“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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

INSPIRATION_90 minutes

"Very soon without you knowing, you'll forget about me.

I won't be as relevant to you anymore. You won't remember that when your heart was heavy and when your stomach turned and when your head ached, you looked to me and I gave you everything that I had. I gave you more.

When doubt and uncertainty loomed, I held an umbrella. When you covered yourself in loathing and pity, I told you, "Please stop. Get up." And when failure came calling, I answered the phone. When you thought, "I'll never be fast," "I'll never be as good as what's-his-name," "This will never work." - I hid "never" from you for a little while. I gave you more than that but you won't recollect.

You won't recall the time that I gave you strength and will in that rain-soaked tenth mile when your lungs were going to burst and your knees were done . Or how you somehow found focus and resolve early that 3AM morning; when you swore to yourself you didn't have the energy to finish that masterpiece. Or the courage you used to pick your heart off the ground when she told you that she didn't care for you anymore.

You'll forget your promise to never let me go - when you wrote that final note to that last lyric, when you put down that finishing stroke of Cerulean Blue and you told yourself nothing will ever be better than this, and you said under your breath, "This must be love." You wont remember feeling or saying or thinking any of that.

But that's how this fickle, ephemeral love affair works. I to you, and you to someone else, and so on and so forth.

Very soon you'll forget about me. But I'll never forget about you."

Thursday, March 26, 2009


"I'm not blessed, or merciful. I'm just me. I've got a job to do, and I do it. Listen: even as we're talking, I'm there for old and young, innocent and guilty, those who die together and those who die alone. I'm in cars and boats and planes; in hospitals and forests and abattoirs. For some folks death is a release, and for others death is an abomination, a terrible thing. But in the end, I'm there for all of them."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


"A door left open.
A woman walking by
A drop in the water.
A look in the eye
A phone on the table.
A man on your side.
Someone that you think that you can trust
is just another way to die."

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Yesterday, Axel, Geoff and I went to the GNOMON WORKSHOP's "The Art of Sketch Theatre" gallery.

For those of you who don't know about Gnomon, they are the ones who bring you those DVD/DVD-ROM art instruction videos centralizing primarily around concept design and whose subject matter range from traditional media all the way through 3D and digital production. Visit the link above for more info and if special effects and CG based concept art is your cup of tea, they're the guys willing to stir that tea for you. My personal favorites are the ones by IAIN MCCAIG. Good lord! Those DVDs really made me ill as I watched them.Why? Because in the initial sketch of the mermaid, he erased the WHOLE THING damn near 6 or 7 times. It was nuts! Insight into any artist's process and line of thinking are invaluable, but with Mr. McCaig it's doubly so because he's damn phenomenal at what he does.

Anyway, at their Hollywood based instruction school, Gnomon had a gallery there for the people who have participated in their website's online feature called "SKETCH THEATRE". Axel had done a short segment a little while back and his work was exhibited at the show. High five, Ax. More importantly, Axel is also an instructor at the school. He teaches weekday and weekend classes in character design and character development. I think. Or he cleans the latrines. One of those.

BTW, I love teachers. I love anyone who goes beyond themselves in order to share what they know. High five, all you teachers.

Back to the show itself. Along with the art ehxibit, they served some hors d'Ĺ“uvres & alcohol, and had a DJ for some music. The whole event had a grand turn out. Axel (BTW, for those interested, Ax is the guy in the first picture, bottom right-hand corner) had his own little stand-alone kiosk thing where they were exhibiting three of his sketchbooks. I thought it was very, very classy.

But the icing on the cake was that on top of all the things I mentioned above, in the back of the gallery they also had a live life drawing session where you could pull up a bench/horse and just start drawing the models who showed up in full costumes! Neato! I brought my sketchbook along as per Axel's suggestion and I'm sure glad that I did! It gave me something to do for the first hour and a half!Don't get me wrong; the show was great, but I can only loop around so many times before I realize I've seen the same stuff over and over again. I also don't drink (yeah, I know; I'm a buzzkill, man) nor did I know too many people there. So even though I talked to a handful of new people, mingling was kept to a minimum.

