Tuesday, August 26, 2008

UTNE Reader

I have created a new illustration for an article in the latest issue of the UTNE Reader!

(UTNE Cover, Sept - Oct 2008 issue)

(Page 87)

The illustration is for a short piece by Denise Herrera called The Purloined Library. It's a sweet story in which she recalls the best thing she's ever stolen: a fifth grade social studies book, and a dictionary.

For this illustration I worked with UTNE's Art Director, Stephanie Glaros, who was very fun to collaborate with and had clear and helpful ideas about which aspects of the story to focus on. She mainly asked that I illustrate the memory side of the story, and the urgency of the little girls act of stealing. Now, I hate showing my sketches to people... I find it a little embarrassing... but I'm trying to get over this phobia because it's just silly. Anyways, I'm going to post the preliminary sketches I sent in for this project so you can see how this illustration got started. Please don't judge them too harshly, they are such young and tender souls.

You can see these aren't straight up thumbnails... I really don't do well with stick figures. I think taking the sketches a step further, such as drawing a fairly realized face, helps me get excited about it. Once I pick a couple that I like, I scan them into Photoshop and add some color, a piece of a photograph or maybe a texture if I have it on hand. But the most important part of my process doesn't involve paper, pencils, photographs or even Photoshop. Oh no.

Well... maybe paper.

I hope someone finds this helpful or even remotely interesting. Special thanks to UTNE and Stephanie Glaros for the opportunity! I'm really sorry that this "thank you" comes moments after making a poop joke. : )

Final thought: What's the best thing you've ever stolen? If it's a good story maybe I will illustrate it. Extra credit if your story involves ninjas and explosives.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

San Diego Comicon 2008

Blueberry Pancakes & Waffles

The Joker (Heath Ledger) and the 4th incarnation of the Doctor (Tom Baker- Doctor Who) wow... geek much? Let me explain:

Last week Jesse and I took the 2hr 45min trip from Santa Clarita to San Diego to attend Geek Fest 2008, A.K.A. the San Diego Comic-Con. We got free professional passes as Illustrator and Animator that covered the whole weekend including preview night courtesy the Chiodo Brothers. We only went for two nights; hotel expenses suck. Jesse asked this passing Sleestak if he could pull some crossbow action on our hotel manager thereby frightening him into letting us stay another night... but he just hissed uncontrollably.

Thursday morning we got up early because we wanted to catch a panel for a sneak peak of a new drama on NBC called Kings. Truthfully, the show sounds cool and all... but really, the only reason we went to the panel was to see Ian McShane (Deadwood) and his wrinkles. But there was was major traffic on the 405 and he didn't make it. My gushing tears prevented me from seeing the preview of the show... so no reviews here. Despite that disappointment, I did enjoy a mediocre-super-slow-served breakfast at a tiny whole in the wall breakfast cafe, decorated with pictures of the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria. (I'm as confused as you.) This was the spot were we had our first Joker sighting:

Question: Who drinks Pepsi at 7am? Answer: Psychopaths.

So you can see a bit of the inspiration for the illustration. Anyways, after seeing this guy Jesse and I decided it was our mission, our duty even, to chronicle all the Jokers we would see at the comicon. We expected the number to reach into the thousands. We placed our bets. Maybe my digital camera would break under the pressures of documenting the shear numbers, such horror! You could say it was mildly crushing to only catch seven... maybe we should have kept our expectations in check. It would have been 8 if Jesse hadn't neglected to point out the Nurse Joker he spotted. He surely would have been the jewel of my collection. I'm not bitter! Here's a few of my favorite sightings:

Joker buying cute nick-nacks.

Joker and Shaun. Who's that lady in front? She clearly hates me.

Nice vest! Probably the best one. Wouldn't break character either... I had to get out of there fast before he punched my face.

Putting aside their differences while waiting in line to get an exclusive look at the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. Or are they just fans of Keanu Reeves? I hope Jennifer Connelly tho.

As time went on we came to realize that our goal should have been to document the Doctor Who look-a-likes. This would have been more challenging and the final count more exciting. A highlight of the day (and I'm serious here) was sitting in on the Doctor Who and Torchwood panels, and there was no shortage of Doctors hanging around:

But if you are going to be a Doctor, you have to pick one with a bit or flash and pa-zaz. My choice would be Tom Baker's Doctor, the 4th Doctor. Here's one complete with ridiculously long scarf, bag full-o-jelly babies, sonic screwdriver, and never ending trench coat pockets. I have to say though, Jelly Babies aren't nearly as delicious as they appear on TV.

Something exciting and completely unexpected came from accompanying Shaun to a panel called "Dark Horse Horror." Shaun was actually at the convention on business, sitting in on panels and writing about them for CBR. Go here to read his articles and learn about all the great stuff you missed! The guest at this particular panel was Bernie Wrightson, and if you are not familiar with him you must check out his intricate and incredible pen and ink illustrations for Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. What's more, there will be a 25th anniversary edition of the novel with Bernie's illustrations coming out around Halloween!

Last thing we saw was a documentary called "Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown," which was a very interesting chronicle of H.P. Lovecraft's life and work that included interviews with Guillermo Del Toro and Neil Gaimen. After that bit of creep inducing dark-weirdness we wandered out of the convention center and into San Diego's Gaslamp quarter searching for coffee to keep us awake and alive for the long drive home. There was a sign proclaiming "Coffee Shop" the seemed promising, and we believed it. But whose idea was is to name a restaurant "Mary Jane's Coffee Shop" and simultaneously decide that owning a coffee pot would be a gross mistake? I bet it was God, he really hates my guts. It ended up being for the best tho, because just down the street was Ghiradelli's Ice Cream and Chocolate shop. This is where all the cool people hang out, and if you don't believe me just ask Scott McCloud:

Here he is, being assaulted by my camera, with my friend Sam Hale and Jesse peeping in from behind ruining the focus of the shot. (thanks dude.) He was buying ice cream for his wife and daughters, I got a white chocolate mocha, and all was right with the world. And there it is- how I got inspired to make a Joker / Doctor Who illustration: Geeks and Sweets.

What do you think the Joker, Doctor Who and Hellboy would have for breakfast?