Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Finished Watercolor

I spent the day today watching a few movies and tackling the watercolor piece of Vincent from OilCan Drive. The definite highlight of the movies was the 1984 Kevin Bacon flick, Quicksiler, where he's a former stock broker who now rides bikes for a living. It made for some great background noise while I worked on this piece.

I painted Vincent in a very similar way to the techniques I used while working for Marvel Comics in the early 90s. Back before everything went digital they used to send me watercolor boards with the image printed on it in non-repo blue along with a transparent acetate overlay with the same image printed in black. You'd rip off the black line overlay and paint and airbrush on the watercolor board until you were done. Then you'd line up the transparent black overlay and, ta-dum, finished piece!

The only difference in this piece is that I didn't pull out the airbrush to paint and simply used ink washes, watercolor overlays, and colored pencils to paint the piece. When I was done I scanned the colored board into the computer, placed the original black and white line art over the piece, touched it up a bit, and, once again, ta-dum, finished piece!

Here is a photo I took in the middle of the process once the ink wash and watercolor part was done. I still hadn't used the colored pencils or touched it up yet but it should give you a good idea what the piece looks like without the black ink line overlay.

I really love doing pieces like this and I really should find the time to do them more than once or twice a year. It's different from painting digitally in that I am never quite sure where I am going with the piece and I don't have the luxury of having an undo button if something goes wrong. But, I always love the way these pieces come out. They have a life to them that digital always seems to be lacking.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new piece as much as I do. Question now is, who should I paint like this next?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Watercolor Preparation

Lately I've been getting the itch to try another blue-line watercolor painting like I did with the Brick piece last year. This is, of course, kind of like the technique I used to paint with back in my Marvel Comics days before computers came along and almost everything went digital.

So, I penciled out this quick piece of Vincent last night and inked it this afternoon. I've scanned it into the computer and prepped it to print both as a non-repo blue line on the art board and as a black and white transparency for the overlay. I think I'll be able to print it out Monday and, if have enough time next week, start painting.

I made this piece of Vince a bit more cartoony than usual, really warping his skull and making the whole piece look a bit more fluid and animated. I don't know what I was thinking and I know it's not technically correct but I still dig it.

I can't wait to start painting it and I'll definitely let you know how it goes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sports Illustrated Kids August

As I geared up today to pencil another round of Sports Illustrated Kids "What's The Call" illustrations for the December issue I realized I haven't shown off any of the magazine's images in quite a while.

So, what say we fix that right now?

As always, there is a play on the field that is questionable and you, as the official, need to make the correct call. So, it's up to you. What's The Call?

1. Basketball- During a basketball game against the Montana Mountaineers, Arkansas Avengers center Josephine Jackson grabs a rebound from under her team's basket. As she comes down, Jackson swings her elbows excessively to ward off the Mountaineer defenders, but does not make contact with them. The Mountaineers coach says that a foul should be assessed for her play. You're the referee. Does Jackson deserve to be penalized?

1. Baseball- In a baseball against the Oswego Otters, Springfield Springers first baseman Kareem Parker hits a long ball to left field. Otters outfielder Marshall Pinto jumps up to catch it. The ball brushes the top of Pinto's glove before hitting the foul pole and landing over the fence. As Parker starts to round second base, the Otters manager argues that it is not a home run, rather it is a ground rule double. You're the umpire. What's the call?

3. Golf- Aaron Hill hits a shot off the green in a golf tournament. The ball stops a foot from the hole before a squirrel scurries onto the green and past the ball, moving it two feet away from the hole. You're the official. Where should Hill play his next shot from?

Good luck! I'll have more of these to show off soon enough. Thanks again to all the great folks up at Sports Illustrated Kids! These pieces are always a blast to do and I usually even learn something!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Happy October!

Geez, it's been so crazy around here the last few days I totally forgot to change the header to the blog. Luckily I had this piece of Ryan from my 24 Hour Comic cover to save the day.

Thank you Ryan and Happy October!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Aftermath

Well, this year's 24 Hour Comic Day has come and gone and, overall, I'm not happy with how I performed. I did a lot of things wrong from the start and they just seemed to snowball out of control from there.

First off, after doing the full 24 pages last year to prove to myself I could do it I thought I'd give myself a break this year and do, at most, 12 pages. After coming up with a story and laying out the pages I had a total of 22 pages and two covers to draw. Instead of stepping back and rethinking the story or ditching it entirely, I jumped in and never looked back.

I felt like I'd been exhausted for weeks and I should have gotten more rest before Saturday. I should have gotten more sleep Friday night before the even but, no matter how tired I was, I couldn't sleep. If I was in bed I just laid there with my eyes closed and my mind racing. If I did actually get any sleep it couldn't have been more than two hours. Only two hours of sleep really isn't the way you should start a 24 hour marathon of doing anything. But, I showed up at 10am anyway and started drawing.

