Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jam Piece

After just 10 short years, R. Kikuo Johnson and I have finally collaborated on a project. Earlier this year, in a bout of creative genius/procrastination, he came up with wonderful sketch of Namor and Sue Storm that I immediately loved. In fact, I loved it so much, I asked if I could ink it for him.

Then color it.

Then keep it.

As you can see, things worked out pretty well for me, although now he says I must return the favor. Hopefully, it won't take another 10 years.

In the midst of inking the piece, I thought it might look good to use a colored line for some of the elements. I used Acryla Gouache, which is waterproof once dry, allowing me to use watercolor washes over the line art. And since it's opaque, I was able to go back over the hair, which I had already inked.

The original sketch was on copy paper, so he (kindly) transferred the drawing to sturdier 3-ply bristol board.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After Ditko

I like to warm up for looming projects by doing master copies — Ditko, in this case.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 66

When drawing Spider-Man, I like to refer to a small toy that my roommate got for me in Japan. The multi-piece mini-statue came in a clear plastic egg and is surprisingly well sculpted. It allows me to visualize Spidey in a number of poses, being especially helpful for reflections. The above study is pretty much a direct copy.

Also helpful is yet another toy, this one being fully articulated. I use it primarily for reflections and leg anatomy, which used to give me a lot of trouble.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Movin' On Up

I finally got a large-format scanner. No more stitching 3 scans together in Photoshop for me, no siree. To celebrate, I've scanned in a page from my big sketch book (which is actually still a little too big). These Doc Ock sketches are from 2004.

For those of you who have ever contemplated the jump (and it is a big one), I got the Epson GT-20000. So far, so good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dr. Waterslide

If evil had a name, it probably wouldn't be Dr. Waterslide. I happen to like waterslides (a lot) so I can't imagine being anything but gracious towards this particular mad scientist. So, despite my unfamiliarity with the character, I was glad to take on this commission.

I also wanted to take note of my readers today (that's you). We just reached 100 "followers," so thank you for your attention and support. It's a great thing to have such a devoted audience and I hope that I can continue to provide a destination worthy of it.

Having said that, you are welcome to participate in the direction of this blog. If you have a question or, perhaps, a suggestion for a post, please feel free to publish it in the comments section of any post.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ghost Rider Maquette

I've posted pictures of my ghost rider maquette before, but never gave it the full treatment (as I did with Steve Rogers, for example). I needed a single picture of "Super Skull P" for the Spectrum 17 poster, so taking a few more wasn't a big deal.

The skull itself is roughly 1.25" tall — that is, of course, with its jaw closed. It's made from Super Sculpey, which I then painted a flat gray, using Holbein Acryla Gouache. The armature is a thin, galvanized steel wire that serves as both structure and base.

I sculpted the mandible last, but had planned ahead with a hinged wire to indicate placement and allow for future articulation.

Finally, I'd like to share the rather cheap "photo studio" set-up I use to photograph my maquettes. The background is a piece of black paper from those plastic portfolio sleeves. It's attached to my drawing board by magnets to create a curved, seamless backdrop. My light is the same clamp lamp under which I paint, powered by a compact fluorescent daylight bulb. Instead of using 2 lights, I just use my small plexi-glass mirror to reflect the primary light from an opposing angle.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

X-Men Details

Mythos: X-Men, page 23, panel 4

Having been soundly defeated by Magneto, the team flees the scene as a news helicopter trains a spotlight on them.

The second half of this book took place at night, so I began most of the pages with blue underpaintings. I let some of it show through in certain places, particularly the shadow under cyclops' right boot cuff.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 65

Man, oh man. And this still isn't the worst of the pics.

I should mention that the Spidey costume was made by my indulgent parents. Mom sewed the costume and Dad airbrushed the webbing.

And this is how I repay them?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cap Card

I am sometimes pleasantly surprised to see my artwork used in ways I had not originally imagined. Earlier this year, someone at a convention was kind enough to give me a spare card from his collection. Marvel artists aren't generally notified when their artwork finds a secondary use, but it's nice to see that we still get credit (at least in this case). What I immediately noticed, however, is that they used an earlier version of the Mythos: Captain America Cover, which had Hitler's hair parted the wrong way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Iron Man, Again

I'm feeling a little under the weather today, but I should be up to full strength soon. In the meantime, here's a recent commission.

