guitars 21 and 22

We have some large canvases to do more paintings in our guitar series. But, we also have all these used student-level canvases and almost empty tubes of paint from our other projects. So, let’s see if we can make something pretty for our walls out of them.

painting studies 2 (1)

Our art teacher had given us a tube of magenta to try last year, and its become one of our favorite colors to paint with. This was a somewhat sad occasion, as we used up the last little bit of that tube on this canvas. But we like space and cosmic stuff, so we imagined the creative forces: nebula and star formation and supernovae giving birth to the molecules of everything we are. Bob Ross liked to make worlds on his paintings. We like making universes.

painting studies 2 (2)

The colors really pop out with a glossy spray-on lacquer finish in outdoor light.

painting studies 2 (2a)

Starving! Time for a sandwich. Since we are so into pumas, we decided to try eating deer. A nearby store carries frozen ground venison. We have had some wild deer meat in Michigan, courtesy of the deer hunters there, but this stuff must be farm-raised. It’s nearly indistinguishable from beef and makes delicious puma-power sandwiches.

painting studies 2 (3)

The next painting used up the last of our art teacher’s yellow tube of Liquitex paint and the rest of a very lovely Van Dyke Brown made by Holbein. Also in the mix: mars yellow (a kind of brownish yellow) and violet.

painting studies 2 (5a)

painting studies 2 (5b)

Even after a pretty background of copper, black, and van dyke brown, this one said to add more layers. How about a black wash, sprayed with rubbing alcohol several times as it dries, to make hole where the colors underneath show through?

painting studies 2 (5c)

It looked sort of muddy indoors at this point, so we took it outside. Suddenly all the colors popped out.

painting studies 2 (5d)

Oh look, some new white gel pens arrived! We have been looking for something to draw in white combined with drawing in black in Sharpie. These came to us recommeded by a sketch artist on Reddit.

painting studies 2 (6)

Let’s see if the pens work on a painted canvas.

painting studies 2 (7)

The colors dont stand out so brilliantly indoors, but it’s a lot nicer than the old painting on it from a year and a half ago. That’s the great thing about student-level canvases. You can feel free to experiment and explore. And if you hate the results, just paint over it with white and start again!

painting studies 2 (7a)


some more of them were destroyed

Here are a couple new studies of a Jack Kirby tribute, along with some notes about making them. Enjoy!

painting studies 1 (1)

The last year and a half of painting left us with some odds and ends: almost empty tubes of paint, canvases that had a small defect, and paintings that never panned out. So, what if we take all this clutter and try to work out an idea for our next project?

painting studies 1 (1a)

We got some house paint from the hardware store – interior acrylic, semi-gloss, ultra-white house paint makes awesome primer. Can you get gesso for $30 a gallon? You can at Ace Hardware lol. Anyway, we primed the shit out our gnarly old canvases and got some blank slates for experimenting with.

painting studies 1 (2)

Then we were like, let’s just make huge colorful messes and not worry about how they turn out.

painting studies 1 (2a)

Our art teacher had given us some paints to try last year – like a bold, comic-book style yellow from Liquitex. It looks great in washes so let’s make some.

painting studies 1 (3)

Our art teacher also warns us not to fall in love with our colorful backgrounds. But, we always do it anyway. We just hang them on the walls for a few days and enjoy them as purely abstract art.

painting studies 1 (3a)

Why not try using Sharpie marker to draw the black areas on the canvas? We are working from a marker sketch of an old Jack Kirby comic book page. The working title of the piece we have in mind is a quote from the page: “and one of them was destroyed!” So all we need is black shapes on this canvas, really.

The small one came out okay. Well, we did two small ones, and one was a total disaster. It went back in the primer pile! But the other was pretty close to what we imagined, so let’s tackle a big one.

painting studies 1 (4)

painting studies 1 (4a)

These color washes came out especially nice. The yellow is a Liquitex artist paint and the dioxazine purple is Basics from the craft store. They mixed in really interesting ways with the white hardware store paint and splashes of water.

painting studies 1 (4b)

painting studies 1 (5a)

Oh, look. Mom sent us a little card with a puma drawing on it :) It now has a place of honor among other pumas we love, near the 150-watt Hafler power amplifier that drives our studio monitors.

painting studies 1 (5b)

Speaking of music, somewhere in the middle of this color explosion we got a request to be a DJ at a kind of internet fundraiser party. There was a 1960s theme, so we made a set list of freakbeat from the UK and some American retro rock. We stopped by Big Lots and picked up inexpensive yet highly psychedelic socks for the occasion.

painting studies 1 (5d)

It went over well. The attendees from the UK had some touching memories to share about hearing those freakbeat tunes on 45 RPM vinyl as kids. They shared some fun stories with us. In the midst of this cultural exchange, we also managed to raise enough funds to plant seventeen trees in Costa Rica as part of a non-profit reforestation project.

painting studies 1 (5c)

It was truly far out, man.

