Sunday, September 24, 2006


My (MySpace) account was deleted for showing nipple I suppose, I feel like I'm back in high school, geeez!!
here's my new address:

Sorry for the inconvenience.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

MySpace Page/Quick Photoshop Coloring

I give up
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, I've been resisting joining the MySpace community for the longest, Jonathan Ellis convinced me by telling me Myspace is a great tool for networking and last night I finally took the plunge, so if you don't have enough friends already stop by and let's get buddy-buddy with each other. Here's my address:

Quasi Art Deco-Cosmic Mutant-Psychodelic Concert Poster
This is a face -inspired by my fellow blogger and friend, Rebekit- I sketched it last week at the Baltimore Comicon for no particular reason than to kill time, drawn with a black liquid gel 0.7 ballpoint pen, I let the pen go wherever it took me, just swirling around without much thought; at one point I started to see something taking shape so I made a conscious effort to establish a flow pattern inside the hair, moving upwards and away from the face. I then used my Col-erase red pencil to add a few shadows.

Sequence One

At the end of the show I gave the sketch to a friend and asked him to email me a scan whenever possible.

I wanted to post the sketch as it was but, that would be boring, right? so as usual, I hacked the fuck out of it and gaudied it up some. All of you Photoshop geniuses look away, this ain't gonna be pretty.

Note: Click on the images to zoom in.

First thing -after opening the image in Photoshop- I created a new layer, filled it with a flat blue, set the blend mode to 'Multiply' and the opacity level to 12%.

Sequence One

Next, I made a copy of the 'Blue Layer', switched the color to green using the 'Hue/Saturation slide (command>U), the blend mode remained at 'Multiply' and the opacity level up to 40%.

While on the 'Green Layer', I picked up some high-lights using the eraser tool at a very low opacity setting (less than 10%), I also used the 'Burn' tool to slightly darken some areas.

Sequence One

I then selected the hair with the help of the 'Magic Wand and 'Lasso' tools

Sequence One

And generated a new layer (Layer 2 -Hair-) 'via copy' (command>J).
this layer was set to the default 'Normal' blend and its opacity up to 100%.

I selected the resulting 'Hair' silhouette and filled it with white. I then hid the layer for later use.

Sequence One

With the 'Hair' still selected, I clicked back on my 'Green Layer' and from the top menu bar I chose 'Select Inverse' (Command>shift>i) and duplicated the 'Green Layer' one last time, again using 'command>J '.

Sequence One

I set the mode to 'Darken' and using the 'Rectangular Marquee' tool, I "carved" the stripes by deleting the selected areas. I changed the green to a 'ultramarine blue' hue and 'soft' erased part of the stripes on the lower left to make room for the text.

Sequence One

Next, I clicked on the 'Eye' icon to the left of the 'Hair' layer to make it visible.

Sequence One

I switched the mode of the 'Hair' layer to 'Exclusion', set the opacity slider to 96% and Voilá!, orange hair!

Sequence One

To complete my 'cosmic nightmare' I added a bunch of random dots, a repeat pattern of stars and a glowing circle (which would serve as a place holder for additional info to be added later)

Sequence One

Some funky text and we're done!

Sequence One

Same girl, different feeling. With the aid of the 'Hue/Saturation' command, I turned the pinkish red of the original scan into a warm, fuzzy and fleshy orange.

Sequence Two

Just like in the previous demo, I first selected the hair mass with the 'Lasso' tool and separated it from the face via Command>shift>J .

Sequence Two

Next, I 'gray scaled' the 'Hair' layer using the Hue/Saturation command (pull the saturation slider all the way to the left until you reach -100)

I Turned the hair black by selecting "Invert" from the Image>Adjustments menu.

Sequence Two

At this point I went back to the face layer, I made some tonal adjustments to maximize the contrast between the hair and the face, without upsetting the balance of the entire picture, I erased a few lines in order to allow the hair to better frame the face.

Sequence Two

I duplicated the black 'Hair' layer, filled the hair silhouette with white, switched the mode to 'Multiply' and locked the transparency by clicking on the checkered board icon (directly below the mode pull-down menu). This is done to avoid painting outside the contour of the hair shape inadvertently.

Without fear of messing up, I proceeded to paint the hair as carelessly and garishly as allowed by the law.

Sequence Two

If you played along, your layers should look like this:

This is what the end result looked like with the 'Black Hair' layer showing directly underneath.

Sequence Two

Lastly, I offset the right side of the face to show a bit more color and added a few dots, a crescent moon and a star.

