For this Captain Cold piece, I was trying to get the look of someone who is really cold. Not that he is uncomfortable with the cold. In fact he loves it. But still, the human body would react a certain way no matter what. So I thought about the skin and what it would look like. Almost a mummified look. Okay, I way over thought this one. :)
I hope no one minds, but I will be doing this type of art over the next couple of days. Today we start off with The Spectre. I remember buying those really cool, creepy and ultra violent issues drawn by Jim Aparo in the 1970s. Great stuff!
In other news: For the first time, in a very long time, I do not have any commissions. How about that? I can probably take a few requests, so if anyone is interested just send me an email with "Commission" in the subject line.
I will be out of town on business for the next few days. Don't worry though, the blog will go on! One of the cool things about this trip is that it takes me nearly to the doorstep of DIARY OF NIGHT creator/writer Will Allred. I'm going to get the chance to hang out with Will, his lovely wife Stacy and their twin boys tomorrow night. Then it's day full of meetings. And then back Thursday. Quick trip to Arkansas and back. Stacey told me to pack a jacket, that it's in the 40s up there. Yikes! Guess I won't be wearing shorts.
No, 1000 Days Later isn't a sequel to a zombie movie. It means that I have been posting here on this blog for 1000 consecutive days. Day in and day out. Nice little milestone. I have to wonder if any other artists have done this. I know I make it sound easy to maintain and truthfully it is. At this point it has become part of my day. The tough part for me is hoping that the material is worth your time. I hope so. I do appreciate everyone who takes the time to visit. I don't have any plans to stop doing this blog. I did have plans for seeing it become something a little more interactive, but with my work schedule this year, it just couldn't happen. Still something I would like to do, it just may take a bit longer to get it going. I guess the next milestone will be the three year anniversary on January 1, 2011. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Oh, and if you do enjoy what I post, tell all your friends and neighbors to check it out. But if you don't enjoy what I post, well, don't tell your friends and neighbors that part. Just tell them to check out the blog. :)
Okay, on to the reason for the blog: Artwork!
Here is the second Re-Legion commission for Aidan. I didn't bother with process photos for this one because it would have just covered the same ground that the other cover did.
Below is a photo of the art with the overlay in place. On the original cover it was Batgirl who the Queen Bee is directing her JLA minions to destroy. Aidan asked that Supergirl take the place of Batgirl, swap Emerald Empress for Queen Bee and that Lana Lang, Insect Queen, be part of the Empresses "winged warriors". It wasn't until after I did the the first layout that we both agreed we needed another Legionnaire with Supergirl. It was left to me to decided who to cast and I went with Lightning Lad. After looking at the revised pencils, Aidan really liked the idea of adding Brainiac 5 to the mix. The connection to Supergirl really made that idea work. So I moved a few elements and added Brainiac 5. Now it looks like a showdown! To see the difference, look at yesterdays post.
On the production side, the "Justice Legion of Aliens" logo had to be done again from scratch. Yesterday's post has a logo that varied just enough that I couldn't use it on this piece. So I created the logo, the title, the price (different again) and the date/issue number in Adobe Illustrator. Next, print out the logos, trim, paste on the overlay and it's done.
Below is a digital version of the artwork with all the text elements placed on the art in Photoshop. And we now have two silver age Legion stories that never were. Or maybe Aidan is channelling stories from Earth-A(idan). This kind of thing has happened before. Hmmmmm. ;)
It was fun going "old school" creating logos and doing the paste up on the overlays. Thanks again to Aidan for thinking of me for these two commissions. I had such a good time doing them and I hope he enjoys them for years to come.
Below is the final art for this commission. The top photo shows the line art with the overlay of logos. One difference in the line art from yesterday is I have added black to each side of the board. This makes the spotlight stand out much better. In the original cover, a dark color was used for the background and yellow for the spotlight. But since this piece will not be in color, it lacked some weight. I think the added black gives it that weight and makes the over all image really pop.
The overlay worked out nice. I had to redo a couple of elements because of the new black background but that was easy. Below is a digital version of the cover where I placed the logo elements I created in the same file as the line art.
And just for fun, below is a tease of the next one I am (re)creating.
I finished the inks today and and I think they came out pretty nice. In case I didn't mention it, Dawnstar has been turned into salt. That is why there is a difference in the inking and texture on her figure.
With the inks done, I scanned the art and placed it in Adobe Illustrator so I could create the logos and size them to my needs. When I was done, I printed them out on Epson Photo Paper on my Epson Stylus Photo 2200 color printer.
I've cut down the acetate for an overlay and placed it over the finished art. The next step will be cutting the logos and other objects from the print out and glueing them down to the acetate overlay. A second sheet of photo paper was used for the other cover objects not shown in the photo below.
Today I worked on the next stage of the Justice Legion of Aliens cover recreation. If you haven't seen the first roughs, check them out here.
