Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dusty Rhodes: A tribute in ink

Sketchbook Chronicles No. 4: "The American Dream," Dusty Rhodes (real name: Virgil Riley Runnels Jr.) wasn't just a professional wrestler and a character on television; he was a guy you and I, at home, knew personally without ever meeting him. He fought for the regular guy, the blue-collar cat (like my own dad, who has driven a semi-truck to this day since 1979), the anonymous and the downtrodden. Rhodes (of course, via kayfabe) faced elitists like archenemy Ric Flair and his Four Horsemen and he was such a great fit in which to do so. Rhodes wasn't the body beautiful but, at the same time, didn't run around in suits or drove flashy cars (at least in the story) and that appealed to kids like me, who had far more faith in our dads than those who cared not what something cost as long as they had the money to buy it.

On June 11, 2015, Dusty Rhodes passed away. The Dream came to a close and we all woke up without this quirky, soulful legend in our lives. Dusty was a symbol of a long-gone era, when professional wrestling wasn't as contrived and showy as it is now. Maybe part of this has to do with kayfabe no longer existing (due to the advent of the internet) but the least writers and creative teams can do is try a little harder to match the level of drama and wonder those 1970s, 1980s and early-1990s icons - like Dusty Rhodes - freely gave us in studios and pay-per-view events that were so much more worth buying.

I realize I'm a little late to the tribute party but I'm as busy a man as they come (something Dusty would have appreciated) and the first sketch I attempted simply wasn't good enough to share. It had to be just right. So here is my ink sketch of Dusty in my bold, cartoony style (another thing Dusty would have likely appreciated) finished in Micron pen and Faber-Castell brush pen.

Rest in peace, Big Dust. And thank you for all of your hard work.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Adrien Broner: Taking girls out to dinner

In celebration of former IBF welterweight titlist Shawn Porter helping provide a meme-able moment with last Saturday night's opponent/incorrigible big-mouth/former three-division titleholder Adrien Broner, I'm gonna just - as the kids these days say - leave this half-assed Photoshop effort riiiiiiiiight here.

Thank you, Shawn. :)

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jon Bernthal as the Punisher!

Last week, Marvel Entertainment announced that Jon Bernthal (best known as Shane from "The Walking Dead") would portray Frank Castle, the Punisher in the second season of Netflix's original series "Daredevil." So what's an artist to do? Jump on the bandwagon and make a rendering just like eeeeeeeeevery other artist is doing right now.

But seriously, Howlers, that means we're all excited and the more art, the merrier. Here's my rendering in Copic marker, Faber-Castell brush ink pen and watercolor paint on 9" X 12" Bristol Board. I hope you dig it!

(To peep the "work in progress" pieces, please visit my Instagram account.)

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

My wife, Tracy Duran

When something or someone inspires you to do great things, whether it's living a responsible, just life or aspiring to be better at everything you do, it always makes sense to give back in some way, shape or form. For my wife, Tracy's birthday, I put together a portrait of her comprised of Copic marker, watercolor paint and a smidge of acrylic on cold press watercolor paper (10" X 13"). I think the playful pose and whimsical comic approach add to the piece's general beauty - but nothing beats the real thing. And I have no doubt in my mind that I will do other renderings of Tracy (and our daughter, Makayla) in various mediums to the point of when I'm dead and gone, those who find my works will think, "This cat was really into this chick, wasn't he?"


I Love You, Baby. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fight Owens Fight! Kill Steen Kill! (in ink!)

When NXT champion Kevin Owens (real name Kevin Steen) showed up on last week's episode of "Monday Night RAW" to interrupt United States champion John Cena's open title challenge, WWE fans everywhere marked out like you wouldn't believe (trust me; I'm one of them). So how could I not be inspired to commit ink to my sketchbook in its third entry, Kevin Owens himself? Sure, I might not be able to deliver a pop-up power bomb to the leader of the "Cenation" but the leader of the "Creation Nation" can do an ink study of the hot-tempered Canadian, who never fails to excite the WWE Universe with his brutal antics.

This particular piece might look a speck choppy but that's because I tried different pens with different results. My initial detail inking was done with a size 01 Micron and I continued filling in the larger areas with a larger Micron (05) to attempt consistency. Well, that proved time-consuming, so I went with my large Faber-Castell brush pen (Black 199) but the coverage was too light. I decided to do another layer of brush pen black to darken what I had already laid down and eliminate stroke marks. From here on out, I'll continue using the large brush pen to fill in the larger areas (and also break out my brand-new Pentel pocket brush pen I scored yesterday from Blick Art Materials. The closest was in Wheaton, Il. but damn well worth the drive!). The little, "Terminator"-style gleam in Owens' left eye? A single drop mark of Bic "Wite-Out" correction fluid.

"Fight Steen Fight!" or "Kill Steen Kill!"? Why not both? I hope you dig it!

Oh, if you love pro wrestling/sports entertainment, make sure you tune in to NXT every Wednesday on the WWE Network. If you don't, you're seriously missing out.

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