Saturday, September 29, 2007


JAMES - i'm just really not that psyched with this month's cover. it's good enough i guess, and i was really into it as i was illustrating it, but when it came time to add the photo, it became kinda lackluster. it was a tough assignment, because it had to be about this 'ghost hunter' guy in Asheville, but instead of me just doing a full-on illustration, the publishers wanted me to incorporate a photo. except the photo wasn't given to me until the last minute, and making an exciting composition within the limitations of the photo was real HARD. not to mention the deadline was quickly approaching.

so i came up with the best idea i could, and quickly got to work. first, clean and detailed pencils with minor watercolor washes. then a layer of matte medium, and then more watercolor around the ghosts with charcoal and some acrylic.

tightened it up with red ink lines and more matte medium, then white paint to spook out the ghosts.

once in photoshop, i did alot of color adjusting to get it where i wanted and added that photo - which was tough to cut out and place in my painting. i slapped the logo on and showed it to the folks at the office. the first reaction was "Cool!", then another couple of reactions were like "Oh, look - sperms!"
well, shit, i guess i didn't notice THAT. so back to photoshop for some emergency color adjusting. i have to say the ghosts look cool to me, but as a cover and as a compostion, i just don't think it's effective or clear. striking, yes. good, no. oh well, next month should be alittle easier, since i already know the cover story (the first time i have it so early) so i'll get started on sketches this week. i have a little redeeming to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Figure Drawing

1 minute poses
1 minute poses
15 min & 17 min poses
JAMES - my first figure drawing session here in North Carolina. i was a little rusty, but the model was fantastic and it was alot of fun. the short poses are always my favorite - these are all just vine charcoal on 19x25 drawing paper.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Down By The Riverside

JAMES - i've been spending alot of time outside in Asheville, and especially by the French Broad River. there are some nice parks all around, so i bring a sketchbook. trying my best to establish different textures, lighting, depth and convey all the nuances of nature that i can while just using a pen. it's great practice, and it's very relaxing too. the vertical one was really hard, cuz the distance between the wood planks in front and the building in back is really far - i may try that one again. i tried to make up for it by really accentuating the tree hanging in the very front.

there are lots of people around too - great sketching subjects (i'll post that another time) - and lots of them come up and talk for awhile. like yesterday i met a little kid, couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 - his dad says he draws 4 hours a day and already had some stuff in a gallery that he collaborated with someone else. hope he keeps it up.

all the drawings are just with Micron pens (#0.2, 0.5 & sometimes #1). and the paper in this book is super!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"Listen, Sweetie" + The Man In The Boat

JAMES - so i was doing some sketching, and i had a long weekend coming up, which allowed me some time to work on some illustrations using techniques i wanted to test out. then Tom Dash emailed me about some shows he needed flyers for, can i do them? for the Spider Bags, hell yeah! plus Glenn Mercer (ex-Feelies). put 2+2 together, and i have some incentive to work on those illos.

the top sketch is a riff on a panel in one of Alex Toth's comics (i can't find it again, or i woulda posted it). originally i had the idea to do the illo just like that, in one color ink. then another illo right on top (in different color ink) with the characters in a different pose. with the bottom sketch, i hit a nerve somewhere and i went with it.

"Listen, Sweetie" obviously ended up very differently. i just kept layering paints + inks. brown shellac ink, black india ink, watercolors, acrylic matte medium, yellow, white and red FW inks, many brushes, all on vellum bristol (which stayed pretty strong). at the end, i put a piece of clear acetate over it and painted the lettering on that, so the illustration is separate from the text.

with 'The Man In The Boat', i was keeping Mike Sniper's posters in mind when composing it, and got real fancy with the #2 brush when inking. i liked the colors on the original sketch, so i just used the same markers to color it. then a little post-production, to take it further than i usually do with these style illustrations. a louch of watercolor, lots of pencil over the inks, white paint, white crayon, white chalk, and finished the details with some Micron markers (#0.2 + Permopaque). same thing with the lettering on a layer of acetate.
they're both 8.5x11. i did them both at the same time, and pretty quickly too, considering that i did some extra steps to preserve the un-texted illustration. what's next....