Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ghost Rider Gaffe

What's wrong with this sequence? It seems obvious to me now, but I didn't see it at the time. Oh well. Below are some of the preliminary stages where I also should have caught it.

Have a great weekend! Be sure to milk Free Comic Book Day for all it's worth!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Here's the inked version of the pencils I posted on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 54

Both of these excerpts are from Amazing Spider-Man #577, my first (professional) foray into inking. Luckily, I had my trusty paintball gun to "pose" as a shotgun. I may or may not have shot it in my apartment the other night... just to see if it still worked.

And here I am pointing at the ever-present zit on my forehead. Luckily, I was able to restrain my derivative tendencies and withheld such an indignity from The Punisher. For those of you who missed my zit at NYCC 2009, I'm sure he'll make an appearance this June in Philly. All we need is hot weather and tight deadlines.

Monday, April 27, 2009


My editor just gave me 4 extra days to work on Young Allies... and I didn't even ask. Life is good.

In other news, motorcycles are still hard to draw.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lightsaber vs. Darksaber

The following excerpt is from a lecture I gave at the Brooklyn Public Library.

I am, like many in this community, a twofold nerd. I love both science and popular culture. I am equally engaged learning about the physics of light as I am watching Star Wars. So it is not surprising that while thinking about one, I found correlations with the other.

There are two types of color mixing, additive and subtractive. The former concerns the combination of lights, while the latter involves mixing paints.

If I am painting a Star Wars illustration, something classic like Luke vs. Vader, I need to know what it will look like when their green and red lightsabers collide. Fortunately for me, the International Commission on Illumination anticipated my predicament back in 1931. They created the CIE (their French acronym) chromaticity diagram, a Cartesian representation of all possible colors.

The data is derived through the painstaking recording of people’s individual responses to colors, which are then averaged. This information is then correlated through mathematical transformations so that the geometry reveals precise relationships. Specifically, one can discover the mixture of any two colored lights by drawing a line between them. When extended from red to green, the midpoint of the connecting line yields yellow, and we have our answer.

What about subtractive color mixing? For that we must imagine a new kind of weapon, the darksaber. The darksaber absorbs all light into the blade, but is surrounded by a cloud of ink that absorbs all light, save one frequency or hue.

If two darksabers come into contact with each other, the resultant mixture is always darker than either component. A red blade and a green blade would produce a dark brownish gray.

This dichotomy lies at the heart of representational painting. The painter attempts to recreate a world of additive color using a subtractive process. This is one reason why painting in Photoshop comes easier to most. You are literally painting with light, so the relationship between subject and medium is direct and intuitive. But in the real world, the brush is, essentially, a darksaber operating in lightsaber country. The laws are foreign, but they can be translated.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ghost Rider Details

I'm running a little low on time, so here are some details from page 22 of Mythos: Ghost Rider. Have a great weekend. It's supposed to be nice out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

French Bread

Here's a recent drawing of some French bread.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 53

This is an excerpt from page 14 of Amazing Spider-Man #577, which was just collected into the hardcover, Crime and Punisher. You can do a lot with a broomstick and a box of light bulbs.

Actually, I use that broomstick as a prop quite a bit.

Note my Oscar-worthy performance for a scene in which Spidey's face is covered.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wolverine Gothic

When I was first given the premise of Wolverine Art Appreciation Month, this was one of the first images to pop into my head. Yes, it's totally cliche, but that's sort of the point. I quickly found an image of American Gothic on-line and proceeded to digitally paint on top of it. I received approval from my editor rather quickly, but it couldn't survive the legal department... and so we moved on.

I just ended a sentence in a preposition.

In other news, I'm happy to say that I've been accepted into Spectrum 16, due out this fall. I've got 2 pieces in it, both from Mythos: Captain America.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Young Allies Cover

I had previously posted the pencils for this cover, but here is the final colored version, along with the preliminary steps. It's due in stores June 17th, but I've got to finish it by May 19th! Never enough time!

You can see it with trade dress at Marvel's site. They also made me change the question mark to a star.



sketch for approval

And, for good measure, my editor asked me for another cover sketch. I think this one would've been fun too. Remember: never give your editors the option of choosing a sketch you don't like (because they will always pick that one).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 52

Sometimes I take reference... and then don't really use it.

