Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Big Head







Holidays.  I have felt no love this year.  Last year, much love.  This year... none.

I have had a huge lack of updates in the last few months and I'm going to do my best to remedy that in the coming year.  For now, check out the cover to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #5

You can see here that I made a few changes along the way.  I always do a thumbnail for approval.  Most people will do 4 or more sketches for 1 cover.  I don't really like to do that.  It tends to split my attention and I'll just do 4 weak drawings, usually the weakest getting picked to be the cover.  So I take a little extra time and try to nail one really good idea and go in with a little color to show where I plan to take it. 

You'll notice here that I made a little change at every stage.  When I started penciling (which is done digitally on the Cintiq), I decided to add more black to Oz's face.  This helps give a more ominous feel and that he really is coming out of the darkness.  After inking it (brush and ink), I decided that the smoke that swirled above his head looked a bit off and just brushed over.  Once I started coloring it, I realized that the smoke felt out of place and felt like it was a bit of a different style.  I just just couldn't make it look right so I just erased all the smoke.  I tried to make the effects a bit more magical and I think it helps take the image to another world.  

There you go, a little info into creating a cover.  Thanks to all those who went out bought the first issue!  Thanks for your great comments.  (Except the guy that wanted his money back... haha, sorry brother)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 On Sale Now




The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1 is on shelves now.  You've been hearing me run my mouth for awhile now about this book and it's finally here.  I can't say enough about all the people involved.  Jean on colors is just making my heart melt on a daily basis.  The editors seem to be getting paid to simply email me and tell me that I rule the planet and Marvel as a whole has put so much support behind it.  But Eric Shanower has really done a fantastic job of bringing his long history and love for Oz to our take on the book.  

So, run out and pick up the first issue and then come back and let me know what you think!

HERE is a great review if you're interested.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Winter is Here and Regrets Come Knocking





So, Winter has set down already and it has made me wish we would have moved to Nashville a little quicker.  We'll be there in a year or two, but for now we'll settle for this crazy plot of land.  We're not even calling it a yard... it's the grounds.  My friend, Jill Thompson, asked me to post some pics of the new digs so I uploaded some pics from today.

As it started to snow again, and I needed to get Emma tired enough to sleep thru my afternoon work, I took her outside to play in the snow.  (Yes, I'm going to become one of those people.  The guy who calls his dog baby girl and acts like it's my kid...except like with training and stuff.)  I walked her around the "grounds and then into our few acres of woods to explore.  We found some kind of shed deep in the trees that could only be used for scary Jason type shit.  (not to be confused with the smoke house we have in our yard that is also used for murdering and such.)  As Saint Bernards were bred to dig people from avalanches in the Swiss Alps, she takes to the snow like a champ.  After we walked for awhile I noticed that she would follow the scent of our previous tracks and run them like a track.  Seeing how much she wanted to run, I let her off leash and she has a ball.  Sprinting across the yard until she would decide to flip and roll thru the snow.  It was  true joy to watch.  

So here are few pics of Emma Bob Young, 16 weeks and 40 lbs.  

And a little teaser from a later issue of Oz.  

enjoy.
s.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moving on UP....or at least moving



Casey and I have moved again.  Casey's family opened their house to us and we'll always appreciate the chance to chill there while we hunted for a house.  We just moved into a house here in Princeton, IL and it's crazy.  We went from 1400 sq ft. apt in a 3 flat to a 4000 sq ft house on a 3 acre wooded lot overlooking a small bluff with a creek at the bottom.  How sick is that.

Emma is doing great and has gained a little over 10 lbs. in the last few weeks.  

Here is the cover to Wizard of Oz #3  

Once I'm caught up from the move I'll get back to posting more regular.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Sketchbook



Hello everyone!!!

I've been MIA but I've been busy as hell.  I'm wrapping up inks on issue 3 of Oz, writing a 2 issue arc of a Marvel book and Casey and I just became parents of a new 11 week old Saint Bernard.  Her name is Emma and she's already better than your dogs...sorry!  haha.

Ok, on to business.  Marvel has been outstanding with their praise and support of our work on Oz and decided to give everyone a preview and behind the scenes look into the process of working on a classic novel such as this by publishing a sketchbook.  How cool is that!?!?  Now, I know they are doing it to promote the book, but I'm telling myself that they're doing because they think I'm the best thing to happen to pens and pencils since the first dip of a feather in ink.  (let me have my moment!)

Check out the info on the sketchbook over at MARVEL

And a little preview of our new baby girl Emma.  I'm sure you'll want to puke soon enough.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spidey and his Amazing Friend... Stuart Immonen



Here's a Spider-Man cover I did awhile back.  I'm not actually sure what it's getting used for though.  I just wanted to do a iconic style shot of him and I love seeing him hang up side down. 

