Sunday, May 12, 2013
Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the current undisputed king of boxing. Whenever Mayweather fights, it always means money. Lots and lots of money (hence the Floyd "Money" Mayweather nickname).
At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to create this illustration for two reasons: (1) because Floyd was making his return to the ring on 5/4/13, and (2) because I've been wanting to start a series of boxing pinups for the longest time, and this gave me the excuse to start.
The first step to doing these types of pinups is always finding the right reference material. It's no secret that when you're trying to render a likeness, you need A LOT of reference material, or at least one good solid shot. With these, I always like to base them on existing photos of the person/character, because it allows me the opportunity to capture a classic pose, and then put my own spin on it.
Surprisingly enough, there weren't a ton of good pictures of Mayweather on google. I mean, there were a ton of him in a suit, or doing random things, but not a ton of shots of Floyd in the ring, or during a fight. When I found the one I wanted to use, I started the sketching process.
The actual illustration portion only took around 2hrs or so. The coloring was another story. Typically, I like to do weird color combos for skin tones (remember how my Michonne was yellow?). I experimented with all different kinds of colors for Floyd. Originally, he was purple. Then green. Then gold. Then I just decided to stick with a true color scheme, and stop over complicating everything.
The coloring/shading/highlighting portion took around 3hrs to complete. I like to get fairly detailed with my artwork, and I like to add in small little things that most people won't even pick up on, but I know it's there (beads of sweat, veins, etc).
All-in-all I think this turned out pretty good, and gives me a decent start to depicting some of my favorite fighters to practice the "sweet science."
Now, if I could just get Floyd to see it....
Friday, May 10, 2013
The 3rd "Iron Man" collaboration between myself and artist Gabby LoPorto from 117 Art, this illustration gives more of a closeup look at the new Mark XLII (that's 42) armor featured in "Iron Man 3." Originally, I wasn't a fan of the design. It looked WAY too golden for me, and I personally felt like they should have flipped the colors around to make it more in-line with the previous looks. After seeing the suit in action on the big screen, and in person (at Disneyland), it grew on me.
The illustration itself is based off of a Mark XLII bust from my favorite toy makers, Hot Toys, who have provided me with excellent reference material for several of my other illustrations in the past.
For this one, I sketched it out, tweaked a couple of things here and there, and then added the final inks. Initially, I wasn't fond of the way the final illustration turned out, because it looked so choppy (as is my style), but once Gabby started to color it, it REALLY came to life. I'm a BIG fan of drawing things very minimally, and then having the colors make the illustration look like you spent hours upon hours rendering fine details.
She did a great job of matching the colors from our previous Iron Man 3 pin up, and did all of the coloring work herself. Typically I'll go in and tweak things here and there, but I really only spent about 10min adding little highlights and the "3" in the upper corner. I'd say she nailed this one.
Now I'm already itching to do another Iron Man illustration....maybe War Machine?
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Let's be honest. The character of Don Draper is kind of a scumbag. He's an interesting scumbag. But a scumbag nonetheless.
I've been wanting to do various pin up series of shows that I like, but it's tough to find the time to do them all since each illustration typically takes no less than 5hrs to do. I had been watching "Mad Men" the night before I did this, and couldn't resist trying to do something Don Draper-related. While there's nothing spectacular about this one (it's basically a guy in a suit) it's a decent start to what I hope will be a fun series to work on.
I'm not entirely pleased with the likeness of actor Jon Hamm, but at least you can tell who it is (I hope). There's just something about the way I rendered the face that throws me off a little. As far as the background goes, I wanted to keep it simple and include the signature "Mad Men" red with the character's name. Again, nothing fancy.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The latest entry in my WWE series, this one was commissioned by a friend of mine who's a HUGE fan of The Rock.
When I asked him what version of The Rock he wanted (since he's changed his look significantly over the years), he just told me I had full creative control, and left me to my own devices. I like that.
I decided to go with the most current look The Rock has, since, well, it's current. Gone is the slicked back hair and lengthy sideburns from the 90's, and in their place is a shiny bald head, goatee, and giant Samoan inspired tattoo (more on that in a sec).
