Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hello, Fallon

Meet Fallon, our Christmas puppy. And by “our” I mean my mom has to take care of her while I get to walk and walk and walk her on weekends. A nine week old Scottish Deerhound -- currently a lapdog, soon to the size of a small pony.

More pictures, because she's cute as a button, here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Brian Elig and Neil Gaiman’s I, Cthulhu

Just showing off the sketches for Brian Elig’s illustration for Neil Gaiman’s very funny “I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This”.

There was a third drawing which became a Christmas greeting for Brian.

Famous Arists Courses available as free PDFs

The Famous Artists Courses was a correspondence art school started by Norman Rockwell and Al Dorne. Students would sign up, get a booklet on various aspects of drawing, do assignments, get critiques, and so on. I have heard about these booklets for as long as I have been talking to illustrators — usually they have the starry-eyed stare that great explorers searching for mythical cities have in the old movies. Many people have spent hundreds of dollars hunting them down on eBay.

Daniel Caylor on “On Animation” has collected them all and made PDFs available. Go check them out -- they are designed to be serious practical lessons.

Included are lessons about drawing the human form, landscapes, color, experimental design, figure in motion, studio procedures, the list goes on. All brought to you by the likes of Rockwell, Austin Briggs, Al Parker, Robert Fawcett and, again, the list goes on.

(Thank you, Tristan Elwell, for the heads up.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nucleus Gallery

Oh, to be in LA....Nucleus Gallery is having an insane line-up of exhibits coming up in the next few months -- shows dedicated to airships, zombies in love, Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, and a bunch of others. All between January and March.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Robert John Wildhack

[Other great old Life Magazine Christmas images on Filboid Studge. Via Cartoon Brew.]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar (Don’t tell the cool kids, I had a blast watching it.)

For the record: I hate it when people say, “X isn't a great movie but the special effects are awesome!” Movies are about story telling. The visuals are an integral part of that but, if the story isn’t there, than it's just a wasted opportunity. (Ahem...Tim Burton.)

That said, Avatar isn't a great movie but the effects are awesome! I’m embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed it. You know the plot backwards and forwards before you’ve entered the theater. It’s so predictable, it’s un-spoilable. And, yes, every character is a stereotype. And yet, they are somehow likable and you really do care about “what happens next.” But first and foremost, it is a complete visual immersion into a truly stunning world.

I remember some concept art friends at ComicCon saying that it raises the bar of movie effects. I couldn’t imagine how that could be -- effects are so seamless already, how can this be that much better. Well, it is that much better. Whether it’s futuristic laboratories or all that amazing planet exploration footage, it is both unbelievably real and completely magical.

With all that money behind Avatar, it’s a shame they couldn’t come up with something more original, but knowing that the environments where the star of the show they turned a good portion of scree time into a loosely narrative, and comepletely mesmerizing, nature documentary...And I can watch nature documentraies All. Day. Long.

For a much more reasoned and nuanced review, check out Charlie Jane Anders at IO9.

More highlights from the Cthulhu art jam thread

Riding the line between awww and ewww: here's a wee Cthulhoid from Sherya Shetty.

As always, you can check out a host of tentacled beasts, and add your own, on the “Show us your tentacles” art post.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Art Out Loud 6 DVD now available

Just in time for the holidays: The DVD of Art Out Loud 6 — a one-day simultaneous demo with Greg Manchess, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Charles Vess, and Sam Weber. Experience the event from set-up to take-down, including interviews with the participating artists.

Email or call the Society of Illustrators at:
212 838 2560

Earlier post on the event here.
Photos here.
And DVD teaser below:

Trailer for Art Out Loud, Vol 3 from Kate Feirtag on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kurt and Zelda and “The Tempest Wakens”

Firstly: Comic by Teetering Bulb! Free! Here!

Now, back-story...

About a month or two ago I was at a gallery opening talking to Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon — Teetering Bulb, together. They were talking about how slammed with work they were. I said that was great but, too bad, since we had this idea of Cthulhu Month coming up and I was wondering if they would be interested in doing a comic for it. Kurt started to say, “No, we really are too......” and then his words trailed off and, I will swear to my grave, the sound of gears turning in his brain became audible.

They worked like hell to get this done and yet it feels as loose and dreamy (and freakin’ scary) as if they had all the time in the world. Their work , which was always good, just keeps getting better and better -- style, color, pacing....just great stuff.

So, if you are in the mood for something quietly horrific, take a look at The Tempest Wakens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ArtOrder challenge winners.

I was honored to be a judge for Jon Schindehette’s Hurakan book cover ArtOrder challenge. The winners have been announced, you can check out what the full panel of judges had to say here: Hurakan Challenge.

We had some tough choices to make. I was grateful for Jon’s system of picking 5 (although I cheated and picked 6) winners and commenting on them. Picking “a winner” adds excitement to the event, no doubt, but the real fun is forcing yourself to articulate what is working and what has potential. Congrats to everyone that entered.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Bronx Zoo

Turns out, the best time to go to the zoo is in 37degree temperatures and rain -- nobody will be there with you.


If you’re the type that needs things on-topic: A shout-out to the amazing Jack Unruh drawings in the Congo Gorilla Forest. Seen in the above: third row, middle.

