Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wallpaper: Dave Seeley and Joe DeVito

Just in case you thought all wallpapers were going to be of 12 year old girls....

Dave Seeley
's cool militaristic stylings and, in celebration of the collab at ComicCon, Joe DeVito's awesome Spectrum logo painting.

Free on

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visiting Hours: Evan Shipard

Evan Shipard is a concept artist and matte painter for the Narnia movies, 300, the upcoming Wolverine movie, and others. He attended the Master Class and created the very cool Robin Hood painting you see here. Evan had some time in New York before heading back to Australia so, of course, lots of food and great conversation was called for.

Safe travels, Evan.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 & Spectrum Hearts Rick Berry, Jon Foster, Greg Manchess, and Stephan Martiniere and Spectrum are working together to host a series of painting demos at San Diego Comic Con. The details may tweak a bit between then and now, but I was itching to spread the word so, here's scoop:

Spectrum Booth #4503

Thursday, 3:00 - 4:30

Jon Foster

Friday, 3:00 – 4:30

Rick Berry

Saturday, 3:00 – 4:30

Stephan Martiniere
(Creature development)

Sunday, 11:00 – 12:30

Greg Manchess

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MicroVisions 3 Brings in $4,550.27

The ten 5x7 paintings sold for $4,550.72, ranging from $100.00 - $1,100.00 each. Thanks so much to everyone that bid, whether you won or lost you’ve helped but a smile on some as-yet-to-be-chosen art student’s face. And super thanks to the artists involved.

Dan and I already have a great start on a list of artists for MicroVisions 4 so, start saving your pennies.

Master Class, Days 6 and 7

To wrap up....

Day six was the last push to get as
finished as possible. The whole faculty was on call from 9:00 am to 2:00am. Scott Fischer and Greg Manchess tag-teamed and quickly got a reputation for being the "Car Talk" guys of the art world. (There must be a web series in this!) Everyone seemed primed to stay up late-late and some stayed up it until 7:00 the next morning. Considering they all took a project from start to finish in six days, while having three hours of lectures and three hours of figure drawing each day, they all got really far on the assignment.

Day seven was sad and exciting. The paintings were brought to Wunderarts Gallery. While the faculty set up the exhibit, the students on their own imitative, hired one of the models to come in for more figure drawing and reference shooting. After lunch, the students came into the gallery, hopefully with semi-fresh (if exhausted) eyes to view the work. The Amherst paper had run an article on the class so we had a number of townspeople in to see the show. The exhibit and the following dinner was full of signing each other's "Master Class 2008" sketch books. High school was never so much fun.

This truly was an incredible group. Everyone was open to all suggestions. Even when we threw out conflicting information, they all took it in and digested it as best they could. We had students from Europe, Australia, and all over the States. They ranged from 19 to 50 years old. Some are respected working professionals and others had not drawn or painted in years. I particularly admired the students coming into the class after a long hiatus -- for them to paint in front of Boris Vallejo must be a bit like me handing Stephen Hawking my math homework. Their bravery paid off, each of the instructing artists treated every student with the same respect they treat each other. If Rebecca chooses to do this again, I have no doubt that it'll be even better...And yet, there can never be another inaugural class and we all felt an intense bond that we'll carry with us forever.

Just so you know, it was not a 100% positive experience. I did gain five pounds in just seven days. Not only did we have dessert every day, we had dessert with every meal of every day. Sometimes two. Or three. And somehow my plan to eat tofu and steamed fish to cancel out the pizza and hot dogs every lunch and dinner didn't quite work out so well.


I told everyone at the class not to apologize when showing work...and here I go apologizing: These photo's are poorly taken by me. They are off color balance, keystoning, and the works themselves are still in progress. That said, they are still some kick-ass paintings. I only got a few shots in - there are many more cool paintings to see. I believe they will be shown on the Master Class website once everyone has had a chance to put some finishing touches in.

Dorian Iten, Eric Deschamps, Rob Alexander, Bud Cook. Below: Alan Williams, Kristina Carroll, Scott Murphy, Mark Winters.

Monday, June 23, 2008

MicroVisions Auction: Ending Tonight!

MicroVisions 3 auction will be closing at 9:00pm (eastern time) tonight. Last chance to get your bids in.

Master Class

Too. Tired. To. Think.

Back home now. Here are some scenes from day six. A better summary of days six and seven after some long needed sleep.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Master Class Days 4 and 5

There was a point on Wednesday when I thought, "Wow, we're only half way through the week!" Just a few hours later I thought, "NO! We can't be almost done." We've been so steeped in this program, it's hard to imagine that it'll end. We're scheduled for 14 hours a day and yet, there is a full studio for hours after quitting time, including the instructors. Although I am "of an age" where it's getting harder to wake up in the morning after so many 2:00 in the morning nights in a row.

