Friday, July 31, 2009

A great class to end a great week!!


I just had the best group of 8 to 10 year olds in the last couple of weeks of Summer Session. I had some good students in my first two weeks. But this group was probably the quietest and most focus group of 8 to 10 year olds I've had in quite some time now. I think the last group I had like that was during my Winter session!!

This week went by really great. I had the students do a couple comic art projects yesterday and today where they created stories based on characters I gave them to work with.

Yesterday it was Ronman. Basically Ronman is Ironman if Ironman really let himself go and did nothing but drink root beer and eat Cheeto's all day long. And Ronman's roommate was Ratboy. I think one of the best panels one of the students did was Ratboy saying: "Ronman drink a Coke" which Ronman answers: "No. I only drink root beer."

Some of the students had Ratboy getting buff and beating the crap out of Ronman. One student had Ratboy posing at the end of the story saying "FIREPOWER!" That made me laugh.

And today I had them work on a superhero team which consisted of a girl, a boy and a penguin named Harold. I set up some guidelines they had to work with. The costumes had to be red and green. Including Harold. Harold's catchphrase was "Shazzabah!" every time he was either surprised, excited or had a great idea. And their arch enemy was Z Slug which the last panel had to have one of the characters defeat Z Slug by pouring salt on him.

But I had each student decide what they were going to name the characters and what their super powers were. I also didn't tell them which character should pour the salt on Z Slug.

The stories all turned out great and it made for a really terrific end to the second session at the Art Museum.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink on Strathmore 9x12 smooth bristol board.

Fall Classes are up!!

I'll be offering a traditional animation class in the Fall. So sign up today!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Honestly!! Does anyone have a sense of humor anymore?? ANYONE??

I just dealt with probably one of the sourest Newbury Comic employee's I have ever dealt with. I've never had any complaints about the store. Apart that they really don't sell a lot of comics. But most of the people that work there have been either very friendly and personable to indifferent and just trying to do their job. Which I can't fault them for. I never enjoyed retail.

But this employee... who we won't say her name is Caitlin... had absolutely the worst attitudes towards me. She looked like one of these Emo kids and so obviously way too cool to be dealing with the likes of me.

Well, here's how the story begins. I was poking around Newbury Comics after work. I was nosing around their wall of comics. And remember what I said earlier, they only have ONE WALL with comics on it. Much to my surprise I noticed they had a copy of my own book Diary of the Black Widow. I had thought distribution to them hadn't worked out but lo and behold there it was. The very first graphic novel I had ever done staring me back in the face.

I thought it might be an nice gesture if I signed the book for them. It was apparently the last copy of the book left there, so I stroll up to the front desk with my purchase as well as the copy of the Black Widow and ask my unnamed cashier named Caitlin if she had a pen. She hands me a pen and I tell her that I am the author and I was signing the copy.

You would think that this would be met with some sort of appreciation or at least mild amusement that the author of said book happens to be in the store and is offering, FREE OF CHARGE, to sign said book for the store.

You would be wrong. The look of annoyance and disdain I got from her you would have thought I either told a really tasteless joke or I just ate a kitten in front of her. But I just smile. She still looks at me with that same look that screamed kitten devourer.

Did I mention I was buying something. It wasn't like I was just signing the book and then leaving the store. I was being an active consumer that day.

By this time I was annoyed by her attitude towards me. So, after I make my purchase I turn on my heels and as I'm opening the door I mutter "Next time lose the attitude" and leave. To be honest with you, I probably didn't mutter it. It was probably more like a Harvard Cheer.

BUT HONESTLY!! That was ridiculous!! Sorry I can't be a complete phony like you and wearing a My Chemical Romance t-shirt with my hair dyed back and heavy eyeliner. I'm 33 years old. I have no interest in wearing anything that makes me hip. I like to be comfortable when I dress nowadays.

Nevertheless, it DOES make me less inclined to want to go shopping at Newbury Comics anymore. Or ever consider doing a book signing there.

