Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sherlock (9x12 pen and ink artwork)

Inspired by my new favorite series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and produced by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss who are the brains behind the current Doctor Who series.

Illustrated with Pelikan Tusche A Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson 9x12 Smooth Bristol Board.

Available for purchase on E-Bay. Click on the image above to place your bid today!!

The acting range of Jack Black

I really don't hide the fact that I cannot stand Jack Black. I just don't care for his movies. He really annoyed me in High Fidelity, Orange County or Saving Silverman. Although I have to admit, I did tolerate him in Anchor Man. But I think that's because he was on screen all of 15 seconds or less.

Needless to say, I was almost horrified to discover they had entertained the thought of casting him as the Green Lantern. Just for a moment, try and imagine JB trying to squeeze into that form fitting costume they have Ryan Reynolds wearing in the movie.

Okay, you can go wash your brain out with bleach now.

I had set up an easy to follow up guide below to show the wide depth and range of Jack Black's different facial expressions. Enjoy:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter Classes at WAM

My Winter Classes are up and running on the Worcester Art Museum's website. This Winter I am scheduled to teach my very first Teen Intensive Animation class starting January 13th from 5pm till 8pm and I will be teaching Art of Cartoons 8 - 10 Years on Saturday mornings January 15th from 10am till 5pm!!

Links to those classes as well as my December Workshops are located on the on the left hand side toolbar of my blog. Click on the link to the class you want to sign up for today!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Which Apocalypse Would Be the Most Fun?

"The next installment of CRACKED: AFTER HOURS is up and running. This episode is all about the Apocalypse!!"
You should never lose sight of your priorities, even during the apocalypse.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New print

I just finished up a brand new cover print based on the Sherlock Holmes and the Valley of Fear illustration I completed a couple years ago.

The original is currently on display down at the Center in Hardwicke MA.

I will be making copies of it in a couple days and unveil it at the upcoming stART at the Station show taking place at Worcester's historic Union Station in early December!!

Jim Moriarty

I love the series Sherlock! Despite what I have said countless times in the past about my dislike towards modernizing Sherlock Holmes both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss won me over!! They created a thoroughly enjoyable series that is fast-paced while still retaining everything I love about the original Sherlock Holmes stories.

And the cast is great. Benedict Cumberbatch IS Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman is an excellent Watson. I've also enjoyed show co-creator Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes. Not quite as corpulent as the stories describe him. But he works well in the role.

However, they did not win me over with their re-imagining of Professor James Moriarty.

Okay, not entirely true. I liked their concept of Moriarty until the very last episode. I enjoyed how they had him lurking in the shadows only communicating through either instant messages or using his innocent victims as his unwilling mouthpieces to convey his cryptic messages to Sherlock Holmes before they met a terrible end.

I actually found that to be very frightening and a really good concept...

...that is until they introduced Moriarty in the flesh.

I haven't seen enough of Andrew Scott to make a fair judgment on his acting skills. So, my critique remains solely on the portrayal of Moriarty rather than the actor playing him.

I just do not like the irritatingly cocky/arrogant way they represent "Jim" Moriarty in this production. From a writers perspective, I think I understand what they're trying to do.

They want you to hate Moriarty (mission accomplished) and therefore they are making the character ooze with arrogance as he delivers his lines in this jokey/taunting manner blending in lines from The Final Problem with a modern twist to them.

That way you've been hooked because now you will tune in when the series returns hoping to see Sherlock Holmes lay the smackdown on Jim Moriarty's punk ass.

It just doesn't work for me. And instead of being scared of Moriarty, I just find myself annoyed by him. And the frightening lines like "That's what people do" after Sherlock says "People died" and "I will burn the heart out of you" really lost their punch.

