Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The Year In Review

This past year was definitely a year of changes. And I do hate change (well, unless it's really, really, really good change). My comfort zones were pushed quite a few times I can honestly say. Change can and will be bad at times, so I will start with that.

As some of you know, this past year we lost one of our dogs, Rita, and her passing was hard on us as she was an awesome pooch that had qualities that most people don't possess. We miss her everyday. This past year some friends fell to the wayside. I won't go into details, but there are some things that I used to tolerate that I will no longer put up with. I'm just surprised and disappointed that it happened to who it did. Those were the bad hurdles that I had to contend with this year, but there is a lot of good too.

This year I finally put the factory that I worked at for the past year behind me. My wife and I worked hard to make this possible as it was affecting every part of my life and was making me a miserable s.o.b. My decision to try my hand at freelance illustration was the best one that I've made and I know it will be a long, uphill struggle for some time, but this is much better than the life I was leading. Starting this blog (which is a year old today!) and finally getting my website online were very helpful and much needed for this to happen and I've enjoyed the process.

My artwork has been in nine shows this year and I actually sold a painting, a few prints and some copies of my self-published collection of cartoons along the way. This fall also saw me landing a gig with Topps/New Line Cinema doing some Lord Of The Rings sketchcards, so I'm real excited to see where this leads and to see how they will be received. It's a good start.

I've made a few new friends this year (some were very unexpected and most welcomed) and I feel that some of the older friendships have become stronger. There's work to be done there too, but I'm on it. So, here's to a fantastic 2008! I hope to see all of you there.

Oh, btw, that's a Judge Dredd sketch that I did earlier this summer. I had to put some kind of art up!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I'm still working on the Lord Of The Rings sketch cards, as I've signed on to do another batch, but still can't show any of those yet. Hopefully soon. So, I have nothing to show artwise right now.

This post is for Sandra way down yonder in the big state of Texas. It's her birthday today, and her request is that she gets lots of pictures from all over the place, so being that she likes giraffes (and that's what drew her to my blog in the first place!), I thought that this picture would be best. This here giraffe picture was taken last August at the Toledo Zoo. On a much warmer day that today, I can add! So, happy birthday, Sandra! Hope someone made you a whole batch of margaritas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas and all that crap!

Happy Holidays to everyone from a Merisi inspired Muck Man and myself. Maybe next year, I can get Muck Man to belt out a rendition of White Christmas alongside Bing Crosby. That would be very Mucky.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jennifer Connelly

Why don't I draw the babes more, I ask? I don't know, maybe it's because they are harder to draw for me with their smooth features. And it's not for lack of trying, I tell ya. So, that will be my New Year's resolution, to do more women. Draw more women! Jeez, if my wife saw this...

She knows I'm a dork.

Jennifer Connelly
colored pencil on tinted paper

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Rice On The Other, volume 1, number 3

I have a one page Muck Man story in the fall edition of a publication called Rice On The Other, which is a collection of comic related material put together by Joel Ball (Guggenmanuever over at Guggen is one of the most creative artists that I've been fortunate enough to associate with on the internet, so check out the link to Rice On The Other (on the right) and you too can admire his hard work, too. I believe that you can also order a copy as long as supplies last. I eagerly await my copy.

Muck Man is a character that I invented a year or so ago and really should explore this guy more often. What would it be like to be a superhero made of muck? Not industrial sludge kind of muck, just a kind of all As you can see, he doesn't have it easy.

This is the page as it will appear in the fall issue. So, a big thank you is in order for Joel for letting me play a little in the ROTO sandbox.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Experts #2

I didn't think that I would do another "expert" so soon, but chance sometimes necessitates such things. This past Saturday was my wife's work Christmas party in which we braved icy and snowy conditions to participate. Well, it's never really about the ice and the snow, but always about the other drivers. But I digress....

The party had been going on for quite awhile and I found myself darting outside for some fresh air and landed smack dab in the middle of a bunch of smokers. The conversation was interesting for a bit, so I stayed. Kind of a mistake. This one tall, gumpy, pony-tailed jackass was controlling the conversation and he was blathering on about how he was Swedish (descent) and how he could handle any type of cold weather. He amused me in a way and I was well into a jack n coke and wine filled evening, so I listened to his nonsense for awhile. He actually said that George Bush was an extremely intelligent man because he had convinced not only our nation but the world that he was an idiot. Huh? And he continued his rant saying that global warming was nonsense because it's just natural temperature change and when I tried to explain to him that natural temperature change takes hundreds of thousands of years and not 30 he then interjected that Al Gore is truly an idiot because of among other things he married Tipper. Because that truly matters, after all.

