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Saturday, August 27, 2011

My awkward years, immortalized in pencil.

I've been packing up my apartment to move from my current Brooklyn location to the hipster paradise of Williamsburg. My pants aren't nearly tight enough, and eyewear frames far too thin.

In the process, I found a sketchbook from middle school and early high school that somehow I've been hanging onto for.... 18 years? At the time I was taking weekly extracurricular cartooning classes in the backroom of a local Dick Blick. Being a very sedentary and sunlight-shy child/adolescent, my parents were quick to encourage anything that got me out of the house for an afternoon. I requested a bit of homework to add to the weekly comic pages (If I dig those up, I may show them as well) I was making, and this notebook was the result.

My instructor, who will remain nameless because he's since become an upstanding citizen, would make a list of complete ludicrous titles. My job would be to add a gag cartoon of some sort to each one. Here are a handful for your perusal (many were too blatantly vulgar to show. Trust)...
"The fat man with gigantic nipples standing on line for Star Wars on a cold night"

"Jerry and the Dog Sausage"

Top: "King Fatty Dumb Jackass in his castle eating gum" (apologies for the unintentional phallus) Bottom: "The animal kingdom bakes a cake for their friend, the loving manatee"

Top: "Giraff Whiplash" (sic) Bottom: "Morris the Cat arrested for beastiality" (sic)

Top: "Jerry the Gentile Giant" (sic) Bottom: "The Kitten Dog Fight"

"Exploding Robot Kittens"

Top: "The World's Fugliest Man Breaks Wind" Bottom: "Soil Trauser Aromatherapy" (sic)

Top: "Tina Tuna and Tom Terrific" Bottom: "Squirl Bread™" (sic)
Several things are instantly clear:
-my ability to draw animal anatomy was way more advanced than my human anatomy. Unfortunately, that isn't saying much.
-my love of Ren & Stimpy is very clear in the loving care I put into sausage and butt-acne textures
-the lists my instructor gave me were riddled with misspellings. I knew this at the time and thought they were funnier with the screwy spelling. I'm confident I am still right.
-while many are embarrassing, I'm pretty proud of a bunch of them. I will stand by the manatee, "giraff" and "squirl" any day.

And just to save my ego, here's some recent work.
Thanks for reading,

Monday, August 22, 2011

The end of the world

I love to illustrate the dark passages, the mysterious and the strange. And lately I have been pretty lucky about that.
The first is the cover for the Spanish edition of Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich for Siruela Editorial. I love drawing and painting landscapes and it is rarely that working on Editorial you get to do a pure landscape piece so I was jumped at the opportunity with out thinking. The novel deals with tradition and heritage through the voices of a family of Native American from North Dakota.

I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do so I only presented sketches with variations on the same theme. I also had a back up sketch that I might actually do when I get some free time.

I wanted the piece to be moody so I emphasized that in the sketch, my sketches are usually less developed, altough for covers I aim for a very clear reading of what type of cover it will be even with rough art.

The piece is a combination of ink, liquid pencil (which is pretty fantastic) and digital.

This second piece was a full page spread for an article on School Library Journal about today's dystopian novels. Only thing I can say about this is that I had a total blast doing it.

This is the kind of sketches I scare AD with these days. A simple outlay of the composition and some hints on color, but that is basically it. Nobody has outspoken yet but I can tell they are afraid...

So I am looking forward to more of these in the future, but now back to making comics and books...


in addition to working with a lot of great bands and record labels, I am also currently pursuing another long-time/term dream of mine entering the field of comics. I've already shared things like my Strawberry Shortcake covers, and will be showing other fun creator owned works in the future, but today I thought i'd give a sneak peak of something a little different... work as a "colorist" on a new limited series!

Ramiel is a story by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, writer & producer on the first two seasons of Lost and current show-runner for Charlie's Angels. He asked the incredible Steven Gendron to do the pencils, and me to do colors and paint the rest. Around the time of San Diego Comic Con we had a great front page article & interview on Newsarama you should read HERE. The book will be out soon by APE Entertainment, and there are already a few SDCC exclusive copies out there...

While I didn't get to do the pencils here, I think Steve's work is great and very distinct, and I tried very much to bring a lot more to the table than I thought was even possible. The entire collaborative experience has been one of the best i've ever been a part of

here you can see Steve's pencils and my paints:

and here's a few "sneak peak" pages (don't tell anyone!)

see you in the funny papers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

MGI Promo Poster


Promotional poster I recently did for my art rep Morgan Gaynin. "We solve any illustration problems u have!" Thank you Vicki and Gail for the commission!

A spot of spots - Jason Raish

I thought i would use some British speak for the title since I moved to London. Here are a gang of spots for various publications.

spot for Emory alumni magazine where an alum talks about her experience restoring ancient art in cambodia and how there is no clear linguistic distinction between buddah as a religious spirit or as a mere statue. She says it's one in the same for them.

