Category Archives: Illustration

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

 

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Page of the Week

And… ACTION!

Continuing the tour of our upcoming graphic novel, we wanted to share an action sequence.

This is a fun page to show off because, amidst all of the action, we get to reintroduce Scars the Troll. In the top section, Ridley is flying high in his DIY racer, but in the bottom story, the Princess and Woodsman are being overwhelmed by the Dragon’s minions. Our goal in running concurrent storylines throughout the graphic novel was to blend Ridley’s memories with Maddie’s fantasies. When two moments line up, we illustrate the idea that one memory can directly affect an idea. We wanted to counterpoint young Ridley’s exuberance against Scars’ stoicism (in reality, the troll is happy on the inside!).

Our book made the cut for CBR’s January Flippin’ Through Previews highlights! March 11th can’t get here fast enough!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/04/flippin-through-previews-january-2014/

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Dynamic Chris Moeller

Continuing the series of fabulous artists who contributed to our book, we are pleased to introduce the dynamic Christopher Moeller!

In addition to being a fount of both wit and talent, Chris is a painter par excellence! You can see his work on the covers of Lucifer and Shadow of the Bat. You can play with his paintings via Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft (you can even play an all Christopher Moeller Magic deck I am told). And to cap things off, he’s an amazing writer as well, having written and illustrated JLA: A League of One and Cold Steel. However, the project that is nearest and dearest to his heart is his EPIC  Iron Empires universe. Recently, he successfully launched the Kickstarter project Void.

We assigned him a moment that didn’t exist in the graphic novel, but existed in the Fairy Tale. The prose work we wrote allowed us to bring to life details and story that we couldn’t fit in the comic. Chris painted the scene: “The banshee sensed the return of the woodsman and the screeching began anew.” His sense of colours is spectacular, ranging from with the woodsman lurking in the shadows to the Banshee’s screams illuminating the scene. My favourite part of the illustration is the backdrop–the forest is believable, from the trees to the river. You can’t have a story without an environment, and the Idyllwild never looked so dramatic!

Please visit Christopher Moeller’s website and prepared to be amazed! And if you have a chance to, your should play a round of Magic with him–he’ll be carrying his own deck.

“Wow. Simply, WOW.”

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Dashing Dave Guertin

We’re continuing the series of fabulous artists who contributed to our book with the incredibly talented Dave Guertin, of Creaturebox fame!

In addition to being a generally fabulous human, Dave is an incredibly talented artist and we’re honoured to have him included in this project. He’s the hardest working man in showbusiness, so we say, and it was amazing to have him take time out of his schedule to be a part of this.

We assigned him this particular moment in the story, where the woodsman and the princess are poised to fight these winged creatures. We love his character designs so much, and he did NOT disappoint. That is one of the best things about this part of the project, seeing all the different interpretations of our world. I absolutely adore the princess, especially. Look at the intensity in her face! Dave really captured all the small details that make this moment come alive, like the rings on her dress and the little flower behind her ear.

Dave Guertin is one-half of Creaturebox, along with Greg Baldwin, producing a delightful assortment of robots, monsters, and aliens. He also creates visual magic at Insomniac Games as principal artist, and is responsible for such visuals as Ratchet and Clank. Check out their blog here!

Edit: I have been taking a reaction photo to each piece as it comes in, and posting them alongside the pieces, and this one is a twofer. This is the (probably the worst ever taken of me) photo of my reaction when I saw the piece:

photo 1 copy

Oh yeah, baby, I am ALL GUMS.

I sent it over to Dave and said “This is the face I made when I got your piece!” He replied and said “This is the face I made while I was making it!”

photo 2

Delightful.

Mutual screams of delight. It doesn’t get any better.

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Pages

Guin is overly excited!

Happy New Year! 2014 was kicked off with a bang when we went to our local comic book store to pick up a copy of Previews. To our delight, we were surprised to find an ad for Beautiful Scars on the inside front cover.

