Category Archives: Friends

Super Animal Friends

Guin and I love animals. All our convention commissions center on our furry friends wearing cute knitwear. But why not capes? Four images showing work on our next book idea…

Check out our store to adopt a Super Animal Friend– http://www.storenvy.com/stores/886104-perpetual-flights-studio

Bats Supes Zatanna Cats

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

GothicMermaidSDCC

San Diego Comic-Con, International.

Five words that scare every professional that I know.

For artists, it means it’s time to get busy working. New stories, new art, new displays… It’s a madcap race to be productive so that we have something new to share every summer.

For Guin and I, it also means experimentation. From long format prints, to wooden toys, Guin and I have been busy!

If you found our site because of the convention, welcome to the show (and tell)!

Jim Alley’s WWI Planes

Our graphic novel Beautiful Scars drew it’s inspiration from many sources.

For me, Jim Alley was a wonderful inspiration. He was my professor and mentor during my undergraduate degree in Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

We hit it off instantly. He taught me how to use a Macintosh Computer. We were both history nuts with a soft spot for aviation, fantasy/sci fi and jazz music. Ridley Shaw in spirit, was based on the gentleness, humour and warmth of my dear friend Jim.

Jim passed away not to long ago, having lost his battle to cancer.

As we hit the 100 year anniversary of World War I, I scoured the internet for his images of World War I planes. He started his love of early aviation with books he read about the Flying Circus and Eddie Rickenbacker. He then became an accomplished model plane maker. Finally, he wrote articles and essays as an expert on these machines.

To commemorate the Great War, and great man, here are two of his plane illustrations. Created in vector, using Macromedia (Aldus) Freehand.

Two planes of prominence in Beautiful Scars:

Alley-R.E.8

 Alley-FokDrI

To see more of his illustrations, please go to: http://www.wwi-models.org/Images/Alley/

Beautiful Scars: Meet the Generous Jaime Anderson!

Jaime Anderson is a quiet person. However, she speaks volumes through her work which is lyrical, precise, decorative, and provocative. She teaches this way as well.

“She broke the surface with the second of the princess’ rings.”

We assigned Jaime a moment of the fairy tale that is capture only in prose… this moment is not in the main graphic novel. However, when thinking about who would be great to illustrate the river mermaiden, Jaime was the perfect fit. The mermaiden, the water, the foliage, and the ring had to be orchestrated through a single composition. Jaime’s combination of art nouveau and the decorative creates a wonderful introduction of a major character for a later story. We couldn’t be more thrilled!

For those who don’t know, Jaime brought surface and decorative illustration to Emily Carr. And though she teaches in Minnesota (MCAD), her presence is still very much felt in Vancouver. As a freelancer, you will be hard pressed to meet anyone who can combine pattern and emotion more creative ways! Visit her website, and wear your comfortable shoes as you’ll explore pyramids, heartbreak, and even story time with future hall of famers.

www.JaimeAnderson.com

 

So normally, Guin and I try to include our reaction shots to our friends. However since the book’s release, we wanted to share reaction shots from other people reading our book. This is Mya, Sage and Guin (whose hair can be pretty epic in the morning). You’re welcome.

Launch Day and the Marvellous Mark Smylie!

It’s out. After long last, Beautiful Scars is no longer ours. It’s yours

It’s been quite the battle to get it out, but to our relief the book has at least made it to Indianapolis, Indiana and Vancouver, British Columbia. It is our hope that the book made it to all the cities in between! So over the next few days, weeks, and months, you can tell us if it made it into a comic book store, book store, or on-line purveyor of graphic novels near you.

Spotted in the wild: the Comic Carnival in Indianapolis, IN, USA

And the Comic Shop in Vancouver, BC, CAN

And we truly can’t wait to hear from you.

So it’s fitting to highlight the man most responsible for this book seeing the light of day. Mark Smylie is an amazing illustrator, writer of just-released “The Barrow,” the creator of complex “Artesia,” a skillful gamer/game designer, the CCO of Boom! Comics, and the founder of Archaia Entertainment.

“Captain Gabriel was the casualty of a lone encounter with Nightshade.”

As you can imagine, Mark is one of the most busy individuals that we know. The fact he took the time out of his schedule to create this illustration speaks volumes. He’ll move mountains for friends. But speaking to the illustration, he chose to illustrate a moment that didn’t involve the main figures in our fairy tale. As a creator, he chose a unique way to illustrate the scene—by celebrating an unknown character.

