Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spectrum Live and Updates

By Justin Gerard

Many things are happening... The first is Spectrum Live in 2 weeks. Will you be there?



Second, due to increasingly hostile demands, I am currently having my 2010, 2011 and 2012 sketchbooks reprinted. They are being printed as we speak, and will be available for order sometime next week. Please, no violence! I can get you the goods!  

The 2011 and 2012 books are the same as the previous printings.  However, the 2010 is special.  This time I am printing it on much high quality paper, and am also including a number of extra spreads of many of the sketches and sepia paintings that have not been seen before.  (And that I had always wished I had been able to put in the first printing.)  

As soon as they come in I will announce it on my blog and put them up on my etsy store. I am going to do sketches in the first 10 orders of each book! BE PREPARED. 

And third, TLC Workshops are running an early-bird special in conjunction with Spectrum Fantastic Arts Live! If you register for the Justin Gerard/Cory Godbey workshop before the event is over on May 20 you will receive 10% off the regular tuition price. Contact Tara Chang at TLCWorkshops1@gmail.com if you have any questions. Check it out here.

The workshop is going to be a ton of fun. Why? Because I will be there and Cory Godbey will be there. That is twice the action, twice the intensity, twice the sensational juggling. To get a preview, or to judge wether or not Cory and I really exist in the real life, come visit us at booth #513 at Spectrum Live. 

Sam Weber Interviews Lauren Panepinto

In the latest installment of Sam Weber's brilliant podcast, 'Your Dreams, My Nightmares', Sam interviews the Creative Director of Orbit Books, Lauren Panepinto.

Lauren is educated in the arts, has years of experience as both a Graphic Designer and Art Director, and is very active in the SFF community. All of which attributes to a really charming and really insightful interview.

You can listen to it right here:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Devil in the Details

Coyote Studies. 2012.
Ink, blue pencil, and watercolor on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

If you've ever drawn a comic (or any large project, really) then you know the most fun part is doing preparatory sketches and studies for it. That's where the ideas happen — the rest is just execution. You need both, of course, but a solid foundation is key; it bestows purpose to each of the hundreds of hours needed to give true life to a project.

Pictured above is a page of studies for a new Daredevil villain, Coyote. He wasn't "brand new," as his powers stemmed from an existing villain, the Spot, but he was meant to be a sleeker, more menacing version of the classic Spider-Man foe. Furthermore, his powers and relationship to the Spot were not to be immediately apparent in the narrative, so I wanted his look to have subtle cues to his origin without revealing his true identity.

Daredevil #1, Page 4 (The Spot Attacks). 2011.
Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

To accomplish this, I inverted the old costume: mostly black instead of mostly white, his portal spots dominating to the point where the negative white shapes became positive. This left me with a pinched triangle motif that I employed on the eyes, hands, and chest. Eventually, I treated the spots as giant discs that were draped over his body, peeling up to form sartorial embellishments.

Daredevil #19. 2012. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.
Step-by Step

As things turned out, I ended my exclusive contract with Marvel before drawing the 4-issue arc that featured the villain. Fortunately, I was still able to contribute covers, and the story, written by Mark Waid, was beautifully rendered by current Daredevil artist (and one-man factory) Chris Samnee.

Daredevil Character Sketches. 2011. Pencil on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

As for our eponymous hero, I didn't deviate much from the classic interpretation of the character, just added a few touches here and there to make him my own. In order to update his white cane, I elongated each section and added a crimson spare, 3 in total. The other major change was making the cane rotate into a square hook. (Part of me still wishes I had use the curved version, which makes less sense when it transforms, but looks more elegant. At the time, I didn't realize it worked like that in the earliest issues.)

by Gene Colan (words by Stan Lee)

Daredevil #1 Cover. 2011. Gouache and acrylic on bristol board, 11 × 17″.
Time Lapse

I also changed his belt slightly, having it hang at an angle across his hips, alla Han Solo. I changed it yet again in later issues, extending the diagonal across his body for a more swashbuckling look (example below). Again, these were very subtle changes — I really just copied my predecessors: David Mazzucchelli, Wally Wood, and Gene Colan, among many, many others.

