Here's a collection of sketches and doodles, both old and new... everything from digital warm ups to sharpie on a cocktail napkin. Enjoy.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Vikingo! is a kick-ass LA band that just happens to be comprised of some very dear friends of mine. When they decided to record and release an EP, they told me they were looking for, “70’s era- barbarian- van- painting meets 80’s comic book cover,” I was all too happy to help the fellas with art and design work for the album art, merch designs, flyers and some Photoshop work that, in my opinion, is some of the very best I’ve ever done. (Scroll to the bottom of the gallery and you’ll see what i mean…)
I’ve been a musician forever and get a kick out of doing band flyers… so here’s some band flyers.
(The Wedge Brothers flyer especially… they asked me to join them for a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis. As a lifelong Prince fan, it was just amazing to play on the famous stage where Purple Rain was shot!)
For many years, I studied acting pretty intensely under the great Arthur Mendoza at The Actor’s Circle Theater here in Los Angeles. (I could go and on about what an amazing experience it was, but that’s probably best saved for another post.) During class, (and this has been true for me ever since kindergarten…), I was unable to pay attention if I couldn’t doodle. I don’t know quite how to explain it- I’m usually not even aware of what I’m drawing, but if my hand’s not moving, I just can’t seem to focus properly in a classroom setting. Conversely, if I can doodle, I don’t miss a thing.
At first, I really tried to hide my ‘doodling problem’ from Arthur. The last thing I wanted was to disrespect him or the class, but i just couldn’t help it. He only called me out on it once, early on. I explained to him why I was sketching the whole time: about how it helped me focus, etc. Rather than ‘bust’ me on it, he actually encouraged me to doodle and sketch as much as I needed to, but he told me that if my work in class ever ‘slipped’ he would, (and I quote), “shove my pen so far up my ass that the cap would poke out of top of my head.”
I love that guy.
Fortunately for me, it never came to that.
Anyway, it got to the point where I’d pretty much fill a notebook every quarter. A lot of people in the class seemed to get a kick out of the drawings, so I started making sketchbooks at Kinko’s for all the students in my class and handing them out at the end of each quarter.
Over all the years I studied with Arthur at A.C.T., (seven years, off and on…), I’ve amassed hundreds of these things.
This a random collection of some of those sketches and doodles.
A collection of all sorts of random stuff... kind of a 'hodge- lodge' of personal projects, cartoons, concept sketches/ illustrations, character designs, pieces to be used for rock posters, bits and pieces of storyboard sequences, etc.
The New Veaus! (AKA Em & Veau's wedding present...)
Emily and Veau are dear friends of mine, who are separately as wonderful as they are together. Emily is part of the Finch clan, who are all amazing and have been almost like a surrogate family out here in sunny Califonia. When Em and Veau told me last summer about their upcoming wedding plans, they shared that they really wanted to do something a bit more 'rock and roll' than a typical ceremony. I had some ideas, so I volunteered whatever art/ design services I could provide as an early wedding present. Veau and I are both musicians, (that's actually how he and Em met, all those years ago, while he was playing in a band in his native Boston), so we all thought that it would be really cool to treat the event more like a rock concert: T-shirts, tour posters, backstage passes, etc... which is all right up my alley. I love doing that kind of stuff. So the first step was to have them over for a (very) informal photoshoot- not so much to get a specific shot, but more to just have fun and get some nice moments of them goofing off together- which they do quite a bit of. I also made a color/ palette reference sheet, based on the samples they gave me.
Right off the bat, I had some definite ideas of what I wanted to do for the 'Save The Date' poster, (which was to be sent out to everyone first), as well as the invitation, which I wanted to look more like a backstage pass. I started with finding the right type treatment. After a few rough mockups, I found a perfect typeface and that really helped pull it together. (Kind of like the rug in "The Big Lebowski"... ) I thought the 'skulls' would be kind of a cool homage to Guns N' Roses "Appetite for Destruction" cover, (which is a pretty fantastic piece of rock album art iconography), but because Em's a huge hip hop fan, I also wanted to have that in there too... so I thought a crown, like the one worn by Biggie Smalls/ Notorious B.I.G. in many of his classic photos would be just the thing.