Now to do what I do best: sleep!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Captain America

I'm finally getting around to some commissions from the backlog. Hope to get a few done before I start the next big project (which will keep me occupied until the end of the year).

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mazz MoCCA


July 16th, 7 p.m. 2009
MoCCA Thursday:
David Mazzucchelli and Dan Nadel in Conversation
Admission: $5 | Free for MoCCA Members
Artist David Mazzucchelli and exhibition curator Dan Nadel (publisher of Picture Box) will discuss Mazzucchelli's work and the exhibition, including Mazzucchelli's new graphic novel Asterios Polyp.

Mythos Prints!

I'm finally getting my act together: Mythos Collection Cover Prints are now available to order on-line. The cost is $15, including shipping (within the USA), and can be purchased through Paypal.

The prints are 11" x 17" on 100# matte cover stock.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 64

While looking for a particular reference photo for today's edition, I stumbled upon an entire folder of reference from Spectacular Spider-Man #14. Man, oh man... there are some pretty bad ones. This one's pretty tame, by comparison.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Whenever someone says "Upstate New York," it usually means anywhere but New York City. But, to be more specific, I spent the better part of last week in Western New York, about an hour away from Buffalo. It was such a wonderful vacation that I thought I'd share some photos.

The first two photos are from Letchworth State Park, which is definitely worth a visit (or two — this was my second trip to the area, the first being 10 years ago, right after I graduated from high school).

— A catfish feeding frenzy at Moss Lake

— Blue poncho-wrapped tourists braving the mists of Niagara Falls

— Maid of the Mist, ready for a new load

— My first time on a prop plane — not exactly the fastest, but worth it for the finale: a low, slow loop around Manhattan

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Ms. Marvelous '60s

This is part of Marvel's "decades" variant covers. My editor gave me the parameters: Ms. Marvel, '60s, and "album cover-esque." I was just happy that I finally got to paint some ladies (and from one of my favorite periods in illustration, no less).

The final painting is gouache and acrylic on 11" x 17" bristol board. I painted it with my usual approach, the stages of which can be seen below.

Sepia Gouache Underpainting
(I slightly toned the paper so I could get that painted-white-background look in the final.)

Pencil Drawing

Digital Color Study

Thursday, July 9, 2009

X-Men Details

I'm still on vacation (hopefully... I'm blogging from the past right now).

Here are a couple of details from Mythos: X-Men — my more painterly days.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 64

Here I am posing as the "Case Guy" from Amazing Spider-Man #577.

I'm also taking a vacation (starting yesterday) to upstate New York to relax at my friend's lake house. Life is good.

I won't be checking e-mail (and the blog is on auto-pilot) until Sunday. Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spectrum 17!

It is with great pleasure that I present to you the Spectrum 17 Call for Entries Poster! This is the "secret" project that I've been working on for the last few weeks.

For those of you who submit to Spectrum regularly, you already know what a great publication it is and what an honor it is to be included. I'd like to thank Arnie Fenner for giving me such a wonderful opportunity (this has been a dream of mine since I first came across the book back in art school.)

The posters should be going out in the fall, so be sure to sign up on their mailing list if you haven't already. And, of course, I encourage everyone to participate in the competition. It's a great place to get your work seen the world over, whether you're an old pro or a talented newcomer.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Philly '09 Round Up

This is the final round of commissions from last month's Philly con. I ended up doing 17 head sketches, which explains why I was so busy all weekend. Thanos, pictured above, was probably my favorite. I don't really know much about the character, but I certainly wouldn't mind drawing more of him.

If all goes well, I should be finished with my "secret" project this weekend, so I might have an announcement next week. As I may have mentioned before, it's not so much that I can't talk about it, as it is that I don't want to jinx it.

Have a great holiday weekend! Stay safe and don't light any fireworks in your hands!