Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The DINK!

A few weekends ago we braved the spring snow, headed down to Denver, and attended the first ever DINK (Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo) convention at the Sherman Street Event Center. It was the first ever convention in Denver that was dedicated to small press and independent creators so I would have kicked myself if I'd missed it.

It was a really fun show filled with independent comics, artists, authors, and musicians. Everyone was doing their own personal thing and there wasn't a table filled with prints of mainstream characters anywhere in sight. Being a lover of personal work I have to say that this is the first convention I've ever been to where, if I could have, I would have bought something from everyone's table and felt like it was well worth my time and money.

There were five floors of exhibitors and we were set up on the fourth floor mezzanine above the main floor. It gave us a great view of all the fun and a really neat place to set up. The building was eclectic and had some really nice character to it.

Charlie La Greca, who put on the event, did a wonderful job and he, his family, and the team they put together really made the whole event a lot of fun.

It was a great weekend and we had a great time. We got to sell some books, see some old friends, and meet some new ones. I will definitely be doing this event again when it comes around next year. If you're into art, cool stuff, and personal work, this is definitely the convention to go to and, hopefully, Denver's newest independent convention will someday rival both the west coast's APE convention and the east coast's Small Press Expo.

My fingers are crossed!

Oh, and while registering for the event I was asked to submit a questionnaire about who I was and what I do. I figured it might be cool to share some of those answers. Enjoy!

First comic you ever read and what you remember about it:

I had a variety of comics growing up like Richie Rich and Lil Hot Stuff (my parents thought the super-hero stuff might be too scary for me) but the first book I bought for myself was The Amazing Spider-Man #227. Previous to buying this issue I wanted to be an animator for Disney when I grew up but this book changed all of that. Comics were now a big part of my life and I am still amazed at the stories you can tell just sitting by yourself with a piece of paper and some simple drawing tools.

What is your favorite thing about making art or comics:

My favorite thing about creating art and comics is that supernatural sense that you are channeling something bigger than yourself. Sure, you can work on your style and technique and hone your skills as much as you want to get better but, when things are flowing, no matter your skill, you've tapped into some energy in the universe and you're relaying all that information that is being transmitted to you in the best way you can. And even though it doesn't happen all the time, when it does, nothing beats that feeling.

As to why I like creating my own art and my own comics, I love having the ability to tell MY stories MY way without any editorial interference from anyone else. There is a huge freedom to being able to control your own art.

Tell us why you should be considered for the DINK FELLOWSHIP:

I am sure there are many other writers and artists who deserve the fellowship much more than I do.

All I can say is that I love doing art, I love creating comics, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I have somehow successfully set myself up in a way that it doesn't matter if I have no audience, no publisher, and no money, I can still do my comic. Nothing can stop me now but myself. To put myself in a position like that where I've taken away every single external obstacle is something I am very proud of.

I just love making cool stuff and showing it off. And I just hope someone else out there in the world likes it as much as I do.

Anything else:

As much as I've loved working for various professional clients my heart always returns to personal work and a DIY attitude. I attribute it to seeing books like Jeff Smith's Bone and Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise at a very formative time in my life and once that bug bit me it never let go.

Please describe the various genres and style of comics or art you have published or created:

I've previously worked for Marvel Comics as an airbrush painter and inker. I self published my first comic, Exit 6, in 1998 which was a mix of humor and horror. My style is cartoony with a touch of anime. The book I am working on now, OilCan Drive, mixes science fiction, humor, and rock and roll.

Bio:

I have been a freelance artist for the past 25 years working for a variety of clients such as Marvel Comics, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, multiple ad agencies, and I've illustrated over 60 children's books. I gradutated from the Joe Kubert School in NJ and even taught there for a few years before moving to CO. I've self published my own book, Exit 6, and am now working on my new book, OilCan Drive, which mixes web comics, print comics, music, video, and rock and roll.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Penciling Away!

