“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Friday, September 29, 2006

BACKGROUNDS_90 minutes









............Oh, all right...these didn't take 90 minutes - it's just habit that makes me type that. BTW, these images are old. Older. No new art here, people. No new art. Move along, move along...

Anyhoo, here are some backgrounds I did for Upper Deck for their Marvel 'VS.' collectable card games, as well as some conceptual images for 'Starship Troopers' (the CGI cartoon version - not the feature film).

When designing backgrounds for a stand-alone image, like the ones for Upper Deck, my main focus (much like I would for an image that has a character in it) is to establish a strong, readable composition that incorporates a certain depth of field. In the case of a two dimensional image you can try to accomplish this in several ways. One way is by using a foreground, middle-ground and background element(s) - with the majority of detail or 'spotted black' areas in the FG layer and less so as properties within the image recedes. It's not a hard and fast rule (if you notice on the third set, first image - the background mountain range is blackened in. That positive shape, along with the positive shape in the FG, is used to draw the eye into the busy linework that is the 'Squadron Supreme' structure at the center of the image), but for the most part it works for me.

In the case of concept design (ie. the Starship Trooper images...waitaminute, now that I look at these, some of them are from the 'Men In Black: The Animated Series'...so there you go), most of the stuff I draw is dictated by what's necessary as it's written in the script. After a few rounds with the art director and the episode director, we work out the space that they need for the action to take place, or the mood that they're trying to capture, etc. The primary thing that I focus on is that it's about communicating the idea of form and function regardless of how futuristic or primitive the theme and concept may be. The 'flourish'...the thing that makes it uniquely *my* design...that comes later. Way later.

Keep in mind that I have no idea of what I'm talking about, that I've fallen ass-backwards into every job I've ever gotten, and that I'm pretty good with the trickeration and making my employers think I'm competent - which means I'm a liar and I'm going to hell. It's only been through the good graces, infinite patience and sage-like teachings of my former BG supervisors (Peter Chung, Alex Stevens, Vince Toyama, Jonard Soriano, James Tucker, et al) that I've managed to go on professionally this long. And now, having confessed that, no one will ever be fooled again. That said, let me say this: Backgrounds *are* important. And more often than not, wholly necessary - if for nothing else than to convince and immerse your audience in the world you're trying to create.

Oh, and your lucky numbers are: 2, 15, 34, 47, 67.

VILLAINS_pin-up


Ryan Cody, artist/illustrator and co-creator for Viper Comics 'Villains' book had kindly asked me a while back to do a pin-up for his book of samesaid title and I said 'Yes...of course. It's be an honor'. Little did he know I'd take forever and a day to actually finish it - seriously...'foreverandaday' is an official day in Canete World. It's right there, right smack between 'soonipromiseit'llbedoneday' and 'gonnamissdeadlinesday'.

So after seeing a Post-It I wrote for myself when I first took on the assignment and a nudge from Ryan a couple of days back (thanks man!) I hopped to it. This took a couple of tries to do because the perspective and angle was a pain, I was unfamiliar with the character so I didn't know what enviroment to put him in or what I could do by way of effects, or design or whatever - all i knew was he had that glove. Again, it took a few tries - I'd post the first two or three attempts but they've since been gobbled up by my paper shredder (yeah, I'm paranoid...I think evil spirits of bad art loom when I don't destroy bad drawings so I shred them right away to kill the phantoms that float about in my office). So here it is. Ryan's going to have to find someone to color it because I didn't want to mess it up by coloring it myself and hopefully it wont hurt sales of his book too much. Thanks a bundle, Ryan. It was a challenge to do.

Oh, a word of advice to guys and gals who want to draw backgrounds in their images - don't. Just be lazy. Who *needs* backgrounds? Backgrounds-shmackgrounds! Plenty of so-called 'pros' get away with drawing covers and pages without backgrounds so why should you bother? It can be done - you can have an entire career doing piss-poor, unconvincing anatomy and drawing no backgrounds! Ever! Don't do 'em! They're not worth it! You'd be stupid to try and draw something when it's not even required...

...and...scene. Good night, ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

JUNK FOOD_sketchbook













I feel terrible not being able to upload any new images regularly as of late. Busy, busy busy...with stuff I can't show just yet. Apologies, folks.

Anyhoo - as I'm doing some spring cleaning in my garage (spring cleaning? fall cleaning?...whatever) I find a crate that has an old sketchbook and a few folders that have old art in them - it's like finding lost treasure! Poorly drawn (my stuff anyway), artistically uninspired should-have-stayed-lost treasure! Awesome! The images are about 4 years old, from when I was doing storyboards on 'He-Man and The Masters of The Universe'. Maybe more than 4 years ago? Actually I have no clue as to exactly when - synapses are misfiring in my head and I'm having a terrible time recollecting things these days. Old age catching up to me; but I digress. The point is: they're old. Older.

