Friday, September 30, 2011


Here's the first chapter of  this Chickens Revolt deal HERE... it's a web-strip Jon Way$hak and i have been throwing together.  The first page is by me, then Jon... so we go back and forth.  The other rule we gave ourselves is... as much non-digital as possible.  So.... all the flaws, white out, mistakes and seems showing.

It's a fast and furious pace. Minimum of one page a week, but there WILL be a point to the story.. eventually... once we find one.

Hell, we're just un-apologetically having a blast making it up as we go along.

Don't expect too much though, it's a modest little start at first.. humbly 'hand drawn'...

Just check in Each Week to see what happens next.

Comments: Frank, no worries on sending links to your stuff in comments, i never get tired of seeing how other artists draw. Brain, damn, i'd happily sent you that dried up ink bottle -for free - but i already chucked it in the trash.  I think you'll get over it though. ; )  Glad Cody is digging the fashion stuff... Magen and Casey...  glad your digging the 'process' pics !!!  Mighty thank for all the praise.

Everyone else -  one hang tight: More Posts this weekend ~ !

Monday, September 26, 2011

Star Wars Art Book, Part 2 ... the dreaded 'Double Pager'...

If you caught my older post, (where I hand drew and colored a one pager for the Star Wars book). Luckily that page (above) went off without a hitch... 

Well, the OTHER two pages.. became the total opposite experience, mostly due to my own neurotic  self-doubt. After the fun I had doing the weird little put put page, which Jonathan and George said they loved - 

... i  suddenly found myself loathing having to ink and color the double splash I'd submitted in pencil to George and Jonathan Rinzler.  Not just their expectation. More my own. 

I had just breezed through the put put, which felt like 'me'.  These other two pager seemed.. overworked and like i was TRYING... so anal, but not in a good way.  Now the stupid part is approached me and asked for me to just do it in my own style! It was my lame idea to try a stab at a Williamson-Frazetta EC style, which of course I frankly wasn't skilled enough to pull off. 

I seriously considered trying to beg off and leave them just with put put page, but Jon asked me to finish the other double page spread too since George had approved that one. 

Jonathan assured me, yes, the Put put page was good, but he and George DID like the double pager too... (grr!).. 

So i was screwed. Couldn't back out now. : ) 

Adding to my (self imposed) headaches.. while, yes, I *could* have inked/colored my first penciled page, I decided instead to re-draw the entire spread only larger, only bigger, then ink and color *that*.

Thus, increasing the tediousness of an already difficult task. I had to trace it, because (in my own mind, George gad already approved *those* exact pencils, so I had to make the painted one look *exactly* like those.) George in reality may not have even cared if it looks exactly like my layout pencils, let alone Jonathan, but *I* had fixed on it looking just like my original pencil version.

To my credit, i think i did manage to make the guys face in panel 3 look a little less stiff, and tried to add some life into the monster.. that's the bitch of inking pencils, (even your own!), trying NOT to lose the life and energy. Feel like your creating it fresh. 

Also felt pressure because no digitally 'net' on this one!  Because I knew George wanted the original art to go into the Ranch's Art Gallery, I decided to do it all by hand. Thus, I traced and blew up my own art, and was reminded how lifeless tracing can become.

So, while inking it I tried to Re-draw it in ink and color... if that makes since? 

Now, this is a study in how while you technically *can* you can redraw something, even your own art... yet run the risk of losing whatever the original energy was there...

Also a lesson in how... some things look better, some worse...

But it was too late to worry, I just had to sink or swim.. turn my brain off and let my hand do whatever it always does... or hopefully does.. 

Whatever, after tons of noodling, i finished it. No one seemed half as horrified with the finished result as  I was. Or maybe they were just being polite. Or  I am just a neurotic freak. Or both.

But the point is, they accepted the double splash.  I signed a few prints of the first put put one - end of story.

BTW..check out these cool boxes the prints came in -

..the publisher must have pastes in these black and white version of the put put print just so...?... they'd know at a glance who's prints to ship to who? Just guessing..

Thus ends the Star Wars pin-up stuff... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Burnt Fashion Sandwich, Ink Bottle Surgery & an old MCP cover...

