Wednesday, February 24, 2010

new method practice

Here's an unfair question for you -- which of the two above unresolved sketches do you prefer? Wait -- before you answer let me give you a little context.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are both stupefying-ly incredible artists. And Annie's got this something about this one way she works :

She was sweet enough to offer to let me watch her paint and steal all her knowledges.

So I'm going to be experimenting with a new method soon and I'm trying to settle on test piece. Both of the above ideas are simple, a dragon in a gondola and Alice. The core of the method seems to be strong drawing is which what I'm most comfortable doing. Then there's a series of glazing and I'm assuming acrylic washing.

If it makes any difference, in the lesser resolved of the thumbnails, Alice is holding a rabbit. And the background is an off-kilter argyle pattern.

So, gondola or rabbit? Which would you rather see?

Here's the board I'll be painting on.

Monday, February 22, 2010

wrapping and starting up

A lot of projects are wrapping up and a lot of projects are starting up. Here follows an account of some of them.


I hate the word "tease" and I hate the act of "teasing" even more but, if I don't mention that there was an all-consuming and awesome job from October to January you might think I was sitting on my hands for all that time. All that to say the massive project from the last 4 months is still not released yet so sadly I can't post anything about it yet.


Another project that is wrapped up is my entry for Flight 7. I don't know if you are familiar with the award-winning graphic novel anthology but it's incredible. I was honored to be invited to the 6th volume (see my 40 page story Walters) and I recently completed my 20 page story for volume 7,

It's an original mythology about the earth sinking into the ocean and the central question is who is going to go and down to hold it up?


You may have noticed increase in Alice in Wonderland pieces. This is for two reasons. 1, I'm finally getting the time to do the 14 paintings I'd thumbnailed and planned back in September and 2, I'm in the Curiouser and Curiouser show at the illustrious Gallery Nucleus.

I have 14 pieces in the works, one for every chapter plus prologue and epilogue illustrations.

You can click here for a compilation of all Alice posts.


I'm very proud of my wife, Erin. She's an incredible entertainer, decorator, baker, interior designer, you name it -- she's absolutely wonderful and she puts up with me. So she's basically a saint.

She has a personal project of her own that she's embarking on soon and I'll be sure and mention more about it as it draws nearer. The other day I designed some little logo/mascot characters for her. This one is my favorite.


Most of the time, the entire year feels like a building, exhilarating lead up to the San Diego Comic Con and afterwards it starts all over again. I'm in the process of putting together some stuff I'm pretty proud of for this years SDCC 2010. A lot of it revolves around the Alice work.


Finally, I'm very happy to announce that I am leading the Portland Studios animation team in the production of what I feel is one of the most important projects we've ever been privileged to be a part of,

I hope you'll be able to take a moment and watch the documentary trailer at the link above.

From the site,
By 14 he had written five novels and penned a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16 he had produced 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, written numerous short stories and had walked to the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

Much of Petr’s story was unknown until the 2003 Columbia space shuttle tragedy. Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, carried with him into space Petr’s drawing, Moon Landscape. The publicity surrounding the flight and its explosion led to the discovery of Petr’s diary and additional artwork and short stories in a Prague attic.

Through Petr’s artwork, novels, short stories and magazine articles, the viewer will see Petr make the journey from precocious child to young adult, from innocence to the painful awareness of inhumanity, from gifted artist and writer to prodigy.

But this is not a story of tragedy but celebration—a testament to how a boy’s wonder and creative expression represent the best of what makes us human.

Well, there you have it. There's a lot wrapping up and a lot starting up, not to mention the continuation of bit and run, and I have a a couple of client picture books going at the moment.

I'm very happy I have the chance to do what I love. I try to never take it for granted and keep on working like the dickens.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"bit and run" 8

I wanted to take a minute and say thank you to everyone who has enjoyed these comics. They are a joy to make and I'm pleased that they've been so well received.

I also wanted to make one thing clear regarding "bit and run" -- I've actually got two volumes of comics written. My plan all along has been to run Vol. 1 from January 1 - March 26 and then take a break and use my free time to prepare for the San Diego Comic-Con (end of July) then begin releasing Vol. 2 from August 6 - October 29, another 3 month run.

As much as I've loved making Vol 1., Vol. 2 is even better I think.

Thanks again to Kevin and GoNintendo for this great partnership!

* * *

What pleases me most about this comic, even more than Link's reaction in panel five, is that this comic is probably the first one that truly exemplifies the title, "bit and run."

* * *

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Alice portraits 3/3

In addition to my painting of Alice and the Gryphon, I wanted to make three small portraits for Curiouser and Curiouser, the upcoming Alice in Wonderland show at Gallery Nucleus.

I settled on portraits of Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Caterpillar.

Here is the Caterpillar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alice portraits 2/3

In addition to my painting of Alice and the Gryphon, I wanted to make three small portraits for Curiouser and Curiouser, the upcoming Alice in Wonderland show at Gallery Nucleus.

I settled on portraits of Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Caterpillar.

Here is the Cheshire Cat, who amounts to the Cheshire "James" -- my cat.


And then for my own amusement I did a quick digital version.

Next post, Thursday : The Caterpillar

* * *

I'm adding to my standard M/W/F schedule to keep all the Alice portraits together so the Caterpillar will go up tomorrow.

"bit and run" will come Friday as usual.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alice portraits 1/3

In addition to my painting of Alice and the Gryphon, I wanted to make three small portraits for Curiouser and Curiouser, the upcoming Alice in Wonderland show at Gallery Nucleus.

I settled on portraits of Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Caterpillar.

