Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Tickle You Elmo

Hey everyone, Happy Thanks Giving. This is my rough sketch for the kiddie croakers cover. please let me know what you think?

Why am I doing homework right now....

Well, I have no idea if people will even see this before deadline because we all SHOULD be relaxing and indulging, yadda yadda. But for those who are still in crazy, robot, insane-o work mode, this is my cover idea/color comp for the DIG. SKim.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Open Call- Artist Opportunities

Possible portion of Tuesday's Lecture; We have a lot to do in three weeks.

It's almost a New Year, take the resolution to get your work seen.
You never know what it may lead to. There are opportunities posted at MassArt, another resource is here. Some have entry fees, some do not-- so shop around.

It's only SIX months until you seniors are out in the real world. If you wait to start promoting yourself then you'll be competing with EVERY other art school graduate on the planet.

Start now.
See you all on Tuesday.

Assignments for Tuesday 11.25 Class...

I'm expecting some nice prelims for the JC project as well at the Lit Illo.
Push yourself here, don't just go with your first thought.
Rework it, try a different angle, a different style, a different way of going about it.
Make it fit your portfolio-- this is your work.
Make this count.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

that's right..


DETOUR Final Post- WHY they were chosen, WHY they were not

As I said before, having the input from a prospective client as to why your work was or wasn't chosen is HUGE. I've gotten jobs where I can't understand why they came to me, and others where I thought it was a perfect match and it just didn't work out that way.

Here are the PROS/CONS of the 10 Finalists summarized by what was said by the editors;

Lindsay showed me this piece in a bad sketch that had vibrant colors. She was reluctant to show it because of the bad anatomy and in her mind this was just something she was playing with. What she didn't seem to get was this was such a far out idea (and who doesn't like Lincoln? OK, John Wilkes Booth and most of the South but they aren't our readers) that if this was handled right it would be a home run.

On selection day, the Editors were so impressed with this piece that they picked it as #1 over dinner that night and decided they would figure out the other four at our meeting on Thursday. Ironically, editor Jim Riel, who wasn't there on Tuesday but was at the meeting picked this as his #5 selection.

When we showed this to prospective comic book buyers they were very excited by it.

Among the editors, during the posting process from back in October, this was the piece they were most impressed by. I think Allison providing such detailed prelims made a huge difference in giving her an early lead. That's a positive thing with clients, communicate and don't make them try to figure things out.

As the process continued, many of them felt she was heading in the wrong direction color wise, and made those comments clear to me. Luckily they also posted on the blog and Allison took another look at it.

In the end, this was another piece that was highly rated by the editors, but I think the fact that it lacked the action of SPACE ABE (raygun, in a threatening position) made it score lower with the male editors who thought it was a beautiful piece, but dangerously close to feminine (Not a lot of our demographic).

Editor Alison Cowell, who is our creative genius at UCF, suggested we use this cover as a theme for the issue of "Friends and Monsters" which is what landed it at #2. It was like she set off a light bulb in the other editors heads.

Comic fans (male) were not immediately drawn to the book -- we had printed out the covers at full size and set them up to look like the actual books-- until they saw the back with the other monsters. Female fans loved it. Not a bad thing, James Jean scores much higher with women than men too.

Silvia kept this one pretty close to her vest, which can be risky. On the blog we only saw pencil prelims, examples of the kind of work she could do, and the start (background) of the piece. Comments along the way during the process ranged from "It seems very ambitious" to "I don't get it". Being familiar with Silvia's collage work, I expected this to be good.

On Selection day, they were blown away by this in person. One of the editors picked this as #1 and the others warmed up to it quickly. One of the other editors wrote; "I love this. It has a grown up-ness as well as a childishness to it. The technique was great."

I liked it because it was creepy. It also suggested multiple possibilities as to what issue it could run on. It would work for Winter, and almost was slated to run Jan 1, and it could work for Fall or Halloween. Having multiple choices really helped this.

Comic fans who read traditional (i.e. superhero) comics were not enthralled. The ones who read Vertigo type titles said they would pick it up.

