Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So I was saying...

 Its been so long, I think I forgot how to do this. Lets see... Push a button here, and bang, instant art comes out. Nice. I think I can get to like this computer thing. Excuse the long delay, lots of stuff going on.
 I cant believe some of you are still following this insane blog. Thank you, I really appreciate that. Its nice to come back to the old homestead and see the family is still around.
Now its time to try to get to that magical Rocketo finish line that keeps moving backward every time I get within feet of it. 
 I did these small sketches to just play around and also to put something up besides comic pages. Some of these  small quick sketches point the way to styles that will wind up in the coming books.  
 Here are some cover ideas for Book 1 of the New World. 
   I want to get some strange feel with the Art, is this struggle to get the know and the unknown down at the same time. 
 Again excuse the long delay.
 My best to you all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Still around just being a monkey

Sorry about the long delay between blogs, I will try to keep move it a much faster.
One of the reasons is I am deep in working on Vol 2 The NEW WORLD. Writing, drawing, painting, its all one giant jumble right now, now and then I stop and say, hell I should post this.. but then I would be ruining some of the surprise of reading the actual book for you guys.
So I pick and choose very carefully.
Here are some rough sketches, that give you a sense of my insane storytelling. I basically lay it out in these small thumbnails, usually a couple of versions of the same scene. By doing multiple versions I can pick and choose from the scene which part I can start in and end with. After that stage I do a page layout, that I will post later, so you guys can see how it all comes together on the page. I have block out in white some of the notes I make around the images, only for trying to keep the story fresh for you guys, when you read it.
I threw in some of the color work that is going along, not yet all finished, lines have to be added here and there, colors have to be a bit corrected, but right now I am moving on, I will do all the corrections in one or two days, after the book is all painted, that way I can hopefully catch everything with a fresh eye.
Again sorry about the delay.
Best to you all!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Yeah I know, more painting stuff.. more ideas, more thinking.
 Pushing again.. 
 Yep, it takes a while for me to put things down.. I slow down then, move through it quick. There was a time when people would wait until books would come out, or films, or novels, the audience, the fans gave time for creators to think about things before they knocked stuff out. 
 I like to explore all the avenues, for me this is the way I make the world come alive, testing and testing, most important for me, is learning. What do I get out of it? A better understanding of my craft and something new has been learned along the way. It would be easy for me to knock out the next book in the same style as before, no worries and everyone is happy.
What have I learned from that? What do I take with me?  
 So I paint and learn, and push that envelope.. I am not at Warner Bros. anymore. 
Best to all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Sorry about not putting up some stuff in a while, things just got a bit wild. On one end the NEW WORLD pages are coming off a good nice good clip, although on the other hand,.. on the other hand, I am thinking of painting this sucker by hand. Between pages, I like to get some concept work done, small little things, that make me think ahead visually to were I am going to go. This time, during a break, those concept sketches started to really point the way into a new direction color wise. There are things that a brush can do, that computers just can't get to yet. Its a nice thought actually, that a thousand year old invention some hair and a stick can still kick the crap out of the digital age. Wet meets dry. Opaque meets transparent. The brush opens up at the last minute. Something happens that one could never plan.
Things happen on that painted page, that is magic to me. So here is a vote, how many of you would like to see a painted version of Rocketo?
I started with some concept work for climax of one of the books.
Trying to get a feel for how our technology would look in the future, a future that has had to reinvent itself along a different philosophy, it would be closer to magic, their machines would be more like idols. One of the bad guys, has reached a machine that is part living organism, part dimensional gateway.

Here are some concepts for Lucerne, the land that rules the world. My original thinking was to have a city that was so lovely, so beautiful to look at that it would dazzle the eyes. The buildings would resemble giant trees, acorns, floating gardens, a sort of fake natural world,
to make its citizens happy and proud, so they can ignore the horror that Lucerne does around the planet. That big green Acorn is the King's palace, a super large city in its own right.
Back to the drawing board.

Best to all of you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


 Here are some panels from some of the pages that are being worked on.
 The color is rough and tumble and just to see if everything is reading at this point. When I color the work I like to do it all at once so I can set up a rhythm for the colors, based on emotion, design, and mood, but every once in a while, a panel sticks out when the full page is scanned, and I cant wait to see what a little color will do to it. When I start on the next book, Rocketo Journey to the Broken Moon I would like to paint the entire thing by hand. Right now time is running, and its best to tackle the thing with a bit of computer help.  Although I plan to add some "real" paintings to the covers and to last pages of Journey to the New World, this would be a nice way to end each cliffhanger.
 It's cloudy, windy and looks like rain.. and this is the daily weather cast for lovely grey scaled NYC.

