Sunday, July 06, 2014

Black Widow and Punisher - Castle Romanova

Has anyone seen any of those Marvel animes produced by Madhouse?  I liked the X-Men series a lot actually, but I recently saw "Avengers Confidential: Black Widow Punisher" and it wasn't so great.  However, I like the thought of Punisher and Black Widow becoming a rogue, two-man team, which is why I watched it at all in the first place.  Black Widow is a brainwashed soviet spy and the Punisher is hell bent on his own brand of justice after his family was killed.  Brains and Brawn getting things done their way.  Even though Widow is part of Avengers, they're both pretty much loose cannons.  So the idea of them working together would be pretty dynamic I thought.  A team formed out of mutual necessity or something.  Eh, the anime left me flat, but the characters/idea still inspired me.

I basically let this image form in my head over a week or so.  Two characters.  A limited palette.  Almost like a screen print.  Some element of overlapping shapes/colors.  And in my head I wanted to really exaggerate Widow's torso.  Like broad shoulders right into boobs right into waist.  That upside down triangle shape.  Could I make it really cartoony/compact and still keep appealing proportions?  When I started plunging the "V" shaped neck line all the way to her thick belt-waist thing, it created an "arrow" shape that sold me.  Everything started to fall into place as soon as I had her head and upper body scribbled out.


The shapes in the background (sickle and star) and how the characters colors were divided took some time though.  Which parts would be line art, silhouettes, what to do with the negative space, what through lines could I capitalize on, and still keep it balanced and clear.  That was fun.  I tried out several things and once I landed on the above image, I moved forward with clean up.


You can see some subtle differences by the final image below.  Letting Punisher's silhouette disappear into the orange background for example.  Keeping Punisher's left arm "solid" and Widow's right side solid was a nice balance.  I remember really wanting to keep Punisher's neck on that same vertical line as Widow's, but there was no way I could get Punisher to look tough with a completely straight neck - he had to lean forward - heh heh.  Overall I tried to pay attention to how lots of little things lined up looking for creative tangents.


I like how some brushes can evoke real media with an imperfect quality.  Laying down each stroke up close is super satisfying for me.

Anyway, it's a little abstract, but I hope ya like it!  I'm bringing a some of these prints to the con too.  Pretty thrilled with how they printed.  Love me some slabs of color!!  :D

Wizard of Oz show

We have a Wizard of Oz themed show coming up at work and I recently finished framing my piece.  I'm not a big Wizard of Oz fan at all really, so it was actually a bit tricky for me to latch onto some sort of motivation.  I relied on process and decided to try something a bit different and it turned out more challenging than I thought, but still a pretty fun project.

So here's a teaser for now.  Maybe you can kinda infer what I did?  Maybe not?  :)


The show will be July 22nd at WMS Gaming (invite only) and I'll be leaving for San Diego ComiCon on the 23rd.  It's gonna be a busy couple weeks!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

fairytale process

Not too long ago I was commissioned by a friend to illustrate his daughters as characters they would be playing in an upcoming play.  It was a daunting assignment since I don't really do portraits/likenesses, but it was also a complete honor to be chosen from dozens of artist friends.

At work it's rare that an artist is selected for a project based on artistic strengths.  No one ever says, "I have an idea for a game and I want artist X to work on it."  The familiarity and recognition just isn't there save for the artists themselves.  Plus we're at the mercy of market trends and our competition. So to be tapped on the shoulder for a project based familiarity of my work is real treat.

And since I'm in the habit of wasting disk space with numerically numbered working files, I compiled another process GIF.  Enjoy!

final (delivered separately)

brush detail

simultaneous process action!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Savage Dragon

I'm just gonna say it.  Image Comics was the best.

I'm not taking anything away from the Golden Age and all the iconic comic characters out there (where would any of us be without Spider-Man and Batman?), but I grew up in the 90s and the revolution that Image Comics started was incredibly powerful. And I was there to be part of it. To witness it. It was like, my Beatles or Woodstock. And I'm not sure anything will replace it for me in my life time.

Look it up if you don't know anything about Image Comics and its founders.

Now I wish I could say I am still enamored with comic books as I was when I was growing up. But I kinda grew out of them. I didn't grow up - I just grew out of comics. For a handful of years in high school and college, I thought I was gonna be a comic illustrator. When my love of the medium shifted to animation, it just seemed like there wasn't enough room for both. Or maybe that's all a nice way of saying "I couldn't hack it." heh heh.

