This is some recent stuff, mostly from my sketchbook. There's the winged skeleton figure. I went to the Filmore recently and was looking at the posters and decided that I wanted to make one and try to sell it to them. So I did the sketch painting and I liked that a lot, then I did the larger version. Something was lost between the two, but oh well. The content is nothing new or interesting, but I still had fun doing it. I'm trying to get away from drawing really cliche things like skeletons. I just took this awful picture of it, just to post it here, but I need to take it to be professionally photographed. Then we've got these intricate pen drawings. There was a time when I wasn't working very much and I was so bored that I just wanted to do really intricate things to fill my time. So I just tried to come up with some images where I could draw patterns and lots of feathers. In the end they didn't take very long so I was still bored. Same thing with these trees. They were painted over shitty drawings. Lately all I want to draw is trees. They're similar to the pen drawings because I just used them as a means to escape boredom. So I tried to paint every section a slightly different shade of the same color. It took a while. Then there's this mummy. I saw a little thumbnail of a c.d. cover in a magazine recently and it was a mummy's face, it looked cool and inspired me to draw one. Again, wanting to do intricate stuff, I made sure there were lots of wraps to paint. Seeing these all together I notice that I've been using the same colors for a while, that dark green under-painting with black and french grey/blue, then deep portrait pink, I think it looks nice. I've also been very painterly lately and I like where it's going. Maybe I should explain the title of this post. Yesterday Tony Wolf of the fantastic band Greyskull was telling me how he checks my blog daily and wanted to know why I don't update it very often, so there you go. When you get back from tour, this post will be waiting for you! I'm not going to have a job for a good long while so HOPEFULLY you'll be seeing a lot more art work from me. Look for the second Unified School District cover in the next couple weeks. The a couple weeks after that there should be a 12" cover for the band Ed Gein, easily the biggest band I've worked for, I'm very excited, more on that later. Then a cover for the ever so young and passionate band from Reno, Groove Box Replica. Then someday a cover for Greyskull, once they get a permanent drummer and get into the studio. In the spare time I want to work on a comic book, but don't expect that any time soon.
This group from Oakland called Unified School District has commisioned me to do thier CD cover. This is what I did. I probably should have gone over it with them, as opposed to going stright to finish, but I didn't. They said they liked it, but that it was too Hip-Hop, which they didn't want. The really hard part about all this is that I don't really know anything about hip-hop so I didn't know that it was a common thing. I can't really dispute it because he sent me the very similar image (posted) that he himself had done some time ago. I've only gone through the hip-hop CD's a couple times, because I'm never impressed with the covers, they always seem to be a photo of the artist looking hard, or something money related, or the sexy girl thing, so I didn't think that this would really be too hip-hop. It reminds me of hip arty zine-punk kids and thier love of all things 80's, lets call them "neo-mixtape girls". This is, sadly, the first time that a client has not been happy with what I produced, but surely not the last time. I'm re-doing the cover now. It's standard practice in the industry to charge again if you have to do the work again, but this is my business and I'll run it the way I want, and I just want them to get a good record cover out of it. I was really struggling to come up with ideas for this, but in conversation with the group they said they wanted me to do robots, and suggested "an idea of a old rusted robot that has been left in a field sprawled out with overgrowth of nature covering bits of him..." Sounds good to me, I'm running with it, more on that when it's finished. The other image is from my sketchbook, I did it a couple months ago and thought it would be good for a band, so when this came up I thought the idea would work.
So this is some artwork I did for this band called Blues. I'm still in the process of finishing this one up, putting it in the templates etc. It's going to be a digipak CD with a pocket instead of a tray. I've got two versions of the inside, I still haven't decided which one to go with, or if I'll do it pink like the outside....ha, pink on the outside, I like that. It may be a one sided LP eventually which I would be really stoked on because it would show the art so much better. I'm a little obsessed with trees right now. The last CD it was ghosts. I don't really work digitally so this is a change of pace for me, but I like the flexibility. I just realized that the pinks are very different, I'll have to change that. Oh well, you get the idea. To be released on Rome Plow Records, who have been very nice to work with and have an affinity for making quality releases. Yeah, they're cool guys and I hope to do more things for them in the future.
As soon as these guys from Pirates Press get back to me this will be done. I've emailed them twice and all I need is their goddamn template but they haven't responded. This is a new way of working for me, all little lines of color that add up when mixed by the eye. It comes from impressionism. I like the effect but it was a little on the time consuming side. Every area had to be painted at least 3 times with an opposing mesh of hatchmarks. It's a little tedious. I don't know how commercially viable it is, but Barron Storey does it so it must be possible.
