Monday, December 29, 2008

Her Master's Voice

JAMES - "So she is this debutante, the daughter of a fashion mogul, who became the object of affection for a quite boorish, so-called photographer whose reputation for ______ is only outdone by his ability to ______ his victim's ______. The prick. Lord only knows, her debut was a smashing success."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tiger On The Doghouse

JAMES - a new poster for the Orange Peel. the bands are pretty country-western, and when i came up with the tiger , i thought it was real cool, but wasn't sure if it'd work for a country group. but i was also trying to solve the problem of what to do with the dark area on the right side, and so adding the upright bass and making the claw marks be the strings solved both problems. the tattered ribbon with a scrawled serif lettering was the clincher.
i did a pencil drawing, at full size 11x7, and then inked it on two layers of very nice, smooth, translucent vellum (one layer for the tiger, one layer for the ribbon and lettering). all with the usual #2 Raphael brush, Black Star india ink, and a Japanese Nikko G nib for the lettering. the lines come out just so smooth on the vellum - this may become an obsession.

detail shot

originally, the poster was commissioned as black & White, but i felt like the introduction of color, especially the 3-D magenta/cyan colors, made it alot more eye-fetching. if you have 3-d glasses, enlarge the top image and try it out. totally works.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Octopus Bike

JAMES - i'm psyched to finally post this. It's a 1978 Raleigh Record Ace that i custom painted for Renaissance Bicycles, a local company that specializes in customizing and restoring vintage bikes. Bryan at Renaissance took the finished frame and tricked it out to make it a serious track bike.
the bike is for sale by Renaissance - here's a link, and it lists all the equipment specs:

when Bryan first contacted me, we talked about possible design directions, and i did some sketches. this is what i came up with.

when i got the frame, it had been stripped of it's original paint and decals and a nice white primer coat had been applied. i mapped the whole thing out with a pencil and an eraser - my body was twisted in and out of that thing trying to get just the right angle to draw on it. i wanted all the tentacles to attach to the head in the front, and keeping track of all the tangles was quite a challenge.

when i got it just how i wanted it, i rubbed it down with alcohol and painted it with enamel paint. the kind you use for sign painting. in retrospect, paint markers may have been an easier way to go, but there's no way i would have gotten some of that texture and flow without the thick enamel paint. but damn, those fumes killed!
i did use paint markers for the black outlines and the white bubbles, and for the lightning bolts on the rims. i'm super proud of how it came out, and i had no idea Bryan was planning to dress it up so nicely. this thing's a monster.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Don't Remember It....

JAMES - another new illo. nice and big, too - 17x18. actually finished it in early November, and finally did the lettering recently and scanned it in. it's all #2 brush, ink on bristol. i'm still not sure if it's strong enough as a straight-up black & white, or if it could use 1 or 2 colors. what do you think?

detail shot

original sketch, 9/24/08

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Protecting The Myth

JAMES - a new illustration, 11"x11", acrylic and ink on watercolor paper.

detail shot

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Nighting

JAMES - just finished this tonight, started last week. kind of stream of consciousness|plan|stream of consciousness style. the nightingale telling his fairytale.
acrylic and ink on tan Rives BFK paper, approximately 8.25"x12".

detail shot

Monday, November 3, 2008

Joyce, The Pediatrician

JAMES - "if you don't cry, you'll get a lollipop."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh, Don't Worry

JAMES - i got a new brush.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Jealous!

His Majesty, The Umpire // edition of 75

Hangin' On A String, Girl // edition of 75

The Umpire, His Majesty (reverse)// edition of 25

JAMES - it's been quite the whirlwind in the past 2 months or so, and it all culminated in my visit to London last week, where the above three prints were unveiled at the opening of Jealous Gallery.

the short story is that i was contacted by Dario Illari, who was opening a brand new gallery (and print studio), focusing on fine limited edition prints by folks such as Warhol, Hirst, Hume, Kapoor, Banksy, D*Face, Jamie Reid, Nick Walker, etc etc, as well as young and up-and-coming artists. eneter James Flames. we began a collaboration on these two illustrations to be printed in their studio by Matthew Rich - a master printer who, amongst many prestigious credits, worked on all the early prints for the Hacienda and Factory Records bands in Manchester, early 80's - so cool. sketches and many emails back and forth with Dario, then i sent them the artwork, and finally they printed them. it was a great collaboration and i think we worked really well together. they're about 50cm square (20inches or so), and i think they did an incredible job. the black is deep and velvety, they put a varnish over the grays so they shimmer slightly, and the blue really brings it all together.

well, i needed to sign them, and so instead of fedex-ing them back and forth, they figured it better for me to just go there personally. and i'm so glad i did. i arrived last monday morning, started signing right away, and then for the next two and a half days i became a part of the family - watching Eddie paint, asking Matthew a bunch of printing questions, and doing whatever i could to help get the place ready for the big opening on wednesday night.

^signing my prints, my hand was about to fall off by the end of the day. yes, that's a real Damien Hirst behind me.

^here are the two main prints, masterfully hung by Adam Bridgland.

^the front of the studio right before opening

^the "Menu", which went with the theme of the evening. i hand lettered both sides. quite a roll call of names on that list, an honor to be in their company

^the Jealous family. (L-R): Me, Jacqueline, Dario, Eddie King (and his latest piece - i got one to take home, thanks Eddie), Adam, and Matthew

^at full swing, the place was packed from the front door to the backyard. great food, and great company.

