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!