Instead I went with what I knew - I slid into a bench and started drawing. The idea was that I would take some pictures so I could put them up here later as a point of reference. But the strong, bald model guy told me to knock it off and he had a sword. So I stopped. Fast. Heh.

All kidding aside, he was very accommodating and nice about it. So I took pictures of what I could and that was that. I wish I managed to get their names so I could thank them indirectly here for a job well done, but I'm an idiot and I didn't get their info. All three of them were great. So thanks, strong bald guy. And thanks geisha lady. And thanks Mad Max/Bladrunner lady even though I didn't stick around long enough to draw you. You're all pros.

These are the ones I managed to take before he put the kabosh to my whole plan. And below them are the images I drew during the sessions. You know, I'll bet you good money that real artists and illustrators would worry about measuring and proportions and planes and lightsourcing and etc. Me? I was just sitting there thinking, "Oh my god! Is *THAT* how that muscle really goes?! Holy sh*t! Who knew?"

And even after seeing it front of my face, I went and drew it wrong anyway. So basically, I went to the life drawing and didn't draw from life. Instead, I pissed off the bald swordsman by taking pictures, oggled the models while they posed and drew what I wanted. It's like staying at home, only not really.

I'm such an ass. But I had fun! So...uhm... yeah. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

JESSICA_90 minutes

"You had plenty money 1922. You let all the women make a fool of you. Why don't you do right, like some other men do? Get out of here and get me some money too."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TEL #7_cover

Here's the cover to the upcoming issue of The End League #7; saved, salvaged and sexy-fied with color by the talented NAOMI BAKER.

There are also preview pages at COMICBOOK RESOURCES. Check them out and please confirm to RICK REMENDER how wonderful his story is.

Thank you.

Monday, March 16, 2009


"...are indefinitely canceled....the declining weather conditions... small commuter .....emergency landing and....witnesses at the scene are.... around at 11:32 PM.... just tuning in....details are a bit ske.... stay on this story..."

[MESSAGE ONE. MESSAGE RECEIVED 10:37PM, SATURDAY]: "Hoooooonnnneeeey! Hope you're okay. Uhm, I don't know what's going on exactly. The pilot just came on said there was something wrong with our runway or there was something happening so now were just sitting around. It's been, what? An hour and a half... two hours almost... and it's really obnoxious and I can smell some guy wearing that terrible Axe body wash sh*t that I hate so much. I can see other planes, about...uhm... at least two or three of them... and they don't look like they're going anywhere either. God, I wish you picked up. I miss your voice. I know I'm supposed to save my battery, but I miss your voice and I could really use a stupid joke from you right now. Uhm... okay. I'm gonna go. Love you."
[MESSAGE TWO. MESSAGE RECIEVED 11:25PM, SATURDAY] "Hi, hi. I *still* don't know what's going on. People are just... some lady is just screaming and crying a couple of seats up. I can't get the stewardess to even look at me! They're all just telling everyone to stay calm and that we're supposed to taxi back to the gate. Wait... she's about to say it what's up... uhm... I'll call you back okay? Love you! Bye!"

[MESSAGE THREE. MESSAGE RECIEVED 11:45PM, SATURDAY]: "ssssshhhhhsh... sssshhhh...hhsshhhhhhhhh... kssshhhkkkk... sssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... *"


Sunday, March 15, 2009

DRINK & DRAW_sketch

This past Thursday night I went to a regular sketch club put together by MSSRS. JEFF JOHNSON, DAN PANOSIAN, and DAVE JOHNSON.

They were kind enough to invite me and I was more than excited to go. And the event is literally how I've described it in the subject line: We drank and we drew. No alcohol for me though - just the drawing part. I wanted to take decompress from End League-ing it and I just didn't want to think about the drawings - just let the brush pen do the work. I guess that's my excuse for these. I think a little bit of my Schiele is showing. Ah, well - it was a hoot to do. The turn out was pretty decent and we packed the area they had set aside for us. They even added another table just accommodate all the guests who showed up! Pretty cool, I thought.