 It's been a busy last couple of weeks which has found me spending more time in Denver in the last two weeks than I probably spent there all last year combined. But, it has all been fun. I went to a new convention (which I'll talk about soon), saw a couple of concerts, spent some time with friends, and had a really good time. But it has meant that I've been spending a lot more time away from the drawing board and on the road than I am used to.

Still, I've been getting some work done.

It seemed to be easier for me to get the sequential pages for the OilCan Drive project done than the stuff I am working on now. With the story pages I knew I had to have a page done every week and I found myself falling into a nice rhythm in order to get everything completed and posted.
But, now that the main story is finished, I'm finding it hard to keep track of all the other little pieces I need to get done to get the book to print. There is also additional art I want to get done in order to do a few limited edition prints for this summer's conventions and the art I need for the packaging of the new OilCan Drive album (which I am also working on...no rest for the wicked.)

Plus, I've decided that I finally have enough work put into the OilCan Drive story that I can do a big 220 page collected book which I am also trying to get done for this summer.

All this means is that I am juggling a lot of different things now and my mantra has become, "the only thing left to do is everything."

But, I am slowly chopping away at all the things I need to do and checking things here and there off of my list. I think I should be fine getting all the things I want done. I figure if I do a bit each day, a bit each week, and a bit each month, I should be fine.

And, if not, ah well. It doesn't mean it won't ever get done. It just means it won't get done right this moment and I am becoming okay with that.

It's a long life and I am sure I'll get to everything at some point.

For now, enjoy all the pencil sketches for the things that will appear here and there later this summer. It's definitely going to be a roller coaster but I wouldn't miss this ride for the world!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

OilCan Drive Logos

Last fall, while I was in Maine visiting my family, I had the idea to take existing logos that I found interesting and change them into OilCan Drive logos.

So far I've only gotten to three of the ideas but I really like the way they turned out and I have plans to do more.

The first one is based off of the Floyd's Barbershop logo. I loved the retro styling of their design and thought it would be a good logo to attempt first as it really fit into the OilCan Drive aesthetic.

Next I found an old motorcycle logo that featured the sillouette of an old bike and the idea of some sort of retro motorcycle club. I thought putting the OilCan Drive cloudhopper airship into the logo might work well and I came up with this one. I love the way both this and the Floyd's logo both have that old distressed look like they have been worn away by time or faded from too much use.

Finally, I came up with the Princess of The Wastelands Diner logo. This was based off a logo that caught my eye while I was in Maine and started me on this whole path in the first place. We were at the Miss Portland Diner in Portland, Maine having a little breakfast when their logo caught my eye. I didn't like the idea of simply making it an "OilCan Drive Diner" kind of thing so I took the name Lily is called in the first book, "The Princess of the Wasteland," and ran with it. I think this one is my favorite as it's still an OilCan Drive design but just a little more subversive and not quite in your face.

I liked all of these designs so much that I chose to put them on t-shirts and place them in my NeatoShop store. I have one of each myself and you can get yours now too.

The best story of these shirts is when I was wearing the Floyd's design last weekend at a convention and a guy stopped me and asked if I was with OilCan Drive. Being the sole person who works on the OilCan Drive project I could only answer him one way:

"Oh yeah, I AM OilCan Drive."

And the shirts and these designs just help me prove it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy April!

No, it's not an April Fools Day joke! The blog, after a bit of an unintended hiatus, is back up and running again!

After finally finishing up Lou's album and releasing it I went into a bit of a spiral trying to get the third book of OilCan Drive done and posted. I successfully got all of the story pages done and then, probably because a part of my body said, "we are done now...rest!", hit a creative wall when I realized all the other work I had sitting in front of me.

But, things are working themselves out and I can finally feel the creative bug slowly coming back. I hate those periods of feeling low and unproductive but I've been through enough of them now to know that feeling won't last forever. Still, it doesn't make riding the storm out any easier.

OilCan Drive is coming along well and, if things work out the way I've planned, I should have print versions of both the third book done by this summer as well as a big giant fat 220 page collected book of a bunch of my OilCan Drive work ready as well. I am still working on a new album to hopefully be done by this summer so we'll see how that works out. Right now I am just trying to work on stuff every day and see what happens. But, new things are definitely in the works.