Thanks for all the comments everybody! I'll get my replies in the bottom of this post. Another Fashion Sandwich this weeks, odds and ends in-between. Weirdly after years of stuff I've finished in the pipeline, seems like October a bunch of stuff is finally coming out - So here's a few peeks at some of this crap..

The first issue of the 30days monthly.. here's a splash from issue two i finished a couple days ago. Before cleaned up in photoshop (.. you can see the white out on the girls arm.)

Plus and the long finished and gathering dust Batman Mad Hatter Trade paperback (think it's in october..?) is finally coming out, it was done three years ago, but be warned it goes from realistic to VERY outlandish, even for me!

Plus that way-cool 'Chickens' web collaboration between me and Jon Ways$ak will have it's own web page in october too. I'll explain more on the web page once it's up.

And now, after all these shameless project plugs... (and because it's completely stupid and indulgent), I'm going to waste all our time with the brief story of my misbegotten ink bottle.

This is the Higgins bottle of India Ink I've taped and (foolishly) glues to my art table probably about 4 years ago. I glued it so it wouldn't tip over and spill. I keep it open to thicken up the ink, which is too thin for my taste.

I like it nice and black, so when the attacked bottle gets low, i pour in a new bottle... like in figure A  below.

Now here's the only  problem with that... in figure B you can see there slowly grows a layer of *really* think ink on the bottom.

Now, I couldn't see this, but, as figure C shows, I suspected it... because when i'd dip my brush down inside, i noticed I was having to dip less and less far into the bottle for ink.

Eventually it got so bad last week, it turned from sludge into... well... cement, or something close to it!

The only solution? Toss out the old bottle, but it was a stubborn little sucker. I could see I had taped it in good, but forgot about gluing it in.. all the stabbing with scissors, just wouldn't ( ouch - sorry) 'cut' it..

I know this seems like a gimmicky thing I made up, but sadly it's true. I figured since i was going to such lengths, why not take a few photos of my stupidity? In the end it actually took a friggin' jumbo pair of pliers to budge this thing!

Finally, I managed to extract the little bugger! 

Pretty, eh?

Look at that indentation. Most of the ink was absorbed by a cloth I also glued to the table, but still... what a mess! 

So surgical goal was successful.  I promise i won't usually waste a blog in a eroded bottle of ink, but since it has been four years and a mistake i'll (hopefully) not soon repeat, i figure you wouldn't mind. 

As thanks for your patience on my sordid ink bottle saga, here's a reward:

Something I dug out.. an old MPC cover... notice marvel cropped some of the plant foliage on the bottom, they also zoomed in a little on Wolvie and Nightcrawler.

I was disappointed, as the point to me was all that black empty sky against to two little lone figures, but hell... it is a super hero cover, which aren't usually known for their subtly.

Actually, this is the first time anyone's been able to see all that gray wash in the plants, rather proud of that. It was just colored solid green on the printed comics version. Again, not bitching, things were mostly flat colors back then.

I may throw up some of my favorite old classic MPC covers on the blog so folks can check out the originals, what do you think?

Oh yeah, least i forget... here's the bottom half of the sandwich.


Oh no, your not done yet - just a few replied to last posts Legs comments:

On Vassilis's comments on this reminding him of the Maxx letters column - wow, I never really thought of that, but it's sorta true. But this is even more back and fourth, and quicker too. I wish you HAD written buddy... ! I also echo Andra k on Julie/Sarah non-standard body types... ( whatever that is! ).  Andy's saying this stuff does hit you when your a teen and reading any comic. Is this me? could I be this person? a geek or chubby or a outcast?

Glad Elliott Mom was open to my comics too. I think it's odd so many comic creators who ARE nerds themselves... wind up drawing nothing but idealized stuff? I mean, that's fine too. Wish fulfillment. Cody's right too, my stuff skews female, but obviously some guys dig my stuff too. Something for everyone. Not designed that way, just how my brain works.