Speaking of The Rock's tattoo, the image this is based off of didn't provide the greatest look at all of the intricate detail. In fact, I had to use multiple images from the web to get a better look, and even still ended up cheating some of the finer detail. While it's not 100% accurate to the ink he sports, I'd say it's close to enough to get what it is, and it ties together as a bigger piece nicely.
Overall, I'm pretty proud of the way this one turned out. The main goal is always for the artwork to actually resemble the person it's based on, and when I stand back and look at this (or show it to other people), it looks like The Rock. It's unmistakable. I feel good about that. Personally, I feel like I'm starting to hit my stride with these WWE characters that I've been doing lately. I feel like they represent the person they're based off of well, and they seem to make the person/character feel larger than life which is always good when you're dealing with these guys.
Now. If I could just get The Rock to see it....
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I tried to get this finished by last Sunday (4/7), but there is just too much going on in this illustration to have wrapped it up in a single day (plus, I had other things going on). My intention was to finish it early Sunday, and then offer this and my CM Punk illustration as a pair (because of their match at WrestleMania) on my etsy page. That didn't work out so well, but hey, better late than never - right?
I've seriously been watching The Undertaker on TV for the better part of 20 years. I remember his first appearance on WWF (not WWE) TV, and I remember his first match at WrestleMania, which would then turn into his legendary "streak" in which he added CM Punk to the long list of opponents he's beaten to make him 21-0.
Over the years, 'Taker has sported a number of different looks. Remember the oversized tie and purple gloves? Or how about the "American Bad Ass" gimmick from the early 2000's? (which I feel was just him being his real self). Regardless of how he's dressed, the character of The Undertaker has been a staple for the majority of my childhood and adult life.
The actual illustration portion took around 4hrs from start to finish. By far the trickiest part to nail down was the coat. Personally, I think leather is one of the hardest textures to render in illustration. There's so many little cracks and creases, that it becomes almost daunting to try and figure out which ones are necessary to convey the look and feel properly. Then you've got the highlights/shadows - ugh.
Overall, I'm actually really happy with the way this came out. I'm actually most happy with his hair (looks somewhat natural and flowing), and even his coat. I think I did a decent job making it look somewhat textured, but not overdoing it. At least I hope. For the background - it had to be purple. I mean, that's sort of his schtick isn't it? Add in some light fog effect around the base, and you're done.
That'll do pig. That'll do.
Friday, April 5, 2013
I've had A LOT of people ask me when I was going to start doing some "Game of Thrones" artwork - well, I guess NOW.
I sat down and did this piece of artwork yesterday in about 4 1/2hrs all in one sitting. The actual character of Tyrion Lannister (played by actor Peter Dinklage) wasn't all that hard to do. In fact, it was fairly simple. The part that gave me REAL fits, was trying to figure out what to do with the background.
Originally, I had the name "Lannister" running up the left hand side where the show logo is. The "GOT" logo was where the lion's head is, and the lion's head was in the background - only it was completely blocked out by Tyrion - so that whole idea didn't work. I honestly must've gone through about 5-6 different ideas for the background until I stumbled upon an official show desktop wallpaper from HBO. As a matter of fact, I incorporated that same wallpaper (with some Photoshop help) into the background of this illustration. Since I wanted the backgrounds (yes, there will be more of these) to look "official" and all tie together, I thought it made sense to incorporate elements like this. Each house will have a different background with corresponding colors/sigils.
As far as the illustration itself. For the most part I'm happy with the way it turned out - except the hair. I just have not quite figured out how to render lighter hair properly. Dark hair? No problem. It's easy to cheat. Lighter hair doesn't quite allow for the same kind of cheating I normally use, and often looks really bad. I LOVE the way Tyrion's clothing came out. The shadows/highlights really give it a cool effect, but I just wish I could've nailed his hair as well. Oh well - practice makes perfect, right?
Wonder if I could get this over to Peter Dinklage?
It's been almost a year since I sat down to do those original two "Breaking Bad" illustrations, and I thought I would just leave it with Jesse and Walt, but I'm back with some more characters to add to what's becoming a series of art for me.