For the poster, I was thinking more like '1970's Bonnie and Clyde': two, crazy rock n roll kids in love, on the run in badass 70's muscle car... but because I have a lame ass Honda CR-V, I thought it best to maybe frame it so that you wouldn't see that much of the car exterior. I had a pretty clear idea, so after a few rough sketches, I had it pretty close.
I've included both of the final versions in the gallery: I did one with the light from the dashboard and one without. I chose the former 'cause I thought it looked a little more cinematic.
When we got to the reception, (after a truly beautiful wedding, where Veau emerged to the sounds of Judas Priest's "The Hellion". Sweet), I was blown away at how well it all came together! There was a merch booth, where they handed out posters, t-shirts, guitar picks and even fake 'Veau' beards! There was a large photo area with a huge backdrop of the 'skulls' art, where many a drunken picture was taken... it was an absolute blast! It was a fantastic thing to be a part of and I was honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to something that was so important to these amazing people that we're all so crazy about.
Congrats to Chris and Emily: The New Veaus!
A collection of pencilled comic pages...
My buddy Derek Mears has made quite a name for himself playing total badasses, (see: Predators, Sleepy Hollow and Friday the 13th, to name just a few!), but a lot of people don't realize that he is one funny dude. And not just 'haha at a party' funny, but "crazy, badass, skilled improv craftsman" funny. He's part of a improv comedy company called "The Resistance", and they are, quite simply, fucking amazing. They improv an entire action film live, on stage- with the genre picked by the audience at the top of the show.
Derek had mentioned they were doing a showcase and I thought it would be really cool to do a poster for the fellas to hand out at the show... so here's what i came up with.
If you live in California- do yourself a favor and go see them ASAP. Trust me on this one.
Here's a bunch of the stuff I did for the merchandising/ style guide for Spider-Man 3. I've included a few examples of how they used some of the images- trying to fins some good pics of the Slurpee cups from 7-11... that was a rush!
You haven't really made it 'til your art adorns a limited edition Slurpee cup...
Dammit. Now i want a Slurpee.
Gentle Giant/ Star Wars
Not long after I moved to Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to the wonderful team at Gentle Giant Ltd… even more fortunately, they just happened, (at that time), to be looking for a freelancer to do some designs, (“Bust Ups”, statues, bookends, mini busts, etc), for some of their biggest licenses: The X-Men and Spider- Man films, some other marvel comics characters, The Matrix and most importantly, Star Wars.
So, I got to contribute designs for a great many of the pieces from those product lines for a few years, off and on.
It was a blast.
Here’s some of the Star Wars pieces...
"You want it, you got it! The hottest band in the world... "
(who won't pay you for any damn designs!)
(The crowd erupts as the stage explodes, Paul Stanley captivates with a chest so hairy that a wookie would be proud as Gene Simmons vomits blood all over the front row)
Gentle Giant/ Marvel
And here's some of the Marvel pieces, and a few from The Matrix and Corpse Bride...
The Pretender/ The Centre Chronicles
These are pages from a 'proof of concept' one- shot comic I did with my beautiful and talented better half, the incomparable Jenna Busch, for a series based on the early 2000's television hit, "The Pretender".
Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle, the creators of the show, are also dear friends and they asked JB and I if we could help them with some ideas for a comic series/ graphic novel based on "The Pretender" mythology. We were happy to help.
Jenna, ("The blonde Ms. Parker"), wrote a great, ten page story and I illustrated and lettered the pages. Steve and Craig loved it and the response by the Pretender fan base was fantastic... always a good sign.
Jenna's slated to write the series once Steve and Craig work out all the particulars- which might take a while, since they're the only two people I know who are busier than Jen and I.