Friday, April 30, 2010

Sketchbook Friday

Just another page from my sketchbook today. Working on a panel idea I wanted to get down on paper before I forgot.

Getting to the Pittsburgh ComiCon almost didn't happen because of my workload and of course coming back I had work waiting for me. Added to this is a project I just started on Wednesday afternoon with a deadline of Monday afternoon. So I am afraid it will be sketchbook material between now and then.

This is Post #936

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting!

Just a weird mix on the page today. A pose I was sketching surrounded by two guys fighting. Actually the I drew the girl and then put it away for a bit. Then when I had a few moments, I thought I would work on some fight poses for a commission I am doing. Like I said, weird mix.

This is Post #934

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday! - Yeeah Baby!

I have settled back into my work today. And I was in a "mod" mood today while having lunch. Actually I am exploring ideas for fashions for the undisclosed Vaughn/Gonzales project. Though it doesn't take place in the 1960s, I am looking at the fashions of that time period in the UK for inspiration. Well, both fashion and style. I might throw in some mid-century style too for the architecture. I love the 1950s style for home and industrial design. One of the reasons I liked our house when I saw it. It is a 1958 ranch style home. Also known as "Atomic Ranch".

More to come, I'm sure. :)

This is Post #933

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pittsburgh Comicon 2010 - Post Show #2

Let's start this off with one last piece from the show. This was done for Matt and he knew that Kitty is one of my favorites to draw. As a matter of fact, I drew Supergirl, Atom Eve and Kitty. All on the top of my list. The show was great just from that alone. The rest is just icing. :)
This part might be boring for those that have heard it first hand but I'm still going to share. The flight up from Tampa to Pittsburgh was good. I had a rental car reserved. Just a compact, but they upgraded me to a really nice sedan at no extra charge. Good start for the weekend. Easy 40 minute drive to the hotel and convention center. Prior to moving to Florida, I lived in Tennessee and would drive to the Pittsburgh ComiCon. I did that for so many years I have learned my way around the area. When I checked in at the hotel, the desk clerk stated that I had a room with two double beds and asked if I was alone. I said yes and he then said they could really use the room because they had so many request for rooms with two beds and that he could upgrade me to a king suite on the penthouse floor at no extra charge. Well, okay, if I have to take a penthouse suite for the price of a regular room, I guess I will. I'm generous to a fault for things like that. Remember these upgrades for when we get to the end of this story.

The convention center is not 50 yards from the hotel so after unpacking I went over and set up. I only missed the first hour and a half. My spot was between Tim Vigil and Moonstone Comics. But in front of me was a 15 foot tall wall of t-shirts. And the thing was two aisles wide. And I was centered on it. I couldn't see any of the convention hall. I spent Friday in that location. In that first day I saw almost everyone I would see for the weekend. I started in on my advance sketch list while chatting away. Attendance seemed low even for a Friday, but then I was only seeing 100 square feet of the hall. Carlos  Lising invited me to join him and a group of people for dinner Friday night but I was exhausted and knew I wouldn't be good company. I had already planned on a Saturday dinner out, knowing that I would be rested. So I had to decline. Good thing too, I grabbed some food to eat in my room and then collapsed.

Woke up Saturday morning, 6am. Had breakfast in the hotel restaurant then went back to my room to work on some sketches before the show. 10am was the start time and I was already well into my list. And speaking of the list, I closed it Friday afternoon because I didn't think I could take anymore requests. Also, on Saturday I moved two spaces down to the end of the aisle. That table wasn't being used and it got me away from the t-shirt wall. Now I could see about 20% of the show. This day was a blur of sketches and catching up with people I only see at conventions. Good times! I did the Quick Sketch fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Later a group of us went out for dinner after the show but before the art auction. The group was Brian "Batmite" Jones, his nephew Jordan, Anthony and his wife Jen, and Amanda and her husband Carlos Lising. (I give Amanda top billing here, she deserves it: she knows Nicole Kidman!!! Really!!!) It was a great time. The conversation went all over the place. I have blackmail material on Brian now, I learned that Jordan can switch over from being a nice guy to a killing machine with a trigger word, I learned that Jen is in fact a comic book widow but is very supportive. (Hey, she went to dinner with us! She is almost Saint Jen at this point) That Amanda was born in several different countries (you can tell from her accent) and that you cannot trust any story Carlos tells you but you can get the truth out of him with a spider. Anthony was the tough one to crack. You could tell he has had special ops training in the retention of information. And me, hell, I will tell you anything you want to know. And stuff you might not want to know. I had such a good time with these wonderful folks, I hope that this is the start of a tradition. Thanks again, I hope I wasn't too loud and boisterous to handle. (And I hope I got everyones name right)