When trying to think of more characters to add, the obvious next choice was Gus Fring. Now, if you're not familiar with the show, or the character of Gustavo "Gus" Fring, well, wikipedia him - NOW. Easily one of the most interesting characters to have been on ANY TV show in the past few years, Gus was a man of many faces. Literally. Because if the above images don't give away a bit of what Gus' fate entails, then you're not paying attention.
The "normal" version (top) of Gus wasn't hard to do at all. I found a great picture of actor Giancarlo Esposito to use for reference, and kind of added in my own things when I needed. What I did for the "blown up" version was copy the first picture, and do an overlay of the damaged side of his face. I then erased the existing right side of his face, and married the two pieces of art together. I then went in and added in the cross hatching/scuff marks.
I tried to avoid making the image look too much like Two-Face, but then again, having half your face blown off is kind of his gimmick. I also didn't want to try to match the detail of the actual damage precisely because that would take FOREVER. So what I tried to do was suggest at the charred skin, exposed bone, etc. If you look at the area to your left of his mouth, you'll see little teeth area - that was done to help sell the whole "skeletal look" of the wound.
Is my version as gruesome as what appeared on TV? Not even close. But then again, I didn't want it to be. Just my interpretation of the character and the fate he meets at the hands of Walter White. While I don't think this is the best in the "Breaking Bad" serious I've done, I definitely think it's good enough to be included with Walt and Jesse.
PS: If you don't know where I got that blog title from....shame on you.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Following up the artwork I posted of Iron Man last month, here's a companion piece of Tony Stark's best friend, and fellow armored hero, Col. James Rhodes a.k.a Rhodey a.k.a War Machine a.k.a Iron Patriot. Man, that guy has a lot of names.
Now, for any of you comic nerds (like me) that know about the Iron Patriot as he appeared in the comics, then you know we're all in for a DRASTIC re-telling of the character's origin in the upcoming "Iron Man 3." In the comics, the Iron Patriot was actually Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) who led the "Dark Avengers" team during the "Dark Reign" series from Marvel. Since the character of Norman Osborn (in films) is owned by SONY, it appears as if they've decided to take the Iron Patriot armor and stick it on Rhodey as a way to make him more of a weapon of the US military. I guess it makes sense.
Anyway, this is something both Gabby (117 Art) and I worked on together. We both LOVED the way that the Iron Man 3 illustration came out, so we decided to see if lighting would strike twice with a similar looking character in a different pose and with a new color scheme. I have to say. I like it. I like it a lot.
I love the fact that the armor's color scheme is broken up and nothing is overwhelming. There's not too much blue in one area, or too much red in another. The design team on the film did an awesome job re-designing the armor for the movie (it looks drastically different in the comics).
The illustration portion took around 3hrs from start to finish. Rhodey's armor is a bit more clunky, and doesn't have as many intricate details as Stark's does, so that actually helped speed things up. The one part I did get stuck at, was trying to indicate where the color breaks happen without having to draw every single nook and cranny of the suit. I like when color looks more organic, and not so hard edged with black outlines.
As always, Gabby did an awesome job with the color. We picked the shades together, and it did get a bit confusing as to what color goes where, but in the end she pulled it out - and it looks awesome. As much as I thought it was going to be a chore to draw these armors, I have to say - it's been a lot of fun.
Monday, March 18, 2013
What was I just saying about Gabby (from 117 Art) in my last blog post? The girl is seriously amazing, and this is further proof.
This is something we literally just finished a few hours ago, and could be my new favorite collaboration....possibly topping the Michonne pin up we did together a few months ago. Sorry Michonne.
With the upcoming "Iron Man 3" just over a month away, I knew I wanted to do something fun to celebrate the movie. I was trying to think of something really cool, but not necessarily super time consuming either. I racked my brain for a few days, and just thought "ah the hell with it" and decided to do an Iron Man 3 inspired pin up. Now, with Iron Man, I tend to use a lot of reference because of the different armors Stark wears, and all of the intricate detail. This time, the reference came from a collectible action figure from Hot Toys (if you haven't seen their collectible figures/busts, check them out - so impressive).