As we countdown to our March 11th release, we want to share some of our favourite pages from the book. So, we’ll be sharing a page a week until the big day arrives! (Launch Party TBD)

We like this page because, on the bottom, it shows Princess Lily as a bad ass and introduces the Dragon’s minions! Also, up top, we get to show Ridley’s childhood nemesis (the one-eyebrowed baby, for you Simpsons nerds).

Last, IGN named our book as one of the “Best of the Rest” for March 2014.

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/12/20/march-2014-solicitations-the-best-of-the-rest

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Amazing Scott Hampton

One of the great pleasures of having your art friends and family work in your book is the reaction they can have to your world.

Scott Hampton is one of our dearest friends, but he is also one of the busiest artists we know. Constantly up to his eyeballs in paint and comics, he’s currently working on the new Neil Gaiman graphic novel with P. Craig Russell.

We sent him his illustration brief hoping he could find the time to do it. Literally 2 hours later, he sends in his illustration, completed and ready for print. After reading the book, he put aside his work, jumped into the deep end of the pool, and turned in an amazing page.

It was great to see his reaction and our pleasure to post it today.

“The dragon could not harm her as long as she stayed by th­­e road.”

Scott is a diverse artist currently working in Chapel Hill. He is known for his work on Batman, Books of Magic, Simon Dark and the Upturned Stone. He also plays a mean game of pool and is amassing quite the collection of Disney shirts. Visit his website and say hello!

www.scotthamptonart.com

Guin’s reaction to the Amazing Scott Hampton. “What the WHAT?”

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Wonderful Ola Volo

For those of you who don’t know, our graphic novel Beautiful Scars (coming out April 2014) is divided into two sections. In the first section, we are introduced to a young girl named Maddie Shaw. When she hears the wonderful stories spun by her grandfather Ridley, she imagines the fantasy world of Scars the Troll, Princess Lily and Ridley the Woodsman. Inspired by the story, she grows up to write fairy tales. This first section is done using the conventional comics form: panels, dialogue boxes, gutters, etc. Most of the comics focuses on Maddie as a young girl. When we finished the graphic novel, we thought it would be interesting to read Maddie’s writing as an adult.

So, the second section of the book is a prose work entitled: Scars the Troll Meets the Vengeful Dragon. In lieu of a pinup section, we wrote the fairy tale that Maddie’s grandfather inspired. This allowed us to include details that we couldn’t add in the comics but also allowed us to flesh out the world. We divided the story into sections and asked our art friends (really, art family) to interpret it in their style.

We’ll use this blog to show off these spot illustrations every month or so, and the first image we’re showing is actually the last; here’s the end piece by Ola Volo entitled: “And they all lived happily ever after.”

Ola is a Vancouver-born illustrator currently operating out of Brooklyn. She has a wonderful decorative style that reflects her Kazakh heritage. An up and coming artist, she is about to have an artist’s book produced on her work published by Von Zos. Visit her website and say hello!

http://www.olavola.com/

Durwin’s reaction to the Wonderful Ola Volo? Awwww…

The Disney Effect

punchy

Durwin and Guin on our first day signing at
the Archaia Booth…

Time to catch people up on our San Diego Comic-Con experience…

Exhausting while being exhilarating! We got to sell a ton of prints (heartfelt thanks to those who supported our 2013 artistic endeavours), we introduced the con to Guin’s cousin (Ryn = Mind Blown) we got to meet a bunch of new people (hello Royden Lepp, Shane Vidaurri, Moro Rogers, Paul Morrissey and Heather Nuhfer), but most importantly we got to preview our book through signings at the Archaia Booth (thanks to Mel Ceylo, Scott Newman and Tay Taylor for putting on a smooth show) and during our Workshop (shout out to Clydene Nee and Inez Gowsill).

Our favourite celebrity sighting? Hands down, signing comics next to Alyssa Milano (and her wall of beefy security guards).

