Friday, February 27, 2009

First Ride

This winter's been a tough one here in Western Mass- with lots of snow and brutally cold temps. Today is overcast, and rain is threatening for this afternoon but I did it- I dragged the bike out of the garage.
It was a damp ride in- the roads were wet and a heavy fog hung in the air. Still, I was just laughing in my helmet at the thrill of being out on this new year's first ride.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NDIB-Pencil Page 8

Gamera Raph tries to comfort a sullen Casey in the Dan Berger-written story "Nobody Does It Better". NDIB will be Tales of the TMNT 60, due out in July.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Fire of the Year

I'm busy pencilling Tales 60 right now and needed something to blog about. This past weekend my family and I went to this new year's first fire. More during the nicer weather, I have a small group of close friends and we all sorta seem to take turns hosting little fire-gathering events. This one, the annual winter party, took place this past weekend at my friends Bill and Rochelle's house. It featured ice fishing and beef stew, mac and cheese, chili and 16 bean soup along with the obligatory hamburgs and hot dogs.
Yeah, it was cold but it heralds the warmer weather that's hopefully on it's way.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birthday Card

Yeah, today's my birthday. I was kinda hoping not to acknowledge it but I got this card and it kicked ass so bad that I just had to post it.
Thanks Arseniy-


This is kinda a follow-up to the post that I made earlier this week, where I talked about scripts. Thumbnails/breakdowns are the step that follows the scripting stage. The timing is good, as my student Maddi and I are at this point now. Her script is in a near finished state and I emailed her yesterday with a brief explanation about how I do my thumbnails and included the example that I am using for this post. These 2 pages are from the upcoming Don mini. In a very rough form, they show the panels and within them the placement of characters. Also, at this time I try to include some idea about what I want the dialogue to be. Once the book is laid out, we can see what each page will look like and make changes to the story or visuals if we decide it's needed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two Caseys

Last week I posted about how I was asked if the studio guys and myself would like to do a Casey jam drawing. Dan and I were the only ones to agree to sign on although I'm still working on Pete. I knew Berger would do a totally kick-ass job and he definitely did not disappoint. Here it is so far-

Monday, February 16, 2009


Daniel had a suggestion that folks might be interested in seeing what it looks like, when a comic is written. So, for this post, I've scanned 2 examples of scripts that have been given to me.
Pete's is the first. In my experience, what he has always done is he has type-written 3 or 4 pages of story, and from that I'll go ahead and do my thumbnails. As you can see at this point, I know very little about what the actual dialogue will be. The scenes that I draw are more or less situational, rather than knowing what the actual exchange between characters is.

Murph is somewhat different. He will give me the actual panel count per page and often tells me what he wants shown in each panel, sometimes even with a little thumbnail of his own. Dialogue has been written to a finished, or near finished state. The book that I'm starting to pencil today is written by Berger and he writes in a form very similar to Murphy. This form of writing would be considered more industry standard, I'm figuring.
Either way, from here I'll proceed and go to breakdowns/thumbnails.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Paleo: Loner, Page 8

This past week, I've been in between books. I took this time to work on my Paleo project, and have now gotten the first 13 pages finished.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Versions of Casey

Got this done today. Yeah, it's another Casey but actually this one has a twist. On a horizontally formatted 14 by 22 sheet of paper, this guy wants Caseys drawn by all the different studio guys. "Jam" drawings aren't too popular around here so only Dan and I so far have agreed to participate but I'll try to post the finished piece, even if it's drawn by only us two.

Leo with Norton

This is also a commission sketch. It took me awhile- I probably have a little over 4 hours into it but I just couldn't resist the subject matter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


tOkKa and I emailed back and forth a little bit the last 2 days about a commission that he wanted me to do. I guess I wasn't really thinking when I asked him what character it was he wanted me to draw. Silly.
Anyways, I did the pencils for it last night and it might be a little while before I get to the inking phase so I thought I'd post the pencils as is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New York Comic Con

