Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

-By Dan dos Santos

Drew: The Man Behind the Poster is a documentary about the life and art of movie poster artist Drew Struzan. The movie, which had a limited theatrical release this past Summer, is actually already available for streaming on Netfilx!

The movie is honestly more about Drew than it is about his art, but it's really enjoyable and insightful nonetheless. They show a lot of art many may not be familiar with, and also discuss a few insider aspects of the movie industry that really shed some light on the matter. It's definitely worth watching, and makes for great company while you're painting.

I've always enjoyed Drew's work, as I think just about any illustrator does, but in recent years I've really discovered a newfound appreciation for it. Drew has been such a staple of the industry for so long, and makes it all look SO effortless, that it's really easy to overlook his art. Like a family portrait that has hung on your wall so long you no longer notice it's there, Drew's work is so engrained in the public's mind that I oftentimes fail to appreciate just how compositionally brilliant it is. The more I study his work, the more I admire it.

If you have a Netfilx subscription, you can watch the movie right now HERE.

The documentary does touch on some of Drew's working methods, but for those that are really interested in learning the details of his process, I highly recommend his instructional DVD, 'Conceiving and Creating the Hellboy Movie Poster Art'.  It is a really informative look at his process from concept to final and introduced to me to several new techniques.

At just 90 minutes long, and a cost of $80, it's perhaps a little overpriced. But it is a great video and I have already watched it three times, so it's value is subjective. At the very least, find a friend to borrow it from!

You can purchase the DVD from Amazon HERE.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Art of Petar Meseldzija selling now through Stuart NG Books

I am really glad to finally be able to announce that my book The Art of Petar Meseldzija is also available for purchase in the U.S.. 
Stuart NG Books is now selling the book.  At the moment, they are the sole source in North America for this Dutch import! Please visit them at  http://stuartngbooks.com/new-arrivals/meseldzija-the-art-of-petar-meseldzija.html

Here is a short video of me flipping through the book.
Thank you and Enjoy!


For a  slightly better quality video please go to  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2MRsa7Pv_k

In Memoriam

by Arnie Fenner

The end of the year is a good time to remember those members of the art community that we lost in 2013.

Above: Dan Adkins, a former assistant to Wally Wood, drew for comics and
the SF fiction digests of the 1960s-'70s  

Dan Adkins [b 1937]
Comic Artist

Eric Auld [b 1931]

Frederic Back [b 1924]

Nick Cardy [b 1920]
Comic Artist

Scott Clark [b 1970]
Comic Artist

Above: Bob Clarke was a regular contributor to Mad Magazine

Bob Clarke [b 1926]

Didier Comès [b 1958]

Ray Cusick [b 1928]
Film Designer

Mike Dimayuga [b 1974]

David Fairbrother-Roe [b ?]

Stuart Freeborn [b 1914]
Film Make-Up Artist

Above: Louis S. Glanzman was both an editorial illustrator and book cover artist.
His brother Sam Glanzman is a well-regarded comics artist

Louis S. Glanzman [b 1922]

Charles Grigg [b 1916]
Comic Artist

Above: Ray Harryhausen started out in science fiction fandom and was friends with
another young Los Angeles enthusiast, Ray Bradbury

Ray Harryhausen [b 1920]
SFX Artist

Above: Mitchell Hooks had an extensive career doing book covers and movie posters

Mitchell Hooks [b 1923]

Quentin Hoover [b 1964]

Above: Carmine Infantino (with Murphy Anderson) was both a respected artist
and editor for DC Comics during the Silver Age

Carmine Infantino [b 1925]
Comic Artist

Rune T. Kidd [b 1957]

Leonard P. Leone Sr [b 1921]
Art Director

Stan Lynde [b 1931]

Greg Martin [b ?]

Above: José Ortiz

José Ortiz (Moya) [b 1932]
Comic Artist

George Olesen [b 1924]

PashP183 [b ?]
Graffitti Artist

Roy Peterson [b 1936]

Al Plastino [b 1921]
Comic Artist

James Plumeri [b 1933]
Art Director

Above: Jesse Santos both drew comics stories and painted many covers

Jesse Santos [b 1930]
Comic Artist

Lou Scarborough [b 1953]

Above: Fred Scherer painted diorama murals for the Museum of Natural History

Fred Scherer [b 1915]

J.C. Suares [b 1942]

Gilbert Taylor [b 1914]

Above: Storm Thorgerson & his art for the Pink Floyd album
Dark Side of the Moon

Storm Thorgerson [b 1944]
Graphic Artist

Janice Valleau Winkleman [b 1923]

Above: Joan Hanke-Woods

Delphyne Woods aka Joan Hanke-Woods [b 1945]

Takashi Yanase [b 1919]

Whether they worked within genre or without, whether they described themselves as comic artists, cartoonists, illustrators, or painters, they were all a part of our extended creative family. All will be missed and may they all rest in peace.