Our favourite Comic-Con moment? Following two of San Diego’s finest heading towards the Archaia Booth. The Dispatcher calls them: “Proceed to Hall A, we have a woman who is fully nude.” The Police Officer’s reaction: “FULLY nude?” The Dispatcher’s confirmation: “100 percent.”

Classic.

However, for Guin and I, the highlight of this crazy trip is always the Monday after the con, when we and the rest of our booth buddies head out to Disneyland down Anaheim way. Joining Scott Hampton, John Van Fleet and Chris Moeller on this annual event is quite the experience. For all of us, we find that leaving a convention space with 120,000 people to travel to an amusement park with considerably more people is strangely relaxing… It may be the rides, recapturing our youth, or maybe even dinner at the Blue Bayou (shout out to Mike and Liz Kennedy), but year after year, we do this ritual and are always happier for it. We even buy matching tee shirts to commemorative every year.

photo

The most excellent Scott Hampton models this year’s
Disney shirt! Score!

After Disney, we stayed at the beautiful casa of Amanda Visell and Michelle Valiguera (and their pack). These are two wonderful LA artists that we feel pretty fortunate to call friends. They are known for being lowbrow artists and have even been referred as the next wave of mid-century artists. However, Guin and I discovered them through their Disney work (one of these days, Guin will have to recount the Pirates of the Caribbean 40th Anniversary Shirt Tale).

photo (1)

Disney art from the wonder studio of Amanda Visell
and Michelle Valigura!

A special treat was being invited for lunch at Disney Feature Animation with Mike Yamada and Victoria Ying, two wonderful concept artists (and their booth in San Diego was spectacular!).

photo (2)

Off to Disney’s! Thanks to Victoria Ying and Mike Yamada!

(I apologize for my serial killer mugshot photo. The Indiana DMV does not take Glamour Shots. -G) Guin and I recently visited Disney Features last year with a school group, and this time was super special as well. Seeing the amazing art on the walls, both old and new, was inspiring. Being at Disney’s (how it was referred to back in the day by Disney vets) made us wonder what is it about this place that energizes artists from all different industries, ages and walks of life.

Consistency.

For the theme park, they use the same exacting standards today as it was when I had to use tickets to ride rides in my youth. And even though 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is now Finding Nemo, and you no longer have to get comfortable with another stranger’s lap on the Matterhorn, the classics are still classic and the new stuff just fits in seamlessly. Even if Guin HATES the fact that Woody is in the Small World ride, she’ still happy her original work remains intact. And as far as the artists that work for Disney today, I feel that they are the best artists around. Splashier artists might work in other studios, but an average animated Disney feature or ride still ends up being more enjoyable than some studios/parks’ best efforts.

It’s an exacting standard that years in and years out has not changed. And as long as that’s the case, then I for one will be in line buying the tee shirt and drinking the Dole Whip.

After all, we’ll be buying a $200 Sleeping Beauty book from Stuart Ng this week. It’s from the happiest place on earth after all.

Tune in next week when we’ll have Beautiful Scars announcements! For now, we are exhausted!

D + G

After our final Archaia booth signing!

After our final Archaia booth signing!

 

Comic Con 2013 Update! (Artist’s Alley II-21)

So as we round third and head for Comic Con, we wanted to share a preview of our wares:

As well as a preview of our group postcard set (done in cahoots with Chris Moeller, John Van Fleet and Scott Hampton, guess which one’s which):

We also wanted to announce our signing times at the Archaia Booth (#2635) for our upcoming graphic novel Beautiful Scars:

Thursday, July 18
10-11am
6-7pm

Friday, July 19
10-11am

Saturday, July 20
5:30-7pm

Sunday, July 21
3-4pm

Besides hanging out in Artist’s Alley (#II-21) selling prints, promoting the book, and drawing commissions, you can catch us at our Using Panels to Shape Visual Storytelling talk/demo on Sunday, July 21st at 11:30 am – 1:15 pm, Room 2.

Stop by and say hello!

D+G