Images From Around this Blog!

19 May 2010

SkyClub CD Update and a Contest!

My copies of the SkyClub CD arrived in the mail today.  It's a great thrill to have my work displayed for the first time in such a format, and by all reports, the response so far has been a good one.  I always like it when I can realize another writer's vision, and it's great to know that my work is being used to help bring to life the creative talents of Mack Maloney and company. 

Of course, to be fair, I'm not the only artist on this one; there's also several images by an artist named Sherp (http://soussherpa.tripod.com); you can see some of his work at his site.  Still, I managed to present the lion's share of the work for this one, including the images used for the CD website and the cover for the CD.

The CD is available to buy right now off Amazon, or you can purchase it direct from Voiceprint Records at the link above.  You can also preview some music from the CD at that site.  Meantime, I've got one copy of the CD to give away to a lucky reader who sends me an email with "Skyclub CD" as the subject (my email address is in the links to the left).  If your name is drawn, I will contact you to get a mailing address.  Contest closes 31 May, 2010.  No information will be harvested, sold, stored or made fun of behind the school at recess time.  Good luck!

Meantime, here's another sample of the images from the CD, just to whet your appetite a bit....



If you get a chance to listen to the CD and check out all the artwork, I've enjoy reading your opinion on the whole thing.  Drop me a line!

17 May 2010

Who's Killing All the World's Awesome?

OK, I don't want this blog to start looking like an obit column, but I've just got to comment on this.  It's starting to look like someone's draining all the awesome out of the world.  Just last Monday, I found out about Frank Frazetta, now I start this week by reading that Ronnie James Dio has died?  C'mon, guys, whattaya doing to me?!
Dio blew my mind with "Rainbow in the Dark", and I think I played the sides off my copy of "Holy Diver"; it's still a fixture in my playlist after more than 20 years.  Then I discovered Rainbow, and tracks like "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Kill the King" became burned into my mind.  Seriously, I can still (badly) sing along with all of those songs.  Then I heard "Live Evil", then "Last in Line", then "Intermission"....and on, and on.....
You know, now that I think about it, Dio was really part of my pantheon of music for a long time, right up there with Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson and a select few others.  I've done drawings and paintings based on his work, and it was always required listening in my studio when working on a piece.  I remember rocking out to one of his live videos with some good friends in those post-teenage years that I go back to in my memory when I'm feeling nostalgic. 
Fortunately, I'm not alone in this.  I think Dio carved a place in the collective memory of a couple of generations.  So, time to queue up some "Holy Diver", throw a devil horn salute to the sky, and rock out for a while.

Ronnie James Dio: An Appreciation | EW.com

"If you suddenly see

What has happened to me

You should spread the word around



And tell everyone here

That it's perfectly clear

They can sail above it all on what they've found

It cries for you

It's the best that you can do

Like a sound that's everywhere

I can hear it screaming through the air


Long live rock and roll"




,

10 May 2010

The Grey God Passes...

Pause for a moment and recognize that the best fantasy artist of the 20th Century has left the party today; Frank Frazetta is dead.

I've mentioned before how I'm saddened by the passing of a great artist because I know that now I'll never get a chance to meet them.  There is no other person alive of whom this is more true for me than Frank Frazetta.  My earliest fascination with the work of Robert E. Howard came from reading the books for which Frazetta did the covers.  My earliest obsession with fantasy art came from a collection of Frazetta's work.  I cannot count the hours I've spent copying his paintings, reading his comics, cherishing every page of every collection of his art that I've found.  Even now, more than a quarter of a decade after I first discovered his work, I still sometimes pick up a volume of his work and find myself lost for an uncounted time in contemplation of the power, the energy and the mastery of his work.

