have to get into a new Kolchak Cover which I am looking forward to from a design sense. After that is complete I have to get all my last minute printing ready for San Diego Comic Con. Then in the fall I will be going back to school get my MFA. It will be excellent to have the opportunity to focus on a personal project for the next two years so I have alot to get ready for. Right now it's looking like it is going to be a very exciting and productive Summer and Fall.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What the Deuce


So decided I shouldn't post this for multiples reasons such as:

1 It will be exclusively released by Royal Flush in a collabrative book at Booth #433 at San Diego Comic Con.
2 Glistening testicles possibly may not be the best self-promotion idea I have ever had.
3 Corn!
4 I finished it all in one night with no reference.
5 Man Nipples on the Bat suits, Schumacher would be so proud.

Whenever I come across something that is so blatantly and logically a bad idea
I always have to go the other way in favor of out and out stupidity, so enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What’s in a Name?



A young lady named Sara asked me this question below on the last blog post and I promised to respond.

I'm sure you're busy, but I was curious if you could go into detail about your title - "An Exercise in Perseverance." I'm realizing now that I do love art tremendously but NEED to start getting serious and disciplined about practicing/creating/keeping myself out of slumps - so that title really spoke to me.


I find that honesty is usually the best policies in most cases so I will mention why I choose the name for my blog and what it was originally called.


Short Answer:

The choice to be an artist is not a simple one. It is often choosing a life of little fiscal or emotional stability. If one makes the choice its only through perseverance and the reaffirmation of the choice everyday that an artist will be rewarded.

Long Answer:

When I first decided to create a blog I had to address what function I wanted it to serve. My first thought was I wanted to create another vehicle on the web to promote my work. My website’s upkeep is a rather lengthy process of back and fourth with my web guy and to be honest it usually only gets updated about twice a year. I wanted to have more control to post whenever I liked and with a great deal of flexibility. I also wanted to make sure I didn’t need to burn my time away from painting to learn a whole new program. So with that in mind and very little practical thought I created this blog just to get something up and titled it An Exercise in Mediocrity. The title was suppose to highlight that I would be showing a lot of in progress work not really worth of a website update in my mind.

It was about a week before I decided it was a terrible title sending the wrong message that misrepresented how dedicated and passionate I actually am about my craft.

In private and among friends I tend to frequently use self-defeating humor as a self-defense mechanism to work through my own doubts or issues and it serves it purpose. However I have found in the past young artists, including myself, mistakenly tending to do this often in public. I think the reason for this is artists are continually placing themselves in uncomfortable situations where they are forced to be open to rejection on a daily basis while seeking clients. I have found, like it or not, if you want to be a success in commercial art, you are selling yourself as much as your art. You are a large factor in the product you’re selling; you had better be sending the right message to investors looking into your product. Being comfortable with this notion took some time as I tend to be introverted by nature but I have come to understand the importance of it. I learned early on in my career if you don’t find value in your own work don’t have the ignorance to assume others will. Experience has shown me that being defensive or self-defeating in an attempt to convey humility or respect for those you admire is counterproductive to getting work and instilling confidence in your clients.

The simple way to overcome this novice pitfall is learn as much as you can, be passionate and honest about what you do. Don’t feel a moment’s guilt about loving what you do for a living. Strive to hold yourself to the highest standard that you are capable of and be accepting with your limitations while always striving to become better. Seek out those you respect and admire and have the courage to ask for their help but more importantly make sure you are in a position to listen and learn from their knowledge. Have an appropriate level of professionalism and always make your deadlines. If all these factors are covered it is easy to deal with the fact that a client may not be right for you and you for them. You can proudly stand behind your work and seek out the audience that is right for you.

Keeping all this in mind and choosing not once but everyday to maintain this course takes a great deal of effort and perseverance.

I am at a point in my career where the naive notion of making it or not making it, no longer holds any meaning. It was a hard carrot to let go of. As a student it was if I can only get into Spectrum I have arrived or if I get into a national magazine I made it and I will be rich and famous. These are notions for dreaming children. While they are just dreams and goals they are still important. Wanting to be compensated well for excellence in your craft is admirable but if your focus is on making money, your not focusing on what will make you that money, your art. Even though I have met the goal of getting into Spectrum and continuing to do so it is still important to me I can tell you whether or not I do I still have to wake up and make art the next day. Life, like making art, is a process. The journey is the key not the destination. I read somewhere when Norman Rockwell was asked what is your best piece you’ve ever made, he answered, as he looked at the canvas before him, “the one I am working on now of course.”


