Monday, January 31, 2011

The Golden Gun

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

One of the tough things about doing my own work isn't just finding time, it's also finding direction. As a commercial artist/illustrator I am told what is needed and I draw it. Coming up with solutions for clients is what I do. When I am the client, I am the worse kind. With no one to give direction, my brain fires off with a hundred different ideas. I start down one road and think of a better solution. Work on that solution, find another one.

Case in point...I have a story involving my space girl with the tiki guys. Not to be confused with my space jungle girl or the purple haired assassin above. I have done four pages of roughs and dialog. I want to have at least 10 pages done before presenting the first page. BUT I have redone all but the first page two or three times. The same thing happened when I wrote and illustrated TALES OF THE CHEROKEE. Along with the original art for those two books, I have a dozen pages in various stages that were abandoned. There is no real point to all this. Just an observation that I wanted to share. I wonder if other creators have this same problem. Or a variation of it. Too many ideas to be able to focus on one. Hmmmm.

Today's artwork was created in Adobe Photoshop.

This is Post #1213

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Digital Sketchbook Sunday

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

Just a little digital sketch for today. I hope everyone has had a good weekend. Tomorrow it's back to the grind.

This is Post #1212

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cleopatra In Spaaaace! - Fan Art

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales — Cleopatra In Spaaaace © 2011 Mike Maihack

Okay, today's post is going to be all about another artist who's work I really like. If you are not already a fan of Mike Maihack's art work, you soon will be. I only discovered Mike's work in the last couple of years. We've been guests at the same conventions but I still haven't met him. I did meet his lovely wife at MegaCon last year when she stopped to talk to my table mate Joe Pekar, but I've yet to meet the artist himself. But I am a big fan. Hey, I ordered his comic and some prints from his website. I don't do that with just any artist. :)

Cleopatra In Spaaaace!, (yes, there are four "a"'s in the title) is one of Mike's web comics. He has a few others that are a lot of fun but Cleo is the one that reeled me in first. It's a fun adventure/scifi strip that you need to check out. And when you check out his site, look at his gallery. His color work is outstanding. Something that makes me hate him slightly. Well, him and Joe Pekar really. Both have such great color sense that I just stare at their work wide eyed and drooling. Not a pretty sight.

I have been wanting to do a "fan" piece featuring Mike's characters, Cleopatra and Khensu, the cat for a while and finally got around to it. I even got Mike's approval on it. :)

Make sure you check out Mike's site at There you find all kinds of goodies to feast your eyes on. Tell him I sent you. :)

This piece was done in ink on a sheet of 11" x 17" bristol board.

This is Post #1211

Friday, January 28, 2011

Digital Sketchbook Friday

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

Just another digital doodle where I was trying out some brushes, textures and a different approach from yesterdays piece.

Have a good weekend everyone! Don't do anything I wouldn't do! ;)

This is Post #1210

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Digital Sketchbook Thursday

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

This is the first time in months that I didn't have a commission to work on in my "free" time. So today I did a lot of doodling but this is the only thing I spent some time on. Just playing with color and brushes in Photoshop.

This is Post #1209

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shadow Lass - Canson Cutie

Shadow Lass © DC Comics

Today was extremely productive. I finished up a batch of illustrations that needed to be done and jumped back on this piece. I was looking forward to rendering the light blue skin on the dark blue paper. And I'm happy with the results. This is the last Legion Canson Cutie. Thanks again to Michael for these five commissions. They were a lot of fun and it's always a blast to draw the Legionnaires.

This was done in ink, color pencils, and a bit of fluid acrylics on a sheet of 11" x 17" Royal Blue Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

This is Post #1208

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shadow Lass - Canson Cutie Pencils

Shadow Lass © DC Comics

Today was/is a busy day. I had to drop everything to take care of some illustrations. Somehow the approval of the roughs feel through the cracks and now it's a rush. These things happen and are just part of the business. I did get quite a few done and will finish it up tonight or tomorrow.

The bad part is it cut into the Canson Cutie time I had set aside for today. All I managed to do today was the pencils. This will be transferred to a sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes Royal Blue paper tomorrow.

Okay, back to work.

