Monthly Archives: February 2012

Sight Beyond Light

Well a while ago my external hard drive said I over worked it and just straight up quit on me. No two weeks notice or anything, super inconsiderate. But when it left it took all the old files I had on it, including the vector file of the logo for my former rap group, Sight Beyond Light. I waited a long time to recreate the image, but I finally did. I also through in the way it was laid out for the first single on Low Tech Records, our super unofficial record label. I mean the music was official, we just never registered it as a business. But that was in 2000.

Anyway, here’s the sticker/artwork for the first single. DJ Eclipse from Fat Beats and NYU Radios Hip-Hop Show, Halftime Radio, was super impressed with the professional presentation. I can’t take all the credit though, my band mate Blu Jemz(formerly JMS Inja) offered his input about the color scheme. Man those were the good old days. The four man crew was A.B. Do Well, that’s what I used to go by , Blu Jemz, Soem(he now goes by sTERRYo), and Sub-Conscious. We would be in the lab constantly. Soem and Blu Jemz made the beats for the most part, but our boys Rio Murray, Omari Toomer and Jon Abrahams also through their sound into the mix. Omari would lend vocals from time to time as well. Enough reminiscing, here’s the logo in question.

The all seeing eye, again I can’t take full credit at all because my brother came up with the initial sketch. I just vectorized it in Adobe Illustrator. Anyway here’s a little video I made for it way after the fact.

 

Also, I always wanted to go all Dark Side of the Moon with the logo, but other members of the band thought it was corny to rip off the Pink FLoyd album cover. I thought it would be so fitting and cool and at the time I’d just seen the Wizard of Oz Set to that album. There were moments when the synch up worked to amazing effect, but those moments were few and far between. Anyways, here’s my homage.

See that, that’s effing brilliant right there.

Well that’s one design file down. I don’t even want to guess how many there are to go, but I suppose the logo for the label is a must. I loved that old Low Tech Logo. Maybe I’ll have it up soon.

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Big City Dare2Draw at MoCCA

I’m a frequent volunteer at MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, located in the SOHO neighborhood of New York City. It’s a nice place to look at some original artwork from some of the greats in the Comic Book and Animation fields. The museum helps legitimize the art forms and gives enthusiasts a more high brow place to gather than the local comic book shop. I also attend the Big City Dare2Draw pretty regularly too, The Dare2Draw is interesting in that comic book artists gather to sketch models in action poses, and network. There is usually an informative panel discussion as well, with professionals giving their insight on the industry. Last night I participated in both events at the same time and it was pretty fantastic.

The Dare2Draw was held at MoCCA and I was there as a volunteer, setting up, moving walls and museum fixtures and more interestingly handling original artwork from Bob Kane the creator of Batman, Neal Adams one of the most brilliant artists in the industry, and the work of other artists that have been instrumental in the telling of Batman’s story since 1939. The pieces were delicately handled as the gallery space was moved so we could make room for all the artists to get a good view of the models.

The guests didn’t get to see the back breaking set-up, but here’s the view they did get.

Museum Manager Jack Walsh at the Swag Table.

The Museum got pretty full and it was just about time to get some figure drawing in. But before that Dare2Draw host, TJ Glenn, The Urban Swashbuckler, welcomed the artists to the event and made some announcements about future events and introduced the panelists and other special guests, including famed DC Comics artist, Kyle Baker. Baker, the seated gentleman taking off his jacket, is known for his work on the all ages Plastic Man series, and his gritty Hawkman segment in Wednesday Comics.

TJ Glenn says he dresses like this everyday.

Kyle Baker, Dares 2 Draw.

When the models arrived I stopped taking photos and started sketching. The figure drawing exercise is broken down into 3 secgments, the first is a series of ten poses with a two-minute duration, followed by four 5-minute poses and concluding with two 10-minute poses. I’m not showing all of the sketches, but here are a few of mine.




All in all it was a good time, even with the heavy lifting that followed the event. We had to move the walls back into place and store some dusty metal planks. But, you know when you can’t be philanthropical with money, do it with time and muscles. The next Dare2Draw is March 28. 2012 held at Different Directions at 417 West 57th St. MoCCA’s gallery hours are 12:00Pm until 5:00PM, Tuesday through Sunday. The MoCCA Art Festival is takes place April 28-29 at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY.

