Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seth Rollins in Ink!

Those of you who are fans of the WWE will recognize this cat, ex-Shield member Seth Rollins. Between projects, I figured I'd give the inaugural NXT champion/former WWE tag team champion the comic-style portrait treatment complete with funky speed lines, white highlights and paint (or blood. Take your pick) drip action. Of course I started this about a week-and-a-half after he left his teammates, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, so his new ring gear was revealed after I began inking this. It's Faber-Castell PITT artist pen and Sharpie on 9" X 12" Bristol Board. I hope in some way, it captures the spirit of the high-flying architect of the WWE. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

ArtBar Aurora: "Toy Story" Freaks

Last month, ArtBar Aurora's theme was "Geek." On June 6, the theme was "Freak." Not unlike the previous ArtBars in which I've participated, the interpretation of this month's theme (which also served as the event's season finale. Back to business in September!) was open and rightfully varied. That said, my selection was much easier to get down with.

As a fan of Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise, it delighted me and my girlfriend, Tracy when our daughter, Makayla (who inspired last month's "Geek" offering) got into watching the first film. That's when the obvious hit me. This movie had quite a few freaks.

Mind you, there was a valuable lesson to be learned here in how one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, as the cobbled-together toys that belonged to Sid, Andy's sadistic neighbor, turned out kind and helpful despite their disturbing appearances.

Among those toys, the grabbers, for me, were "Jingle Joe" (an amalgam of a musical rolling toy, what looked like the right arm from a Mickey Mouse doll and a G.I. Joe's head), "Spider-Baby" (I suppose you could call him/her that) and "Legs" (a fishing pole and a pair of - I think - Barbie legs). There was just a starkly unsettling factor to them that stood above the other "misfit toys."

As opposed to last month's piece, I took my time on this one and fussed an awful lot over it from size (ultimately 12" X 16") to positioning (I almost royally messed up Legs' pose when I had her facing toward the viewer. No matter how hard I tried, there was no convincing way to make the business end of the fishing pole look like it was closer to the viewer and make it all make sense. That's when Tracy looked at it and asked why I didn't position her differently, something like a 3/4 profile. After inking from left to right until I reached her, I had completely agreed. That pose had to go. The current pose was the way to go. Trace knows her shit) to how exactly to render the piece (I decided to use my trusty Prismacolor watercolor pencils but figured I would go light-handed in my approach. I swept them this way and crosshatched that way and wound up frustrated because the colors weren't combining in the manner I saw fit. Damn near threw a fit; I'll tell you. That was my "Fuck it" moment. Heavy-handed and bold it is, then). All the heavy blacks are courtesy of my Faber-Castell PITT brush pens. Oh, those are so much fun...

So now, I have three months until the next ArtBar (as always, at Two Brothers Roundhouse near Downtown Aurora, Illinois) and -as per usual - I have tons to do and tons more already planned. The Artbar season premiere is "Hairy," so there's lots of ways in which to go with that one and I already have two ideas brewing.

Most important, the commission window is now fully open!

Till we meet again, ArtBar...

Friday, May 16, 2014

ArtBar Aurora: Geeks Start Young

May 2nd's ArtBar Aurora was my third foray into the local art-fest held at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, Illinois and the topic this time out? Geek!

Yes, you read right, Howlers. Geek-inspired art was the catch of the evening as the masses convened to share their take on what defines "geek." Admittedly, this was a toughie.

And I'm an idiot (you probably all knew as much anyway). Though I knew what I wanted to render and had my visual references already filed, I sat on my thumbs UNTIL THE MONDAY OF ARTBAR WEEK (the caps are to accentuate my idiocy). See, I've done marathon pieces - stuff I considered very good - over the course of one day. That said, those were also during times in which I really wanted to be left alone - by everyone.

These days, it's the total opposite. :)

But your favorite obstinate artist/editor thought he could hit the three-pointer from the key nonstop, starting Monday, April 29 and finishing somewhere around 3 a.m. on Thursday, May 1.

See? Idiot.