The problem with drawing Spidey is the amount of people to can destroy me at doing it.  Let's take Stuart Immonen (current artist on Ultimate Spider-Man) for example.  Here is a guy who makes me cry every time I look at his work.  After seeing his take on the character I vow to never attempt it.  Stuart's version of Peter Parker is hands down the most spot on depiction of the character that I see in my mind when thinking of him.  He looks young.  Not just in clothing and hairstyle which seems to be most peoples way of saying "Look, here's a teenager.  Don't mind the 30 year old build forcing the thigh muscles to want to explode from the spandex.  Just keep you eye on the iPod and remember that despite the fact that he looks like he could be your dad, he's only in highschool".  Stuarts Peter has the athletic build you expect from Spidey but in the adolescent body that is should be.  He feels like a young, exuberant superhero that he should be. 

Ok, I love Stuart Immonen's art and maybe I'm starting to push the line of a being a stalker who cares.  To me, he's one of the best out there... period!

So, yeah, I drew Spidey too, big whoop!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Manifest Destiny #2 On Sale Now


Manifest Destiny #2 has a Juggernaut story with art by the great Dan Panosian and written by yours truly.  If you're looking for a serious, heavy, melo-drama filled tale of the big orange armored guy...go somewhere else.  If you want to have a beer with Juggs, run to the shop now.  This is a fun little tale about what it's like to live on the line of being good and bad.  

Thanks to the reviewers at CBR for the kind words.  Thanks to Dan for bringing the love to the page!  

On the writing note, I'm currently writing a 2 issue arc on a Marvel title and can't wait to start letting you guys in on that.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Way We Swing


I was 12 years old when I was watching Yo Mtv Raps and saw a video of a song the likes of which I hadn't heard before.  There was no "cool" guys running around with Cross Colors, Starter Jackets, or any of that.  It was was a guy what looked like a grampa's sports coat, furry hat, and what would become the world famous BIG nose on the glasses.  I was on the hunt for the Digital Underground.

I lived in a town so small that the idea of the Benjamin Franklin Dime Store selling any cassettes, let alone hip-hop, was just plain stupid.  I would either tape videos to watch over and over or sit and wait for songs on the radio to add to my "mixtapes".  The latter was best done on Sunday during Casey Kasem's Top 40.  To my surprise, The Humpty Dance was on there and climbed all the way to #11.  But like most groups I discovered, I had to find a way to get my hands on the album, and before long I did.

I loved the fun loving Humpty Dance, but the rest DU's first album was even better... and probably way too mature for me to be listening to.  Underwater Rhymes was fun trip of fantasy and The Way We Swing was as infectious as any song I had ever heard.  I still play that thing on a regular basis.  This was my first exposure to hip hop following the heavy influence of funk music.  When I got older, I learned that DU was the Parliament Funkadelic of Hip HOP.  At 12, it was just a groove that attracted me.

Again, I was old enough to connect who I was to why I might attracted to this group.  But if you look at groups style, the album covers and the freedom of the music, you can see why an artist might be into this.  Shock G, the leader of the group really put together an artistic package.  He drew the cartoony album covers for a few albums.   I became addicted to Humpty.  I drew him over and over and on everything.  I connected about 4 sheets of paper and drew a giant one and stuck in my 7th grade locker.  I took fabric markers and made a t-shirt.  He became my mascot for the music I loved and who I think I was at the time.  An artistic music lover that wasn't afraid to act like a clown.

I will say this though.  The first person to try and tell me that Shock G was Humpty was in for a few hours of argument.  I was not having it.  It was fooled from top to bottom.  When people ask how no one knows that Clark Kent is Superman when there is only a pair of glasses to distinguish the two.  Well, at 12 I couldn't answer because all it took was a pair of glasses and big brown plastic nose to fool me.  It actually took me years to accept it.  

DU was also a group that understood what putting on a live shown meant.  They created music and preformed it on tour for years, long past their hay day in the charts.  Unlike most hip hop groups today that either rap over a back track laced with the vocals, or take the stage with 4 hype men so the artist you're there to see says about 4 total words.  

For kids today that remember the "thug" Tupac and the hardcore image he put on (which has sadly spawned a whole generation of copy cats) you might be surprised to know that he started as a dancer and mc with DU.  The Way We Swing was the first time the world was exposed the Tupac.  (This is a side note, but isn't telling how full of shit everyone when Tupac who was the poster boy for "Thug Life" didn't have a criminal record until he was rich and famous.  Clowns!)

So, Digital Underground, another group from the late 80's & early 90's that changed my life forever. 

Next week I'll focus on some newer artists that I've grown to love.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't Believe The Hype!

[For those that might be interested, I have a feature in the new issue of Sketch Magazine #36]

I didn't think my last post would spark that much interest but I see I've touched a nerve, both for good and bad.

Today's post will continue the idea that I started and maybe give a more clear view of my thoughts.  

"I GOT A LETTER FROM THE GOVERNMENT THE OTHER DAY.  I OPENED IT, READ IT, IT SAID THEY WAS SUCKAS!"