Don't forget to pay your taxes today! And be happy you don't have to pay taxes in Latveria, where all income is subject to immediate seizure.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


As promised in last week's post, here are the rough sketches that culminated in the above composition. These are all part of one, multi-layered Photoshop document. Every time I planned on making a significant change (or wanted to explore a different direction) I would copy the layer and continue the process. This left me with a visual record of each major stage.

In general, I like to compose in grayscale so that I'm not distracted by too many options — color can easily be added later. The following images are all painted very quickly, concentrating on major shapes and ignoring details. I primarily used two preset brushes, "oil Pastel" and "chalk," both of which prevent much intricate fussing.

I started with what I like to call my "anchors," things that I knew I wanted to include. I had more freedom than usual with this cover, so I decided to draw a classic subject, Wolverine vs. Sentinels. The first thing that popped into my head was Wolverine in a tree, looking down on Sentinels that have just spotted him. While this would've been good enough, I also wanted to paint snow, which meant that I either had to change the point of view or the lighting. I wanted the spotlight effect, so I changed the perspective.

I immediately thought of a different situation in which our hero has won a small victory, but faces further challenges. Having a defeated Sentinel in the foreground would also provide a sense of scale for the approaching ones, which are over 20 feet tall.

But I had forgotten my trusty spotlight, which, from this angle, would imply that he is surrounded, thus injecting just a tad more drama to the situation. I also added some smoke to indicate the freshness of the kill.

And because smoke is always cool (unless it's from cigarettes, kids).

At this point, I was pretty set in the basic thrust of the composition, but I still had much to work out. I thought a giant hand might make for a more recognizable shape than a foot. I also started adding detail to Wolverine's face, not to mention some battle damage to his right arm.

I then realized that I could use the downed Sentinel as a nice framing device for Wolverine's illuminated face. I also thought it might be cool to have a battle-ravaged Cyclops being saved. However, I didn't want him to be a major focus, so I turned his gaze away from the viewer. If the yellow underwear wasn't enough of a clue as to his identity, I figured the red glow upon snow would fill in the gaps.

Finally, I just had to paint a Sentinel face, so the wreckage grew to take up most of the composition. Everything after this was just cleaning up details.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Heavy Snow, Chance of Sentinels

Here's my final contribution to Wolverine Art Appreciation Month, an N.C. Wyeth-inspired composition. I knew from the beginning that this would be a tough one to pull off, as Wyeth doesn't have a signature gimmick. In addition, I was not permitted to do an homage to a particular painting (as with the Coolidge copy).

I'm not sure it "screams" N.C. Wyeth, but I was happy with the result, nonetheless. He's one of my major influences, so it was a fun experiment to try and get inside his brain.

This is the monochromatic underpainting stage — nothing but watered-down sepia gouache on bristol. The face is the only real clue that's it's based on Wyeth. But even the classic Wyeth uni-brow probably isn't enough to reveal the source of inspiration.

This is the pencil stage, just prior to painting. I like to leave it pretty loose, so I have the chance to "draw" while I'm painting. This is especially true for landscapes.

The process began with a simple digital color study. Wyeth is all about composition, so this was the most important step by far. I actually saved some of the rough stages throughout the process of composing, which I plan on sharing next week.

Update: here's a link to the post detailing the compositional process.
To purchase the original artwork, please visit Splashpage Art.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 51

Here's a couple pics of me throwing myself... presumably at some X-Men foe.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Here's another installment of Wolverine Art Appreciation Month — this one based on the infamous Salvador Dalí. I must admit, this series has been a lot of fun to work on, so I'm happy that I can finally share them. I've also heard that some of them are already out, so you may be able to find them at your local comic store.

I began with this digital color study to plan the composition and to receive approval from my editor. That process was more complicated than usual because of the legal complications of using other artists as inspiration. I can't pretend to know what went into the decisions — I only know that I had to do a little more leg work than usual.

For example, I had originally wanted to base the painting on Dalí's Crucifixion. I had a feeling this wasn't going to be approved, so I sent in a very rough sketch. Surprise, surprise, we had to go with something less (potentially) offensive. I'm glad we went with the one we did, though. It's more iconically Dalí.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm Back...

... but I'm very tired. Just wanted to let everybody know that the trip was incredibly amazing and I have returned safely. Thank you to my traveling companions, April, her bro, and his wife... and a huge thanks to April's parents who made me feel right at home, so far from Brooklyn.