Sunday was a quick day. Finished up sketches that I started in my room after dinner. Matt came by to pick up his Kitty Pryde sketch (above). Said goodbye to folks that were leaving. And had to leave at 1pm in order to return the rental car and catch my flight. I was told to expect delays at one of the tunnels on my way to the airport, but no delays at all. More in my favor. Returned the car, cost less than expected because I got back earlier than planned. Checked baggage, went through security and got a late lunch. There was a storm heading towards the Pittsburgh area. A big one. Late afternoon arrival expected. Looked like I was going to get out just in time.

Here's where the universe balances all those sweet upgrades and good times. Can't have the scales tip too much you know. Here is the breakdown. The storm hit 20 minutes before our flight was to leave. Our plane arrived but couldn't come to the gate because we had lightning all around the airport. 30 minutes later, those poor people were allowed to deplane. We boarded and we were off. I think we took off in the eye of the storm because after 30 minutes in the air we were pummeled with turbulence. This slowly got worse. We finally got a break from all the clouds but that was when I noticed we were heading out over the Atlantic. Yup, coastline, water, us. Not the usual flight plan. Shortly after that we started shaking again. We did this for quite a while and then the pilot said the Tampa Airport was shut down because of a massive storm. We were in a holding pattern for sometime before he said we were now heading to Ft. Lauderdale. It was the safe thing to do, no doubt, but we were a flying martini shaker all the way there. Finally landing at 8pm. Two hours after I would have been home. They got the word that Tampa was open so we refueled and headed to the runway. But before taking off, Tampa closed again. We sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes and got the word Tampa was open again. We were off. The flying martini shaker was on it's way. We were told it would be 45 minutes to the gate. Almost an hour and a half later we made it. We had flown in circles. My wife had checked a flight tracker online and found we got to the Tampa area then went around Orlando and back. This was the second and third worse flights for turbulence I had been on. But everyone was safe and we were finally home. The airline broke my suitcase and tore open the box to inspect my banner. But I was home. And 30 minutes after getting home, another storm hit us. Violent thunder and lightning shook the house. But I was home. :)

Again my guess is the universe balanced out some of my good fortune. And that's okay, because I know the scale are still tipped way in my favor anyway. Oh, I forgot to mention, I have a little bit of a fear of flying. I understand the odds of a disastrous end is unlikely, I think it's more of a control issue. I hate being the passenger in a car too.

Thanks to everyone who made the trip memorable in a good way! Renee and her team did another outstanding job of putting on a fun show and treating everyone like family. Let's do it again next year, shall we?

This is Post #932

Pittsburgh Comicon 2010 - Post Show #1

Thanks to Brian "Batmite" Jones for getting this photo of the Joker I did for him at the show. Sometimes I forget to take a picture. D'oh!

I will be posting my Pittsburgh ComiCon 2010 thoughts later today.

This is Post #931

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pittsburgh ComiCon - Day 3

Pittsburgh ComiCon - Day 3

Pittsburgh ComiCon - Day 3

Today is the last day of the Pittsburgh ComiCon. This year has been
even more fun than years past. I managed to spend more time chatting
with people at the show than normal. I've been just as busy but there
seemed to be more time to relax.

Because of the limitations of mobile blogging I've only been posting
art without comments. Tomorrow I will probably go back and edit those
posts to add some text. Maybe even upgrade the photos as well.

Last night was particularly fun in that I went out to dinner with a
few regulars from this blog. I will post more about it later. Before
that, there will be some more art. Coming up we have the Joker, Atom
Eve, Kitty Pryde, and Spider-Man villain, the White Rabbit!

More to come...

Gene Gonzales

(Sent from my iPhone, please excuse any typos)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mail2Blogger Test

Another sketchbook page from earlier today. I managed to finish up a project I have been working for the last few weeks. I didn't want to say it out loud, but I didn't finish I might not have made it to the convention this weekend. So, whew!

I am also testing "Mail2Blogger" with this post. I will be using my iPhone to take pictures, clean it up in the Photoshop Mobile app, and post to the blog. Let's hope this works. If all goes well, I should do quick posts during the show as I work. And don't forget you can follow me on Twitter.