Public Enemy changed my world.  I was a very young white kid living in a very small town in the midwest so while I didn't connect with the some of the ideas of PE's first few albums (It takes a Nation, Fear of the Black Planet),  the music and passion that bled out of every track rocked my world.  I was 12 years old when "Do the Right Thing" came out on video and I can't even tell you how many times I rented that movie. "Fight the Power" was forever burned into my brain after memorizing that film which is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

My love for hip hop was already at an all time high when I was was in 8th grade (now living in a bigger city in Tennessee) and on a school field trip to Washington D.C. when it was taken to the next level.  We were taken to a little shopping and eating area some where and set free to get some food.  I however broke away from the group hunting for the music store.  I found it and spent my lunch money on cassette sitting in the new release section.  

Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black

HOLY SHIT!  While I might have been starving from spending my food money on a tape (which has been a trend thru out my life), my mind was blown by the music I was hearing.  I dare anyone to say that there is a beat in the world better than "Shut Em Down".  You will grow old searching for one.  "By the Time I get to Arizona" not only had a very powerful message that helped teach me what the southern TN school system wasn't, it had an infectious groove that didn't leave my head for years following.  

"HERE COMES THE DRUMS... BASS IN YOUR FACE, NOT AN EIGHT TRACK GETTIN' GOOD TO THE WOOD, SO THE PEOPLE GIVE YOU SOME OF THAT REACTIN' TO FACTS THAT I KICK, AND A  STICK, UNDERSTAND WHEN I POINT TO THE JOINT... PUT THE BUDDAH DOWN."

I think people familiar with what videos they see on TV today would be shocked to know that "Can't Trust It" (like many other PE videos) were in heavy rotation in '91.  This leads me to what I mentioned in my last post about the difference between then and now.  Let's take the Jester-like hype man of Public Enemy.

Flavor Flav was the softener that made PE's message an easier pill to swallow.  An intentional farse in some ways.  I would never think that 19 years later I would be seeing people look like him but taking themselves serious.  Flav was a clown that knew he was being a clown.  When I see some soon-to-be-has-been with his hat on tilt still dawning the stickers and tag, a giant chain supporting a cartoon size diamond encrusted pendant all while mean muggin' like you better show him respect, I can't help but chuckle.  Clowns.

Now, I know that there was bad hip hop then, just like there is great hip hop now.  I'm not that tunnel visioned.  The difference is that the mainstream was played out much more even back in the day.  Let's take Serious Sat. Radio for example.  Every genre of music on there has 5 -10 channels.  Rock has oldies, classic, moderan, metal, 90's, 80's, and the list goes on.  Hip Hop has 3 (I'm not counting the "R&B" Beyonce playing station as Hip Hop)  One is old school.  And the other 2 play exactly the same playlists of modern "Ring Tone" rap.  

The DJ that backs up the MC is gone and replaced whatever "producer" of the moment quickly taps whatever transposed vocal sample is hot at the moment.  Again, I know it's not really gone, but it's gone to kids only exposed to the mainstream.  

As I grew up, my music tastes expanded to just about every genre there is, so I stopped worrying about if any type of music is "dead".  Hip Hop isn't dead.  The kind of life Hip Hop enjoyed in the mainstream may be dead and replaced by the "killers" and the "gangstas" (it's funny to think about it in those terms isn't it?  They're entertainers that pretend to really be what they're character is.  Imagine that after Tom Cruise starred in The Last Samurai he started walked around with a sword and and Samurai garb talking about the Bushido Code.) There are great artists out there pushing the genre in new directions just like there are clowns out there dumbing it down.  (we'll talk some of those names in a future post)

For now, we'll end on another PE quote.  

"SEE THE TV, LISTEN TO ME, DOUBLE TROUBLE/I OVERHAUL AND I'M COMIN' FROM THE LOWER LEVEL" 

p.s.  Guys, I know "good" is subjective and all about tastes.  But 50 cent is probably one of the worst rappers in the history of it.  I'm not even talking about what he raps about.  He could rap about saving homeless babies and protecting the planet and he would still be terrible.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

Business Isn't the Same



I hate to admit that in some ways, I've become the guy who talks about the music of his youth is so much better than what the "kids" today listen to.  But dammit, I'm right!!!!

I can remember running home after school to try and catch the 1 hour of hip hop they would play on tv.  I loved it.  It was so new and different that everything else and I craved it before I knew what a craving was.  I'm not going to pretend that I know why it spoke to me so much or say I was ahead of the curve on anything.  I just loved it.  KRS-One, Public Enemy, Nice & Smooth, Special Ed, Eric B & Rakim, 3rd Bass, Big Daddy Kane... I could keep listing names all day.  It just felt fun, and energizing.  One of my favorites of those days was Eric and Parish...EPMD.  Get the BoZack.  You got to Chill, Crossover, Headbanger, on and on and on and on.  I remember being heart broken when they broke up but got my smile back in '97 when they brought it back.  They really frame the sound that I remember as a kid growing up.  