Check their websites for upcoming events.

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
Big City Dare2Draw

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Beeboy:Thug-O-Nomics Logo and Beeboy Emblem

Here are some more graphics for the Stunning Beeboy and his supporting cast of malevolent MCs. The new banner above incorporates Beeboy’s emblem, a stylized letter B with wings and a stinger jutting out of the bottom curve of the letter. A pretty good hero insignia if I do say so myself. This element and the goggles are the most enduring of Beeboy’s look. I’ll see if I can find the original sketch  I did in color pencil way back in 1996. Here’s the Emblem in all it’s glory.

Here’s a nice little graphic with the Logo, Emblem and a fun sketch of Beeboy.

And now for a villain I haven’t introduced yet in the prose. He’s Beeboy’s oldest enemy, I came up with him shortly after Beeboy. Back when I created him I called him Rah-Rah, which was what we called loud and brash thugs around the way, inspired by one of Redman‘s verses, because I love me some Redman. Get his albums Whut? the Album, Dare is a Darkside and Doc’s Da Name and  you’ll find out why. Anyway, Rah-Rah wasn’t a name that could endure, Redman has been off the airwaves for a while and I wanted a name that would have staying power. Thug-O-Nomics just popped into my head and I never looked back.

Thug-O-Nomics is the quintessential studio  gangsta rapper. Tough in the recording booth, but the first to run from a fight. He’s excessive and gaudy and really likes gun talk, but never really ever owned one, or held one. His Medallion is two Glock 9s with silencers attached to the letter S, made to look like a dollar sign, it symbolizes that he gets his money through acts of violence. I think it’s the best thing in the world.

Take a look below and tell me what you think.

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CBR Draw Off: Avengers. W-I-N.

If you’ve been enjoying my blog you know I f*cks with the Comic Book Resources Forums hard body. One of the forums I visit a lot is their Artist and Writer Showcase. There are regular competitions there and I submitted some original pieces to the most recent CBR Draw Off, it was Avengers-centric to honor the highly anticipated movie coming out later this year from Marvel’s film studio.

I submitted two pieces, one a solo shot of Hank Pym as Antman and the other a group shot with Antman, Wasp and the Black Panther. My thought process for my entries was to try to make the uniforms/costumes look like the film studio would translate them for the film. For examples I looked to the existing films and how they approached the costumes. With  Iron Man the costume is about as direct a translation as you can get, with Captain America you could see the elements of the main Marvel Universe(616) and the Ultimate Universe as inspiration for the costume. Hawkeye’s is pretty much  a  direct adaptation from the one worn by Clint Barton in the Ultimate  Marvel Universe. For Pym I went with  the color scheme from the original costume from his Tales To Astonish and Avengers appearances and used some elements of Scott Lang, a reformed criminal that later took on the Ant Man identity. Here’s a rough sketch I have where I was working out some kinks.

In designing the costume I was thinking about what actor I would want to play Pym. I was searching online for fan casts and someone had Anthony Michael Hall as the Vision or something. I didn’t agree with that, I think he’d be a great Henry Pym, he already created an Artificial Intelligence he couldn’t control in Weird Science, was the nerd in Breakfast Club and has some genre relevance from the  SciFi channel series Dresden Files and his bit part in the hugely successful film, the Dark Knight. He’s a nerd with an edge, old enough to be an expert in an obscure field of science. He’s a great fit in  my eyes.  But with Joss Whedon at the helm, I wouldn’t be mad at Neil Patrick Harris, though I’d say he’s too much of a comic actor at this point.

With T’Challa, the Black Panther, the king of  Wakanda, a sovereign African Nation that has never been conquered or colonized, I was over thinking things. Wanting to use elements of African art, I delved into books about African Ceremonial Masks, Military Dictator’s Garments and traditional Zulu garb. I couldn’t stick to one idea until the last minute. Here are a few pages of sketches of the design progression.