This is Post #1207

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shadow Lass - Canson Cutie Roughs

Shadow Lass © DC Comics

This will be the last of the five Legion Canson Cuties I am doing for Michael. This one features Shadow Lass. As her name suggests, she can cast shadows. Sometimes so dense she could block out sunlight. I'll go into the character more as this piece progresses. For now, these are the three poses for Michael to consider for the final art.

Today I finished up the last page for my contribution to Free Comic Book Day. In case I didn't mention it before, I am doing some artwork again for Gemstone Publishing's Overstreet Guide to Comic Book Collecting, the freebie for FCBD, May 7th 2011. It's looking like I will be appearing at a store on FCBD doing a little signing and doing head sketches. I'm pretty excited about it. More details later.

This is Post #1206

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Princess Projectra - Canson Cutie

Princess Projectra & Validus © DC Comics

Here is the finished piece. I have already sent the image to Michael (who commissioned it) and he said, "Wow. It looks fantastic." Can't beat a review like that! :)

Also, thank you to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today. Whether tweeted, or emailed or Facebooked (?), I do appreciate all the kind messages.

This was done on an 11" x 17" sheet of Canson Mi-Teintes paper with ink, color pencils and a touch of fluid acrylic paint.

This is Post #1205

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Princess Projectra - Canson Cutie digital pencils

Princess Projectra & Validus © DC Comics

This is the digital sketch for the Princess Projectra Canson Cutie. I wanted her using her illusion casting powers but the question was what to have her cast. I remembered her connection to Validus in one of her earlier appearances. Validus saved Jeckie twice, once from the Sun Eater and again when Tharok commanded him to kill Jeckie and the other Legionnaires. Validus wouldn't do it and instead turned on Tharok and the other members of the Fatal Five. So I thought this was a nice call back to that story. By the way, that was the story that introduced the Fatal Five to the Legion mythos. It was also the story where Legionnaire Ferro Lad saved the universe by delivering a bomb into the "heart" of the Sun Eater and in the process sacrificing his life. Story and layouts by teenager Jim Shooter and art by Curt Swan and George Klein. Doesn't get much better than that! One of my favorite Legion stories.

This image was printed out and transferred to the final Canson paper via my light table. More tomorrow.

This is Post #1204

Friday, January 21, 2011

Princess Projectra - Canson Cutie Roughs

Princess Projectra © DC Comics

Here is my weekend project. The fourth of five Legion of Super-Heroes Canson Cuties I am doing for Michael. These are the ideas for the poses I sent to him and he selected "A", which was my favorite too. I'm even going to add an illusion that Jeckie is conjuring. Gonna be fun!

Another project I will be putting more time into is my sketchbooks. I'm having doubts about doing two of them though. Seems a bit pretentious on my part. I might just scale it back to one 64 page book with Cansons and other work. Still pondering it though.

Have a good weekend everyone!

This is Post #1203

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Nightwing © DC Comics

After a week of commercial work that resembles nothing like the comic art I do, and after three days out of state on business doing text book illustrations in my hotel room when I had the chance, I needed to get back in the groove of working on Canson paper so I did this little sketch. Now it's back to the Legion Canson Cuties again. :)

This was done using ink, fluid acrylic and pencil on an 11" x 17" sheet of steel gray Canson Mi-Teintes drawing paper.

This is Post #1202

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sketchbook Wednesday

Atom Eve © Kirkman & Walker

Just a little sketch this morning before I fly home. Looks like I am going to miss a pretty decent snow storm here in NW Arkansas. I will be safe and warm at home before it hits here. Whew!

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with my friends Will and Stacy Allred. We have tried to get together each time I have been here and last night was the first time it all worked out. I really appreciate them going out of their way to hang out with me! It was a lot of fun!

This is Post #1201

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sketchbook Tuesday - Medusa

Artwork (c) 2011 Gene Gonzales

I have totally ripped off my good friend Joe Pekar by doing this piece. How? He was working on a octopus-headed Medusa a while back that he showed me. I loved the idea and honestly never seen it before. I told him I would steal it someday. And now I have. Thanks Joe! :)

I'm posting this through Mail2Blogger from my iPhone and will probably need to reformat this post when I get home.