And because she has been so swamped with being a director and unable to upload new images on her blog, I've taken it upon myself to post some of the images (that I found in one o' them folders) that the ultra-talented Lauren Montgomery gave to me from back in those days. Actually, I have no idea whether or not she gave these to me - I've completely forgotten. For all I know I stole these from her. I need a serious shot of vitamin B6 or B12...I think it's a B vitamin? And though I've a funny picture in my head of Lauren cringing at the site of these, I *still* think they're pretty damn good. My favorite? Ummm... it's a toss-up between Jem singing GnR's 'Knocking On Heaven's Door' and She-Ra with the 'come hither' look in her eyes. Like I said - pretty damn good.

Oh yeah! Speaking of cringing - that last image of Lauren's is a panel from her He-Man boards where Prince Adam and Cringer have a 'special moment' before the lad turns into the most powerful man in the universe. Hah! J/K...it's just a panel of action that she's notorious for - as in, drawing people or picking shots that make you go, "What the hell, woman?! Is that [ insert sexual inuendo and/or situation between one, two, sometimes three characters from said show here ]?! Great work!"

Yay! Lauren's sneaking in stuff past the Broadcast Standards and Practices people! Yay! Haha! So, yeah - instead of getting a healthy nutritous meal consisting of the four basic food groups (i.e. 90 minute sketches, commission, etc.) you get a copious dose of candy, Yoohoo!, deep-fried Oreo cookies and Talia Head kicking Nazi ass!

Mmmmm...Oreo cookies. Um, where am I? What's this Blogger thingee about? Why am I eating deordorant? Damn you BEEEE-TWEEEEEEELVE! Or...BEEEE-SIIIIIIIIIXX!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

TITANS:REMIX_90 minutes


A few weeks ago comics artist Dean Trippe of AdHouse and Oni fame asked me to participate in the shinnanegans of Project Rooftop - in which, basically, they ask artists they know/find online to take a pass and redesign classic superheroes' costumes. Talented illustrators such as Stuart Immonen, Travel Foreman, Jamie McKelvie, and Jay Stephens, etc. have participate in the past and when prompted, I was more than happy (honored, actually) to contribute. Dean asked if I could just send in the Teen Titans image I did a while back (which would have been fine with him, I guess...) but I told him that I'd really like to take a shot at redesigning the characters and not have my faulty memory of the Titans' togs be my addition to such a prestegious gallery. Thankfully he accomodated me and after a week or two (or three? - thanks for being so patient, Dean) I finished the image.

From left to right: Wondergirl, Beastboy, Starfire, Raven, Nightwing, Kid Flash, and Cyborg.

Now if this were done for an actual class I know my ass would've failed the assignment. I mean, first of all, they're called 'Teen Titans'. There's nothin' teen about these yahoos - lookit their...um...proportions, fer chrissakes. Second, the idea was to give their already classic costumes a bit of flourish but *still* maintain some identifiable aspect from the previous versions of themselves. That's another 'F' for effort - I made Kid Flash a nekkid guy with an orb on his chest with lightning/electricity coming out of it. And that's the least of my offenses!

Anyway, Dean said he's gonna color the image and hopefully save my inadequate sense of design. Check out the link I've attatched in a few days to see his efforts. Okay, that's all for now as I'm off to redesign Superman in a blue and red 'lightning' costume, then take a pass at Spiderman where he's got robot limbs on his back and golden, Uncle Scrooge-like spats on his feet. Mmmm-boy.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FROM THE LOOKING GLASS_90 minutes

I never loved nobody fully
Always one foot on the ground
And by protecting my heart truly
I got lost in the sounds
I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music

And it breaks my heart
And it breaks my heart
And it breaks my heart
It breaks my heart

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ELIZA DOOLITTLE_90 minutes

When Audrey Hepburn walks down the stairs, dressed for the Embassy Ball, right before the break for intermission? Ugh...kills me. Every. Time.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ANNIE_90 minutes

Maybe far away or maybe real nearby, he may be pouring her coffee, she may be straighting his tie!
Maybe in a house all hidden by a hill, she's sitting playing piano, he's sitting paying a bill!

Betcha they're young, betcha they're smart. Bet they collect things like ashtrays, and art! Betcha they're good, why shouldn't they be? Their one mistake was giving up me!

So maybe now it's time, and maybe when I wake, they'll be there calling me "Baby"...
Maybe.

