Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 25

I recently received permission from my colleague, R. Kikuo Johnson, to exhibit pics in which he stars. Bless his heart. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm running pretty short on time right now, so it's time for a trip to the archives. I honestly can't remember when I did this sculpture, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say it was just barely before college. Anyway, it's based on Jack-in-the-Box, a character from Kurt Busiek's Astro City, which I started reading in high school. The costume was designed by Alex Ross and is still one of my all time favorites. I showed these pics to Dynamic Forces a few years ago, so I hope if they ever decide to do a figurine, they'll remember me.

As you can see, it's not finished, but the overall design was to be popping out of a — you guessed it — jack-in-the-box base.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Electro, Magnets

A number of months ago, I received an unsolicited package from the UK containing 6 neodymium magnets. The note inside revealed that it was a gift from one of my blog readers, Nick Morgan, who guessed (correctly) that I would find them useful. Nick is a writer and art collector and I'd like to thank him again for such a useful tool.

Pictured above is what I refer to as "the bridge." It's simply a strip of paper that provides me with a testing ground for ink and paint, and helps to control the dynamics of the brush before it touches the painting. Nick's magnet is on the underside, keeping the paper a half inch above the painting, while on top is a pushpin magnet that I already owned. Once I've thoroughly covered both sides of the strip, I can easily replace it with another.

The painting is a yet-unreleased cover for The Twelve, featuring Electro, the mechanical member of the group.

In addition, I attached Nick's magnets to my pencils and eraser, keeping my tools at hand, despite the slant of my drawing board. I attached my kneaded eraser to another pushpin magnet. There's nothing like dropping your eraser and having it stop in its tracks on the way down.

Finally, there is my miniature comic page, which is a 4" x 6" scaled guide that I use during the layout and thumbnail phase of a comic page or cover. The reverse is covered with magnetic tape, which keeps it in place during measurements. Basing it off of the official Marvel boards, I constructed the page in Adobe Illustrator, printed it out, and laminated it with packing tape. This useful tool also doubles as a mahl stick of sorts, keeping my hand from smearing the day's work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 24

In this 2-panel sequence from Mythos: Captain America, Bucky finds out Cap's secret identity. I think I make a pretty convincing teenage sidekick.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mythos Maquettes

If you've been following the Mythos series (and I know I have), you may recognize some familiar faces (and props) in these photos. As I've mentioned previously, I like to sculpt maquettes for the main characters of the stories I illustrate. I was finally prompted to photograph all of them together for the Mythos hardcover.

I ended up going with this black and white photo for the book.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mythos Collection Cover

And here's the final cover, due in stores November 12th. I've included a few progress pics to show how I worked my way through the painting, which took about a day longer than I had intended. The original is painted in Acryla Gouache and regular gouache on 11 x 17 inch bristol board. Hope everyone has a great weekend... the weather in New York is beautiful!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 23

I'm always on the lookout for good reference — anything and everything that could possibly help me to understand light and form. This often results in the purchase of strange artifacts, such as the bodybuilding trophy below, that add to the hodgepodge collection of props on my desk.

If you're about to do a Silver Surfer painting (or would just like to feel better by giving yourself a bodybuilding trophy) I found it at Crown Awards for $3.50. You can even get it engraved.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lame Post

My girlfriend was kind enough to inform me that last Friday's post was "lame," so I agreed to try and do better. Currently on the drawing board is my cover to the Mythos collection, due in stores November 12th... the same day my Spidey issue comes out. This is the pencil stage just prior to paints (which I will begin shortly because the cover is due on Tuesday!) Also, if all goes well, I will have a signing in November at Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan. I'll post official information as soon as it's all squared away.

Friday, September 12, 2008


If you ever wanted to know how to get 5 comics pages out of a sheet of 30" x 40" paper (and I know you do) this is a pretty good pattern. It also leaves you with some extra pieces for smaller works. Fortunately, I don't have to do this much anymore thanks to the boards that Marvel provides me with. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 22

Here I am playing a corpse for Odysseus to step over. Oh, the things I do for reference.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Heroines 2008

Jean Grey Head Sketch
This is the last batch of commissions from the Heroes Con. I always get a lot of requests for ladies, despite the fact that I rarely get to draw them in the comics. In this case, I even got to do a straight-up portrait... no masks, no superpowers... just a girl.

Red Sonja Head Sketch

Also, I've got a rare opportunity this month to show you something in progress. Since I didn't have time to finish a new Mythos cover for the collection, due in November, Marvel had to use a preexisting cover (Mythos: Fantastic Four) for the advanced solicitation. I'll post the images after each stage is completed, hopefully having the finished product in a couple weeks. This first sketch is a digital color study and has already been approved. Now all I have to do is find time to finish it in-between my Spidey book and The Twelve covers.

Mythos Color Study

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spidey "Art"

When I was delving into this whole black and white business, I decided to do a couple master copies to get the ball rolling. These are taken from the Web of Spider-Man Annual from 1986. It features interiors by Art Adams (not to mention a backup story by some young guy named Mike Mignola). Spidey's costume was black at the time, but I really just wanted the poses. He captured the movement and anatomy of Spidey like no one else I've seen.

That comic was given to me by me Dad, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday, Dad! I know you don't read my blog every day, but Mom does, and she'll forward you the link. Thanks for playing Doctor Doom!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 21

The Twelve #7 Cover
This is the cover to The Twelve #7, which is in stores now (as I found out yesterday). My published artwork has been printing extremely dark as of late... I don't know what changed. I previously posted the image, so I though I'd share an in-progress shot in addition to my "wacky reference."

Note the awesome price tag from my new hat, which set me back a whopping $1.99. Also, my fashion cufflinks are worthy of a glance. The gun is a paintball pistol that my best friend got me back in high school. I haven't shot it since, but I use it for reference all the time. Thanks, Allen!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Night

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day. I hope no one is wearing white! I actually took the night off... and now I'm behind schedule.

In an interview with my editor, Steve Wacker, Newsarama showed a page from my upcoming issue, #577. I'm guessing that means it's okay to show it here.

I've been skipping the layout stage lately, which has sped up the process significantly. Now I just go straight to pencils after I've done a rough thumbnail sketch.