Now we have a bunch of guys who can't sing but try to thru vocoders and auto tuning.  It's like listening to Max Headrum.  The sad thing is I hear these "artists" talking about how pioneering they are.  The same 4 or 5 recording artists just play musical chairs doing guest spots on each others songs, using the same beats, the same effects, and all saying the same shit.  The sad thing is to listen to guys...scratch that... clowns like LiL' Wayne and 50 cent who can barely find the beat to stay on.  Clowns.  

I don't get too bothered because as popular as they all think they are, I rejoice in the fact that in a year or two they'll be an after thought similar to those other shit rappers who we've seen rise in fall in less than 5 minutes.  Silk the Shocker, Mystical, Mia X,  and just about every other clown from 7 or so years ago are all gone.  Give it another few years and LiL Wayne won't even be remembered enough to be made a joke of.  That's how timeless the current crop of rappers that get airplay are.  

I still put in EPMD and not to remember better days gone by, but because it's good music.  So today, I thru on my Epmd albums and did a warm up tribute to Eric & Parish Makin' Dollars!!

Fun Fact:  Bill Sienkiewicz rendered the Fisherman Hat Duo on the cover of Business As Usual


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can't lose with a Mouse


What is the hell is it about Mice?!?!  It doesn't matter what you do, Mice are always cute.  I could draw a mouse murdering people and it would come out cute and lovable.  

I just finished inks on issue 2 of WWoOz yesterday and was getting ready to layout the cover for 3.  I've been inking for a few weeks now and it was nice to get to draw again.  I fired up the Cintiq and did a quick design for the Field Mice in the poppy fields for issue 3.  

This makes me want to join the club and do a Mouse book...haha.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scaredy Cat!




The is the cover to issue 2 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  I'm starting to hit my stride with the feel and characters of this world and having a ton of fun doing it.  

[UPDATE]  The first issue hits stands in Dec.  And here is my penciled version.  The pencils were done digitally in Sketchbook Pro, and the inks done with brush and ink on paper.


When I took on this project, I thought that it would be something that I would get the most kick out of and most would just think it's ok.  In today's comic market it, it's about how dark you can go and how "real" things seem.  I'm not saying that's bad, but it doesn't seem to leave room out there (in the direct market at least) for books filled with whimsy and fantasy.  So I thought to myself "I love Oz, I grab some paychecks while drawing something I love.  Hopefully people will remember when I get back to "proper" comics."  See, even I started to think the same way.  Not in tights, Not real comics. 

It was refreshing to put ink to paper and think "you're drawing this for yourself, man.  Have a blast."  I swear, for the last few months I thought I was drawing a private book for me and my editors only.  I was brainwashed but what I thought the industry has become and figured nobody really cared about this kind of book.  I was just a little bit wrong.

It seems that people out there are very pleased and excited for this release and I'm floored at the response so far.  Retailers, bookstores, fans, companies... any and everybody has been sending their kind words on this project so far and I'm flattered to no end.  It's great to be apart of this and can't wait for everyone to have it there at home!

I'll shut up now!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hero Initiative Hulk Cover


This is a Hulk cover I painted for the Hero Initiative Charity this summer.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the project, check out their site.  100 Hulk covers by 100 artists. 

It's nerve wrecking when you're doing the final on the cover.  I get so used to doing the process thing that when you go back to doing it all in one place at one time it gets freaky.  Just inks and watercolors.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Artist that should make you hate your mother for not installing more skill!: Nathan Fox!


I promise I'll update with some of my own art this week.  I was knee deep in pencils for issue 2 of Oz all last week am caught up now.  But for now you'll just have to settle for another kick ass artist to check out.


I became aware of Nathan's work one day while I was at the comic shop and flipped thru the first issue of Pigeons From Hell from Dark Horse.  I was blown away with in seconds.  As most of you know, that doesn't happen often, but with in a few pages I knew that Nathan must be destroyed and his skills transfered to me like some kind of Harry Potter magic situation. 

Nathan is a great example of what it means to go at with no fear.  There are lines everywhere on the page yet it doesn't ever seem to be too much.  He knows what it's like to make his drawings act. (obviously this is a thing with me!)  

Nathan has done some work on DMZ as well as PfH and he showed me a issue from Heavy Metal...the name escapes me, but it is sick!!!!  I was about 2 inches away from have the pleasure of Nathan drawing one of my short stories at Marvel but the timing didn't work out.  So hopefully sooner rather than later I can make that happen.

I had the chance of meeting Nathan this year and not only is he a great guy but he also was selling his originals.  You would think they are 11x17 like everyone else's, but no... Nathan is no mortal man and must do his pages on like 16x26 or some such shit.  It's AWESOME!  I've added a photo of my 2 pages that sit framed on my shelf.  One from both DMZ and Pigeons from Hell.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Juggernaut: I'm Good with the Bad!


