20 November 2009

Page 3

Here's the 3rd page, the title will be going on this page. Although I haven't decided on a title yet...

Pages 1 &2

Here's the final artwork for pages 1 & 2, with page 1 having final letters on it.

19 November 2009

Pages 1 & 2

In progress, The text isn't quite finalized, I'm debating if it's hokey or not. Also the 2nd page is done with the grey tones, and it obviously hasn't been lettered yet.

18 November 2009

Page 1

First page of my as of yet untitled graphic novel project. Not yet lettered, but I'm working on figuring out how to letter a page without it looking dumb, it's harder than you'd think.

13 November 2009

Zach Bush

Wow, this guy's work is amazing. Simply put. Great design work and a lot of fantastic illustration and digital manipulation stuff. Talented.

MFA Show.

The MFA show, despite it's lack of curation, seemed to work together pretty well.
A few of the pieces stuck out for me.

FIrst off the photos directly to the right of the entrance (there was no name up) I thought showed not only a great sense of craft, but an interesting subject as well. Particularly the one photo with the girl and the black paint splattered on her, I felt was effective.

The two landscapes by Caetlyn Booth, were...ok. I liked her use of color, and the actually landscapes depicted were nice and evocative. But I think the way they were painted I have a slight issue with, they appear to lean towards a simpler style, but their not quite simplified enough, but also aren't realistic looking enough, it's like they're straddling some line, and I feel she'd be better suited to go one way or the other.

Erin Dunn's installation was interesting, but I'm never sure how to actually respond to installations. I mean what's important? There are clearly a lot of things going on, but what to focus on is, I feel, an issue. I would have been happy to see her animation and images (I believe they were airbrushed) just hung up, along with all her wall decorations. The flowers, yarn, and chair, all those things around it, I'm just not sure what to make of all that.

Also the woodcuts and whatever the other thing on the hanging walls in the center of the main space, I liked those as well. Again, I think it comes down to the idea of they're a) cool looking and b) looked to require some effort to create. The colors cast on the wall from them I thought were neat.

On the other hand, the paintings on the back wall just didn't do anything for me. I'm never sure what to make of those things, I can enjoy abstract work, but I just don't get the color choices, and the look of those paintings. They're just not visually appealing to my eye.

Eillen Bhnke's paintings I thought were really well executed. I like the style she painted the people in, her use of colors like blues and teals in highlights, she made it clear that what you were looking at was a painting, and not an attempt at a photographic style image. The artist's style is clearly present in the paintings.

written stuff

Admittedly, I don't read a lot (outside of comics...even those I've been pretty behind on)

Over the summer I did read the Albert Camus book, the Stranger.
Well, at least the first part of it. Which I actually really enjoyed, I should finish it someday, but I'm pretty sure I won't. However, the part I read, actually I found to be quite inspiring. The main character in it, is just completely and utterly uncaring, it's as if nothing seems to really affect him. He's just totally unmotivated, but not only that, he kills a guy, with no need, he didn't have to, he actually didn't even need to ever go down there. And he just doesn't give a shit. I like that. Here's a character who's utterly resigned from life, he's no longer really a person, just a dead man walking.

Design Article
Chuck is the embodiment of the dreams of thousands of DeviantArt users—he started out in screenprinting just after high school, worked for t-shirt maker Threadless by day and began creating a name for himself in the online art community by night. Under the pseudonym NoPattern (now the name of his design shop), he achieved incredible success at a startlingly young age: You've seen his work before on projects with Pepsi, Urban Outfitters, Reebok, and many more. My personal favorite has to be the cover art for Lupe Fiasco's fantastic debut album, Food & Liquor:
An interview with the designer behind the new Windows 7 background and login screens. I found it to be rather interesting to read about some of the choices and the process behind going from a small time designer, working for threadless, and moving on to working with a huge company like Microsoft.

I haven't spoken about it explicitly yet, but Bruce Springsteen is a big influence of mine, I had read an interview with him, about the song Stolen Car.