Sequence Two

The End.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Independence Day

As some of you regulars already know, I have a soft spot in my heart for independent publishers and artists who are out there doing it for the right reasons, pouring their passion, resources and talent into their own creations. I'm very proud to be friends with a real decent human being named Jim Zubkavich, I volunteered to help promote his first book (not that he needs it), because I believe in what he does; Jim has written, drawn and shared his on-line comic with the world for over 5 years and finally this very personal work is being published, I can't be happier for him. I can talk about his project all night but don't take my word for it, click on the link below and see what the buzz is about for yourselves.

You can pre-order this book before it hits the stores, support independent thinkers.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

Dear Diary:
I still can't believe how fuckin' beautiful the city of Toronto really is. It reminded me of NYC, a smaller and kinder NYC, mind you.

You know, Diary, you are my only confidant and bestest of friends, only you know all my deepest and darkest secrets, you alone are aware of how much of an extremist I am and how self-destructive that can be, I trust you won't tell anyone. Remember the time I had sex with that nun inside the chapel?, yeah, good times, but wrong, oh so wrong, although God did punish me for that one, or that other episode where I grabbed onto a fast-moving truck while riding my skateboard and smashed my head against the side of an in-coming vehicle? I was spitting blood for a couple of weeks, good thing the bus behind me stopped 3 inches of my legs, phew! that was a close shave. Or the time I was playing with fire and melted my toy soldiers, dripping the scorching liquid plastic all over my knuckles? Ouch! the smell of burning vinyl and human flesh still haunts me to this day and let's not even talk about the 'do-it-yourself' genital piercing kit incident, my hat off to whoever invented penicillin, it is a wonder of nature I was still able to have kids after that nightmare! ...Those ARE my kids, right?

Yeah, poor judgment and sheer stupidity, I must agree. How about the time I visited Calgary and for a while I contemplated moving up there? crazy, huh? I'm glad I didn't act upon that last one.No, no, don't get me wrong, Calgary is a fine town but I can't move across the continent on a whim just like that, that's fuckin' nuts!

Well, my loyal friend, I want to move to Toronto now. Yes, I know, it's sudden and insane, considering I was there for a mere few days, I know. But before you say anything, let me tell you: Toronto has a huge art community and the subways are cleaner too. California is OK, I guess but too many natural disasters there; if the earthquakes don't get you, the mud slides will, or the riots, or the floods, or the forest fires, besides, LA is way too fake and phoney, you need to hop on your car just to buy a loaf of bread. Chicago is nice but is in the middle of nowhere, besides, I hate the Bears and the Bears' Cubs, true, nothing compares to NYC but Toronto comes very close, without the assholes and the Long Island pigs, mind you.

The Customs Lady
I arrived at Pearson International airport with a bunch of my books in my luggage and I came face to face with the Canadian Customs officer, my friend warned me to not say I'd be selling books at the convention because they will give me a hard time, since that requires a ton of red tape, fees and hassle. She asked me for my documents and fired the usual barrage of questions, 'What are you doing here? Do you bring any live stock with you? Have you been in a farm, down by a river and through the woods? have you ever been molested by a priest? Are you circumcised?, Coke or Pepsi?, silly shit like that, you know.

I told her I was in town to attend a comic book convention, she wanted to know what would I be doing there, I said I'm an artist and she seemed very interested, she asked: 'So you draw comics?' I said "well, not really" and to verify my claim I pulled out one of my books to show her. I noticed throughout this interview that she seemed very knowledgeable of comic book conventions and she was giggling and being very friendly, usually these people behave like androids, they have no sense of humor and show no emotion whatsoever, kinda like Mr. Spock when he pinches your nerve down there, 'you know what I mean?

