Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I had mentioned a couple of months ago that in addition to classroom figure drawing, I also learned a lot out of books.

There was a series of books, initially centering on figure drawing and anatomy and later delving into light and shade and clothing wrinkles. The books were written by an illustrator named Burne Hogarth who had not only had been an illustration teacher, but had also drawn the Tarzan comic strip for many years.

The books are full of information. They have been, and still are, incredibly helpful when it comes to drawing human proportions, dynamic movement, clothes, and shadows. The anatomy is very stylized and a knowledge of the actual anatomic structure is important to have before embarking on what Hogarth is teaching.

a few drawings I did out of Hogarth's books back in the early '90's

I can not recommend Burne Hogarth's books enough. Luckily, even though he passed away some time ago, his books are still in print. They can be found HERE

Monday, March 28, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I got this great script from AC Comics. They are doing a one-shot devoted to the character of Miss Masque. They asked if I draw  an 11 page story written by David Watkins. The story, the plot of which is top secret, is called: The Funny Face Of Death!

This is NOT the cover, but it is Miss Masque!

So after I worked out the thumbnails, I set up a photo shoot. I usually take photos in order, more than anything else, to get correct portions of people. The places where the photos have been shot vary, from my apartment, to buildings around Loyola University's campus. For this story, it seemed like a good idea to take the pictures in the stairwell of office building where I work in downtown Chicago. The nice thing about that environment was that I could take photos from different angles. The bad thing was that we got interrupted by people using the stairwell to go to a different floor:

This lady thought it was a good idea to walk in just as I 
took a picture of one of my models.

My model for Miss Masque is coworker Gwydhar Gebien. Because I can't reveal anything about the story yet, I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took. Hopefully you'll be able to tell what an exciting story it will be.

Miss Masque Strikes Back #1, published by AC Comics, will be out in July 2011.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

C2E2 2011 Part 2

This past weekend was the 2nd annual Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, also know as C2E2. Always an interesting time, the convention, allowed fans to interact with creators, buy comics, and attend events.

One of the events was a costume contest for each of the 3 days.. People sometimes dress up for conventions, contest or no.  I've seen some neat outfits at the San Diego and New York Conventions, but was really impressed with what I saw over the weekend.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

C2E2 2011 Part 1

This weekend in Chicago was the 2nd annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, also known as C2E2. This is the first of 2 conventions that we have here in the Windy City ( the other happening in the summer).

Conventions are always fun because they allow me not only to talk to different publishers, but also to buy lots of old comics. I usually hit the 25 cent bins and find collections that I make into bound volumes. C2E2 had a 10 cent been which was the epitome of a feeding frenzy. 

In addition to checking out the festivities, I was also able to visit with some of my professional friends in artists alley:

This is Newsarama and MTV Splash Page columnist Jill Pantozzi holding a painting
 I did of her for her birthday. Jill is my favorite comics reporter, despite her unhealthy 
obsession with Batman. Her blog, The Nerdy Bird, can be found HERE

Kyle Bice showing off one of his fantastic watercolor paintings. Kyle's a very
talented artist who attended American Academy Of Art with me. He's also married
to Natanya Rubin, who is my model for Stormy Tempest. Kyle's artwork can be found HERE

John Siuntres hosts, what has to be the best comic book related podcast around, Wordballoon.  He's interviewed the top comic creator's and I've found his program to be incredibly inspirational. Episodes can be found on the WB website as well as on itunes HERE

Jenny Frison is one of the best illustrators of comic book covers today. She's got a very 
unique way of working that mixes both traditional illustration with digital. Jenny's 
also one of the nicest people I've ever met. Her artwork can be found HERE and HERE

Jason Millet is a friend and fellow Chicagoan who works on both comic books and 
advertising illustration. His artwork can be found HERE

On Sunday, I got to spend some time with Al Vey, who has inked 
many pages for both Marvel and DC Comics. Most notable was the Kurt Busiek/ George perez run on the Avengers. The first volume of which can be found HERE

Inker Andrew Pepoy, friend and mentor who I have known for a very 
long time. Andrew's currently doing some excellent work for Archie Comics
His work can be found HERE

Steve Bryant works on Athena Voltaire and is a very talented 
and extremely friendly guy. His artwork can be found HERE

Most of the artists are Chicago based, but also do conventions around the country. They do fantastic work and are worth taking he time to check out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Of all the muscles of the body, the most expressive ones are the facial muscles.

Besides allowing us to talk and eat, these muscles serve a more subtle function. They allow our faces to express emotion.

 Without these muscles it would be impossible to tell a story visually. They express happiness, sadness, fear, and anger among other emotions. Here are some expressions that these muscles allow:

Facial Expressions: A Visual Reference For Artists by Mark Simon is an excellent book. It can be found HERE

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Kong: King Of Skull Island, was a 5 limited series that was published by Markosia. It was based on a book illustrated by Joe Devito and co-written by Brad Strickland.  The book was a sequel to the King Kong story, following the footsteps of Carl Denham's son, Vincent,  as he travels to Skull Island to locate his missing father. In the course of the story, we discover Kong's backstory. So I was to draw issues 3 and 5. However, because of scheduling problems, I was asked to pitch in and draw the second half of issue #4 as well.

In the pages that follow, redrawn for the trade paperback, Kong is captured by the islanders, escapes,  and fights the dinosaur Gaw:

The book, Kong: King Of Skull Island, by Joe Devito and Brad Strickland can be found HERE and the TPB ( that I drew) is HERE

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Will Eisner is known as the father of the graphic novel. A true master of design and layout, Eisner looked at comics not as what they were, but what they could be. I first discovered his work when the book Comics & Sequential Art was recommended to me:

Among other things, the book taught me the importance of page layout and panel borders:

Comics & Sequential Art was great, but the book I found that really inspired me was The Dreamer.

The dreamer tells the story of Eisner's early days as a comic book artist, which also happened to be at the dawn of the comic book industry. Through sacrifices and a strong belief in himself, the main character "Billy" ( who was a thinly disguised Will Eisner) followed his heart and his instincts in order to carve out a career for himself.

Eisner's best known work is the Spirit. In it, Eisner experimented with the comics medium, stretching the accepted boundaries of layout and design:

His first "Graphic Novel" was A Contract With God. After he did semi - autobiographic works Droopsie Avenue,  A Life Force,  and To The Heart Of The Storm. He also did the visually stunning Life On Another Planet:

When I was an undergrad at Loyola, I did a weekly comic strip. I tried to make it very Eisner-like, changing  the title every week ( which drove my editor crazy) and incorporating the title into the strip.

In 2001, Eisner shared a stage with Neil Gaiman at the Chicago Public Library. After their talk, they had a book signing. Gaiman had a huge line, Eisner didn't, which was fine with me. I walked over to Eisner, introduced myself and shook his hand. He signed my favorite page in The Dreamer, which I took out of the book and framed afterwards.

Will Eisner passed away in January 2005. For more of his life and work go HERE. Also, Amazon.com has a store devoted to him HERE