TOYS! An essential part of every artists life.

Every artist I know likes toys to one degree or another. My buddy Sean and I are two of the biggest collectors I know. My toys tend to be robots (oh what a surprise!). The last four weeks has been very eventful with many of the toys I had pre-ordered finally being released. I love getting the new stuff, but man does it hurt the wallet when so many things get auto-billed to your account in such a short amount of time. Ouch!

How about some show-n-tell? I'll start with this amazingly huge Gundam. I have wanted one of these for a couple of years and just recently saw one on eBay for a price that I couldn't resist. It is HUGE- see my hand down there? My hand is pretty gigantic too! This guy measures in at 21" tall. I LOVE IT! He even has articulate arms (with extra hands you can swap) and came with a shield and gun.
Linebarrel from recent anime Linebarrels of Iron. I watched the anime and it was pretty cool. All the mechs are CG and looked better than most CG mechs (I usually hate CG stuff when it is mixed with 2D).
H.A.B. or Hyper Armored Block. A decent looking original mech design that was made into a limited edition figure. The quality of the figure isn't all that great and one of the joints was broken when I opened the package. Still cool though.
Falguen from an old anime called Dragonar. I also have the Dragonar figure. This toy is really well made with an all metal skeleton and double joints for the elbows and knees so it is super articulate!
The VF-25F from recent anime Macross F. A GREAT anime series so check it out! This is the 1/100 scale plastic version. It is fully transformable. The process is really complicated and you have to remove, then re-attach the legs. There's a better , larger version with metal parts and a cooler transformation method but it costs $250! I won't be getting that version until I win the lottery ;)
Some super deformed (SD) versions of the mechs from Macross F. How cute!
Transformers Masterpiece Grimlock. Now this is a toy! I like him better in dinosaur mode. You can see the trailer for the MP Optimus Prime in the background. The foot claws are metal... I hope they don't scratch my display case :(
Nendroid Yoko from Gurren Lagann. OK, so she's not a mech, but she is from an anime about a mech.
The only bad thing about having all these mechs is that they get dusty and they are hard to clean. I keep al the original boxes too and I'm running out of space to store them.


Happy 3rd Freelance Anniversary to Me!

I just realized that last month was my 3rd anniversary for being a full-time freelance illustrator! Of course I was doing freelance illustration for years before that, but it was just something I did in my spare time. It was really tough at first but things have been going great for the last couple of years and I really like the freelance life! It helped a lot when I finally moved to my current studio and got a big monitor so I don't have eye strain anymore.

Here's a picture of my work station when I was coloring the most recent LEGO Star Wars: Clone Wars comic... episode 3. I have a PC and MAC networked. I'm a PC guy at Heart but I needed a really powerful system and the MAC was just too convenient to pass up. I still prefer Windows XP over the MAC OS, but life is all about compromises.
I have a wireless mouse and keyboard for the PC (Left) to cut down on the clutter. The MAC is my main system. You can see my Wacom Intuos 3 drawing tablet to the right. I had to buy a new tablet when I got my MAC because it only has USB ports and my old tablet had a serial cable. Those things aren't cheap and I wasn't too happy about that, but the new Intuos 3 is so much better than my old tablet that it was worth it!

I have been keeping an active business plan for the last few years but I haven't had a chance to update it this year. I met all of my past goals and now I'm not sure where to go. I've been turning down some good work so I might try to get an intern or someone to help me scan, etc... it's so hard to find extra time to even research the possibilities! I've been focusing on improving the quality of my art and that usually means dedicating more time to each project, but I know it is worth it in customer satisfaction. It is a really competitive field and it takes a lot of hard work to get clients to notice you.

Well, I have a ton of work to do, so I should get back to the drawing board. Been working long days and weekends just to keep up and there's lots more still to do. I like being busy so I'm not complaining!!!



Battletech Commissions Part 2

Super busy right now but I thought I should take a sec to post these other two Battletech mechs. Hope you like 'em!!!
Left = Nimravus
Right = Stealth Griffin


Battletech Commissions

Hi Everyone. Some of you have noticed that I changed the title and text of this message yesterday. I had to change it because I made a very stupid assumption. The TRO that will include these mechs is not an official product and is not affiliated with Classic Battletech- the CBT people contacted me and were not pleased that I had listed it as such. The person who hired me never said he was with CBT- it was just an assumption I made based on the nature of the product so I take 100% of the blame for the error. I hope no one was inconvenienced by this and I apologize for the misinformation.

Here's hoping I still get paid for the work!
The mechs are not to scale... I think the BK weighs bout 2X as much as the Spector. I'll post the other mechs next time!


LEGO Exo-Force Comic: Step-By-Step

I'm not allowed to show any of my recent work yet so I thought it would be cool to post a comparison of all the different stages it takes to create each comic page. I tend not to scan in my pencils very often since I keep them fairly rough, but I was able to find an old Exo-Force comic that had decent pencils!

1) Layouts: LEGO gives me a script which includes a panel by panel breakdown of the action they want. I make really rough sketches to show how I will compose the page. You can see that I roughed in the word balloons too- it is important to make sure you have enough room for the text!

2) Pencils: LEGO reviews the roughs and provides me with comments about things they want changed or fixed. I take those comments and create the pencils, which are drawn larger than the intended print size to help make the images sharper and more detailed. This is when I make sure all the characters and products are the right size and really look like the LEGO sets.

3) Inks: I am provided with more comments from the pencils, usually minor things like product inconsistencies. I incorporate any changes and then trace the pencils with ink pens and brushes. I usually add a little more detail and try to tighten up the overall drawing. I then scan the drawing into my computer for the final step...

4) Coloring: This is the last chance LEGO has to make any major comments because it is time consuming (expensive) to make changes after the image is colored. I start by filling in flat colors and then I add shading and textures to give some dimension.

That's it! LEGO takes the final color art and overlays the word balloons with text and sound effects. The whole process takes me about 3 days per page.