During the awards ceremony at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live we run a video memorial to those no longer with us. If I've missed anyone, I'd greatly appreciate hearing from you so we can give them a final bit of recognition this May.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

River's Dream

-By Dan dos Santos

Here is a piece I recently finished for Dark Horse Comic's 'Serenity: Leaves on the Wind' #3.

MTV News was awesome enough to do an exclusive walkthrough last week of the piece's creation. The write up was pretty cool, but since their audience is not as concerned with the more intricate aspects of picture making like we are here, MTV didn't use all of the progress shots I sent them. I figured I would post those shots here, as a sort of supplemental post, for those who are interested.

For the complete low-down on the painting's creation, be sure to first read the MTV article HERE.

This was a bit of an unusual piece for me, starting with the board. Rather than use my usual smooth white surface, I created a grey surface with some interesting texture to work on top of.

I did my underdrawing in 2B pencil, and a red colored pencil. From there, I alternated between numerous washes of acrylic, some airbrushing, and lots of colored pencil. This approach is very similar to Drew Struzan's method, from whom I got the idea. (It's an amazingly fast working method, btw!)

This last stage shown above is about as far as I took the acrylic and colored pencil. From this point on, I finished the piece off in oils. I wanted to add some subtlety to the piece, and I was having a really difficult time color matching with the acrylics (something which is relatively easy to do in oils). I also used the oils to glaze a lot of vibrancy into the lights, darken large areas like the hair, and tint the face a slightly warmer hue.

Here is a candid shot of my studio during the painting process. You can still see my drawing for Serenity #1 tacked to the board. Lastly, below, is the finished painting with the final layer of oils completed.

'River's Dream', by Dan dos Santos  (16x24 inches) Acrylic, colored pencil, and oils on board.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Diablo III: Book of Tyrael, Part 2

                                                                    By Petar Meseldzija

Two weeks ago, I posted a few drawings which I did for the book Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. Here is now the second part of that post with the remaining drawings. The last drawing I was commissioned to do was quite large and depicted the Leoric family tree. It included the portraits of all the members of the family. The portraits were drawn on a separate paper and then pasted onto the drawing of the tree in Photoshop. This drawing was published as a large two-sided fold out poster at the back of the book. One side of the poster shows the portraits of the Leoric family members as they were before they met their doom; while the images on the backside indicate the way their life ended.
Because I still did not get my copies of the  book from the publisher,  I searched the web and found this image of the poster (see the last image).

Why Does IlluXcon Do That?

We've talked a lot about conventions here, and inevitably the question comes up, 'Which convention is right for me?' One convention is good for this, another for that. Some conventions are good for all types sales, some are not. Some showcase all types of art, some don't.

IlluXcon has some unusual (and sometimes confusing) aspects to it, and thusly is one of those conventions that people seem to have a lot of questions about. Pat Wilshire, the creator of IlluXcon, has tried to answer those questions by writing an essay explaining why it is that they choose to do things the way they do. It's a bit lengthy, but actually provides some really nice insight into the strategy behind creating a successful convention.

From Pat:
Hello, and greetings from IlluXCon! We’ve just finished handling this year’s jurying process and getting our Showcase tables sold, and during that process we’ve gotten a higher number of questions than usual from people who aren’t as familiar with how IlluXCon works. Unfortunately, since the jury submission period is limited and the Showcase tables sell out in just a few minutes, that means that sometimes those who are new to the show don’t get their questions in to us until it’s too late.

As a result, we thought it might be helpful to do a series of essays explaining how IlluXCon works and, more importantly, why it works the way it does. We’re posting them in the new IlluXConnections section of our website (we’re a bit too verbose for a blog platform), but Dan has been kind enough to let us share the link here on Muddy Colors. The follow-on essays will appear on the IlluXCon site as well - you can keep an eye out for them either on the site (www.illuxcon.com) or our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/illuxcon). Or, of course, you can remain in blissful ignorance of all things IlluXCon-ish. We’re all about choices. :-)

Oh, and for the record, the answer to the #1 most frequently asked question - it’s pronounced ILL-ucks-con.

Why Does IlluXCon Do That? (LINK)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Comic Book Cover Artists of 2013

Adam Hughes

I love end of the year recaps! Everybody makes their lists of all the awesome things from throughout the year, and they are always full of little gems you've missed.

I'm particularly enjoying ComicAlliance's Best Comic Book Cover Artists of 2013 segment. Thus far they've done 4 installments, and each one is full of beautiful cover art.

Fantasy art in general never seems to garner that much public respect, and comic art is no exception. So it's really nice to see them make note, not of the characters, but of the artists who help bring these characters to life, month after month, in consistently brilliant displays of composition.

Below is a small sampling of some these artists. Click the links to see the entire galleries.

Massimo Carnevale

Mike del Mundo
Jenny Frison

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Chris Turnham

Greg Manchess

Happy Holidays to all the readers and all my Muddy artist friends! A brief selection of some of my favorite wintery, Christmas paintings.