All of this AND he actually held his cigarette in that pretentious way between his middle and ring finger. What an idiot. Very soon, I went in search of another drink. I needed it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Experts #1

I know just way too many experts, if you know what I mean. You know the kind. You can't even have a normal, time consuming conversation with these special people because they are experts on all sorts of topics and they won't even listen to what you have to say. Why? Because they are smarter than you and I and can't be bothered with all the little people and their silly inane comments. So, I've decided to put my energy where it should be and put them on paper. There will be more, I'm sure.

And I have some good news to pass along. Recently, I was hired by Topps trading card company to do some Lord Of The Rings sketch cards. As I have 400 of them to do, I have been quite busy as the deadline looms. I won't be able to show them (I think that I will be able to) for at least a month, or so. When I'm able to, I'll post them for your orcish delight.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Motor City Art Expo, part 2

Last Tuesday night's Motor City Expo held at the Emerald Theater was a somewhat success if not just a fun night. I sold some copies of my cartoon book, Here And Abroad, a print of one of my paintings and almost sold a drawing. I know that he took one of my cards, so maybe he'll contact me in the near future.

It was also a chance to talk with some old acquaintances and fellow artists, some whom I only see at such events. Also, it was nice to talk with the new faces setting up this year. Actually, my time to socialize and look around was somewhat limited as I had to man my table most of the time. Luckily, Tina was there to give me a hand.

The above pictures are of Wolf Little Bear who was selling books of his poetry and writings. I was capturing him in a candid moment, repaying him for doing the same to me. The other photo is of the folk singer, Audra Kubat through a crowd of artists and the crowd.

All in all a good night. Thanks to all who came out to show there support.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Here And Abroad

I have experimented with self-publishing and made up a 6x9 47 page book of my published and exhibited cartoons to sell (hopefully) at the Motor City Art Expo this Tuesday. The collection is titled Here And Abroad: The Published And Exhibited Cartoons of Bruce Gerlach and covers my earliest printed cartoons from the late 80's when I had two strips that I was trying to get syndicated to my most recent published exploits. Wade's World (which predated Wayne's World by about six years, btw) ran in the Sienna Heights College newspaper and The Beanfield, which ran in a local Detroit paper. Wade's World actually was in consideration by a small syndicate and was being shopped around to newspapers across the country, but that syndicate was gobbled up by a larger more well known one and that was that. Maybe, I should have called the book "Close only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades." So, with those early strips the book also has many single paneled cartoons from the various magazines that they appeared in and covers all the cartoons that I have had in international exhibits, including my one man show in Osijek, Croatia in 2005.

This being the first time I've had to design and layout a project like this, the book came out surprisingly well. I'm very happy with it, if I may say so. For those of you that can't make the show or live in far away places and might like to purchase your very own copy, you can go to and the ID# is 1229881 or you can just type my name in and that should get you there. It's available both in print and download form

If this is received well, maybe I will do one for the hundreds of Wade's World and Beanfield strips that I have done and put them in one collection. That might be good.

Well, for me at least.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Motor City Art Expo 4

On Tuesday, November 13th I will have a little section of my own at the 4th Motor City Art Expo held at the historic Emerald Theater in downtown Mt. Clemens. I did this last year and it was a lot of fun. It's a very laid back atmosphere with a lot of very different artists with very different art styles showing their stuff and onstage there is entertainment, this year in the form of a folk artist.

It's a good way to talk with other artists and art appreciators and just kick back, have a few drinks and have fun. Hopefully, I will have a self-published book of my published and exhibited cartoons that I did through Of course, I finished this at the last minute, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my copies will arrive before the show. More on this later. So, if you're in the area come on out and stop by my table and say hello.

And maybe next year they will spell my name right.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Here is a quick sketch for Halloween done in the ol' moleskine.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Peter Vischer The Elder

I haven't worked with watercolors much lately, so I've been experimenting a bit. This is a study based loosely on Peter Vischer the Elder's Self-Portrait made out of brass in 1510. I like his helmet.

Peter Vischer The Elder

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Edward Gorey

This is a portrait I did of the twisted and demented children's book writer and illustrator Edward Gorey. I would give a copy of The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which came out in 1963, to all of the kids in my life, but I would probably get "one of those" talks, from their parents, if you know what I mean. The kids would love it, though.

G Is For Gorey Who Laughed In Dark Places
colored pencil on tinted paper

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Labor Day Girl

I did the top sketch last year around Labor Day and had always wanted to do a better rendition of it, so I finally experimented with the image somewhat, doing a colored pencil drawing on tinted paper next. Then I tightened it up a bit and went for a more graphic look in my final version.

