“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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THANK YOU_commission


It's been a while since one of these.

It's because I'm tired. I'm typically drained towards the end of the year, but this year I am particularly so, but I hope you don't mind if I don't go into details. Let's just say that it's too much life stuff, too much doing the things that you don't really want to do, too many tough choices. You know what I'm talking about, yeah? Point being, I'm tired and I don't know how soon I won't be that way. So I think I will sleep for days and days and see if that helps. Heh.

Anyway, no more posts from me for a while. Though I think Jon will take up the guard and post in my stead - he seems to be doing a fine job while I was gone; even if in his douche-bagerry, he decided to post the ugly unfinished stuff. But I believe he does it because he knows what people like to see. And for that, I am truly grateful. I'm sure he'll update this once in a while. I will be back of course. I can't NOT draw and there's something about sharing it with like-minded people that really makes me happy.

And speaking of being grateful and happy, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to get to know me as much as you can though this little window. Thanks for coming in and sharing your inspiration with me and for saying such generous and humbling comments about my work. On more than one occasion I've been a bit distracted, but one kind word from you is all I needed to get me back to center. You are invaluable, you are amazing, and I cannot wait to see what you are capable of. I am humbled and grander to have had this experience.

Grazie.

I hope you have a great new year. It's a perfect time for a fresh start. I hope you finish what you begin and I hope you find everything you are looking for. As for me, it's time to sleep and not be so tired.

Well, no. It's 6:56AM in Los Angeles. I'm going to go run. Then...then I will sleep. Heh.


Thanks again. "You are so cool."

Monday, December 29, 2008

EXAMPLE OF MADNESS_update


Here's a perfect example of what I wrote about in that earlier post. This is a side by side comparison of a 'Watchmen' image Eric did as a 90 minute exercise. The one on the right in the one he's already posted. The one on the left is the one he finished but didn't make the cut. Here's why:
"The first one's already a pretty tough image to make out, yeah? It's a reflection of the main characters, in the blood that's oozing out of The Comedian's head... bits of his brain and whatever. Then there's the pattern of blood and the splatter and the arrangement of the characters... they're all upside-down and all over the place... and the abstract building window patterns behind them. It's WAY too much.

It's just so f*cking annoying to sign my signature and realize I just wasted 90 minutes. Just genuinely annoying to think I didn't think about it enough and I got as far as putting my signature on it... and it SUUUUUUUCKSSS. With this one, I think the planning was either bad or just too ambitious. Or both. Whatever.

So I just redrew it. The second time is a bit simpler, but just slightly so. At least, by way of composition, all the heads of the characters sort of line up. You start from The Comedian's face and just move to the left through the reflection, starting with Rorschach's mask. I was also playing around with a narrative by having The Comedian's finger point to Ozymandias; the guy who killed him.

I dunno... it just feels better to me. It's still confusing as hell, but I think it's less noisy the second time around.

Like I said, it may have been too ambitious."
90 minutes. Twice finished. And where was the first original when I found it? You guessed it. On the floor. Near the trash can.

Madness.

-Jon

Friday, December 26, 2008

OUT OF TOWN_update










More work from Eric's portfolio, this time from our collaboration for Tori Amos' original graphic novel COMIC BOOK TATTOO.

Our contribution is entitled "Girl" based on Tori's song with the same title.

These pages were colored by the incomparable SASKIA GUTEKUNST, a phenomenal artist in her own right and who did us the grand favor of lending us her talents. We love you, Saskia.

Eric isn't going to be back until for a while. He's fine, by the way. Thanks to those of you who have written out of concern. He is as he puts it:
"There's too much noise in the office and in my head and I'm trying to get some thinking done."
Which, knowing him, will probably take all of 2009. Enjoy your New Year's, everyone. Be safe and try not to be too hung over.

A CONVERSATION_update


Eric is out of town and has left the care and update of his blog to me.

And because I know how much he'd hate seeing this stuff up, I'm posting his unfinished work for all of you to see. Thank me later.