So far I am not impressed. Looks like I will have to do a photo post and then follow up with a text post. Sigh. As long as I can post, I guess this will have to do. 

Gene Gonzales

(Sent from my iPhone, please excuse any typos)

Sketchbook Thursday

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sketchbook Wednesday - Slow Night

Maybe it's just me and my wishful thinking for a slow night. I'm still working and hoping to get done with the project I am working on by noon tomorrow. It's looking like it will happen.

Then I will have to start figuring out what to bring to the Pittsburgh ComiCon. Gotta put together references, supplies, original art, etc. A nice thing is I might get to the show quicker than I had thought. I am renting a car instead of taking the shuttle. The car rental is about 40% less than the round trip shuttle and best of all I don't have to sit in a van with others that will be dropped off before me. Last time I took the shuttle it took almost two hours to get from the airport to the hotel.

Okay, back to work for me. I want to put in another 3 hours before I crash.

This is Post #917

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday! - Class Flirt

Just a quickie again today as I continue to try to get ahead of my workload so I can enjoy the Pittsburgh ComiCon this weekend. I did this in my sketchbook this evening and it was done with a red Col-Erase pencil.

Two more pages and I will complete another sketchbook. :)

This is Post #916

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sketchbook Monday - Comfy Chair

I'm still in the middle of my work day (night?) and I still have a long way to go. I don't have time to work on the Sundress art today. But I did sketch this earlier today while eating lunch. This was done with a red Col-Erase pencil in my sketchbook.

Gotta get back to work. Until tomorrow...

This is Post #915

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sundress - Vector Art 2

I didn't have much time today to work on this. I am very busy with commercial work and still trying to get ahead so I can travel to the Pittsburgh ComiCon on Friday. But here is what I did:

A) I did a little bit of lights and darks on her skin. Nothing I am satisfied with so I started working on the background. Having a color background really helps to see contrasts in color. What looked to light in value now looks better with a dark background. For the background I am going with a cruise ship. I started with a basic sky color, added the water line and the area for the deck of the ship. The deck is made of different sized and color rectangles. 

B) I found a reference online for a ship railing that I used here. The only thing I really needed was the base and how it connects the rails to the deck. I don't have to have a completely realistic base, just a suggestion of it is good enough for what I am doing.

C) While researching the rail, I noticed life preservers and decided to include one. Having a reference helped me to see how the life preserver is attached to the railing.

D) I added the background clouds. They may stay, they may go. That is the nice thing about working digitally, you can change your mind at almost any point of the process.

All of this is being done in Adobe Illustrator CS3. More to come.

This is Post #914

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sundress - Vector Art 1

I am revisiting this figure from two days ago. After looking at the initial sketch, I thought this would have potential for a CILM pin-up.

Top left: First thing I did was fix what I didn't like about the original sketch. I sketched her in my sketchbook, tightening up the lines and details like her hands and shoes. After scanning her I realized her head was still too big In Photoshop I selected her head and reduced it. The white area around her head shows just how much I reduced it. I think it is 92% of what it had been.

Top Right: I placed the corrected file in Adobe Illustrator. Using the pencil scan as my guide I digitally inked the figure on a separate layer. Using some custom vector brushes and the pen tool I complete the line art.

Bottom left: This shows the digital inks without the distraction of the pencil sketch layer. At this point I expand the line work. This changes the lines into shapes that I can resize, tweak and erase. Look at her jaw line and you can see how the shape extends into her hair. That is an area I erased as part of the clean up. When I am happy with this stage, I selected the whole thing and turned it into a Live Paint object.

Bottom right: Live Paint allows me to fill closed areas with a paint bucket rather quickly. Remember when I made the line art into shapes? I can now use the paint bucket tool to add color to the black shapes making up her outlines. Once I have the base colors done, I will start playing with light and shadow. I can still change any color combination at anytime. I'm not locked into anything at all.

More to come.

Note: As I was typing the last paragraph I had a moment of deja vu. For some reason I think I might have done one of these vector art progress posts. I imagine it's possible to repeat myself after so many posts. I hope not, but if I did, no harm. I'm sure if someone goes back and looks for it and finds it, it's probably different enough from this one. Okay, I need to get back to work.

