Tuesday, October 27, 2009

While I'm away, this week & next week's posts will be about Artists I collect the work of. I want to share these artist's amazing stuff and ways to find them.

Jeremy Bastian:
Not only one of the most talented people I know, he's also a good friend to boot. Jeremy's work is amazingly detailed and creative. He does all his inking with a brush, which a lot of folks do, but not with Jeremy's 19th century engraver's-line sense. This piece was a gift because Jeremy knew how much I admired this character's design. You can find more of Jeremy's work at http://www.jeremybastian.com/

Mike Mignola:
Since 1993 when I saw the Wizard cover announcing Dark Horse's new Legend imprint, I have loved Mike's work. Hellboy has been one of my favorite comics ever, and I think Mike is a genius at panel by panel storytelling. I bought this piece from him in Chicago, which was my first big con to attend..it's also where I first met Mark Smylie). It took almost all my convention spending money to get this piece, but I really wanted it and Mike was pretty much the only guest I had come to see. http://www.hellboy.com/

Eric Canete:
I found Eric's work via his old blog (he has since overhauled it and started fresh) and was really amazed with how dynamic his compositions are. I love the energy and complexity he puts into each piece he does. Last year Eric did an Iron Man series for Marvel called 'Enter the Manderin' which just goes to prove he can do more than single images, he's a great storyteller as well. Just last week at the Big Apple Con, I browsed his original work and had to buy this Robotech/Macross piece. You can find Eric's blog here: http://kahnehteh.blogspot.com/

Evan 'Doc' Shaner:
Evan and I met through cartoonist Jay Fosgitt. Evan's work is more than just a 'throwback' to Toth lovers, he is really doing something original that it's hard to quantify. It's familiar and different at the same time. Evan's mugshot lineups are one of the staples of his commission list, so I recently asked for him to do a lineup of my favorite X-men team, the All-New/All different Giant Sized team. I also love that Evan is hand coloring these with guache. You can catch up with Evan's blog here: http://www.evanshaner.com/

Katie Cook:
Katie often gets labeled as a 'cute' artist, and while she knows how to work the cute angle, I think she is also equally witty and genuine. Though Katie does full sized commissions and comic pages, she is becoming more well known for her mini-paintings. They can range from comic characters to food mascots, to harry potter teachers, to cult movie creatures for subject matter. Katie seems to have no end to her familiarity with all things geeky. This mini-painting she did for Julia and I on our 5th wedding anniversary. You can follow Katie's blog here: http://katiecandraw.typepad.com/

Nate Pride:
Nate's artistic talent hasn't been as widely seen as it should due to his years placing balloons and aligning text. But, it's clear to me that his real place is as a pencil and ink guy. Nate's linework is something that I envy. He can throw down a perfect contour line to describe someone's arm or leg in a single stroke, or make hundreds of little hatches and tics that make a surface look moldy or weathered. This piece is one I bought from him a few years back at the Motor City Con. Nate can come up with these great characters that seem for all the world like they have a backstory and life to them. You can check out Nate's work here: http://www.natepride.com/

Jay Fosgitt:
Jay and I met through e-mail and then later in-person after he and his wife moved to my neck of the woods in Michigan. Jay's sense of humor is one of the things I like best about his work. On top of having beautifully clean smooth inks, he knows how to poke fun. Jay and I are both big Jim Henson fans. To return a favor, he offered to draw me my favorite Henson-based character..I told him it was a toss up between Gonzo and a Skeksis. He was awesome enough to do them both and throw a gag in for good measure. You can follow Jay's blog here: http://jayfosgitt.blogspot.com/

Duncan Fegredo:
Like many fans of Hellboy, I was nervous about a Hellboy book not drawn by Mignola. I didn't have the problem with BPRD and Guy because it was always intended to be a spin-off book. So when Darkness Calls hit shelves with Duncan's artwork I was very pleased to see what he had done. His next Hellboy arc: The Wild Hunt, is even better and I had to get some of his work to own. The cool thing about buying Duncan's work is that he pencils, scans the pencils and prints them out in blue-line on heavy bristol and inks the blue-line. So when you get a page from him, you get both the pencils and the inks are separate pieces. You can check out Duncan's site here: http://www.fatotto.nildram.co.uk/Site/index.html

next week 8 more awesome artists, originals, and links

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This week's post is a bit of a hodgepodge. After doing 5 signings in the last 7 weeks, I only have unrelated bits & bobs to share

New York Highlights:
While in New York for the Big Apple Con I had two major highlights.