I've had an exciting week so far.  I've penciled some insanely fun pages from OZ, started a new project with an incredible artist that I've just discovered hope to do great things with, and got my first look at pages from my Juggernaut script for X-men: Manifest Destiny.

More on the first two things later.  Let's talk about Dan Panosian and how kick ass he his.  I've tossed emails back and forth with Dan a few times and we showed each other some art that made us both mad as hell! (because it was so good).  When I got the assignment to write a script for X-Men: Manifest Destiny it worked similar to my Divided We Stand story.  They gave me a list of characters to pick from, only this time I wouldn't be drawing it myself.  It would be my first chance to be "the writer" and have someone else handle the art.  My editor told me to give him some names and enter Dan Panosian.  

His style is so fun and best of all, he can act.  I mean he can take a pencil and make the characters act out the scene.  Because of the kind of story I was telling, that was the most important element in finding an artist.  Luckily he was into the story and said yes.  

The pages look amazing.  And for my first time not drawing my own story, it couldn't have went better.  It's strange watching my ideas come to life without me doing the work.  I better watch it or I'm going to get spoiled!!!

Thanks a ton Dan!  Here are some of Dan's prelim sketches.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Artists You Should Love: Alberto Breccia


[update]  Click here for info on Alberto Breccia

Ok, so a few years ago I pick up the "Art of Brian Boland" and crack it open.  Right there on one of the first pages, Brian is highlight some of his inspirations and art heroes.  He showed one drawing of this man and I instantly closed the book and started hunting for him online.  Mr. Boland actually got me to NOT look at his own book.

Alberto Breccia is this weeks artist.  I don't think there is one site for him, so you'll have to go on the same hunt that I did.  One of his most famous works was the tales of MORT CINDER.  An imortal that sits around with a buddy telling tales.  These are the images posted here.  I was lucky enough to find a Mort Cinder Collection a few years back.  About 300 pages of the most incredible black and white work I've ever seen.  Alberto was illustrating in the late 50's and 60's, so be careful, you're going to see where some of your heroes got their ideas from!  If anyone can spot what I'm talking about, i'll give you some kind of prize.

Breccia's black and white line art is amazing.  I couldn't image even trying to put color on this.  Something that he's able to do is "act" with drawings.  In a world of constant furrowed brows and gritted teeth, it's not often you come across a sequential artist that has the chops to take a character thru the full spectrum of emotion.  Breccia doesn't hide behind style.  Every face has lifetime of thoughts behind it.  

Ok, go on the hunt and have fun.  You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

That Feeling



Today's art posts are nothing to write home about, but they're an example of what a lot of days are spent producing.  When we see a brand new car, we rarely think about the amount of time or how rough and strange the underbelly looked while building it.  But that's all the time was spent looking at.  Same with art.  The pages and covers that we show you on these blogs, and you see in print, are the versions of the piece that we worked towards but spent the least amount of time with.  I spent more of the my days with pieces like this.  Rough sketches, doodles, and light blue lines to ink.  

These are my actual pencils.  Ink will be added on this.  Of course, I turn the black lines to blue and print them out, but I will ink these rough panels from this stage.  If  you ever see the pencils of guys like Joe Mad, J. Scott Campbell, and a ton of other guys, you'll notice a mind bending cleanliness and precision.  Every line is perfect and the line weights have been penciled in and build up.  I used to try to do that.  I used to think that's how it had to be done.  I realized that it works for some people, but no for me.  I found that keeping things bit of mystery, even going into the inking stage allows me to have fun until the end.  When I used to ink over my clean pencils, I felt like I was a robot, following lines I had already drawn.  It was always strange, and frustrating and I fooled myself into thinking that I hated inking.   Turns out I love, I just needed to rework my thought process.

On top of the technical side of the drawings, look at what I get to draw.  A sad Scarecrow and a crow that's not at all scared.  The crow has bushy eyebrows, sideburns, and specs.  Come on, how fun is that, man!!!!  I found myself smiling while I worked that page thinking to myself "It's been along time since I felt this happy while drawing".  Really.  There's a since of freedom working on Oz that I haven't experienced yet.  The world allows for so much fun, from the characters to the landscape.  It's just great!!  

Ok, there's my mushy, long winded entry for today.  Enjoy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Artists I want to shoot with an elephant tranq so they'll stop making me look bad Mondays: Tim McBurnie

Tim McBurnie is this weeks artist.  He's incredible and makes me realize that showing you guys some of these artist may be my undoing as you may never come back to my blog.  Around 6 or more years ago my Aussie friend Jon Sommariva (Red J) showed me the work from another artist from Australia and I was hooked from that day.  From the level of his work you'd think that you're dealing with some gray haired, old school guy that has started moving into the digital painting world.  Come to find out he's like my age or somewhere close.  This made me mad at him and myself.  I hope to get the chance to sit in room and draw with Tim one day.  When you see the loose energy that he puts in his drawings you'll see why that would be inspiring.  Quite being so good Tim!