Oh! While everyone brought scrap pieces of paper, or personal sketchbooks, or cardboard coaster things to draw on, Dave brought a skateboard deck! It's to be sold at auction in order to help with a school's slowly dying art program and when Dave asked us to contribute it was a real honor. Here's a photo of the result. Dave is planning on painting the whole thing and thank goodness because my contribution needs his magic. I was in vaulted and esteemed company. I didn't get a chance to talk to ANDREW ROBINSON at NYCC, so it was nice to joke around with him that night. And I just met PAUL HARMON and I immediately knew I was gonna be dead weight when it was my time to draw on the deck. If you can see it in the photo, I made sure I was going to get covered by the trucks of the skateboard once they were installed. It's all part of my master plan to not be the weak link in this line up. Anyway... enjoy!

From L to R: DAN "Urban Barbarian"PANOSIAN / ERIC "I'm Way Out Of My (End) League" CANETE / ANDREW "Yes, *THAT* Andrew Robinson" ROBINSON / DAVE "Devil Pig" JOHNSON / JEFF "The Only Johnson that Matters" JOHNSON / PAUL "We Just Met Eric - No Nicknames Please" HARMON.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


So, I'm all done with THE END LEAGUE. And yes, I know - it's late.

Before I get to the body of this post I'd like to address something up front. I have heard that there have been some who have bombed on the series' writer RICK REMENDER and pointed their collective, accusatory fingers in saying he was the cause of the lateness. It's absolutely unwarranted and borders on the ridiculous when people say this. Let me make it absolutely clear: I AM THE REASON WHY THE BOOK IS LATE.

Get off of his back and on his jock, you turds. He's a great writer, a forward thinking creator and he is my friend. You would do yourself a better service if you stopped complaining, and started buying and reading his work.


I cannot begin to explain the reasons why I fell behind, nor do I believe it's worth the time and effort to do so. But I wanted to make sure to dispute any and all theories that Rick was somehow responsible for the book shipping late. He was NOT. The guy has been nothing but professional, he has delivered everything that he's ever promised to me and more, and has been the biggest bullet-proof vest when it comes to dealing with the consistent and constant headaches of a creator-owned project. It is to say, that Rick has bent over backwards in order to keep me on the book, he has held his breath when it came time for me to turn in pages, and he is one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to the artwork I am producing. I owe the guy more than I can ever get him back for and I am humbled by the fact that he wanted to work with me in the first place. He has my thanks and my allegiance. Thank you, Rick.

I've worked with two colorists during my small run on End League. The first of the two is the ridiculously young and incomparably talented NAOMI BAKER. I really believe that she was slumming it art-wise when she was working with me because she's skilled beyond explanation and you have to figure it was out of pity that she agreed to help me color the book. So talented is she in fact, that in mid-production she was offered work as a video game concept artist and 3D modeler (her dream) at a little company called Activision. Obviously, it was an offer she could not refuse. Congrats to her and to her new professional venture. I am grateful for having her on board for as long as I did. Thank you, Naomi.

Without missing a beat, MATTHEW WILSON came in to pinch hit with colors and he's done no less than a phenomenal job. Matt has been "Johnny-On-The-Spot" when it comes to coloring my work and has an incredible enthusiasm for his job. He has seemingly endless amounts of patience in waiting for B&W pages only to have 2 days to color a half dozen images. And after meeting him in NYCC I cursed myself for not pouring more praise onto him for a job well done. He has been a dependable rock and his work has added the flourish that this book deserves. Thank you, Matt.

DAVE LAND is a ghost -and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I don't know if it's his preference or if he understands how I work, but the guy has been the perfect example of the kind of editor that I'd like to work with again in the future. He would check in to make sure I had all necessary information in order to my job, and from there - shock of all shocks - he stepped aside and let me do my job. He didn't micro-manage, he didn't wield a faux stick of discipline, and he didn't do anything except give me the perfect environment in which to work. He could have jumped up and down on my head for being as behind as I was, put me through guilt trips and pulled rank or whatever - but he didn't. To me, it was as simple as this: Turn in the pages and we'll print them. Such a simple concept. Thank you, Dave.

And I understand the book is small. Smaller than IM:ETM. And that's why it was a natural fit for me. As much as I appreciated the coverage and attention that IM got, books like the End League - smaller, under the radar projects - are really what I look forward to doing because, to a certain degree, it just becomes about the body of work. Did it tell a good story? Does it have fun, consumable, whole characters? Did it give you a good ride and make you feel? Did you read and look at it and say, "Jeezus! WTF is going to happen next? Neat-o!" If I came anywhere close to that then I've done my job and I'm pretty happy. The hype, the coverage, the interviews and the spotlight...well, I'll leave that to the young guys.

