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Friday, March 10, 2017

To Go Boldly

     To give you an Idea of my age my first Sci Fi passion was Star Wars. When the first movie came out I was a young teenager. The scope and the drama of it made me fall in love with it. I still to this day have a passion for it. But with age and experience I fell in love with Star Trek.

     Mostly I really fell for it after my time in active service.  I could identify better with it's expression of a regimented life. Yes, the military undertones. Weaving in the moral messages made those military lives no longer military but more so reflections of real life and the problems we all face day to day.

     So much I identified with it that I held it to a higher esteem then I did Star Wars. I was also one of those fans that was somewhat critical of the direction the new Star Trek movies were going (until "Beyond"). And because of that I was pleased to discover the fan film productions (all of them). They gave us Trekkies an outlet for what we saw as the true Star Trek. It was through the online fan films that I was introduced to "Axanar."

     At first sight of the blogs about it and the small video clips I ate it up. I could not afford to be a Donor (literally living paycheck to paycheck), but I wished them well in producing the movie. When the 21 minute "Prelude to Axanar" came out I knew it was the best out there for Trek, but I also knew the great risk of producing something this good. Those who have followed them know what came next, the lawsuit. And for 15 months we all hung on by our fingernails.

     In the end the lawsuit was settled - with some big concessions on both sides. But now the hard work of Ares Studios is beginning - to produce a convincing 30 min movie (the concession). Now, many months ago I - for the fun of it and for practice - created a pencil portrait of JG Hertzler, one of the actors in this production. I've been drawn to him since he played a Klingon in Star Trek Deep Space Nine for several seasons and, in this movie, he plays a Human captain fighting the Klingon's. It was a double portrait of him as the Klingon and as the Human. I titled it "Conflicted." It was done simply because I knew he was coming to our local Sci Fi convention and wanted to have him sign it.

     Well, he did not make it. So, in frustration I scanned it onto my computer and shared the image and my frustration in Facebook.  I was touched that JG saw that image and apologized to me for that. But, it did not stop there. The other fans of Axanar (hundreds of them) kept saying how great the piece was and wished it was a print they could buy, including JG. That brought me to the attention of the producer of the movie. We chatted online which led to talking over the phone to a proposal to reproduce the image as a print to help raise more money for the movie after the settlement. We often chat - sometimes just a word of encouragement - what with all the headache of being sued, but have discussed the movie and the production. And, No I will not discuss that stuff. As an artist I do understand the need for some legal and creative privacy. But, it has all put me a a unique position I could never have dreamed of being in. That being, someone who has become a part of the history of Star Trek (all be it a small one).

     I look at the Axanar Art that I have and am creating as my "Donation" to the production of this film. Just as equal to the Donors who believed enough in this production to give them their money. Since doing that portrait I have started also creating comic book style artwork for their use as well. I will be producing several pieces for them and the fans of this film.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Roc Con day 2 and last

I am so tired, and today I did a lot of networking with several of the artists present and also some of the writers. I got a lot of help that will be working out over the next few months and a very good idea of what goes into having a successful booth a the Con for next year and the cost to me (beyond renting the booth) in supplies can be minimal. There is some cost in making some prints but the nickle and dime sales are small "sketch cards" that are all done by hand and only measure 1" x 2" each - that I can cut out myself and make a good selection over the next year to get ready.

I did get one good bite from a local writer that wants me to create a graphic novel version of a story he has already written and published. Don't worry, I will go over with him a contract an costs, but it also mean 50% of all sales will be mine. I did one commission for this weekend that was strictly a preliminary pencil drawing That took me a couple of hours and since it did not go beyond that it too was not too much for the buyer, but it payed for the money spent this weekend.
 I also did a portrait of JG Hertzler from Star Trek - He was one of the guest actors that was supposed to be there this weekend but at the last minute he had to go home for a family emergency. UGH - I wanted him to autograph it. I did cause quite a stir at the Con, my drawing. So it may be something for me to look into for next year - that is portraits like these as prints for sale.
Anyway - it was fun all in all - met a lot of people - and a Harry Potter group from my home town of Ithaca. Here are some of the standout people I met there.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

At Roc Con Day 1

End of a long day and I am exhausted. And mostly all I did was sit and draw. I am still working on a new fake comic book cover. Every conceivable comic and sci character came past me. Some I recognized, some good some bad, some downright scary and some a bit scandalous. But, that is a Comic Con for ya. For my part I mostly stuck to what I was drawing and talking to people as they passed by.