On a side note, I thought I would share this picture with you.  I was looking thru my laptop for old photos and found this from a few years ago.  I wasn't that close with Mike, but we'd played a few games of pool over the years at cons and he was always there with kind word about my art. A chalk artist used Mike and I's art to do a giant piece out in front of Wizard World (2006 I think) and asked if Mike and I would pose with Gareb (Owner of Wizard Magazine) for a few pics.  Anyway, it's odd what you find in computers that you haven't used in a while.

s.

Friday, August 22, 2008

So Serious


How many blog titles have used that title?  A lot, so let's move past it.

I, like most people, enjoyed the Dark Knight alot.  A buddy of mine emailed me today and asked me to do a Dark Knight piece and so I did it for my warm up today.  There's not much else to say that hasn't been said already, but Ledger kicks 11 kinds of ass playing the Joker so I had to do a piece.

This was done in Painter and in Photoshop.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ink Tests & Artist Spotlight


[update] I will be adding a link on the side bar for the Artists spotlights.  It will be updated each Monday with a new link.

First things first, I'll explain the Artist Spotlight.  In my post about the incredible Carlos Meglia, some people have commented and emailed me about sharing some of the artists that I follow and am inspired by.  I always think that if I'm aware of an artist then everyone is aware of that artist.  But even masters like Meglia have missed some peoples radar.  Each week, I'm going to give a link to an artist that I really  dig.  

This week it's the dynamic duo that make up the CREATURE BOX, Greg Baldwin and Dave Guertin.  These guys are beasts and there aren't any words that I could say to add to what they do, so go check them out right now.

Now, my incredible attempt at making actual doodles a post worthy image.  Really, can you imagine anything less that I could actually put up as a post.  This was me really just playing around with Painter and Sketchbook Pro to see what kind of inking I could do with the Cintiq.  For projects like Oz, I'm still using brush and ink for the final pages.  But for my graphic novel, I'm going to be going 100% digital for the art so I'm spending some time doing some testing to see what kind of inking tools these programs have.  I like that I can still get some pepper spray and a loose feel.  We'll see in the coming weeks what I can accomplish with this.

There you go, a link to a few amazing artists and a pathetic attempt to wow you with my meaningless scribbles.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Master has Passed



I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but Carlos Meglia was a master of his craft.  Before I was even close to working as a comic book professional, Meglia's art was there to inspire me.  He pushed the limits of design, imagination, and life in everything he's ever done.  American comic fans and publishers didn't "get" him so we didn't see alot of his work here in the states but he's been a legend in international comics since the 70'sl, though looking at his youthful art you would never know it. 
On a completely selfish level, I'm sad th
at I won't get to see any work from an artist that I've admired for so long.  It is a weird world sometimes.  About an hour before I got the email telling me of his passing, I went on a internet search for any new books of his that I've missed.  It was random an came about because I read a review of the new Star Wars film and that made me pull Carlos's Star Wars book out.   Strange.  

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Where is all the work




Have you ever felt like you've been busting your ass only to get to the end of the week and not really see any results.  That's how I feel this week.  

Marvel has been pumping Oz previews out into the world so let's give a little here too.  

Monday, July 28, 2008

New X-Men Art up for Auction


I'm parting with the rough pencils for the New X-Men 4 cover spread.  The auction ends next Sunday, Aug. 3rd.  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Original Art For Sale

For those of you who haven't gone to SD Comic-Con, you get first pick at the new stack of pages for sale in my store.  X-Men: Divided We Stand, Spider-Man: LOTSC, What If? Ringo Fantastic Four Ringo Tribute, and New X-men are all included in the new update.  And be sure to check back this coming Sunday for a very special auction.

Wide Load Pigs


Casey's mom had meetings at work this week and they have been doing odd exercises.  Yesterday they had everyone draw a pig.  When finished, depending on where they started the drawing, how much of a pig they drew, blah, blah, blah, they could tell you the kind of person you are.  I don't really buy into that stuff, but it is still interesting.  So today my warmup is a pig.  I wonder what this says about me?  

Tools used: Cintiq, Sketchbook Pro & Photoshop

And just for a little poetry to go along with the art, Aesop Rock's hidden track on None Shall Pass...Pigs.

Sharks in the dunk tank, vipers in the garden
locusts stole the groceries out the local farmers market
All God's critters hold positions
some are violent, some are victims
each alive is an equal and vital piston I support -
so when the piranhas honor New York
my daddy long legs dangled and mangled for sport
and while I bring in every dink in the kingdom with open wings
it all boils down to them shit soaked pigs.

The pigs, the pigs, the dregs of which I'll aim for -
the gluttonous muddy stomachs under the pudgy cakehole
two-track braniac usin' the food and payroll
to chew up and consume every cookie crumb and peso
and place a cloven hoof on the lucrative when convenient
as the bourbon odor smokers' cough smolder off the C.O.E.B.A.
If Noah had the benefit of hindsight on his ship
he coulda snatched two unicorns and left behind the motherfuckin' pigs

Goddamn pigs!
Pot belly pigs!
Punch drunk pigs!
Take money money pigs!
Loud mouth pigs!
Wide load pigs!
Let's make a deal...

