Category Archives: Illustration

Illus­tra­tion work done for var­i­ous clients.

All It Takes Is a Little Will Power

Bet­ter late than never!”

—said no pro­duc­tion per­son ever in the his­to­ry of animation.

This is one of those weird ideas that popped into my head, and I felt com­pelled to get it out of there and onto paper, then final­ly into dig­i­tal form. It came to mind just before St. Patrick­’s Day, but cir­cum­stances pre­vent­ed my being able to act on it until now.

Most vis­i­tors here will know DC Comics’ Sil­ver Age ver­sion of Green Lantern. And pret­ty much every­one knows Lucky, the Lep­rechaun spokesper­son for Lucky Charms cere­al. The idea of a mashup of the two char­ac­ters just struck me as some­thing that need­ed doing. And now, I final­ly did it!

Hap­py Belat­ed St. Patrick­’s Day!

Exhibiting Craft in Mining

Here’s some­thing different!

It’s not new (done back in 2013, appar­ent­ly!), but I was recent­ly look­ing through some old files on my com­put­er that I had­n’t exam­ined in awhile, and it occurred to me that some out there might find this interesting.

This came about because my old­est nephew (Michael) reached out, told me he and his best bud were want­i­ng to do a pod­cast togeth­er about Minecraft, and he asked if I could do some cov­er art to rep­re­sent it. My nieces and nephews rarely ask any­thing of me; what kind of an uncle would I be if I said, “no”?

Michael sent me images of their in-game avatars (his is on the left). I know very lit­tle about games, but I thought it would be a fun chal­lenge, and some­thing dif­fer­ent to do. So I did some research into dif­fer­ent approach­es to art done for Minecraft, and fig­ured out a direc­tion to go with it that I thought would be fun. This was the result.

What hap­pened with the pod­cast? I hon­est­ly don’t know. But that’s not the point. The point is that I got to be the cool uncle!

Love you, Michael!

Seven Santas

Illustration of Seven SantasThis was an idea I’d had since last year that I want­ed to try out, but did­n’t quite get around to mak­ing it a real­i­ty. Too much else was going on. I’ve exper­i­ment­ed with this for­mat before, and liked how it was capa­ble of show­ing sev­er­al styles in one piece. I guess this end­ed up as kind of the same for­mat grid as those Art Vs. Artist images, and I could’ve done a new one of those, but I decid­ed I want­ed to do this instead.

For those who have a bit of inter­est in process info like I do, this start­ed off as pen­ciled, inked and let­tered on paper, then it was scanned and processed fur­ther in Photoshop.

There real­ly isn’t much more to say about it, except that I wish you all a Mer­ry Christ­mas, and Hap­py Hol­i­days! I hope 2022 is good to all of us.

Just Some Bits…

It has been awhile since I post­ed any­thing, so it seemed a good idea to get some new work up here. I just fin­ished work­ing on a quick and really…unusual project. I’m not free to say too much about it yet, but it was def­i­nite­ly some­thing dif­fer­ent! There was a bit of a MAD Mag­a­zine sen­si­bil­i­ty to the project, and I was doing, for lack of a bet­ter term, what might be con­sid­ered “prop elements.”

It’s been awhile since I did props, and the last time I did it some years back, the work was still done on paper. For this project, the work came to me in dig­i­tal form, and stayed that way through the whole process.

Most of the ideas were very quick­ly roughed in for me in advance, and I fleshed them out and brought them to a fin­ish. But there were also some cas­es where I gen­er­at­ed ideas myself, sub­mit­ted them and was told, “Go for it!” It’s always good when you have projects where you’re encour­aged to impro­vise and con­tribute creatively.

What you’re see­ing here are a few items I came up with, divorced from the “char­ac­ter ele­ments” they’ll be paired with, I guess we could say. And the col­or here is all mine, too. I don’t know what the actu­al items will be col­ored like in the fin­ished prod­uct, but I am curi­ous to find out!

I apol­o­gize for hav­ing to be so vague about this, but I will explain more when I can. Mean­time: I hope you enjoy these odd bits and pieces.

To Boldly Go where No Tastebuds Have Gone Before!

