Sorry things have a little quiet around here lately. Got stranded in San Diego after Comic Con due to bad weather for an extra day, then moved to a new apartment with my family two days later. Meanwhile the pace on Ice Age 3 is picking up even more steam as we head into creative crunch time on the picture. To sum up, the last couple of weeks have been CRAZY.
Comic Con was a total blast. OOP 2 did really well, hung out with a bunch of my west coast pals as well as the bulk of the OOP 2 crew who came out to the Con. Very exciting. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Just a better traveling experience.
Then a week ago, the wonderful Sketchtravel documentary crew came from Paris to New York to interview some of us east coast contributors. I can’t wait to see just how large of a dweeb I made of myself. Ah, something to look forward to…
The Totoro Forest Project Auction is coming up in a few weeks. I just bought my plane ticket to San Fransisco and couldn’t be more excited. I really hope this raises some serious money, but if ticket sales to the auction are any indicator (they sold out in two and a half days!), I think it’ll do pretty well. It’s insane how much momentum is gathering behind this project. If you haven’t discovered the site yet, please go check it out now at http://www.totoroforestproject.org. Dice just launched a new blog for it as well.
Do yourself a favor and please check it out. The group of contributing artists is nothing short of staggering. If you can’t afford to bid on any of the art but want to help the cause, there’s information regarding donations on the site.
Hope to back soon with some new artwork! In the meantime, my contribution to the Totoro Project is the giant owl on the hillside below.
I’m going to be at San Diego Comic Con this weekend along with a LOT of the crew from Out of Picture 1 and 2. Come visit us at booth 1228 (right next to our friends from Flight Comic) where we’ll have plenty of copies of OOP 1 and 2 to sign and sell. The weather’s supposed to be amazing all week long in San Diego (sunny and 75!) which will be a nice break from the humid mid-90′s weather we’ve been having here in NYC.
It’s going to be a blast, and I can’t wait…
I can’t believe it’s finally out… I delivered the book to our publisher at the end of last October – one week before my daughter was born – and it’s finally on store shelves.
I really think this volume is quite a leap for us as a group of artists. There’s a much stronger emphasis on story, and the diversity of artists (as well as the sheer number) is really amazing. The main thing that struck me about it as I finished laying the book out, was how consistently strong all the stories and artwork are, but also how unique each approach to storytelling and illustrating turned out to be.
Needless to say, I’m a little biased – I know and love everyone in this book, so I hope that if you happen to grab a copy that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting the book together. It’s a labor of love in all the best ways, and all the contributors put their hearts and souls into it.
This is a piece I’m working on for an auction that’s coming up this summer. I can’t say a whole lot about the auction right now (it’s for a pretty great cause), so I’ll just let the piece speak for itself. Some of the inspiration may be obvious, but it’s also reminiscent of my childhood home and neighborhood. Something I haven’t ever really incorporated into my personal work.
Check out some other pieces for the auction by some of my friends here and here…
We’re in the middle of production now on Ice Age 3, and over a month has sped by without me even noticing it! So, to make up for lost time, I thought I’d show a bit of the process on my story for OOP 2.
I did A LOT of thumbnails for this story to try to figure out the pacing, staging, action and page layouts. I always start out as loose and rough as possible, sometimes only blocking things out in inch-high thumbnails. This particular page went through quite a few subtle revisions, but I had pretty quickly established that I wanted to start the story with a shot of the destroyed mine’s exterior.
After getting the basic composition, I started doing more fleshed out tonals and began thinking more about the inset panels and page layout.
At this point I had already done a rough layout of my entire story. Each page went through several revisions until I got the pacing and page count right, and then did refined drawings over the layouts. Once I was happy with a page’s layout, I’d transfer the refined line drawing onto bristol board and do the final pencil drawing with a 2B .5mm mechanical pencil.
The last step was scanning the final drawing into Photoshop and adding simple color and pushing the value range until I achieved the look and feel I was aiming for. The last step was adding type and word balloons (which I decided to keep to a minimum).
These are a couple doodles that were inspired by trips to several of Paris’ comic shops.