A spot for the university of new hampshire about water fleas and new findings. I can't remember but it looks like maybe they can grow or evolve whatever they need?

A spot for Asian Lawyer magazine about how students of Korea's Judicial Research and Training Insititute (JRTI) are angry because the ministry of justice plans to hire from other law schools instead of solely from their school as has been the tradition in the past.

spot for THE (times higher education) in the UK about a red, greed, and amber university ranking system and its negative points. I can't remember fully but it was probably something where being ranked green had a huge advantage over other rankings.

spot for RIDES magazine for their "talkin' crash" column about celeb hiphop car crashes. this one is about Kendrick Lamar when he was a wee lad

spot for golf magazine's "rules guy" column about removing rock from the field of play. doing rocks is really hard and not too enjoyable for me.

another spot for RIDES magazine for their "talkin' crash" column about celeb hiphop car crashes. this one is about Big Sean crashing his grandmothers car and coming away with only a swollen pinky.

A few shots of London, my new city. English breakfast. bacon "rashers" here are pretty salty though.

the millennium bridge that goes from the tate modern over the river thames. this is the bridge that the baddies destroy in Harry Potter and the deathly hallows part 1

insane harry potter fans at "Camp Potter". aka trafalger square, waiting 48 hrs for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. They were either waiting for the movie to be shown on a giant screen in the square, or for the actors to walk the red carpet or a combo of both. we talked to them and they were totally serious and had the conviction of wizards who would defend Hogwarts to the death if they had to. Wait, what am i saying? Why is there so much HP in this post? I wouldn't even say i'm a harry potter enthusiast, i just took on the challenge of watching all 8 Harry potter movies in 2 weeks so i could watch final HP movie here in Harry's hometown (I know HP dorks, i was informed that his hometown is Surey or something) and have to say it was very decent and one of the better HP movies. Now it's over and we are all wondering what to do with our lives. but don't even get me started on how HP is the weakest, most charmless, most weiner like modern main character that never matured or grew as a character....

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scholastic Read 180 - Jason Raish

my first book ever. I did this over a year ago and it just got published. thus is the publishing world. This was for Scholastic and it's for a Read 180 series book called "False". It's a reading intervention book that debunks urban myths. I did 8 illustrations inside

This myth is that Walt Disney is frozen in ice somewhere. not true.

Here is that the 5 second rule makes it ok to eat things you drop on the floor.

Carrots don't give you perfect vision, it was a rumor started by the British during world war two to cover up their new radar technology's success from the Germans. So they said it was because of carrots. The vitamin A keeps your eyes healthy though.

Elvis is not alive, sorry.

The myth is a dog's mouth is cleaner than a humans. I guess this is believed because they have natural cavity fighting chemicals and other stuff. This is the color scheme they went with.

This is the color scheme i liked.

Dropping a penny from the empire state building won't kill someone because the wind will blow it away and other scientific stuff will make it so it never reaches a dangerous velocity.

Elephants are not afraid of mice, they have bad eyesight and are startled by any small thing that moves. This is the color scheme i liked.

this is the color scheme they went with.

The color red doesn't make bulls mad, the motion of the cape gets 'em going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Euroman Process & Gesturing

During a recent class, one of my students approached me with a very common concern. In her mind, she could visualize her figures and how these fell within the composition of her illustration. Once drawn on paper though, these looked nothing like they did in her thoughts. On the other side, her attention to detail was impeccable. This made me realize that I had been ignoring the basis of her problem. We found out she was paying plenty of attention to detail but ignoring the base gestures to build upon. It is a problem that I had neglected to see, as most of my students have already acquired this knowledge and put it to good practice through their foundation classes. After a few lessons on gesturing and its importance, the student reached a control over her figures she hadn't grasped before.

The information here is amply discussed on hundreds of books and websites. This doesn't make it any less relevant. So I'll take the chance and explain how I use gestures in my process through this project done for Euroman and art directed by Sune Ehlers, who is also a phenomenal artist.

During thumbnail stage, I don't normally bother with correcting the figures. The main concern here is gesturing the right compositions. Keeping them as simple as possible makes them easier to read.

After moving to sketch level, the real figure gesturing starts. At this point, the main concern is to get the right proportions and motion. Getting into proportions, my concern isn't really making the figure look correct as much as believable. Sure, the proportions might not be those of a real human, but if it looks alright and makes the illustration interesting, then that's good enough for me. I also keep the figures undressed at this point... or at least most of them. The ones in the back I don't care for as much as the one in the front, so I roughly gesture them clothed.

And then they get dressed, keeping in mind that every added clothing detail will seriously affect the composition.

Once the inking begins, a couple of details may shift here and there, but the main idea remains. Remember that thing I just mentioned about elements seriously affecting the composition? Well, say hello to that unwrapped turban. Nonetheless, the gesture underneath dictates almost everything. This may sound constricting, but it's a really good safety net to fall upon once the illustration starts getting complicated.

Oh yeah... and there's that thing about the background. After that, what remains are a few layers to color this number up.