Recent­ly, cour­tesy of Net­flix, I’ve been re-watch­ing the orig­i­nal Star Trek. It’s not like I haven’t already watched all of these episodes mul­ti­ple times over the years, but they’re always enter­tain­ing (even the less­er ones have some­thing to rec­om­mend them). Yeah, I’ll admit it: I was a bit of Trekkie grow­ing up. I prob­a­bly built the Enter­prise mod­el three or four dif­fer­ent times (always hop­ing that maybe this time they’d fig­ured out a way to engi­neer it so the nacelles would­n’t sag out­wards). I even did my own lit­tle home­made 8mm Star Trek movie when i was in ele­men­tary school (but that’s anoth­er story).

Watch­ing the episode “The Cor­bomite Maneu­ver” again for the umpteenth time, I got struck by this sil­ly idea for a retro-styled ad. It was one of those things that gets stuck in your head, and you feel like you have to do it in order to get it unstuck. So here it is! If you’re as famil­iar with the show as I am, you’ll get it.

Though my his­to­ry with Illus­tra­tor goes back quite a ways (Illus­tra­tor 88, any­one?), I tried a tech­nique I haven’t done before on this. I’m used to Illus­tra­tor always look­ing pris­tine clean, so get­ting more of a tex­tured look was some­thing dif­fer­ent. I’d guess in the pre-dig­i­tal art era when peo­ple did illus­tra­tions like this, it was like­ly done using an air­brush set so it would spray in a more tex­tur­al way. Or maybe it was done by paint­ing with a sponge and frisket material.

It occurs to me this also kind of works pret­ty well as a year-end piece! I wish all my site vis­i­tors the best, and may 2021 be a much bet­ter year for us all!

Twistin’ with Frank!

If you’ve poked around my site for any length of time, you might have noticed I have some­thing of a loose tra­di­tion of cre­at­ing some kind of Franken­stein image for my site around Hal­loween, when I have the chance. Here’s this year’s!

I had the good for­tune that dur­ing my child­hood, mon­sters were a big part of the pop cul­ture land­scape. This def­i­nite­ly informed me (or warped me, depend­ing on your per­spec­tive). Mon­sters were kind of every­where! Car­toons, TV shows, books (like How to Care for Your Mon­ster), mod­el kits, toys, games…all kinds of fun stuff! There was even the occa­sion­al nov­el­ty mon­ster-themed 45 record.

That’s sort of where this idea came from. This mid-cen­tu­ry Car­toon Mod­ern type of style is not some­thing I’ve done a lot, but it’s how I envi­sioned this look­ing in my head. You spend years try­ing to get vol­ume into your draw­ings, but you kind of have to throw your brain into reverse and think more in terms of flat­ter shapes and sil­hou­ettes in order to do some­thing like this. I find it a chal­lenge, but a fun one.

When this idea came into my head, it just felt like a record that should’ve exist­ed back then, so I took it upon myself to make it hap­pen. I hope you enjoy my lit­tle illus­tra­tion and design experiment.

Hap­py Halloween!

Art Vs. Artist!

So there’s this thing, and I guess all the cool kids are doing it over on the Twit­ters and the Insta­grams. It’s called “Art Vs. Artist.” You put some of your work togeth­er in this for­mat, along with a pic­ture of your­self in the cen­ter. It seemed like some­thing that might be sor­ta fun to take a crack at, so here we go!

To be hon­est, I’m not entire­ly sure what all the rules are (if there are any), so I’m prob­a­bly break­ing some of them. I did get the idea that this was sup­posed to cen­ter around faces, so there’s at least that. Some of these sam­ples are more recent and oth­ers slight­ly old­er. At the moment, I feel like this works pret­ty well. If I were to attempt this again tomor­row, it’s pos­si­ble I could pick a few oth­er images.

I feel like I might be break­ing one of the rules with my pho­to in the cen­ter. It’s (obvi­ous­ly) not a cur­rent self­ie. Not by a long shot! That’s a 12 year-old me, on my birth­day. If you could see more of the pic­ture, you’d see I was attempt­ing to paint a pic­ture (using oils) of the USS Enter­prise fir­ing on a Klin­gon ship. Why that pho­to? I fig­ure: don’t we all start some­place like that as artists? Every­thing else flows from that.

FCA: Tells the Facts and Names the Names

FCA Harlan Ellison CoverA lit­tle while back, I was asked to do the cov­er for an upcom­ing issue of the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca, fea­tur­ing an inter­view with none oth­er than Har­lan Elli­son. FCA is a sort of mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. The issue of Alter Ego which also fea­tures FCA #197 is sched­uled to be avail­able in mid-Feb­ru­ary 2016.