Daredevil #8 Cover. 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

Perhaps you've seen the latest set pics from The Amazing Spider-Man 2? I did some style guides for the movie earlier this year (used for marketing and licensing purposes, I presume) and was happy to see that they reverted to the classic look. I love complicated costumes with intricate details as much as anybody, but it's not until you draw these designs over and over again that you realize the power of simplicity. They're not just easier to draw — I find them more memorable.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Griffin vs. Blood Demon

-By Jesper Ejsing

This is becoming an old painting. It has never been printed except for in Spectrum 19. The product it was made for has not been published, and Atari who commissioned me to paint it has now closed down.

Here are some of the stages I go through.

I keep the thumbs around 8 cm tall. I end up submitting the one I like best. In this case the image with the griffin pinned down, Blood demon holding it by the neck about to throw the killing blow. If you look closely you see I placed the female rider on its neck/back readying a spear thrust, right before she herself is crushed. A last chance perhaps.

The thumb was rejected because it reminded too much of the counterpart cover that I was commissioned to do at the same time. It had a silverdragon crashing down a mountainside with a mindflayer and a purple knight. Also I kind of misunderstood the sizes of the two adversaries. The Demon needed to be much smaller. I still wanted to do a dynamic almost falling fighting scene to make it theme up with the other one. The next thumb I submitted was the one with the demon hanging on the back of the griffin while punching it to death. I tried adding three tops to pull the action into the part where they are just about to crash compared to the first one up in the sky. In the end I got frustrated with it. One of the guys at the studio came in while I was transferring the sketch to a board and said “ It looks more like the demon is riding the griffin cos they are friends. Not that he is killing it.”. I sat in silent fury for an espressos time and then started erasing the whole thing. Next time I'll show you how it ended.

Point is, sketching is an ongoing process, like an excavation of muddy soil where you try to reveal the truest form of a story or setting by chiseling away nonsense and unclarity by using the tip of a pencil. The further you dig, the bigger the treasure.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mrs Green Logo

-By Serge Birault

Here's a logo I did last year for a website(I even don't know if the website is on line or not ...). So this picture no longer belongs to me.

As you can see, this picture is less precise than my usual work; Well, it was for a website (and small stickers), so I didn't have to work with a high level of details. Keep in mind your picture has to be good looking at the size it will be used.

As usual, I worked with PS.

Hope this painting is not too sexy for this blog (it seems some of our readers are easily offended by sexy pictures ...), but the clients asked me to do a sexy pin up. A red hair lady with glasses. She had to be .... voluptuous , you know what I mean ...

The concept. A very quick sketch, validated by the clients.

As usual, I started with the face. I use splatter brushes with low opacity then the airbrush, with low opacity, once again.

The hair was very simple and "cartoon".

All the denim part was not so easy to to. I started with a flat area of blue.

The denim texture was quite long to paint but challenging ...

Same technique for the watering can, I started with a flat area.

I changed the tones a little bit because the clients wanted a green background.

I did the font with Flash (saved the file in .ai then imported it in PS).

I added some details and it was done.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

19th Century Masterworks at Sotheby's

by Donato

Sotheby's and Christie's Auction houses hold so many quality sales of art that it is like having temporary museum shows pop up every month.  One such exhibit will be coming in May 2013, the 19th Century European Art sale.  I have included a few of the highlights, with my favorite being the Bouguereau work in progress - I love artistic insights.  One of the wonderful aspects of these sales is that moderate resolution files of the art are placed online for the buyer to better assess the work.  This buyer greatly appreciates the scans!


Ps.  Does anyone have $400,000 I could borrow for a few decades.  I'll pay you back, I promise!

Exhibition in New York: 

1334 York Avenue,  New York 10021

  • Fri, 03 May 13 | 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat, 04 May 13 | 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sun, 05 May 13 | 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon, 06 May 13 | 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tue, 07 May 13 | 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wed, 08 May 13 | 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

William Bouguereau   L'ETE

Jules Breton


Julien Dupré

1851 - 1910

Jean-Léon Gérôme


Jean Béraud

1849 - 1935

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MicroVisions 2013

This year's MivcoVisions Auction is officially LIVE!

