Here's a drawing that I can't wait to paint! This was inspired by a story by one of my agent's other clients, Gina Bellisario. I've never met Gina, she was just kind enough to let me use one of her stories to develop my portfolio.
I'm not sure about other artists, but I have what I like to call "project based self esteem". Being an artist is a tough road to plow in terms of making a living, and I really have to try hard to no be too hard on myself. What I have found is that if I'm working on something good (or at least something I'm excited about), those negative thoughts don't get a chance to enter my mind. I try to use this threat of negativity to spur myself into constantly working, hoping that I'll have a piece I can't put down, and no time to worry if I should have been a tax attorney instead of an artist.
Decided to make a piece where I turned the cuteness up to 11. This started as a portfolio piece to showcase some kid friendly pallet choices, but has now developed a full story to back it up (which always seems to happen).
I created a facebook gallery (which you can see here) of the Jack pieces for those of you who weren't able to make it to the gallery opening last Thursday, I also added the images to my website under the illustration category here.
Here's the painted version of the evil steam powered pollutin' robot Progress.
I'm packing the car for the TEN HOUR DRIVE down to the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. If only there was some sort of flying machine that could transform this into a one our trip.
I'll be at table 536 if anybody is in the bay area, I'll warn you I have a cold. Hopefully being packed in a warehouse with thousands of comic book nerds will cure it.
I forgot to update the blog with the new direction my Jack project has taken. I'm now painting the drawings in watercolor instead of photoshop! Here's a taste of what the new and authentic version looks like.
The show opens on November 4th in Portland at the Sequential Art Gallery.
Here's the most recent piece rendered in good ol' fashioned pencil. I'll be painting these in Photoshop for the final versions of the image, but I won't show those until AFTER the art show at the Sequential Art Gallery on November 1st.
I'm showing at the awesome Sequential Art Gallery in downtown Portland this November. The show will consist of illustrations from my Jet Pack Jack story that I'll have finished in time for next year's Stumptown and Emerald City Comic Con. Here's some line art from one of the images.
Here's the painting scanned and pretty much done. I think I'll play around with the colors a little in Photoshop, but I'm pretty happy with it as is. Oh, and I might add a splat of blood on the tongue, didn't have the courage to do that with real paint since it would have been a pain to take it out.
I started working in acrylic this morning and am pleased with how it behaves over the watercolor. It's a great feeling when you discover a method that "clicks". I've been painting transparently for so long that a quick jump into the land of opaque paint just wasn't working for me.
I need to send this off because it's driving me crazy. I learned a TON doing this piece, I'm not fully happy but I'm eager to move onto the next painting. Comments welcome and appreciated on this one (as always, but more so on this one since I'm well out of my comfort zone here).
Due to time constraints I've decided to finish this painting in Photoshop (getting a banjo and spending two hours a day learning how to use it may have had something to do with it). Honestly though, with what I learned on this painting, it would have been almost impossible to paint it like I wanted it to look. When I was working on Caliban and treating it like watercolor it started to "click" for me, but the rest of the painting had too much paint on it to take washes well. SO, time for the photoshop magic to begin. Here's where I'm at so far:
I should have it done by Thursday, then I think I'll move on to Little Shop of Horrors (and pick some comic book projects back up).
I have the colors mostly blocked in and am starting to get some details figured out. I still feel like I'm stumbling along with this painting. I have started to "turn the corner" where the painting is shaping up enough for me to be interested and motivated to work on it. I still have a LONG way to go and I have to finish it this weekend.
Finished the underpainting last night, now its time to start laying in some color. I'm going to try using a gamut mask for any color nerds out there. I first learned about them through the blog of illustrator James Gurney of Dinotopia fame. One of his followers made an online gamut mask tool which can be found here if you're interested. It's going to be hard to limit my colors to the mask, but it should make the piece more harmonious.
Oh, and this is acrylic painting #3 for anybody keeping track. I bought some liquid acyrlics the other day so that I can do washes more easily, I am loving it.
Here's the drawing I've been slaving away at over the last two days. This piece is big (21" x 28") for me and is going to be a blast/terrifying to paint. I'm really excited about this image. I spent a lot of time on the composition and feel that it was time well spent. This is the first of the play posters I plan on creating, it is also hopefully going to be for charity if it passes the judges. The image is a photo, and not a scan, so its a bit gray.
Well, I've been sick this week and haven't gotten too much done since Tuesday. I started working on my Tempest theater poster and did this sketch for my Miranda.
I'm killing two birds with one stone on this one. There is an art charity contest that I'm going to try to be part of that I'll be posting more on shortly, so this piece will be for that as well as part of my plea for work with theater companies.
ere's a penciled page for my Zuda web comic submission. It's been difficult doing layouts for a horizontal format after doing so many vertical layouts for print comics. I'm having a blast working on these, its quite a bit different than my work on The Salamander King and serves as a nice break from charcoal. I'll be doing the color for this image tonight and will hopefully be posting that on Wednesday.
Playing around with photoshop this morning. This began as a loose watercolor and then was tweaked in PS.
I'm always looking for ways to make stuff in Photoshop not look like it was Photoshop. I think starting with traditional media and then going digital for polishing it up is the best bet.
I'm also drawing Jet Pack Jack constantly so that I can get consistent for the comic.
At least those dastardly Rat City girls. I just got the final layout from the Rose City Roller Girls AD and it looks pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I can't wait to see it plastered all around town.