And as before, and as it will be in anything I do in this kooky business - to the guys who have been buying my work and picking up the books and issues; I am forever grateful and wholly appreciative of your patronage. I'm constantly surprised by the range of audience that I have met and who have been kind enough to give an encouraging word either here on my blog or in person. It is cliche`d to say that I wouldn't be shit without you guys, but it doesn't make it any less true. And for this, I owe you generous folks my deep and heart-felt thanks. Thank you, ALL.

Okay, that's it. I'm taking off for a couple of months, but I hope to have an announcement about what's next. Oh, and I may sleep some more and dream of The Muppets. Because I like sleep. And I like The Muppets. I think I will visit friends and just recalibrate for a little bit and I will return to the business of drawing comic books for you guys very, very soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

RADD_90 minutes

I miss my friend.

About ten years ago, five wanna-be artists packed their drafting tables, art supplies, reference and comic books, toys and knick knacks, cork boards and NERF guns, and whatever else into a small converted two car garage in Lakewood, CA. I was...am... one of those wanna-be's.

The side of the garage where I set up shop, where I left my stink, had three of those god awful, standardized drafting tables (you know which ones, right? Black or white tops - depending on how you set it up out of the box - with the metal legs? Ugh.). There was Jonard's table; to whom the garage belonged to, my table, and between the both of us sat our friend BYRON PENARANDA.

Byron or "B" (as we referred to him) was inspired. BTW, I don't know why it degraded to just the one letter. I guess there was some sort of syllable shortage in the mid to late 90's and we all suffered from it. That, or boys just have this way of simplifying each others names into the smallest grunt or sound that we can come up with and still manage to get that person's attention. I was called "Ece" - like in the word 'fleece'. To this day a select few will *still* call me that and I will still respond like a well trained dog. Jonard was called "Jun" - pronounced "jooon". If you've ever heard Filipino moms call out his name, you'd know where this came from.

I digress.

Byron was inspired. Before the semi-supposed craze of manga and anime influenced art, he was already doing it better than the guys who were out there just barely discovering it. Before I knew how to say Otomo or Shirow, like a good illustrator, he was already picking the parts he needed from those guys, trying to incorporate it into his own work , soon grew tired of it and stopped. He introduced me to "The Incal", "The Airtight Garage", "The Silver Surfer" and a painting of Iron Man that will never be surpassed, all done by the incomparable Jean "Moebius" Giraud.

He watched movies that were beyond my comprehension at the time. "M", is one that still comes to mind. Oh, and "Flash Gordon" too - but that movie has since endeared itself to my heart because of the Queen soundtrack.

But beyond all of that, Bryon was ahead of his time because he drew what he wanted to draw. If you're young and just breaking in, you may not know the weight of that statement and that's okay. You will someday... hopefully.

He wasn't rich, so the luxury of being able to just lounge around and draw pictures for the hell of it wasn't available to him. He didn't have anyone subsidize his income so that he could be so cavalier with his standard of living. I think the only time he ever illustrated for any company is when he had to. Let me say that again:


It was quite silly to think about back then. It's brilliant to me now. I've met too many inspired illustrators and artists who end up getting work, who then make it their life, and it becomes less of a passion and more like a job and well... it's just sobering and sometimes a little sad to think about.

The point is, he just drew. Sketchbooks and sketchbooks full of stuff - and once in a while, a comic book. And in all those fronts, they were uncompromising and inspired. The works you'll find in the link I've posted above is a disservice to what he's capable of. It really, really is.

We'd all sit around the garage, watching kooky movies, we'd eat food in the quantities and quality that only a younger man's constitution could take, and while I'd be in the middle of drawing some Danzig/Verotika title, Byron drew what came into his head. I wasn't equipped to tune into the phantom frequency where his inspiration came from, but what he put to paper was marvelous. It was, and still is, pretty unparalleled in my eyes. But because I couldn't see what he saw, the best I could do was to try and emulate what he did. I didn't do it well, but I tried and that's the "style" that I ended up with. And for those of you who have said that I had a pretty original look back in the day, let me be frank with you now - I DID NOT. I still don't. I steal everything from everyone, and in the specific case of the late 90's through the early part of the new decade I stole as best and as much as I could from this man.