This painting is for a themed group show called "Wizards and Warriors" that is to be in L.A. I guess it's pretty orthodox as far as fantasy goes, I didn't really try to stretch the boundaries like "what is a wizard, really?" I was thinking a lot about Ash Wood and Frazetta when I painted it. I really like the way it was painted, it's more "painterly" than most of my work and I had a lot of fun making it. It was nice to make something where I could just be silly and not have to worry about it being brilliant. If I just made covers like this for metal bands it would take a lot of the stress out of coming up with a good concept.
These two will hopefully be published in an upcoming issue of Ellipsis Magazine. I got a job doing web design, and I start in about 10 days. I will have to get up at 7 for this job so I started today so I can get used to it. I emailed this art director at about 9 and I got impatient so I just started and finished the illustrations, even though he still hasn't approved the sketches. If he doesn't like them for some reason, I'll just do something else.
This is for a magazine called Tastes Like Chicken's website. If accepted it will be in the "Pen and Think" section. It's for an article about something called a Command Line which is a theory that says everything in our lives is mathematically dictated. It was supposed to be 3"x5" so I did it on a 3X5 card. You're not supposed to do that, things are always supposed to be shrunk down so they look tighter, but in this situation it works because there's no painting. I drew it using a rapidoliner pen, and letraset letters, then I colored it in photoshop because I think computer coloring looks better on the web than painting. I got the picture of the baby from google images, which I find phenomenally useful for reference. I don't know any babies!
This is an illustration I JUST finished, I haven't even sent it yet. I don't even know if they'll like it, but it should be a full page in a magazine called Kitchen Sink, issue #14. The article is about indie films and talks about how the ending is always the lead character gazing into the middle distance, and it says there should be more explosions in the end. It's a pretty amusing article, although, I'd contend that the reason indie films don't have more explosions is because they're so expensive. I used my usual speedball india ink, a deleter japanese manga dip-pen nib, a liner brush for some of the hair, and a couple normal rounds. I shot the reference with my friend David V. D'Andrea (thanks dude!) on Sunday night, and did the entire thing yesterday, then scanned it, resized and got it print ready this morning (by this morning, I mean 3:00 p.m.). This is my first magazine illustration, I hope they like it.
This is what I did today; I spent all day developing and making these letters. Now I KNEW that they needed to be backwards so that they would print right, I KNEW this...right up until I grew the goddamn things on the rubber, then I forgot until I was completely finished carving them out. There has to be some Freudian reason why I blanked that out, has to be. As I was making these I thought they would look all nice and clean with their little serifs and everything; then I printed them and they looked like the most fucked up letters ever, wtf? Why can I not make anything nice? Everybody thinks my artwork is creepy. I start off with a nice idea is mind, and by the time I'm done with it it looks like this. On the plus side I made some really goddamn dirty letters and I like them a lot. I surprised myself because I thought they would look nice and then I printed them and they looked like pure evil. I used a retarded product called a "roll-on stamp pad inker." It has a nice effect because it doesn't ink evenly like the well functioning stamp-pads of yesteryear; truly a superior product. If you want a page of these for flyers or whatever, drop me an email.
I've been doing a lot of sketchbook drawing lately. I told myself that I wasn't going to do that anymore because I always got all crazy on the drawings and took them to finish, then people would want to buy them and I couldn't sell them. This problem is solved by not working in my book made of thick file dividers. When the paper is able to accept any amount of painting I get anal about it and try to make every page a masterpiece, even painting over old pages I didn't like. I stopped using that book for now and am just drawing in a canson sketchbook of crappy paper, this saves me from myself because the paper does not accept paint at all. #1) I like to draw from old national geographics, especially from the 50's. This one was from the 80's I drew the shark first, then flipped a couple pages and found this hunter and drew him under it. I like the juxtaposition a lot and I'm going to try to convince this band that it would be a good record cover.#2)This is from a Nat. Geo from the 50's. I spelled mustache wrong, but what can you do?#3)Also from a 50's Nat. Geo. The pictures weren't as sharp back then so they provide a little challenge as reference. I like that I can't get all the information I need from the picture because it makes me flex my brain a little bit and improvise.#4) I drew this in the Laundromat today, it's from an 80's nat geo. I thought that kangaroo in a clear sack was kind-of creepy.#5) There was this homeless dude passed out next to me and I drew him in a couple minutes. I could have taken all day, though, because he was passed out stone drunk after someone gave him a roast-beef sandwich that he showed no thanks for. The attendant apparently didn't like that I was drawing him, as if I was somehow exploiting him, and tried to wake him up 3 times. He didn't move one inch; stone drunk. I never do life drawing these days, but I'm starting to see the advantages of drawing drunks passed out. I think you can tell I was a little shaky. I was most interested in his hands.
