Friday, July 29, 2011

From The Vault - Exit 6 #1 Cover Pencil 1997

I am nearing the end of writing the first draft of the Exit 6 Collected book. Just a few more chapters and then I can go back over the whole thing and make sure it all makes sense, flows right, and there isn't too much "fat" in there.

So far, I'm pretty happy with the book overall. It took some time to get through a few of the traumatic parts of what happened with the comic. It wasn't easy to go back and live through those events again. And, I had to put together a timeline for some of the parts where I couldn't quite remember what order stuff happened. But, it's getting there. Only a few chapters left.

So, here is the penciled page of the cover of Exit 6 #1 from 1997. This is the one I actually used for the published book. And, if all works out right, this will be in the collected book along with a bunch of other art no one has ever seen.

It's not done yet. But it's getting there.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Angels and Airwaves LOVE Videos

The band Angels and Airwaves have released a few more videos and, since I don't have much of my own stuff that I can really show right now, I thought it would be fun to put a few of them up here.

The first video is a short piece of film from the upcoming movie LOVE. Apparently there are going to be four short vignettes of characters who will appear in the movie and this is the first.

The next three videos are live performances from the band in the Red Bull Studios. Not only do they play a few songs from the album LOVE live but Tom also talks about the movie and the ideas and themes behind it. I think it's a great way to promote the movie. Play live somewhere where you know your fans will want to see you and then sneak in some information about the movie so people will want to check it out.

Tom's voice does sound a bit rough in the live songs but, for me, it's fun to see the different instrumentation taking place throughout the performance. I like seeing David go from banging on a giant bass drum, to playing keyboards, and then settling into guitar. Stuff like that fascinates me.

Okay, I hope you enjoy the stuff I've been enjoying for the last few days. Have a good one!

Clever Love

The Moon Atomic

Epic Holiday


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To The Rescue!

I've been working most of the week on a super hero kid and I went through a few versions before I came up with something the client liked.

Since the finished version is so radically different from my initial sketch I figure it would be okay to show off where I started from. I like the version we finally settled on but I also like this version as well. It's all a matter of taste.

And, he does make a very cute looking little super hero.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

August 10, Baby!

Whew....things over the past few days were so busy that I didn't have time to update the blog at all. Not only have I been busy doing client work but I also spent Saturday night heading down to Denver to celebrate a really great friend's birthday. I haven't seen her in over a year so it was great to catch up with her, her boyfriend, her family, and her friends.

While on the way back up to Boulder from Denver I stopped off at the movie theater in Westminster that I reserved my tickets at for the Angels and Airwaves movie "Love" playing for one night on August 10th. I wasn't sure if the ticket kiosk would work at 2:30 in the morning but I swiped my card and got the tickets I ordered with no problem at all.

It feels good to have the tickets in hand and it gives me something fun to look forward to on August 10th. As I've said before, I've been waiting to see this movie since I heard they were working on it over four years ago. I just hope the people I'm dragging along to see it like it. That I'm a little worried about.

Actually, I was so worried about it that I had a dream the night I picked up the tickets of actually going to see the movie. I don't know if the movie was bad or not but the conditions were horrible. The movie was shown in a little white rec room with folding chairs for seats. Tom Delonge and the rest of the band Angels and Airwaves was there to promote the film but he kept stopping the movie and interrupting just to start talking about things. It was really weird and I didn't enjoy it at all.

So, I'm hoping it's a better experience than that.

I did find these two videos to promote the night's event and it just makes me want to see it that much more. So keep your fingers crossed that it's a good film and a fun night. Now I just have to wait a few more weeks.

Sorry for being quiet for so long. This week shouldn't be nearly as busy. Have a great day!

Friday, July 22, 2011

From The Vault - Exit 6 #2 Alternate Cover 1996

Much like the first issue of Exit 6 that I showed last week, the second issue also had an alternate cover that I didn't use for the printed book.

Looking back I think I chose the cover I did use because I knew the orders for the second book would drop to almost half what the first book did in sales. I was given advice, and it made sense to me at the time, that if I put a sexy pin-up type shot of Courtney wearing next to nothing it would draw more attention than my original idea. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn't but, as an older and wiser man now, I'm sad to say I tried to use sex to sell an issue of Exit 6.

I really like this original cover and I wish I had used it. I love the way Frank looks all menacing and how Keith is protecting a sleeping (or passed out) Courtney. I think it would have made a great finished cover once I inked and painted it.

In the end, yes, the sales matter, but I wish I had taken a different route with the cover of Exit 6 number two and kept things a bit more classy. Yes, the sales matter, but so does the art itself.