I still think they are great lines though :-)

For me, the best portrayals of The Napoleon of Crime is when it's subtle and subdued. Eric Porter from the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series is still my favorite portrayal of Professor Moriarty:

I will be eagerly waiting for the return of Sherlock. But sadly, I found the introduction of Jim Moriarty to be a bit of a let-down to what has been a really fantastic new series. And a fantastic twist on Sherlock Holmes. I'm not going to completely write off a series just because I found only tiny element of it to be less than satisfying.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lennon Naked

I've only seen a very few really well produced and thoughtfully written docudrama's. And very rarely have I ever seen a really decent one made for television. The only excecption to that was a biop titled Not Only... But Always which starred Rhys Ifans very believably as Peter Cook.

Recently I saw on PBS that they were going to be showing the latest in a long line of docudrama's about the Beatles titled Lennon Naked which stars Christopher Eccleston in the title role as John Lennon.

I like Christopher Eccleston as an actor. At a young age he greatly impressed me with a very deep and emotional performance as a simple-minded teen sentenced to death row in Let Him Have It. Even at a young age he really held his own in that movie.

I've only seen a few clips of him as John Lennon in this upcoming production and I'm not particularly taken by his performance. I don't think his acting is bad. I just don't believe him to be John Lennon.

I guess I'm too fussy when it comes to details. For me Christopher Eccleston is too tall and too old for me to believe him to be John Lennon. Who was in his late 20's when this movie was supposedly taking place. Even with the long hair and glasses, his features are too severe.

And even though Paul, George and Ringo are incidental characters in this particular story. Why can't these productions find actors who look and sound closer? It just annoys me to listen to Paul talking in the press conference scene and hear him sounding like one of the Gumbies from Monty Python!!

The only time they ever seemed to get the casting as far as the Beatles are concerned is the movie Backbeat. Both Ian Hart and Gary Bakewell were excellent as John Lennon and Paul McCartney. To be honest, I think it's been the only time the casting has been spot on.

I'll probably end up watching it this coming Sunday. But from what I've seen thus far. I can't say I'm terribly impressed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Narragansett Tie Design Contest

I have submitted the image below to this year's Naragansett Father's Day Tie Design Contest. This is my third year giving it the old college try. Last year I got an honorable mention. And like the previous years, I continue to incorporate my own artwork in the design of the tie.

The artwork is very much inspired by Ed Benedict. The animator famous for creating character designs for Fred Flintstone and Yogi Bear for Hanna-Barbera as well as countless other characters.

Cartooning is pretty much like riding a bicycle for me. I never really forget how to do it. And it comes in very handy to be able to flip the switch and be use these techniques in my classes at the Art Museum.

Once again, I wanted to evoke the character design from the vintage Narragansett Beer commercials for my design.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pre-order Alice Faulkner today!!

Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner goes into it's THIRD PRINTING in December to a nationwide release!! With a brand new cover designed by Alterna head honcho Peter Simeti and myself.

I am planning on doing a signing at Worcester's own comic book and pop culture emporium That's Entertainment on the day of it's release (more info to come hopefully soon) but if you're not able to make it out to a comic book shop or you don't have one near you, you can also order your copy online by clicking the link below:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday Art

I have a couple shows coming up in the month of December. stART at the Station which I have taken part in practically every year as well as another Indie Art Market at Beatniks in Worcester. With December it means the holidays and with the holidays it means people are looking for gifts to give their family or friends.

Which means I'll be spending the month of November creating Holiday Art. But I try to stay away from what holiday art has been stereotyped as over the years.

My idea is this. When I'm doing art for the holiday season I try to stay away from a lot of the Winter scenes or happy little Christmas scenes. Mainly because I don't want this to be art that people take out JUST for the holidays.

I want this to be art people can hang in their living room or in their child's bedroom ALL YEAR ROUND.

So, I tend to go with classic literature when creating my small work for the show. Primarily classic children literature like Winnie the Pooh, Wind and the Willow and the Hobbit.

