Friday, September 28, 2012

DC New 52 Sketch Cards

Above are some of the 79 cards that I did for the DC Comics New 52 set that was just recently released by Cryptozoic Entertainment. This was my first time working with the DC licenses and for Cryptozoic, so this was a fun and rewarding experience. Firestorm is a hoot and a half to draw.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wislawa Szymboska

I haven't posted one of these watercolor portraits in awhile and I wrestled with the notion of putting this one up. I'm not sure what I think of it and after some time to look at it more I think I like it less than I did. So, of course, I post it.

As with authors, not all of my inspirations are visual ones, such as painters and sculptors. Some are poets, too. Well, maybe quite a few are poets as they stir a different pot for me, or within me, as the case may be. Such has it been with Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish poet who passed away earlier this year. I discovered her writings with her 1995 book, View With A Grain Of Sand. She certainly painted and sculpted with words and filled me with visuals that I could and will never experience.

A bit of humor here from the poem, A Moment In Troy:

"Those tall, dark movie stars,
  their girlfriends' older brothers,
  the teacher from art class,
  alas, they must all be slain."

Or, this passage from the poem One Version Of Events, which has always haunted me:

"Each of us wished to have a homeland
 free of neighbors
 and to live his entire life
 in the intervals between wars."

I tried a different color scheme with this portrait and I wonder if this glows too much. I wanted warmth, I may have achieved something else.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some Recent Sketch Card Commissions

As the title suggests here are some recent Star Wars and Lord of the Rings sketch card commissions that I've done as of late for various collectors.

Grond! Grond! Grond!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Contour Drawings

Yesterday, I subbed for the figure illustration class at Macomb Community College and the lesson plan for the afternoon was contour drawings. For those not in the know, a contour drawing is a sketch where you use a continuous line while not looking at your drawing surface. This exercise makes you look at what you are drawing and to draw what you see and not what you think it should look like. Preferably, one should not even lift the pencil from the paper, just keep that line going. I did a few of these drawings myself to give some students that were having a hard time understanding just what they should be doing, and these are some of them above. When a student is first learning this exercise it is sometimes a difficult one to grasp at first, because it goes against everything that they know. I think one student was actually sweating. Even if it wasn't sinking in to them, they were getting it down and it will come in time.

I like doing these kinds of sketches and feel that all artists regardless of their skill level should do these from time to time to hone their observational skills. As you can see, the results can be interesting and somewhat abstract.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Belle Isle Aquarium Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

A few weeks ago, the Belle Isle Aquarium Committee, to which I am a volunteer, asked me to make a symbolic key that the aquarium would give to the Mayor of Detroit at the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the grand reopening of the 108 year old aquarium. So, after a week of concept designs and two left for the carving, I was happy to have come up with the fish key that is shown below. It had been awhile since I last carved something out of wood, but I jumped at the chance to do something as unique as this. I was excited to carve something again and with the weather cooperating by cooling down some, everything seemed just right. 

The symbolic Key To The Belle Isle Aquarium

This was the scene from our vantage point this morning just before detroit Mayor Bing addressed the press. Standing in the group just in front of me are BIA volunteers Gary Balduc, Doniece Langdon, Jennifer Boardman and Vance Patrick, the latter two are the ones whose efforts made this all possible.

Detroit Mayor and former Piston Dave Bing talking to the press.

Mayor Bing with the Key To The Aquarium. Thanks to my fellow artist, Leah Mangue for the screencap. Here is a link to the news story about today's event.

Here is an in progress shot of the carving. Part of what made this even more special to me is that both of my grandfathers are represented here. The workbench belonged to one and the chisels belonged to the other. When I was 19, my grandpa gave me part of his wood chisel collection and promised the rest to me when he was no longer with us. The chisels once belonged to a J. Murdock and this guy who protected railroad workers from 'hostiles' lived next door to my grandmother while she and my grandpa were dating. He had given the chisels to my grandpa and then he to me and they are probably over 100 years old. I had to covertly free the remainder after the passing of my grandpa, but that is another story. So, some history goes along with the fish key and it felt good to keep the story going.  