Best to all today.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I thought I would show of the steps and the thinking that went into working out a Rocketo page.
In this case, it was going to be a nice long panel, maybe, taking up half the page. The idea was simple enough Rocketo and Spiro leave their ship to go exploring in the new world. The thumbnails are really small, and I group them in one page, originally they are on two separate papers and they are both so small that if I scanned the entire pages, it would be hard to spot them.
So out comes the Bristol paper. Now normally if this were a painting I would use an Illustration board, but when working on a comic, I try to keep the Illustration board work down to just the covers. I sketched out the figures and once a couple of corrections were done, I started the inking on part of them, just so I could remember certain details, that would tell me more about the flow of the action.

keep it flowing now. The sky tones are put in as quick as possible, so I can control how much white of the paper is going to show through, that way my values will be a bit more controlled in the end. Another reason is, just to get the ball rolling... we all have this fear of ruining the picture, I like to ruin it as fast as possible. From this point on I better work at fixing the blasted thing.

The values of the car are thrown in, big thinking at this point. The textures of the car and some of the forms that I like to bring out are played with in very fast strokes.

Once some of the values of the car are worked up, I go back into the characters at this point about twenty minutes or so has gone by. I use a hairdryer to dry the paint even quicker, yep, the pages warp a bit, but since I want to scan these, it's not a big deal, I can always flatten it later.
This is were it slows down a bit. The characters shapes are blocked in, and some back and forth happens between car and characters and background, everything starts to erupt fast at this point. I pretty much work this sucker up to the finish state.
Now, remember the thumbnail, it shows a big ship at the end of it, well I threw out that idea and wanted to add something a bit more open, to give the feeling of a big vista. This story is called the NEW WORLD, not the New ship. So now the panel upgrades to a nice double page spread, that took me by surprise.

Here is the rest of the background, same process, big strokes and quick shapes. In fact the background takes even less time, because it's nice and loose and should not have fine details to it. There is still foreground work to be done so I tackle that and soon it's pretty much done. It's back and forth and sideways, going back from dark to light and light to dark.

Here are the two black plates for the pages, more or less at a ready point for the next steps it will take to finish it. Basically it's not finished until the lettering gets put in, and the color is final, the borders are defined.. that is when its ready to send out, but at this stage its fun to see where it can still go.

A very rough color, shows me how the values and textures will look with some color on top.

Best to all.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Its going to be a long journey.

I have been working away at the New World, and wanted to share some of the pages as they are being worked on. Many of them I just took digital pictures of, because its tough to stop and scan a page while the madness of creation is pounding away. But while the layers of washes are drying, and if I have enough brain left, I manage to snap some pics.
Here are also some of the pages, after all the washes are done.. I drop in some very quick color just to see if the washes will show through, if I need to lighten or darken something to make it read better. This color is not final, just a study in contrast.
I find that every page is different, I wish I could say I have a system worked out, sometimes I put in the blacks first then work up to light, other times its light and then blacks, it all depends on the mood or the feel that particular page is trying to convey. What I like is the feeling of surprise at the end of it all, as tight as the thumbnail sketches are, they loose some of their meaning when they are blown up and put on the actual page. Some pages have no thumbnail period, they are roughly sketched out and then taken to finish, that way, like I said before, it surprises me and keeps me involved in that world. Its hard to loose sight of the entire project, without the thumbnail sketches, but the actual project is the finish page, I found if I can leave room to create and think on the page itself it lends a more fresh look.
Keep moving.. keep moving, all I say to myself, work it out, and then move on to the next page.
Work it out page by page, do the work. One can't think himself out of a problem.
Like the Old Man and the Sea, one must go into deep waters to find a nice big fish.
Best to all.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Rocketo's new Journey takes him and his crew to places that were never shown in the vol.1 Journey to the Hidden Sea. I look at that map and I see the names written on them, and now I realized its time to bring them to life.

The Ocean of Cyclopes is crossed by Rocketo and his new companions, while trying to escape a Lucernian War ship. Its a desperate act in the story, as the Ocean has never been crossed. The reason: there is no water in the Ocean of Cyclopes, just giant jelly eyeballs as far as our eye can see. Waves of swirling eyeballs, that if one stares at them, your worst nightmare or your biggest dream is shown to you. Many have plunged into that mire without ever coming back. Rocketo forces the men, to throw their weapons overboard, as the visions, they see will test their will power.
These quick studies in my sketchbook, help me to visualize the sequences, and to design that dreaded Ocean. These tiny drawings are a wonderful guide for me later, as things that I thought would look great turn out to be really bad or, every once in a while, if I am lucky...the visuals actually work. Then the time comes to let it all go and just let the page take over.
Slowly the journey begins.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


 Had some time to do some quick playful studies of cover designs for Frankenstein. I would be a long time sketching to exhaust all the many graphic treatments this wonderful book has to offer. To do something with a lot of color instead of the traditional dark muted colors was my goal.
 Hope you enjoy.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


  It was fun to play around with some quick color studies on the Old Man and the Sea. What a great illustration job that would be. These little color notations are a great way practice, and play. 
Best to all of you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


 It feels like a Marlin chase now..
 Where will I wind up? Like Santiago says.. "I have gone to far out." That is were I want to take Santiago, to far out. I took a break, hit some more sketches.. the more I draw of Santiago, "Not enough" keeps repeating in my mind.. This guy is taking me out to sea.  What a blast.



 I figure there must be some grunts and fouls being called from some of you who are following this blog, and are expecting more Rocketo work. But the truth is that I get my inspiration for the Rocketo books, by reading many different types of books. It is sad to say but few comics actually inspire me these days, in many their artwork is fantastic and the writing is in some top notch, but I think the Superhero genre has hit its wall for me. So in the search for inspiration I look at some of my favorite old comic strips, and read as many books as I can. 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is one of those classic books that most of us are commanded to read while in school. I had to, and I hated it. At the time, I thought that good writing, was the type that described every single minute detail of what was going on in that scene.
Plus my mind was full of John Carter of Mars, and Doc Savage.
Years later, I read the Old Man and the Sea at the suggestion of an old friend who had pitched Hemingway to me. Not bad, I thought... maybe I will read up more of this Ernest fellow. 

Little by little like a boulder rolling toward my skull, Ernest Hemingway would smash me to bits. It hit me. Those short powerful sentences, the action, the truth, caught like a japanese brush master on paper. This was comic book writing at its best. 

Recently I was lucky to have a copy of the Old Man and the Sea available to me again, and so without any hesitation I once more met Santiago, and the giant Marlin. The ultimate battle of wills, in the waters off Cuba, man vs. giant Marlin! Its much more than that we all know. Santiago knows his mission in the world, he is old and wise... he knows exactly the type of fish he has caught by just feeling the line ever so softly. He is a master of his craft. May we all be so lucky. Santiago holds on to his Marlin, knowing he will kill it, but never once losing respect for the creature that is pushing him to his physical and mental breaking point.
As artist, we all know what that is like. That search for the truth, holding on to something, fighting with it, bringing it home for others to enjoy.
 Santiago's struggle is not about winning or losing, for me its about doing that which you were born to do.
As Santiago the old fisherman talks to himself in that small boat, Ernest writes.." Now is no time to think of baseball, he thought. Now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for."

Zen Master at work. The artist concentrates. The fame is so short, everything ends, but the work, the love of the work is eternal.
When thinking about how I would draw the book, there were so many directions to go it was hard at first. I finally thought I would handle it with as little realism as possible. So that Hemingway's words of truth would be your anchor. 

Santiago came in my head like some giant red crab, some old sea creature that had been burnt by the sun. Quickly I did these sketches to try to get that feeling down as quick as I could, to try to feel the heat around his shoulders.

 In the meantime I will keep trying, keep sketching Santiago out, whenever I have some free time.
And yes, at some point more Rocketo.

My best to all.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hideous progeny

  Still thinking about Frankenstein... 
 I came across an interesting thing that Mary Shelley wrote in her introduction to the 1831 edition. "Perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth."

 This got my noggin the book Dr.Frankenstein experiments on dead bodies, but there is no mention that a dead body was used to create the creature. Later in the story when Frankenstein begins to build another creature, there is no mention of him dragging a body to his new Laboratory. So it could be that Dr. Frankenstein "manufactured" the creature's parts in his own strange way. Created organs, and brains, eyeballs, and hearts to fit the creature's great size. 

 The vision that stuck in my head was of some overgrown embryo, a creature that would have giant blue veins, under almost, yellow, white translucent skin.. A bad sculpture, half finished, half aborted, if you will of a human. The creature would be either made from science or from some strange mystical darkness that the young Dr. Frankenstein was experimenting with, symbols that would be written over the creatures body.

  The vision was so great, I knocked out these quick color studies to use for a larger painting later.

I will keep at it, when the time permits sketching away at this creature that has captured so much of my imagination.