Horror Classics: The Cursed King

I grew up watching Harryhausen films and Rankin Bass cartoons, so I really enjoy drawing classic monsters and otherwordly creatures. Discovering Frank Frazetta’s art in Mad Magazine (the Blecch parody ad) at an early age led me to hunt down his stuff wherever I could, and that only fed the monster jonesing. About a year ago, I decided to pay tribute to a cartoon I grew up on by drawing some of the key villains in very “Concept Artsy” styles. Here are those pieces:

Thundercats Legends got a good dose of positive feedback on my DeviantArt account and practically got me enough attention to start doing some commissions. I’m no Bleedman, but it was great to be able to receive the appreciation.

Anyway… now, just about a year after I started Thundercats Legends, I’m starting Horror Classics, which will showcase my take on the classic icons of horror. This’ll allow me to both quench my desire to pay some sort of tribute to the monster movies I grew up with and use the techniques I learned from doing the Legends set.

The line art for this piece took pretty quick. I was worried at first that all the bandages would be a lot of work, but once I noted the overlaps and the contours of the form, it went somewhat smoothly.

I’ve recently gotten into the habit of toning my line art as well, so I can take cues as I proceed with the actual coloring process. This stage of preparation gives me a sense of where I’m going and enables me to not lose sight of my goal with the piece. Also, it just looks nice.

The actual coloring of the character involved a layer of noise that was blurred just enough so it looked like the actual drawing was uniformly shaded with a pencil. I essentially peeled away at this layer to “sculpt” the form, then applied some color overlays to apply tones. Finishing touches were mainly just dodge and burn tools. Getting the mouth to be the main focus, and not the golden snake, was a bit of a doozy… but I think it came out well. The burn tool also allowed me to emphasize some dark areas around his mouth — as a result, it looks kinda like he’s smiling if you look at him from a distance.

I applied a paper-ish texture as the background, since I want this set to seem like it’s all wanted posters or, failing that, old-style illustrations on scrolls.

The Cursed King is but the first in a seven-piece set. It is available as a print on my DeviantArt store.

Must… earn… KEEP!

September’s looking to be a busy month for me as I have four projects coming down the pipelines. I know that sounds like a heck of a lot of work for a guy who took a whole month to finish six Next Wave sample pages, but I had a day job when I was working on those. Which I’ve thankfully quit since. So… yeah. (That’s right, Johnny. Repeat it like a mantra. You might even end up convincing yourself.) But yeah, this is what I do now, and this is probably the best I’ve felt since I started taking commissions on my DA a whole year ago.

A new publisher called Patchwork Comics is gunning for a January 2009 release date for about four titles, and I got lucky enough to be chosen by the head honcho to take part in that. My own original story pitches — ICELANDER, WOLF PACK SESSIONS, and BEAST BOY JOE (all just working titles) — have been shelved for the moment, but Alveraz Ricardez was kind enough to throw me a bone in the form of one of his own original stories.  MASK of MANOLO will be about a Don Quixote-esque child-hero in a more or less fantasy setting. And the best part? I’ve been granted a window of three days to finish each page! Schwing!

Also on my plate starting next month is a pitch issue for a series entitled OVERTHROW!, with an exclamation point.  Writer Justin Jordan, whose webcomic Junk is up on Zuda this month,  picked me to illustrate the story of a villain who has already won and a hero who has to face a sort of moral dillema about taking him down. Justin’s first e-mail to me had the word kicksplode. That pretty much won me over from the get go. You can view his work log here.

And the final comic project I was lucky enough to get chosen for is another pitch deal with Jared Koon. It’s a yet-untitled Sword and Sorcery story that I’m not allowed to really talk about just yet, so I’ll leave it at that for now

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So yeah. Whew.

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On the local front, co-genius Matt is slaving away, wrapping up the script for the first twelve-issue arc of our comic INSTRUMENTS, which we will be pitching to Image and whoever else when it’s all tight and shiny. Been talking to Derrick Fish a lot about exactly how this is done, but I’ll probably learn a lot from my current collaborators as well.

So I guess those Thor pages will have to wait. They were exciting as fuck, and I got goosebumps when I saw Asgard smoking in Secret Invasion: Thor #1, but I gotta pay the bills first. Still in contact with Cebulski though, which never hurts.

Anyway, a few random and recent sketches I did to warm up in the mornings:

About a year ago I did a fan-art series of portraits entitled Thundercats Legends. It was pretty much a labor of love in that they weren’t commissioned or anything, and I couldn’t sell them coz they were copyrighted. In the same vein as those pieces though, I’m working on a series tentatively titled Horror Classics, and you can pretty much guess what it’s gonna be about. I’ll be doing my takes on the classic monsters. ( Dracula, the Wolfman, etc., Thank you, Wikipedia, for your list of public domain characters. Heh. ) So I’m looking forward to those as breaks between the comic pages I’ll doubtless be swamped with. Here’s a preview of some studies though. Click big.

That’s it for now, guys. Wish me luck.

EDIT: Whoops! I almost forgot. I haz a new computarrr!

Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.53 GHz; 2 Gb of RAM. I am yet to get a new hard drive and maybe a new video card for… stuff… but this is the best PC I’ve ever had the privilege to use. Hands down. My buddy since frickin’ elementary school Andy Tan helped me get the individual parts from three different stores. Thanks, bud!

That blue light is uhmm… my biggest fan. No, really.