Images From Around this Blog!

22 December 2011

New Work Published: Lovecraft EZine #9

Lovecraft eZine issue 9 is now available, featuring my illustration for Henrik Sandbeck Harksen's story "Just an Accountant".  This time around, I tried to evoke a little of the spirit of Virgil Finlay for my illo.  I've been studying Finlay's work recently, and am amazed at his innovative use of hatching to create texture and depth.  Check out the story, and be sure to let me know what you think.

Also, keep an eye out for a cover by me for an upcoming issue of Lovecraft eZine, possibly as soon as January.

07 December 2011

UFOs Seen Coast to Coast

Want to preview some of my illustrations from the new Mack Maloney book, "UFO's in Wartime"? Then you should head over to Coast to Coast AM's website.
Coast to Coast AM is a show that "deals with UFO's, strange occurrences, life after death, and other unexplained (and often unexplicable) phenomena."  Just yesterday, Mack was interviewed on the show, and they supported the interview by posting three of the images on their site. You can see all three on the page, or click each one for a larger view. Enjoy!

06 December 2011

New Work Published: UFO's in Wartime by Mack Maloney

Today is the official release date for "UFO's in Wartime" by the multi-talented author (and sometimes musician) Mack Maloney.  This book contains five of my illustrations, created specially for this publication.  You can see early versions of two of the images here, but you're going to need to get the book to see the finished work. 

This book is a nonfiction review of military encounters with UFO's in different periods, reminiscent of some of the better Daniken-era books that I loved to read so much when I was younger.  The Amazon description reads: 

"Although often written off as myths, UFOs are found in Renaissance Art, on ancient coins, etched on cave walls-and even reported in the Bible. Even more surprising is when they are documented most: in times of war. These sightings are made by high ranking officials, soldiers, and newsreporters. Why do these sightings spike so drastically during wartime? Could it be mistaken aircraft? Or is someone-or something- looking in on us? "

The book is available in paperback or digital formats right now, just in time to be a great gift for the UFO-phile in your family.  

24 November 2011

Lovecraft Ezine #8 Now Available

Issue #8 of the Lovecraft ezine, featuring my illustration for William Meikle's story "#Dreaming" just went online.  Go read it online, or even better, pay a buck and download it for offline reading with your portable book reading thingy.  Don't make me send a Hound of Tindalos after you....go get it now!

09 November 2011

Drabblecast #222 Now Available

Episode #222 of the podcast "Drabblecast" is now available, with my episode art.  The illustration is for the main story, "Rules for Living in a Simulation" by Aubrey Hirsch.  Download and give it a listen, won't you?

07 November 2011

Five Days to Hal-Con!

I've been mentioning this a lot over at AIM Comics and on my Facebook page, but I just realized I haven't promoted it much here...
I'll be co-hosting a table at Hal-Con at the World Trade Convention Centre in Halifax this coming weekend.  I'll be there with Ian McDonald, creator of Bruno the Bandit.  I'll mainly be there to promote AIM Comics and our book "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit", but I'll also have a portfolio of my own work to show off.  We'll both be doing sketches and I'll have about a hundred copies of the ashcan edition of the first issue of "The Journals of Simon Pariah" to give away.  If you're in the Halifax area, drop in to the con, look for the AIM Comics banner, and come say hello.
For those who don't know, Hal-Con is a kick-ass sci-fi convention held in Halifax (this is it's second year) featuring some of the big names in sci-fi/fantasy/horror/comics, from writers like Kelley Armstrong to artists like Geof Isherwood, to actors like Erin Gray and Robert Maillet.  Last year's con was a great time, with a stupendous costume contest, a live podcast show, celebrity signings, some amazing vendor tables, and a book release by model Drakaina.  I expect this year's event to be no less impressive, and I'm looking forward to seeing things from both sides of the table. 


21 October 2011

Stormchasers 2 on DriveThru Comics

I'd wondered if this was ever going to make it online, and I guess it did so while I wasn't looking.  For those interested in seeing some of my older color work, Stormchasers #2 from Unstoppable Comics is online at DriveThruComics.com.  All of the pages in the preview (except the ad, natch!) were colored by me.  I seem to recall I did a few more pages for the book as well, but cannot remember exactly how many. 
It's some indy Stormwatch/Authority-esque thing, and worth at least a glance.  Check it out here.


