Thursday, September 29, 2011

NOTICE: Sleight of Mind is Moving

I am taking the Webcomic to it's own page. this way it is easier to read one after the other, and it isn't interrupted by other posts unrelated to it. I will be restarting it. So anyone following this blog will have already seen the next 8 weeks of strips. then it will be all new again.

Today was the first day of the new schedule. and 001 is reposted.

Check it out HERE.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Collector Spotlight #12 Starla Doss' FlowerSkull

We started this piece at the Original Jade Monkey, but I think we started talking about before I left Artistic Tattoo. The concept for this piece was pretty straightforward as tattoos go, and the prep wasn't very difficult at all. The execution of this piece, however, with all of it's detail, ended up being quite a bit more difficult than I initially thought. 
Starla had wanted this design for a while. Saving the image from a magazine until she was ready to get it. When she first showed it to me I remember thinking how bad ass it would be, and that it wouldn't be too hard to pull off. The prep was simple and straight forward,and gave no warning of the deceptive complexity hiding within. I took the color image and converted it to greyscale before printing it out and lightboarding it to make our stencil pattern.
This when I started to realize how difficult this tattoo was going to be. Just working out all the shapes and patterns took quite a bit of time on paper.
The actual tattoo outline itself was less complicated, having already made myself familiar with the design at this point. This was probably the easiest part of the whole tattoo, even though it was clear to me at this point what I had gotten myself into.
Some of these stages, such as the black fill, took longer than I thought they would. not that there was a lot of ground to cover at this point, but that it was so specific and varied. Keeping track of what was next and where not to fill can slow this part of a tattoo down to a crawl. But a bit more time spent here to get it right will always pay off, especially when the end result is clean and correct. The other alternative is risking making simple mistakes and condemning your client to a life of having a bad tattoo, and thus a less positive self image. Something I'd rather not deal with.
Again, as usual, I didn't take enough pics, or lost them. But let me be clear, this piece was not colored all in one session. That's hard to show here as this stage isn't as spread out as I would like. The color process took a few sessions to work out, concentrating on different areas in different sessions, and a session of just highlights and touch ups. The end result however is what it's all about and this piece just kicks ass all day long. I have always been more than happy with how it turned out. The strong blacks really reinforce the color and hold the piece together, and though the detail is very intricate, I feel that it will hold up a long time on account of the concentration of ink. There's just nowhere for those lines to spread out to as the piece ages.
And perhaps it's just me, but the color concept we went with is a lot more interesting for the design, and allows the individual elements to stand out as well remain part of the whole.

I can't take any credit for the design, I didn't draw this thing, and I doubt an original version of this concept by my hand would have turned out as visually strong (maybe after a few versions...) but even so, this is a piece I have always been proud of. Even if it isn't 100% custom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Collector Spotlight #11 Tony Digg's Schooner

This is a piece I had done a few years back, that was a breakthrough kind of piece. After looking at the work of Anil Gupta and trying to figure out how the hell he pulled off the work he's done. I had to start thinking outside the typical approach for a tattoo of - outline, shade and color - and really started to look at the process as something more similar to painting.
We start off with the picture Tony liked, and his primary question was if I could make it look like the picture, and not like a "drawing". There there was the challenge, and I was excited to give it a shot. I had done only a couple of pieces in this manner, but they had been much smaller, and not nearly as complex. I showed Tony those examples and went to work.
I built the stencil more as a paint by number kind of pattern. This is to show, not where the lines go, but the values. Separating highlights, shadows and midtones. This method is used quite a bit now, especially with color portraits.
From there, if you look more closely, I did a pencil grey outline of the pattern as I knew I would not be able to finish the entire design in one sitting, and this grey line would serve as a permanent stencil for later. Something I do now primarily for larger pieces that don't have line work, or the lines will be minimized, I will also do line work in color, if the piece uses no black. From there I started shading in the clouds as I felt needed, to define the initial spacial relationships in the piece.
As we progressed through the piece, I built up the colors and tones carefully, over multiple sessions, as I would a painting. I did  this to work each element of shadow midtones or highlight up to the level I felt was correct for the piece. Making sure I didn't do too much.
As with most of these collector spotlights. I really wish I had taken more photos of the process. But especially with these earlier pieces, I had no idea I would have a use for all these photos. I was really happy with how this piece turned out, perhaps not 100% accurate, but damn close! I really don't get to do enough pieces like this, painting reproductions. I would really love to do more.