When all the wolves in wooly wigs have huffed and puffed and blew the bricks
the skulls of Brooklyn's cruelest pigs will rain up Fulton's newest kicks
as mulish swine of all surrounding counties sniff the gruesomeness
we'll pass around the pineapples and pull the pins in unison.
I will gladly feed you to the breed who wants you sacrificed
No pagan or sacrilege – just bacon for scavengers.
I will gladly seat you with the chickens not the passengers
Hopefully the crack in his armor spreads to his avarice.


Never that – Wilburs multiply quicker than triples
And hunted truffles in fistfuls but it was all bells and whistles.
Bougie this and bougie that – war pig or pussy cat
Glitzy to the porks ribs had to gold leaf the booby traps.
Powder pink, double-breasted mess of mud and money
Waddle to the fire to make his stubborn tummy roggle
I'm all "I don't really know the working details of your tribes
I know that that's one ugly fuckin tie,
asshole" pigs

Goddamn pigs!
Pot belly pigs!
Punch drunk pigs!
Take money money pigs!
Loud mouth pigs!
Wide load pigs!
Let's make a deal...


Apple in his mouth, maraschino eyes
Party like the butcher boy's cleaver is alive
I mosey into sixteen hours of smoke in the misty winter
to see the county fair's blue ribbon winner is dinner
then dance until the sun has kissed your blisters in the morning
as the misery was dormant indignant in crispy portions
Corporates fund alarm and they whore 'em
Or does he whore to corporates to expand the more important forums for 'em?

Push the mortar pestle past the ordinary orchard
when the frilly borders faded is the product mine or yours, pig?
Mine, plus I toss a token where I go –
directly to the worms who shovel shit and yellow snow.
This little piggy went to the market with a target
and will subsequently know the armor piercing forks of farmers.
Final words for the finer birds taking notes:
I dig a chick in pigtails "that's all, folks!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Office Space Vol. 2



This isn't as detailed as the last time, but it's a little closer to what my studio looks like when work is going on.  A bit more clutter, and I've finally got a few things framed and hung up.  It's nice to finally have things a bit more filled it.

Learning more on the cintiq, I decided to sketch this "office guy" in contrast to my job.  I really never forget how lucky I am to get to craft my own space, create my own schedule and enjoy myself while making  a living.  This guy doesn't get the same and I tried to add that in his simplicity, his almost sick color, and his expression.

enjoy
s.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Idiocracy


I watched IDIOCRACY when it first came out and thought it was ok.  While I thought parts were funny, it felt over the top.  Lately, I've come to change my opinion.  

I'm not the kind of person that starts hating on something once it becomes popular.  Everybody hates Myspace now because everyone is on it.  I love Myspace because everyone is on.  It's help create a second income for me by letting more people know how to get their hands on my sketchbook, art, etc.  But there is a new thing happening that I can't figure out and it makes me believe that IDIOCRACY is here in a big way.

TWITTER.  Are you fucking kidding me.  People hang around on a site updating people on what they're doing.  Well, I guess that's the intent of the site, but it seems that it's becoming somewhat of a forum/chat room thing.  We've become so retarded that we've forgotten that we created things for that...FORUMS and CHAT ROOMS.  Are you fucking kidding me.  

I recently read about battle on twitter by fully grown men.  I'm paraphrasing here, but it read something like this:

manchild01:  You did stupid stuff, you are a stupid head!

iWouldKillmyselfifIcouldfindawebsitethatdiditforme69:  you are stupider head...burn!

manchild01:  Your head are totally more stupider than mine so burn that burnded face head.

iwouldkillmyselfificouldfindawebsitethatdiditforme69: Your head is the stupiderest head of all the stupidheads in the stupid world. 

manchild01: You are being so childish, I'm done with this

manchild01: oh yeah...you're a stupid head...bye.


Seriously, I wish that was far off but it's not.  I will state here, I will never be on Twitter.  I can't bring myself to swallow that pill.  No offense to those who choose to do it, I just don't quite understand it.

By the way, this is another piece done on my Cintiq.  Still loving the shit out of it.

s.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Oz Peek 2


Ok, so I thought I would give another very small preview of an Oz panel.  (And it was a reason to come on here and give a little bit of a rant)


[ok, let's simmer down now]

Ok, so I've deleted a new rant.

People who know me know that I might fly off about one subject or another from time to time.  While my concerns in my rant were very real,  I probably shouldn't run my mouth with out knowing everything.  We all know what assumptions make.  I let my anger for something that I wasn't directly involved in get the better of me, which I know better.  (I told you I shouldn't use this thing to bitch and moan.)

