Sunday, August 23, 2015

Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez in watercolor and ink

On Saturday, Nov.21, THE RING magazine and WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino Events Center in a highly-anticipated championship throwdown.

In celebration of this huge bout, I threw together a gouache (watercolor) and (Pentel Pocket Brush pen) ink piece on 11" X 14" cold press paper. This piece is also neat in the fact that it's immediately available as my inaugural giclee print reproduction (soon to be followed by some of my previous boxing works), also on 11" X 14" textured paper, hand-signed and shipped flat - free in the continental United States - to you for just $30. For more information on how to order or shipping outside the US, please contact me at! I hope you dig it!

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Finn Balor: The Demon Prince

Best known internationally as Prince Devitt, Fergal Devitt - now known as Finn Balor (the Demon Prince), has taken the WWE's developmental (though I believe it's anything but "developmental") organization, NXT, by storm. Now the NXT champion (having defeated Kevin Owens for the title on July 4 in Japan) is primed to, someday soon, make a huge splash on the main roster. It isn't like he wasn't ready before (having been a highly respected wrestler in New Japan Pro Wrestling and founder of Bullet Club). It just seems that the WWE has a protocol from here on out that dictates any talent new to the company has to come through NXT first.

Balor, an avid comic book fan, has integrated various styles and themes of body and face paint in his performances, ranging from DC Comics' Joker to Marvel Comics' Spider-man and Venom. These days, he sports an original design inspired by his "Demon Prince" persona and is driving the crowds wild. In fact, on Aug. 22, the champ and the NXT roster will perform on their first WWE Network special outside the confines of Winter Park, Florida's Full Sail University at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Not bad for a developmental branch, eh?

Back to Balor here. This piece (its start and finish bracketed my Rowdy Roddy Piper tribute piece) was done in ink (Micron and Pentel Pocket Brush pens) and gouache (watercolor paint) on 11" X 15" cold press watercolor paper. I hope its Balor-worthy and I doubly hope you dig it!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rowdy Roddy Piper: A tribute (part two)

For part one, please click here.

Rowdy Roddy Piper once said he "was rowdy before rowdy was cool." Truer words were never spoken.

As a pup, I was fascinated by the man who made life miserable for WWE/WWF heroes like Hulk Hogan and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. He was cheeky, colorful and - prior to Yours Truly appropriating the moniker - honestly could have been more Coyote (a royal, pain-in-the-ass Trickster) than me. And no matter where Roddy Piper went, his name and reputation followed, whether he was portraying a heel or an antihero/face. Just as well, hijinks would ensue.

In part one of this blog post, I shared my ink rendering of Rowdy Roddy on Aug. 2. I locked in the image (on 9" X 12" Bristol Board) in Micron and Pentel Pocket Brush pens. I wasn't certain if I was going to add color, how much or in what manner. Ultimately I went with gouache (watercolor) paint and a smidge of Faber-Castell PITT artist pen for the highlights I couldn't suss with white gouache.

And I did because Roddy Piper was nothing short of colorful.

While my favorite professional wrestlers were - and always will be - the Road Warriors (the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal), they obviously were blessed with a different presence and mic skills. Piper was a talker, nonpareil, and could get in your face with the best of them. And that's what I wanted to be verbally and personality-wise. I wanted that kind of bravery. I wanted it to be OK to be mouthy and weird. I also wanted to be that guy who could take a shot in the mush for the cause and smile wickedly in response.

And although I knew for certain from an early age that pro wrestling was a different sort of entertainment, I also knew for sure that Piper was who Piper was. He might have been a completely different cat at home or away from the squared circle but the Rowdy Roddy Piper we were lucky enough to experience was a genuine part of Roderick George Toombs.

We were lucky to have experienced Rowdy Roddy Piper in all facets of his careers (wrestling and film. "They Live," anyone?) because fans in my age demographic were born at just the right time.

So cue the bagpipes and grab your coconuts. And before all the answers are all figured out, don't forget to change all the questions.

I hope you like this, Roddy. Because I loved drawing and painting it. Sneaky and all-knowing in its moment, it's a snapshot of the Rowdy Roddy Piper I loved best.

Rest in peace, Sir.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rowdy Roddy Piper: A tribute (part one)

On July 30, a true personal influence of mine - one who made it perfectly fine to be weird and mouthy - Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away in his sleep as a result of cardiac arrest. What can I say about the "Hot Rod" that hasn't already been said? 

Well, in part one of my tribute to the Rowdy One, I knocked out a comic book-inspired version of the WWE Hall-of-Famer in ink (Micron and Pentel Pocket Brush pens).

In a way, it sort of looks Neal Adams-inspired. I don't know. I just wish I rendered Roddy under different circumstances. I should have done it a long time ago.

Stay tuned for part two of my Roddy Piper tribute, in which I'll post a fully-colored version of this piece in gouache watercolor paint.

Rest well, Roddy.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Steve Cunningham AKA "USS" in ink

Sketchbook Chronicles No. 5: This installment features the creator and star of the upcoming "USS Comics," Steve "USS" Cunningham. You might not know this but the former world cruiserweight champion/current heavyweight contender has been a life-long artist and comic book fan and came up with the concept of a high-energy, yet family-friendly, comic a few years ago. But when it came time to make the art and story a reality, Steve asked Yours Truly for a helping hand. Since we're both artists and storytellers, it just made sense to join forces and makes something really cool.

Now Steve has drawn a heap of cool scenes for the official website but this is my shot at a character sketch. And by no means is this a competition; it's merely another point of view. I truly believe our contrasting styles in art alone will make this book a true winner (by the way, this sketch was completed with Micron pen and Faber-Castell brush pen).

Stay tuned, Howlers!

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