Savage Dragon was one of the premiere comics from Image and it made a BIG impact on me. And Erik Larsen still writes and draws it today. Endless respect for that. I had a recent issue lying on my kitchen counter and I was inspired by the animation of Robin Davey so I made this little run cycle of ol' fin-head. Amongst some other Dragon doodles. Enjoy :)






Tuesday, December 03, 2013

the Proletariat!

The team at work (Ancalinar and Drew) was talking about Russian-themed superheroes.  This is what came out of it for me:




Sometimes I think I'm more of a decision maker than an artist! - heheh

Oh yeah - so this guy smashes the bad guys with some sorta glowing/fiery hammers that are chained to his forearms.  Bound to deliver punishing justice for all eternity.  I kinda imagined him smashing his own anvil head as some sorta shockwave super move.  Or maybe that's how he'd boost his adrenaline?  Don't worry - he's wearing briefs under that apron...

Things I learned about Photoshop CS6:

- It has timeline-like animation capabilities that are unintuitive and lackluster if you work in After Effects or Flash regularly.  Not really new news, I try to use it to make quick GIFs, but I always seem to want to do something simple like adjusting the timing for each "frame" and it's baffling to me every time.

- Photoshop CS6 still can't edit the radius of a rounded rectangle.  But apparently Phtoshop CC finally can.

- Photoshop CS6 can do 3D a lot easier now, but not for me because the built-in video card drivers in Mavericks doesn't support Mavericks.  No no, I said that right.  Apparently it's a problem for Nvidia and Apple to sort out according to my research.  Or I could buy a new video card/computer...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Latest Marooned!

I've been slackin' with this post and I have no excuse.  But here it is.

I have mentioned my buddy Tom and his Marooned webcomic before, but he's getting the last little details in place for his latest project: the definitive Marooned graphic novel.  He KICKSTARTED it and pulled in more than double his asking price.

He called on some of his artist friends to contribute some work and I did just that.  Tom is putting EVERYTHING into this book.  His entire complete series, a bunch of pin ups, and a couple new short stories.  Not to mention the buttons and prints and a whole other "making of" art book that he was offering up as rewards.  I'm looking forward to seeing it all put together.

So for my latest contribution, I struck with Lian again.  I've drawn a couple other Lian images so I wanted to add to the series of sorts.  Tom has been great in that he has let me do whatever I want with his characters.  It's the perfect opportunity to take established characters and apply whatever it is on have on the brain.  Very freeing artistically.  The thing I had in mind this time was elongating Lian.  I wanted her to have a long face and a long body.  Maybe in an anime-ish sorta way.  Oh, and I really wanted a project where I could sink some time into Drew's mask-painting technique.  Drew will use vector shapes in PS and clip various highlight/shadow/texture passes to 'em.  'Cept I didn't use vectors for Lian.  I just blocked in colors with pixel-paint and clipped away from there.  Not as precise/clean, but vectors induce a different mindset for me.

Blah blah blah.  So ya wanna see the first sketch I did???
Well...it's...something.  Definitely, strangely, elongated.  It looks like the browser mighta squished the image but it hasn't.  Thinking back, I remember this working for me.  Something along these lines would satisfy my elongated vision and I liked her head at the very least.  That was enough to keep going I guess.  This is all it took - ha!

Here's a process .GIF:
These never seem to capture all the gritty details for me, but it is pretty fascinating to "see" the thought process.  Funny to see the multi-armed doodles as I try to find the pose.  I definitely played with the hair for a bit.  It's certainly fun to play with shapes and designs for hair and while I wasn't sure where it would end up, I did know that I wanted it covering her face.  You know the phrase, "I'll know it when I see it"?  Well that's exactly it.  I typically don't have the vision, but there's always a handful of things I know I want or don't want. 

One thing I'm personally happy with is her legs and hips.  There is some weird forced perspective in here and her lower body is even kinda squarish.  I think it takes effort for me to say, "this is completely weird, but like it - just keep going."  It takes effort to ward off all those internal arguments.  Hehe.

Here's a seizure-less final:

But wait!  There's more!

