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.
Well, I had to call it "done" on the Rose City Rollers painting. At least, for the physical painting. I'm not quite sure I'm sold on the background colors, so I've been changing them in Photoshop endlessly. I'll post whatever the final color scheme ends up being.
I must say, I'm thoroughly enjoying acrylic paint. The next painting is going to be my first mock theater poster, and I'm 50/50 on whether it will be "The Tempest" or "Little Shop of Horrors". I have what I think are good ideas roughed out for both, so it will probably depend on how fast I can find a friend to pose for reference photos to be my Prospero or Seymour.
The comics are being printed, so now its time to gear up for Stumptown capitalistically! Oh, and FINALLY redesign my website, but I'm really dragging my heals on that one. In addition to having The Salamander King #1 and #2 for sale, I'll be offering the following prints for sale:
I'm having 20 of each made, archival quality that will last longer than you do. If you are unable to make it to Stumptown this year but are interested in one of these prints, let me know and I'll make some available on etsy prior to the convention. Otherwise, I'll put whatever remains after the show up on etsy in May.
Ugh, all I have left are some sound effects and I'm done! I'm really tired of lettering. I think from now on my motivation for becoming a FULL ON PRO is going to be splurging on hiring a letterer. Or better yet, striking a deal with an art program and making it some sort of internship so that I don't have to pay them at all! Also, I got my new business cards today from overnight pritns and am officially 10% more professional (feeling) because of that.
Special thanks to all of my friends and family that made it to the Stumptown art opening. I just found out that Paul Pope (indy comic icon extrordinaire) will be at this years Stumptown comics fest! If you haven't read this guy's stuff you're an uncultured uncooth philistine. His brushwork alone can melt steel. If you're nice and find yourself at my house I'll loan you some of his books (except for Josh, who has had my copy of Omega -drawn and signed by Mr. Farrel Dalrymple who's brushwork rivals that of Mr. Pope's- for almost a year now). I will point out, to any youngsters or sensitive types, that Paul Pope's books are adult orientated.
Oh, and this is a panel of Izzy getting tough. Tough as any 9 year old amateur entomologist can be.
With the comic all scanned in and ready to be assembled, its time I focused my laser-like artistic focus back onto what's really important: Pretty Girls on Roller Skates! Or, PGRS for short.
I just finished the line art and scanned it in to the computer so that I can digitally paint the image if I totally goof up on the acrylic painting. I'm going to try the same charcoal and acrylic method that I did for the squid painting. This one won't be nearly as dark since Roller Derby makes me think of flashy bright colors.
On a side note, this poster is for the May bout which features Portland's traveling team Wheels of Justice vs the dreaded Seattle team, The Rat City Rollers. I just found out yesterday that my friend Heather, I mean SoulFearic ACID (of the Break Neck Betties) just made the Portland traveling team! So go watch a bout and cheer her on.
As of this morning I am finished with all artwork for issue #2! Now for scanning and bordering and lettering and ballooning and all the other stuff that I find tedious. Below is the drawing for the cover, I was going to add some slick graphic elements, but it ended up looking cluttered so I'm just going to use the drawing by itself.
Also, just a reminder to you Portlanders (and Vancouverers) that tonight is the opening for the Stumptown Comics Fest gallery show downtown at the PCPA's Art Bar at 1111 SW Broadway. There will be drinks and snacks and more nerds than you can shake a stick at.
Note: please don't shake sticks at comic nerds, it brings us out in a rash, induces asthma, and triggers all sorts of scary high school flash backs.