It all went a litle something like this:
Agent: "So where is this convention"
Me: "I don't know, at the convention centre I assume"
Agent: "Can I see your convention registration, badges or any document that says you'll be there?"
Me: "I have nothing on me, my friend has my badge"
Agent: "But you're registered, right?"
Me: "yes, of course"
Agent: "So if I go to the convention's website your name would be listed on the guests page?"
Me: "No, because my friend registered as himself, I'm just tagging along"
Agent: "hmm . . ."
Agent: "Will you be selling anything at the convention?"
Me: "No"
Agent: "But you do have a table, right?, What are you going to put on display?"
Me: "my books, but I won't be selling them"
Agent: "So what's the purpose? people usually sell comics and other stuff at these events"
Me: "The purpose is self promotion I brought just a few books to promote myself"
Agent: "I see, where will you be staying, what's the Hotel's name"
Me: "I'll be staying at a friend's house"
Agent: "what's your friend's name?"
Me: "Jim"
Agent: "last name?"
Me: "Zubkavich"
Agent: "What's his address"
Me: "I don't know"
Agent: "??"
Me: "Well, I wrote his address down on a piece of paper and now I can't find it"
Agent: "So, Jim is picking you up?"
Me: "No, Dale is"
Agent: "Who's Dale"
Me: "Another friend. Look, I'm totally ill-prepared, Jim will be here later to get another friend coming from Calgary, since I arrived first I made arrangenments with Dale, he's here at the airport waiting for me, we'll meet Jim in a couple of hours, Dale will drive me to his house"
Agent: "but you don't know where Jim lives"
Me:"No, but Kandrix knows, I have kandrix's number, he will call Jim and Jim will call me and give me the address"
Agent: "Who's Kandrix?"
Me:"That's the friend from Calgary, arriving later"
Agent: "-smiling- this is confusing"
Me:"Tell me about it, I know it sounds fishy but I assure you, I'm no terrorist"
Agent: "-giggling like a school girl- let's move on"

(At this point I'm praying: "Please don't ask me what Dale's last name is" I knew my friend's first name is Dale for sure but for the life of me I couldn't remember his last name, I've never met Dale in person before this trip, that could explain my temporary amnesia).

"What's Dale's last name?"
Me (panicking): 'Evans", "Dale Evans" like Roy Rogers' wife"

I wasn't trying to be funny, I just said the first thing that popped into my brain, I didn't want to give the impression that I was making things up. (Dale's last name is actually Hayward). She pointed to a group of chairs 20 feet to my left and ordered me to wait in that area, I was thinking: "Oh fuck! she's going to try and verify this Dale Evans guy, I'm going to a canadian jail where -with my luck- I'll get ass-raped by a bunch of inbred lumberjacks" but my fears were put to rest 5 minutes later, when she called me over to her station to tell me I was good to go.

I breathed a sight of relief and I said to her: "You know a lot about comic conventions, that's very strange", she replied; "My boyfriend is an artist and he will also be attending the Toronto show, I recognized your name, he likes your work" At this point I was thinking: "Wow, this is great blog material! I couldn't have made this shit up if I tried"

Later, at the convention, a young man identified himself as German, the customs officer's beau, he turned out to be an excellent artist and a really swell guy. What a small world!

A gift from German.

Fan Expo
The convention was all I had imagined it would be and more, plenty of friends of this here blog made their presence felt, Thanks for stopping by, guys! a special hug to Carlos, Joto, Perry & Gonzalo.

Kandrix and Y.B. Truly sat next to the crazy and talented Tyrone McCarthy of "Corduroy High" fame, super nice guy. Behind us, Dale and his brother Shan "The Man". I've finally got to meet a bunch of fellow artist friends whom I have only known on-line, prior to the show, like Bobby Chiu, Kei Acedera, Lemec, Nick Bradshaw, all the Udon Studio guys, etc. , old buddies like Humberto Ramos, Dave DeVries, Skottie Young, Superman and Jeremy, Tommy Lee Edwards and the rest of the Blvd. crew, among others and of course, lotsa new friends, including a few members of the roller derby team from Hamilton: "The Steel Town Tank Girls".

Thursday night was mellow, Dale and I met Kandrix and Jim at The Victory Cafe on Markham Street they were celebrating “Comic Book Industry Night”, which takes place on the last Thursday of every month, great artsy place to hang, I highly recommend it.

On Friday night we had dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant on Spadina Blvd. I don't remember the name, I just remember eating like a pig.

It rained cats and dogs on Saturday, we got lost looking for a restaurant called the Armadillo, which oddly enough happened to be located right across from the convention building, the food was OK but the fun we had there was ridiculous; the waitress dumped a giant pitcher of iced water on jeremy's girlfriend while Bobby Chiu and I finalized our evil plans for taking over the world. Pretty surreal.

Afterwards, we went to another 'industry party' where the cream of the crop of the Toronto geek scene met to roast some old dude from the 'Space Channel' (a science fiction cable TV station) Lots of uber famous peeps there, I won't drop names this time because that would be cruel.
Jim Z. from Udon, Chris, John and the guys of the Beguiling (the best comic book store in Toronto) sure know how to throw a party!

After the show ended on Sunday, Jim drove us to Udon Studios, where Jim and Erik Ko gave us a tour of the facilities, gifts and a delicious dinner at a local Japanese restaurant. many thanks to the gracious Erik Ko for the gesture. The rest of the time in Toronto we spent trash-talking and laughing hard at Rob Liefeld's anatomy masterpieces. Leifeld Rocks! say it with me!