There are some amazing steals at this point, so bid early, and bid often. Remember, 100% of the proceeds go toward scholarships for art students.

Click HERE to bid.

We gave you a sneak peek at a few pieces already, here are the rest:

Scott Fischer

Red Nose Studio

Teresa Fischer

Joao Ruas

Joao Lemos

Cory Godbey

Allen Williams

Kekai Kotaki

Paolo Rivera

Bill Carman

John Hendrix

Mike Mignola

Petar Meseldzija

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mark Ryden's Pinxit

-By Dan dos Santos

Several years back, Taschen Books released a comprehensive monograph of Mark Ryden's work, called 'Pinxit'. Thick, oversized, and beautifully produced, this book quickly sold out. Ever since, it's been selling for about $1000 USD on the secondary market.

Just this month, Taschen released a reprint of this book.

This book is HUGE! It is 11 x 15 inches, canvas and gold embossed cover, over 350 pages of art, and lots of double-page spreads and gatefolds throughout. Seriously, art books don't get much nicer than this! Aside from not having a slipcase, it is nearly identical to the original, and a total steal at the new price of $42.

The book is already enormous, but the design makes it feel even bigger than it is. Often times there are small details of a painting blown up into 20 inch wide spreads, with great clarity.

The work inside is basically a complete retrospective, right up to, and including, Ryden's last show 'The Gay 90's'. There are a lot of preliminaries included, and several of the paintings are photographed within their frames (Which if you've ever seen a Ryden show in person, you'll know is integral to the pieces).

I have a feeling this book is going to sell out again rather quickly, so I snagged mine immediately. If you're a fan of Mark Ryden's work, I suggest you do the same. Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

There are a lot of sellers that carry it on Amazon. I bought mine from Book Rack (BooKnackrh) in South Carolina since it wasn't available directly from Amazon yet. Unfortunately, I wasn't thrilled with the packaging, as the book arrived with severely damaged corners. Admittedly, shipping a 10 pound book is difficult. However, it now appears that Amazon stocks it, which I would recommend using instead of a third party supplier.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Working A Show Part Deux

by Arnie Fenner

As part of a response to one of my posts last month Will Kelly said, "Since you did a post on what to do to prepare for exhibiting at a con, I have been wanting to ask you if you could consider doing another post, but this time on how an Illustrator who is not yet established should prepare for a convention. This will be my first year to attend SFAL, and I really don't want the time to be wasted. I will enjoy it of course, but I would love to hear some insight from you on what a con-goer should be prepared for to be able to make connections and get the most out of the whole experience."

Hmmm. Maybe a better title for this piece might be "Attending a Show," but if you're going with the idea of making contacts or getting critiques or going to panels, the "working" description still applies.

So...I guess about the best way to prepare for a convention is to...go.

You have to jump in and start somewhere. My first convention was in 1971 when I was 16—and I was gobsmacked. I didn't know anything or anyone. I just...went. And had a good time (though still wish that I had bought that copy of Thun'da #1 a dealer had for $75—but you know, $75 in 1971 was huge money, particularly to a kid working for $1.75 an hour in the stockroom of Sears during the summer). No one is born knowing how everything works. No one knows everybody. No one sees or hears or reacts to the same things the same precise ways. You only learn through doing.

Anyway, Spectrum Fantastic Art Live isn't a huge sprawling affair: there are plenty of artists and plenty of things to see and do, but it's not Comic Con. It's calm, it's focussed, and it's friendly. There will be a buzz in the hall, not a roar. You'll be able to find artists and programming easily without having to fight crowds looking for TV stars or free movie studio swag.