This is Post #1200

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sketchbook Monday - Mermaids on the brain

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

Lori Lemaris, the mermaid who once stole Superman's heart, was on my mind this morning while I was getting ready to hit the friendly skies. The reason she was on my mind is because I have a nice splash page from a Lori Lemaris solo story on my wall drawn by Win Mortimer. For some reason I was just looking at it so while I sat here waiting for files to be converted and saved, I started sketching a bit. I need to do a definitive piece featuring Lori. Maybe a painting on a Canson board like the Shrinking Violet I did a while back. Hmmmmm.

This is Post #1199

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Captain Marvel, Jr!

Captain Marvel, Jr © DC Comics

I've been attempting to get some work done today but the headache I have is not getting with the program. Ah well. I offer this little sketch of Captain Marvel, Jr. I've been reading the SHAZAM FAMILY ARCHIVE lately and the Captain Marvel, Jr stories are pretty violent. Still very enjoyable and the art is outstanding. Artist Mac Raboy was one of the best!

This is Post #1198

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Buzzy the Buzz Saw Robot

Buzzy © 2011 Gene Gonzales

I have been working all day on a couple of projects. This piece is from one of them. It's just a sketchy design for a robot that is needed in one panel for the Free Comic Book Day book I am doing for Gemstone Publishing.

I got an interesting voicemail today. Actually two voicemails, a part one and part two. I don't answer my studio phone if the display reads "Private Name, Private Number". I figure it will not be a potential client because I don't know any business that keeps it numbers and name private. Most of the time it turns out to be telemarketing and I don't have time for that. But the person left a voicemail and then called back to leave a part two voicemail. Who was my mystery caller? None other than Nick Pascale. Nick had called to ask if I could correct a post I did in 2009 featuring Duo Damsel of the Legion of Super-Heroes. I had incorrectly stated that Dave Cockrum designed the costume, when it was really Nick. It was an oversight that was corrected in the comments thanks to LUD! I also replied to LUD! that I had forgotten that the costume was in a fan designed costume feature in Adventure Comics. Neither LUD! nor I named Nick as the designer. But I don't think Nick saw the original post on this blog because he mentioned seeing the art and info on where the post was featured that day. Nick gave me the whole interesting story about the costume, the story it first appeared in and some background to the story in a two part voicemail. Way too much for me to listen to and write down while I am working.

So I offer this...

Nick, email me the information if you would like me to share it here. I know you left your phone number in the message but I can't take dictation from my voicemail or from a phone call. But if you email me, I'm sure there are other Legion fans here that would be interested in your part in the Legion Lore. My email address is gene_gonzales (at) mac (dot) com. Look forward to hearing from you via email. As for correcting the post, I will add a footnote to it. I think of my blog as an archive and really don't like to go back and make edits. It's a warts and all kind of thing. But I will make this exception. I can't do anything about where it was reposted though. I hope that works for you.

And just for the record, it's easiest to get in touch with me via email or Twitter. I try to respond as quick as possible. I try to stay away from phone calls and will avoid them unless I am expecting a call. I know I post it on my sites because I do run a business and it would be silly of me not to offer a phone number to potential clients. The funny thing is I don't get many calls from clients, new or existing. Email is almost always the initial and continuing way to communicate. And if a phone conversation is necessary, a time to talk is scheduled. Anyone who has met me knows I love to talk and productivity goes right out the window if I am on the phone. :)

This is Post #1197

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Flying Nun - Rough

The Flying Nun © Sony Pictures

Another suggestion from Royce. You can tell how old we are by the shows he suggested and the fact I remember them fondly. I sketched this today but it looks like I will not get to the color yet. Too much work to do tonight. Oy!

I remember watching Sally Field starring as Sister Bertrille on the tv show THE FLYING NUN. She starred as a novice nun in Puerto Rico who could fly because of the aerodynamic nature of the heavily starched cornette she wore on her head and she weighed 90lbs. When she explained her ability to fly as "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly", I believed it. But hey, I was 4 years old when the show started and 7 when it ended. One of the cool supporting characters on the show was Carlos Ramirez (played by Alejandro Rey). Carlos was a ladies man, a casino owner and the only one I knew of on television that shared my (middle) name. Except back then it was my first name. Well, legally I didn't have a first or middle name until I was 13. But I digress. I hope to add some color to this tomorrow.

And let's take a moment to wish Little John a speedy recovery. It was a Little John vs. The Ice grudge rematch today and the ice won again. Get well soon John!