18 October 2011

New Work - Lovecraft eZine and Drabblecast

A couple of things have gone online this week.  The latest issue of Lovecraft ezine is up with my illustration for John R. Fultz's story "Lord of Endings".  The Lovecraft eZine can be read for free online, or downloaded for your Kindle or Nook (or app thereof).  I recommend throwing them the 99 cents, because good Lovecraftian is always worth the money.
Also, here's my cover art for episode 84 of Drabblecast.  For those of you who don't know it, Drabblecast is a podcast of "weird stories, by weird authors, for weird listeners".  Hosted by one of my favorite podcast fiction readers, Norm Sherman, it's one of the best sci-fi/fantasy/horror podcasts available right now, showcasing work from some of the best writers in the business such as (for example) Michael Swanwick, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Elizabeth Bear.  This illustration is for a story by the aforementioned Mr. Swanwick, "Hush and Hark", downloadable from the episode archive.  I've also got an illustration for their upcoming episode 221, so keep an eye out for that.  Meantime, enjoy.


03 October 2011

Brutal Blade - Back for More!

I've been remiss in mentioning this until now, but you might be interested to know that over at AIM Comics, "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit Vol. 2" is now available in print and digital formats. 
Featuring a dozen stories of Ian McDonald's infamous ne'er-do-well, the titular Bruno the Bandit, and an ever-growing cast of character such as Sour Ron, Clonin the Wilderness Enhanced Individual, and the enigmatic "The Babe", wrapped up in a new cover by legendary Conan artist Geof Isherwood, the second volume of Brutal Blade offers some fine comics from some fine talent.
Available for only $6.99 in print form and a meagre $1.99 in digital, "Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit Vol. 2" is a steal, so grab a copy today!


27 September 2011

Crafting Lovecraft

If you look back over my posts, or take a quick glance at my bookshelves, it's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his successors.  I discovered Lovecraft almost concurrent with Robert E. Howard and have been hooked on both ever since.  The blending of mythology, fantasy, horror and science fiction is just irresistible to me.
Previously, I've done some illustrations for Derek Pegritz's long-missed online novel "City of Pillars", and I've been waiting for an opportunity to get back to doing more work in that landscape.  Now, I'm pleased to say that starting with their October issue, # 7, my work will be appearing in the Lovecraft eZine.  This is a splendid digital magazine of quality Lovecraftian fiction, easily on par with Innsmouth Free Press or the late lamented Arkham Tales.  Publisher and editor Michael Davis has done a fine job so far of collecting and presenting stories based in and around Lovecraft's mood and mythology, and I'm happy as can be to be able to contribute.

If all goes well, I'll be adding at least one illustration to each issue for the foreseeable future.  Look for my contribution in October's issue accompanying the story "Lord of Endings" by John R. Fultz.  It was a fun piece to do, and I'm very much looking forward to doing more for future issues.  There's some very talented people doing some first rate work there, and it's an honor to be among them.

That's Lovecraft eZine...readable online or downloadable for your ereading device.   Subscribe, and more importantly, support them and let's help keep Lovecraft alive on the internet.


07 September 2011

Conan the Younger

Sometimes it's fun to just mess around with your own fan art, y'know? 

Here's a piece based on one of the better scenes in the new "Conan the Barbarian" film.  I thought Leo Howard, for his limited screen time, played one of the better characters in the film.  Not that Jason Momoa's any slouch as the adult Conan, just that the first third of that film sang for me in a way the rest didn't. 

So...here's my take on young Conan, making his bones early.


04 August 2011

Aces High!

Just for a teaser, here's a couple of preview images from the book project I've just finished. I'll give more information about it as soon as it's officially available, but for now, these will do for a taste. The images you see here will be used in a highly modified form in the finished product.


11 July 2011

New Projects

Got a couple of new things on the burner, and continuations of old things....no pics I can post yet, but I have to put something up here once in a while or I feel like a neglectful father....

-The Journals of Simon Pariah relaunch creeps along at a snail's pace, which is frankly still better than the glacial pace it's had for the past few years.  As always, studio time is at a premium until you lot start pouring gobs of money my way to prevent me from having to work for a living.  See to that, please.
-I've just finished a piece of episode art for the "Drabblecast Art Reclamation Project", an updating of archive episoded for the Drabblecast podcast.  I've done episode 84, "Michael Swanwick Doubleheader", with a digital painting based on his story "Hush and Hark".  This raises the count by one of popular authors I get to namedrop as having illustrated, so there's that.  I'll post the pic here eventually, but I want them to have the exclusive on it for a while.
If you're not listening to Drabblecast, you're doing yourself a disservice, as it's one of the best fiction podcasts on the web, and helps me kill many half hours spent walking the dog.  One day, I'll have to do a long post on the podcasts to which I currently subscribe.
-Looks like I'll be doing a cover later this year for an issue of "Sky Pirates of Valendor".   If you'll recall, I did a pinup page for one of their previous issues, and I recently auditioned to do a cover for them.  It's a fun bunch of characters to work with, and a good book to read, with some serious sci-fi swashes being buckled.  Check them out.
-Pinup submissions for the second volume of "Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit" are trickling in, with some interesting results.  If you're interested in having a kick at the cat, find details at the AIM Comics site.

