Sunday, April 29, 2012

On 20468 Petercook

Illustration superhero and pal, Irene Gallo, asked me to whip something up for this short story by Andy Duncan about the comedy duo Dudley Moore and Peter Cook.  I have to admit that I was shamefully ignorant of their existence before this assignment. My mom thought Dudley Moore was the cat's pajamas and I vaguely recalled he and Kirk Cameron trading bodies some some awesome 80's movie. But, Peter Cook was completely new to me.

After watching Bedazzled (oh that movie with Brendan Frasier? ), I found I'd missed out on a plethora of awesome. And discovered just how hot Raquel Welch was in her prime. The movie on Netflix, I highly suggest you get there. 
    Duncan's story made a lot more sense after getting familiar with the source material, obviously. Being very British, the plot was mainly the two characters chatting over tea, in a ship, in spaaaace.
Many bad likeness sketches later, I had a couple arrangements I was happy with. I dug the idea of them orbiting each other, or in a very sterile overly lit clean room with space portholes. And the more I could hint at the 60's/70's idea of the future! the better. Irene loved the first sketch since they were drinking tea while wearing helmets, something that didn't actually occur to me while drawing it.
Netflix helped me out again with easy reference screen grabs. And a some quick searches led me to the supremely campy jumpsuits from Lost in Space.
The tightened sketch I printed onto watercolor paper. I recently discovered Marvel badass Paolo Rivera works in a similar method but with gouache. But.. you know, he's a lot better at it.
And just to prove my job is easy, my fiance, Bonnie jammed this out in under an hour. She made a solid point.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Submerged Gothic

Lindsey Burrows at The American Interest got in touch with me looking for an image to convey the current state of the real estate industry. She and her colleagues were pretty set on a parody of Grant Wood's American Gothic, but underwater. I committed to adding my name to the list of artist's who've riffed on that painting (CF Payne, Mark Fredrickson, and a slew of Mad magazine guys are darn good company). 

Conveying the sense of light streaming through water was perhaps the biggest challenge and the most enjoyable part of this painting. I gathered a bunch of reference, only a fraction shown here, and leaned hard on James Gurney's Color and Light to figure everything out.  And, my buddy Lars's kraken painting (above right) was a badass guide as well.

In other news, I recently found out my literate squid painting created for's short story "Ch-ch-changes" by Michael Bishop was accepted to Spectrum 19! Huzzah!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is my contribution to this year's Microvisions Student Scholarship Auction.  I can confidently say that I've never fretted and worried over a painting like I did with this. A mix of intense intimidation, seeing the other artists' work trickle in, plus being too busy to start this earlier, and a couple sketch snafu's led quite a bit of self-doubt and panic.

After some exploration, I knew that I wanted to depict a love affair between a gorilla and his banana. I had this whole Gone With the Wind inspired scene, with the gorilla's hair tussled in the breeze, cooing at his unpeeled love. I sent this sketch to Greg Manchess to see if he got the joke and he kindly pointed out that it looked INCREDIBLY phallic.  I really don't know how I missed that. The issue was easily resolved by zooming out and making it very clear that it wasn't attached to the primate's groin. A big thanks to Greg. That could have been awkward.

And here are the rest of the ridiculously gorgeous submissions. From l to r, top to bottom: Rebecca Guay, Brian Despain, Scott Bakal, Terryl Whitlatch, John Picacio, Peter de Sève, Julie Bell, Scott Gustafson, Dan Dos Santos, Chris Rahn and Nathan Fowkes
You can find more info about the Microvisions auction here. It's a great fundraiser for students, and I'm proud to be a part of it.