There is a chance in the future, Tony will have me do a second Schooner on his other shoulder blade, and connect the two. The painting at top is of a pair of racing schooners, each piece showing the other  boat in the distance. Separate perspective shots of the same scene.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Collector Spotlight #10 Robert Wright's THOR

Damn it's been a while since I've done one of these. Probably should try to do them more often. The Collector Spotlights are the primary content for my blog after all. Actually, I have been going through ALL of my photos, and sorting things out to put together a new physical portfolio, something I haven't done in two years. and the mountain of pics I have to go through is ridiculous! But it must be done. 
As a result though, I was able to dig up a few great candidates for some new CS posts, and hope to get them all posted up soon.

Ok, on to the piece. This has been one of my favorite comic book pieces I've done (close second to the first Goon piece, only cause I like the Goon comic more than Thor Comics, sorry Rob,but it's true)
However, this is still one of my most favorite tattoos I have done, simply because I am a comic book geek. 
Rob however is a huge Thor Fan, and wanted to get this piece as soon as the word "Thor" was whispered in the lots of Hollywood. Keep in mind, this tattoo is more than two years old at time of posting, and Thor was still in casting. I remember talking to Rob when they were putting the cast together, he was worried that Chris Hemsworth would be too small. Ha! I thought it was cool though, how they made Anthony Hopkins's Odin bigger than Thor in the movie. Which was bad ass I might add. I was pretty skeptical at first, with the mythology aspect and especially the Rainbow Bridge.

On to the Spotlight!
The initial sketch here was inspired by a piece that Michael Turner (RIP) did a while back, that just rocked it. So in respect to Turner, I re-imagined the piece. We changed the uniform up (I'm not a fan of the classic Thor costume) and I was quite happy with myself that our revamp was so close to the movie version, even down to the choice in scale mail style (though my coloring is more comic book, than the movie)
Fresh outline and Shading. Rob swelled quite a bit here. but unknown to us at the time, Rob was dealing with a medical condition that was affecting how his body was able to handle the procedure. The whole thing was about 20x more painful for him, and his skin reacted in pretty dramatic ways (swelling, bleeding, redness so intense it was hard to gauge the color saturation I was getting). Through all of this Rob sat like a stone, even though he threatened to hurt me back many times.
Nice little close up of the greyshade version.
The Coloring took more than a few sessions, though I cant find all the staged out coloring photos (surprised?) But as you can see, i went with a much more comic book color palette here, the movie wasn't even out when we did this, or it may have influenced our color choices, but Rob here is a true fan, and wanted this piece done before the movie was released.
A Few close ups of the color details of the finished piece.
We did end up finishing the rocks, but I never got a picture of that... must have forgot... forgive me, I am an artist.
Rob has since moved to Utah, where apparently there is better work and bigger tires for him to toss around. Rob is a body builder who is into the Strong Man Competitions. Not the "cosmopolitan, oiled up" weightlifter type, he's more the "shot-put a Buick kind of guy".
One of my oldest and Best friends, this guy has saved my ass so many times without batting an eye or hesitating a second. I will never be able to repay him, even if I lived a thousand years. If you got this guy in your corner, than you got nothing to worry about. And on a side note, he was also the very first person to commission a piece of art from me and pay for it. I'll get that drawing to you one of these days bro!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sketchbooks are now available!