And in fact, it's 2:00 am right now and I'm sitting on the floor in Studio B. Occasionally it gets quiet and all you hear is a lot of squeaky plastic chairs as people lean back to reach their palette and then forward to paint, and then long moments of talking and laughing.

If there are reoccurring themes of the week they would be: Hard work makes all the difference, hard work makes all the difference, besides hard work, networking is and community building are super important, work smartly, and work hard.

Now, it's off to bed with me -- tomorrow is scheduled to be a 17 hour studio day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Master Class Day 3

Kristina Carroll's Got Her On.

Master Class, Days 1 and 2

Two days into the Master Class and before I say anything else, Rebecca Guay is a god for having put this thing together. This is the most hard working and inspiring group I have ever been in.

Class is run from 9:00am to 11:00pm and every minute is packed with information. The focus of the week is serious hands on, nuts and bolts, instruction. Studio time is spent with the attendees working on an assignment. Afternoon and evening lectures have covered concepting, inspiration, reference and lighting, business practices.....And we're only two days into the program.

A few weeks ago we gave a choice of five assignments: Robin Hood, a character inspired by Jay Lake's short story Green, Toby Buckell's Pepper character, a futuristic Amelia Earhart (steam punk or far future) or a plant life creature. We told the attendees to have some rough thumbnails to show, but warned them that we may ask for any number of changes.

The first hours of studio time was spent doing crit of their sketches, including digging in drawing over the attendee's sketches. All of the instructors have been stressing the importance of careful planning before picking up a paint brush.

I was amazed how open the students have been to changing their ideas on the fly and working out new drawings in such a strange environment, on such a tight deadline, and surrounded by so much other activity. Hallways have turned into photo studios, people are grabbing the guys next to them to help figure out a hand position or twist of the hip. By Tuesday morning people kept walking us through a series of drawings saying, "This is where I was around midnight. A few hours later I got to this point...."
It’s now day three and, as I type this, I can smell that jars of paint and medium are starting to open up. To be continued.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

MicroVisions: The Bidding is On!

Buy art and double your money!

The third annual MicroVisions auction is now open. Dan Dos Santos and I asked ten artists to create a 5x7 painting of their choosing. These minis are on exhibit at the Society of illustrators and, as of now, on auction on eBay. All proceeds go to the Society's student scholarship fund.

The SI Scholarships are among the industry's toughest awards. A little over 100 students are chosen to be in the exhibit from nearly 6,000 entries -- about half of them are given cash awards. Not only do these awards help subsidize students financially but they also go a long way to boost the confidence of young artists (and their nervous parents) by proving that their voice stands out amongst thousands of others. It's never long before you start seeing the winners out in the world and on their way to becoming the field's biggest names -- John Jude Palencar, James Jean, Tomer Hanuka and hundreds of others since the Scholarship's inception in 1981.

So! Bid often. Bid early. The reserve price is just $50.00. Bidding ends Monday, June 23rd, 9:00pm.

I've said it before, and I'll say it many more times: Huge thanks to the artists that have generously donated these works. (I owe you all many drinks.) A round of applause for:
Daren Bader
Jason Chan
Erik Gist
Joe Jusko
Nic Klein
Todd Lockwood
Glen Orbik
Yuko Shimizu
Shaun Tan
Sam Weber

Seen here are Sam Weber, Glen Orbik, and Nic Klein's offerings.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'm in Amherst

We drove up tonight and did some last minute prep for tomorrow's start of the Illustration Master Class. Rebecca Guay has done an incredible job putting this together. The students look very excited to get going, as is the faculty. Amherst campus is drop dead gorgeous -- it's almost intimidating. Unlike my school, Copper Union, this looks like such a "real" college. I mean, we never had mastodons on campus...or even a campus for that matter.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wallpaper: Dave McKean, Pablo Defendini, and Cory Doctorow

I swear, it was just by chance that these two wallpapers came up at the same time, but it's a happy-chance. Both are from Cory Doctorow books. The Dave McKean is the cover to Someone Comes to Town and Pablo Defendini's is the artwork from a silkscreen inspired by Little Brother.

After you grab the wallpaper on, check out the awesome book binding job that Abi Sutherland did from Pablo's missprints. I'm loving the trail of creativity that's coming off this book. (I've talked a few Tor-ites into a t-shirt printing party, inspired by seeing Cory's Instructables...I'll post pictures, assuming we all don't get fired for covering the conference room in ink.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Painters Painting Paintings of Paintings

Hard Case Crime is celebrating their 50th book by publishing Fifty-to-One, a book with each chapter named after one of their titles. Glen Orbik created this cool painting that depicts many of the previous Hard Case books. It’s amazing how so few brush strokes so completely describe the other covers.


