Sunday, August 28, 2005

Wichita Kansas

This week Michelle was on vacation, so I took off on Thursday and we drove up to Wichita, Kansas to see her grandparents.

There is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Wichita and it's open to the public (for a price!) if you make arrangements in advance. I've wanted to see this for several years, but it's never worked out. This time it worked!

The house was pretty amazing! I have seen pictures of a lot of FLW's houses, but to actually go inside one was really cool! He was really a master of proportion and composition.

I have a theory that all visual art is related and it's just a matter of figuring pleasing composition and proportions.

Neal Adams says he can tell if somebody could be a good comicbook artist just by talking to somebody and if they can tell an entertaining story, they could draw an entertaining comic.

I guess that gives b=me hope since everybody agrees I can tell an entertaining story!

Either way, if you are in Wichita check out the Frank LLoyd Wright house.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My Favorite Birthday Present, part 2

In the mid '80s I stopped reading comics. Prices went up and I was saving money for my car and gas (it was a whooping $1.28!)

Several years later I started getting interested in comics again. When I was in art school in the late '80s one of the student instructors was Mike Kennedy. Mike (and John Hunter) later became infamous as the owners of Planet Comics which got busted for selling 'indecent' comics.

Mike was also the manger of Planet at the time and he was constantly talking about comics. I was totally out of the comic loop and being a newly married student had no extra money for comics.

(Mike was my first exposure to anime. He brought an untranslated bootleg of Akira to school one evening because he felt the art students should see it. Our minds were truly BLOWN.)

Anyway, when the first 'Batman' movie came out, I kept hearing about 'The Dark Knight Strikes Back" and how it influenced the movie.
So for my birthday I asked for and got a copy of the trade.

I was blown away! To be honest, I thought the art was sloppy. But some of the images were AMAZING!

The panel with Batman kicking in Superman's teeth was mind boggling.

I've got a lot of graphic novels over the years, but the impact of this one has never been topped.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Favorite Birthday Present Part One

When I was about twelve I got a ton of cash for my birthday ($60 if I remember right). So I bopped down to the TG&Y and what did I see?


To be honest, I had NO idea what the heck this thing was.

While, nowadays everybody knows about anime and Japan seems next door, this was '79 or '80. The only 'anime' I had seen was 'Battle of the Planets' and 'Speed Racer' (though I doubt I knew that was Japanese).

All I knew is 'Holy cow that thing is cool!' And MAN WAS IT BIG!

So I bought it. And I didn't know anything about it for a while (I don't even think I knew it was Japanese!) until a family friend who was in the army visited and told me about it. I think he had been stationed in Japan.

You can check it out here: Not an option in '80!

My favorite toy I had when I was a kid, bar none. Well, except for maybe the Cori Batmobile my uncles brought me from NYC and maybe the Deathstar play set...

Man, I gotta get into Mom & Dad's attic!


ahem, er. Today's my birthday.

When I was a kid birthday's were pretty cool. You had a party and a bunch of kids came over. Even when I got older they were still pretty cool.

A few years ago, when Michelle was in school and we were to poor to vacation properly, I ALWAYS took my birthday off and did something cool.

This year with us going to Disney World and me to the SD Comicon I'm down to 36.81 hours of vacation and when you 'tolerate' your job that's not enough to just throw around so I had to go in today.

(Okay, to be 100% honest I am taking off 2 days next week since Michelle is off all week. We are going to the zoo Monday and Thursday night we are going to Wichita to see Michelle's Grandparents. Plus there is a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Wichita we are going to tour!)

The crappy part about today is Michelle had to go to Tulsa for a meeting and didn't get home until 8:00. The good thing is Mom and Dad took me out to eat.

The day passed without a mumer at work, kind of a bummer I didn't even get a card!

Heck, now that I think about it I didn't get a card in the mail. I guess since most of my grandparents have passed (of 3 sets of grandparents, only my Dad's Dad is here) it's not the same.

Kind of depressing.

It used to bum me out on my birthday to think about where my 'career' is. When I was in art school I dreamed about some kind of cool art job designing albums or book covers. Since I have the misfortune of living in an area where art jobs are kinda rare, I ended up working for an awards company. I have kind of adjusted to that and sometimes I get to actually DRAW something. Of course, now I'm in the Tool & Die dept where I'm drawing manufacturing art for rings. Yawn!

That's why I draw my webcomic. It may be a lot of work and my NEVER get published, but I really enjoy it and I think I'm making progress.