I got a job doing some illustrations for Ellipsis Magazine. I will be replacing Ben Templesmith, a well known comics artist, because he apparently has a scheduling conflict. It's for a story by a writer named Brian Evenson that will be published in 6 parts. Templesmith is doing the first 3 and I'll be wrapping it up. This means I'll have to do 2 b/w illustrations for 3 issues. I'm getting paid in magazines and ad space, which is OK because it's getting my name out there and I need that more than anything right now. Getting gigs has been exceedingly easy so I'm feeling proud of myself, and I'm told that free is where you start and the money comes later.
So I've been busy, mostly sketching. I did this sketch and colored it quickly on the computer. I like it, maybe that will be the way I work from now on. It's a lot easier than painting that's for sure. I'd post the other sketches but they're mostly naked girls and Batman. I would think that the former might break some blogger rules and the latter might break some copyright rules. When I do sketches lately it's been all girls because I suck at drawing them. It's fine with reference but straight out of my head it's awful. Monday I sent out 10 emails to magazines and I got 4 responses, all positive. That's great, but they don't pay artists, wtf? Not getting paid is a drag, but I'm still going to do them because I need to get my name out there and to build up a client list. I sent out a second wave today feeling confident about my abilities, but I'm sure that a lot of them went to the wrong people or will never be looked at. One art director told me my work was great and I deserve lots of money; I found it encouraging.
I did my first website for someone else, you can see it at younglionsnv.com I'd like to get some feedback about it. This drawing was a sketch I did in a park on saturday. A group of my friends were in town from Reno and they wanted to go record shopping at Amoeba on Hieght st. They shopped and I went to the park to draw. I thought it would be peaceful but it was full of drug dealers and users. I found a secluded spot and drew the tree, at the end so guys started dealing drugs right next to me, out of all the open areas in the park, so I got up and left. Then I drew the little evil man lurking behind the tree. About 3 years ago a junky (I know because he told me) jumped out of the darkness at me with a gun. It was a powerfully traumatizing experience and since then I've had an aversion to shady characters and a fear that people are hiding behind things. I colored this a little in photoshop, and a little in colored pencil.
This is the newest illustration. It's a 7" cover for a band called Fatality. This is somewhat unlike my normal illustrations because I didn't have to come up with an idea. The band told me they wanted a classroom with kids reading, then in the front there's a kid with a Fatality shirt on stabbing the teacher in the neck. OK, I said. So I started with thumbnails, I did 6 or 8 of those just working out different compositions and camera angles. Then I picked the one I thought was best and drew it a little bigger. I did this a couple times trying out different ideas. I knew early on that this was going to be a difficult assignment because children are so hard to draw. I also decided I didn't want to use photo reference in a direct way, as I've been doing lately. That's good because I don't know anyone with kids to take pictures of and finding a picture of a kid making a stabbing motion would be very difficult. I figured I had it close enough in the thumbnails so I went to a full sized sketch at about 8". It's always good to do things a little bigger than they need to be so they look sharp when reduced. I arbitrarily chose 1" bigger, some people say 150%. I got really stuck sketching it out. I knew drawing children was hard, but it was going especially badly. Mostly the face, it was so bad and I drew it so many times that I gave up for the night, deciding to come back to it. I drew some children from photographs, studies you might say. I thought about who draws good children and I remembered Deth P. Sun from college. After seeing that and playing some poker with my friends I drew the little face that looks just like the one in the finish. It has a strong anime influence, like Akira, but I like it a lot. I might put him inside a snowman. I normally don't do anything that looks anime/manga so I had a strong sense that this was going to be a disaster. So I took another look at my full size sketch before tracing it on my light table. The face was honestly so bad that it was distracting so I erased it before tracing the image. I couldn't draw the face again because I had erased the area so many times that the thin computer paper was starting to give in, so I decided to do everything around the face and sketch it in on the finish later. I inked it all with a utrecht red sable #2, an untested new brush that I don't really like, and my tried and true Speedball Super Black India Ink. I spent about 6 hours doing the finish, I even got in there with a japanese manga nib (Deleter, I think) and some microns for the intricate work. This was one of those pieces that didn't go well then whole way and suddenly came together in the end, I hate that. The logo is theirs. I added it in photoshop at the end. I wish I could tell you what record label this will be out on, or anything else about it, but I've never even heard them. I know these will be photocopied and will probably be a run of 500.