OK, so enough of that. What we have here is a comic-style piece inspired by our daughter, Makayla (four next month!). She's gussied up in geek regalia, which includes Superman's boots, cape and pants, Wonder Woman's golden belt and magic lasso, a red lightsaber from "Star Wars," Batman's gloves, a blue shirt from "Star Trek" (probably Spock's) and a Pinkie Pie stuffed animal from "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" (incidentally, I drew pointy ears ala Spock but you can't really tell).

The piece was done on Bristol Board (10 1/2" X 13") and rendered in Micron pen, Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (black and white) and Copic markers.

My biggest issue - other than my flagrant procrastination - was how I rendered the fabric. My being in a hot rush resulted in major suckage, therefore I name and claim said suckage.

Still, I think it's a pretty cute piece and it hangs in Makayla's room today - and she loves it.

That's really the most important thing I took away from this.

Next month at ArtBar: "Freak"! And yes, I'm not waiting until the 11th hour on this one. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

ArtBar Aurora: My Bijou

Hiya, Howlers! Well, my second "ArtBar" excursion (at Two Brothers Roundhouse on Friday, April 4th) is in the books and this month's topic was just as fun and inspired: posters.

When it came time to consider what I would render for this show, Tracy gave me some very valuable input inspired by her morning ritual prior to going to work. The premise: "What if someone was doing her best to put together her exterior in the midst of experiencing an emotional low?" Heavy, right? But it's a good point. Basically, the young woman (my Tracy served as my photo reference, exaggerated of course) depicted is spinning her wheels in applying her mascara while fighting her emotions off.

Thus the quote at the top of the piece (apologies if the French isn't quite accurate or if I've misspelled something) translates to "Defeating the purpose, emotions prevail." And because this was originally bandied as having to do with applying mascara - and coming off somewhat as a fictional cosmetics company - I used a photo of Tracy's style of wand for a reference and we thought the brand-name "Bijou" would be perfect (incidentally, Queen's "Bijou" is a song that has a lot of personal meaning for us as a couple. I know; it's mushy but I don't give a damn), hand-rendered in an art deco-style font.

With that, as a stylish-yet-faux company goes, having artsy-fartsy locations near the bottom of the poster seemed like the thing to do and three cities we love were the choices I went with.

As far as media, this was done primarily in watercolor paint, Copic markers and a speck of Prismacolor watercolor pencil and acrylic paint on 11" X 17" Bristol Board. 

Next month at "ArtBar": "geek"! Oh, the things one can do with that topic!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ArtBar: All Work and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Toy...

Recently, I got the go-ahead and privilege to join the local art community in my hometown, Aurora, Illinois in its monthly "ArtBar" events at the Two Brother's Roundhouse. Staged on the first Friday of every month, "ArtBar" highlights local artists who feature (and can sell on the spot) works of almost all medias imaginable. The depth of talent is immeasurable and the art/craft beer/pub food community who attends is abundant and enthusiastic.

So, when my girlfriend, Tracy surprised me with a date night to my first "ArtBar" last month, I was excited. Then I got hooked. This was a gang in which I wanted to be a member. When director Javi Terrazas gave me the "thumbs up," I was amped!

The neat thing with "ArtBar" is theme. Every month, participants create pieces inspired on a specific theme. Last month, the theme was "pin-up." This month, the theme was "toys."

With that, I give you my piece, "All Work and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Toy..." (acrylic, watercolor and Copic art marker on Bristol Board, 11" X 14" image matted to a 15 3/4" X 19 3/4" custom-stained frame). Basically, I took an old jack-in-the-box toy and based the garish clown inside (one most of us were afraid of. Admit it; those things are scary as hell to a kid) on Jack Nicholson's character from horror classic"The Shining," Jack Torrance. So, you have three elements of "Jack" going on here. I'm not saying it's the cleverest thing in the world; it pretty much wrote itself!

(Look, it's a unhinged clown...and he's standing next to his painting.)

And just so you know, if you're into horror/toy-based whimsy and this sucker doesn't creep you out, it's up for grabs for only $150 (check, money order or PayPal only please. Shipping included but only if you're here in the continental United States!). If interested, don't hesitate to email me at And if you have your own ideas for something you'd like, whether it's for you or to give as a gift, I'd love to do a commission for you.

Next month at "ArtBar": posters! I'm already fired up, Howlers...