I've talked to the people involved it looks likes things are getting squared away.  In the future I'll do my best to not be such an asshole while talking about some things.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Testing, Testing, One, Two




I'm still playing around with this Cintiq....and I LOVE THIS THING.  It really is just amazing.  I thought that it would feel different and make me draw a little strange but it feels just as natural as anything.  In fact, in a lot of ways, it feels easier making drawing a little more effortless and fun.  There's not bearing down to get that last bit of lead to do what you want.  There's navigating around heavily erased, or drawn over areas creating insane amount of dirt and smudge all over the paper.  It's always clean, it's always bright and there is no eraser dust all over the place. 

Again, these are just quick warm up doodles.  The head shot is to test a program called Sketchbook Pro 2009.  I downloaded the trial version of this program and it's crazy how much like drawing with a pencil this is.  This program is perfect for drawing, but so far, not that great for the kind of inking I'd like to do.

The other is in painter.  Painter's pencil tool is very good as well, and because of the inking options in Painter, I may prefer this program to the other.  I'm not sure yet.  

And, I thought I would drop a little OZ Preview on you.  Just a tiny one to get you excited.  I'm having fun using the loosed inking style on this and after some back and forth and a few test pages from both of us, Jean-Francois Beaulieu has set a new bar for colors in my eyes.   I knew there was a reason this guy has been my right hand man for so long.  


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What were you expecting


My new Cintiq has been staring me in the face since it arrived last week.  All I want to do is sit for hours and learn ever corner of it, but work has to come first.  Soon, learning the Cintiq and work will be the same but right now I'm about an inch away from finishing up the first issue of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  

Keeping all this in mind, I still have doodled a little on it and FUCK....it's really cool.  I love it already and thought I would show you my first official sketch using the Cintiq.  It's not all fancy pants like most peoples kick ass work, it's truly a sketch.  Me testing the tablet and a Painter's ability to simulate ink. So, take this completely mediocre doodle and think to yourself....Skottie got a Cintiq and this is what he gives us.

More to come.

S.

P.S.  Thanks to everyone for listening to the Devil & Me.  The downloads have been amazingly high and we've been featured in the New and Notable of the Comedy section on Itunes.  Casey and I hope you're having as much fun listening as we are recording.

[update]  sorry, I deleted this rant.  I read it, and I just come off like a bitter old man and that is not cool.  Sorry for being dick.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

3 for 1 Special




Ok, so I'm almost a week away from my last post and as you can see I've not posted my 3 pieces this week.  The road to hell is paved with best of intentions.  My road is paved like a mother fucker!!!!

I'm going to be gone for the weekend hanging out with buddies at Wizard World Chicago, so I'm throwing 3 pieces today to make up for it.  (and I'm getting my Cintiq today so I will be working on Oz and then playing with my new toy)

One is a quick digital sketch of a lion...maybe even cowardly.  One is a today's warm up of some some crazy looking little office manager lady.  I see her as the pant suit power lady that bosses everyone around.  And one was something I did as an experiment.  About a year ago I did this test  with photo tracing to show that it can be done in a organic way if you want to.  I'm not sure I would ever do a book like this, but it's fun to play with things.

I'll be at the Marvel Booth on Sat. in the afternoon.  Come by and say hi.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shut My Mouth




I say I'll have an update one day and a week later I'm here.  The first issue of any project I do always keeps me tied up while I get comfortable with it.  Oz has been no exception.  It's taken little time to get used the material and find my footing, but I think I'm there now.  I'm have so much fun working on this book and think that it will be something special when it's all wrapped up.  Eric has spared no detail in the scripts!!  

Onto my drawing for the day.  I'm going to force myself to throw a warm up drawing here at least 3 days a week and stop these big gaps of not updating with art.  

Today's a hint of a project I'm working on.  Child Wars is in development  stages and will take awhile to put together but this something that has been in the fire for awhile.  I won't say a name, and I won't say a date, but it's all about fun.  That's it.  Fun.  I was writing this for another artist but I think he's a little busy with some other stuff (I had no loot to throw up front so who could blame him...no hard feelings brother, you're still amazing.)  I love his work and will get him involved with Child Wars, something a little smaller in scope.  

Jesus, what a fucking ramble I just went on.  Back on topic.  I will be drawing this myself now.  I'm going to be using my nights after drawing Oz to work on this.  I will be tired as hell but I'm tired of not having my own book out there.  Don't you hate us artists...we're all so full of shit.  We're always talking a big game about this project and that project and boo fuckign wooo, i have no time.  I'm tired of my own bullshit and ready to put pen to paper and get something out there.  I skipped conventions this past year to work on things and got a great start, but have slacked a little lately.  It's time for me to shut my mouth, put it on my own back, and start climbing the hill.  My goal is to have my Graphic Novel done by next summer.  And hopefully Child Wars will have made a dent as well.

So, here is my vague ass teaser sketch for a unnamed project with no release date.  How do you like that for informative.