So, that was the process on this one.

Labor Girl
acrylic on illustration board

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Venus Or Bust

I really don't know what to think of this one. There are parts of this that I'm not too comfortable with and then again there are parts of this that I really like. It was just one of those illustrations that were slow in getting off the ground, or maybe I should say, the asteroid. Once I start a painting I like to see it through, for better or for worse, obviously, so this one is one that I learned as I went. Any comments on this one would be nice to hear.

Venus Or Bust
acrylic on illustration board

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rose Window

I wanted to get some practice with just doing black and white drawings, so this is one that I did last month using a brush instead of the quill.

Rose Window
india ink on bristol board

In other news, such as gallery news, I was informed by the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield, MI, that the charity event in which I painted a tie for, raised over $4,000 for charity. No idea how much mine went for because I was a bum and didn't attend the show. AND I sold my painting "It Takes A Tree To Raise A Village" through the Treehouse Studios Gallery on Martha's Vineyard. I'm sure that it went to a good home. I hope.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dried Earth Giraffe

More recent work from this past summer. I'd been kicking this idea around long enough and it finally came to fruition. One of my better pieces, me thinks.

acrylic on illustration board

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mr. Solomon's Skull Tattoo

Last year I began writing a story that would eventually be turned into a comic book. Well, actually I plotted the comic out as I drew the first eight or nine pages or so and then realized that I really needed to flesh out the story and the characters a bit more. So, I shelved illustrating the comic until I could write at least a few chapters to get a better feel for the mood of the story. I posted the first six pages over at in my sketchbook thread, so some of you may know a bit about The Hat Maker story.

The main antagonist is named Mr. Solomon and at this point very early in the story his past and reasons for wanting to kill this one seemingly old man are obviously unclear. Cue mysterious music here. Anyways, he wears a hood which partially covers his face, but has this tattoo of a haloed skull on his forehead that seems to glow at times.

Here is a scratchboard drawing of said tattoo.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Not long before I went to San Diego for the Comic Con I was told that Nickelodean would be actively searching for illustrators and that it would be a good idea to do some illustrations using some of their liscenced material. So, this is one of the ideas that I came up with. I didn't want to just do the characters lined up in a row, in which I did for the Catscratch characters, so I incorporated the deep sea diver in the cartoony world of SpongeBob. What would his reaction be?


But anyways, when we got there I learned that they weren't looking so earnestly and they directed me to their website, where I learned that they were looking for other positions to fill. I'll still send them some stuff, though.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"Light Nights" 2007 - Iceland, Part Two

This past weekend was the opening of the Light Nights gallery show in Iceland where I have three pieces of art hanging. Their website, has many photos of the event and as you can see by the photo below, no one is looking at my art, but staring out the window instead. And to think that I'm near a high traffic area such as the refreshment table...

And since I like to post art and weird stuff like that, I've included one of my first sketches that eventually became the Starfish II painting.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Martha's Vineyard

Coast to coast in one month. Last week I was on east coast spending some time in Massachusetts hitching a ride with my dad and staying with my cousin , Leah and her family. I was able to get over to Martha's Vineyard on Monday and found the gallery that I have a few paintings lingering about.

These are a couple of sketches that I did, one on the ferry ride over of a lighthouse on the Vineyard, or maybe it could have been on one of the Elizabeth Islands. I'm not sure where on the ride over that I made this. The second sketch is the cliffs near Aquinnas.

This is a very quick acrylic wash sketch that I did of the lighthouse.

Treehouse Studios is in West Tisbury and in the month of August they held the 6x6 Treehouse exhibition.

Ruth Adams is the owner of the gallery, shown here as she was about to sign one of her children's books for me. She told me about some of the island's better known artists and what they meant to the area, including Stanley Murphy and one of my favorite artists, Thomas Hart Benton, who spent some time in Chilmark. It felt good and inspiring to be near the area of one of my idols. I could probably talk to Ruth for hours and listen to her talk about painting, illustration and local history as she was very interesting and very nice. It was nice to finally get out of the Detroit area and actually see my artwork presented elsewhere and hear the feedback about my work firsthand and make those artistic connections that I rarely get the opportunity to make.

And here are the three paintings that I did for the show (the three in the center) as they hang in the gallery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

General Grievous

More Star Wars fun. This is the finished General Grievous drawing that I posted a sketch of in the last post.