1) Tour of 30 Rock studios.
Scott Adsit who plays Pete Hornberger on the show is a comics fan. We met at Heroes this year and I did a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen piece for him (which I don't have a scan of unfortunately) He, in turn, invited Julia and I to visit the set while they were shooting. We met Tina and Alec, and watched them all film a scene with Scott. Later we sat in on a table read where the entire cast was there. It was great! Thanks Scott! I owe you another LoEG piece!
(Photo: me sitting in Liz's chair in her office on-set)

2) Meeting Carol Cleveland
I'm a big Monty Python fan. Holy Grail ends up on my top 5 movies list fairly consistently. And at the Big Apple Con I was able to meet Carol "the female python". I always appreciated that besides her fitting the bill and looking sexy and cute in their skits, she completely got the sense of humor and had great comedic timing. She signed a "Zoot" photo for me and took time out to talk to me all three days of the con. I love that in this photo we took together, Carol still looks like herself (and not a victim of vain plastic surgery) and I still have the look on my face from when I was 11 and giggled all the way through the Castle Anthrax scene in Holy Grail)

The Old Guard:
While searching through old sketchbooks, portfolios, and file cabinets I found a bunch of Mouse Guard work from '02/'03. This would have been about one to two years before starting on 'Belly of the Beast', but I think shows a very close connection to the art from that first issue.

Saxon, Kenzie, & Abe: In this incarnation Saxon had studded armor but his trademark ear-notch and longsword were there from the start. Kenzie had a long tunic and coat-style cloak. My goal for his longer and more coarse fur is evident near his cheeks. Abagail was 'Abe' at this point. Healers had hoods as a trademark in my mind, but male or female, I knew this character was up to no good.

Sadie, Quiggly, & Lieam: You can see Sadie's dagger was part of her early history as was Quiggly's hat and squinty gaze. Lieam's cloak was more like a coat here and the 'triangle sword' looked more like a traditional short sword. This drawing of Lieam I did at a family function and I remember after all the stippling thinking 'I could keep up this style of work forever'

Aubrey, Gwendolyn, & Rand: Aubrey has only been seen in a few panels of the comics so far, but it looks like I borrowed her skirt and belt design for the current incarnation of Gwendolyn's costume. Gwendolyn always had a polearm as a weapon. Rand's shield design started as something based on crusade shields, but has now taken on new meaning I will explore in later series .

Celanawe & Midnight: My goal for Celanawe was to show him as an amazing old grizzled mentor who can still hold his own, but has a backstory where he was even more impressive in his prime. I think this may be the first drawings of Celanawe. Midnight was a good character at this point. He had a backstory made up by a pal of mine where he was a former circus performer turned swords-mouse. I kept the name and look, but changed most else about him.

Fan Art:
At Dragon Con I had my first experience with Mouse Guard costumes aka Cosplay. The female trio reminded me of the drawing Nate Pride did for me a while back of a more booth-babe geared Mouse Guard. Thanks ladies for your dedication!!

For the next two weeks, I'll be in Ireland and will be unable to type up new blogposts. I plan on using the time to do a bit of research for later Mouse guard stories and to see fans in the UK. So, as I have done in the past, I'll pre-type some posts for Blogger to auto-update for me. The subject matter will be Artists whose work I collect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Legends of the Guard:
Mouse Guard will have an anthology spin-off mini-series starting next year called Legends of the Guard. The handpicked creators will be getting to tell their own stories in the Mouse Guard world. The list of creators on-board so far is very hush-hush, but a few names that I can mention are Jeremy Bastian, Nate Pride, and Mark Smylie. You can read a little more about it on CBR.