I also just finished the t-shirt design for this bout and it will look something like this:
I'm not sure what color the shirts are, so you'll have to use your imagination and insert your own background color. I think I get tickets to this bout, so hopefully I'll be there on the 15th.
My Stumptown stuff is put away, my studio is sort of clean, so its back to drawing. You probably thought I'd just lay about all day recovering from the convention, but you'd only be partially right. I did take the time to get caught up on LOST and I refused to get out of my pajamas all day, but I was drawing almost the entire time.
I started the pencils on a short (ish) story that I'll be using for a submission to DC as well as for an art show at the Sequential Art Gallery in November. The comic I'll be creating is based on my Jet Pack Jack illustration and will feature the same art style, here is a penciled panel of Jack's house:
Over the next few weeks I'll be working on a submission to Zuda comics. Zuda is an imprint of DC Comics and is primarily a webcomic forum. Once a month 8 comics battle it out for popularity, the most popular comic gets a contract from DC and is syndicated through the website to produce one screen of comics a week! Not only is this steady work, it is also for DC and grants you gobs of exposure. If you're interested in checking out Zuda, I would recommend the comic Bayou.
So, if I get past the editors at Zuda and am put into the monthly competition I'll be begging you and all of your friends and family for votes.
The Stumptown Comics Fest is over and it was a blur of fun. Thank you to everybody who came out to support me. One of the greatest pleasures of this weekend was realizing that people remembered me from last year and were actively seeking me out. I was also chastised, justifiably so, for my "one issue a year" pace. I promise to pick up the pace by at least 100%....to make TWO ISSUES A YEAR!!!
I updated my Etsy Store with my Stumptown leftovers today, and they are just as good today as they were yesterday. If you weren't able to make it to the show, didn't have enough cash on you, or are regretting your impulse control, head on over to the shop and go wild.
Also, I started a Mike Lawrence Illustrator facebook page (badge to the right) that is separate from my personal page. This makes me feel more professional and will also limit the spread of silly photos of me to people who aren't in my inner circle. I'm not quite sure what to do with the new page, but I'll be building it up as I think of stuff.
Now for a day of putting my studio back together. Here is a doodle of Jet Pack Jack I did on a illustration board sample some rep from Strathmore handed to me, I plan on painting it soon to see how it handles wet media.
Stumptown is tomorrow, I'll be under this sign looking eager (if I sell enough stuff this weekend I get a banjo! Yeaaaahaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwww!! YIP-YIP!! no pressure on those of you coming...cough cough go to the atm cough cough). I've been matting and framing like a madman, the sign is done, the comics are ready, the prints look awesome, the postcards are....not here yet (but should be). Now for a quick "parents are visiting from out of town but thank god they aren't staying in my house since I haven't had a chance to clean it in weeks" clean.
I've been trying to post everyday leading up to Stumptown, but you know what I discovered? I don't have that much to say.
Luckily for me, the good folks at Comixpress (just a side note, if you're into making indy comics and self publishing them, these people are AWESOME) expedited the shipping on my books and they arrived today! The last few months have been a blur, next year I've promised to myself that I wont put this book off for so long again. I don't necessarily regret putting SK on the back burner while I searched (fruitlessly) for some sort of steady art job, but man, it's been stressful getting this done in time. Holding the final product in my hands has brought me a surprising amount of joy and relief.
Note: you're own reactions to The Salamander King #2 may vary.
Oh, and yes, I'm procrastinating. My lovely wife (and apparently MARKETING GENIUS) suggested I make a "sign" this year for my table. I guess these so called "signs" let other people know who you are and how to find you...crazy.
I got assigned a table today, I am at table 80. I'm right by the entrance so you should be able to find me easily enough. I will also do my best to be glowing with the day-glo light of nerdy fever, so I'll be extra easy to spot.
So you should probably go to the ATM and withdraw all of the cash you'd like to give me! Comics will be $3, postcards are $1, and prints will range from $5 to $30 (I just got them last night and they look amazing! I'd buy them from me, if I hadn't already bought all of them already). I'll also be taking commissions if anybody is so inclined for custom work. Last year I got caught flat footed when people asked me to do them...so I will be more prepared this year and will be bringing more art supplies. I'm also having a "portfolio clearance sale" where I will try to get rid of all these woodcuts and engravings I've been hanging onto from my college days, so if you're into my "print period" and never got around to buying prints, now's your chance.
Lately I've been forcing myself to use more and more reference photos to add an extra layer of realism to my comics and illustrations. While I love to just make stuff up when I draw, when it comes to people they tend to all look similar (as in, they all end up looking sort of like me....my number one model). This year I asked for people to send me some reference photos of themselves acting like zombies, and now they are mildly immortal because they are in The Salamander King #2.
This is my good friend (and one time room mate) Cat:
She's cuter in real life, I swear. And, here she is in SK #2:
And, here we have her friend Eric who I don't know but is a sport for doing this:
And here he is in the comic:
You can also see the top of my niece's head, but the drawing didn't end up looking too much like her and I don't want you to think less of my drafting abilities by showing what the photo actually looked like. And, as a side note, I'll be sending FREE comics to everybody who graciously sent in their photos.
Here are some of the other color combo's I tried for the Rose City Roller poster. I'm also working on a T-Shirt version of this image, which is harder than I thought it would be since it has to be 4 colors max.