Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns

I went to a preview screening of Superman Returns on Tues. night with a bunch of friends. I really enjoyed the movie. When it comes to summer popcorn blockbusters it doesn't get much better. The other night I was at my local Barnes & Noble and saw an official Superman Returns magazine. Here are a collection of sketches resulting from a fever pitch of inspiration. I used a lot of photos from it for reference. I think you'll be able to tell which.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite

This is a sculpture of Napoleon Dynamite I made as an exemplar for a project I did with two of my high school classes. The assignment was to create a sculpture based on any person they chose. It did have to be an actual person. No cartoon characters. The point was that they had to create the sculpture ala someone like Randy Bowen or a conceptual design artist. We started off with finding photo reference and then created a drawing of the full body. Then we laid out wire on top of the drawing to act like a skeleton over which we added wadded up newspaper. The newspaper was kind of like the figure's muscle mass. Over that we added layers of paper mache for skin and clothes. I forgot to mention that before any of the paper was added we created the head, hands, and feet with Sculpey. Slap some paint on and there you have it. The kids had fun making these.
One student made a sculpture of Paul Teutul, Sr. from Orange County Choppers. It so happens that a relative of one of the staff at school works at the O.C.C. garage and arranged a field trip. To make a long story short, the kid brought his sculpture and got it signed by Paul, Sr. Pretty cool huh? I was told that Paul, Sr. was very flattered.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Parting Slap In the Face

It's nearing the end of another school year for me and another batch of staff retiring. Within the past year I've become the "go-to guy" for retirement gifts. I've become sort of famous at school for drawing caricatures of the students and lately some of the staff. I draw up a caricature of the victim and put them in a one panel joke.Above, left is my old boss at his retirement party. He's holding his gift. This was the first caricature that I've done that was given as a gift to a retiree. You can see everyone cracking up around him.
To the right is a closeup of the image. As you can see it depicts him playing golf on a student's head.

This year our school was hit hard with the amount of retiring staff. Here they are in the order that I completed them.

First is the school nurse.

Second is my principal.

Last but not least, is the school audiologist.

I am a huge procrastinator. I didn't start drawing them until the last few days. I actually finished the last one just a couple of hours before the party. That last one really held me up because I couldn't think of a gag. I couldn't find inspiration anywhere until one of my high school students gave me the idea for a giant hearing aid toppling over the little kid. Once lightning struck it was off to the races. But I honestly think I work better under pressure.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I went to my first big convention over the past Fri. and Sat. with my good buddy, Andy from Ravenswood. He had and extra ticket to get in to the Wizard World Philadelphia convention so I went along. Andy wanted to meet some pros and get his portfolio looked at and I wanted a road trip, see this con, and meet some pros whose work I enjoy.
Stay with me. This will be a little lengthier than usual. I've included many pictures.

Here is a panorama at the entrance. Pretty big, eh?

I bumped into Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. Someone shouted to Beetle, "Hey, you're dead!" I also saw a cool Spiderman and snapped a pic of the manliest Superman I've ever seen.

Left is another garrison of stormtroopers. Check out Gen. Grievous hiding in the background. I don't even remember seeing him there. To the right is a tubby snowtrooper. The Empire must be getting desparate.

Later that night Andy and I went out to dinner at a cool restaurant called Doug & Buster's. To the left is me having a huge glass of Yuengling lager. To the right, Andy appears to be worried.

After dinner Andy went back to the room and I stayed outside to enjoy the view and a smoke. Right outside the hotel was a cool view of the Benjamin Franklin bridge. I asked someone to take a picture of me with the bridge. After that I had to document the girl who helped me out. Thanks to whoever you were. I never did get your name.
I was surprised as hell to see two old small press buddies of mine who I haven't seen in a couple of years. These guys are hitting the indy big-time.
Left is Brent Erwin, publisher of Ape Entertainment and a great guy. Right is artist and scoundrel, Dave Hedgecock. Thanks for the books, Dave. You're the man now, dog!

I got to meet one of my artistic heroes, Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan, Fury, Punisher: Born, Toxin, upcoming, The Boys). Andy met Marvel's EIC, Joe Quesada. Andy said that Joe could've dressed better considering all the money he has. I agree. What you don't see is the cut-off sweatpants Joe's wearing.

From left to right are some artists I saw but didn't get a chance to meet: John Romita, Jr., John Romita, Sr., and one of my favorites, Rags Morales. Rags is one of the most underrated artists working right now. His figure work, gesture drawing, and facial expressions are amazing. I got hooked on his artwork with Hourman and then followed him to Hawkman. Identity Crisis was his swansong.
At the con I also was able to get a book signed by Steve McNiven and shake Mike Deodato, Jr.'s hand. I also met Paulo Rivera who's artwork is just beautiful. I met Alberto Ruiz who's blog is something I visit daily and read his Illustrator tutorials in DRAW! magazine. He's super talented. Speaking of DRAW! I met the editor, Mike Manley, and got one of his sketchbooks.
Did I mention I met Jim Lee? What's his problem?
In closing, I want to leave you with a picture I snapped as we were leaving the convention hall for the last time. Andy and I were riding down an escalator when he pointed out Spiderman sitting on a window ledge. I think this image of Spiderman summarizes my experience at the Philly Con. It was fun going with Andy and walking the isles of the con. I had a blast meeting all the creators and seeing what the dealers had to offer but I was damn tired and ready to head home.

Rob Liefeld getting extreme.
(Stock photo)
p.s. One of my goals for the con was to meet Rob Liefeld. Andy even bought one of his books to get signed. He was scheduled to be there all weekend. He wasn't. What happened, Rob? The way I see it, you owe us both a sketch, Rob.