After all that, I went back into my older images and tweaked 'em all in one way or another, and served them up to Tom as well.  I don't really like to go back into old work (for fear Lucas-osis will set in...) but I was able to keep myself in check.

Here's the rest with brief notes:
Tom asked me if he could use this for the front cover of the "extras" art book.  I updated the color of his spine to be blue like the rest of his endoskeleton.  I think it was taupe/brown before.  Not sure what I was thinking then.

Nothin' changed on this one.

I tried to make this feel a little like offset printing and there was a little "outline" on the top of his nose that completely distracted me these days.  Removed.

I struggled a lot with the colors in this one.  I wanted everything to be blue and I wanted everything to read clear.  I don't think I pulled it off, but I did try to fix a few other things:  tucked her legs under her and gave her lower body more imperfect shape.  I think I scooted her head around and made it so her shoulder overlaps.  Gave her head more of an imperfect shape too.  Adjusted her gem and her eyes and lips.  Added some edge light.  Eh, I like it more than before, but it still irks me in some ways.

Still my favorite.  Nothing changed here.

I colored the line work as I thought the pure black originally was too harsh.  Adjusted some lights/shadows in her face - particularly her nose.  I remember completely changing her far hand and getting it where I liked it, then going right back to the original.  One thing I admit looks weird are her shoulders, but I like 'em.  It's like her head is sitting in the concave scoop that her skin makes draped between her shoulders.  Or something.

Enjoy!  Time fer bed!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gallery 1988 Edgar Wright Show!

Gallery 1988 is having a tribute show for Edgar Wright!
It's this month!  Special Guests are expected to drop by!  SPECIAL!

So if you're in the L.A. area, check it out.
I'll have a limited run of my Scott Pilgrim print to sell.




Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Simpsons.

Hey!  I submitted this image to Threadless for a Simpson's design challenge!
Look, vote, comment with your heart up here:



I'm not the biggest Simpsons fan, but something still possessed me to have some fun with these already iconic characters.  I think I was attracted to the limited colors I had in mind.  Which is why Marge is in a red dress and I took some liberties with Santa's Lil' Helper and Snowball 2.  Oh, and the fingerprints.  No real concrete direction there.  I just felt like Homer's big noggin reminded me of a giant thumb so I started incorporating some textures/patterns.

*** UPDATE ***

Just a quick update to show the image on an actual body to help show the size:



Saturday, August 03, 2013

Thanks!

I'm a little late following up here, but the Con was great.  Thanks to everyone that came by our table!  There were a lotta new faces and some repeat visitors!  Regardless of who, it's always great to talk to people.  To say "hi" and hear a little bit about other peoples' interests.  Often times I'll ask people that are buying something from me, what they like about it.  The content?  The art?  What are you gonna do with it?  Frame it?  Burn it? - heh heh.  Personally I'm attracted to all types of art.  Good and bad.  Complex and simple.  Anything that makes me pause and look longer or think.  So for someone to single my art out and recognize it - it's a great honor and so I hafta ask questions :)

There was one individual that bought a print of my character "Bloodfist".  I only had one because it was ridiculous and largely black and white to test the ink contrast.  He was a silly, over the top, comic book "hero", in the vein of Rob Liefeld-type characters, that I drew in Jr. High School.  So this gentleman asked about Bloodfist and wanted to know more.  I was embarrassed to share and explain that he beat the bad guys to a bloody pulp.  Thus his name.  And that I couldn't draw faces so I just gave him a mysterious blank face.  And I was shocked that this guy wanted to buy it.  When I asked why he said, "Because I get it.  I used to draw the same sorta things and make up the same sorta characters."

And THAT is PRECISELY what comic con is about for me.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

SDCC 2013!

ComiCon BOIYEEEE!

Yeah.  We're days away from the world's biggest annual nerd herd. I'm pretty excited. I love it.

Here's my assortment of arts this year.  A couple new things, some reprints, a couple mainstays. I'll have a few others on hand that aren't shown here, but they'll be tucked away as they've proved unlovable by the masses in the past - ha! :)


And here's the roll out for buttons.  Again, some new, some old art now button-ized, some re-punched, and others not featured in the event these sell out.


Dave and I will be at F5 again.  I know there are at least a couple of you planning to stop by and say "hi". And there will be pizza. Plenty of good pizza. I can already taste it.  

Sensory overload.  Lookin' forward to every single second of it :)

-boob.