HOWEVER, if any of you happen to be up at Newbury Comics and Caitlin is working there, be sure to ask her if they have any signed copies of Diary of the Black Widow available for purchase ;-)

As my good buddy Andy Fish would say, if you don't like to work with people you shouldn't be in retail.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Commissioned piece

A commissioned piece I just finished up. Illustrated in Windsor Newton Black India Ink with crow quill pen and brush on Strathmore 14x17 smooth bristol board.


Friday, July 24, 2009

DETOUR 13: NIGHTMARES


My latest collaboration with writer Joshua Michael Stewart Torture Brother will be appearing in Detour 13. It's such a great piece and a lot of fun for me to tackle visually.

The issue will also include work by some of the most talented writers and artists I know:

Mike Briggs, Tom Grady, Pete Beaudoin, Babs Kimball, Brian McKeon, Jim Reil, Alison Cowell, Randy LeSage, Andy Fish, Derek Ring, Roger Becket, Veronica Hebard, Sarah Jeppson and Christopher Whitehead

You can get your copies at www.undercoverfish.com or stop by That's Entertainment in Worcester when it hits the shelves!!

And I absolutely love the cover :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nice!!

I approve of Google's choice of logo today!! And I'm looking forward to checking out a little bit of Comic Con on television.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A boy, a girl, a pig, a picnic and Batman...


I wanted to try something new with my Comic Art class today. It was a project I had never attempted before and I thought I would give it a try with them.

The idea of the project is they would all do one page to a story idea I gave them. It would consist of a boy, a girl, a pig, a picnic and Batman. And the story would take place in a park. One student was chosen to do the first page and one student was chosen to do the last page.

And THAT was all the instruction I gave. I didn't tell them how the story was supposed to go, how the characters were supposed to look or what was going to happen in the story. I left that completely up to them.

I wanted to see how each student approached the idea and how they approached designing the characters.

I haven't gotten a chance to look at all the pages but I already noticed on one of the pages one of the students has invariably drawn one panel which has simply the words "FART!" written in block lettering.

So, we're off to a good start.

What I hope to do is once I get all the pages in, I'm going to copy it and paste it all together for the students and hand each of them a mini (and probably cheesily done) comic book of the story.

I still have a couple pages to get in before I do that though. Should be interesting.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Doctor Watson short list...


IAN HART has already played Doctor John H. Watson(as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in a couple of Sherlock Holmes productions and in my opinion has been the only actor since either David Burke or Edward Hardwicke who did a really great job in the role.


ROBERT PORTAL is another choice. I've only really seen him in the movie Stiff Upper Lips but I really enjoyed his upper class twit in that movie. I think he'd make a really good Watson.


PAUL McGANN would be good as either Holmes or Watson honestly. Although, I suppose it would be kind of strange pairing him with Withnail and I costar Richard E. Grant. But I think he'd bring a really good emotion to the role.


GARY OLDMAN has that same type of emotion like Paul McGann which I think would really be good in the role of Watson.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alice Faulkner cover

This is going to be what the cover for Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner will look like. The hardest part was choosing the right font but I'm really happy with this one:

Detour promo

A promo I devised for Detour which will appear in a few of my upcoming books:

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Sherlock Holmes short list...

Here's a list of actors I think would be marvelous if I were either doing a live action or animated Sherlock Holmes movie.


RICHARD E. GRANT is still my top choice. I really think that the 2003 production of The Hound of the Baskervilles completely miscast him as Stapleton and not Sherlock Holmes.


JARVIS COCKER the lead singer for Pulp is another person. I haven't seen him act in much but I love his voice.


RALPH FIENNES was someone I think might make a good Holmes. He has the right look and voice. More along the lines of a Basil Rathbone sounding Sherlock Holmes.


DAVID BOWIE is another choice. The Thin White Duke has proven himself a very good actor as well as musician, has a really great voice...

