Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
A recent post at Joe Quinones' blog reminded me of a project we did our senior year at RISD. Studying under Jeff Hesser, we started with a 3/4 life-size skull, then proceeded to "flesh" it out into a fully-realized bust. It was one of my favorite classes at RISD, not least of all because of the intensive wintersession schedule, in which only 1 or 2 classes are taken for 6 consecutive weeks. With this level of immersion, it's possible to make greater progress because there's no down time.
But despite everything I've ever learned, comic books always seem to rear their big, ugly head.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Man, that's a lot of hands. It may not jump out at you at first, but once you see all the reference I had to take, you realize how much "action" is going on. For those of you who don't recognize it, this is a page from Mythos: Captain America, in which our patriotic guinea pig, Steve Rogers, consents to the administration of the Super Soldier Serum.
In this case, I just used iPhoto's print feature to organize and edit my series of photos. I'll often do this when faced with a lot of small, complicated details.
The finished pencils, prior to painting:
The requisite digital color study:
And the 4 x 6 inch pencil layout:
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Earlier this year, I received a freelance offer from a design firm in Maryland. Normally, Marvel keeps me too busy to even think about sleeping, but I happened to be between projects and the job was quick and paid well. I've only ever worked for Marvel and Dynamic Forces (The Olive Garden doesn't count here) so I was more than a little curious as to how the rest of the illustration world operates. That being said, I was approached solely because of the comic book theme of the project: Masters of the Audio/Visual Universe. The ultimate goal was a calendar, so I was part of a team of artists, my focus being a duo whose powers fell on the "audio" side of the slash.
To finish even faster, I resorted to coloring a black and white illustration in Photoshop, an old trick I picked up while working on Mythos: Hulk.
This is the finished pencil sketch over which I would paint.
And here is the initial sketch, done entirely in Photoshop.
We went through one iteration before agreeing on an approach, something that is unheard of at Marvel, at least in my limited experience (Aside from the fact that we never have any time, the characters are already well-established, precluding any design work). I had wanted to do robots, which I eventually did do, but they wanted something a little more human.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I don't think this cover's been solicited yet, but I thought I'd share. The series, The Twelve, has taken a break as of late (which has actually been a relief for me, schedule-wise). There's only one more cover left to do, but I probably won't get to it until next year.
This sketch is in vine charcoal, my preferred medium at this scale (11 x 17 inches).
With this cover, I skipped the sketch phase and just went straight to the digital color study. I knew that I wanted to paint a U-Boat and a red sky, so I didn't mess around with prelims—just dove right in.
And if all goes well, I may be painting more U-boats in the coming year...
Have a good weekend!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
All of the original art from Amazing Spider-Man #577 is available today through my art dealer, Splash Page Art. Perhaps that special someone on your Christmas list would want a stark, ink drawing of a psychopath and a man in tights.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
We had our first snow in New York on Saturday. It finally feels like winter.
"Things" are getting pretty hectic around here as I try to finish my current project by January. I'll keep posting, but mostly just pretty pictures. I've got some really cool announcements and plans for the coming year, including an in-depth step by step feature on my Red Sonja sculpture. I'll also be giving a lecture at the Brooklyn Public Library in February, just before the NYCC.
Oh yeah, almost forgot— if you haven't picked up the Mythos hardcover yet, I've added a convenient link on the sidebar where you can purchase it from Amazon. I'll even get a commission if you do!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
If there's one compliment I get from the average comic convention attendee, it's "That's a really great idea," referring to my portable mirror set-up. If I get two compliments, the second is usually, "You're a strikingly handsome and well-mannered young man. I'll bet my daughter would love you!"
Today, we'll concentrate on the mirror, which allows people to see my work in progress right-side up. I got the idea from a larger version used for demonstrations in science labs and cooking shows.
Pictured above is the attendee's point of view (albeit with nothing on the drawing board).
It attaches to the table using a pipe clamp, which you can pick up in any hardware store. The only problem I've encountered is when conventions use the newer, plastic tables which have round, soft edges, making clamping nearly impossible.
Once broken down, all of the parts fit nicely into my suitcase (wrapping the mirror in paper keeps it from scratching too much).
Here's a list of the components you need to make one of your own:
2 x 3/4" black pipe, 18" long
1 x 3/4" black pipe, 12" long
1 x "pony" pipe clamp, 3/4" model, example
1 x double female coupling
1 x "L" coupling ("T" works too)
2 x conduit clamps, wingnut adjusted, example
(I use an optional third clamp so I can attach things like postcards to the main support.)
1 x Erector Set "L" shaped brace, 18" long (You could use something else as well. The important thing is that you can screw into and clip to it.)
2 x small binder clips
1 x 12" x 18" plexi-glass mirror (I had mine custom made for pretty cheap at Canal Plastics in Chinatown. I also rounded off the edges with my Dremel tool.)
This is a close-up of the Erector set piece.
And finally, here's the mirror (and me) in action at the Big Apple Con last year. Several people have asked me about this in the past, so I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
In the midst of a convention, while signing books, answering questions, and selling my wares, a simple pin-up can take more time than it would otherwise require. These head sketches typically take about an hour to complete, despite their simplicity. This is the main reason I don't attempt more complex compositions anymore (at least at cons).
Also, here's a quick tip regarding lightboxes. Don't throw away the black pieces of paper that come with those plastic sleeve portfolios!
When I was painting more, I often had to trace a rough sketch onto very thick paper. The secret is not brighter light, but blocking out the light you don't need. You're eyes will readjust to the lower light levels, thus allowing you to perceive more information.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I'm still recovering from all the food and drink, but I thought I'd share a sketch from the Spidey story I'm working on right now.
Also, I'm not much of a shopper, but I did purchase this drafting tool, which I got in the mail today. It's called a parallel glider. Made by Alvin, it's much like the "roller ruler" I had when I was a kid, only better. It's made of acrylic and aluminum, resulting in a greater accuracy when drawing parallel lines, a typical requirement of perspective drawings. I'll get a chance to use it shortly, and I'll devote a post to it early next year.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In this scene from Mythos: Captain America, Steve Rogers attends a veteran's reunion at his local VFW post. Below are some of the reference photos I used to complete the composition. Sometimes I use a mirror, sometimes a tripod and timer. One thing to watch out for when basing an illustration off of a reflection is to reverse any telling details, such as the the buttons on a coat (men's on the right, ladies on the left).
Months before I painted this, I saw a unique light fixture at a bowling alley in Brooklyn. I try to remember my camera for opportunities like this— I rarely have time to sketch.
In other news, I got my copy of Spectrum 15 in the mail. I was excited to see my entry, a page from Mythos: Fantastic Four, got the full-size treatment. Sweet. Now to gather up my entries for next year. The deadline is January 23.