And the art lasts a lot longer than those initial sales do.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

OilCan Drive T-Shirts

I just went down to my mailbox and picked up the package containing the new OilCan Drive t-shirts.

I chose to put them all on dark colored t-shirts but now I'm wondering how they might have looked on a basic white tee. I may have to order one or two more in the future.

But, for now, I'm looking forward to giving these things their first wash and softening them up a bit so I can wear them.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Busy Times

I've been having one of those weeks where it seems like everyone needs something from me all at once and right at this moment. So it feels like I'm juggling a bit more than usual trying to get everything done.

Amidst the client work this week I'm also trying to get more of the Exit 6 book written as well as more of the OilCan Drive music recorded. And then there are the favors that people ask me to do as well. The music seems to be suffering as I haven't recorded anything in about five days now. I actually spent the weekend trying to fix one of my guitars who's neck got a bit warped in the high humidity we've been having. After fixing it completely wrong I spent another night righting everything and now it's back in playing shape. At the end of the day, though, I just run out of time.

But, things are getting done. Here is a piece I worked on earlier this week that I actually won't be using for the finished piece. So I figured it was safe to show it off.

And, how do I feel when something I pencil isn't going to be used or need some changes? I don't mind at all, actually. It's why I pencil things first before I being inking.

You can always erase a pencil.

Have a great day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sketching Away

I had to do a few revisions on a client's piece of art this weekend after I sent them the initial pencil sketches. The way I drew the batter swinging was asked to be changed a bit so I ended up sketching in a new pose to the right of original sketch.

I got a good idea of the sketch but I ended up sketching away so much in blue pencil that I had to transfer this piece onto a new piece of paper and keep working. Which is good because I ended up shortening his torso a bit in the finished piece so I corrected the proportions when I traced him.

But, I thought this would be an interesting thing to see right in the middle of the process. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done!

Have a good one!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Up All Night

On Thursday evening the newly reformed Blink 182 released their first new music since 2003. The song is called "Up All Night."

I've listened to it a few times and I'm still not sure overall how I feel about it. I think that's my simple way of saying that I like some parts and don't like others. But, it is a different sound from the three kids who used to play three chords as loud and as fast as they could in the late 90's.

And, I'm just happy to hear some new music from three guys I looked up to when I was learning how to play music.


Friday, July 15, 2011

From The Vault - Exit 6 #1 Alternate Cover 1996

As I move further along in the writing of the Exit 6 Collected book I thought it would be cool to feature some of the never before seen art that will fill its pages.

This piece, done in 1996, was the original cover for Exit 6 #1. You can see, at the time, I was still planning to publish under the Lost Cause Graphics header that Craig Patrick came up with. But, once we found out someone else had already taken that name and Craig bowed out of self publishing, I went ahead with my own Plastic Spoon Press imprint.

I still like this piece and I think I used it in the giveaway ash can sampler I gave away to promote the first issue of Exit 6. I'll have to go back and take a look at that. I'm finding my memory is a bit rusty in places as I visit these older pieces.

As far as the writing of the Exit 6 Collected book goes, I am close to the end of what happened to the book and it's getting hard to write in places. But, I think it's good. I think confronting your past and coming to terms with it is never a bad thing and, once I get all of this out of the way, I'll have an interesting book to show for it. Plus, it will be nice to have all that art and part of my life under one cover.

It's getting there.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Steady-Cam Test

It's been a busy day with client work taking up most of my time. But, I did want to share a video test my friend Brian did with a steady cam rig he built himself earlier this week. It looks really great to me and, while it still bobs about a bit, it is much smoother than simply grabbing your camera and running around with it in your hand.

Not bad for a twenty six dollar investment at Home Depot.

Now I just need to write some more scenes for the short film idea and we can start using some of the gear Brian has built.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sale Today!

If you've been interested in buying one of the OilCan Drive t-shirts than today is the day to do it. Today only, in celebration of their 6th birthday, is running a sale where every shirt is $6.00 off. Simply use the code word ZBDAYTSHIRTS when you check out.

Click the link above to get a great deal on some great shirts!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Up To Date

I woke up this morning with a bit of a headache and I'm not sure if blasting the Foo Fighters out of the speakers in front of me is really helping that much. Hang on, I'm going to change the music to something a bit more conducive to writing.

OK, I am now listening to The London Chamber Orchestra playing Pete (of The Who) Townshend's version of "Lifehouse." Much nicer.

