Thursday, November 15, 2012

keynote speech background art

The Goal:  

Add some pop to a keynote address presented at EMC World 2012 using “graphic novel” style images.

It was agreed that all “types” and costumes should remain generic in order to be an immediate read.  The main parody reference was the "Matrix” films. 

The Process:

I met with my art director to discuss his ideas.  These were translated into a handful of character designs, thumbnails based on a script and a finished “test panel” to get everyone on the same page with finishing style.

Given the super tight deadline it was decided to keep the images black & white and use the company’s iconic blue as an accent color (though green managed to slip in just under deadline).   The finished images were prepared for a PowerPoint presentation and projected across three massive screens on stage with the speaker.

Below are some final panels - and some WIPs.

Photoshop CS5, Cintiq

Apologies as I had mentioned a Transformers piece coming up this week.  I'll have to sit on that for a bit and post at a later date . . .

Thursday, November 8, 2012

marvel CCG storyboard

Storyboard for a proposed Marvel CCG.  

The goal:  to show the game in action and get the right people excited to move the project to the next phase on its way to actually being produced.

A few quick ideas for a composition.  Image size is 11 X 17 so I try to keep things interesting within the format.  Experimenting with portrait and landscape ideas.

"D" gets the go ahead for further development.  I know 'where' to put stuff - this more detailed thumbnail helps confirm 'what' goes in there.  I typically draw in blue (or red) first.  If other drawing problems need solving I'll go in with another color before final inks.  

Final inks.  This level of finish is all that's required.  I absolutely love drawing Hulk - even if only his yelling mug and a fist.

All the above was done in Photoshop CS5 on a Cintiq with a few cups of coffee.

Next Up:  Transformers

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Memory of Bill White

My friend Bill passed away last Saturday. 

He was much loved and touched many with his wit and artistic genius.

We talked weekly (often daily) about what we were working on, pop culture, how our dogs were doing and whether it was pronounced “Toeth” or Tawth” (we never figured out how to pronounce Alex Toth’s name).

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of cartooning, theater and pop culture, would draw whatever he wanted with ease, wrote on a professional level and performed regularly in local community theater productions  - he had professional-level chops in that department as well. 

Whatever he touched he did – extremely - well.  One of “those” guys.

He was also funny.  Jaw-hurts-from-laughing funny.  Three people made me cry and nearly lose my breath from laughing – Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Bill (good company).

I’ll never forget when he mentioned meeting Sharon (again) – he knew of her from the neighborhood when they were kids.  She was the light of his life, lending a skip to his step that was noticeable in many ways including the new projects he was producing. 

My wife and I were blessed to attend their wedding - which was, as expected, very sweet and packed with hilarity.

I had the good fortune to travel with them to New York Comic Con last year – Bill kept us both in stitches the entire trip.  A loveable goof who could point out the funny in anything.

He was a magician with a pen.  I remember him scribbling out a “Thank You” image (his dog Rocco, I believe) for the hotel maid that blew my mind.  No pencil necessary.  He had a “direct line from his head to his hand”.  A cartoonist super power that was the envy of those of us in the field who actually have to "work" at it.   

He was a fantastic artist and had worked on many titles for Harvey Comics among others.  A good handful of his work and wit can be viewed on his blog:

Here are a couple of pieces I’m blessed to have in the collection

We often discussed Darwyn Cooke’s work.  Bill raved about the animated  “Justice League:  The New Frontier” and often quoted Batman’s line to a then disguised Martian Manhunter:

“I have a $70,000 sliver of radioactive meteor to stop the one from Metropolis.  With you . . . all I need is a penny for a book of matches.”

It was a line Bill wished HE wrote – high praise.

He was a great friend and encouraging teacher who always kept on me to produce more.  This blog is a result of our chats and forever dedicated to his memory.  He will be dearly missed and always remembered.  My heart goes out to Sharon and family -

Sunday, April 1, 2012

communities and jams

Drawing "just for fun" has many advantages outside of the immediate satisfaction one gets from messing about with crayons.

Online communities are a fantastic way of building friendships and getting exposed to new things (techniques, a new online music site - whatever).  