One of the pieces I did get done was this illustration for my new friend, Hannah. I had given her a copy of Lou's new album to which she smiled and said, "This is cool...and it's my birthday...so this makes a good birthday gift!"Ack! Knowing how many people really haven't liked Lou's new album made me think it might not be the best birthday gift. So I drew Hannah as an OilCan Drive character and finally got it to her last week. I was nervous but she seemed to really enjoy it. Phew!

Hannah is a great artist in her own right and I can't wait to see where she goes in life. You can check out some of her school assignments HERE. Needless to say I am definitely a fan of what she's doing.

There will be more things to talk about in the coming month while we get caught up but I hope you've all been doing great. I've missed this and I can't wait to get back in the groove again of sharing stuff and having a little bit of an archive of my life.

See you all soon!



Monday, February 29, 2016

Remains To Be Seen

Once again it's been a busy month and, while the client jobs seem to have slowed down a bit, there are always plenty of projects that don't pay me anything that keep me sometimes busier than I'd like to be.

One of the things I finally wrapped up this weekend is putting to bed my friend Lou's newest album. We've been getting together every Saturday afternoon for months, playing around and putting together songs and, finally, we have a finished product to show for it.

I'm really proud of the way this album turned out and the recording techniques and sounds I was able to get out of my new home studio sometimes amazed me. I think I might be getting pretty good at this whole recording, engineering, mixing, producing thing. And, while it did drive me nuts sometimes I think the album turned out great.

You can see the album art and listen to sample clips of the songs below. And, if you like what you here, head on over to CDBaby.com and throw a few shekels Lou's way.

Enjoy the fun and enjoy the music! See you all soon!

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Deep Desert Survival Suit


I did this piece in late December and, if you checked in here at all during my hiatus, you might have seen I used this piece for the blog's header in January.

In the next issue of OilCan Drive I want to have some sort of really heavy duty suit for the military to wear while they are out on long range recon patrols in the middle of the desert. I pictured it as part robotic exoskeleton and part deep sea diving suit while still keeping elements of the soldier's uniforms I've already introduced in the world of OCD.

I think it turned out pretty well and, as well as looking like something that could survive a bomb being dropped on it, it also looks like something that could go toe to toe with a certain giant bass playing ape that the military might come across while hunting the band. I think I'll call this design a success!

And, while I really love doing the week to week narrative pages for the OilCan Drive website and books I really missed doing these kind of single illustrations. I'll have to find some more time between doing the book, doing the client work, recording music, and trying to continue to breath in and out to do some more pieces like this.

Hmmm....I wonder what the indigenous people of the desert wasteland might look like? I'll have to break out Mad Max for inspiration and see what comes out of my pencil. Sketches may be coming soon! Ha ha!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Undiscovered!



It's been a long day doing work, recording music, and finally ending the night by getting the next page for OilCan Drive ready to drop on Friday. But, I wanted to get a quick post out before I crashed for the night.

Finally, after weeks of sitting on the footage we shot last fall, I got around to editing together Lou's video for his song, "Undiscovered." And, I have to say, for my official directorial debut, it didn't turn out too bad. All the things I wanted to try out for this video worked out pretty well. I wanted to see if I could synch up Lou's performance in the video with the pre-recorded song and, if that wasn't hard enough, film him at different speeds and then speed up or slow down the footage to match the song. It's cool to see the things I thought would work actually seemed to pan out.

Of course, there are a few glitches I can see here and there but those are things I can address in the next video we shoot. Oh, and did I mention I have a friend who liked this video so much she wants to be in the next one, have us shoot at a friend's ranch out in the flat lands of Colorado, and has offered to lend us a horse for Lou to ride on as he sings? I have no idea if any of that will pan out but the thought of filming Lou riding a horse as he tries to save the damsel in distress makes me smile.

Okay, I am off to crash. I hope you enjoy the video. Rock on!