This is Post #913

Friday, April 16, 2010

Champagne - Manga Studio

More doodling with Manga Studio tonight. Just playing with the brushes again. This time I did a screen shot so you can see the construction lines. I start with a rough sketch in blue pencil on one layer. Then I red pencil on the next layer to tighten it up and then finally inks on another layer. I was thinking she was on a yacht, enjoying her champagne and sun. And the big rock on her hand too. :)

This is Post #912  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sundress - Manga Studio inks

This evening I decided to play with MangaStudio some more. So after I quit working for the night, I opened up the program and started sketching the above image. There are so many things wrong with the figure itself, but I was concentrating more on using the brush tool. It's interesting that you can set the preference of the brush tool to taper off at either or both ends. You can even set it so neither side tapers off to a point. After playing with the settings I found that all my years of using a brush to ink and working with a pressure sensitive tablet, I can control the thick and thin lines myself. No need for the program to try and figure out what I want. Still some practicing to do, but the tools are very nice and they make drawing in the program very easy.

This is Post #911

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sketchbook Wednesday

Just some random figures from my sketchbook today. A couple are rough ideas for actual commissions. Right now I am trying to get ahead of my work load. Pittsburgh ComiCon is next week! Next week!!! And I have a lot to do between now and next Friday.

Speaking of Pittsburgh ComiCon, my schedule at the show is kind of short. My flight doesn't arrive until 1pm on Friday and that's when the show opens. With any luck I will be on a shuttle heading to the show shortly after landing. Hoping to get in by 3pm. Fingers crossed. Then I will be leaving the show around 1pm on Sunday. I am hoping some of us can have a meal together on Saturday evening between the close of the show and the auction starting. Anyone interested? Anyone? Bueller? :)

This is Post #910

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - BPRD's Captainske Daimio

BPRD Captain Benjamin Daimio © Mike Mignolia

Just another sketchbook Tuesday folks. Busy, busy, busy. Today we have Captain Daimio from the B.P.R.D. The poor Captain had a bad experience and the scars to show. I love the characters from BPRD. And the artwork of the incredibly talented Guy Davis makes the trades well worth the read. I did this when I took a break for lunch and added the color later.

This was done using indigo blue Col-Erase pencil with some Photoshop colors.

This is Post #909

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sketchbook Monday - The Composite Superman

The Composite Superman © DC Comics

Based on today's sketchbook offering, I bet it's no surprise that I was rereading one of the old World's Finest stories featuring this big guy. I never really understood the character's reason for his name though: He was struck by lightning that first hit statuettes of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the Superman Museum. Seems that in the process of making the statuettes of themselves for Superman, the Legionnaires powers were embedded in the statuettes as well. Those powers were released and transfered to Superman Museum custodian, Joseph Meach. Then for some reason, he takes on the costume of a combined Superman and Batman? And calls himself the Composite Superman? Ah well, it was still a fun story with some great artwork. :)

This is Post #908

Sunday, April 11, 2010

RA'S AL GHUL commission - Finish

Ras Al Ghul/Talia/Batman © DC Comics

Here is the final art for Brian "Batmite" Jones. This piece was a lot of fun to do because for me it goes back to the incredibly cool time period when Neal Adams was drawing Batman. And I love that period! Thanks again Brian!

This commission was done in ink on a sheet of 11" x 17" Strathmore Bristol Board.

This is Post #907

Saturday, April 10, 2010

RA'S AL GHUL commission - progress

Ra's Al Ghul © DC Comics

After getting several things done around the house this morning, I then spent the afternoon watching the Rays lose to the Yankees while I inked Brian's commission. It was the only bright spot during those hours. I'm almost done and will be sending the image to Brian tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to share it here
tomorrow evening. Until then, I thought I would show the inks so far on Ra's face.

This is Post #906

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sketchbook Friday

More sketchbook goodness folks. Well, goodness is subjective I suppose. It was a full day finishing up one stage of work for DC. I will be moving on to the next part tomorrow, so my dance card is a bit full. I only had time to sketch a bit today while I ate a very quick lunch so I hope you don't mind. Have a good weekend everyone!

This is Post #905

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sketchbook Thursday

Another sketchbook page for today. I have been looking at the latest Modern Masters from TwoMorrows Publishing featuring the incredible art of Guy Davis. And then Liz Sherman popped up in my sketchbook. The rest of the page features some character sketches for the unnamed project I am doing with writer J.C. Vaughn. Speaking of Guy Davis, I have a incredible Sandman sketch I got from him waaaaaay back when in my collection that I completely forgot about. :)

This is Post #904

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sketchbook Wednesday - Batman Beyond

Batman Beyond © 2010 DC Comics

It was a very busy work day and I only had time to sketch this in my sketchbook. I was looking through the new Previews while eating and Batman Beyond stuck out for me. I love the design of this character. This was done in pencil, ink, Copic gray markers and some Photoshop colors.