Many times I find myself reworking several illustrations that were successful at past shows. But I've also introduced many new pieces I've never attempted before.

stART at the Station will be taking place December 5th 2010 at Union Station in Worcester MA from 11am till 5pm and the next Indie Art Market at Beatniks will be happening December 7th 2010 from 6pm till 9pm!! I hope to see you at one, the other or both of the shows!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boston Donuts

I discovered Boston Donut three or four years ago. At the time it was going by the name Gourmet Donuts. I'm not sure why they changed the name to Boston seeing that they are located right smack dab in the heart of Worcester on Park Avenue. But they did. And thankfully the quality hasn't changed with the name.

I suppose what amused and intrigued me when I first saw it was 1.) It was doing business out of an old Dunkin Donuts and 2.) They were using a very similar font as Dunkin for their sign.

It surprised me that they didn't get into hot water over that. But maybe that's why the name changed. Dunkin might have seen it as a jab inferring that the donuts at this little shop are considered gourmet over Dunkin's. Boston is a bit more innocuous.

Still, the truth hurts Dunkin' ;-) Well, anyways...

I always prefer to have my cup of coffee at home in the morning but I haven't had time to brew a pot of late. So, remembering how great my last visit to Boston Donut was, I decided to reconnect.

Not wanting to stop at either Dunkin' or Starbucks, I went out of my way to Boston Donut get a cup of hot French Vanilla Coffee to have on my drive into work. French Vanilla is one of my favorites in the morning next to good old fashioned regular coffee.

There was enough of a crowd there that made me have to park in the Walgreen's parking lot next door. I began to worry I was going to be standing in line for an eternity to get my cup of Joe.

Not the case. I stepped inside and the two women working behind the counter were efficient at an almost inhuman pace. I mean it!! One moment I'm three or four people behind them. The next I'm standing outside holding a hot cup of coffee wondering if I just stepped into a wormhole and traveled five seconds into the future.

I'm not sure if I even paid for the coffee it happened so quick.

But I know for a fact fast doesn't always equal good. A McDonald's burger is fast. But it is far from being good. As impressive as the service of these two women were, if this coffee didn't taste good, I would be very disappointed.

My fears were quelled when I took a sip. It was just as good as I remembered it to be. I was impressed. The fact that they could move the line along and still maintain a level of quality to the coffee was very admirable. I was driving along enjoying a great cup of coffee while other people were probably still sitting in the drive-thru at Dunkin's.

I've seen the drive-thru at Dunkin's first hand. It never moves along. You'll be lucky you don't age like the villain from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade while you wait for your coffee.

I think if they put these two women in charge of the drive-thru not only would the line move along, but I think the coffee's quality would improve.

Maybe not.

I'm still not sure how Boston's donut's and breakfast sandwiches are. Sydney says the donuts are pretty good. And she's one that swears by Dunkin's. As for the breakfast sandwiches. I couldn't tell you.

All I can tell you is the coffee's great!!

I've also heard great things about Dippin' Donuts and Gonuts 4 Donuts (located on 517 Park Ave in Worcester. I'm not sure if their name has changed again too) from some very reliable sources and I may have to try both at some time. But it's going to be very hard to tear me from Boston Donut. They managed to drag me back in.

I highly recommend all my Woo-Town friends to take a break from your Dunkin routine and try Boston, Dippin' or Gonuts. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by trying something new.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


For those who know me know I am a Sherlock Holmes purist. And I have mentioned in the past how I am not crazy about the Basil Rathbone series that placed Holmes and Watson in the 1940's or liking anything that takes the character out of the Gaslight Era. So, with a brand new series being produced by BBC Wales which plonks Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson right down in current day London (or Cardiff where it's filmed), you're probably thinking I'm going to proceed to rip this new series to shred complaining about the way they've modernized Sherlock Holmes.

Well, I'm not.

The new series Sherlock produced by Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat and Doctor Who/League of Gentlemen writer Mark Gatiss which is currently being shown on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery! is great!!