Today an English company asked me to design a belt. They're called unchaste (unchaste.co.uk) and they make limited edition designer belts. I'm going to do it, I think it sounds fun! I'll post it when I'm done. *Edit: actually it looks like it's going to be ties, and maybe belts and wallets. we'll see.
Well I got this one done, so there's only 5 or 6 more record covers to do, and I only need 50 more to make some money so keep 'em coming. I've been getting a lot of people emailing me and they want to know how much I'd charge to do their record cover, or how much to use a painting. I write back and I never hear from them again, but it's not like I ask for a lot. A couple years ago I told a guy I'd do it for $20! Never heard from him again. I've got to learn to ask for more money because I'm never going to make it working for like $3 an hour no matter how fast I get. I had a teacher who gave this advise on pricing: "You add up how many hours you put into it and what you think you should make an hour, then add your material fees etc. Then you take that number and add $500." Well these small punk bands are never going to pay for that, especially if they can't swing $20! Anyway, the idea for this is theirs, a zombie old school skater. I wasn't to keen on it at first but I actually had a lot of fun drawing this! The second image will hopefully be the t-shirt. The logo was not my creation.
I colored this drawing quickly on photoshop, just to experiment, and I liked the way it came out. It's mostly experimenting with the blending modes. I think if I have to color my comics in the future they will look like this. It was quick and easy and I like the way it looks. I've done some work using the standard "liquid!" type of coloring and I found it to be tedious and time consuming.
I've been working on setting up a new for sale section on my website. In the future when you click the "For Sale" link you will instead be taken to this (in progress) blog. I'm working out the paypal business account thing so I can accept credit cards, and there will be a shopping cart function. You'll notice that there aren't really any prices, there will be, on everything in there, but I'm waiting to "debut" the new section until I get my California resale permit this week (hopefully). If you don't live in California it won't affect you. Once again, I can not take credit for this idea at all, thank James Jean www.processrecess.com If you don't know about James Jean you should; he's one of the most talented, prolific, and innovative illustrators around, seriously. I look up to him a great deal. On top of being amazing, the guy at Super 7 told me he's a really nice guy, and he's only like 26, so there you go! Part of me wishes he was a well-known asshole so I could hate him, but that's just because I'm so jealous! There's another guy I found out about through him named Kenichi Hoshine. He is also amazing and you should know about him. I wish that my gallery work looked like his. I don't know if he's a jerk or not, but I hate him anyway with my rampant jealousy!!! HA!!!! He's probably the nicest guy ever and I'll regret having said that one day. Oh, those links are such a strain on the spell-check, grrr.....
This is probably finished. I plan to submit it to a group show at the Boontling Gallery called "Overhung 2". The owner is a friend of mine and he always asks me to submit. I didn't feel like any of my newest work was appropriate, mostly because it's all on the illustration side and not good for gallery work, or it's too big for this show, or I don't want to sell it for any small amount (like the tentacle one I'm quite fond of). So here it is. If it doesn't sell at the show I'll put it up here. I want to set up a paypal account through this blog, and on my website. Basically I want it set up the way James Jean has it (processrecess.com). It's a good system. I forget why I didn't get one the other day..... I got a check yesterday that made me laugh. It was for prints and it read "For: Organs and Lobotomy". It could seem weird out of context.
I've still got so much to do. People just keep asking me to do things, and I can't say no or ask for a decent amount of money! Maybe I should get an agent. Anyway, I'm putting down everything else to work on a painting. I was asked to submit to a group show at boontling gallery, and it's got to be done by Sunday. Just a little one though, no sweat. The problem is sometimes when I have a close deadline I draw things that are MORE complicated then I would normally draw, making extra stress for myself. There must be some psychological reason I do that. At least I always make the due date and it looks good. I'm going to try to combine the political zine drawing I'm supposed to do with a painting. There will be no free time or weekends for me until I get frequent and lucrative work; it'll be a while.
This is one of 3 or 4 drawings I'm doing for a zine called Guerilla Artfair. This months issue is "political". I'm not really into making political art these days so this is a bit of a challenge for me. I follow world events and listen to the news and whatnot, but I don't normally find it inspiring.
