Thursday, January 29, 2009
First of all, I made it onto Lines and Colors, one of my favorite blogs. It was a very nice e-mail to come home to after a very long day. Thank you to Mr. Parker for helping to promote my upcoming lecture. It is truly an honor.
Thursday was busy. It was one of those day where you don't realize how much you've packed into your schedule until you take your shoes off upon entering your home. I had the privilege of accompanying my roommate, R. Kikuo Johnson, to the Rhode Island School of Design (where we originally met). He is currently teaching a wintersession comics class and invited me to give a lecture and demonstration, which was a wonderful experience. The kids (mostly freshmen) were eager and talented, and seemed to really enjoy the class. Because of the intimate environment, the small group also served as a sounding board for my talk on color, which I'm still composing.
Included in my slideshow was the above image, something I completed at the same point in my life: wintersession of my freshmen year (a whopping 9 years ago). The heavily Photoshopped illustration was the first thing I did for Jim Krueger, who put a lot of faith in me very early on. I actually just talked to him just the other day and am looking forward to seeing him again at the New York Comic Con.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
If you're going to draw mainstream comics, you have to be able to draw the human figure. You also have to be able to draw guns. I tend to use the same pistol over and over again: the Colt M1911. It's a great gun for a number of reasons specific to the comic book artist. First of all, it's old, yet it hasn't changed much in the last century (1911 refers to the year it was produced). Second of all, it's a well designed gun and, therefore, widely used by many different people and organizations. Finally, it has a recognizable silhouette that is both easy to draw and beautiful in it's own way (neglecting the intended purpose of the machine).
Because of these characteristics, the M1911 is appropriate to use in any number of situations, from a police shoot-out with drug dealers to a WWII battle. It may not be exactly what may have transpired, but it's well within the realm of possibility.
I have two 1:6 scale models that are decently proportioned, but I recently bought an additional one with an unprecedented level of detail. Not only do the ammunition clips detach, but the cocking action is mimicked as well. The gun is produced by Soldier Story and pictured below. They don't package the guns separately, but it's easy to find them for sale on ebay as loose parts.
Another great reference is YoutTube, where you can see the gun in action. Since the comic artist usually draws these guns being used, it helps to have some background in their basic operation.
But before I go, where would we be without a "wacky" reference photo? Here I am posing as a drug dealer in Amazing Spider-Man #577. I'm holding a paintball gun that I've only shot a couple times.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So Spider-Man and Wolverine walk into a bar... hilarity ensues. This Wednesday, The Amazing Spider-Man: Extra! #2 will hit comic book shelves across the country. Zeb Wells and I have an 18 page back-up story that I hope you'll enjoy. It's my first crack at coloring interiors and, hopefully, not my last.
Here's the same panel without the blessing of Phather Photoshop:
I feel like I haven't gotten much artwork done since this issue... a whole lotta writing lectures, doing sketches, and running errands. I'm still getting the Red Sonja Step by Step feature organized as well. The good news is I'm focusing on painting for the next month or so, about 6 covers in all, a couple of which are my new favorites. And a couple that may garner some publicity. We shall see. I'll show as soon as Marvel will let me.
Later this week, I'll be heading back to RISD as a visiting critic. My colleague (and roommate), R. Kikuo Johnson, is teaching a comics class this wintersession and invited me to join him. I can't wait.
And finally, to stick with tradition, here's another panel of Spider-Man being cold:
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Paolo Rivera: Comics, Color, and Composition
In preparation for the New York Comic Con, the Brooklyn Public Library will present a lecture on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009. Paolo Rivera, a professional comic book artist since 2002, will give a talk on his career and creative process. The lecture will begin at 7:00pm in the Dweck Center of the Central Library on Grand Army Plaza.
Rivera has worked for Marvel Comics on some of their best-known characters, from the X-Men to Captain America. In 2008, collaborating with writer Paul Jenkins, he completed Mythos, a fully-painted collection of origin stories featuring Marvel’s greatest superheroes. With the hardcover now published, Rivera divides his time between The Amazing Spider-Man and painted covers for various titles.
The lecture will focus on Rivera’s career path, as well as the extensive process of creating a single comic book page. In addition, he’ll explore some of the practical theories behind legible artwork, from color and composition to gesture and perspective.
Free to the public and open to all ages, the lecture will be followed by a question and answer session (so future comic book artists are welcome).
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In this page from Mythos: Captain America, I portray both Captain America and his soon-to-be sidekick Bucky Barnes. Bucky's face is based on my former intern, Orpheus, who was kind enough to send me turnarounds of his head. You may also notice I'm holding my favorite magazine, Illustration. Buy it! It's awesome.
By the way, we're exactly 2 weeks away from my lecture at the Brooklyn Public Library. I'll have an official press release soon, but here's the basic info:
Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
Dweck Center, Brooklyn Public Library
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This just in: New York is still cold. I think from now on I'll just post a drawing of Spider-Man in the cold every week. Maybe not.
In other news, I got to use my new palette for the first time last week. It's the same old palette as before, but bigger and better. This model comes with a separate section for storing paint in resealable cups, not to mention water.