The photo above is a shot of the left side of my drawing table. It has a built in opening where I have mounted my old light box underneath. It's a nice set up. I got the table at IKEA a couple of years ago. I used the light table to transfer the enlarged print out of my roughs to the final bristol board. I use a 2H pencil lead and draw very light.
As you can tell I didn't copy everything line for line. I want to be able to add to the final pencils. Keep some energy to them. The tightened pencils are pictured below. Even from this point I will be adding more to the art as I ink. If someone else were inking it, I would spend more time tightening it up so the inker would understand what line is what.
This is the last of the art commissioned by Alex as prizes for his footy tipping. This one is my version of the incredible Pam Grier as Foxy Brown. I loves me some Pam Grier! And I'm not the only one. This piece is for Lou who came in dead last in the competition. And he deserves a prize, staying in last place is hard! Lou is a Collingwood supporter from NYC and loves Pam Grier. Hey, who doesn't? Congrats Lou!
Once again, big thanks to Alex for the commissions and for allowing me to share them as completed. These have been fun!
Tomorrow I am back on the Justice Legion of Aliens. Drop by and see some of the process.
As a companion piece to yesterdays White Lantern Angel, we have today's mash-up of Black Lantern Archangel. This piece is also for Justin as a prize for being the overall winner in footy tipping. And as before, Alex commissioned this especially for Justin. This was done in ink and fluid acrylics on a sheet of 11" x 17" bristol board.
I just looked at the calendar and I see that Sunday will be my 1000th consecutive day of posting on this blog. Maybe. Royce, you probably should double check me on that. I'm an artist, not a mathematician. :)
Today I have another commission finished up for Alex. This is the second of four inked pieces commissioned as prizes for winners in footy tipping. The winner is a fan of the high flying X-Men, Angel. But also a fan of Green Lantern. So we have a mash-up of the two for something quite unique. This was done in ink on a sheet of 11" x 17" bristol board. Thanks again Alex!
Update: Alex let me know that this is for Justin who was the winner overall of the footy tipping! Congrats Justin! I think there will be another prize for you soon. ;)
Everyone who visits this blog knows of my love of the Legion of Super-Heroes. And there are a lot of Legion fans out there. Which brings us to a series of posts I will be doing involving a unique cover recreation. I was approached by Aidan to do a couple of recreations of some classic Justice League of America covers but recasting the JLA with the LSH. How could I say no? Aidan has graciously allowed me to share the entire process here as it is created. There are two that will be done. I am going to start with this one.
The original cover to be used as the template is Justice League of America #72 by Joe Kubert. The original cover featured Hawkman, who had been turned into salt, and Hawkgirl blaming the JLA. Aidan's idea was to recast the Legion's Wildfire (Hawkgirl) and Dawnstar (Hawkman) in the leads. I believe he also asked for Colossal Boy (Superman), Shrinking Violet (Atom), 1970s Supergirl (Batman) and I came up with Mon-El (Green Lantern) and Saturn Girl (Green Arrow) to round out the cast. And so we have the Justice Legion of Aliens!
First pass at the cover was awkward, as seen below. Hawkgirl's pose was too feminine for Wildfire and I struggled with being true to the source. My substitute pose for Wildfire is stiff and not working. Everything else is looking fine though. After running it by Aidan, he reminded me that it's the spirit of the image, not a line for line recreation he likes. That helped a lot.
Second pass at a rough is starting to work better. I did some adjustments to the main characters, allowing Wildfire's characteristic body language to come out. There is more energy and power in his positioning. I also made a bit of a change to Dawnstar's pose. I made them both a bit larger than in the first pass as well. Now we are on to something.
I finalize the rough pencils below. Everyone is in costume now. I tightened up some of the loose ends enough to give me what I need when transferring the image to the final board. I don't want it too tight because there will be some tweaking on the final board. And doing a straight trace is the quickest way to kill the energy of the lines.
Just a quick sketch on a sheet of Canson Montval Watercolor paper. I came across a shot of Ms. Marvel in her original costume a couple of days ago and for some reason this pose for her came to mind later. At one point I thought this would make a cool Firestar pose with flames surrounding her. But wow, what a boring costume she has. At least the ones I came across. So Ms. Marvel it is. I don't know when I will work this in to a finish, but I like to get the ideas down when I have them.
This piece was commissioned by Alex as a prize for the international/US guy, that would be Paul, who placed highest in the footy tipping. Paul chose to follow the Brisbane Lions and is a big Tigra fan so naturally this called for a little team-up. Though Paul doesn't have his prize in hand yet, he has seen it. And he surprised me by commenting about the rough version of the piece I posted a couple of days ago. Hope I didn't spoil the surprise!
Thanks for the commission Alex, and congrats to Paul.
This was done in ink and Golden fluid acrylic paint on a sheet of 11" x 17" bristol board.
I toned down the background, letting it fade out as it extends into the distance. Probably could have lightened up the line art to match the color but I didn't. I think this works well. The nice thing about, and sometimes the curse of, working digital is that you can always go back and tweak much easier than you can with traditional mediums. :)
I didn't get a lot of time to play with this today, but I like what I did do. If compared to the last post of this piece you will see I added more line art and finished up the background. Sorry for the slow progress on this. More tomorrow. (I hope).