The 2009 New York Comic Con is now in the can. The show itself was great- although I have to say that it was very likely the busiest show I've ever done. I want to thank all the people who stopped by the tables and took time to talk to us and hang out. I saw many new faces but what always makes a show for me are the familiar "core" fans that always seem to make the effort to be there for us.
I was hoping to have some tales of after hours misadventure but we were all mysteriously well-behaved. I didn't embarrass myself at all, I don't think. Maybe we're just getting old.
Anyways, thought I'd post a few examples of commission sketches that were done over the weekend.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Letter to Maddi

A little background first. Maddi is a young woman who I met last year, along with her family. A little while after that meeting, she contacted me and asked if I would mentor her- for a senior project regarding a career that she would like to pursue. I agreed to help her with this and together we are going to produce a comic book.
While she works on the story, she sent me an email yesterday which included some questions that she needed answers for as part of the project. I thought that folks might be interested in my reply.
Here is my email back to her.

Glad to hear from you and look forward to reading the updates for your story. Hope you found my suggestions useful- I feel kind of funny being in the position of giving input into someone's work but it might be good practice for you if you decide to pursue this whole comic book thing.
Let's answer some of your questions.

1. Education or training requirements?
I have a Bachelor Degree in Illustration from the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut. I'm one of the few artists here at Mirage to actually have a degree- so I can't really call it a requirement-however, I do think that it was time and money well spent. What it did do was provide me with a foundation- exposure to different arts and art mediums along with a familiarity with art history. Maddi, you're a hell of a lot younger than I am, so I might advise someone up and coming in the art field these days to get training with some of the graphics programs ( Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign). Web skills would be a good thing too.
2. Personal characteristic requirements?
You need a thick skin. If you ever achieve any degree of success, you will need to be able to accept criticism, and some of it can be very mean. Particularly what with the internet, which allows many anonymous people access to your work. You must be able to accept that some people will not like you, and you must not let this make you bitter, or cause you to doubt yourself.
You must be a hard worker, and love what you do. That is the gift and reward of being an artist. Sometimes I think artists are a little underappreciated- I believe perhaps that many people see our skills as common, or effortless. What you believe your stuff is worth and what others might think could vary greatly. The value that you get in your art is in it's creation itself. It's an amazing feeling when you draw something and you're pleased with it. You must not lose that.
3. Are there many opportunities for advancement in this job? What do you need to advance?
This is a tough one, Maddi. I've been at Mirage for 20+ years now. I've never had a raise. I don't take vacations, other than a day or two here and there. What I have had is a life of drawing, which is pretty damn good. However, I will never advance here. Please keep in mind that I am only speaking about my unique situation- I know it's not like this everywhere.
4. Is there a future demand for this job?
This is another tough one. The easy answer is that I think there is. You gotta have the skills, but beyond that, you need luck, timing and all the intangibles that need to come together to make a connection. The thing is, there are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there just like you and me, and they are all wanting the same thing. Me- I have a job, I'm lucky.
Having said all this, your work will speak for you. Draw all you can, as much as you can. You will not help but grow. Don't be afraid to show it- if you can go to comic book shows with your portfolio then do it. Listen to what people tell you- use what is useful and discard the rest.
As for comics, you must proceed with no expectations that you will ever get rich. There will always be comics and a demand for artists, and there are opportunities and some will achieve success but those situations are rare.
I don't want to dissuade you from pursuing a life in comics. I'm sitting here typing this and as I look to my left, there is a half-inked page where a mother T-rex is attacking a pair of dinosaurs and, I'm really liking the way it's coming out. I never get over the feeling of appreciation that I have for what I honestly think is a gift.
I love what I do, and that's the totality and emormity of it.

Maybe if some of you are like Maddi, you can take something from this letter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Brain Thief 4/Cover

A few weeks back, I posted a pencil sketch for this cover. Completed this morning, this is the final inked version.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Countdown to New York

The New York Comic Con is coming up at the end of this week so my thoughts and attention have turned into preparation for that event. There's not really a heck of a lot to do- I went through the portfolio that I always bring to shows this morning, and tried to root out the art and pages that didn't sell last year and replace it with some newer material. And as always, I'll be there to do Turtle sketches such as the one above- which was done last week to kinda help me get a jump on things.
That's it really- for the folks that are able to attend, I hope you'll stop by the Mirage tables in Artist Alley and say hi.