There hasn't been a lot of illustration work to show off recently as I've been in the planning stages of a few things. The recording of the OilCan Drive EP is going along fine and the writing of the Exit 6 book is progressing but those don't really make for good images to post on the blog. The movie idea my friend and I are batting around seems to be progressing and I've written out a few scene ideas. He wrote me yesterday to tell me he is in the middle of building a steady cam rig for his camera so we can pull off a few cool shots. I think he wants to start filming something this week but I don't think we're quite there yet. I'd like to get the story down, make it as good as possible, and then even do some quick storyboards so we know exactly how the film will look and pace out. Right now we're still trying to get the basic story down so I think if we start shooting this week it wouldn't amount to much anyway. But, for something we started talking about on Friday it's getting there. Maybe if he wants to shoot something I'll suggest doing some demo stuff with the steady cam rig and seeing if he can pull off some of the shots and digital effects we've been talking about.

I've also been thinking about doing a new OilCan Drive t-shirt design. I'd like to do an illustration of the full band and you can see a few sketches for that idea in my notebook. I think it's getting there. I just need to tweak it a bit and make sure everything looks cool. The other sketches in the notebook are for a client project. These ideas got show down and the finished pieces will look nothing like what you see above. But, that's the whole point of doing make sure everyone is on the same page and happy before I spend a lot of time drawing, inking, and coloring a piece only to have to go back and change it.

The good news is the revised thumbnails I did today have been approved and I am off to the drawing board to pencil the new ideas out.

And, what do you know, my headache is already going away. Thank you Pete Townshend and The London Chamber Orchestra. I think I'll keep you on while I draw.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sports Illustrated Kids June Illustrations

This week is mid July which means it's time to start the next round of Sports Illustrated Kids illustrations that will be featured in the upcoming September issue.

I figure there's no better way to start the new illustrations than to show you the three pieces that were in last month's June issue.

Enjoy your Monday and have a great week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dumpster Diver

On Friday I stopped over a friend's house to pick up a project I was helping him and his wife with. I hadn't seen him in a while so we hung out most of the afternoon getting caught up and he showed me some of the editing and special effects he had been working on for his demo reel he will be sending out to potential clients.

We started talking about all the things he could do on the computer and we watched a few short films people had put up on YouTube and Vimeo. While he could do all sorts of effects he didn't have story in him that he wanted to tell. So we started brainstorming about all the sorts of things he could do and, together, we started working out a basic story that we could film in two days and then he could edit it and make it look really cool.

While talking about the story we started talking about what kinds of props we both have that we could use. While he pulled out a few things he mentioned he had some more stuff in the garage. And there, in the garage, was a bass guitar he said he had pulled out of the dumpster a few months ago. It didn't seem in such bad shape so, after we were done talking about the story for the movie, I took the bass home and spent yesterday afternoon cleaning it up, tightening some loose bolts and screws, and giving it a new set of strings.

And now it plays like a dream. It's not the best bass in the world but, for the cost of a little time, a little love, and twenty bucks for a new set of strings, my friend has an essentially free bass he can learn to play music on.

As for my own music playing and the recording of the OilCan Drive album...between playing the guitar and bass for weeks on end and playing this new bass all day yesterday my hands have really taken a beating. They don't hurt at all and my fingers have really toughened up but, as you can see from this picture, I won't be doing any hand modeling anytime soon.

Have a great day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

From The Vault - Birthday Cartoon 1999

Back in 1999 I was so poor that one of things I would do for friend's birthdays is draw some art for them. I had known Desmonne since 1997 and, in 1999, she and I had become good friends. She turned me back onto a love of hockey that I had forgotten I had and gave me a new team to root for in the Colorado Avalanche.

So, for her 20th birthday, I drew a caricature of her in the captains jersey of the Colorado Avalanche.

I have no idea if she even held on to this or if it hit the trash can as soon as she got home. But, it was the first time I had drawn the Avalanche jersey that I would later use a lot as the main shirt for Ryan Burke in OilCan Drive. So, for that alone, it makes this piece special.

And, while, looking back, I'm not too happy with the way I portrayed a very beautiful twenty year old girl in this cartoon I did get a chance to draw her again years later for her wedding day.

I think I got it right the second time.

Of course, she is missing the cool Avalanche jersey. But, I doubt either she or her new husband would have appreciated that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Model Mayhem

Not only have I had my work featured on my own website and a few other pay sites for a while, but I've also been on a website called Model Mayhem for the last year or so.

It's a site that caters to mostly models and photographers but there is also space there for make-up artists, fashion designers, and painters/illustrators. So, since I enjoy drawing a model every now and then, I signed up and put some of my pin-up work there.

I never really got much work from the site but people seemed to like my work and it's never a bad thing to have a place to look for people if you happen to need a model. But nothing seemed to lead to anything concrete.

That is until I got a message from one of the models yesterday. She liked my work and was wondering if I could do something of her. I found a little free time in the schedule and told her I'd do a quick portrait of her to see if she likes how I draw her before we go along and do any more stuff.