This one was back and forth. Appreciating it's beauty, creeped out and repulsed by the vines in the noses. Was this a comic book cover? Probably not. More like a poster or a traditional book cover. But the recent take on graphic novels skews more towards "regular" books so I thought you could make the case for it. This one ended up in a tie breaker with two other pieces, BIGFOOTS BIG HEART and LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.

The striking color art and the happy memories of The Twilight Zone scored this some points. It also seemed to fit well with Spring-- and we needed a cover for that issue.

5. MR WIGGLES GETS A VISITOR (These all, by the way, are just titles I'm making up)
This one scored so high among comic fans, and one of the editors, that it was decided we'd run it on our Halloween Spectacular-- which to date is our biggest selling edition, and then one we really go wild with.

This is a perfect example of providing information to your client when you show your work. If Doc Burney hadn't had his ORIGINAL sketch up on the wall, he wouldn't have been chosen. On selection day, the colors really worked against the piece, but editor Derek Ring was so impressed with the original sketch (and honestly it looked like something Derek or I would do) on selection day that he asked me if it was possible to choose the sketch and as Doc to rework the colors. I saw no problem with that since the sketch was strong enough to run as it was.

In terms of a committee style client relation, this is a good example of getting one of the judges on your side. This struck a cord with Derek and he fought for the piece's inclusion, convincing the other editors to go along. I think Doc is a comic fan, and this probably gave him a leg up.

And then the runners up;

GIRAFFES- a really beautiful piece of art, cleverly done. This was one of my personal favorites, but I agreed that we couldn't see how it fit as a cover for one of our anthologies.
With the anthology, I don't restrict content, and we've had some pretty scary things in there.

SNOWMAN- Another great piece, the biggest problem with this was where would it run? It would have to be WINTER and we weren't sure if people would feel like the content of the book didn't match up with the cover.

BIGFOOT- One editor wrote; "great sketch- if this was refined it would be a winner-- as I'm sure it will be someday." We toyed with the idea of doing a paranormal issue with this as the cover-- something we might have to talk to Will about for the future.

The Professor-- A stunning piece, extremely professional and perfect if we were doing DETOUR JR. In fact, we thought about doing a mock kids version, but we felt our regular readers wouldn't get it, and any new readers would be horrified if they picked up another issue.

LITTLE RED- Fantastic technique, the fact that you weren't sure what was going on until you looked at it for a few minutes worked for it and against it.
Someone suggested flipping the image-- i.e. the girl is lying on the field on the front cover, and when you look at the back you realize she's had an "encounter" with the wolf, which makes it a much stronger cover. This was one of Veronica's favorites, and she will be in touch with Dena.

Ultimately, they chose based on what worked best for the series.
If you'd like specific comments about your piece, just let me know, I have TONS of notes from this process.

Otherwise, let's put DETOUR to bed (for this year at least).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Colors are sweet...

...But there are too many of them! Hey ya'll, these are my color sketches/final layout sketch for Johnny Cupcakes. They were done a few days ago but apparently hates my internet at home, weird. I'm planning on doing the piece in watercolor (big surprise), that way the color bursts can have some sweet layering and transparency. As always, feedback is much appreciated, thanks.
*And congratulations to our WHOLE freaking class that won Detour, I'm both ecstatic and jealous.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cool story bro.

My friends I must tell you this very evening miss Allison and I forged an unholy alliance, one that shook the very mountain tops. It ran over the hills, cutting through forests and on the lips of everyone it touched..


Drawing by Bamcat. Colors by Miss Lindsay.

JC with light bursts!

Hey there guys,
It feels weird doing something for this class that doesn't revolve around Detour, but I must move on. Here is my layout for the JC ad. I have a pretty good idea how I want the color/medium to be so when I get some time I will post that as well. I figured because it is an ad it should be simple but still eye-catching and interesting to look at so people don't skip over it. Thanks, Sarah.

PS: The guy basically has a cupcake-sized hole in his stomach and he is freaking out about it, oh not to mention that the rest of his hips aren't even there, its text. His shirt and arms/hands will be a dark color (I'm thinkin' navy-ish) and the light bursts will be showing through all the negative space, not over him as well.

Detour Project

I said yesterday and I'll say today, I was and am proud of you all and the work you did. It was a tough competition and if you got chosen pop the champagne corks (at least until they do the final round Thursday) and if you didn't, pull up a piece of sidewalk and sit next to me.

