Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's a Zork?

Last May, I was chosen/voluntarily forced by my boss to go visit another Magnet Elementary School in South Carolina. I was the only dude with five other women. I was reluctant to go to say the least. I don't like spending time away from my family ESPECIALLY is school is the culprit. I really don't have a problem leaving if it is comic book/ movie related. BUT TEACHING!? COME ON!

Anyhoo, after the missus advised me to appease my boss, I went. I sat in the back of the van and got myself in vacation mode. It's the tried and tested "mode" I've used to survive vacation since I was a teenager: Back seat, head phones, books, pens, paper.

And that's exactly when we launched into: "Let's-make-this-an -enthusiastic-productive-brain-storming-working-car-trip!"

The team I was with decide to start planning for next school year. One theme that was bandied about was the recycled "Around the World in 180 Days." I'll agree to damn near anything so I can get back to zoning-out. Yeah. Sure. Whatever.

But it didn't end there.

Ooo-ooo-ooo! How about "Seeing the World Through Alien Eyes?"

Great. Super. Another winner.

But then this idea just snow-balled. The next thing that I know, I'm drawing this alien named Zork. I was just trying to look busy. I drew a couple different faces not giving it much thought. They liked the Little-foot/Shrek design. Now, their passing my notebook around the van, looking at this picture, taking iphone photos of it and trying to get price quotes for a costume. Seriously?

When we returned to Tally, I was asked to draw a turn around for some company that specializes in making mascot costumes. I drew the body on a different piece of paper, scanned it in and very crudely married the two in Photoshop. And what you see is what you get. I assumed that if I gave Zork E.T. proportions, that if no one could get in the suit, that this would be the end of ol' Zork.

It wasn't.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Saturday or Uncomissioned Flash Cover Art (pencils)

Here's a cover I drew of the Flash a few years ago. I'm still pretty happy with the way it turned. The thought behind was that now matter how fast you are, your never quite fast enough.

The Flash disarming bombs isn't the most original idea, but I liked the notion that he made it to the last one a split second too late.

I still think it's s strong portfolio piece.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving post game

You just had to know it was too good to last.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

15 Years ago...

So I was one of those teenagers that didn’t really have to start working. As far as my parents were concerned, school was my job, But I learned more about people (customers, bosses, co-workers alike) than I ever did being confined to a classroom. Maybe because of the simple fact that you can apply and choose where you want to work, and that school is just forced upon you. I dunno.

My first job was as an usher at Oak Lake 6. These six movie posters were the six movies we had playing there when I started working fifteen years ago.

Okay, maybe not fifteen years EXACTLY, but it was Thanksgiving weekend 1995.

It was the opening weekend for a little movie called “Toy Story.” I’ve had a deep-rooted connection with that movie and I’ve been fascinated with Pixar movies ever since. (Kids today can’t even fathom that yes, there was a time when feature-length animated movies were only hand drawn. Now, it’s the opposite.)

As an usher, I must have heard the ending to that movie a thousand times. I don’t think I ever got tired of it. I remember not even needing a watch to know what the time was. As an usher, there’s a kind of Pavlovian conditioning at work there: from the lobby, whenever you heard the “BANG/THUD” of the U-haul truck ramp slam on the street, you knew it was time to find the rolling garbage can and find your broom and dustpans. When you opened the door and heard Andy yell, “Oh boy! A Puppy!” you knew it was time to Velcro the stop sign to the theater door and prop them open. Toy Story was a game changer.

Don’t even get me started on SE7EN. That warped my impressionable mind in a different way.

The Oak Lake would close its doors a meager year and a half later. I made a lot of fond memories that I’ll always cherish forever in that small window of time.

The old Oak Lake 6 is currently the WCTV news station. Completely remodeled.

I can always revisit it in the Ashley Judd movie “Ruby in Paradise.” While not the EXACT same theater, the movie has a scene shot in an identical clone theater in Panama City.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Vacation begins...

Thanksgiving Break begins. I might actually like this break more than the Christmas holidays because all I have to do is eat.

Judging by these character concepts, I was starting to feel great with all of these designs passing muster.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 2 begins today!

This is just a Google Earth Map of my jogging path. As you can tell, it's very wooded.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Shortest Week of the Year!

FINALLY! Here are some characters that had made the cut.

Plus, I'm super stoked because this is the shortest work week of the year.

Two Days?
Bish, Please!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Even more rejected characters.