Here is the progression of Alice.

This just wasn't doing it for me and got ripped in half.

This one also started out working but ended up ripped in half.

Finally I decided to have Alice doing something, however inactive looking at a bottle is, it worked much better for me.

This finished piece is a mix of pencil, watercolor, and gouache.

Next post, Wednesday : The Cheshire Cat

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alice and the Gryphon : stages

When I decide to photograph the progress of a piece, I inevitably forget I'm doing that and the spaces between photographs widens the longer I'm working.

Nevertheless, I managed to get the highlights of making my first piece for Curiouser and Curiouser : Inspired by 'Alice In Wonderland'


Alice and the Gryphon. 8 x 10. Watercolor.

This weekend I'm set to begin the set of three small portraits that will accompany this piece.

I'm very glad to be having a little extra time to do these.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Alice and the Gryphon

I'm very happy to show my first piece for Curiouser and Curiouser : Inspired by 'Alice In Wonderland' another one of the awesome shows coming up at Gallery Nucleus.

I'm sure you'll remember Nucleus, they hosted the Terrible Yellow Eyes show back in September 2009.

The Alice show is coming up and in addition to the painting below I've got a series of small portraits planned as well.

Alice and the Gryphon. 8 x 10. Watercolor.

I was really excited when I heard about the show and even more so when Nucleus asked me to join. If you'll remember, back in October I had begun to plan for a series of Alice inspired pieces then I was waylaid by the enormous project (I still have to wait to post about it yet) but I managed to plan all my pieces for this Alice project.

Wednesday I'll post the stages of painting for this piece and you can sort of see how it came together.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My piece for "Brownstones To Red Dirt" charity art auction

These last few months have certainly been the times of charity art auctions for me. This piece for Brownstones To Red Dirt marks the third of such endeavors.

I'm pleased to do them and I do enjoy contributing in some small way, plus it's always fun to get an excuse to do a one-off, unrelated to any other project piece.

From the BTR blog about the project :

Two colleagues at Blue Sky Studios, David LaMattina and Chad Walker, have created a feature-length documentary about a pen pal program between a group of at-risk sixth graders living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and orphans from the war living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This Postcard Art project is an extension of the their film "Brownstones To Red Dirt" which features children from both schools. The kids in both places have inspired us all to want to do more and so we're putting together an art auction of original postcards based around the same central theme of the film in a fundraising effort to build a school for the orphans in Freetown, Sierra Leone and create a library for the youth at their school in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
The theme of sorts is pen-pals and all the art has been made on these little wooden postcards. It was an interesting surface to try and work on. I was expecting the watercolor to bleed a little but it actually stayed put pretty well. Other contributors to the auction have used more opaque media and I wish I would have tried something like that but I stupidly left myself little time before I needed to mail the actual piece. I'm happy with what I ended up with in any case, it feels pretty standard "Cory" to me, which is what I wanted for it.

I'm not sure when the piece will be posted, I just mailed it out yesterday morning but I'll certainly let you know when it's up for auction.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The making of a "bit and run"

Like I mentioned in my debut post; So what happens to you if you're me and you're embroiled in the midst of an enormous three month long project? 15 - 17 hours days, 7 days a week, give or take?

Here's what happens --

Your life fragments into two distinct pieces -- work and decompression/Nintendo

* * *

For the last three months on this massive animation project I'd work like mad all day and crash in the early hours of the morning. But not before decompressing with a little Mario. Mario 2 and Mario 3, mostly.

I had to have some kind of in between time before sleep because if I just went to bed my brains would be buzzing with all that I needed to do and I couldn't sleep. So, Mario.

The result of this mix; delirious work schedule, little sleep, and Nintendo resulted in some of the silliest ideas I've ever had.

When I found tiny chunks of time in between the cracks of this enormous project I jotted those ideas down. I quickly amassed several pages of quickly scrawled jokes and notes of Nintendo related humor. Pretty specific, nerd humor. Like, if you haven't played level 4 of Mario 2 you're not likely to know what the crap is going on.

So, some of my energies I channeled into a series of Nintendo themed desktops that I released through GoNintendo, my favorite Nintendo blog. Kevin Cassidy, the guy behind it, is a stand-up fellow, fun to read, and very kind.

Now, what to do with the other ideas? They became my next personal project --

Once again I've partnered with Kevin and GoNintendo to release my work.

But how is bit and run made? I'm very glad you asked.

It all starts with this folder :

Occasionally I misplace the folder around my office. I usually find it later.

Inside you can see all of the quickly scrawled ideas spreading across a dozen sheets of paper.

Every comic, more or less begins looking something like this. A couple doodles and the idea written out.

From there I'll typically make a little more finished rough, at least a layout, like above, so I can get an idea about how it all plays.

Now, on to the digital future!

Here is my Nintendo folder. Pretty great, right? I took a picture of the screen.

So the first thing I do is make sure I've got my reference for the piece. I want to try and make sure I stick as close to the original colors as I can. I do make some exceptions. And in this case I wanted a refresher on all of the zillions of items to be had.

After that, I start drawing.

These comics are a little different than my typical work, they're more Little Golden book, I think. In a way. While my media is all digital I'm looking for a gouache-type painting approach.

As you can see with this exploded view, I make make everything on layers in Photoshop so...

...I can rearrange them as needed.


The drawing is pretty straightforward after all that.

Below you can see a little demo of the brush I most often use for these pieces.

So there you have it -- start to finish, pretty much. A few hours.

These are incredibly fun to make, I get a lot of enjoyment out of making them and I hope you gain some small measure of enjoyment out of reading them.