This is Post #1196

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grandpa Munster

Grampa Munster © Universal Studios

Today's practice piece was suggested by Gary. This was sketched by pencil first and placed in Photoshop for color. I also added the watercolor paper scan for texture. Overall I am happy with this one. I learned a few new things and tried some approaches I haven't tried before. Learning is fun.

Looks like I am heading to Arkansas again on Monday. Should be the last time as the projects I am doing are coming to an end. I am hoping that more work comes my way from this client. I have a great time working with them and we always produce some great products together. Because of the short notice of the trip, I am scrambling to get my other work ahead of schedule. So I might have some sketch days here on the blog. I had hoped to finish another Canson Cutie this weekend but that will have to wait another week.

And as I type this, I just got an email that more art is needed for the series of Grammar books I am working on. It's good to be busy. :)

This is Post #1195

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Herman Munster

Herman Munster © Universal Studios

I had said I was going to do some of these pencil sketches to digital painted pieces for a few days and asked for suggestions for subject matter. Royce came up with Herman Munster of the famous 1960s TV show THE MUNSTERS. I couldn't pass it up. This was done in about 1.5 hours, from start to finish. Though I used an image on the internet as reference, it isn't an exact likeness, but that wasn't what I was shooting for anyway. Overall I think it worked out nicely for a quickie. Thanks for the suggestion Royce!

This is Post #1194

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor © DC Comics

An early post for today. Something I did while I took a lunch break. The line art was done traditionally in my sketchbook and color done in Photoshop CS5. For some texture, I added a scan of watercolor paper in the background. I will probably be doing more of these for the week because I am wanting to play more with traditional pencils and digital colors. Feel free to suggest characters.

This is Post #1193

Monday, January 10, 2011


Robin © DC Comics

Just a quick ink sketch today with some Photoshop colors and textures. It's funny, I don't think I have ever done a Robin commission. Hmmmm.

This is Post #1192

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Captain America - Sketch

Captain America © Marvel Entertainment

Just a head shot I started of Captain America. This was done on watercolor paper with the plan to paint it soon.

This is Post #1191

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sketchbook Saturday - Doodles

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

"A doodle. I do doodle. You too. You do doodle too."  – Willow Rosenberg Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Yes, I am that much of a Buffy geek. Really.

Not much to share today. The plan was only to work until 2pm today. So after my walk this morning I started sorting through my files for art work to include in my sketchbooks for this year. Yes, sketchbooks. More about that later. (But if you follow me on Twitter you would have been part of the conversation that was going on about my sketchbooks and you would be in the know. Just click the link to the right to follow me if you don't already.) I also worked a bit on this years Free Comic Book Day entry from Gemstone Publishing. So sadly the only drawing I did, that I can share, was some doodling. Hence the quote above. I love working the word "hence" into conversations. Or blog entries. :)

Hey, we went a week into the new year without a "sketchbook ____day". Not too bad. :)

Enjoy the weekend everybody!

This is Post #1190

Friday, January 7, 2011

Insect Queen - Canson Cutie Finish

Insect Queen © DC Comics

Here is the finished Canson Cutie featuring Lana Lang as The Insect Queen. I love using this color for characters with red hair. It's such a nice base. This is number three of five Canson Cuties I am doing for Michael featuring female members of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 1960s Curt Swan/Adventure Comics era. If you haven't seen the other two that I completed, here is The White Witch and here is Dream Girl.

Thanks again to Michael for these fun commissions!

This was done in ink, color pencil and some fluid acrylics on a sheet of 11" x 17" Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

This is Post #1189

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Insect Queen - Canson Cutie Process 2

Insect Queen © DC Comics

I didn't get as far as I would have liked today on this piece, but I'm also not going to rush it. I knew in advance what color paper I wanted to use but when I got the chance to begin transferring the image, I didn't have the paper in stock. So I had to make a trip to the art store for more paper. To make the trip really worth it, I looked at the paper I do have and what colors I want for the next two Legion Canson Cuties. So I did get paper for one more of the pieces in addition to this one. Transferred the image via my light table and inked. Since the ink is still a bit wet, I didn't want to erase pencil lines or put it on the scanner so I used my camera to take the shot above.