Since you're a young illustrator, be prepared to show your portfolio to people and don't be embarrassed; don't apologize for being new to the game. Don't dismiss your own work when talking about it (but don't describe yourself as the next da Vinci, either). But do ask if you can show this art director or that artist your book—and if they do take a look, thank them for giving you the time. If they don't, thank them for their time. Everybody was at the same point sometime in their careers. Look upon your first show—or, hell, your first ten shows—as learning opportunities. Which means that you take in as much as you can. You talk to as many people as you can, fans and exhibitors alike. If you don't know someone, don't be shy: introduce yourself. It can be awkward at first, but with a little time (and usually a drink or two), the conversation starts to flow and new friendships can develop. You are all at the same event for the same reason: because of the art.

Take advantage of any panels or workshops that you can find the time to go to (check out the event guide and see what sounds good: you can't attend everything, but you can get a lot out of what you do). Definitely attend any after-hour social gatherings: they're usually not a secret, but if you haven't heard about anything going on, ask. Again, you never know where they might lead (yes, the smart aleck answer is "It leads to the bar" but from there, who knows?).

We had asked for feedback last year following the first Spectrum Live (we knew we didn't do everything "right": no convention does) and one person said that "you need more art directors because there were only the same three I see at every convention and none of them stopped by my booth to see my work."


The fact of the matter was that there were nine art directors at the show officially doing portfolio reviews and dozens more wandering the floor scouting for talent. They were all at the after hours bar confabs, all at the awards ceremony, and all were available to talk to at any time. But the person giving the feedback didn't reach out and didn't talk to others to know who was there; they had locked themselves into a narrow perception and didn't pay attention to (much less take advantage of) the opportunities that were available to them. The early part of my career was entirely spent approaching art directors, not expecting them to approach me. Showing up for the race isn't enough: you have to actually run it if you want to win.

Anyway, I guess when you're first starting out the basics are:
  • Have business cards
  • Promote the event you're attending through every resource available to you: the more people you may know that might join you, the more comfortable (and fun) it will be
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Be sure to eat and stay hydrated
  • Read the information provided to you by the convention organizers (you'd be surprised at how many don't)
  • Introduce yourself to the artists you admire: show respect but don't be star-struck (again, you'd be surprised at how many people get shy when given the chance to talk to the artists that have influenced them and...don't, then regret not taking advantage of the opportunity)
  • Be flexible: assume that not everything will go off as planned at the times they're supposed to and work with things as they happen. Getting pissed off usually makes things worse, not better
  • Be polite—to everyone
  • Be friendly—to everyone
  • Talk to people—as many as you can (you're trying to build a network)
  • Try to get the most out of the experience—and that starts with a positive outlook
Ideally, attending a convention—or working a show—should be fun, hopefully exciting, maybe inspiring...because of the things you see and the people you meet and the experiences you have.

It's really a matter of diving into the pool, moving your arms and kicking your legs, and starting to swim. If you feel yourself begin to flounder during SFAL2, look for this banner: you'll find friends nearby.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

2D to 3D and Back

-By Tim Bruckner

Some time ago, Arnie Fenner commissioned me to do a Barbarian statue. I sketched up some designs and with his approval, started the clay to wax, to finished resin casting.

Arnie wanted a faux bronze finish to his piece. And knowing Arnie as a man of refined and unerring taste, I willingly complied. (You can read more about that commission HERE)

I had an extra casting in the studio and kept thinking about how I could finish it in color. The more I thought about it, the less convinced I was it could be done and not look silly, or cheap, or both.

One morning, encouraged by a pot of strong coffee and deadline lull, I thought about trying to replicate Frank’s color choices and paint treatment on the statue. I made an enlargement of a section of the painting and dug in.

A couple of hours in, I knew I was in over my head. A couple hours after that, I started to see how it could work. I have no doubt that any of the professional statue painters out there would have had a much easier time of it. I’m primarily a sculptor who paints and my painting skill is pretty rudimentary.  But, undaunted I plunged ahead.

I used cel-vinyl which I use almost exclusively for all my paint applications but used it much more as water color in a series of washes that utilizing it for its opacity.  To keep the focus on the figure while still holding to the feel of the painting, I kept the color scheme of the base really simple and impressionistic. The blood effect was achieved by mixing some cel-vinyl with clear gloss varnish and applying it in heavy brush-runs over the sculpted blood tracks.

And this is the result.