Guin and I are relative unknowns in comics. Sure, we have worked in the industry, but this is our first graphic novel—and as a collaborative venture, no less. He stood by us and he made sure that our story was never forgotten. According to our editor, the title of our book was on the planning board for quite a long time. And even as Archaia evolved into the powerhouse company it is today, we were always a part of the big picture.

Thanks is not a big enough word… we hope we were worth the effort!

Pay Mark a visit at: http://swordandbarrow.com/wp/

Also, as people have a chance to review Beautiful Scars, we’ll try to share the occasional post:

Tom Murphy, Broken Frontiers:
http://www.brokenfrontier.com/broken-frontier-staff-picks-for-april-9-2014/

Melanie Hernandez, Sonoma State Star
http://www.sonomastatestar.com/arts-entertainment/beautiful-scars-a-fairytale-adventure-1.3158741#.U0ZjH61dV40

And a fun post from Rich Johnston, Bleeding Cool:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/04/02/37-thoughts-about-37-comics-the-movement-detective-comics-stormwatch-crossed-inhuman-green-lantern-caliban-starlight-action-comics-field-she-hulk-dead-letters-beautiful-scars-god-is-dea/

Beautiful Scars: Meet the Amazing Amanda Vissell! Plus, new release date!

You have probably seen her work if you’ve ever walked into a Kid Robot, or are into collecting vinyl toys, been to any number of Los Angeles/California galleries, collected Disney merchandise, or are generally a cool person who knows about cool things. Of course, I’m talking about Amanda Visell.

I think the first time I saw her work was at Disneyland. It was the 40th anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the gift shop had all kinds of sweet commemorative merch, including a fantastic ringer with an amazing pirate graphic. It instantly reminded me of mid-century Disney art and especially Mary Blair, who as I’ve talked about before, is basically my patron saint. (I realized that now if you google “Mary Blair Alice in Wonderland” this blog comes up on the first page, which makes me super happy.) The more I learned about this mystery artist, the more I loved her.

Amanda has a deep love for the same things I do, like Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle. She and her partner Michelle Valigura, who is also an amazing artist working in ceramics and 3D materials, originally came to LA to pursue a career in stop motion animation. You can see the influence from that time in the materials and techniques that she uses in her work, both painting and sculpting. She works with similar characters and themes throughout her work, like alligators and elephants, but what I really love is the figures are not just cute figures, they tell a story. She’s a natural storyteller and is drawn to things with narrative. In addition to limited edition toys and figures, she also does killer paintings and posters. Her current series of pop icon wood idols is particularly interesting; she’s attempting 100 one of a kind idols (55 are finished so far, and they are awesome). I love someone who can think in 2D and 3D, and have continuity between the two. Her work always looks like her, no matter what she’s attempting.

For her contribution to “Beautiful Scars,” we knew we wanted to give her a scene with Scars. I love how she takes an existing character and Amandafies it, so we knew she’d do something great. Scars is such a blocky character in our design, I really love how he gets a bit rounded in this piece. It’s a great moment between the Woodsman and Scars, showing off their now matching scars on their foreheads. How much do you love that five-o’clock shadow on the Woodsman’s face? He looks like he’s had quite a long day (and he totally has).

Check out Amanda Visell’s site here, and the design partytime jamboree she has with Michelle Valigura, Switcheroo.

In book news, we have a new release date! Oh, the joys of customs and shipping. Now, all of our books are safely at the distributor’s warehouse and we can say with a defnite tone of voice that you can buy Beautiful Scars April 2nd at your local comic book store, and April 8th at your local bookstore! And, April 2 happens to be my birthday, so even better! And of course, you can buy it right here from from the BOOM! website.

Beautiful Scars: Meet the Fantastic John Van Fleet!

John Van Fleet is one of the more impressive guys you’ll meet. And I’m not just talking about his goatee. He’s creative and clever, and will keep you in stitches. He’s also an outstanding artist with a huge amount of creativity. (There’s also a professional poker player under the same name, and I’m not entirely convinced that he’s not ALSO John in some kind of disguise.)

He has a really provocative style that combines 3D models with painting to create some really interesting mixed-media paintings. His clients include D.C. Comics, The Walt Disney Company, Mammoth Records, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios, Marvel Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Electronic Art, and now, little ol’ us!