I was planning to get to the Space Jungle Girl piece today, but I ran out of time after struggling with this commission rough. That's the way it goes sometimes. Still, this finally worked out and that's a good thing. :)
I played around with this for about an hour today. Trying different things. Actually did a video of it. Or tried. I hit record and it didn't start. And I didn't find out until I hit the shortcut for "Stop" and it started recording. D'oH!
Above is the scanned image from yesterday and my Conte pencil/brush work done in Photoshop.
Here I have added a layer of color behind the digital drawing. It's nice to not have the bright white screen in your face when I start coloring.
Not enough time in the day to do anymore. I have just started getting close to catching up on things that I fell behind on when my computer was being repaired. That really has made the case for me to buy another iMac to have in the studio.
I am going to finish up this piece like the one I posted yesterday. But instead show some progress as I work. Not only because it can be more interesting, but also because this is all I can manage today at the end of the workday.
I am fighting what I think is a head cold. The first illness of the year for me. But I think I created this illness. While my computer was in repair, I took the time to redo the studio. I tore up the carpet in my studio. Carpet was here when we bought the house. It looked okay but as I started cutting, the padding was disintegrating. There was a cloud of dust and who knows what that was just hanging there for too long. Dakota was helping me a little and both of us have the symptoms of a head cold that is now becoming a cough. Probably should have worn some kind of respirator or at the least, a mask. So I'm going to take some meds, and try to get some rest tonight so I can start all over tomorrow at 7am. Work, work, work.
More sketchbook drawing today. Once again, busy, busy, busy. In addition to my regular work load I am working on a number of commissions. When they are done I will be sharing. In the meantime the only other drawing being done is in my sketchbook. I did manage to put some color to this one in Photoshop though.
I am on a mission to find a style that is both fun for me and quicker. While I like inking, it can be a quite a bit more work and I am not always happy with solid black lines on everything. And I am not always keen on artwork that is shot straight from pencils. Maybe it's because when it's colored it is almost always treated with the same approached used for coloring inks.
Above I played with doing the initial drawing using blue pencil in my Canson Drawing pad. Scanned it and changed the pencils to a sepia tone. Set up a background color and then proceeded to use muted colors with various brushes, mostly a wet oil brush. Then I used a Conte pencil style brush to do my line work again, leaving the pencil drawing at a 25% opacity. I like the effect. It's not the end of experimenting, but it looks like I am on the right track.
It's been a long day and it's going to be a long night. I have two conference calls tomorrow that will take some time from the middle of my work day, so I am getting a jump on Thursday tonight. I have the energy drinks and coffee standing by if needed.
Above is a sketch done in my Canson Drawing pad. Though the line art was actually done in blue pencil, I changed it in Photoshop and added a bit of color to help the piece stand out a bit.
I took a bit of time tonight to ink this one. You can see the pencil rough here. I've got a lot of inking to do over the next few months and need to brush up, so to speak, on my skills. This seems to have worked out pretty good. :)
Just a 9" x 12" Canson portrait of everyone's favorite motor mouth. :)
This was done with black and white ink and color pencils.
I might add that almost all pieces you see here are for sale. And if it's not, I will let you know. I know there have been a few people that were kind of shy about contacting me. And once they did they were sorry they didn't contact sooner for pieces they had seen months ago that were now gone. If you are interested in a piece of art just let me know. If you have a comment or question about my work, please feel free to post something in the comment section. :)
I have been playing catch up all day. Losing my computer for a full week really took it's toll on my schedule and several things have backed up. This weekend will be used to get back on track. Nice that it's a three day weekend so I have a chance to really do some work while all my clients enjoy the holiday. Then when they go into their offices on Tuesday, there will be a big stack of art goodness waiting for them.
Today's post came about because I have a pad of 9" x 12" Canson Paper in assorted colors. Not a big variety of color but there are some that lend themselves to certain characters. So I thought I would sketch on those in the same way I do the gray paper portraits. I also used a white color pencil instead of ink. Why? Because I was too lazy to get some water, set up the ink and clean brushes afterward. And because I am just too busy. I do like the way the paper and the pencil work together on this one so it was a good choice and not just a lazy one.
I hope everyone has a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. Back to work for me.
Here is a panel from the story I am working on with writer J.C. Vaughn. This just shows my pencils and the inks for the same panel. I enjoy doing backgrounds. I started finding them fun when I was working on Mister X. The city was a character itself and it was fun to design the "sets" for the story. I found it a challenge and tried new ways to draw the city. It was the first time I used a 3D program to build simple shapes as guides for the extreme perspective I used for the tall buildings. To give a sense of the walls closing in. This was way back in the late 1990s.
I am barely making this post today. I got my computer back around 7pm and have been trying to get my studio in order. With everything in a disarray it seemed like a good time to get the room cleaned up and reorganized. Just didn't realize it would take so long. :)