So, I spent last night and a bit of this morning doing this quick inked portrait of her. Now we'll just have to see what she thinks.

Who knows, this might lead to something fun. Keep your fingers crossed.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Web Comic

I've been having the itch to do another OilCan Drive comic book again lately and I've been thinking that it might be better to do this one as a web comic rather than a printed book.

As much as I love doing books and seeing them printed, honestly, if I look back over every book I've done, I don't think I've ever made my money back on printing any of them. So, if I'm not going to make any money doing it and I'm still going to do it the easiest answer I could come up with is to simply do one and put it up on the OilCan Drive web page once it gets done.

The only stumbling block I am having is how to format it. The last few OilCan Drive books I had gone completely off the books and done square, 8"x8" books to mimic the old 7" album sleeves. But, while working on the Exit 6 collected book I found a renewed love for the old 10"x15" tall format. But, would a tall image, scaled from 10"x15" work on a computer screen? I took an idea from a friend and chopped the page in half, making each image a horizontal 10"x7.5". It works and looks like an old Sunday comic strip and I could put the images together to make a 10"x15" scaled image if I did print it as a comic book.

But, would making two Sunday strip style comics per page hurt the storytelling? I don't know and it's something I've been wrestling with for a while now. I figured if I did a quick sketch of the page size it might help but it only leads to more questions.

I do like this page, though. I especially like the fourth panel's dialogue where one small character is saying to another, "no need for stupid!" Can I write or what?

So, what do you think of the format? What do you think would work best and be the easiest to read? I really need some help here before I start down the wrong path.

Of course, when I asked one friend she probably gave me the best advice I've gotten so far...

"Just start drawing it and it'll look fine. You'll figure out the rest later..."

Ha ha, I may just do that. We shall see.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I feel like I've been waiting for this movie to come out FOREVER! And, while that statement usually means I saw a trailer six months ago and now I have to wait, that isn't the case for this movie. No, for this movie I have been waiting for it since 2005!

But, it's almost here. I've found out there will be a one night screening in 500 theaters sometime around August 10th. And, if I miss that then the DVD and double album will be hitting stores on November 11th, 2011. So I don't have to wait that much longer.

One of the things I love about this movie is that the director, Will Eubank, not only directed the movie but pretty much built all the sets himself. There is an interview with Will HERE where he talks about the movie and how he built both the space station interior set and the Civil War props in his parents backyard. And, if you'd like to see a bunch of videos of how he built everything you can head over to his Vimeo channel HERE.

I really love the Do It Yourself attitude this guy has. And, from the looks of the trailer, he makes a $500,000 movie look like it cost fifty million bucks.

So, yeah, I'm counting the days until August 10th.

Have a great day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy July!

Woo, July! How did it get here so fast?

I've spent the day in a hot studio playing the Ryan Burke parts on guitar for the OilCan Drive EP album. I got all but one song tracked today and, honestly, my hand is killing me. I was going to attempt to do the last song but I think, for today, I did enough.

Anyway, I am off to go and meet some friends and enjoy a fourth of July barbeque. Enjoy the Nicole piece in the new July blog header.

Have a great weekend and be safe!

Friday, July 1, 2011

From The Vault - Spider-Man Inks 2000

Here's another piece of inking I did over David Tata for Marvel Comics back in the year 2000.

The editors up at Marvel must have thought I was competent enough after inking over David's pencils for a few X-Men cards that I showed off HERE and HERE. And, I knew from talking to David that he was really happy with the way I inked over his stuff so I got to do a few more pieces of Spider-Man. I'm not sure which version of Spider-Man this was but, hey, I'm not picky, it's all Spider-Man to me, no matter what costume he is wearing this week.

I did the inking work for Marvel after most of the painting work I was doing for them dried up once the computer coloring took over and an airbrush artist was no longer needed. Plus, there had been a lot of shake ups at Marvel and a lot of the editors I used to work with were no longer there. Actually, after knowing about a dozen different editors up there during my painting days when 2000 came around I only knew one. But, at least he was one of the higher up editors and when I called him asking if he had any work available he took a chance on me and let me do some inking.

Unfortunately, a few months later he was let go too and every connection I ever had to Marvel Comics was gone. Who knows what might have happened if he had stuck around and kept sending me work. I may have been a Marvel inker for a lot longer than a few months in the year 2000.

Ah well, it's still fun stuff to look at and I wouldn't wish my life or career any differently.

And, I get to say I worked for Marvel Comics once and got to work on Spider-Man.

I think the nine year old kid inside of me is definitely satisfied.

Have a great weekend.