I've also included a small article/interview I've written for Eric's new book called 'PREMIER[e]', which will include many if not ALL of the images from his blog in it (you asked for it and now you've got it), a few sketches, and the introduction of our new company called LIGHTBOX. Yes, we know he's said he'd never release a sketchbook again , but wait until you see this thing. A "sketchbook" it definitely isn't. More details on that later, as well as previews of the book itself and what it's all about.

Until then, here are Eric's mistakes. Enjoy.


-Jon

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On any given day, in any given week, I can walk around Eric's work area in our office and I'll see the floor littered with abandoned commissions or discarded images for cover work or personal sketches or whatever else didn't look as good on paper as it did in his head. And on more than a few occasions I've watched him as he's outright just started over on a 90 minute exercise about eighty-seven minutes into it. He just starts over. It doesn't matter how close he is to finishing or how good it looks to everyone else, if he "...isn't in love with it" then it's not worth finishing off.
"What's the point of finishing a shit drawing!?, " he's said to me more than once. "I know that when I'm done with it, it'll be terrible and when I post it on the blog everyone will get to see it and confirm my thoughts about how atrocious it is. So why bother finishing it? I figured, if I don't finish it, then I'm almost cutting it off before it really gets a foot hold, you know? I don't legitimize it by putting a final line on it. And I don't care how far along I am: bad is bad. I'm just too retarded or too stubborn to realize *how* bad it is until I've spent way too much time on it."
I've seen him do it. Most recently to a "Batman/Green Arrow" commission he just started which he was asked to do a year or two ago. Last weekend, I walked in and there were ten images strewn all over the place, all in different stages of completion. One of which he even started to ink. It was upsetting and laughable at the same time.
"They all sort of work. Green Arrow's face here and Bat's pose in that other one. They just...I dunno...they just don't matter to me. I'm not in love with them"
I point out that he's drawn Batman before and asked him the difference between then and now. I also tell him to stop being such an art fag and just draw the image already. He laughs it off.
"Nah...I've drawn an *idea* of Batman before. Or I've drawn a Batman based on a conversation I had with Dustin (Nguyen) or I was trying to come up with an image that has a new approach to it. This thing...this is...it's dead like Elvis, that's what this is. It's got no juice to it. I'm trying to find something cool to draw, I'm trying to find something I can really salivate over and want to take head-on. I've got nothing. It's a f*cking guy with a Robin Hood feather with a boxing glove arrow and it's all I can do to not draw a picture of Batman kicking GA's ass for letting his sidekick Speedy do heroin. And it's not working, so before I waste on any more paper, I'm gonna stop and do something else."
And before I could stop him, "RRRIIIIPPPP!" He tears them all into small quarters. I make a face like I just saw a man rip payments to my next credit card bill, but there's nothing I could do about it. He says it's bad mojo to have it lingering in the office. "Besides, " he mentions, "I don't want this shit to start piling up."


Of the few I've managed to salvage from the recycling bin, here are just a handful of attempts at the 'MySpace Dark Horse Presents' TPB cover Eric had done over and over again. I saw maybe five variations on this thing and there would have been a sixth if his deadlines didn't force him to finally settle on one That he ended up coloring. When I look at this rough compared to the finished version above I scratch my head. The changes are minuscule. His reason for starting over?
"It's too close to the top to accommodate for the logo, " he explains. "That's what they'll tell me."
"Move it in Photoshop, " I suggest.
"F*ck that," he laughs. "Why should I deal with Photoshop if re-drawing it is ten times as easy?"
The thing is, it's not ten times easier. I know this man and the way he works. It's never like this. Especially if he knows it will see print. He'll find something that will need fixing. Move Conan further away. Or flop/reverse the monster and Captain Hammer. Or how many bullet hits should the monster have? Or change the perspective slightly so the image will be an upshot. And so on, and so on.


That said, as much attention to detail he puts into his drawings, as meticulous and ADD he can be, Eric doesn't seem to care and isn't too precious about his originals. The image above is evidence of this. I had accidentally stepped on it (that's my shoe's foot print circled in red in the upper left hand corner) and proceeded to apologize to him in a panic, only to have him explain it as, "...one of the retarded ones that makes Conan look like Richard Moll from Night Court." Thank god for Richard Moll, I guess.