Through it all I DO believe God has a plan for me and ultimatly it will All work out!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Rockguy (or something like him)

A few posts down I mentioned a couple of freelance jobs that came my way. This is one of them. A friend works for a solid countertop business and they a rock-type creature for t-shirts. One cool thing is I inked it, which I never do with the webcomic.

Also, this was a chance to work on my 'style' since I was inking it and most issues of 'style' are finishing issues.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Artists in the Bible?

Last post I mentioned a verse in Exodus so I thought I would jet over to and grab it.
Exodus 35:30-35 (New International Version)

Bezalel and Oholiab
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. 34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.

When the Israelites were in the desert, God gave Moses the plans for the Temple. Then God filled these two guys with all this artistic ability and the ability to teach others.

I've never heard a sermon on this passage and I doubt I ever will. But as a artist and a Christian I think this passage is cool, because it shows me that God chosses people for tasks and can give them whatever they need to do it. As an artist I think it's cool because I belive God will give me whatever skills I need to fulfill His will for my life.

Freelance Work

First, some background: I work in the Art Dept of a large awards manufacturer. For the last several years I have been trying to get work as a comic book artist. I've had several starts, but nothing has been published as most of the deals seem to fall apart after I draw the book. No big deal, I've realized that's what happens in the small press sometimes.

While I'm waiting for my big break, I am working on my art by drawing a webcomic (Check it out at . So between working 40 hours and drawing a webcomic I have no free time.

So this week I get 2 people calling me about designing t-shirts for them.

No big deal and I don't really mind. Several years ago I did a lot of freelance work, but at one point I decided I would never get into comics if I didn't cut out alot of 'extra' stuff. I kind of feel guilty because my comic 'career' tends to eat up time and money.

Luckily, Michelle is cool and understanding. But sometimes I think I should be using my free time to make money!

My dream situation would be to be working on a comic and somehow be able to parlay that into doing cool freelance work, like designing character or illustrations. I'm not the kind of person to sit around watching TV at night even when I get a cool comics gig and don't have to 'practice' in my spare time.

Bad part is I know I could make a fortune doing murals, but I hate doing them. And people always want me to do them! Of course, the last guy who asked me told me he would cook me supper if I painted this huge mural on his kids wall! I hang out with cheap people!

Of course, I seem to do a lot of that kind of thing for my church, which I don't mind* since I can't sing and art is my only talent I can use for the church. So it's cool, but I HAVE NO SPARE TIME.

*For the record I would NEVER dream of charging the church for anything I do for them. I believe my talent and any future sucess comes from God ( see Exodus 35: 30-35) and any way He choses to use my talents (such as they are) for Him is a blessing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Artists I like #1: Oliver Vatine

Hopefully this is the first of several posts about various artists I like and why I like them. The goal is to get me thinking about why I like these guys (and girls) and how I can channel that into my artwork!

Also, maybe this will expose you to some artists you've never heard of.

Oliver Vatine
I first heard of Oliver when Skottie Young mentioned him in a seminar at Wizard World Texas. He's a European artist and kind of elusive in America.

Pink Planet (left) is a collection of Oliver Vatine's art. I picked up mine from Bud Plant at SDCC and noticed they sold out the first day.

Several years ago I first saw Mobieus and thought he was pretty cool. Later I saw Geof Darrow and saw him as kind of the evolution of that European Style (yes, I know Geof is from Iowa!) Next I saw Frank Quitely ans kind of another step.

I'm not sure where to put Vatine. I can see the clean style, but with an infusion of animation or maybe even some anime. I really like Vatine!

I'm not sure how this would impact my own work. I wouldn't want to copy him 100%, he's a little too cartoony (that is his figures are too 'deformed') for me to copy. However, I like the cleaness and energy of his figures. His machines are pretty cool.

One thing I am learning is that making your art appealling looking is more important then trying to make it realistic!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Starting regular posting (hopefully!)

Well I'm hoping to to start posting to this regularly. I just got back from the SanDiego Comic-con. It was pretty cool. I was hoping that I would get better response to my portfolio, but I think I still have some thing I need to work on. BasicallyI need to work on gestures and proportions of my figures. However most impotantly I think I need to develope a 'style'. I've always resisited this because I always felt I should just draw and it will take care of itself. ANd the problem with creating a style is you can't just sit down and say 'hey, I'm going to develope a style'.

But that's what I'm trying to do! Actually, I have been looking at artists I like and trying to figure out why I like them. I can honestly say if a genie appeared and said 'I will give you the ability to draw like any one artist' I couldn't pick just one!

I like bits and pieces of a lot of artists and sometime I like the artists, but when I look at thier work, I find I like what I remember better then the actual art!

This should make it easier to develope a style, if I can just figure all this out and create a system!