Returning to the topic of this blog I continually ask myself why are you really doing this? What function does it serve for you? While the answer has changed over time the main reason for this blog is to personally keep track of my thoughts while creating. I can then look back over the developing process. Hopefully in the years to come I can look back and see not only what I have completed but more importantly how have I evolved and why. As an added bonus it is also a way for me to interact with my audience, clients, students, and fellow artists. In this we can help each other learn and evolve together. In the end I think that’s what we are all here to do.

I hope this addressed your question and gives you some insight to why I chose to name my blog An Exercise in Perseverance. Good luck in all your future endeavors Sara.

I also hate posting blog entries with no images so here is a work in progress for an independent movie poster No More Blood I am currently working on. Also ImagineFX has been kind enough to plug a comic collaboration I have just completed.
I’ll follow up on both projects in a later post.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spectrum 17 and ImagineFX



My Kolchak: Monsters Among Us Cover is getting some good feedback and press to boot. The book has just been released by Moonstone Comics and available in stores now.

Kolchak Monster Among Us


I have recently become aware that the cover has been accepted and will be appearing in the New Spectrum 17 due out this autumn.

Spectrum17


Across the pond they are publishing a wonderfully insightful magazine about the field of digital illustration called ImagineFX. The magazine printed a very nice news blurb about the cover and I, which will appear on US newsstands next month.

ImagineFX

ImagineFX is a great magazine and I am extraordinarily grateful for their interest in my work.

I want to thank the people at ImagineFX, Spectrum and Moonstone and the readers of the tiles. I have long been a fan of the Kolchak series myself since my dad turned me onto the show. I feel very fortunate to work on a title that I enjoy but also to be recognized by such exemplary publications.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring has Sprung



The snow is finally melting and Spring has finally sprung.
The air is still chill and fresh but the sun is bringing some life back to the world.
I have a pretty big week of work ahead so before I get into the thick of it I figure it would be a good day to review the last month and talk about what irons I have in the fire.

February was cold, beautiful, and full of snow. One of the highlights was making a snowman with Joe and Lisa and an amazing ice formation that spun down outside my window. I love the winters in Cincinnati and usually am one of the few that mourn the loss of the snow but frankly I’m going to thank God for some warmth.

Earlier in the month I was asked to help judge the CCAD Art of Illustration show with Ryan Ostrander, John Maggard, Chris Payne and Daryll Collins. All of which are great local artists who I respect a great deal. While I have been a part of several shows and contests throughout my career this was a whole new experience for me. The process was fun and frustrating, but more than anything else enlightening. The first thing I will say is that the work was exceptional and made me proud and excited to be a CCAD Alumni. The second thing is that it is a lot harder than it looks to judge a show full of great work. I have a much greater appreciation and understanding for how the process works and how even amazing pieces may not get in the show based solely on preferences. I was lucky that the other judges were patient and thoughtful with my constant inquiries. They gave me a quick education and some very thoughtful comments and perspectives concerning the work. With the work as strong as it was I really hope my schedule allows me to attend the opening in April. On a final note there was one artist whose work I fell in love with. I really look forward to following the work she will produce in years to come.

As far as February work is concerned I finished up four pieces for the new D&D monster manual due out in the end of April. I really enjoyed working with the freedom of the fantasy creatures provide and I really got explore some fun new rendering techniques that I have been want to incorporate into my work.

Last week I wrapped up 3 pieces for a FFG title in the Game of Thrones mythology. The game is Brotherhood without Banners. I was excited about this project because I got to work with Martin’s Dothraki characters. With these 3 cards I really wanted to play with flat graphic shapes rather than over rendering them, as is my usual.

I have also been working with 11 other local artists on a comic collaboration anthology called 12-way with Cheese with Tim Fuller at the helm. You can see samples of this and more information about the project at: http://cincyillustrators.blogspot.com/
I should be wrapping up the project in the next week or two and will be greatly excited to see the final product. The work so far that I have seen from the other artist is outstanding and is clearly a labor of love.

March looks to be busier than last month. I have two more illustrations for a FFG WarHammer Game, a small news interview with Imagine FX, a new comic cover for an ongoing Moonstone Kolchak series, as well as some advertising work with a local firm.
All in all March looks to be pretty darn productive.
Hopefully some of last months work with be published soon so I can post some images. Until then enjoy pictures the icicle of doom and us judging the show!