The aquarium will be opened every Saturday from 10-3, so come on down tomorrow for the grand reopening!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Night Of The Living Dead Sketch Cards

I've done quite a few sketch card sets this year and have fallen behind with showing them. I've been so busy, lately! Above are the sketch cards that I did for the Night Of The Living Dead set put out recently by the UK's Unstoppable Cards. I enjoyed working on this set and I went with the all grey look to try and keep with the look and feel of the 1968 movie that this set is based on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wizard World Chicago Recap, Part Three and Art & Sole

Normally, I tend to buy printed artwork at cons, such as graphic novels or books, but at this past Wizard world Chicago show I went for artwork, both original and prints. to start the show off right, my friend and fellow cartoonist Jay Fosgitt did caricatures (all by memory, I believe!) of everyone from our group:

Me by Jay Fosgitt

 I bought Michael Golden's latest sketchbook and since I've been wanting an original sketch from him for some time now, it wasn't too hard to talk me into it:
Acroyear by Michael Golden
sharpie on bristol board

I was thinking that I wouldn't get too many chances to get a sketch by the master George Perez, so I went for it:

Scarlett Witch by George Perez
sharpie on bristol board

And on one of my trips around the con I discovered an artist using deep sea divers in his work and he has achieved what I have been striving for all this time. It was a joy and a punch in the you know what, but definitely wonderful to see someone doing such great works. It also gave me a different perspective and a cause to sit back and re-evaluate where I want and need to go with my own symbolism on this matter. The artist's name is Michael Manomivibul and I bought three of his prints:
print on textured paper

print on textured paper

print on textured paper

A big thanks to Wizard World for having me at this show and also to the staff, which were very helpful. I appreciate all the work that you did for us! It was a great show!

Now, on to other things. Mainly, that this weekend will find me at the Art & Sole Festival in Grosse Pointe, MI. This will be a first of sorts, as they mainly have fine artists and crafts people at this show and now they will have a few of us illustrators to shake things up a bit. I'm a bit of a fine artist myself, so I can hang. Our sketch group, Motor City Sketch will be doing sketches and selling original artwork for donations, in which the proceeds will got to the Belle Isle Aquarium, which will be officially opening next week. More on that later. Much thanks to Rainy Day Art Supplies for putting all of this together!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wizard World Chicago Recap, Part Two

Here are a few more pics from my weekend in Rosemont, IL at Wizard World Chicago.

My buddy Scott who was at the show getting autographs and such picked up this beaut of a commission from Dave Dorman.  That's one damn awesome Yoda painting!

 While we were in town I had to drop in to see my long time bud and Muck Man theme song musician, Chris Quigley. The last time I swept through town we couldn't hook up, so we went over to Schaumburg to see his buddy and their band play. They are called Space Was Cool and they rocked the place and even gave us a shout out. from L to R: Chris, Scott Toth, Bill Pulkovski and moi. Rockstars.

 As the show wound down I just had to get a sketch from the mighty George Perez, Drawer of Super-People and Super Nice Guy.

 And here is George with the Scarlett Witch that he just finished up for me. I was his last sketch of the weekend. Whew.

This is what happens when you cross a couple of artists. You wake up with a beheaded Yoda. Scott trembled in fear when he opened his eyes to this horrendous sight.

And to top off an already great weekend, on the way home we saw this guy with his tattoo of a band-aid on his arm. He was cool and he wanted you to know it.

In my next post I will show the artwork that I picked up or was given at the show.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wizard World Chicago Recap

It's been almost a month now since the Wizard World Chicago show and I wanted to do a post on the weekend, so here it is. Better late than never.

I love cons for the little things that happen and make for good stories. Our first morning found Bill and I at the Hyatt for their breakfast buffet. The man who sat us sounded just like Lo Pan from Big Trouble In Little China and we had a good chuckle at the coolness of that. After we made our way the the buffet line and started to eat, I look over and who was coming in at that moment for breakfast? Lo Pan himself! Well, the actor who played him, James Hong. And he sat down right behind us. Love it!

The 1960's Batmobile in the lobby of the conference center.

                                            A cool night time shot of downtown Chicago.

Cartoonist Denver Brubaker and his lovely fiance, Jillian stopped by my table to say hello. h
He couldn't miss my table. He knew to head for the pink and the glitter, as you can see across the way.

 Brian Pulido, who was an awesome neighbor to have brought Lady Death with him on Saturday.

                                        And the Blues Brothers came by to say hello, as well.

                                                More pics to come in a couple of days!