This is one of those drawings where I really have no idea what was going through my mind. I had been looking at a lot of Carlos Nine at the time, but I don’t really know if anyone would know it by looking at this. Oh well.
This one is simply titled “Ghost Girl.”
These are some character studies of one of the characters in my story for Out of Picture 2. He’s based on the breakerboys that worked in coal mines back in the late 1800′s – early 1900′s before there were child labor laws in the U.S. This was an idea I started developing back in 1994 while still in school at Ringling, but never completely fleshed out the story.
I still haven’t, really. The story I’m telling in OOP 2 is just a small standalone episode that introduces some of the ideas of the larger narrative.
One of the reasons I haven’t been taking much freelance illustration work lately (other than having a fairly time intensive full-time job and trying to maintain some kind of quality of family life) is that I wanted to spend more time on personal projects.
I had such a fun experience working on Out of Picture 1 that I couldn’t wait to work on another story for the second book. OOP 1 was the first time I’d really sat down and tried to construct any kind of “complete” story, and even though it was short (10 pages), it was an incredibly difficult learning experience. I boarded it out quickly enough, but I must have re-laid out each spread a dozen times. I really wanted to push myself story-wise on this one, so I took a bigger chunk of pages (18 this time) and tried to come up with something.
The story I really wanted to do was too complicated to fit into a short format, so I came up with a sort of adjacent episode which tells a smaller story set in the world of the larger one. Anyone who went to school with me at Ringling might recognize some of the characters in this story (but not in these particular images) as it’s based on a concept I started to develop while still in school. It’s called Under Pressure: A Breakerboy Chronicle.
Here are a few panels…
I wound up using a very different technique this time around. Since I was doing a longer story, I thought I’d save time by doing more pencil work and keep a limited palette. Well, that worked partially… I kept a limited palette and did a ton more pencil work, but I swear it took just as long to get it done.
Live and learn, I guess. The story takes place mostly underground, so I will say that this technique did fit the mood a lot better than doing full-on paintings would have. Feels grittier, I think.
There are more previews of OOP 2 at our website here.
After Florence, we took a really looooooooong ferry ride (I don’t think we’ll ever take an overnight ferry ride again) to Barcelona – our last stop on our trip. Barcelona is an amazing city. If you like architecture, you will LOVE it there. Didn’t do too much sketching while there since we were running from one Gaudi building to another and hanging out with a few of our friends who are from Barcelona.
These are a couple of the sketches I did while either at the airport or on the plane – I can’t remember which. Who knows what I was thinking at this point. Apparently something about chin rolls…
Okay, okay, so this one’s not from Europe. It’s Bethesda fountain in Central Park in NYC. But it is the last sketch in my sketchbook from that trip, and I thought it fit right in… I did this one shortly after our return.
In completely unrelated news, I checked out the Editorial/Book show at the Society of Illustrators in NY today. Pretty great show if you have the chance to see it. Congratulations to my good friends Robert Mackenzie and Daisuke Tsutsumi who both had pieces in the show! Way to go, guys!
So, after Paris we took a train to Venice. We went to Venice in April when there weren’t as many tourists, and I just have to say it is one of the most beautiful surreal places I’ve ever imagined let alone visited. I didn’t do as much drawing there because we were too busy getting ourselves lost in its labyrinthine streets and then finding our way back out again. I also had an $18 slice of pizza there. Yes, it actually was that good (although I had no idea how much it was going to cost when I ordered it).
I have to explain the sketch of the fellow with the rose. We were eating dinner one night out on one of the small city squares when I saw this guy walking down the street across the piazza. He looked kind of like an incognito Pavarotti with a huge cape draped over him, a wide brimmed hat and he a single rose in his hand.
Some doodles on the train from Venice to Florence.
These are a couple sketches I did in the Firenze Sculpture Piazza.
I didn’t actually do any drawing when we went to the Academia to see Michelangelo’s David, but the place just blew me away. The high point for me there wasn’t David – far from it – but a room filled with incomplete busts, figures, and just incredible sculptures down the hall from David. I didn’t want to leave. The next day, we went to the Bargello Museum to see the works of Donatello. Books just don’t do justice…
By the way, the food in Florence is AMAZING. They make steak like nowhere else.