Donato just handed in this painting for a new L. E Modesitt book from Tor, Imager. (Due out next year.)The story centers around a painter. Donato used Rueben’s studio door in the background and his own maul stick. I asked if the painting depicted was an actual one and he said that it was what just happened to be next on his easel. I also asked if it was hard to forget that he was painting a painting of a face rather than trying to depict an “actual” face. He said that there was a point at which it started to round out a little too much, taking on a hologram effect, but once he treated it as abstract shapes, everything fell into place.

Now including the Imager sketch — if you look carefully you can see the work of Giancola, the Younger. And Donato tells me that the model is Gregory Peck’s grandson.

Hamlet + Hair: Tickles my funny bone.

Apologies for the cell phone photo but, I love this.

MicroVisions 3 Tease

Each year my friend, Dan Dos Santos, and I ask a handful of artists to create a 5x7 painting that we exhibit and auction, all proceeds going to the Society of Illustrators student scholarship fund. We hung this year's show this past weekend, and had a blast doing so, as a host of people showed up to say hi and help.

This year's auction will take place on eBay from Monday June 16th to Monday June 23rd.

Stay tuned! -- I'll post plenty of reminders along with full size images once the auction starts.

Thanks, once again, to this year's artists:

Daren Bader
Jason Chan
Erik Gist
Joe Jusko
Nic Klein
Todd Lockwood
Glen Orbik
Yuko Shimizu
Shaun Tan
Sam Weber

Friday, June 06, 2008

Flatiron Plaza

My city is building us a plaza. This seems too nice an idea to be true. If we could just get one of the farmers' markets to move in, we'll be golden...not to mention fat on apple doughnuts.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Today's Eats

It turns out, having lunch at MTV is just about what you think it might be -- rec rooms, themed offices, massage chairs (my favorite), corridors with lots of neon lights, and the The Honeymooners set.

Leyendecker and Museum Mile

Long term readers know that I love J. C. Leyendecker. I was very sorry to miss the opening of "Americans Abroad: J.C Leyendecker and the European Influence on American Illustration" at the Society of Illustrators while I was out of town. I had a few minutes to spare last night so I ran up to give myself a quick preview. Holy cow, is this show phenomenal. Leyendecker's grace is unparalleled. His brushwork is so confident and never labored, every painting just sings with life. Above are a few quick details. I'll show more when I am able to get a better look at the exhibit.

The show runs through July 12. This is a rare opportunity to view these one hundred paintings, many of which are owned in private collections. If you're in the area, it's well worth the effort to come check it out. There is a catalog of the exhibit with very nice reproductions available through the Society's website.

What I was actually on my way to was the Museum Mile Festival. Fifth Avenue becomes a big block party once a year and all the museums are open late and open free. I was a bit too frazzled from work to settle into museum-mode, especially with so many people stuffed into them, but it was a beautiful day to walk down the center of Fifth Avenue and be around the buzz of museum goers.

My Mind's Been Melded

SF Signal asked a number of artists and me:

"What do you feel is the primary purpose of a book cover: To accurately reflect the story or to visually 'sell' the book? How do you balance these two ideas when creating a cover?"

A Metal Book

Taken at the National Academy of Design....where I did not take a moment to shoot the wall label so I could remember who made it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is there anything more annoying than having to email an editor an artist’s website with a long list of instructions, "Go here. Click on that. Ten rows to the bottom. Three images in. Skip over that. Jump to this."

Ok, so a couple of things are more annoying, but please, peoples, give each image it's own address to live at. You’re much more likely to be forwarded to others that way.

John and Faith Hubley at MoMA

Thanks to the folks at Cartoon Brew, I caught a John and Faith Hubley film festival at the Museum of Modern Art last night. This was accompanied by a small exhibit of paintings from their movie The Story of *.

I saw a few Hubley films when I was in college and loved them. Rather than trying to recreate the seamlessness of live action film, the Hubley'
s quirky movements are free and loose and comfortably fall in and out of abstraction.The half-dozen movies shown were good natured, poignant, funny, and beautifully, beautifully drawn. Truly, they were an experience that was only possible through animation -- these were not stories that could have been told in words, pictures, or music alone.

When I was a kid, I watched all the same cartoons as anyone in single digits throughout the 70s did, but the ones I still remember where the one-offs, not so much the regular series characters. Gerald McBoing Boing was a favorite, I vaguely remembered something called Rooty Toot Toot, which, much later in life, I realized came from the song "Frankie and Johnny," and a bunch of others that I have partial memories of. Tonight, while poking around Youtube, I was only half surprised to see the Hubleys' name attached to many of these films.

Below is The Tender Game, my favorite from tonight's screening. Hubleys + Ella Fitzgerald = much to love. Sadly, this version literally pales in comparison to the beautifully restored version at MoMA.

And, since we were near the Warwick Hotel, here's a little Dean Cornwell bonus: