New Art for 2017

Happy New Year to all and apologies for the late posting. I've been quite busy for some time working on a few projects and managed to complete one that's been on top of my list. I had a friend pose for me with her leather jacket and holding one of my practice swords at the martial arts gym in Burlington one night so I could use several shots to get it right and I went with the pose shown in the illustration below, especially with spikes on her jacket inspired by the artistry of Toxic Vision

This piece has been in the works for months and finally produced on Procreate on iPad Pro and then it was given the finishing touches on Clip Studio Paint ( formerly Manga Studio ). The more I worked with Procreate, the more impressed I get especially with the Apple Pencil. That thing is so sensitive that I can make wispy lines to the thickest.

Lo and behold the darkness of things that crawl out of the shadows!

Dark DesecrationIt's also now for sale as an art print on my Society6 store

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Meeting a giant at vermont comic con

Last weekend on August 27th, I had the chance to attend the third Vermont Comic Con in Burlington. It was probably one of the better shows they've had since the last year. Lots of cosplayers that I've seen were very impressive and had a great time themselves. Especially the giant Jack Skellington costume and the 501st New England Garrison was a treat to see. I think there were more stormtroopers and imperial officers than the previous show I went to and their booth was just so much fun to be around at with a bunch of props and goodies on their table.

Especially one of the sith lightsabers that was so well built that I picked it up, just to see if I can fence with it. The saber has a knuckle guard hilt to it which is beautifully crafted. The image below shows the actual lightsaber held by the cosplayer of the Seventh Sister ( I believe ). My hats off to this cosplayer.

Vader' s Fist cosplayI also had the pleasure of catching up with several local creators and managed to get a copy of Oliver Kranichfeld's book Flatlander after being published from his successful kickstarter event. And especially Stephanie Zuppo's Belchville book as well which I've been meaning to get my hands on. Both books were beautifully crafted and bound to which I can't wait to get around reading them. 

But that's not the main reason I went to the Comic Con. That reason lies in the name of Ken Kelly, who's considered one of the old school greats in the field of illustration. And the kicker is he is the nephew of the grandmaster Frank Frazetta. As soon as I noticed Ken's name on the program list, I took a double take and recognized his classic work, especially the famous KISS album cover art that I remembered all so well years ago, one in which my cousin is a fanatic of. 

The Great Ken Kelly himselfThe original drawing based on a certain KISS album cover that any fanatic would instantly know from.His works from horror to fantasy was one I would not forget even the images of Conan, Manowar, Frankenstein, Vampirella, and so on. It's endless. The color palette, vibrant. The paint strokes, purposeful and focused.

In confession, as a child of the 70s and 80s, his work has been an influence on me even during my D&D and gaming days, looking at horror magazines, watching Dark Shadows and the like. And as an artist myself, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the old school illustrators who still do it to this day regardless of the digital nature of the industry. I think I would view his work as 'classic hardcore' in the most old school manner. 

His table booth had a plethora of beautifully painted illustrations especially some of the originals that hung behind him. It was stunning to see them in person. I wanted them all but they came at a price which is expected. Another fellow illustrator named Matt Sylvester, whom I know, was talking to him as I watched Mr. Kelly show him an original piece, explaining his process which was so fascinating. Matt and I knew exactly who we were dealing with. Standing somewhat taller than me like a giant, he spoke in such a laid back manner and was very open about the nature of his creative work. 

When a giant like Mr. Kelly walks into a local convention, you don't dare miss a chance to meet him. 

I got two prints from him with his autographed. So inspiring.

Eventually, after their conversation ended, I got two prints from Mr. Kelly with the autographs due to a favor I did for him. It was probably the most epic thing I ever did by keeping watch over his booth while he was away for ten minutes.

In the booth of one of the masters!

I chose the two that spoke to me as an artist, fencer and metal music lover. I will never forget this for years to come. 

Thanks to Mr. Kelly for the excellent work as it continues to inspire me. 

Fan art from a galaxy far, far away

Finn's Brigade

This is my alternate take on stormtroopers that defect to Finn's side after he joins the Resistance as a special unit. I've thought about this for some time after watching The Force Awakens and wondered if more of them would defect along with him. The red stripes are patterned after his jacket on the right shoulder.

He gets two stripes to signify his leadership and is also inspired by Poe's helmet. Finn carries the Z6 baton this time around. The others carry standard issue rifles, especially one sniper. I figured it would've made sense for a great stormtrooper rift that they would be fighting among themselves. 

As an inspired fan of the anime " Jin-Roh ", I wondered why did'nt Lucasfilm come up with a more intimidating version of a stormtrooper that has glowing lens for nightvision/infrared and having a darker body paint for the armor, apart from the Tie Fighter pilot in black. And if I were the Resistance, this is exactly what I would have done by using stormtrooper gear and modifying them to use against the enemy. 