General Grievous
colored pencil

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Star Wars Stuff

Here are a few Star Wars drawings that I've made over the past few months that were done in preparation for something that has yet to materialize. But, it still could, I just have to be persistant. Anyways, you know who they all are (or should). Plus, that General Grievous sure is fun to draw.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The San Diego Comic Con, Days Four and Five...and finally some artwork

The USS Midway

San Diego

colored pencil on tinted paper

Ok, time to put this one to rest and move on to other exciting and otherwise fantabulous adventures. Days four and five were pretty much uneventful as far as the Comic Con was concerned. Darin and I made one last venture through the convention center to see if we missed anything good (of course, I'm sure we did!) and to make any last day purchases.

During the afternoon I met with my new friend Cheri and we went for a tour of the aircraft carrier USS Midway which was docked right across from my hotel. There were a bunch of cool aircraft on display on the flight deck, so it was cool to spend the afternoon wandering in and among them. This was it as far as sight seeing and being touristy. And actually, that whole bit about Cheri and Mary and the Beast took place later on Saturday and not on Friday as I previously stated. The days were a blur, I tell ya.

And so our last night in wonderful San Diego was spent meandering around town mostly by the bay. Much later that night, I was able to meet up with Mike Dutton and some of his illustrator friends. I was happy to have met him, but we didn't get to talk all that much. To be honest, it was a bit awkward, as I was the outsider. It could have been smoother, but it's not like "smooth" is my middle name, or anything like that. And, Charles Vess was sitting not three feet from me. It would have been great to have talked a bit with him, but he was in conversation with another coolish illustrator, Donato Giancola, and it would have been very awkward to barge in acting all fanboy. It would have been ugly.

Sunday was spent dealing with our cancelled Northwest flight. Those people are such bums. But, it all worked out for the best, as they put us on a flight to Denver on Frontier Airlines, which was a very relaxing flight. The crew going to Denver were hilarious, cracking jokes over the intercom putting everyone in a good mood. An hour's wait in Denver and we were back in the air heading to Detroit and finally home.

My experience in San Diego was a learning one and a blast to boot and I have to thank Matt Busch for inviting us along. It was a fun ride and it's only the beginning.

And finally, some artwork. This here Hellboy I did was actually done about two months ago and I have some more goodies to show from the same time period. Soon.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The San Diego Comic Con, Day Three

Elvis Trooper (and camera strap) with Darin Palmer in the background

Matt Busch at his display area

My favorite picture: Drew Struzan with Matt Busch

Friday was probably the most eventful day of our trip to San Diego. In the morning we once again loaded up and spent a few hours in the portfolio review area. This time I met with two companies with each giving very different reviews. The first was very positive and like the others left them with business cards and telephone numbers. We finally got in to see Wizards Of The Coast and let's just say that it was a scathing review, but in a very good way. Unlike the other companies, they focused more on what I needed to do to improve. To grow as an artist one needs this kind of feedback, no ego, no bitterness or judgements, just solid crits. I don't think that they were there to actually hire anybody, but to give the artists the feedback that they need to work for a company such as theirs. I actually felt very good when leaving them.

After that we again switched to fan boy mode and walked around amongst the exhibitors and other artists. One of the other guys in our group, Alex, found us and said that Kevin Eastman gave him a good porfolio review at the Heavy Metal booth, so off we went. Mr. Eastman looked through our stuff as well and liked what he saw. He told all three of us after looking through our art to submit ten of our best pieces and he would consider putting us in the Gallery section of Heavy Metal magazine. How cool would that be? I was actually pleasantly surprised at what a cool guy he was, not that I had any pre-conceived notion of what he was like or anything. Nice guy to talk to. So, I have some work to do on that.

Speaking of nice guys, there were two other artists that I talked to who actually asked me if they could look through my portfolio that are worth mentioning. Franchesco, who I believe is currently working on the comic The Savage She-Dragon, was incredibly nice to talk with. He has some alluring pin-up work, I might add. He was very positive and pointed out some things that I may want to consider and to focus on. The other guy was Erik Gist who I talked to for quite awhile and he was at the Watts Atelier booth. He had a lot to say about what I should focus on and the importance of life drawing and all that. It was great getting all of this feedback from such varied artistic individuals. One couldn't help feeling upbeat after talking with these guys.

Later, after Darin and I grabbed a bite to eat we thought we'd hit free happy hour at the hotel where we ran into Cheri and Mary (on the way down in the elevator, Farscape's Lani Tupu got in with us). So, we sat drinking margeritas and bloody marys discussing conventions and comic books from the 70's and 80's and at one point the older couple behind Cheri got up and moved obviously disgusted about her rather loud comment about The Beast snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass. My drink just about came out my nose.