It's a mystery to me how someone can be so exacting and analytical in one front, and be so careless and unscrupulous in another. There are no special acid free storage boxes or vacuum sealed containers that hold his collection. Whereas I would make sure to set aside these originals, successful or not, he'd rather just toss it aside and start on the new one. As a matter of fact, you could easy mistake an unfinished, abandoned image with one that he's done and happy with. They all somehow end up in the same place: the office floor.


"There's a method to my madness, Jon," he explains. "The ones I wanna keep are closer to those portfolio sleeve thingees you made me get. The ones I don't care for are sort of closer to the trash bin."
Well, he's right. Being his close friend and the closest thing he's got to an official 'art dealer' I suggested that he invest in these protective Mylar sleeves to use for when he sends out originals to the people who commission him. In the past, it was six sheets of cut-up FedEx boxes taped together, with the original image sandwiched in the middle. And that's all there was! That goes via USPS Priority Mail to its new owner. So, I guess I am a bit off. He *does* care. As long as it's not something he's going to keep for himself.



Andre Szymanowicz was the recipient of the final version of this image, but before the finished version that Eric posted on his blog, there was the version I've posted above. I asked him what was wrong with it.
"Sometimes I draw something and think, 'Okay....that's how that's supposed to be drawn. It's straightforward, it's obvious and it's exactly what everyone expects. That's really lame. Now how would *I* draw it?' Then I start over again."
"Isn't how you drew it...um...how YOU would draw it?" I asked slightly confused.
"Well, yes. And no. There's the version that I will draw because I know I need to get it out of my system. Like I said, it's really obvious and it's really just by the book. There are lines that I draw in the first version that make me think, 'Oh, right...yeeah, that makes sense why I drew that line that way.' But then I realize I don't care for that way, the regular way, too often. So I'll mess up that line just so it's different, so it's not so conventional. I mean, everyone can do that, do the obvious thing. You screw things up and suddenly it's alive again."
With this image, Eric says he was trying to work out a scene that had a narrative hearkening to the one in the actual movie, AKIRA. "Why abandon this image? Was this what you call an 'obvious' approach?"
"No. I don't think that was the reason why I didn't finish this one. I think it was because it had too many elements, man. Too many elements, too many things for the eye to get lost in and not enough resting places, you know? The idea is okay. The composition worked and it sort of had this little story within a story. But the moment I inked that kid's hand in the foreground, I knew this was lame. I should have thought it out better and rather than draw it again (apparently, Eric had drawn this thing four times before he got to inking this one), I abandoned it and approached something else from a different perspective."


I don't know exactly what this image was for. I've searched for it on his blog a couple of times, but I haven't found the one he's posted as his final piece. I do know that there are two of these in Eric's portfolio, a.k.a. : the floor next to the supply closet, one that's completely inked (which I'm assuming as the one he liked best), and this one. I'm going to tell you based on my own personal preferences, that I like this one better. There's something about the girl on this image that makes her more...warm and more appealing to me than the 'finished' version.
"Go f*ck yourself, Jon." he says.
Classy as always.


And finally, there's this one entitled "Waterlily". This one is all done. It's all penciled and ready to go, ready to be inked. It's also very surprising because if you know anything about the way Eric works, he never pencils this tightly. Most of the work is done by that brush pen, so to see an image from him that looks like he's going to leave it as-is in blue pencil rather than put an ink line on top of it is different. And yes, it's sometimes off-putting. It's like the version of his work that's trying to be fancy instead of the utilitarian version of itself that it is now. It's like Jordan wearing #45; it's just not right. So I had to ask, "What was wrong with it?"
"It was too close to the top of the sheet of paper."


Seriously. That was his reason. And I guess he just wouldn't stand for it.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"TWO HE+ARTHOLDS, BOTH ALIKE..."_sketch


"...in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break into new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"P" IS FOR..._sketch


"P" is for "PHUNNY": Make them laugh first thing in the morning - even if you have to spell 'funny' incorrectly.



"P" is for "PATIENCE": The closer to infinite amounts you have, the better of you'll be.


"P" is for "PROTECT": Sometimes you have to protect them from themselves.