My first sketchbook has been remastered to a mini size book along with the release of my second Sketchbook. Just click on the graphic to be directed to the purchase page. Thank you!

 Skribbles Sketches and Skulls vol.1 
Skribbles Sketches and Skulls vol. 2

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11-01: A day I will always remember.

It's strange to think that it has been 10 years already since the attacks of 9-11. Ten years since every American's life changed, and America changed. Now it seems that the whole world is different, and the promise of a new millennium, of a fantastic future is tainted with terror, paranoia and violence. The first decade of the the 21st century is a decade of war and upheaval.
Ten years ago, just a couple days after the attacks, some friends of mine and I got the idea to paint a flag in a public place. We felt we had to do something, in a way I don't think we had ever felt before.

Down the road from where I was living at the time was a 7-11 that was run by some Indians (Dot, not Feather) and we asked them if we could paint our flag on their building, and they let us. I don't know what they thought of it, but they let us, and that was enough.

So on Sept 13, 2001, This is what my friends and I did. We ended up doing two different flags, and also repainted the7-11 flag three times, more on that as we get into the pictures. 
The First shot of a blank wall.
The First of us to join in. From L to R: Dawn Crider, Davin Yant, Kenny Puckett, Mark Young, Tammy Forrester, and Myself.
As we got into it, more people started to join us; (LtR) Adam Marsh, Me, Dawn Crider, Tammy Forrester and Mark Young.

As the day went on, people would honk as they drove by, and a Channel 3 TV crew stopped by and started filming us as we finished the piece. The Owner of the Four Kings Bar also stopped and asked if we could do this again at his bar. Later we also found out that they played a clip of that Channel 3 bit on the big screen for the World Series that year, when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees. Of course, we did. it almost felt like we started something. We were a small part of the response.

We felt that we had done something that day, and it started some kind of healing I think.

 The Flag at the Four Kings started a bit differently. It was more organized and involved alot more people, and it took almost twice as long to paint. I figure that makes sense, this time we were at a bar, and this was more of a social event in addition to the painting.

We had kids helping and tons people visiting and watching. it was amazing to see how a small idea turned into something so important. At least to us it did.

We wore the clothes of our painting for those few days, proud of what we had done, going through some kind of collective mourning process, sometimes sad or angry, as well as impressed with how people came together, and thankful for it. Such a strange time that was. I can imagine it was like when Kennedy was shot, or the Bombing of Pearl Harbor.

 The final group shot of the Four Kings Flag. A lot of good friends together in this pic, and one day we'll all get together again, and look back on days like 9-11, as the next generation loses touch with the event. When it becomes a point in history like D-Day or Pearl Harbor or The Kennedy assassination, the experience of the time held only by those who witnessed it, the true impact only understood by those who knew the world before that day changed everything.

Only a few days later, the 7-11 had the flag painted over.

We were pissed.
But we knew better than to do something violent, to lash out. There were already reports of hate crimes in the Valley and we weren't going to be part of that.
We were better than that.
So in the middle of the night we went back, just a few of us and put that flag back. We didn't ask. we just did it. Cars drove by and honked, cops drove by as we painted the flag graffiti style. What were they going to do? It was still less than a week after the attacks, who would dare stop us? we had the idea of going around the city and just tagging flags. We knew no one would stop us. we would probably get media attention for it. Alas, that was irrational, and we kept to our 7-11 wall. We actually did this twice, once again on the 1st anniversary of 9-11. 

The Four Kings flag didn't hold up well, and was painted over about four years later.