This happens all the time in the art world. I'm sorry to say. Inclusion in a gallery show, in books, and going up for gigs is part of the process and naturally so is not being chosen, and really, that's the only part of this whole amazing world of professional art that truly sucks.

It's the reason I have a 200lb heavy bag hanging in my commercial art studio. My fine art studio is close enough to the liquor cabinet that I don't need one in there.

You do your best work, you pour HOURS into it and then you don't get chosen. Sometimes it's just sheer numbers. I don't answer open calls-- competing with 15,000 other artists for one spot just isn't my bag and I have enough to do to pay the bills.

But last year I did one. The project was very involved and I really figured it out. I worked things into it no one else thought of and even though I knew there were a LOT of entries, including Veronica's, I thought she or I had a pretty damn good chance.

So we waited, and waited. We checked the blog they had set up and on the announced day of the winner they posted an extension which REALLY pissed me off. I had hit the deadline and they extended it!

So we waited some more; and the revealed the winner-- and it was such a piece of crap I couldn't believe it. Just some squiggly lines that probably took about thirty seconds in Illustrator.
Then they showed the Top Ten and they were all crap. I say this with all modesty that Veronica and mine were infinitely better-- better executed, more thought, and actual pieces of art.

What they chose were pieces, but they weren't pieces of art.

So as I sit here and encourage you to take a positive slant from this experience if yours didn't get picked, and how everyone's a winner-- I still think of the project I lost out on last year and want to hit the bag.

So I feel for ya. It's a big sidewalk, I'll slide over.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Art School Daze...seen through the wisdom of age

You wouldn't have liked me in art school. I was a dink.

Hard to imagine, eh? :)

I had a boy's face and wanted to be taken seriously. I used to bleach my goatee and my temples so they'd look gray, now I'm on the verge of coloring them so they look brown-- oh the irony!

I was confident, sure of the impact I needed to make on the art world, able to spot a poser a mile away and wanted to shove anyone who didn't take art as seriously as I did down a flight of stairs.

I had everything figured out, you see.

I had a great professor named Will Eisner who was a legend in the advertising and comics world, creating campaigns that we all knew and establishing companies that became HUGE based mostly on his work, developing comics as a visual artform like film and a master of the modern graphic novel. Will envisioned graphic novels being equally displayed in bookstores someday (as they are today) and I had tremendous respect for him, and he treated me very well-- especially since I was a dink.

In hindsight, I think he saw a lot of himself in me, and realized that while I had talent, I also was something of an idiot and wanted to be taken seriously without earning my stripes. He knew that someone would set me straight someday-- and he figured better to be that father figure I could come running back to than the guy to actually do it.

Along came Neal Adams, a legend in the comics industry, owner of Continuity Graphics in Manhattan, an advertising, graphic design and comic book company. I headed over there with my portfolio (and my attitude) and met the maestro. I think Will had suggested I go see him, but I don't remember for certain.

Neal kicked my ass sixteen different ways, to quote Chandler in The Big Sleep (my favorite book), he knocked out my teeth and then punched me in the stomach for mumbling. Just when I got up off the floor he kicked me back down, then took my broken body and hurled it down the steep flight of stairs to his office. I spent years as a boxer-- and I never took a beating like this one.

I basically crawled back down Fifth Avenue dragging my portfolio behind me.

I ended up at the base of the Empire State Building where I literally sat on the sidewalk, my portfolio beside me like a fallen comrade and I grew up.

I'd had critiques before. Once fairly tough one from a well known comic artist whose work I only thought was okay-- and I think that was the key. This was Neal Adams. To me, there was no better comic artist on the planet, with the exception of maybe Jack Kirby.

I sat there for a long time-- and I'm not making this up. With my jeans and sports jacket all covered in the dirt from a New York City sidewalk I sat there so long that someone actually dropped a dollar in front of me, probably assuming I was contemplating a jump from the observation deck a hundred or so floors up.

What I thought about was where I was at that point, where I wanted to go, and how I could get there. I also thought a little about humility and respect for those who had gone before me. I thought about the guys (and women) who had earned their stripes and decided it was time to get mine. I took Adams critiques and re-worked everything.