...and knows a thing or two about addiction ;-)



RUPERT BOOTH is someone you may not have heard of but he's very well-known in the Doctor Who fan community for being part of a series of fan films which he starred as the Doctor. I've gotten a chance to chat with him a couple times online and he's a really great guy with a terrific sense of humor. And another one who has a voice that I think would fit Holmes perfectly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hog Bones

About ten years ago I was in my friend Ainsley's student film Hog Bones. She was looking for someone to play the part of Mrs. Bobo and I offered my services. I loved the name of both the film and the character. And as a fan of both Monty Python and Kids in the Hall, I needed very little coaxing to get into a dress and wig.

I also ended up play another quick role in the film as well as doing a little bit of voice over work.

Well, I've never seen my performance as Mrs. Bobo until now and I was thrilled when she sent me a link to it which she included on her website's demo reel. It made me chuckle and brought back a lot of great memories and great times I had with my SCAD buddies.

If you would like to see my performace, just click on the picture of me below. I'm about 3:05 minutes into the reel. And be sure to check out the rest of Ainsly's demo reel. She is a phenomenally talented filmmaker:

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Bat-Man and Robin 1925

Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with crow quill pen and brush on Strathmore 9x12 smooth bristol board. Inspired by the new Batman and Robin series by the insanely brilliant Grant Morrison.

In the works

I've taken a bit of time off from working on Romance with a Croquet Mallet to do a little bit of freelance work at the moment. I should be getting back into the swing of things in the next day or so with that. But I've got about three or four projects either in the works or in the planning stage.

One I've been working on is the book based on my friend Josh Stewart's prose poems. The great thing about Josh's poems is they read like a short story. One of which is appearing in an upcoming issue of Detour called Torture Brothers. I've also been working on the plot to my second Polly and Handgraves story. I don't want to call it a sequel to A Sinister Aura because I see Polly and Handgraves as more of an ongoing series like the shows you would see on Mystery! or one of the shows on the USA Network (i.e. Monk or Burn Notice).

I'm getting help from my cousin Jared with working on the script. I'd like to make the story a little bit darker and I have a few plot ideas that I might have run through a couple stories.

I'm also chatting with Rori about doing a second Sherlock Holmes story. This time an original story rather than an adaptation.

And it's been a while since I revamped my website. I don't really update it very much anymore only because I have the web blog. But it's nice to have a sort of home base where people can check out my work. So, I think it might be time to do a little bit of Summer redecorating.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Online auctions

A couple of new art auctions I've posted on E-Bay. Although, I'm going to do a series of special Summer offers where when you bid on one of my signed books you'll get original artwork as well. But this particular auction I'm offering for ONE TIME ONLY!!

When you bid on this particular auction for Diary of the Black Widow, not only will you receive your copy of the book PERSONALLY SIGNED to you BUT you will also receive this illustration below from the original Black Widow Murders series of illustrations which inspired the graphic novel. The bidding starts at $6.99 for BOTH the book and the illustration:



I've also just completed a brand new illustration inspired by Sidney Paget's confrontation between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty in the story The Final Problem. Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with crow quill pen and brush on Strathmore 9x12 smooth bristol board. The bidding for this auction starts at $9.99:



More artwork and books coming soon!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Okay!! I'm sold on the new Batman and Robin series!!


I probably haven't bought a comic book since 1999. And I couldn't tell you which one it was. Possibly Strangers in Paradise or the Green Arrow relaunch. But I can't remember. I've bought a lot of graphic novels but there just hasn't been that real desire to spend $2.99 for an issue.

Well, I finally bit the bullet today and bought issues one and two of the new Batman and Robin series. After a month or so of thumbing through issue one on the shelf everytime I stopped into That's Enterainment I decided to finally pick it up.

Well, I waited long enough to have issue two sitting right next to it.

I still don't see myself buying every single issue but I am officially sold on the new Batman series. I really enjoy it! I've really liked Grant Morrison's writing since the Invisibles and I find Frank Quitely's artwork really good as well. It really fits the surreal feel of the stories Morrison is writing.

And that's the other thing I'm really enjoying. Grant Morrison has brought a slightly light feel back to the Batman comic books. But in a way that doesn't scream Joel Schumacher. As much as it has a slight feel of the more Adam West Batman, there's this really disturbingly surreal quality to both the feel of the setting and to some of the new characters.