I got 2 assignments today for b/w 7 inch covers. One is for a band called E.M.D.C. and it will be a zombie doing a hand-plant on an old-school skateboard, at the request of the band. The other is for a band called Fatalities and it will be a classroom reading and one kid stabbing the teacher in the neck with a pencil, again, at the request of the band. It's not what I'd ideally think of as awesome in the idea department, but I'm going to do my best with it. I just don't want it to be an ongoing thing where every skate-and-destroy thrash band wants me to do a zombie or skeleton skater for their record. It actually makes it a lot easier on me if they already know what they want and I just have to draw it. The hard part is coming up with something original that fits well with the project.
This was a little costume party at the convention. My brother is Batman, then there's Green Lantern, Indiana Jones, and Laura Croft from Tomb Raider. They were just kind-of geeking out, talking about how hot it was in their costumes. I always thought it was bizarre how people dressed up for these things, but my brother must have had thousands of pictures taken of him, and seeing these little kids get so excited made it seem worthwhile. It's like anybody can be a celebrity if they make a costume and are brave enough, at least within the confines of the convention.
These are some pencils I did the week before Wondercon. Each page took at least a day to do, which was frustrating. I sometimes do paintings in a day but somehow having to draw tight pencils from reference took a long time. I suppose it's because I'm normally drawing or painting a couple people, but here I have to draw many people from every angle. In the future I'll probably just print the pictures out and trace them, or not use reference at all. It depends on what I envision for the pages. I'm perfectly good at drawing from my mind, but sometimes it's not the style I want. I actually don't like the way these look. I'm not a pencil fan. I'm going to ink them and see if they start to appeal to me. The script I used is from Steve Niles' "30 Days of Night". I obviously didn't reference the original Ben Templesmith art at all. The comic convention went really well for me. I showed my work to the people at DC and Darkhorse and got positive responses from both. Both were especially impressed with my illustration portfolio, or I guess you might say the things that had cover potential. This was very surprising to me because I know they only have the "stars" of comics do the covers. I thought it would be much easier to shoot for a penciling job. The Dark Horse editor liked my pencils and loved the illustrations. It was a very informal meeting with no lines or set times or anything. She mentioned something about a short comics collection that I might work on. She echoed what many said, that I basically have to make a book and propose it to a publisher. Dark Horse, like just about every other publisher, doesn't do a lot of "work for hire". This all makes sense and I got some great feedback and criticism. The DC editor saw my pencils first and thought they were pretty good but not applicable to "super-hero" comics. He gave me some really good comments and we talked a little. Then I showed him my presentation case with my illustration portfolio. We talked about some other things as he flipped the pages. I said something and he replied along the lines of "What? I'm sorry, I'm just so caught up in what I'm seeing here". At that point he gave me his card and told me to send him some samples. The rest of the interview he seemed a little awestruck and I have the impression that he doesn't see a lot of portfolios like mine. It went exceedingly well I think. I went downstairs and ran into one of my favorite instructors from CCA, Barron Storey. I told him what happened and he made me think that being asked to send files to the editor is basically a green light. He also said "Be careful, these people are sharks". I'm horribly afraid of sharks, real ones at least, so that comment will stick with me. The best part! I brought my art of Hellboy book today to have Mike Mignola sign it. Surprisingly, there wasn't really anyone around him today, friday and saturday he was swamped. I walked right up and had him sign it and asked him if he would look at my artwork. He did this thing. This thing that's hard to describe. Whenever I asked an artist if they would look at my portfolio they did this thing where they want an excuse not to and feel kind-of pinned into looking at it. So a lot of people went "um(look around)...yeah..uh..sure let me see what you got there". I can tell they're looking for any excuse not to but are generally to nice to say no. I believe thier aversion stems from there being so many terrible artists at these conventions that it puts them in a really awkward situation. However, everyone I showed my stuff to changed their attitudes very quickly when they saw that I'm not a hobby artist or anything; it's understandable that they would think so because I'm so young. So Mike made a nasty face and looked down the (sudden) line of people and said "errr..yeah..ok". He was honestly amazed, probably a pleasant surprise. He complemented me on how great the work was and was very verbal about his liking my paintings. Then he asked me a couple things and said he wanted me to mail him prints of my work, and gives me his business card. He said something about needing painters for projects. He even said "I LOVE this one with the refrigerator" and the way he emphasized love I could tell he meant it. If you know his work and that peice it makes perfect sense. I still cannot believe I got such a good reaction from one of my all-time favorite artists, not to mention his stature in the comics world. It couldn't have been better.