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Ok so let’s paint some more! After sketching only the most basic guidelines in pastel on the canvas, we just freehanded the marker.

painting studies 1 (6a)

It looked cool with the marker but just wasn’t quite there yet. So, we took black arcylic paint and went over almost all of the Sharpie. Then, we added washes of ultramarine blue and violet to the “sky” in the background, and some watered-down white to the clouds to differentiate everything a little better.

painting studies 1 (6b)

Normally we don’t like buying spray stuff, but we had accidentally come into ownership of some spray-on lacquer finishes. What the heck, let’s spray these suckers and hang them on the wall.

painting studies 1 (7)

That leaves us with an unfinished color wash, perhaps for one more comic-book themed study.


sketchbook sundays

camera man 5x7 - Copy

 
Camera Man
Micron fine-point pens and Sharpie marker

Buy a huge acrylic wall hanging of it for no particular reason.


Mantis and Cactus Flowers

mantis and cactus flower 1 - zoomed

 
Today is the first day we’ve seen the cactus in the front yard burst into bloom overnight. Perhaps it liked the rain we got yesterday. To make the event more rare, we have never seen a preying mantis here in the urban desert either. But this morning, when we stopped to admire the flowers, one tiny mantis had already staked a claim to them.

 
mantis and cactus flower 1

 
We suppose if the flowers attract ants, bees, and other pollinators, then this is the mantis version of a hunting shanty or hidden fishing hole. Maybe the mantis will chop the heads off little bugs and stick them on the cactus spikes like trophies. How awesome would that be? We’ll check in on mantis later and see how the hunt goes.

 
mantis and cactus flower 2

 
Oops, we disturbed the mantis. See how it moves down into the spikes? Smart thinking, mantis. Now sit still!

 
mantis and cactus flower 3

mantis and cactus flower 4

mantis and cactus flower 5


Indie Spotlight: Dead Girls Graphic Novel!

dead girls  punch

 
The UK trembled with fear last Saturday as runaway cyber-vampire girls descended upon it to spread their robotic mutation to the general populace. Author Richard Calder launched his Dead Girls Graphic Novel on August 16 at the World Science Fiction Convention. Though we could not attend, we do have some pages for you to preview!

 
Dead Girls Cover

 
Reviewers are praising Leonardo M. Giron’s manga-inspired renditions of characters based on Calder’s 1995 cyper-punk novel, Dead Girls. Giron’s style perfectly fits a story that takes the reader from the UK to Bangkok on an adventure involving the mutated descendents of robotic sex dolls who infected their masters with a nano-virus. Did that sentence just blow your mind? Then check out these socks on the title page, and a four-page sample.

 
dead girls title page

 
dead girls sample four pages

 
The Dead Girls Graphic Novel began with a serialization, expanded into eight full-length comic books, and has now grown to a 208-page full-color book. You can still score a signed copy of the book, with a cover by Jim Burns, at http://deadgirls.co.uk/, with the signed copies currently available on the pre-launch page.

SFX called the Dead Girls Graphic Novel “a fiendish futuristic fairy tale full of style and invention. A thrilling tale told at a breakneck pace with beautiful manga-inspired artwork. Highly recommended.”

 
dead girls 08 panel

 
dead girls Page 8 panel 1


sketchbook sundays?

Sketchbook Sundays has not really gone extinct. It has evolved. We are indulging our lifelong obsessions with animal illustration, science fiction, and the Lane Bryant catalog in a little project called Meteor Mags. We make the drawings available as prints, and then use them for adventure stories.

Yes, we would love to be making full comic books from them. But, we will probably not master sequential art in our lifetime. So, let’s just take this thing one illustration at a time. We’re about 13,000 words and a dozen illustrations into a novella so far this summer.

Meteor may be imaginary, but she has her own blog. There you can follow her adventures and development as we build her world from the ground up.

 
meteor mags character sketches_mags14

Meteor Mags 14
Micron 05 fine-point pen and Sharpie marker

Buy it as a framed, canvas, or metal print.


Dan Dare

Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (29)

 
For years, we passed up UK science fiction hero Dan Dare because of his utterly terrible name. Big mistake! But, some scans of his early adventures in 2000AD really floored us. Fantastic space art full of raging aliens cranks the awesome-meter into the red. Dan Dare has the interesting points-of-view and dramatic panel layouts chock-full of action that typify the 2000AD classics.

 
Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (10)

 
If you know of a collected edition that features these 2000AD tales, we would love to hear from you. We can’t find one! Many artists and writers, including Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons, and Massimo Bellardinelli worked on Dan at 2000AD. We will share with you a few of the scans we found from these late 1970s stories.

 
Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (19)

 
A more vintage take on Dan Dare “The Pilot of the Future” awaits readers in a series of Titan Books reprints collecting early Frank Hampson tales in the 1950s and 60s. Readers wanting a more contemporary take on Dan might enjoy the Dan Dare by Garth Ennis Omnibus, Ennis being well-known for his work on Preacher, The Boys, and Punisher.


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