These here focusing more on the mask as the central element of his design. There are so many wonderful mask styles to choose from, the Benin had some interesting things going and there were some phenomenal South African masks as well, but I didn’t think that would work on screen. So I looked closer at the Zulus.

The traditional animal skins are replaced with light weight but durable armor that he wears over a body suit. I liked the basic look more, so I went with that and this is what I came up with.

Now  ideally I’d want Djimon Honshu to play this role, but he’s getting up there in age. He might make the perfect T’Chakka, T’Challa’s father, but I think we need someone a little younger, although RDJ is killing it as Tony Stark and he now spring chicken. I’d sat Chiwetal Ejiofor would be good here, he’s got acting chops and he’s worked with Whedon before. With Whedon you could see his ability to do action sequences and in Red Belt he really made me believe he’s a genuine force to be reckoned with.

For Janet Van Dyne, I don’t know what artist to credit with the costume design she had most recently, but to change it at all would be a crime, so I left it as is. Which fits the movie universe, because Scarlet Johanson’s Black Widow is pretty much identical to the comic book interpretation. There was no need to go through a design process here, so here’s the Wasp I went with for the competition.

For the Wasp I was thinking Mila Kunis. Short, cute, and well known. And cute, did I mention cute? But then I saw another fan casting that just made sense, Morena Baccarin. She already has the short hair, or did in the remake of the V mini-series and she to my surprise I find out she went to my High School. That trumps everything to me. So these were the characters I drew. Here’s the group  shot I used in the competition.

I’m not sure which artist did the Avengers Mansion in the background, I found it with Google Image Search. I’m guessing it’s from Avengers Dissembled so that would mean Deodato. Anyway, I thought it fit. And I was right, I won the competition with one vote. Yay me, the grand prize, an assortment of Comic Books from the 90s. Some of which I’m sure I own. I worked at a comic shop in the 90s.

Anyway that’s that. Hopefully this momentum from winning with urge me forward for the rest of the year. If not, guess I’ll have to find some tiger’s blood.

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Lupercalia

A while back, years ago even, I was in a comic book character design competition and one of the challenges was to design a character based on the month you were born. I did a good amount of research into my birth month, February and wanted to do something different than the typical Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and Black History month themes associated with the month. I’m pretty vain, like most humans especially those of us in the west, so I was looking into significant historic events that occurred on the day of my birth, February 15. I was not content to  just share my birthday with Galileo, Chris Farley, Susan B. Anthony and Jane Seymour, or a bunch of people a few days apart from my birthday, like Abraham Lincoln(Feb. 12) and Michael Jordan(Feb. 17), I knew there had to be more.

For a long time I felt I ‘d gotten the short end of the stick having been born a day too late to be a Valentine’s day baby. But I hit the mother load when doing the research for the character I was designing. There was a fertility/mating festival held in Ancient Rome on February 15th, it was called Lupercalia and it was magnificent by all accounts. Prior to Caesar ‘s rule, February was the last month of the year. For a while it was just a nebulous span of time between December, the tenth month and March, the first month called Intercalaris. January and February were just a glob of time for a while, but January came to be named after the two-headed god Janus, and February, well February was named after a lamb skin whip used to select your mate for the spring season. This whip was called a Februa, and the ceremony of the Februa occurred on the 15th commemorating the She-Wolf, Lupa who nursed the twin fathers of Rome, Remus and Romulus when they were infants.

So for some reason and ancient celebration made me feel better about my day of birth, and although It’s not a day I celebrate, I figured I remind all of you, on my actual birthday all about it. You can use it as an excuse to buy valentines candy half off and say  it’s in honor of Lupercalia, the original holiday that celebrated love.

As for my character design I did wind up using a lot of cliches, he’s black for Black History Month, and has a Napoleon Complex because it’s the shortest month of the year, and wears purple because it;s the color of amethyst, the birthstone for February. Well , it’s not the most original design, but I had fun coming up with him, I learned something and hopefully  taught you something too.

Here’s the character below.