I'll be back later to give you my impressions on the Baltimore show. . . .

I'm Back
. . . Pardon the interruption, Dear Diary, now, where were we?. . . Ah, yes! the Baltimore show, good one! you missed a good one! . . . well, not so fast, buddy!.

As you well know by now, my reviews are based solely on my personal experiences at these events, which is also the experience of an independent artist, illustrator/designer/whatever from a non-comics point of view; yes, I do understand these shows are taylor made for comics fans, hence the smell but like I've said many times, this is all we have, if there were conventions for people who design and draw the female figure, I'd be the first in line but nobody cares about that stuff, there are some sleazy shows for "Erotic Art" and "Pin-Ups" like "Glamour Con" and sordid shit like that but that's all garbage.

From a strictly mainstream old skool comics vantage point, this show was a total success, why? simply because they gathered all those 100 year old folks who are industry legends, some of them I like, such as Howard Chaykin, but the rest of them were as awful then as they are now. A lot of these sacred cows did not get better with age, they still can't draw, I don't give a flying fuck about much of the mainstream corporate comics, I never really did as you also know but that doesn't necessarily stop me from enjoying these festivals, many of the creators working in today's comics are my personal friends and I always find someone who shares my devotion to illustration and to figure drawing, even at these shows, that alone is worth the trip. I had a great conversation with the principals of Indigo Ink, one of the brightest spots in this otherwise insipid show. A lot of fans I saw were having a great time standing in line for long periods of time to shake those hairy palms and shove stacks of old, crusty comics in the faces of those who created them, payback time, motherfucker! That never gets old, it just smells that way.

John Higashi, (an art collector and industry darling) bought an entire section of seats (tickets) to a baseball game at the gorgeous Camdem Yards stadium in Baltimore's popular Inner Harbor, between the Yankees and the local team, the Orioles. He invited a ton of artists to the game, including your humble narrator and his daughter, the game was as enjoyable as a day at the DMV, as all baseball games are when they don't mean squat in the standings but we had a lot fun making cruel observations and talking behind people's backs.

Pat Carlucci and his lovely wife, welcomed us into their home, somewhere in rural Maryland, great southern hospitality and kindness which I hope to repay one day.

My good friend Joe Pekar was kind enough to split his table with me, thanks Joe!. A couple of hours after the Con started on Saturday some punk pulled the fire alarm and everyone was evacuated from the convention building, including a ton of geeks wearing red ties, whom - judging by their scummy appearence- were there to attend a used condom sales conference, 20 minutes later we were allowed back into the building. There were of course some conspiracy theorists in the crowd implying that the fire alarm was set off to distract the attendees while thieves made out with valuable comics drawn by Rob Leifeld, having been spiritually touched by the magic hand of Leifeld I have to agree.

Mike Manley, Echo , Scott Neely and our friend Sean Hissey joined Megan and myself at a sushi place on the boardwalk on Saturday, I'm an old fashion kinda guy, I like my fish cooked and my women raw, not the other way 'round but we enjoyed the dinner regardless, I was on fire that night, my impressions of Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick the starfish delighted everyone within listening range, what a magical night! I'm growing more and more confident about my voice-over talents with each passing day, if this self-publishing thing doesn't work there's always Hollywood.

My new books didn't arrive in time for the Baltimore show, that sucked dinosaur dick, so I walked around a lot, visiting my peeps and drawing for fun with Megan The Pagan.

My idea of a successful Con is one that is inclusive of all types of comics (not just the superhero filth) and other forms of popular art such as animation, gaming, toys, illustration and even Manga, why not?. a lot of those other forms owe a lot to comics, many games, movies and toys are derived from comics it makes perfect sense to me. Comic book purists want to isolate themselves, that's a mistake, they want every convention to be exclusively for comics and comics' fans, just imagine the stench!, to return to the days of yore, where comics were bought by kids, but that will never happen, the Baltimore show is a clear indication of how bad things are, the same old fanboys come to see the same old farts, no one is paying attention to the new independent stuff. The contrast between Toronto and Baltimore is super ridiculous, the Toronto show is light years more progressive and inclusive, and way more successful, period.

You'll always hear and read different opinions about a particular show depending on the artist's affiliation, check out my friend Mike Manley's account, it was a totally different experience for him than it was for me, that's all very valid. If you're a veteran of comics and love mainstream stuff you would have had a blast there, for me personally, it was more of the same old shit. I'll be there next year :)