More can be seen at Irene Gallo’s Facebook page, “Of the Season.” She’ll be adding fabulous images daily until December 31st.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Gennady Spirin

Alphonse Mucha

Winslow Homer

Norman Rockwell

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gryphon Hunting

By Justin Gerard

So after some time away I am back! (Special thanks to Cory Godbey for holding down the fort for me while I went and got married and explored some sea caves in the Caribbean and was almost nearly kidnapped and eaten by bats.)  

But I am back and I am painting again. And for Christmas Eve this year I'd like to share a few preliminaries for my next painting with you. 

Rough Design GO!

This painting is a private commission and will be done 4'x6' oil on canvas.  I've been having a lot of fun working larger and am looking forward to tackling something this size.  

Working large makes this early design stage really important for me.  Once I blow the drawing up and transfer it to the canvas I start to lose track of things fast.  Proportions start to slide off and perspective warps. 
So I like to nail down a really solid design here.  The little bits like leaves and individual bricks don't matter, but faces and poses and characters relations to one another is extremely important. 

Color Comp GO!

 Figuring out the light source and shadows is really important. Ultimately its story though. And we need to figure out what is the story is here most of all.

Is it more interesting to have an ultimate-samurai-warrior-navy-seal-who looks like George Washington in a bear suit?
Or a lost pizza delivery guy?
Or a band of adventurers of dubious character who are trying for the big one?

I don't know.  So we spend some time sketching to figure it out.

Next Week: George Washington in a bear suit 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Inking — Part 3 of 3

Ink on bristol board (with digital color), 11 × 17″.

This is the final installment of my 3-part series on inking (here are parts 1 and 2), but that doesn't mean there's not tons more to say about the craft. Having said that, talk is cheap — there's no substitute for actually doing it (or at least watching someone actually doing it). That being the case, I've put together a 1-hour inking demonstration that features fundamental mark-making, brush dynamics, and the thought process behind some of my choices.

It's a long video, so feel free to skip around. I talk for most of it (trying to channel my best Bob Ross) but there's a substantial audio delay in some parts. My apologies. If you make it all the way through, but still have questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments section. As I said, there's quite a bit more I could say on the subject — hopefully that will eventually coalesce into a future post.



digital composite

pencil layout

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Superman Paint Master

by Tim Bruckner

This was a pretty straight ahead paint up. I use cel vinyl exclusively for my basic paint work. For those of you who don’t know what cel vinyl is of haven’t triedit, its a water based paint created to be used on animation cels. For those of you who don’t know what animation cels are… 

Long ago, cartoons used to be drawn by hand.  I know! Crazy, right? And those drawings were transferred to clear sheets of acetate called cels.  And cel vinyl was the paint used to color them in.  I get my paint from Cartoon Colours: if you’re inclined to try it, buy them directly from the company.  If you find them in an art store, chances are they’ve been there for awhile and have settled into something like a brick. If you’re familiar with watercolor technique, you’re got a head start. For more information, there’s a dandy chapter on painting statues and the like in Pop Sculpture, Watson/Guptill-Random House. (shameless plug)

Always start with the head first.  It’ll give you a reference point for color, density and saturation for the rest of the piece. I laid in the flesh color for the head and worked on the eyes. Once the face was done, I painted in the hair. Next the yellow, the red and then the blue, in that order. If possible, always paint light to dark being aware of what color has to cover what color.

With the paint work finished on the figure I gave the whole thing several coats of Testors Lusterless Flat. Gloss coated his eyes and lips, semi-gloss varnished his hair and added a mix of semi-gloss and matte for his chest emblem.

I used an airbrush to pre-paint the cape. I’m a mediocre airbrusher at best.  But with a part that big and large sections of smooth contours, it was about the only was to get it done without running the risk of brush-mark build-up. Snuggling the figure into the cape section was tricky. But using a heat gun made the resin soft enough to lift the collar tabs of the cape, insert the figure and then bend the tabs down into position. With the figure and the cape secure, I finished the paint work on the cape and then mounted the completed figure on the base (see Basics of Bases). 

In painting the portrait I use a few techniques consistently. I’ll add a little blush (a touch of vermillion to the flesh color in washes) to his ears, chin, nose, adams apple and very lightly to his cheeks. To play up the graphic element of his lips, I paint the upper lip slightly darker, adding a touch of light brown. To intensify his eyes , I mix a little light brown with the flesh color and paint it above his upper lid and just below his lower lid.

My client, Don Bohm, also wanted a bronzed version. Everybody has their own solution to the problem of creating a bronze look in paint. Usually, I’ll lay in a basic bronze base coat and achieve highlights with dry brushing a lighter, brighter paint over it. This time I tried something different. I base coated the piece in a bright metallic yellow gold spray paint. Then, using Sophisticated Finishes Blacken Bronze, I diluted and strained it and airbrushed on several coats,  varying the degree of opacity in certain places over the entire piece. What this did was give me just enough under luster while creating a standard brown top patina. When an actual bronze is patinaed, the color is applied over sandblasted metal which creates a kind of polished surface. How dense the patina is applied determines how much of that “polished” bronze shows through.  To add a little finish detail, I painted in both S’s on his chest and base with several coats of blackened bronze for accents.