A few years later, I met Jack Kirby, showed him my portfolio and we became pals. My Pal Jack Kirby. He even sent me a magic pencil, one he said he used to draw 40 pages of KAMANDI with in a single weekend.

I have a similar relationship with Paul Ryan, who holds the record for most consecutive issues of the Fantastic Four and is currently the artist on The Phantom daily and Sunday comic strip. Paul is one of my favorite people and I could not have more respect for him and his work ethic.

So my point in all this, and I'm writing this the day after doing some mid-semester reviews for a few underclassmen and scheduling it for the Sunday before the big UCF critique, is if there is really one thing I learned from art school it's to take yourself less seriously, open your eyes to the work and talent around you and learn what you can from those who've gone before you.

That, and try not to be a dink.

Friday, November 14, 2008

John K's Yogi Bear

John K did a couple of cartoons based on Hanna Barbera's classic TV characters including A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RANGER SMITH which riffed how the character in the original cartoon never stayed on model, so he's constantly changing the way he looks throughout the episode.

FLINTSTONES; LIFE ON THE ROCKS in which Fred and Wilma almost get a divorce-- the scene of Fred and Barney in Speedos caused some tight ass parent groups to protest but it was HILARIOUS.

And my favorite BOO BOO RUNS WILD in which Yogi's innocent little sidekick decides he's no longer going to live by man's rules, tears off his bow tie and runs wild like a real bear. The Ranger is forced to shoot Boo Boo and Yogi tries to stop him.

I've got this in terrible quality and it just aired on Adult Swim again on Halloween. I'm looking for it on DVD and if I find it I will bring it in for classroom entertainment.
I do think if you've never seen a "real" Yogi cartoon you'll miss half the jokes, but this is a scream.
I love John K.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This Week's Tirade/ Ramble/ Lesson

We didn't have class this week, so I spent Tuesday lecturing the cat about his online persona and dealing with clients.
Guess I missed you guys.

I don't give a rat's ass about MySpace and Facebook-- I have both, they are handled by other people for me to merely have a presence. But I DO strongly recommend LINKEDIN.

Linked In is an account that I handle myself and it has led to WORK-- paying work. It has also allowed me to reconnect with old work comrades like Bob Camp of Ren & Stimpy fame and a few other fine folks with ties to the art industry.

More and more clients are doing a google search to see what they can learn about a freelancer before they hire them. Keep that in mind. You would hate to lose a gig because you posted pictures of that flag burning you attended with the caption "Suck it America!" or some other such stuff.

Check out Linked In-- it's free, set up an account and get ready for the big boy and girl world of making a living as an artist. Even my fine art friends have benefited connecting with Gallery owners around the world.

For those of you who love Batman.

... and dancing.


PS-- THIS is the very cowl I own-- from the pilot episode-- HOW GEEKY IS THAT!? See the pic below;

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

100 Free 15pt Postcards is offering 100 FREE postcards (you pay shipping) for five days only.
Enter code 100PCNOV at the checkout.
I have used them often and have been impressed every time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Literary Illustration Assignment

Details; 6x9 published size
Medium; Color preferred, but it's up to you.
Wants; A Modern take on a literary classic. I.e. something that hasn't been done before.
Deadline; First Prelim to me BEFORE 11.25.08

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today's Class 11.04.08

Critiques are always good, I was impressed with the progress you are all making.
Reminder; NO Class next week 11.11.08 BUT this does NOT mean you have two weeks off.
I expect to hear from ALL of you via email with scans by next Monday.

Begin loose concept sketches for A4-- just basic loose ideas. We'll get into them further when we return on the 18th.

Reminder on the 18th the UCF Editors are coming in for critiques, get your work to as final a stage as you can-- in fact FINAL would be good.

EMAIL me with questions and work progress this week.


This is what I was talking about in class today, I read the schedule for Saturday and Sunday and all that they are offering seem interesting and invaluable information. Full schedule at

Monday, November 3, 2008

Okay so.

I'm getting this printed tomorrow morning before class, and I'm kind of in a pickle here. (mm, pickle) I second guessed myself with the thermometer on the right there, and am torn between these three. Any thoughts before I go do this?