From what I heard in an interview with him, he wanted to bring back more of the unused more silly villains like the Mad Hatter and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. But in a more disturbing sort of way.

I like the Mr. Toad villain in the first issue because of that mix of somewhat silly with somewhat disturbing the way the character looks.

The only thing I'm NOT sold on is the new Robin. He just looks like a smug little brat. And his crummy little grin on the front cover of issue one just makes me wish Batman would give him a bat bitchslap.

But we'll see how that goes. I don't hate the whole idea of introducing a new Robin. I like how they graduated the Tim Drake character from Robin to Red Robin. I'm kind of glad they went that route with him instead of having him taking over as Nightwing.

I'm glad when they were going to replace Batman they went with Dick (Robin I) Grayson instead of doing what they did back in 1993 with that whole Azrael/Batman mess when they tried to replace Batman the first time.

It's not the first time they experimented with Bruce Wayne's former sidekick taking on the (dramatic pause) mantle of the bat. Shortly after the whole Knightfall, Knightquest and KnightwhatevercameafterthatIcan'tremember they had Dick Grayson fill in for Batman for a little while.

They also hinted at the idea of Dick Grayson being paired with Bruce Wayne's son as Robin at the end of an Elseworld Batman/Captain America crossover. Although Bruce was still alive and retired at the end of that one.

I was skeptical at first about getting rid of Bruce Wayne at first but after seeing the first couple of issues I think this experiment can work. And will hopefully continue to be very enjoyable. And maybe the new Robin will get a Bat bitch slap yet. Heh heh!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Commissioned work

A Doctor Who illustration containing all ten of the Doctors. Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with crow quill pen and brush on Strathmore 11x14 smooth bristol board.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor

Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing ink with crow quill and brush on Strathmore 9x12 smooth bristol board.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cover

This will be the cover for Romance with a Croquet Mallet. Color version coming soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I still have classes available for sign up at WAM

Even though both my July classes are full now, there's still time to sign up for Drawing For Animation and Pop Art Painting if you have an 11 to 13 year old who has an interest in those areas. Click on the link below to sign up for those classes:

Since I will be teaching my very first Drawn Animation class in the Fall, this class is a fantastic prerequisite to either my class or Andy Fish's claymation classes. It will give you both characters and potential stories you can use in the classes.

Cover art

I just finished penciling and inking the cover for Romance with a Croquet Mallet last night. In the past I've kind of waited until I was finished with the pages to do the cover and everytime I'm tired from the pages so the cover never turns out as well as it should.

So, this time I decided to take a break from working on the pages (ten pages in the can thus far) and get the cover done while I still felt fresh.

This is the first time I've don a cover on Canson's Comic Art Cover Sheets. And much like their Comic Art Pages, I'm very impressed with how great they are to work on. Especially inking. I've always liked working on Canson's smooth bristol board to begin with when I'm working on my illustration work, but I feel their comic board is a must have for any young artist out there.

This is also the first project I've done completely in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink. I started inking the Sherlock Holmes book in Windsor Newton for the first several pages and the last half of the book I inked in Deleter. Ever since Andy introduced me to the ink I've been very impressed with how much richer the pigments are AND how quickly it dries.

I have very little patience so waiting for a page to dry is about as much fun as...

...well...

waiting for paint to dry.

But as for the cover. I will be certain to post it once I have it colored. Penguin put out a series of PG Wodehouse books with this very flat designy artwork. And the cover coloring is exactly what I have in mind for the book.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Character sketches

Sketches of some new characters joining the Sloughshire family (and friends) in Romance with a Croquet Mallet which include Brigitte the Maid, Count Boris von Schlammhaus and his daughter Hilda, Dashing Young Harold Larson and Inspector Toad Nelson (not to be confused with the Detective Inspector).

Another sketch

A head sketch of my Pigman mask concept.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From the sketchbook


You never know where you can get inspiration from. This one was inspired by a friend's photo at a pig roast.