Final art tomorrow.

This is Post #1188

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Insect Queen - Canson Cutie Process

I am working on another Canson Cutie for Michael. This is Lana Lang, The Insect Queen. If you know your DC Silver Age of comics, you know that Lana was Superboy's girlfriend and that she was given the Bio-Ring by an alien she saved. This ring allows her to take on the shape (bottom half of her body mostly) and abilities of any insect. The catch, and not much of one, is that each form can only be used once a day. Not really a problem when you consider how many insects there are in the world. Lana tried out for the Legion but since she depends on a device for her powers she was rejected. She did gain Reservist status when she saved Superboy and the Legion later in the same story.

My take on Lana is playful. Above are the three ideas I submitted to Michael for his consideration. He liked "C" the best. Having Lana showing off her Bio-Ring in a playful manner worked for him.

Lana Lang/Insect Queen © DC Comics

I took that rough sketch and tightened it up in Photoshop and printed it out on 11" x 17" copy paper. Next I will transfer the drawing to the Canson Paper and tighten it up even further as I go along. More to come.

This is Post #1187

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Black Widow

Black Widow © Marvel Entertainment

This is just a little something I did for fun today. I worked on it off and on while getting files ready to go to the printer, on phone calls, and any other chance I got today. I was also going to do some roughs for the next Legion Canson Cutie, but I never got a moment to really think about it and develop some ideas for poses. I will do that first thing tomorrow morning. :)

This was done in ink on an 11" x 17" sheet of bristol board.

This is Post #1186

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dream Girl - Canson Cutie

Dream Girl © DC Comics

Here is the finished artwork for Michael. I will be doing three more for him over the next few weeks. They will be Princess Projectra, Insect Queen, and Shadow Lass. All done in the costumes from the Curt Swan/Adventure Comics era. Thanks again Michael, I'm glad you like her.

This was done using ink, color pencils and fluid acrylic on a sheet of 11" x 17" Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

This is Post #1185

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dream Girl - Canson Cutie Process

This is one I worked on today. I knew I wouldn't finish it but I planned ahead to take some photos of the process.

Below left is the selected pose for Dream Girl. I took that rough sketch as my starting point, and tightened it up in Photoshop CS5. Using a hard brush I sketched out the figure in one color, then refined it in another color. Much like using a blue pencil for structure and graphite pencil for final line art. During the drawing process I would flip the image horizontally back and forth to make sure the figure is correct. If I was drawing this traditionally, I would use a mirror to see the reversed image.

After I got the figure done, I changed it to a black line and printed it out on my Epson Stylus Photo 2200 color printer. Below is the image printed on a sheet of 11" x 17" copy paper. The paper to the right is what I am going to transfer the image to using the light table underneath. (Side note: That paper color isn't accurate. Photos were taken with my iPhone under warm lights.)

Below is the transferred image that I have started inking with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

Dream Girl © DC Comics

More tomorrow!

This is Post #1184

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Artwork © 2011 Gene Gonzales

Happiness is a warm silencer.

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has recovered. We had a quiet evening ourselves. Stayed up for the ball to drop and then went to bed. I was up at 6:30 to finish up the job I have been working on for the last few weeks. Got it done by noon today and then ran all around town with my lovely wife. I felt a great deal of relief finishing that work and beating the deadline by a couple of days.

So here we are again with another year gone. What was once my experiment to see if I could post for one year, every day, is now entering it's fourth year. I haven't added up the days yet but it's a lot. I had hoped to do something special or at least something of a finished piece to mark this 3 year anniversary, but my workload would only permit sketchy stuff with some color tossed in. It's tough because I have completed a great deal of work and I cannot share it. At least not for a while. But I will try to have some finished pieces done soon. I still have 4 more Canson Cuties on my list, and I will be starting one tomorrow and finishing the rest during this month.

I have some fun stuff that I am working on in my spare time. Yeah, my spare time. When I have enough "in the can", I will announce something. Probably sometime in February. Convention season is coming up and that means con sketches and maybe some Conventionless Convention Sketches. Also I am working on a new sketchbook for 2011. Like I said, fun stuff.

Thanks again everyone. For all the support, kind words and bad puns (you know who you are). I couldn't continue to do this blog without you. Happy 2011!

This is Post # 1183