But anyways...
That night we got into the party event of the con (so I was told the next day). On the third floor terrace of the Westingate Hotel was the party thrown by LucasFilms/Dark Horse Comics/Weta/Gentle Giant. Matt introduced us to his artistic idol, Drew Struzan, who if your not in the know, was the illustrator responsible for just about all of the movie posters throughout the 70's and 80's. And later, I found out that he did the cover for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Too cool. Anyways, we all talked with him for about a half an hour listening to funny stories in the biz and all of that good stuff. It was intersting to people watch too, as there were a few actors there incuding David Arquette, Tom Jane and Pee-Wee Herman. I found out later that illustrator Bernie Wrightson was there, too. We met some interesting and fun people there, handed out some more cards, hopefully they will call, hint, hint.

After that, we hit a party at the Hyatt for awhile. As we were getting drinks, Comedian Dave Posehn was on the other side getting drinks too. Elvis Trooper (out of uniform) sat with us for a few, but soon disappeared. An interesting and fun day that I won't soon forget.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The San Diego Comic Con, Day Two

San Diego from the second floor of the covention center

The portfolio review area

Darin at the Mattel booth

I don't want to say that Thursday was a let down, because it wasn't, but it was probably the day where things became a reality as far as showing our work and all that comes with that. It was hard not to have expectations, but I did a fairly good job at expecting the worst. Matt and Tracy had to get up earlier than the rest of us as they had to set up Matt's booth for the day, so we got a later start. In the morning, Alex, Darin and I made our way to the second floor portfolio review area where we spent the most part of the day waiting and waiting and waiting. I climbed those stairs (kind of shown in the first pic) more times than I wished. Whew. But anyways, I signed up with three companies, but ony sat with two, because Wizards Of The Coast was very thorough with each of the artists and we missed our chance on that day. I thought that my reviews went good enough, they seemed to like my artwork (even the Cockroach Of Impending Doom) and all asked for my card and a print or two. This may have been common practice for all the artists, but they didn't have to, so I took that as a good thing.

When we finally made it down to the exhibition area, Darin and I stumbled upon the Mattel booth and they were in the process of having portfolio reviews right there, so we waited for our turn. I think that it went well, there were three guys and they all seemed super nice and they liked my stuff, but it may have been too realistic and not cartoony and stylized for their needs. It was a worthwhile experience nonetheless.

So, we then spent the rest of the day walking around the illustrators area looking for goodies to buy. It was a strange first full day full of everything new and we mostly relaxed for the rest of the evening. Matt and Tracy were invited to the advanced screening of Clive Owens new film Shoot "Em Up and as we aren't yet "in the know" we couldn't go. Next time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The San Diego Comic Con, Day One

A display at the Weta booth

The 60's Batmobile (the best!)

A giant Lego Batman

I can't believe that a week has gone by since we left for San Diego, but it has. Last Wednesday morning I left for my first visit to sunny California with Matt Busch and his "personal assistant," Tracy, Alex Buechel and Darin Palmer. Northwest was kind enough not to cancel our flight there, but not on the way back. Bums. At least they got us there safely and that's all that matters. On the plane I sat next to another illustrator by the name of Brian Rood which was kind of nice to get an insiders view of the con amongst other things illustrative.

We had a few hours to kill before our room was ready, so we spent the time walking around downtown San Diego where we kept running into illustrators that Matt knew including Adam Hughes. There was this cool seven floor outdoor Escher-esque shopping and food center where we spent some time and had lunch. Fish and chips, mmmmm.

That evening we were able to pre register for our badges, which was great, because it would have taken forever on any of the next days. To say that it was jam packed would have been an understatement. From what I've heard this preview night was one of the biggest turnouts ever and I believe it. Human grid lock at certain areas. We weren't very systematic in our walking around and we probably should have been. I think we missed a lot. But anyways, we tried to get a little of what the con had to offer that night starting out in the vendors area working through the small press booths and into the bigger companies displays.

We then hung out for a bit among the illustrators where Matt had a booth. I felt that we were the remoras to his shark, ha, ha. Seriously though, it's just great to have been able to be a part of his little world, he knows so many cool people and you can't help but feel good about yourself when in his company. I was always laughing about something...

That night we got together with some friends of Matt's at our hotel for a little get together complete with barbeque ribs from the place where they filmed the sleazy bar scene in Top Gun. I'm not sure on one of the gals, but the other is a producer for NBC and they both have a million stories that were great to listen to. They know everyone. Cheri made the best margaritas that I've ever had. It was a fun night and I hope that they realized how much we all appreciated their hospitality.

More Comic Con adventures coming soon!