We'd all be up until 3 A.M. or later, because that's what the deadlines dictated and that's what young guys do. We talked about art and hated on the popular guys drawing the comics of the day - I guess that's what young guys do too. But most of all, we drew. I drew for money. Byron drew because there wasn't enough room in his head for all the crazy stuff being pumped into it and he needed to put crazy on paper. With their art, the other guys in the garage kept me on my toes, but Byron's work kept me honest. "I will never be as good as this guy," I secretly thought to myself once. And that was okay. I believed then, as I do now, that everyone needs to have a White Rabbit to chase. He set the example even when I didn't know that's what he was doing. And even if I didn't have the foresight to think of the influence he would impart on me then, I can look back now and curse myself for not paying closer attention. He got it right without trying.

"...have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

That's part of a quote my friends and I were talking about a few weeks back; how we need to start incorporating that way of thinking into how we proceed with our work from here on down, how we should never hold back when we realize what we want (I'm talking to YOU - you know who you are), and to never blink at the idea of what will give you your definition of happiness and ultimately moving towards it. I think Byron had this inherently programmed into system from the beginning. He wanted to draw what inspired him. And that's what he did. Such a simple, lucky bastard.

"What if we were driving down a highway in the middle of the dessert and my car broke down? And when I got out of the car to check what was wrong, a snake suddenly bites me in the ass and poison was coursing through my system? You'd drive then, right?"

"F*ck that. I'd carry you on my back first and run to the closest town before I drive a car! I will NEVER drive a car in L.A!"

That's part of an actual conversation Byron and I had back in the day, just outside the garage door, as Byron took one of his many smoke breaks. Keep in mind, he was smoking a lot back then and considering I was 70 lbs. heavier, I either think he or I would've died first before he and his deficient lungs would get near any town in hopes of rescue from a poisonous snakebite in the ass.

Byron is married now. He's got a beautiful, charming wife who he was relentless in going after when he realized how badly he loved her. They have new baby. And I'm laughing as I type this because I think in life there are certain inevitabilities. Death, Taxes and because Byron lives in L.A. he has to drive. But at least he doesn't smoke anymore. He's won much more than he's lost and it's because, like he's done with his art, he did what inspired him. He's Sinatra all over.

So to him, I dedicate this post. Because even after he learned to drive, even before we lost contact - for a good long while, I don't think "B" ever stopped carrying me on his back.

Thanks, man. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

UMI SAYS_sketch

"I don't wanna write this down,
I wanna tell you how I feel right now.
I don't wanna take no time to write this down,
I wanna tell you how I feel right now.

Tomorrow may never come
For you or me
Life is not promised
Tomorrow may never show up
For you and me
This life is not promised

I ain't no perfect man
I'm trying to do, the best that I can,
With what it is I have..."

PREMIER[e] DELAY_update.

Hello all.

For those of you who were kind enough to to order a copy of PREMIER[e] - in order show your support for my work and for LIGHTBOX's new business venture - you may have noticed that your book has not arrived. There is a legitimate reason.

When we shipped out the copies I was going to hand out to specific people at this year's NYCC show, the ALL books arrived at my hotel in terrible condition and unfit for distribution. I was genuinely red in the face with anger and embarrassment as I didn't realize their condition until a couple of their recipients opened them up only to see that they torn completely off of the front and back covers! It was, to say the least, a nightmare scenario that we NEVER expected to happen.

That said, we have been trying for almost month now to see how the problem can be remedied and I believe we have come to a solution for the technical difficulty. Please know that it is only in the interest of quality control that we've held back the shipment of your copy. I would not want your expensive investment to arrive to you in sub par condition.

I am embarrassed about the delay, about the design and technical faux pas, and I ask those of you who are still waiting for your copy for your continued patience. Thank you very much. I cannot apologize enough.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


When tragedy befalls you,
don't let it drag you down.
Bird can cure your problems.
You're so lucky that bird's around?