Tara Rueping's Lord of the Rings

I honestly did not mean to spend time looking at Lord of the Rings concept work this evening but such are the hazards of the job -- easy to trip off the path and find something sorta wonderful, like Tara Rueping’s concept work.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Cthulhu

Okay, I know I said I would do this on Mondays but there are too many great works in the thread, and too few Mondays left in December, so: Another highlight in the “Show Us Your Tentacles” Cthulhu art jam post.

This one from Susan Sanford. Cthulhu and Mr. Hulot!!! It is a wonderful life world we live in. Sanford is offering this image (along with a lot of other cool writer-y themed drawings) as a t-shirt here.

And, be sure to check out, and add to, what I will declare (completely without research or scholarship to back it up) is the coolest collection of pro and fan Cthulhu art online.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

John Jude Palencar’s Horrid Wings

We recently published Elizabeth Bear’s The Horrid Glory of Its Wings on It’s a lonely and moving story. John Jude Palencar was an easy choice for it -- it needed something quiet and soulful, and a little sad but still strong.

Sketches below. The first was the clear choice...but the second one makes me want to see what John could do with a dark superhero project.

Eric Drooker's fantastical New York

A tweet from Richard Solomon pointed me to Eric Drooker's website. Smitten with my city for 20+ years, I can testify to the complete accuracy of these reportage paintings.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A thousand apologies!

Or at least 80-100 apologies.

I was getting ridiculous amounts of spam a while back. It's still in the system, junking everything up. So I turned on moderation for posts over a week old and then I promptly forgot about it. I never went back to check for real comments hidden in the weeds.

I am apologies to the 90ish peolpe that posted and only now made it on the site. There were a lot of great comments and a number first-time commentators.

I have turned moderation back off...hopefully the spamming has subsided. If not, I'll be more careful next time.

Mondays of Madness

I’ve been blown away by the response to the Cthulhu art thread. A big “thank you” to all the participants -- doodler, pro, and Play-Doh-er alike. Honestly, I was worried no one would respond — figured I’d be the girl wearing a party hat in an empty room — but you guys are awesome and it’s a blast watching it grow.

If you missed it, above is just one image from the thread, by Ture Ekroos. I’ll highlight a new one each Monday through December — for the full onslaught, check out our art jam, or better yet, join in!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Brian Elig speaks Girrafe. And other stuff.

We started a new series on, I Speak Fluent Giraffe, featuring the insane grumblings of one Jason Henninger. Throughout December that means grumblings of a Cthulhuian nature, afterwards it will branch out (as if anything could be beyond Cthulhu's reach.) Only one episode old right now, but this series will grow fast as a Dunwich child.

Check out: I Speak Fluent Giraffe.

The Cthlhu poems will be illustrated by Brian Elig. I was very excited to work with Brian. I met him a few years ago when Jon Foster asked me to speak to his RISD class. (There must have been something in the Providence water that year -- Wesley Allsbrook was in that class and she went on to create some great comics for us.)

I loved Brian's work and would visit his website a few times a year since that lecture. Honetsly, I doubted I'd have an assignment with the right mix of creepy sweetness that is in so much of Brian's work. Thankfully, Jason Henninger's whimsical poems about horrible evils were a perfect match.

Two nights ago I was giving a lecture to Soojin Buzelli's SVA class. The Brian example reminded me to tell the students the unfortunate truth about marketing -- you never know what is going to work or when it will work. A postcard sent today might get you work right off, or, it may stay tacked to an AD's wall for years before they call. I'm constantly going through years old Spectrums. A promising portfolio review my stick in my mind for ages before I have the right assignment. There's no way around it: Emerging artists need to take advantage very means of showing their work, update those efforts, and try to stay confident that steady progress in their work (artistically and marketingly) will pay off in the end. It's hard work to keep that faith up. Hats off to you guys. I couldn't do it.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I drew in public! Or, Show us your tentacles: A Cthulhu art meme.

It doesn’t take looking at too many portfolios before you realize artists love tackling Cthulhu’s tentacled madness. Being a newbie to the Old Ones, I wanted to ask a bunch of artists friends: Just what is it about Cthulhu and Co. that makes drawing, painting, and sculpting from Lovecraft so (If fun is the right world?)

Head over to and see what Michael Whelan, John Jude Palencar, Mike Mignola, Bob Eggleton, and others have to say on the topic. And then add your own! Post any Lovecraftian or tentaclian inspired art (doodles by non artists count, maybe even more so) in the comment section—horrify your friends, worry your love ones...

Added bonus! I expose myself for the art-fraud that I am. Go and see my drawing of the dreaded Jack’thulhu!!!

It's Stubby! (Post fin-enhancing surgery.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Kurt and Zelda on The Comic Book Club

Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon (together Teetering Bulb) where guests at The Comic Book Club last night. For those not in the know, like I was, The Comic Book Club is three very funny guys geeking out the week's comics and interviewing comic book creators. Added bonus: the audience is almost as funny as the guys.

Speaking of Kurt and Zelda - just launched Cthulhu Month. K&Z have agreed to make a Lovecraftian comic for us, airing mid month. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Donato's ebook cover for The Dragon Reborn

We have unveiled the cover to the third volume of the Wheel of Time ebooks, The Dragon Reborn. Head on over to and you can hear Donato talk about his work and see his initial drawings.