I penciled out the whole story by 5pm and started inking. And that's when I hit the wall. My head was aching and my back hurt. I could barely focus and I even had trouble making simple conversation with people. I was actually forgetting words as I talked. It wasn't good.

Finally, at 2am, I called it and stopped working. Monika tried to get me to keep going but I just couldn't. She actually badgered me to stay but nothing worked. I was done. I was the first artist to leave the event while everyone else kept working. In the end I had 24 pages penciled and 7 inked.

As tired as I was and as much as I understand why I stopped I still feel like a failure.

Part of me really doesn't know why. It's not like there was money involved or a job at stake or the chance of me being fired from anything if I failed. And, if I succeeded it didn't really matter either. It's not like there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or really any recognition if I pulled it off again.

Still, not making it this year is weighing heavily on me.

I had planned on trying to finish the pages in the coming weeks. I liked the way the story had come out and I really liked the way I had told the story. It really has promise. And I know I have some time to finish it before they put the call out for the finished art for the anthology. But now I don't know.

As you know, I spent the week prior to the event getting a cover done for the anthology book cover contest. I penciled, inked, colored, and laid out a cover because I thought more people would participate. But, as the day began, I was the only one who had printed a cover. One of the other artists actually called me a "brown noser" for doing a cover before the event. Later at least my friend Liam had a cover up in the voting next to mine and, by the end of the day, the guy who made the snide remark to me also had a cover up in the running (he had penciled it while another artist inked it.) On Sunday I found out I hadn't gotten the cover and the snide remarker had won. On his Facebook post where they announced the winner he actually wrote, "your reign of terror is over Mr. Tiffany!"

I'm sure he meant the remark in good humor but, with the way I am feeling now, it is cutting deeper than it probably should. It might have been because I was tired but I really felt like an outcast there this year, like I just didn't belong.

So, now I am not so sure about finishing up this story...or finishing up much of anything personal right now. I inked one page today at lunch and then came home and cleaned the house because it was something to do that seemed more productive than any piece of art on my table. I'll complete the client jobs I have in front of me, of course, but, after that, I don't know. And I really don't know if I would attend the next 24 Hour Comic Day.

If anyone has any advice on which way to go I'd love to hear it. 

We'll see what happens over the next few days. Right now I just hope tomorrow is better than the last few days have been.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Anthology Cover

Here is my finished cover submission for the 2015 24 Hour Comic Challenge Anthology bookas well as the digitally revised black and white version.

If you're anywhere near Boulder, Colorado tomorrow (Saturday to me) come on over to Time Warp Comics and say hi. Bring me some coffee while you're at it. I have a feeling I'm going to need it!

I don't think I am as ready for this year as I was last year so I have no idea how this is all going to go. I know I can quit any time I want but I have a feeling I'll be just stubborn enough to make it through another one of these things. We'll see what happens.

For now, I am off to bed. I have a long day tomorrow.

See you on the other side!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tiger Blood!

I finished up my cover for the 24 Hour Comic Day tonight but I've decided to hold off until tomorrow to post it. I think it came out okay but I am still a little too close to the final piece to really know. You can decide for yourself soon enough.

So, while I have a break from the more recent things, I've decided to show off a few things I did this past summer.

I was contacted earlier this summer by a website called Zooppa. They seem to run various ad campaigns for big name clients but run them as contests. Now, I know as a professional artist I'm supposed to frown on this sort of thing but it seemed like stupid fun so I decided to give it a try. But, I also decided to take as little time on it as possible.

The campaign I joined was for a new Mike's Hard line of drinks called Tiger's Blood. The first thing that sprung into my mind was, of course, Charlie Sheen. I also figured that more than enough people would simply draw tigers. So, I came up with the weird idea of a Charlie Sheen kid wearing a Calvin and Hobbes type tiger costume with a little Adventure Time flair thrown in.

I figured, if nothing else, there would probably not be one other person who contributed to the campaign who would have a Tiger Boy on the can. If Mike's Hard liked the Tiger Boy I would have the market cornered.

I actually drew all of these pieces while at lunch with friends, brought them home, scanned them into the computer, and quickly colored them. I think I was done before dinner.

Of course I didn't win. The winners' cans all had beautiful tigers painted on them in elegant ways. But, in my opinion, none of them were as fun as the Tiger Boy.

Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have entered a contest meant merely to find a cheap way to get some art on a product at a discounted cost. At the time I didn't think it would do any harm. But, now, I am thinking stuff like this may be one of the reasons I haven't had too many new clients this past year. "Contests" like these definitely cheapen the art and the people who create for a living and make it harder for people to do this as a career. So, I don't see myself doing anything like this again anytime soon.

I keep going back to an old mantra I took away from my years of trying to work on other people's comic books. "If there is a project that I may or may not get paid for I'd rather work on my own project. At least that way if I don't get paid I still had fun doing the work and much more control." (not to mention I'd own the project.)

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the lessons we've taught ourselves over the years.

But I still like the Tiger Boy. I may need to use him again sometime!