The hard part was last minute work to get ready for today. Had to wait till payday, yesterday, and till after work to pick up some supplies. so I did not get done till about 1 am. And to top it off I did not fall asleep till after 2. Then I got up at 7:30 am and was out by 8:45. One of the things I was waiting to get done were some cards to hand out that fit with the customers I would see here. I recently decided to start creating a series of Star Wars Starfighters.  They take me about a day and a half each to create. Now I need to get a hold of Disney to get copyright permission to "sell" them. So for the time being I make a small number at a time to use as giveaway's to garner some attention to my website and possible garner a commission out of them.

I started with the ARC-170 and the Naboo yellow fighter. Both have plenty of reference photos to work from and I know them well. I also saved images of each step to create a poster of the step by step procedure I use to create one.

First I start with a very rough sketch of the object to get it layed out. From there I go back over it all to draw it the details in pencil.

Once I have the pencil lines drawn I draw over them all with a 005 line pen. When that is all drawn over I erase the pencil.

From here I use a medium tip pen to on all the leading edges to make them bold and make the image pop.

Once that is done it is ready to be scanned into my computer. I load it for my graphics program (GIMP) and I Erase the entire background.

Now for some color, here is is quick and a bit messy but I want to get all the colors on where I want them.

At this point I go back in and clean up all the colors and lines as much as possible.

The final step for the drawing is to go back in and add the shadows, sometimes also highlights too, fade out anything behind glass (the cockpit) and generally go over the whole image once more to make sure it is complete.

Of course there is the background to consider. I create a separate layer for that and using the filters I create the affect I am looking for. I decide I want to put a white border around the ship, I don't want to do it on the same layer as the ship but on the background. So that you can see this, I made the top layer invisible so you can see it on the background. This makes it easy to create the white border without needing to be too careful with the artwork of the ship.
With the top layer visible again you can see the affect I was going for. All that was left to do was add some lettering.

And here it is.

I also made this one before the Con

Friday, September 9, 2016

Going to Roc Con

Well Tomorrow(Saturday) I will be going to the Roc Con and I have blitzed almost every hour since getting off of work today to get ready. New cards to hand out and some prints. I got a couple of projects started for me to finish while I am at the convention to give people something to see as to how I do my work.

Now the last comic book cover and trading card again played off of the Image I used yester day for Capt Rhino.  This time it is Iron Rhino.  I had the image for the trading card but had to make a cover from scratch. I did cheat a little in that the background is a scene from downtown Rochester that I had done for another project. I also wanted to make this cover specifically to commemorate the Roc Con itself. Any way here are the images.

I did have a little fun with the filters in my graphics program to create the flares you see in hand, chest and under foot

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Going to the Roc Con

Not to long ago The movie Civil War came out produced by Marvel.  Were the Super heros all picked sides and fought it out over law and ethics. Back in the Spring time my friend asked me to coem up with a design for his summer T-shirt. He wanted to commemorate that movie so I create the image below that was a big hit.

 Well, when I came time to create the artwork for this  weekend I kind of cheated. I had already created a "Captain Rhino" comic cover before I had done the image above so that one went into the mix for this weekend.

And for the trading card I just too the T-shirt image and split it to what you see here. It was still a lot of fun to see the finished work.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Going to Roc Con

I have a guilty pleasure. And it is the "Walking Dead".  When I watch it Juli goes to the other room. She hates the sound of zombies .  Now my friend from Rhino Comics asked me to design a new design for his fall T-shirt and he wanted to have this subject. So I bounced around a few different ideas and I ran across this one on the one of the covers of the graphic novels. It was so simple and so strong a statement. So I played around with the same pose and came up with this one.

This is the original cover I used as inspiration

This is the cover I created

And this is the trading card

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Going to the Roc Con

My Spidey senses are tingling. This next one I did for my friends older son since he is crazy about Spider Man.  What was hard was depicting a Rhino as a svelt, muscular guy. Lets face it Rhinos are fat. But, put a real rhino hanging from a spider thread and it will snap LOL. So I came up with this guy here.

Now, Spider Man has a special connection to Rochester. You see the last Spider Man movie was filmed in downtown Rochester. I still remember the delays trying to ride the buses while they were filming. One vacant lot had several dozen NYPD squad cars parked there and some of the signs were changed to NYC ones.

That is why, when you look at the background you see the Rochester Times Square building.

Now, for the trading card I cheated I used the same image and just erased out background and redid it to match the style of the other cards. I also simplified the color work since we are talking about little cards.