That's it for now...as my hero Mel Brooks said....

23 June 2011

Classic Conan Art!

Yesterday, frequent poster Mikeyboy over at Crom! The Ultimate Conan Fan Blog posted a Rudy Nebres contribution to a recent comics trend, One Minute Later.  The legendary Mr. Nebres had created an update to the classic Barry Smith cover to Conan The Barbarian #14.  Since the hosts of Crom! called for a colorist to step forth, I rose to the challenge and (admittedly somewhat ham-handedly) dashed off my colors under Mr. Nebres inks. 
While it's clearly slapdash in places, the piece was fun to work on, especially as it allowed me to take a break from other projects and responsibilities.  The only hard part was figuring out how to color the weird but beautiful vegetation that Rudy Nebres draws so well.
You can see the image below, or check out the full-sized version over at Crom!.  That's the original Barry Smith cover on the left, with my colors under Mr. Nebres art on the right. 

06 June 2011

What's Up?

I feel like I haven't been posting nearly enough art here lately, but what can I say?  I've been busy.

I've just finished up the cover for Powers vs. Power vol. 3, which will be coming soon from author Robin Reed via Smashwords.  Check out Robin's other books for some good reading....

I'm waiting to finish up a book project (one illo left to go!) that I hope will see publication later this year; more info as soon as NDA's allow.

I'm tap dancing my little heart out trying to promote "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit".  If you haven't already bought one...shame on you!  Get thee hence to AIM Comics and help support my future life of artistic indolence.

I've also done a preliminary design for a CD cover for a UK metal band....I haven't heard from them for a little while, so I hope they haven't dropped off the face of the earth.  It's a Derek Riggs-inspired piece that I hope I get to execute and share with everyone, as it's the kind of work I've always wanted to do.

Just last night, I started another reworking (or "reboot" as they might say in the DC Universe) of my old webcomic, "The Journals of Simon Pariah".  It will be published later this year through my AIM Comics imprint.  I'm using the old stories for now, but doing new art inspired by a recent reading of "A Drifting Life" by Yoshihiro Tatsumi.  I think this new approach is going to work a lot better than previous attempts; let's see if the readers agree.

Oh...and just to keep myself sane, I'm also winging out the occasional sketch for my DeviantArt page (see the previous post). 

So, yeah...I'm busy.  But darnitall, I'm having fun. 

01 June 2011

I'm a Deviant!

Did you know that I have a DeviantArt gallery?  I know...it was a surprise to me too.

Not much up there yet, just a few sketches I'm doing to build a Digital Webbing forums thread.  I'll be adding more rough work there as time goes by, and possibly enabling some prints if I consider anything on there good enough.

If you're a Deviant, please drop me a comment, a fave, or send me a llama...although I have no idea why I would want one, or what I would feed it.

20 May 2011

Ferreting Out the Truth....

From my oldest work, to my smallest.  Take a look at this site.


Now, don't look anywhere on the actual site...instead look at the favicon that shows up in your browser's titlebar, or in the top left corner of your tab (depending on which browser you're using).  Yeah...I totally designed that.

18 May 2011

A Blast from the Past

Here's something I haven't seen for a long time, and didn't really expect to see again.
When I was in university, I was asked by a friend of mine to design a logo for a series of self-hypnosis tapes he was producing.  Working with the materials I had available at the time, this is what I designed.  Since I was commissioned and actually paid for it, I consider this my first professional work. I lost touch for a long time, and I don't know if the tapes were ever produced, but apparently the work survived, because it appeared again recently online on said friend's Facebook profile.
It's muddy, it's pretentious and it's primitive....but still I think it has a certain charm.  Comments and criticisms are welcome, but please be gentle and remember I was young.

07 April 2011

Say Hello to My Little Friend....

With the ill-gotten gains from a recent commission, I decided to try out a new tool that was recommended to me, the Toshiba Portege tablet PC.  Thanks to the magic of Ebay, I acquired a 1.8 GHz dual-core M400 with 1 GB of RAM for just under $300...not too shabby.