There are two other notes worth mentioning, it will soon be time to book arrangements for San Diego Comic con for those who are attending. Also in other CCAD Alumni news Eric Fortune won a Gold award in Spectrum 17. Congrats on a well earned award Eric!

Eric Fortune Gold award

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

NKU February 16



No class tonight folks due to the snow but everything is still due Thursday.
If you need help send me your pieces via email.
Otherwise be ready for the crit and have your b/w piece ready for the digital coloring tutorial.
Stay warm and safe and I'll see you Thursday.

Extra credit if you can name these two illustrators.

Monday, February 15, 2010

John Maggard, Bill Cigliano, and CF Payne



Illustration is a solitary profession so I try to make as much time as possible to gather with other illustrators and artist to stay inspired and positive. Luckily this winter I haven’t had to try very hard, as there have been several events that I just had to show up to. The latest this weekend was an art show at Miami University’s Voices of America Center in West Chester. The show centered on the work of three classmates from 1978 and the successful art careers they have accomplished since. The artists are: John Maggard, Bill Cigliano, and Chris (CF) Payne.

From an educator stand point I really enjoyed hearing the stories of their early curriculum and from their mentor Joe. Studying under Chris I can see how these early years laid the foundation for my classroom experience and how his class in turn laid the foundation for the students I teach. I am somewhat cynical by nature though I believe great things are possible in the human condition. I often see a world where people have opportunities to achieve great things together but because of fear or greed we become entrenched in trying to protect our microcosms we‘ve constructed. Rarely do I think people look outside themselves and understand what is best for one is looking out for the whole. While the gentlemen talked I was inspired because I saw a thread of generosity and stewardship, one that you need to look at generations to see, that’s why its so illusive and people doubt its power. That alone was worth the trip, however as an added bonus I got to see some great illustrations as well.

John Maggard one of the three in the show was also gracious enough to invite me over to a pre-show gathering the night before. I got to meet some very nice people and it was great to catch up with those artists from the local lunches as well as have two pretty interesting conversations with Loren Long and Craig McKay, both extraordinarily talented illustrators in their own right. I just wanted to thank Chris and John and his wife for the invite and hospitality. I would also encourage anyone interested to go see the show while it is up. I have included a few pics and several links, sorry you'll have to cut and paste as I have no idea how to make a hyperlink.

John Maggard


Chris F Payne


Bill Cigliano


The Show

http://www.regionals.muohio.edu/voalc/news/news_events.html

Craig Mckay


Loren Long

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

No Class tonight Folks- Here is a visual of the process to help you out


February 9th 2010

Some of you already have and I encourage you to email me
your progress so your not behind on Thursday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where'd January Go



Today is a fine day to take a quick break to post what I have been working on the last few months. The large majority of the work I have been producing lately is gaming: FFG Cthulhu card game, the new WOTC D&D Monster Manual, and the upcoming FFG A Game of Thrones expansion, unfortunately all of which can’t be posted until published so I’ll have to get that up later in the year.

I got my Spectrum entries together just in time, so now begins the long waiting and hoping period of the year. The work and talent level in the books is quantitatively better with each passing year and I am really looking forward to the next issue regardless if I make the cut.
http://www.spectrumfantasticart.com/

In comics news my future projects in the works are another Kolchak: the Night Stalker cover with Moonstone as well as a collaborative project with other local Cincinnati illustrators. The group comic is called 12 way with Cheese and I’ll be submitting a small 8 page interior story about the rise and fall of Zombie Marge. For more info on the project check here as well as a bounty of other great illustrators:
http://cincyillustrators.blogspot.com/

In other artiste related new I tried a Dr. Sketchy for the first time a few weeks ago and I dug the laid back vibe and the model was actually pretty good. I had a deadline so I just worked on a project while other friends drew from the model but it was nice to be socially creating some work away from the studio. Teaching at NKU has begun and thus far my class is hardworking and for the most part self-motivated. I will also be helping judge the art of illustration show at CCAD at the end of the month, which should be surreally nostalgia since good ole Zack created the show the year we attended back in 98. It’s good to see the tradition continuing.
http://www.zacharypullen.com/

I hate reading blogs without pretty pictures so in an attempt to post something, here is some unfinished in progress stuff that I am currently plugging away at.