BRUCE SAYS: “‘Stolen Car’ was the predecessor for a
good deal of the music I’d be writing in the future. It was
inner-directed, psychological; this was the character whose
progress I’d soon be following on Tunnel of Love. He was
the archetype for the male role in my later songs about men
and women.”
—Songs essay on The River.
“[‘Stolen Car’] was the presentation of that particular guy, of
somebody who was concerned with those ideas, for the first
time: that if you don’t connect yourself to your family and to
the world, you feel like you’re disappearing, fading away. I felt
like that for a very, very long time. Growing up, I felt invisible.
And that feeling is an enormous source of pain for people.
To make your life felt, it doesn’t have to be in some big way;
maybe it’s just with your family and with the job, the basic
things you live for. So to have somebody who could feel himself
slipping away from all that, and who didn’t know what to
do about it, that idea was related to the heart of almost all my
music. The struggle to make some impact and to create meaning
for yourself and for the people you came in touch with.”
—MOJO interview, 1998
The River, as an album, is one of my favorites, and Stolen Car is one of the (in my opinion) best songs off of it. This segment really sums up a lot of things I feel and relate too, and the song cuts to the heart of the themes and subjects I'm interested in. Again, this song and Fade Away, both are tunes that have been of great interest to me.

I already wrote a post about Dan Fogelberg, but his songs have recently seen a resurgence in my life and influences, I think it's because I've finally actually started listening to the lyrics and I've realized while he has quite a bit of real positive stuff (which doesn't quite relate to my thesis) when the man is bitter and down, damn it he writes a good song about it, and damn it that's kind of what I'm into.
Tucson, Arizona rising in the heat like a mirage
Tony keeps his Chevy like a virgin locked in his garage
He brings it out at midnight and cruises down the empty boulevards
And he prowls the darkened alleys that snake between the city's thirsty yards
The lonely desert skies reflect the anger in his eyes and it is dawn

His father died of drinking and left five children sinking with his mom
His older brother Bobby never made it back from Viet Nam
With high school well behind him he lives at home and works this shitty job
And he thinks his '60 Chevy is the only true amigo that he's got
His heart is filled with sadness and his soul is like some ugly vacant lot

Mary Estelle Hanna came out from Louisiana for the sun
A deal gone bad in Dallas left her burned and broke and on the run
To make the rent and groceries she takes this job at $3.15 an hour
Serving shots of whiskey and tequila in some smoky red-neck bar
And she dreams some day she'll make her way to L.A. and become a movie star

Tony saw her working, he swallowed hard and asked her for a date
Mary laughed and answered "I would but every night I'm working late"
He said he had some cocaine that she could have if she'd just ride along
She said "What the hell, I may as well, I haven't had no fun in so damn long"
He picked her up at closing time they pulled out on the road and they were gone

Tony's mom got frantic when she found her son had not come home
Mary's roommate panicked and called the sheriff from a public phone
They asked her lots of questions
She tried her best to tell them what she saw
And late that night they found poor Mary lying in some narrow, dusty draw
The coroner reported that she hadn't been deceased for very long

Two weeks on they found it buried to the windshield in the sand
There inside lay Tony with a small revolver in his hand
The papers simply stated it must have been the drugs that drove him mad
The neighbors speculated what could make a good boy go so bad
Well, it might have been the desert heat
It might have been the home he never had
This song talks about the kind of character I've found myself interested in, the burnt out guy on the edge, who, no one really suspects. The pervasive loneliness that Tony exists in, and the last line, hints at this larger idea, that this guy, he wasn't some random crazy, it was a building turmoil.

Casino Royale:
I've always liked James Bond, but the thing that must be taken into account when discussing James Bond, is that the book and the movie are wholly different characters. The Bond in the Fleming's books, is not a nice guy, I wouldn't even say he's charming. He's a desolate loner, who is capable of being charming only to accomplish a mission, he's a cold bastard. And I like that. The movie softens it up a lot, but in the book, when James Bond announces 'the bitch is dead' he moves on, immediately, he just shuts it all down and doesn't care about her afterward. The way he's so damn cold and calculated, that he's just an efficient man, a professional. It's a theme that interests me, the professional, who really has nothing for a heart.

Frank Sinatra. There's going to be a few entries about his songs, because I got into some of his 'concept records' that he recorded when he was at Capitol, and they follow and pertain to the characters and themes that I want to investigate with my work.