A very enthusiastic recommendation for this PC came from Mark Oakley, the artist of Thieves & Kings and StarDrop.  I've long been a fan of Mark's work, and was glad to have the opportunity to talk with him at a couple of events last year, at which points he showed me a little of his working method and introduced me to the Portege as one of his main drawing tools.
Up front, I was a little dubious as I've been using a Wacom Graphire and while it's a handy tool for painting, I haven't found it all that great as a sketching and drawing tool.  However, after seeing the Portege in action and feeling the responsiveness of the stylus (which, by the way, is also made by Wacom), I decided to give it a try.  Now, I'm glad I did.

A few notes about the build of the machine.  This thing feels solid, almost industrial.  While I'm not keen to test the theory, it almost feels like I could drop this thing from my height and it would survive the impact.  The hinge on which the screen pivots between laptop/tablet mode is nice and firm with no wiggle, and the transformation is nice and smooth, with the tablet locking into place when it's down.  The stylus slots neatly into the body of the machine when not in use, and there's some great customizable one-touch control buttons on the screen.  All in all, it's a beautifully compact and portable machine.  Mine has a few dings from wear, but it runs like a dream, much faster than any PC or laptop I've owned before.

The system I own runs a tablet version of Windows XP.  In time I may consider upgrading this to Windows 7, but for now, that's doing just fine for me.  Thanks to another suggestion from Mark, in addition to Photoshop, I'm also running Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro, which is turning out to be a handy tool for quick sketching and is built very well for the tablet PC.  Photoshop, of course, runs very well on here.  The alignment of pen tip and cursor is precise, and the motion of the pen across the surface is smooth, making drawing on the tablet a real pleasure.  Mark has recommended replacing the screen of the tablet with thin glass, but I don't think I'm ready to take that step yet...I'm going to enjoy using this thing a while before I hack it to that level.

Of course, it wasn't long before I discovered some of the limitations of Photoshop on a tablet.  While much of the interface is built to work very well with a stylus, there's a few keyboard driven functions that I just cannot seem to do without.  I don't mind using the stylus to switch tools; it actually seems to enhance the experience for me.  However, I was very much missing the "shift" function for drawing straight lines, the "Alt" function in brush mode for selecting color, and the "Tab" function for hiding toolboxes.
Mark came to the rescue again by recommending the Modlock script that adds a screen overlay that duplicates the functions of several of the main keys, and has greatly reduced the stress of working in tablet mode.  He also developed his own script in Autohotkey for an onscreen "Undo" function that is sadly lacking from PS outside the menus.  I keep both of those running when I'm working in Photoshop and they've quickly become indispensible.  To date, I've only been able to bring back the "Tab" key function through the use of the on-screen keyboard, which is still a bit laborious.  I may have to look at the Autohotkey scripting environment myself to see if I can create an alternative solution.

On a side note...the programmers behind Photoshop could really stand to take a look at the Gimp interface.  One function I find very useful there is that when you use the "Shift" function for a straight line, there's a dynamic straight line represented on-screen between your start point and your cursor that shows you exactly where your line's going.  It's a feature I'd love to see duplicated in Photoshop.

So, with everything in place, I've been working on commissions on the Portege for the last couple of weeks, and it's quickly becoming my main drawing tool.  Not only is it a fun little device to work with, but it also frees me from my studio computer/drawing table so that I can actually interact with other human beings while I'm working.  The processing power in this thing allows me to do image searches for reference while in Photoshop without bogging down the system to a crawl, and my graphics programs zip along faster than they did on my old studio machine (now repurposed as a Netflix device).
While there'll always be a tactile appeal to working with pen, brush and paper, I've got a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot more time working on my Portege.  I know it's an older machine and not top of the line; as with most things technological, I'm a couple of years behind the curve.  Still, it's got power in spades beyond my old Acer; certainly enough to change my working method for the foreseeable future.

If you're an artist who works on a table PC, I'd love to hear any recommendations for tools, software or working methods that work for you.  Leave me a comment or shoot me an email, and let's share some knowledge!

22 February 2011

Model Behavior II

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jason Baca.