And we went to Bradley's Country Days again.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Character Stuff...

This faculty member is kind of an aged Clark Kent. Didn't nail it in the first three tries. Maybe the forth time's the charm?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pop Culture Cyborgs

The problem with cyborgs is…

I don’t really have a problem with cyborgs. I think cyborgs are awesome.

What’s not to love about any characters that are part human and part robot?

The dilemma I face as an artist drawing a cyborg for someone else is always the question: How much or what part? Fractions. Great.

The human head is just a ball that can be divided into a finite number of ways: front, back, left side, right side, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, whatever.

What I did, was devise this chart to illustrate to different writers/creative types the various ways mechanics/organics have been combined in pop culture (at least all the combinations I could think of.)

I really made this to help avoid treading water (for hours!) in the wrong ocean.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 2

Brutal run with the baby. This was the second jog that I've done for Couch to 5k. I can't believe how lousy my stamina is. This run looks pretty easy on paper, so I'm surprised/disappointed by how difficult it was. I appreciate running but only if I'm in a race or being chased.

And here's more character designs. The problem with designing a cyborg is that they can come in a variety of "cyborgness." If I say draw a cyborg to ten different artists, they'll probably draw ten different cyborgs. After three different tries, I decide to make a cheat sheet. I'll post that tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eye's Only

A little over a year ago, my buddy J. Torres asked me to help him pitch a new volume of his Oni Press series from yesteryear- Side Kicks. It’s about a school for super powered teenagers. He really came up with cool characters coupling powers with personalities you’d never suspect. It was a neat little anime/manga style comic and you should totally Google it.

Having read several issues of the first series, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a natural fit stylistically. I was more than flattered just to have been asked.

Before you pitch a series, sometimes it’s important to have as many ducks in row as possible. I’ve heard stories that sometimes a pitch could be as simple as a sentence FROM an editor or a sentence TO an editor. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you need the entire creative team in place and in others, you’ll need the entire book “in the can” and ready for print. No two pitches are ever the same, just as no two “breaking stories” are ever the same.

Don’t look to me for advice, I haven’t done either successfully.

For this series proposal, there were two approval processes I had to go through. First, I had to go through the writer (volleying emails back and forth) and then the characters had to make it through the editor/publisher of the proposed comics.

Anyway, J. Torres had a four issue outline (character descriptions and character arcs) all mapped out. All he needed from me were character designs. We went back and forth on a few designs, but ultimately the series was scrapped. Oh well. Enjoy these concept sketches for the next couple of days.

First up was one of the more difficult faculty members to nail down.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Missus' Birthday

Today, my lovely bride turns 31! Where have the years gone? When I tell people we grew up together they assume we were childhood loves (a little playful misdirection on my part) but we literally "grew up" together. She was eighteen years old when we met and we've been through a lot over those years.

Even though she was born in 1979, she didn't start livin' 'til she met me (natch!)
Now she's the old ball and chain (MY ball and chain!) and there isn't another ball and chain out there I'd rather be shackled to.

Love you dear!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 6-ish...

...of no fitness regimen. I'm afraid I can keep up this pace for quite a while.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Couch to 5K

So the missus has found a new "diet"/fitness regimen called the "Couch to 5k." It's supposed to ease you into running and should have you running a 5k by the end of the nine weeks. It's pathetic that we've said we'd do this for the last week and a half. We just CANNOT seem to find the time. She doesn't want to do it alone, while I can't concieve doing it at the same time. The plan was to start tonight (Veteran's Day.) Needless to say, once the kids go down, it's dark outside and we "veg." Much deserved "vegging" by the way.

The annual Jingle Bell Run (3k) is only three/four weeks away. Will we be in it?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I've Been a Bad Boy...

I've had a hard time keeping up with everything that's been going on. I hear people using the "plate spinning" analogy before, but I seem to let a few fall on the ground from time to time. Like this blog for instance. I've done a "decent" job trying to keep it up for the month of October. And now, November rolls along and I let the "blog plate" fall to the ground. Now, I'm back to keep it up.


Here's what I've been up to. I've been working on a two-page epilogue for the Dynamo 5 Christmas Special (in stores Dec. 22) We took a quick little family vacation to Universal Studios over the weekend (in the hopes of beating the Veteran's Day crowd) and D-Money took his first few steps. Oh yeah, and school. All in all, a pretty interesting few days.