Third Rail Design Lab (R3) is one of the good ones with artists at all levels discussing comics, film, music and art (among other things) in addition to hosting a weekly jam open to everybody.

This was recently done for one of the jams . . . I'll continue to post these weekly sketches here.

Thumbnail is Col-Erase blue pencil drawn in a sketchbook 
(during "Big Bang Theory").  

FInish is the scanned thumbnail inked and shaded in Photoshop on a Cintiq.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Practice isn't just for breakfast anymore - and the folks who inspire it.

Somethimes I'll take a break from the work day and do some studies.  On "good" days I'm up early, work out if I have it in me and get studies done before the bell rings for the day's deadline-fest.

I need the practice.

To that end - here are a few folks (from a huuuuuge list) that inspire me with their own dedication to craft - these guys never stop! 

 . . . and a lunch-break sketch.

Monday, February 13, 2012

marvel on the brain . . .

Been working on a project using established characters in the Marvel "Super Hero Squad" style:  Three fingers, shorter legs, bigger heads. etc.  

I've also been having an absolute ball recently reading Marvel Essentials reprints (Avengers and Defenders currently).  The nostalgia fix aside I get a real kick out of seeing the art from my current POV and am pleasantly surprised that much of it holds up today.

Some of those 60's and 70's covers still give me a jolt.  

So in tribute to one of the greatest, here's a take on John Buscema's Silver Surfer using a style similar to that used at Hasbro over the past few years.

It was fun - and I plan on doing a few more of these as time permits . . .  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

david wasting paper

I recently had the honor of joining a long list of talented cartoonists interviewed by David!  Cartoonist Survey #254 can be found here:

In addition to scores of interviews with names you'll actually recognize he's got a lot of fun, informative posts on the nuts and bolts of cartooning.  So grab a comfy chair and a nice beverage and be prepared spend some time getting lost in his archives.

Thanks David!

Big thanks also to my buddy Bill White for pointing me to David's blog.  Bill's a "Cartoonist's Cartoonist" - evidence of which may be found over at his fab site:

Thought I'd post a process piece - pencils for a Wonder Woman (52) piece for the Third Rail Design Lab forum.  Inks and colors to follow . . .

Saturday, January 7, 2012

cover painting - the monkey king's daughter - book4

I've had the pleasure to work with Todd Debonis on all 4 covers of his fantastic "The Monkey King's Daughter" series.  Book 4 is a "wrap-around" cover so our goal is to have an image that tells a story both as a front cover and a panorama of sorts.  Here's a peek in the process . . .  


Every cover begins with several thumbnails based on our initial discussion.  Book 4 is unique in that our final image composition is a "last minute inspiration" - none of these ideas made the final cut.


Todd then supplies me with a template for the cover copy.  This is very helpful as I'll design elements to work with the text.  The pencil sketch is either scanned into Photoshop or drawn directly into the program on a Wacom Cintiq (which is the case here).  

Throughout the process I'll keep the text on a separate layer and toggle on/off to make sure important elements remain visible.  


I now now what will be in the background - well much of it as new ideas often pop up during the process. I'll hop on Google for related images.  Todd sends a bunch as well.  I use two monitors for painting - the Cintiq and a second to my left where I keep all needed reference.


Everything from here on in is painted in Photoshop.  The first paint pass is a complete version of the final in black and white.  The goal is make sure everything reads well with good separation/depth.  If it doesn't work at this stage color won't save it.  

Color is then applied on top in glazes.  I'll use a lot of Photoshop layers to keep various elements separate and free for later tweaking. 

The focus here is on Meilin - paint right over pencils (which are still visible under this initial layer).

Most of the background elements are in and Meilin's close to finish.  Now it's a matter of smaller details.  We'll also apply the final green cast which is the "color theme" for Book 4.

Quick check on the copy layer - everything seems to be working.  I flip the image horizontally several times during the process as well - if there's an error my tired eyes are missing it becomes evident with the flip

Done!  Green cast has been added in addition to our final lighting details, some smoke and the ruins behind our hero.  I then send it to Todd and cross my fingers . . .

Detail of final image - some of the pencil is still visible!

Thanks for dropping by - questions are always welcomed . . .