Obviously i did 'idealized' on Wolverine, but even my best version of a 'heroic wolvie' was 'weird' ... to say the least.  Every month marvel would get letters from little kids begging me to STOP draw wolverine's feet so big.  But, the subversion had begun.. and years later.. would soon flower, full force in the Maxx. Many of these same kids would grow into teens who would then write to me that they now suddenly 'got' my weird outlandish stuff they hated as kids, much to my surprised relief.

 Oh yeah, Elliott, i'll check out Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzie, in my cue now.  And yeah Frank, far as Project Runway, I have mixed reactions to these fashion shows . It's sorta hit and miss .. subjective opinions vary widely on these shows, what's considered 'tacky' or what looks 'great', leaves me scratching my head.  But yeah, i do get inspired by some of it. Oddly enough my fashion fixes goes more back to being a little kid in the 60s.  So what draws me to kinda more of a personal vibe than a modern designer thing. But it's always been there, just not much room to express it in super hero comics.

Edmund asked about my maybe selling my asian or tree paintings. I think it will happen, but I need to find a way to connect to the few folks who actually want that stuff. I don't yet know if their my usual fans,  they probably are) ... or some other group out side of comics. I guess it doesn't matter. In the end. I didn't mean to come off as 'charing more' money for 'asian/tree/abstracts' art out of elitism,  only because i know there just less folks, overall... who are interested in that stuff. Thus, and I'd rather sell fewer of those types of art, to those few folks who really might enjoy it.

I'll try to negotiate some common ground between ALL my art, and find ways for everybody to get some of it, whatever it is.  Lemme think on that a bit, kay?

Thanks again!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Burnt Fashion Sandwich: Unseen Legs Crap!

psst - skip down below for my comments on... YOUR comments.. on the last post!

Burnt Fashion Sandwich is directly inspired (ripped off?) from Frank Zappa's Burnt Weenie Sandwich Album, which had various eclectic mixture of Frank's music sandwiched between two 50's Doo-Wop song, starting and ending the album. For this post it's a a Burnt Fashion Sandwich. I call it burnt because my fashion doodles don't always go down smooth, and also because it's usually the stuff between the bread people wanna get too.. now to the 'meat' or the post..

My old buddy and fellow fine artists, Josh Hagler, ( 'fine' both as in swell, and someone who's made the leap into fine art galleries) sent me this piece he painted.. using Legs .

It's mind blowing to know this painting was exhibited in a giant castle called Castello di Carlo V, in Italy, and is in Maimi re-stretched for a solo show Josh is having there.  I was surprised and flattered Josh would use my goofy little Legs critter for his such a piece.

It's not just Josh's skill which astounds me, but his imagination ideas... and for lack of a better word... conceptual work. Check his stuff out here.

And just in case you never saw it... here's a few panels from the comic which Josh painted the Legs from.

As I've mentioned before, Legs was a one-shot comic, and sort of a false start for me. It never got the fare shake I intended it to have.  Everyone told me it seemed like a longer story crammed into 22 pages, and it was. In fact, Legs it was a screenplay first, then as some know... later a limited edition Figure too.

But I never really did it justice. Maybe someday I may get back to it, but until then.. here's a few interesting tidbits.

There was a bigger version of Legs too, a big-ass blue one, called Diablo.. which was nastier than the smaller orange-brown one in the comics. Diablo Legs dated back to the early 1900s. 

The original idea was for a series of kids.. in different areas of the country, finding different versions of the Legs creature... each kid would have personal struggle inside which the creature would somehow help them become aware of. There was a baby legs that a little girl discovers too. Water based swimming  Legs and ones that took flight. 

But I worried tying some childhood personal or collective crap into the Legs Mythology was... just too much? For a simple little idea? Was I over thinking it? 

As usual, it can never be a 'simple' idea with me, can it? : )

So, for now, the Legs Mythos.. sits on a back burner.. as more pressing ideas and stories await instead. Like cute chubby girl stories.

..and  that brings us to the bottom half of our sandwich...

Thanks to all the thoughts/comments on a possible chubby-girl Dana Toy figure, and Taboo body parts in general.  Lots of ... ahh... food for thought? (sorry, had too)... Anways, I agree Dr. VeganMike, serious obesity problem vs. acceptance of one's body flaws are always a balancing act. But I'm qualified or interested in the social or health issue, that's (duh!) the individual person's territory.