When we were thinking about the moment to assign to John, our thoughts went right to dragons. Specifically, our dragon. This moment shows where Nightshade the dragon is slain, and plummets to earth (not too much of a spoiler; we won’t tell you how it happens!).  With John’s 3D prowess, we knew he could deal with such a massive form in a really cool way. And we are so, so thrilled with the result. I love the distressed feel of this image, it feels like a cellophane film strip about to burst into flames. His version of Nightshade is truly terrifying – a perfect end to a perfectly evil creature.

Check out more of his amazing work at his site! http://johnvanfleet.com/

Edit: Here’s the obligatory awkward reaction shot, this time from a very sickly Guin! Even with the plague, she’s super excited about this dragon.

guinthumbsup

Thumbs way, way up.

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Rockin’ Ryan Hill

This week, it is my pleasure to introduce Joseph Ryan Hill’s contribution to the fairy tale:

“Firefly hovered low enough for Scars to jump!”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ryan for quite a while… he’s one of my oldest friends. And though he’s been in comics for a very long time (starting at Dark Horse), he’s now one of my favourite colourists working in comics today. However, he’s an amazing artist and one of the few artists who can combine action with flair.

We gave Ryan a moment full of action and he rocked it! Maybe it’s his animation influences (Zelda?) that inspired his choreography of the Nightshade the Dragon, Scars the Troll and the Woodsman on Firefly. Or maybe it’s his comics influences (Stan Sakai?) that pushes his bold linework. Or perhaps it’s the colouring influences (Macross?) that paint a scene that is both vibrant and exciting. Whatever his tools, it’s working and Ryan’s work makes the world a better place!

Sadly, he doesn’t have a website (shakes angry fist in the air). But here’s a couple wonderful writes up on his new Judge Dredd book from IDW, so go get it:

WIRED: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2014/01/judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

MULTIVERSITY: http://multiversitycomics.com/reviews/review-judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

 

Ryan Hill’s rocking illustration makes Durwin go “Oooh!”

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Magnificent Michael Stribling!

Michael Stribling is one of those artists who has such a huge range of style that you’d swear he’s two or three people posing as one. His work can range from painterly realistic to 3D cartoony. And whatever he does, it looks great!

Michael’s worked in illustration, graphic design, mural art, video games and comics, most currently as Art Director of Interactive Content at Leapfrog Games. Personally, my favorite work is what he does for comics. He’s great at capturing the action of a scene or the power of a character. I love what he does with characters like Wonder Woman and Superman, so we knew he would do something awesome with ours. And he did not disappoint!

This is the sequence when the princess gets snatched up by the evil vines and the two heroes must fight them off. I love his take on the vines, the red color makes them look even more vicious and they really pop against the neutrals of the characters. The emotional tone of all of these pieces is different, and I love to see all the different interpretations of each scene. This has a much murkier and dangerous feel to it than what we did in the comics section, and it’s hard to say which direction I like better

(And the woodsman’s hair looks super luxurious, which I appreciate.)

For more of Michael’s great work, check out his website or his DeviantArt page!

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Spectacular Steven Tabbutt

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Steven Tabbutt’s work, his work is a study of contrasts. It can be detailed, yet graphic. It can be painterly yet flat. But mostly, his work can be stunning yet provocative.

“Princess Lily was named for the beautiful flowers that flourished on the edge of a terrible wood named the Idyllwild.”

We assigned Steve the start of the fairy tale, thinking that he would create a simple portrait of Princess Lily. I don’t think we were prepared for the beautiful piece that he turned in (and on hindsight, I don’t think he does “simple”). This lead image distills some of our goals with the fairy tale. Narratively, it displays the strength and resolve of the princess. Visually, it plays with decoration and detail. It’s a fantastic way to open the fairy tale!

Steve is one of those artists that successfully balances both a fine art gallery practice as well as a busy illustration career. He exhibits in gallery shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo. But, if you can’t go to one of those openings, you can find his work for such clients such as the New York Times, the Smithsonian Art Museum, and even the Grammy Awards. And now you can find his work in comics! Visit his website, and prepare to be knocked out. Again.

www.steventabbutt.com

Edit: It wouldn’t be an artist post without a ridiculous reaction photo! Guin freaked OUT when she saw the detail of this piece. Still cannot believe how this guy is able to do what he does. He’s a magic man, I tells ya.

ridiculous face

WHAAAAAAAA