Back to work. :)

This is Post #903

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Take me out to the ball game...

Quitting work a bit early today so we can head out to see the Tampa Bay Rays season opener. I may Tweet from the game. Follow me on Twitter if you don't already. Have a good night everyone!

This was done in pencil, and copic marker in my sketchbook. Colors done in Photoshop CS3.

This is Post #902

Monday, April 5, 2010

Video Monday - RA'S AL GHUL commission

Welcome to my first attempt at adding video to my blog. Please bear with me as I work out the kinks and smooth out the rough edges. I will be purchasing a webcam very soon, but I was anxious to try this. So I used our Canon G9 Camera, set it on 720p, put it on a tripod and put the tripod on a table behind me. I aimed the camera and hoped for the best. Of course my big head kept getting in the way. Also with the fan off, windows closed (loud birds outside on my test runs) , two computers and two monitors running it got hot. I had no idea the file would take so long to upload either. I divided the segment into roughly two 10 minute pieces. The first part is here and the second part is still uploading. But I believe you will find it here.

The piece I am working on is a commission for Brian "Batmite" Jones. Brian, I hope you don't mind your commission being used for this first video.

I don't know how the next video will be worked out, I am looking at several things right now. One being Ustream, the one Big John Beatty uses and uses well. But I will need a webcam for that. Until I get one, I will continue to experiment. I hope you enjoy this, rough edges and all. :)

This is Post #901

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hippity, Hoppity

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I wanted to post this earlier but it took me longer to find the time to paint it. Ah well, it's still Sunday, so all is good. :)

This was done in ink and watercolor and a gray copic marker on an 11" x 16" sheet of 200 lb Windsor & Newton watercolor paper.

This is Post #900

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sketchbook Saturday - Barbara Gordon

Barbara Gordon & Batgirl © 2010 DC Comics

Just a quick sketch in my sketchbook with some Photoshop colors added. I hope everyone is enjoying this weekend!

This is Post #899

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pittsburgh Comicon 2010 Advance Sketch List

Announcement #1

It's that time again. The Pittsburgh ComiCon starts in 3 weeks. So I am opening up the Advance Sketch List for the show.

Here's the deal:

Inked sketches, single figure, on 11" x 17" Bristol Board: $50.00

Canson color pieces, single figure on 11" x 17": 125.00.
(Knowing the character request in advance will allow me to select the right color paper from my files) I may ask for reference if I don't know the character or I can't find it on the web at the show. You can email me links to references before the show. I can alway print them out and take them with me. I don't know exactly what art supplies I will be able to bring to the show. So if you are interested in a Canson piece, let me know asap. There is a good chance that I will try to do them before the show. If I can bring everything I need, I will be doing some at the show.

To be on the list, you must be attending the show. Or at least have someone you trust with your cash to pick up the art, pay me, and give you the art. I'm not responsible if the art doesn't reach you. :)

No advance payment. You can pay for the art when you pick it up. I do request that if you are on my list and are not going to make it, please let me know as soon as you can.

An advantage to getting on the list early gives me some time to think about your request(s), bounce ideas around in my head and maybe even doodle ideas in my sketchbook. But I will not get any inked pieces done before the convention. My workload is pretty heavy and I do have three commissions that need to be done before I head to the show.

Announcement #2

I have purchased the software necessary for me to start recording my desktop as I work. I will be trying out a few things and then I hope to start posting the first recording next week. I'm sure about the length or what I will be working on at this point but I will let everyone know the day before it posts. I'm thinking this will be a fun adventure. I've seen others do this and I enjoy watching. I hope I will be articulate enough to make listening interesting as well. And if this goes well enough I would like to do the same thing with my traditional work via a web cam. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What would you like to see? What type of work? Digital vs traditional or either is fine? More on this subject later.

This is Post #898

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sketchbook Thursday

Looks like it is back to work tomorrow. Vacation is officially over. Mom is on a plane heading home and it's time to earn a living. Today I just have a page from my sketchbook that I did today. Mostly just trying to loosen up a bit with pencil and paper and putting down some ideas.

Tomorrow I will have an announcement or two to make. And no, I am not moving my blog. I know that's what you were thinking. :)

This is Post #897