^the view from across the street, the place was poppin'

i'd have to say the night was quite a success, for everyone, and myself included. my Umpire print was the first thing sold that night, and by the end of the night myself and Eddie King had the most prints sold - more than i think anyone expected. it was such an incredible feeling to see them there, and to get such positive and insightful feedback. i'm still reeling.

the next morining i was back on a plane to come home. a truly amazing trip - i've never recieved such generous hospitality as i did from Dario and his family, both at home and at the gallery. it was quite an experience, and an honor to know that someone would put so much work into my own work. incredible thanks to everyone.

the prints have continued to sell well since, and are available online here. they'll also be showing at another gallery show later this month, i'll follow up with more details. and we're already at work on the next print. psyched!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Stranger

JAMES - another stream-of-consciousness jobbie. tom, i was highly inspired by the brush strokes on that elephant piece from your recent post, as you can see in the wrinkles of the stranger's hand.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Just The Nearness Of You...

JAMES - a little late night sketch, spilling heart onto paper.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk About A Triumph!

JAMES - an ink warmup i did the other day. go for the gusto - both of you!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


JAMES - ...too long between posts. here's a poster i did recently for another Local Showcase at the Orange Peel here in Asheville. there are 4 bands playing, and i wanted to do a different lettering style for each name - because i'm sadistic and i like creating extra work for myself, haha. but it was totally worth it, i think. it's also been quite a while since i used a nib on a poster, i usually defer to the marker, just for the ease and speed. but the nib definitely looks better and really made those tree rings and the grass look believable. for the rest of it i used the usual #2 brush, and markers for the word balloons.

detail shot

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Allegiances Lie

JAMES - our good buddy Brian Bonz contacted me recently about doing a poster for a tour he's going on with Jesse Lacey of Brand New, as well as Kevin Devine and amazing guitarist Mike Strandberg backing them all up. brooklyn represent! and i'm glad i got the opportunity to do it, cuz i'm truly proud of what came out of it. a little more 'conceptual' than my usual stuff (which i guess is usually more blunt) - it allowed me to take some things in my life and put them in a perspective that really settled me down, eased me. and the double meaning of the title has alot to do with it all. it was also a chance to do some really fun 'flame' lettering, which i realized i don't do often enough (especially considering my name), as well as continuing to incorporate a grey tone (a soft pencil rubbed in with my finger to even the tone), in addition to the black & white. i realize the risk in overusing greys, especially in this format, but the concept loses alot without the grey.

Jesse and the guys liked it so much, they asked to make it into a t-shirt. so i adjusted the design, and replaced the grey with a halftone to accomodate the silkscreen printers. this image will be the front, and for the back, i rearranged the lettering and the big text panel with the tour dates. can't wait to see it. have a great time on tour fellas!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ripe For The Taking

JAMES - the Orange Peel is doing a bunch of Local Showcases this summer...which means a bunch of fun posters for me to work on. i had a ton of fun with this one. it was done on tan Rives BFK paper, and i blocked out the white parts with white ink. black ink and #2 brush for the rest and marker for the lettering on top and bottom. the oozing lettering took FOREVER, but i think it was well worth it. since these posters are printed black & white, i just converted the tan to grey. more to come soon...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Daniel...Daniel Johnston, Where Are You?

JAMES - the great Daniel Johnston is coming to Asheville. i was asked to do a poster, but with a quick turnaround. 11x17 color. so i kinda immersed myself in his songs and his drawings, and sketched out ALOT of poster ideas. they all had some cool parts to them, but none ever hit as a whole. this was the final idea i came up with, and i super happy with it. it has all the best elements from the previous ideas, yet it's the most simple and direct. actually, i'm pretty proud of this one.
i used Yellow acrylic; white, red and black inks; and one black and one red marker; on white Rives BFK paper. and a little photoshop to clean up the white thought-bubble (there was a situation with the white ink not making friend with the acrylic paint under it).

detail shot

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Maze of Torment

JAMES - Continuing the series of posters for the Local Showcase shows at the Orange Peel here in Asheville, this time HEAVY METAL SHOW! the only instructions were "make it Metal." done. i threw on Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness" and got to work.

detail shot
i did ALOT of research on the dragons, and these guys are a nice combination of my favorite dragon features. mad tedious on the scales, but the dry brush totally saved it. i got this new kinda white-out ink on a recommendation from the Trade Secrets blog, and it came in handy too. the dragons are 90% done in marker, the demon head 90% brush. it probably woulda been a little cooler if i used a nib instead of the marker, but it woulda taken too long, and i was already hours deep into it. the text was all done on separate paper, scanned separately, and put into place in photoshop. everyone's psyched, and so am i - so glad to have an excuse to do something like this. the club set up a myspace page specifically for these local showcases, and all the posters are up there. they look great together. come on down if you're in town - see youse there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

R.I.P. Sketchbook

JAMES - that sketchbook i've been using since the fall...the one with the shitty paper...the one with a TON of pages...well, it's finally all used up. there're alot of great ideas in there, but i'm very happy to move onto my new book which happens to have GREAT paper. anyway, before it goes on the shelf, here's a little R.I.P. send-off of some of the better pages that haven't already been posted.
"Jesus Hits Like The Trouble Bomb" September 30, '07

"Octopus" October 11, '07

"Squirt" October 20, '07

ink warmup January 12, '08

ink warmup February 11, '08

ink warmup February 18, '08