I created this on graphite first on bristol paper surface and had it scanned from Scanbot app on my iPhone into Manga Studio software to be fleshed out on ink and color. Prior to that, I worked out some conceptuals on my sketchbook and comprehensive color scheme on Sketchbook Pro to see how effective it would look until I reached a decision to use the darker tones and red stripes, along with the Resistance symbol on their helmets.

This is strictly fan art. 

Star Wars is the property of Disney and Lucasfilm.

Inktober 2015

Because I suffered pneumonia around October and had to recover from it, this is my first and only Inktober piece for 2015. During my recovery phase, I got a bit better and decided to get the ball rolling by doing some inking on my moleskine sketchbook. I used a Pilot G-Tec C pen that I bought recently which I really enjoyed using and I find this to be one of my favorite pens to use now.

This is my gothic theme of a character with pulcinella mask which is like a venetian culture of secrecy and a rapier blade walking down the cemetery towards some unknown destination while the statue weeps, perhaps that someone is about to meet his or her fate in death.

My Inktober piece on the moleskine

A Rush from 1979

" A Rush From 1979 "

After a long time of working on a personal project, I've finally completed it. This two panel piece was my attempt to recapture my memory of being in my older brother's room in the 1970s with rock posters placed prominently which towered over me when I was a kid. It was the Meatloaf: Bat Out of Hell poster that got my attention. It was also at the time Rush became huge in Cleveland, Ohio which my brother was a huge fan of. Even though the illustration is to the best of my memory as much as I could recall. I never understood the music at the time due to being deaf, but it was not until decades later when I started getting into some classic rock such as Pink Floyd where things started to click.

I said to myself, " Man, these guys really knew how to compose their stuff! ". It was still the Bat Out of Hell illustration, famously done by Richard Corben (EDITED), that ingrained itself into my mind all those years. It was one of those various influences that made me want to be an artist. But there is definitely a sense of symbolism involved in the two panel piece, especially the first one.

Especially one 2112 Rush album cover that ties in with the actual pose of my younger self that connects with my creative mission. And I quote from this wiki page as it states this connection quite well:

" In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the "Priests of the Temples of Syrinx," who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures — every facet of life.

A man discovers an ancient guitar and learns to play his own music. Thinking he has made a wonderful discovery that will be a boon to humanity, he goes to present the guitar to the priests of the Temples, who angrily destroy it and rebuke him for unearthing one of the "silly whims" that caused the collapse of the previous civilization. He goes into hiding and dreams of a world before the Solar Federation. Upon awakening he becomes distraught and commits suicide. As he dies, another planetary battle begins resulting in the ambiguous ending "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control." (This spoken section was created by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson reportedly "messing around with a tape recorder.") On the "2112/Moving Pictures" episode of the television series Classic Albums, Neil Peart confirmed that he intended the ending to be a happy one as the people of the Solar Federation are liberated. "

The idea of the Starman holding the guitar would be like me awakening to the creativity of visual art as the real world resists the idea of fantasy illustration as not a form to be taken seriously. So instead of the guitar, it's my pencil or brush. And hiding away in my own world until awakening to the harsh realities of condescension that sequential art, back in the day, was considered beneath society's standards. Today, it's become mainstreamed and accepted. 

The shadow of my older brother can be seen lip synching to the music that's playing, even though you can't see him since he's way behind me.

The STOP sign was definitely there in his room as I remember it along with other items, including his denim jacket he used to wear all the time where he could reach for his cigarettes from the front pocket. One could see cigarette smoke coming from the ashtray atop of one speaker, but it's not really a cigarette one which is actually a counter-cultural version of it, stemming from the hippie era.

The second panel shows the present time of being in my studio space working away, surrounded by wall scroll posters of my favorite anime/manga. There is definitely a technological shift between those two panels from the large stereo speakers to that of my iPod being played from the corner. And my original hearing aids from the first panel consisted of chest straps ( which was a pain ) to that of the BTE ( behind the ear ) version of today. It's somewhat subtle but it's there. 

What was interesting is that Paul Pope, a well known comics illustrator whom I follow time to time, created a short story called " 1979 " based on his experiences at that era, and I believe it's long out of print. I did'nt know about its existence until I stumbled across it. This was while I was working on this project in the same time. I think the underlying message is to keep going, no matter what.

The entire project was done on Manga Studio software after I scanned in the original drawings as a foundation. The panels are actually 11 x 17 in size and when compiled together, it's much larger that it appears to this web version.

I've considered making it available as a print on my Society6 store but we shall see.