Sinatra lovingly calls these songs, 'Saloon Songs'. His live versions of them are wonderful if only for his introductions, the way he describes the characters in the songs, as a, 'guy whose girl left with all the dough, and he's out wandering the streets, down at the bottom, looking for someone to connect to, he thinks he'll find it in a bar'. That's the gist of what he says, but it's something that I think about a lot.

First up: One For My Baby.

It's quarter to three, there's no one in the place, Except you and me.
So set 'em' up joe, I got a little story, I think you should know
We're drinking my friend, to the end, Of a brief episode
Make it one for my baby, And one more for the road
I know the routine, put another nickel in the machine
I feel kind of bad, can't you make the music, Easy and sad
I could tell you a lot, but it's not, In a gentleman's code
Make it one for my baby, And one more for the road
You'd never know it, but buddy I'm a kind of poet
And I've got a lot of things I'd like to say
And if I'm gloomy, please listen to me, Till it's talked away
Well that's how it goes, and joe I know your gettin'
Anxious to close, Thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn't mind, My bending your ear
But this torch that I found, it's gotta be drowned
Or it's gonna explode
Make it one for my baby, And one more for the road
Again, the themes that interest me, are heavily present here, and the song itself is a character study, about a man at the end of the road. Someone who's looking to drown out their problems, and let them loose on some stranger.

last artist related post.

Sean Phillips.

Yes, it seems he occasionally paints. But really, he's a comic book artist! (suprised?)
I do really love his oil work, I like the weight of his paint and the colors he chooses, the way he uses contrast.

But his comic art is what I enjoy the most (see the trend here?) His work his reminiscent of old black & white film noirs, like Blast of Silence (which he did the DVD cover for) Maltese Falcon, Touch Of Evil, things like that. I'm a big fan of his brush work, the way he uses shadow, and his handle on composition and form. The way he handles action is how a competent director would, he frames everything clearly, but each panel could be framed on your wall too.

12 November 2009

More images

Continued from the last post:

This is a series of posts outlining my artist influences over the years. So far I've covered two. Moving onto the next...

Mike Mignola.
Yes, the guy who created Hellboy. For those who've only watched the movies....forget them. They capture some of the ideas and themes of the comic, but they're really inferior in comparison. The comic deals with so many different ideas, especially with plenty of literary, biblical, mythological, historical, and folklore references and connections, that no movie could really contain.
Also the whole tone and look is all it's own.
Mike Mignola is one of those artist who is completely and utterly distinguishable. He is absolutely his own style, imitated often, but never quite equaled. The way he uses shadow and graphic elements to create atmosphere and depth, is wonderful, everything he draws feels like is has weight. The way he tells a story and the way he focuses on the smaller details, like a bird chirping, or a closeup of a statue in the background to create dramatic tension is something I've tried to incorporate into my own storytelling. He works a style consisting of line and heavy shadow, and it works, amazingly well.

Again, Mike Mignola's stories tend to deal with that darker side, with the idea that you are what you are, and your path can only be changed so much, but eventually you will have to face down that beast inside. The idea of redemption is something also present in Mignola's work and it's something that I've been interested in as well.


Ok, this was bound to show up, Frank Miller, back before he became Hollywood famous, was incredible. The Dark Knight Returns (written and illustrated by Frank Miller, in 1986) effectively turned comics into an 'adult' medium.

While his recent stuff has been....well let's just be nice and say, kind of crappy. Back when he did Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, Frank Miller was awesome. Both books feature totally different styles however, and they suit their different genres perfectly. Sin City is stark black & white noir, while Dark Knight Returns is this detailed look at what happens when our heroes get old and the world around them is falling apart.

Frank Miller's art has really been one of the biggest steady influences on my art. The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City books follow me around wherever I go, so much so that I actually refuse to allow my copy of Dark Knight Returns to leave my room, it's the one book that I won't let anyone borrow.

I think it's really how he draws people that I've always liked, the way he exaggerates forms, where they have their clear realistic underpinnings, but they're more than what is real, not in that whole muscular to the point of insanity way, but his heroes seem larger than life, even when they're beaten and broken, dead even. Also the way he writes, while he is consistently becoming more and more of a parody of himself, he used to write books that weren't filled with camp.

Image collection.

I'm working on finishing up my image collection, and I went looking through what got me into this whole mess, what I was looking at when I first started putting pencil to paper, and attempting to scratch out a picture.