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Chick Flicks From An Alternate Universe

I know some of you have to endure the biggest night for dating and romance in all of western society. Valentine’s Day. It’s crazy, this movie The Vow, starring Channing Tatum, a pretty boy with all the personality of barn wall, beat Denzel’s new flick Safe House at the box office this past weekend. If you had to see The Vow, consider yourself lucky. These are the Date Movies playing now on an alternate Earth.

bumping uglies with ugly bumps
Who Gave Me Herpes?
Some people have trouble finding the one. She’s having trouble finding the one who infected her.

Somehow she's not even a porn star in this universe
Private Dancer
Former stripper leaves the game to be all she can be, turns out all she can be is a stripper.


unCONVENTIONal LOVE
A guy on a business trip has a mix up at the convention center, he’s in love with a cosplayer, but she never gets out of her costume. He doesn’t seem to mind.”

She's so hot right now
85 and Pregnant
“Due to a mix-up at the pharmacy, this octogenarian is due to be an octo-mom.”

The sad thing is the movies men love from our universe haven’t been spared. It’s all Romance all the time on the sad Earth our scientists discovered. Batman, Gladiotor, Oldboy all RomComs. Don’e believe me, just look.

Hammer scene, what hammer scene?
Love and Dumplings
“The man is wrongly imprisoned, everything else about their love, is just wrong.”

Maximus is the villain
Commodus’ Colosseum
“He’s great at in a sword fight, mainly because he’s such a prick.”

Let me show you a magic trick.
“When he was young someone told him all women love a man with a sense of humor, he took that to heart. Now he’s stealing hearts everywhere.”

What this alternate universe got wrong though was what they consider high art. In our universe Earth Girls Are Easy was a cheesy b-movie comedy, over in the alernate universe, it swept the Oscars.

Jim Carrey was knighted by the queen in this universe.

Happy Valentine’s Day, lucky people of the slightly less absurd Earth.

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More Fun With The Book of Monsters

I’ve really been having a blast with Steve Morris’ scripts for his web-comic The Book Of Monsters. I finished another strip earlier this week, but before I show the strip, I figured I’d let you in on my process for the latest comic and a strip from the previous Book of Monsters post here.

The monster for the strip I just finished is the Sphinx, a mythological creature revered in assorted ancient cultures, including Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. After reading the script I had to decide how I wanted to interpret the Sphinx for the Book of Monsters to fit the cartoony comic strip style I came up with for Steve’s comic. In doing research I found a lot of suggestive pictures of the sphinx with not only a woman’s head, but also breasts, uncovered supple breasts. That didn’t seem a good direction for the character for a light hearted children’s fantasy series. I considered going for a bookish librarian  look with glasses and a bun, but it didn’t seem to have that mythical feel. Here are some preliminary sketches of the Sphinx.

Then having mostly nailed down the Sphinx’s look I looked at the script to see how I wanted to lay out the page. It’s only three panels and two lines of dialog, but I wanted to give a good sense of setting and pace it so the eye doesn’t jump right to the punch-line. Here’s a look at the script with a rough lay-out, or thumbnail of the strip.

After that I go from the thumbnail to the page, using bristol paper. You’ll notice the design changed for the sphinx when I got to the  step of drafting the actual strip. I was using a blue lead that isn’t quite non-photo blue, so it got picked up in the scan so I had to go through some tedious clean up.  Measuring out the page size to have it scale to comic book proportions of 6.5″ by 10.25″. So after I penciled  the page the next step was inking the page. After the first two strips I decided to stop inking the boarders by hand and just stroking the boarders in photoshop with the rectangle selection tool.  One of these days I may get a wacom drawing tablet, it should take a few steps out of the process. Here’s a scan of the inked page. Arrggh, so much clean up.

After this step, I add color using photoshop and when it looks the way I want I save the .psd and import it into Illustrator to add the lettering. I was saving it as a .jpg before at 300 dpi before I’d do the lettering, but that just needlessly eats up memory. The .psd file is crisp and at a great resolution to add letting on it’s own. Any ways, below is the finished product, Susan and Colin Meet The Sphinx, coming soon to The Book Of Monsters.

And as promised the evolution of my favorite monster to draw, the Bluatschink. He’s just the best monster.

Sketches and designs.


Script and Thumbnail Layout

And you can see the completed strip in the first Book of Monsters post here,and eventually on Steve’s site.

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