I wasn't there, in New York or Pennsylvania or the Pentagon. I was here in Phoenix, Az. I didn't know anyone on those planes or in those buildings. I didn't lose my life in the attack, or rescue anyone. I am nothing close to being a Hero or a Victim of 9-11. But as an American, it has affected me in incredible ways, as I imagine that it has affected all of us.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paintings - a selection of pieces

These are other paintings I've done over the past years. All are acrylic on canvas or canvas board. 
 Boom, one of my characters I created in Art School. one of the main characters in Sleight of Mind. This piece is 16x20.
DeepSpace – 2011 – Acrylic and spray paint on canvas – 10x16
FireMonkey – 2011 – Spray paint on canvas – 14x11
 Flood – 2005 – Acrylic on canvas – 20x16
 HalfSkull  - 2007 – Acrylic and watercolor on canvas board _ 14x11
Inferno – 2009 – Acrylic on canvas board - 20x16


It seems I haven't posted many pics lately. the latest SOM episode excluded. So here is another Wallpaper. The DoomCrest I also used this image for the cover of my new sketchbook.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Resources for the history of American Comics

This post is merely a link to an article listing the many books through Americas Comic Book History. If you have more than a consumer, surface interest in comic books. Then this may be the book list you are looking for. Discovery what the industry was before the likes of Jim Lee and Frank Miller. 

An inside look at comic books -

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fuck August, oh and Fractals are cool

Man... August sucked. Like, every day of the month.

We had 110'+ heat for 31 consecutive days here in Phoenix, for August, the hottest August in AZ history. Yeah, you do the math on that one Just the quiet backdrop for this part of the world, hardly newsworthy compared to everything else going down in the world; Hurricane Irene, the incredible Tornadoes across the midwest (Joplin, Tuscaloosa), Virginia/Eastern US Quake, Texas Wildfires, Lybian and Syrian Violence, Endless political bullshit, the stock markets of world falling like a base jumper.... I'm sure I have forgotten a few disasters in that laundry list of horror. but I make my point.

It's so small in light of the broader scope of things I've more appt cancellations than ever this month, my 7 month old Daughter has been sick for two weeks, my lovely wife nearly bled to death and spend 4 days over a week and a half in the hospital (not really getting into that further here). I lost a ton of work looking after baby while Dawn was in the hospital, not to mention the shitty side effects of said bad times: worry, stress, confusion, financial hardship, and total loss of sleep...  I feel like I am whining, here. not my style. But it's for a point, so bear with me.

I think there is a pattern here. And though this already sounds like some bullshit self centered Truman Show crap, claiming that my life and it's small problems correlate with the global catastrophe that is regularlly occurring. But I am not using some "coincidence = causality" bullshit here, neither do I think JUST my life is a mirror of larger events. but that ALL of our lives. individually and collectively, are patterns within the pattern that makes up the grand design of the fabric of reality.

What I am talking about are Fractal Patterns.

Fibonacci sequences and computer fractal patterns exhibit a really interesting phenomenon regarding how patterns can repeat and express the whole of pattern/equation in any and every part of the pattern itself. This a great visual representation of entaglement and interdepedecy theories, that make these concepts more tangible. These patterns have been shown, along with the Golden Ratio in Nature, Music, Physics, and are being broadened into many other systems to reveal patterns. Just watch the movie Pi. This isn't groundbreaking shit here, more like borrowed and reorganized ideas of other, far smarter people...

But my theory (and maybe it's not just mine) is that social, financial, and geopolitical patterns work the same way, and that the mircocosm mirrors the macrocosm. That the dischord we see in the big picture is a mirror of what we experience on a personal level. Like a digital mandala that reveals the patterns of the cosmos. To reveal that we really are connected, superconnected. That we are all one with everything, and that YOUR experience and expression, is the expression of the universe. We have only confused ourselves away from this realization, and have attempted to remove from ourselves the most intrinsic element of our being: that we are all in this together. So obvious, yet we ignore like the air we breath, we are only as good as the least of us.

I guess my point is that the problems we are facing right now are not unique to just ourselves, that we are all feeling this... zeitgeist. (look that up yourself) and that our isolation and hyper-individualism is the poison that is driving our nation and global civilization into turmoil, as it always has.

what will it take for all of us to see that we ARE our Brother's keeper, and that he is ours.