Frank Frazetta was one of the primary inspirations behind any attempt on my part to ever become an artist, but he was also an inspiration to the way I live.  In photographs of the artist I've seen, he has always appeared as a fit man who could easily be the model for any of the heroes he so often painted, but more importantly, he was always smiling.  No matter how he was photographed, he always appeared to me to be having just the best time in the world, and I always equated that with him knowing --as surely, he HAD to know -- that he was the absolute best in the world at what he did.  That impression gave me the idea early on that true happiness and satisfaction could be found through pursuing work that one loved, an idea that I live by now and try to teach to my children.
More than an enjoyment of his technique, I took from Frazetta's work what Ayn Rand called "sense of life".  There is a scale to Frazetta's paintings, even his personal work like his portrait's of his late wife Ellie, that speaks of a sense of life that is not small or petty or weighed down by monotony, but is instead large, and wide, rich with color and alive with possibility.  That sense serves me as a reminder to sort my priorities at times when things get a little murky.

I know that the work of the heroic fantasy artists like Frazetta is considered corny by many these days, but for me, there was and is a lot of value in it.  I took so much, personally, philosophically and artistically, from the work of Frazetta that it's hard to imagine what my life would have been without it.  It's sad to think that there will be no more of that, but it's great to think that the work is respected enough to be published in such volumes that guarantee that many more will have the opportunity to discover it for themselves.
I can't say I'm going to miss Frank Frazetta, because I've still got everything I learned from his work.  I suppose if anything is really sad for me, it is that I never had the chance to say "Thank you."  I guess this will have to serve as the next best thing.

Frank Frazetta 1928-2010 | The Beat

What of the world
that I leave for ever?

Phantom forms in a fading sight--

Carry me out on the ebon river

Into the Night.

-from "Lines Written in the Realization That I Must Die" by Robert E. Howard

04 May 2010

Hal was a Green Lantern!

One person I shamefully overlooked in yesterday's post about Free Comic Book Day was local comics artist and sketch tablemate Gino Collins.  An expatriate Newfoundlander like myself, Gino had a very nice portfolio of work with him, and seemed to be having great fun meeting the challenges of the kids looking for sketches...and I know there were some real challenges in that crowd. 
Gino is also a member of the Friends of Hal Foster Society, a group dedicated to promoting the work of Nova Scotia born artist Hal Foster, the creator of Prince Valiant and the Tarzan comic strip.  "Friends..." is currently fundraising to have a statue in Hal's honor erected in Halifax, which I think is a great idea.  If you'd like to help out with this initiative, donations can be made through Strange Adventures comic shop.
I hope Gino will forgive me for posting a piece of his art from his brochure "Who Was Hal Foster?"; it's a funny piece from a cleverly done brochure.  If you'd like to see more of Gino's work, you can find it at his blog, "Draw It Like You Mean It".  Take a look.

03 May 2010

Sketch-a-riffic!

Free Comic Book Day 2010 was a blast!  I'm pleased to say that I had a slight case of artist's cramp at the end of the day...from the moment the doors opened until the end of the day, I was drawing nearly non-stop, as were the other artists in attendance.  The hosts kept me plied with cookies and Dr. Pepper...a sure way to my heart...so I was happy to keep blasting out the sketches for any and all.  My only regret is that I didn't have time to do more.
My favorite drawing of the day was a portrait of The Tick challenging Batman...with a spoon (that's a reference you can only get if you've actually read The Tick, and you should).  That sort of thing was the real fun of the day....taking challenges from the attendees to draw things I'd never considered before....Princess Fiona from Shrek, Sonic the Hedgehog, Iron Man vs. Astro Boy; fun stuff all the way.
Of course, it was also great for me that I was in some very good company.  I had the chance to briefly meet Faith Erin Hicks, the creator of the brilliant "Zombies Calling" and "The War at Ellsmere", Tim Larade, creator of the webcomic "One of Those Days",  and several others who (I'm ashamed to say) I did not write down names, links or other identifying information (sorry, guys!).  Apparently Darwyn Cooke showed up at some point, but I must have been hip deep in a drawing at the time, as I didn't spot him.
There's some pictures of the day up at Strange Adventures website; you can see the gallery here.  I'm the one doing the drawings of Deadpool and Iron Man, among others.  As you'll see, there was quite a crowd there...I'm told some people stood in line for over half an hour just to get into the building, and nearly as long to get a sketch. 
So, thanks to all who attended and dropped by the table for a sketch.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to doing more of these events.

Oh...and to the guy who I spoke to about the Green Lantern drawing....I haven't forgotten, and will deliver.  Drop me a line.