Jason is a model with a fondness for fantasy and superhero art who has, like Drakaina before him, served as inspiration for the work of a variety of artists.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to work with Jason on a set of character designs I was (and still am!) working on.  The timing was fortuitous, and I found Jason to be the perfect model for a pair of characters in that set.
Jason sent me a collection of reference photos that really showcased his versatility, ranging from bodice rippers to iconic superhero poses to grim and gritty pulp/noir shots.  In each case, I thought he captured more than just the pose by really bringing in the feeling of the character he was portraying.  I find Jason's photos to be dynamic and powerful, having that extra something that helps an artist bring a character to life.
Jason's got a well defined physique and clean cut features, which means his shots come out great under strong light and provide the kind of deep shadows an artist or colorist needs to work with.

I used the photos you see above as reference for two of the character designs I've been working on for German author Falko Kotter's series "Relegatia".  Falko hired me to work up concept drawings for a long list of characters that populate his world and it's been just about the most fun project I've worked on in a long time, mainly because I was largely given free reign in how I interpreted the characters.  Having some great photo reference like that provided by Jason has made the process even better and I think that enjoyment I took really shows in the drawings that resulted.  
The following two characters are a father/son team with armor designs based on paintings of traditional Russian knights and stills from the film Alexander Nevsky, with a concept inspired by this 1974 painting by Konstantin Vasiliev and, of course, with Jason Baca as the model for both.

More of Jason's work can be seen online at his DeviantArt page, or he can be reached via his modeling agency page.  Also, a quick Google image search will turn up some of the other pieces of art he's inspired.
Jason is also the author and subject of the books Journey of a Male Model and  Overexposed, both available on Amazon.  Although I haven't read them myself, from the descriptions I understand they're written to describe the process of becoming a success as a male model. 
If you're an artist looking to add an extra layer of realism to an iconic piece of work, or looking for inspiration for a superhero design, I strongly recommend getting in contact with Jason and seeing what he can do for you.  He seems to have a real love for and ability to represent the fantasy and heroic genres.

21 February 2011

Raising Innsmouth...

Fund raising that is.

One of my favorite blogs and online magazines, Innsmouth Free Press, is doing another fundraiser, and is much in need of your support.  In addition to running a very fun and informative Lovecraft-based blog, IFP also regularly publishes a magazine of Lovecraftian fiction, which they foolishly give away for free. 
If you donate to IFP, not only do you help support one of the finest repositories of Lovecraftiana on the web, and one of the finest publishers of mythos-inspired fiction, but you also get several great perks, including the possibility of winning some gruesome grimoires of chthonic prose (i.e. free books).  So don't wait for R'Lyeh to rise from beneath the waves or for the stars to make the right formation for the Old Ones to return...head over to IFP and donate...NOW!


02 February 2011

Meanwhile, Over at AIM Comics....

As of yesterday, my imprint AIM Comics officially went live with its first book, The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit.  I can't say how happy I am to have finally realized this book.  It's a huge step forward for me creatively and definitely helps lock in my mindset of being a "real" artist, and not just someone who's doing this for fun (although that is certainly an important aspect of it).
With AIM Comics and Brutal Blade, I am taking the first steps to building a catalog of published work that I can grow over time, at my own pace and in my own way.  I've got a bunch of graphic novel ideas that I want to be able to share with the world, and this will be my platform for doing so.  I'd also like, over time, to involve other creative people as I have Ian McDonald.  I think there's a lot of fantastic comics out there that are not getting the attention they deserve, and I hope that if I can build enough of an audience, I can make it attractive for them to package their work through AIM.  Only time will tell on that score.
Meantime, here's the ad that Ian is currently running over at Bruno the Bandit to promote our first book.  It's available in a bunch of formats from a bunch of suppliers, all of which you'll see if you'll just head over to our site...right now!

20 January 2011

Sky Pirates Revisited!

I've just found out from one of the creators of "Sky Pirates of Valendor" (see this post) that the book is now being published by Jolly Rogue Studios, and series 2, issue 1, which included the pinup piece I did for them, is now in print.  You can buy the book direct from their site here, or digitally from Cloud 9 Comix here.  If you like pirate adventure and high fantasy, then this is the book for you!

06 January 2011

Limited Edition of "The Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit" Now Available

Over at my other site, "AIM Comics", an advance edition of the first issue of "Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit" has just become available.  We're doing a limited run of 25 copies for this one, and we're already down to 14 copies remaining.  The book will be the same as the regular edition, but each copy will be signed and sketched by Bruno's creator, Ian McDonald, and each one will come with an individualized certificate granting the bearer citizenship to Bruno's mythical home of Rothland.  It's a great deal for 10 bucks (including shipping), and the post also has a link to a preview of the first edition, so why not take a look?