'THE FORSAKEN'_pages












Nothing new to post, folks - but since these pages were published in a little, itty-bitty, digest sized book from a couple of years ago (and I don't really know what kind of coverage and distribution it got), they're probably new to *somebody*. Right? Right? Well, if anything, I hope this will do for now until I can produce new material that I'm allowed to post, yeah?

Anyhoo...from the brilliant mind of writer/illustrator Vinton Heuck and published in Shannon Denton's 'KomikWerks' anthology endeavour, here are pages from our (Vinton's writing and me handling the art chores - obviously) contribution entitled The Forsaken - the first page is sort of like a title card from a saturday morning matinee but I don't know if I really pulled that off and it reads that way. Oh well...

This was also my attempt at drawing and paying homage to those old-school sci-fi strips like 'Flash Gordon' drawn by the incomparable Alex Raymond, whose art I instantly fell in love with - go find/collect his work from the strip 'Rip Kirby' and you'll see what I mean. Brilliant brilliant, humbling stuff.

I'll post new stuff later - comicbook pages take time to draw, did anyone know that?! They just don't fall outta' trees like they're supposed to!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

STREET FIGHTER II_samples


Here are two sample pages from a four page script written by my good friend Jonathan Tsuei. Jon is a young, aspiring writer who wants to write comic books for a living. Yeah, he's a kooky kid. He and I are going to try to 'break in' together - him as a writer and me as an artist. It'll be a gas.

Okay, the pretty fella' on these pages is supposed to be 'Vega' from Street Fighter II. Yes. I *know* he doesn't look like Vega - jeezus. I didn't say this whole breaking in thing was going to be easy. The big galoot he's fighting is inspired by 'Bane' from the old Batman: The Animated series. I couldn't come up with a cool looking bad guy so I just used him.

Okay, that's all for now. More tomorrow.

CLOAK & DAGGER_commission

I just realized that doing pages *and* 90 minute warm-ups are frikkin' difficult and time consuming. So nothing new for the past couple of days except for this here Cloak and Dagger commish I did a few months back.

So let's see here: living on the streets...crack kids as superheroes...drug enduced powers...hooray Marvel...yadda, yadda, yadda. Yup! I did all the jokes I can do about these two. More later - pages probably.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

JELLYFISH_90 minutes

It was a very grand weekend.

CYBERNARY MESS_pg. 15

The aforementioned 'Cybernary 2.0' page. Otherwise known as, "Hey kids! Wanna learn how to not draw a legible page? Wanna completely miss the point of clear and concise comicbook storytelling? Well, here you go!"

Jeezus, what was I thinking.

OBELISK_process

In the next few weeks, along with the 90 minute sketches, I'm going to start posting process images of the graphic novel I'm working on. I've finished the writing (most of it, anyway) and I'm anxious to start drawing the book... so... I'm just going to draw the pages that I know are locked. Yeah! Here's one from the latest batch.

I start the page in blue lead and probably won't get any tighter than this by way of pencils. I allow the accidents and discovery of a line when I go to ink. I'm asking for trouble, true - but that's why there's white-out. The panels are in sort of a standard 'grid' format because 1) it makes it easier for me to edit later - draw and drop a in new panel then rearrange a page in PS:CS if I realize that I'm missing a beat or some crucial peice of information and 2) over-designed comicbook pages are hell to a reader. I'm trying to get a broad audience to read this book and the last thing I'd want to do is alienate them by laying out pages that are too fancy-shmancy (I'll put up a 'Cybernary 2.0' page I did way-back-when that proves this point - it's so effin' confusing it's obscene). More later.

And oh hey, look...semi-larger scans. Stop with the requests already.

Friday, September 01, 2006

NINJA, PLEASE!_90 minutes

The thing about ninjas is - no matter how many of 'em you beat up, an hour later you wanna go kick the sh*t out of some more! Hahahahaha! Man, that's not funny at all! Hee!

I'm sorry. That's the gnats talking.

ME VS. BUGS..._90 minutes

...and the bugs win! The bugs win! I have gnats in my house. Gnats are kicking my ass. Even after a couple cans of pesticide, online remedies that I found...um...online, and the physical act of swatting at them until I looked like an epileptic, the damn bugs are winning. I'm like the USA Basketball team getting my ass handed to me by the Greek Nationals' high screen and roll play...it's just sad.

Anyway, I've been widdling the little bastards down and I'm confident that soon, with enough tenacity, I'll come out victorious. I *am* at the top of the food chain and these opposable thumbs have to count for something. I am the lord of my manor, king of my domain, master of my destiny! Hah! Stupid gnats!

Please help me. I think the things are starting to get smarter. I think they're going to fly into my ear, lay their eggs, travel into my brain and eat what little I have left. Please. Help.