So what I'd like to do is just post about the artists that really influenced me throughout the years, and present it as a time line, what inspired me and why. Here goes....

I'd like to begin with Derek Yangier. My first memory of drawing were pictures of Transformers.
Yes, the robots that turned into vehicles and stuff. I have fond memories of them. But what I really remember is my Grandpa taking me to the comic book store to buy my first comics, he wasn't so much person, but he was a draftsman, and I think maybe the mechanical nature of Transformers maybe convinced him to buy me more Transformers comics. Either way, Transformers comics, were what got me into drawing, I wanted to create my own adventures for these characters and try to learn how to draw like the guys who did the comics did.

Derek Yangier was the original artist on the Transformers comics from the early 90s, I remember looking at his art before I could even read, I'd have to wait for my mom to read the comics for me, but the pictures were all that really mattered (at least that's what my memory tells me, I'd have to look up dates to confirm this, despite looks, I was able to read at a regular age...). I was just enthralled by the way he rendered these machines, with this bulky energy, and the way he used shadows to create dramatic scenes. Somehow in the excess that permeated comic books in the 90s, the Transformers comics (while they gave in to some extent) were tackling mature subjects, dealing with betrayal, death, morality, hopelessness. Yangier's art seemed to reflect this more mature feeling, with each character showing the scars of years of battle.

See covers like the one above, those were the things I was looking at, Megatron is holding a guy's disembodied head. I couldn't have been older than 8 when I saw that, that's what I grew up on.

I feel like, maybe that has something to say about my current fascination with the darker side of man, and the things that drive us to the edge. It also marked the beginning of my fascination with comic books and telling stories through a visual medium. Thank you Grandpa.

Next up: Joe Kubert.
Joe Kubert, again, an artist I sort of grew up with. My first time seeing his art was when I was in middle school. Joe Kubert, for those who either don't know or don't care, is an artist who began working the the 40s, drawing war related comics specifically Sgt. Rock, a character who has continued into today, with Kubert illustrating a few new stories featuring the character. Lately he's done a number of books dealing with the Holocaust, Jewish gangsters in Depression era New York, and Fax from Sarajevo (which dealt with things in...Sarajevo, I haven't read it yet, but it's serious).
Anyway, Joe Kubert lives in Dover, NJ, and has a fully accredited college where the old Dover High School used to be. Dover just so happens to be located right next to my hometown, and the Joe Kubert School holds Saturday morning sketch classes for those that aren't of college age yet. I attened those class throughout middle school and high school, I think that's where I learned a lot of what I know, I never took any art classes in my regular school till my senior year, so what I learned, was learned there.

While I didn't actually begin reading any Kubert books till high school, he clearly had a huge influence on my own art education. When I finally began looking at his work, I figured out why it is that he's got his own school. The man is really a master of his craft. I've tried to pick up on how he uses line and brushwork to evoke emotion and mood. His storytelling is always very clean and easily understood, and the way he inks his work has this wonderful loose quality, that just oozes style. I've often found myself trying to incorporate his use of brushwork into my own pieces.

08 November 2009


A museum that features only comic book art?!?!? Awesome.

06 November 2009

Ask the artist: Chuck Anderson

An article about the designer behind the new Windows 7 background. Interesting stuff.

05 November 2009

Grad Schools.

Catching up on this post.

I have no desire to attend Grad School.
There, said and done.

I've already spent the last 4 years being screwed over in a variety of ways by universities, between transferring switching around my major, and all in all being neglected and left out in the cold pretty much. (no I'm not bitter or anything.....)

The absolute last thing I desire to do is attend grad school, accumulate a stupid amount of debt, and for what? To gain a graduate degree for something that I don't really intend to do? My 'plan' as it were, is to go into the design field, which from what I've read and been told by people, you don't need grad school for it. So why bother? I'm just fed up with all the bullshit of school, I'm ready to move on and do something new, maybe not better...but at least different.

This class has opened me up to some to the art world, that book 'Seven Days in the Art World' has told me more about the 'art world' than I ever cared to know. I simply have no desire to go to grad school and struggle to get into that world, and deal with the pretentious asses that seem to permeate every corner of that book. It's just simply a world I have no desire to live in.