Design tips:
When I was in high school and my friends and I wanted to design characters (or perhaps even redesign our characters costume) we would use a sheet of photocopied 'blank' superheroes. This way we could just draw costume ideas or try colors without having to redraw the human form over and over and over.

When it came time to design Mouse Guard clothing, I used the same technique. I drew two 'blank' mice and copied them so I had a full sheet worth. And just like with my high school heroes, I can sketch out ideas, even crazy ones, without having to redraw the model. I find this very freeing to my designs. Not only do I save time, but I'm more likely to try unlikely ideas because of the lack of risk in screwing up the drawing underneath. Here you can see some of the designs that ended up going into the Winter extras and epilogue.

As a long-time turtles fan, I was really happy to pick up and read the collected volume that was just released this summer. And I found out that someone I owed a favor to, was also a TMNT fan, specifically of Raph. So I took the opportunity to do a drawing for him. After I colored it and mailed him the original inks and a color print, I thought it would be fun to play with photoshop to replicate the look of the old B&W style tones that were used in the original series. Here are the results.

As long as we are on the subject of gifts and fan art. I wanted to share this piece I did as a gift for Mike Mignola. I love Hellboy and was really taken with the twist the latest 'Wild Hunt' storyline has taken. After reading Issue #6 I was forcing Julia to read the issue and study the panels and impact of what Mike and Duncan had done. I was planning on doing a drawing for Mike that I owed him for a favor, but the recent issues cinched what the subject would be. Julia and I want to express thanks to Mike and Christine and Katie for their kindness.

Fan Art:
Christopher Rice dropped this off at the Archaia booth at the Long Beach show while I was away from the table. It's funny because I saw him working on it in the Archaia panel at that show. Sorry I missed meeting you Christopher, and than you for the artwork!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simple Model Layout Trick:

I'm happy everyone is enjoying the step-by-steps and behind-the-scenes posts I have been making about the process of making Mouse Guard. This week, I'm showing a model I made to help me keep track of mouse placement. For the funeral pyre scene in issue #6, I knew I wanted more than just the key characters present. And to keep track of all those mice, I'd need a layout key.

I used paper plates to rough in the balcony shape. Then I took soldier pieces from my RISK set to represent my characters. I used key colors for key players (though I was limited to the Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Black, and Grey that RISK comes with) and filled in the rest with grey. I toyed with the placement of each of them, knowing who needed to be close to each other for the dialogue.

Once I liked the placement, I drew circles around each piece's base and labeled what character was there. I took photos from several angles. This way I should be covered, but if not, I can recreate the scene using my guide photo. I really like the simplicity of some of these types of models. It didn't take any more than 20 minutes to set-up, and saved me far more than 20 minutes down the road of drawing and coloring.

Winter 1152 in Previews!
The Black and White ed. of Winter is in the Oct. Previews! Winter has received the same treatment as Fall 1152: 12" x 12" Printed pages (same size as the original artwork), cloth cover, velum overlay pages, and slipcase. The fans asked for it and Archaia delivered. As mentioned before, the price has gone up, but only due to the hand-tipped-in vellum sheet count tripling from Fall's (from about 20 to about 60!). So if you would like one, have your local retailer to use order code: OCT09 0693.

Ink & Stein:
For the next few months, Ink & Stein will not be on the last Saturday of the month. Because it interferes with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we have bumped it a week before it normally would be (Oct. 24, Nov. 21, & Dec. 19). If you are an artist or writer in the South Eastern Michigan area and would like to join us, feel free to do so on all or any of the upcoming dates. We meet at 7pm at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI

Fan Art:
This piece was given to me at Windy City, I believe. Unfortunately, I don't know the artist's name other than it's signed 'Gabo'. I apologize, to the fans and the artist. I'm so swamped at conventions and being pulled in every direction, that I don't remember people's faces or names more often than I'd like to admit. If you are the artist in question, let me know and I'll credit you appropriately.

Upcoming Appearances:Baltimore Comic Con: Oct. 10-11
Big Apple Con Oct. 16-18Forbidden Planet London signing: Nov. 7
Live Reading at the Flint Public Library Dec. 8 (6:30 & 7:30pm)
(2010 dates coming shortly)

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