And thanks to all of you who braved the cold on Friday night to see the Sequential exhibition. I had a great time... hope you did too.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Well, this is it — my 200th post! I don't have anything special planned, but I suppose I've got an announcement:
Tomorrow night is the Sequential Opening at the Society of Illustrators. I've got 4 pieces in the show, all framed and shiny (with refreshments to boot). Info:
Society of Illustrators
Illustrators 51: Sequential Category
Friday, January 16th , 2009
6:00 - 9:00PM
And just a friendly reminder: only one week until the Spectrum deadline. Submit!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Page 16 from Mythos: Captain America dramatizes the frozen, violent moments following the mid-air explosion that sent Steve Rogers into suspended animation. To accomplish this I used several reference sources ranging from myself to a 1:6 scale action figure. I try to avoid drawing from mannequins for anatomy and gesture, but I find them indispensable for clothing reference. However, I rarely copy the contours verbatim; the model serves as more of an inspiration for the types of folds and furrows one would find at full scale.
It's much easier to pose the figure (my college roommate named him Captain Catastrophe) rather than trying to photograph myself in the correct costume. These figures are now widely available online, complete with highly detailed clothing of just about every period and style. And that's not to mention all of the accessories. I'll dedicate a future Wacky Reference Wednesday to my tiny arsenal of 1:6 scale weapons.
You may have seen this maquette previously. Here, I've partially submerged him to get an accurate water-line.
And here's me hamming it up. Google didn't pay me to wear that — my former roommate used to work for them. Of course, they do host this blog.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Whenever I paint the Silver Surfer, the toughest challenge is getting his chrome-covered figure to look somewhat convincing to the casual observer. Trophies can give you a good approximation of what the real deal would actually look like, but you can never find the right pose and it can be difficult to photograph. This is primarily because an electroplated object has no intrinsic look of its own; you are essentially painting a warped vision of the surrounding environment. The major difference is that the shapes and colors are juxtaposed at odd, sinuous seams. Also, if portraying a less polished Surfer, there are additional shifts in color and value.
So what to do? Simplify. Imagine a sphere with the desired texture and paint it. but don't just place it on your painting, imagine it within the simulated environment. Once a convincing shape has formed the foundation, it is much easier to build a more complicated structure, perhaps even one that is reflecting itself in some instances.
I first came across this concept when looking at a Jurassic Park "Making of" book. They used a real mirrored ball to catalog the complicated lighting found in the canopied forest. This spherical panorama was then mapped into the comuputer to create a more life-like lighting environment, one that would match up well with the real-world actors. When this step is ignored, you end up with CG effects that look "off." You may not be able to say exactly why it doesn't look right, but your brain knows.
James Gurney does a similar trick when setting up maquettes for his more involved paintings.
Here is another version of the sketch, albeit with a much different environment. Ultimately, my editors favored one of my other sketches, but I think I'll eventually see one of these through to completion.
Speaking of mirrors, my Mom gave me a very thoughtful gift this Christmas: a custom felt sleeve for my mirror stand. Thanks, Ma!
Friday, January 9, 2009
This past Christmas, my Dad and I got my Mom a tabletop studio set-up for product photography. I decided to give it a quick test run when I saw my old chess set, which I had posted about previously. I never took proper pictures of the set back in 2000, so it was long overdue.
The face-hugger is made of elasticlay, a type of sculpey that cures, but doesn't harden when cooked. It has a galvanized steel skeleton and remains bendable to this day.
The chest-burster above has a tail made of elasticlay, but the main body is super sculpey. And those teeth? Truncated pushpins.
And for those of you who may be interested, here's a link to some tabletop studio products:
Table Top Studio
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Almost forgot! I managed to get into the Society of Illustrators show, Illustrators 51: Sequential, part of an annual competition. The show is up from January 7 - 24, with an awards ceremony Friday, January 16, from 6 - 9. There will be 4 original pages from Mythos: Captain America, including the one featured above. I'm pretty sure they'll have artwork from other artists too.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Good morning! It's actually almost 11PM but I only woke up a couple hours ago, having stayed up all night to finish my latest project. In stores January 28th, Amazing Spider-Man: Extra! #2 features an 18 page story by Zeb Wells and myself. It's my first crack at coloring my own art (aside from painting), so I hope you'll enjoy it.
I'd also like to thank my roommate, Steve, for keeping me alive with quick, but delicious meals, allowing me to work furiously for 8 days straight. Thanks to my girlfriend, April, for understanding that we'll be celebrating her birthday a few days after the fact. And, last but not least, my former intern, Orpheus, without whose help I wouldn't have met my deadline — literally. This guy prepped most of my color files (even while taking a trip to Costa Rica, no less).
Happy New Year, by the way. Haven't had a chance to really take it in yet. I've got a bunch of exciting projects coming up, including a whole host of the coolest cover assignments I've ever gotten. In addition, there's a pro bono gig that I'm dying to tell you all about — but I don't want to jinx it. All I'll say for now is that it's not for Marvel.
On the commissions front, I'll try to get a couple done this month, but there's no guarantee. Between an upcoming lecture (more on that later), the New York Comic Con, and a visit to my alma mater, the beginning of the year is looking jam-packed.
As always, thank you for reading... and all the positive comments. You can make negative ones, too! I promise I won't cry (in front of you).