The illustration/inking portion took me around 2hrs to do. Since I rely more on a "pen & ink" style, I don't have to draw every single piece of machinery on the armor - simply hint at it, or suggest it, which saves A LOT of time. Once I finished the illustration portion, I handed the file off to Gabby with some notes and color suggestions. From there she took it and laid down the flat colors, and then went back and added in the shadows/contrast. Once she was done I added in some highlights and the "crackle" dropped in the "3" (which was made in illustrator) and called it complete.
Overall, I'd say the entire illustration took around 4hrs to complete between her time and mine. Not a bad team effort wouldn't you say? I think we might have to add Iron Patriot and Mandarin to the mix as the movie gets closer.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
It's one thing to create art for yourself. It can be a good way to relieve stress, calm your mind, or just to reward yourself by expressing your creativity. I'm a big fan of doing art solely for yourself for the reasons I just listed, and, well, because you can do whatever you want. As rewarding as it is to create art for yourself, I believe that it pales in comparison to creating art for someone else.
Especially someone who means the world to you.
As an artist, sometimes you (I) feel like it's a fun talent to have because you can readily display it to anyone you want. Almost like a magic trick of sorts. It's kind of like "check this out..." you doodle something and let people "ooohh" and "ahhh" for a minute. Then, there are times when I feel like I've been given a gift (or skill set) that has the ability to effect people's moods. I've literally seen people go from sad/angry/depressed to happy/overjoyed by simply handing them a rough drawing of something they like.
Art in any form (music, movies, illustration, etc) really does have the power to change people's mindsets entirely. It could be as simple (and as nerdy) as not being interested in a specific storyline of a book/comic book. Then, once you see the art, your entire opinion is changed. It's happened to me A LOT. How many movies have you seen that had horrible plots, but you were wowed by the visuals? Lately, it seems like it's happening a lot for me.
The images above were done for Gabby LoPorto (yes, the same one who colored my Walking Dead illustrations) for her new artistic venture "117 art" (which doubles for her birthday and the number of a certain Spartan Super Soldier). I've been pressing Gabby to get more into art for years. When she finally took the dive and colored those illustrations for me, I knew she had some serious talent. While Gabby is usually the last person to recognize her talent, I'm not. While I've always known it was there, it took actually seeing it for myself to make me realize that she's got more talent than I ever imagined.
When I see people like her who have that much talent, it's in my nature to try and help them expand that. Sure, part of it is because she can eventually help me, but it's also due to the fact that I know how happy I am doing what I do, and I know other people would be just as happy if they were willing to venture outside of their comfort zone just a little, and give their talent some room to breathe.
I've always had this "crazy" idea that instead of two people (married, engaged, dating, etc) working two completely different jobs, in completely different industries, maybe they could work together doing something they BOTH (which is key) love to do. I mean think about it, if you and your "significant other" could work together to create not only the things you love, but things that countless other people love just as much - why wouldn't you want to do it? And that's what I see with her. Gabby is just as much of a nerd as I am (it's true), and to my surprise, she loves art just as much as I do - she just doesn't realize how good at it she is. Yet.
The sole reason I created the above images is to help her. To give her that push she needs from time to time to say "you CAN do this" and "you ARE good enough." Now, before you ask "why didn't she do it if she's such a good artist?" it's simple. Because I have the necessary programs to execute vector art, and she doesn't. Yet. Gabby's art is still a "work in progress" but she's taken to it faster than anyone I've ever seen - myself included. I have no doubt in my mind that within a few months, with the proper dedication, she'll have absolutely no use for me in that regard. And that makes me happy.
I guess when it comes down to it, the reason we make art for other people is to make them happy. To give them something that they can look at and smile. I firmly believe that when you give someone a piece of your art, it's like giving them a piece of yourself. And why wouldn't I want to do that for her?
I love her. And I am so proud of her.
You can check out Gabby, and her 117 Art at...
There's A LOT more to come from her. Trust me.