I wasn't able to catch the first episode, but my fiancee Sydney and I were able to catch the second episode. And we really enjoyed it!! Both Mofatt and Gatiss have done a really great job not only modernizing Sherlock Holmes but also giving the episode we watched a fast pace while still maintaining a level of mystery.

Something that was lacking in the Robert Downey Jr./Guy Ritchie film. Imagine that!! Here I am a Sherlock Holmes snob who loves a contemporary Holmes while disliking a period piece. It's like I've stepped into a parallel reality. Ha ha!!

That's the other thing. Benedict Cumberbatch is an upgrade at Holmes. Not on a Jeremy Brett level, mind you. But apart from his Tom Baker hairstyle, I find him to actually be very good as Holmes.

I wasn't completely convinced of his performance when I first started watching. But by the end of it, I found myself really taken by his performance. And his voice which I was wracking my brain throughout the entire episode trying to think what he sounds like.

"Alan Rickman!" Sydney suddenly said as we were watching. My eyes brightened and I said aloud "You're right!" as I listened to his voice again and he did indeed sound like one of my favorite actors out there right now.

That was one of the things I always liked about Jeremy Brett and even Robert Stephen's performances as Holmes. They had interesting voices that weren't like how most people portray Holmes. And I'm finding that's what I like about Benedict Cumberbatch's performance. The Alan Rickman sounding voice really fits this version of Holmes.

And that's what I like about the Holmes Moffat and Gatiss are presenting over what Guy Ritchie is. They found the right actor instead of a big name actor to fill the role.

As I said in the past, this is in no way a knock against Robert Downey Jr. as an actor. I like him a lot. He's brilliant and a talented actor. He's just NOT Holmes for me.

If he's Holmes for you, that's fine. Don't ever let my opinion jade your enjoyment of that film. Save your angry responses because I'm not knocking anyone for having their own opinion.

And I'm getting the distinct impression since Steven Moffat is the producer of Sherlock, this could possibly mean he's grooming Benedict Cumberbatch to be the next Doctor on Mr. Moffat's other show Doctor Who when Matt Smith decides to hand over his TARDIS key and hang up his bow tie.

There has been a history in the past of the current producer hiring on an actor they worked with in a current series. In the 1980's then-producer John Nathan Turner hired Peter Davison. Someone he worked with on All Creatures Great and Small. And in the current series, former show runner Russell T. Davies hired both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennent. He had worked with both actors on past series's of his. Eccleston with the miniseries The Second Coming and Tennant on Casanova.

So, it would not surprise me in the least in the next couple of years if I happen to pick up a copy of Doctor Who Magazine and see Benedict Cumberbatch IS The Doctor! on the Doctor.

He seems to have all the right qualities to play the Doctor. Not to mention the most unique and distinctive voice I've heard with the Doctor since either Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy!!

But since I am enjoying Matt Smith as the Doctor right now and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, I don't mind if something like that doesn't happen anytime soon!!

Well, with all that said I give a big thumbs up to Sherlock!! If you have not caught the series just yet I highly recommend you check it out!

Andy Fish's Dracula available for download

My good buddy, the recently married Andy Fish has signed a deal with Alterna to distribute his new graphic novel DRACULA digitally!! What sets the digital version apart from the printed version is the digital one is available IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOR. With colors brilliantly by his new wife and long time creative partner Veronica Fish!!

As much as I like the black and white version (being an aficionado of old movies and such), the color version of this books is absolutely stunning!! It just gives the work an added edge. And the colors are perfectly chosen to fit the feel of the book!

Not only that, Andy has also given the book a much more dynamic cover than the earlier print!! Dracula just looks more menacing. Like you took the best of Max Schreck, Béla Lugosi and Christopher Lee and somehow through the miracle of modern science found some way to combine the three!!

Book One of the series is available for download. Click on the link below to check out page samples and download your copy today: