Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Illustration Adventure: Greenwich Village

Posted in Illustration Adventure, Uncategorized on May 21, 2019 by uncannymanfrog

Back in February, I was lucky enough to be flown to New York City to do on site illustration at the Merkley and Partners ad agency.

The agency is located in Manhattan at the edge of Greenwich Village in the Soho district.

I was there for a week and the agency put me up at the Washington Square Hotel in Greenwich Village. Back in the 1960’s the musician Bob Dylan used to live here at the beginning of his career. The Rolling Stones also would stay here while playing in New York.

My room had a big photo of actor Gregory Peck.
The view through the screen of my bathroom window. There is a very narrow space between buildings. See the spikes on the window air conditioner? I’m guessing that’s to discourage either burglars or pigeons.

Every morning I would walk about 8 blocks through Greenwich Village to Merkley and Partners. It was a visual feast. Check out these photos, all taken on my morning commute.

This building reminds me of the Flat Iron Building over on Broadway.
I was here in February and temperature was in the forties.

I spent about 9 hours a day at the ad agency working. Due to a nondisclosure agreement, I can’t show you what I was creating for them. The work basically consisted of drawing comic strips, designing characters, and drawing a one page advertisement. It was quite a chunk of work. I was surprised that I maintained tight focus throughout the week and ended up doing more than I thought I could. The agency was on the 12th floor, and I could view Manhattan from the Freedom Center in the south, to the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in the north. Everyone was very nice to me, and it seemed more like fun than work.

A large part of what I know about Manhattan comes from reading thousands of Marvel Comics when I was a kid. After all most of the heroes, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created, lived in New York, but the creator that was on my mind, during my stay here, was Steve Ditko.

Steve Ditko HS Yearbook Credit: Alamy
Steve was the co-creator with Stan Lee of Spider-man and
Doctor Strange.

When Spidey was webbing his way across the city Ditko would draw these round wooden water towers with their low conical roofs.

Ditko water tower cover!!!!
These rooftop water towers are everywhere in Greenwich Village.

As a former Civil Engineer, I’m fascinated by water towers, especially the ones here in New York. There is something so cool about them. If you’re an illustrator and are attempting to draw one, keep this in mind. See the steel bands encircling the wooden vertical boards that comprise the tank? Near the top of the tower the bands are spaced widely, but as you near the tanks bottom they get closer and closer together! That’s due to water pressure, which increases as you get lower on the tank. Drawing tip, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Civil Engineer! ha.

Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village.

Bleeker Street is in Greenwich Village. It’s where Doctor Strange’s house is. 177A Bleeker Street was the address of his Sanctum Sanctorum.

Ditko draws Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sactorum!
Thor seeks Doctor Strange.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Sanctum Sanctorum
.

I looked for the specific address. The street runs into a park and ends before 177A can be reached. Or is this some sort of protective spell cast by the Sorcerer Supreme?

Anatomy Studies

Posted in Anatomy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2019 by uncannymanfrog

Friday night at the local coffee shop finds me studying anatomy, specifically the knee. I signed up for Proko’s anatomy course. I thought I knew almost everything about the human body, but thanks to Stan Prokopenko and his Proko.com site, my knowledge of anatomy is at a whole new level. I recommend his site over any of the anatomy books I’ve studied, and I have a stack of anatomy books 3 foot high.
If you don’t want to purchase his courses, Stan generously gives you about 50% of the content free of charge on Youtube.

IMG_6380 Here are some sketchbook  pages from my studies tonight. This sort of intensive study is worth it.  When you know the bones and ligaments and how they connect, you can draw the figure with confidence!

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Don’t just listen to or read the lesson. Drawing through the material commits it to memory.   I enjoy studying, sketching and observing  to constantly improve.

 

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Another good reason to study!  Imagine yourself as not having to stop and consult reference every time you draw the figure.  If you know the anatomy inside out you can speed through it, even take artistic license and break some rules!

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Oops!  I misspelled  “half”!

Check out the courses available at Proko

Thanks, Stan you’re an amazing teacher!

 

Caricature

Posted in Caricature, Character Design, Comps, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 28, 2015 by uncannymanfrog

Rough layout sketch…..super kiddo clouds

This is to be a Bar Mitzvah present for a boy, done for one of  my agent’s main clients.   Hope the kid likes it.

Superkid J blonde

COMPS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 24, 2015 by uncannymanfrog

workbook 2016 comp  Out of the studio today, and working at the Chimera coffee shop, in what is known as the Brady District in Tulsa, an older part of downtown, north across the tracks.  I used to work in a dirt lab, here in this area, when I was in college and working summers for the Army Corps of Engineers.  ( Yes, I became an engineer and worked in the design department of the Army Corps of Engineers, before I broke into comics with Chelsea Oklahoma’s former wonder boy, John Wooley.   They say he was reading newspapers when he was three years old!   Well, south  18 miles down Highway 66, America’s Main Street, I was drawing comic strips when I was 3 years old.  Mostly about dinosaurs.  We made a good team.  Now the Brady district is thriving with cafes, clubs, coffee shops, The Woody Guthrie Museum , and Driller Stadium, home of Tulsa’s baseball team the Drillers.

Today’s offering…… A comp I just finished for my Workbook Ad.  I promote my studio through a couple of creative books: The Workbook,through my New York agents, The Mendola Agency, and The Directory of Illustration.  Creative books, contain illustrations of commercial artists, and they are sent out by the tens of thousands to art directors, publishers and such all over North America.  If you have two or three grand to spend, you can take out an ad.

I like doing these illustrations.   It’s a chance to be creative, and do an iconic piece.   Here, I am featuring a strong female heroine.   I usually do.   But in this case I’m specifically trying to make her akin to Wonder Woman.  I am predicting that Wonder Woman will be popular next year due to the upcoming “Superman vs. Batman” movie.   Although I didn’t intend to do so….. this comp reminds me of the compositions of Alex Ross, form his Kingdom Come work.   The girl hero floating in the sky is definitely ripped off,  ahem… inspired by Mr. Ross.

Twilight Avenger: Cover Concepts

Posted in Comps, Twilight Avenger, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 7, 2014 by uncannymanfrog

Twilight Avenger comp a

Twilight Avenger compBI had fun at the studio today working on cover concepts for my upcoming Twilight Avenger graphic novel.

The second one is my favorite, not only because of the composition and action, but that it shows june bugs swarming his magnesium light and leaks in his gas weaponry.

Twilight Avenger , is a bit Steam Punk looking.  But John and I were doing this type of thing before Steam Punk became popular.

The publisher is Pulp 2.0 Press.   We’re finishing up the creative part in the next month or so.   Pages still need to be lettered, and art touched up a bit.

Illustration: Albert Einstein.

Posted in Illustration, Uncategorized with tags , on June 29, 2014 by uncannymanfrog

Photo on 2014-06-28 at 20.04 #2Here’s a  tight color comp for a book cover.     I’m working digitally, as usual these days.   Picture above is of me drawing with my Intuos 4 tablet.    This was fun to do as it combined two of my favorite subjects: illustration and physics.  I purchased Isaacson’s biography of Albert Einstein and plan on reading it this summer.   His bios on Ben Franklin and Steve Jobs are fascinating!

Einstein Squidd

Illustration: Comic Book Cover

Posted in Illustration, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 23, 2014 by uncannymanfrog

The Grave Cover

Good photo reference and prep work makes a lot of difference in an illustration.   Here, I’ve googled reference for tombstones, graveyards, a 45 pistol and an ancient ceremonial knife.    I’m also the model for this, shooting pics with my Iphone camera.   Quick and easy to do.   I find , like every other illustrator, that good reference adds lots of detail you wouldn’t necessarily imagine, and once you set it up makes the actual drawing go very fast.
The Grave Cover pencilsHere are the digital pencils, which took me a couple of hours.   I found a really cool photo of trees in silhouette against a night sky.    Once approved by my publisher, the drawing will be  digitally inked and colored.    By the way I came up with the logo for this cover also.    “The Grave” is a spooky vigilante series set in the nineteen twenties.