This cov­er went through sev­er­al ear­li­er iter­a­tions (though none of them actu­al­ly made it onto paper) before I came up with the con­cept for this final ver­sion. My ini­tial thought was that maybe I should do a por­trait of Mr. Elli­son as a boy, read­ing a copy of Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures or Whiz Comics. Some­thing along those the­mat­ic lines. One of the main prob­lems with this approach though was that there aren’t a whole lot of pho­tos (if any!) of a young Har­lan float­ing around out there on the inter­nets. So if I went that route, I was like­ly going to have to try to work up a rec­og­niz­able fake ver­sion of Mr. Elli­son as a child from just my imag­i­na­tion. It turned out P.C. was­n’t too sold on the idea any­way, so we aban­doned that concept.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, nei­ther of us were com­ing up with any great replace­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties. It was sug­gest­ed that maybe if I read the inter­view for myself, it might spark an idea. And it did. The new cov­er con­cept was to do it as a sort of homage to the Edward Hop­per paint­ing Nighthawks, set at a late-night din­er. I’d show Mr. Elli­son sit­ting down with Cap­tain Mar­vel and the main vil­lain from the “Mon­ster Soci­ety of Evil” sto­ry, Mr. Mind. The tone felt right. Only one prob­lem: Mr. Mind is very small, so there was a major scale issue that would have to be addressed if I did this.

But then anoth­er idea popped into my mind that seemed to fit even bet­ter tonal­ly. I’d do the cov­er in the style of the old “scan­dal sheet” gos­sip pulps, like Con­fi­den­tial. Once this con­cept came into my head, I knew it was the right way to go, and P.C. agreed. It’s a bit dif­fer­ent from what you usu­al­ly see as an FCA cov­er, but it’s fun, and hope­ful­ly peo­ple will get what we’re doing and enjoy it.

Hap­py 2016, folks!

Captain Marvel is 75!

Captain Marvel at 75I was just giv­en leave to post this draw­ing. This year’s the 75th Anniver­sary of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel. FCA Edi­tor Paul Hamer­linck (for whom I’ve done sev­er­al cov­ers over the years, a num­ber of which can be found here on my site) was writ­ing an essay in hon­or of Cap’s 75th for Jon B. Cooke’s Com­ic Book Cre­ator mag­a­zine. Paul asked if I would like to con­tribute an illus­tra­tion to poten­tial­ly accom­pa­ny his essay, and left it up to me what to do. A 75-year-old Cap seemed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly like both an unex­pect­ed and yet obvi­ous way to go.

I was­n’t sure if either Paul or Jon would go for this idea. Maybe it would be a lit­tle too weird for a trib­ute. But I guess their sens­es of humor must some­times go a lit­tle towards the weird too.

Paul’s essay, accom­pa­nied by my illus­tra­tion, will be appear­ing in issue #10 of Com­ic Book Cre­ator, ship­ping in Novem­ber to your fin­er local comics shops everywhere.

Thanks, guys! This was fun!

Hap­py 75th, Cap!

It’s the “S!”

FCA Elliot S! Maggin CoverSor­ry it’s been so long since I post­ed any­thing new here! It’s time to do some­thing about that.

Here’s a pre­view of the cov­er I did for an upcom­ing issue of FCA, appear­ing in the pages of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego. This issue fea­tures an inter­view with comics writer Elliot S! Mag­gin (he was includ­ing an excla­ma­tion mark after his mid­dle ini­tial in those days). Mr. Mag­gin was one of the writ­ers who were called upon to write DC’s revival of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel and the Mar­vel Fam­i­ly, in the ear­ly ’70s.

Those with an astute eye will real­ize that this illus­tra­tion forms some­thing of a book­end with the Den­ny O’Neil cov­er I post­ed some months back. Keep­ing that visu­al asso­ci­a­tion was at the FCA edi­tor’s request, since both O’Neil and Mag­gin were the main writ­ers for the Cap­tain Mar­vel revival.

The back­ground art I’m using here comes from sto­ries Mr. Mag­gin wrote (just as the art I used on Mr. O’Neil’s por­trait cov­er came from Cap­tain Mar­vel sto­ries he’d written).

Though the cov­er date says May, this issue should hit the stands some­time in April. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing the arti­cle myself!