Megan, Kai, Squeaky, Phonosexual, cody (sorry to lump you all together) thanks for reafirmed I am right to trust my fans, (and my gut) about not under-estimating our appetites for the flawed, quirky and just plain weird - be it in art, toys... or whatever!

Thanks Hazard.  Far as reading more about Dana, I have crap load of unpublished stuff on her, which I'm trying to decide how much to drain out online what to hold back and publish. The sheer number of folks who can check out out on line will be greater, but I still have affection for printed books too. So, probably a little of both?

Andy, cool you dig my realistic ( do i have a 'realistic' guy? maybe you kinda mean buffed looking?) look hot too.  I think when we're all teens, body image looms, no matter what we look like. Proud if that small scene with Julie's scale and tummy struck a cord. Again, weird we don't see more of it on TV, outside of diet or chocolate ads.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Taboos of Body Fat in Comics.

Here's something you don't see everyday, at least in comics.

Body fat. I wanna talk about tummies. Even though TONS of Americans are overweight, it's weird how in fiction, a fat person, usually only makes their way into comics/movies/tv if they're a comical foil. I have always had an affection for chubby woman's bodies in comics...  little spots, pouches.. things most male comic artists have seen a million times in their wives, sisters and daughters, (or woman artists notice in others, or their own bodies to varying degrees.)... are still Taboo to draw in comics.

Now guys get fat too. My 'pot belly' character from My Inner Bimbo falls under the 'gross-monster' category. This is somewhat of a dodge, trying to poke fun at myself.  Many 'fat guys' learn to laugh at themselves out of habit, just like women do to beat others to the punch.

But for a main comic character, it's weird how you catch yourself 'self-editing' a figure... without even thinking. When you draw idealized male and female figures in comics, your always trimming off fat, or inflating muscles as if their water balloons. I got away with a few pot belly shots when i drew Julie in the Maxx, but that was partly tolerated because she was (for the most part) thin-ish, cute and blonde.

It wasn't until I started drawing Dana, that it sunk in that a LOT of fans, guys (and yeah, even some girls) may be turned off by ANY body fat in a heroine.

Yeah, I get why, but now that I have a spare tire myself, I want to draw some characters who look like, well... real people do. I know most comics and sci-fi are fantasies,  someone with an idealized body too. And I like drawing these impossibly skinny characters sometimes too.

But i don't care, If wanna have a chubby heroine like Dana, screw it - I will.  Jamie and Gilbert opened this can of worms years ago. Terry Moore's woman have some curvy figures too.

As for my motivations, it's It's not so much  to glorify (or fetishize) fat or chubby women in general. It's... more.. just reflects what a ton of people are struggling with, everywhere. Comics can idealize, but also ... reflect too.

It almost seems a weird thing to keep editing quirky or pudgy things out of a creator owned comic, almost weird NOT to add flab or flaws. It's almost a denial of what makes us human.

This also came up because I'm talking to a mysterious individual... and am in talks to do a possible Dana Toy Figure. So the question comes up, does anyone want to SEE, (let alone even BUY) ..a 'sam kieth chubby chick'?  (which, given the way i'm drawing these days.. might mean even chubbier than Julie, and might have (yikes) tats, or even worse (brace yourself) - body hair! I can see fans jumping ship in droves.

But on the other hand, I think I'm seriously seriously underestimate my fans. Sure, the amount into Dana may be less. But anybody who made it through the Maxx (or my art books) KNOWS to expect the weird, or possibly unusual or strange.

Hell, even if only a handful of fans were out there digging a chubby chick toy, how cool would that be? Just the fact there are so few comic characters with tummies out there with fat and flaws, it makes me all the more proud the folks to DO get it, totally get it!

I don't mean to preach or lecture.. more just work it out in my own mind. I also don't mean to come off as one of those 'sensitive guy' types sucking up to women, (who I usually really hate, even if i am sorta one myself sometimes).

Yeah, The female approval crap is always lurking, but many these rules apply to chubby guys too.