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Sketch o’the Week- Adam West… AGAIN?!?

July 23rd, 2014

Batman

Holy Faber Castell… Not another caricature of the Caper Crusader by this Scandalous Scrawler of Sketches! What could this Peccant Pusher of Pencils be up to? Will our hero get DRAWN into a grisly, GRAPHIC fate? Is he in LINE to be further ridiculed by this Despicable Doodler? TOON in soon for the SKETCHY details, citizens! Same MAD time, same MAD channel!

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The NCS Announces the Launch of The National Cartoonist Magazine!

July 22nd, 2014

The NCS Foundation has really been firing on all cylinders lately, starting several initiatives that are going to be terrific resources fro pro an aspiring cartoonists alike. They and the NCS just announced one of those new initiatives today, the free digital magazine, The National Cartoonist!:

From the NCS Website and NCSF President Steve McGarry:

The NCS is delighted to announce the launch of our new digital magazine, The National Cartoonist! We’re really excited about this new publication and hope you will be, too!

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Published by the National Cartoonists Society Foundation, it is a free magazine celebrating the best in cartooning, past and present, with extensive interviews, in-depth features and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the world of cartooning and comics, as well as beautiful reproductions of rare and, in many cases, previously unseen original art from some of our greatest luminaries! We hope it is a publication that will be enjoyed by all cartooning fans, from the casual reader to the seasoned professional.

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To celebrate the launch we are giving away thousands of print copies of the debut issue of The National Cartoonist this coming weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. It’s a souvenir that collectors will want to treasure, so if you are attending SDCC, make sure to stop by The National Cartoonists Society booth, #1307, and grab a copy!

issue1Click to download the first issue!

Meanwhile, enjoy the digital version and be sure to subscribe. It’s FREE and it’s fantastic!

Cheers!

Steve McGarry (NCSF President)

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NCS 2014 Comic-Con Shirt Unveiled!

July 22nd, 2014

NCS T-shirt 2014Clicky to embiggen!

Holy 50/50 cotton polyester blend, Batman! This year’s official NCS Comic-Con T-shirt is in honor of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of the Caped Crusader! With artwork by Bill Amend, Sergio Aragonés, Jim Borgman, Jack Davis (!!), Jeff Keane, Rick Kirkman, Patrick McDonnell, Bill Morrison, Mike Peters, myself, Stan Sakai, Jerry Scott and Garry Trudeau, this is going to be a hot seller! The NCS will have them in both white and yellow, with a long sleeve option that has the illustrations also going down each sleeve! Visit the NCS booth #1307 at the San Diego Comic-Con and get this one before they are sold out!

… and all you blog readers thought my Adam West Batman sketch from the last week or two ago was for a Batman print I was doing! Incidentally, here’s a close up of my contribution:

Richmond

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Monday MADness- Jack Black!

July 21st, 2014

In honor of the National Cartoonists Society having Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D (along with illustrator Luke McGarry) signing autographs at the NCS booth on Thursday at the San Diego Comic-Con, here’s a look at all my art for the parody of “School of Rock” from MAD #438, Feb. 2004:

FoolsofRock_big

Clicky any to embiggen…

FoolsofRock3

FoolsofRock4

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FoolsofRock6

Sunday Mailbag- Creating Crowd Scenes?

July 20th, 2014

Q: When you are tasked to draw a front cover with dozens of faces on it (like the Obama inauguration number) WHERE do you start? I avoid such jobs like the plague because I find it too intimidating – trying to get everyone in is a nightmare!

A: As it happens, I did a short tutorial on constructing crowd scenes a few years ago using that same “Obama Inauguration” image as the basis. Here it is:

Constructing a Crowd Scene Tutorial

I’m still not exactly sure how it happened, but somewhere along the line I ended up establishing the reputation of being able to “do a crowd scene”. I am sure my art director at MAD Magazine, Sam Viviano, can sympathize. He is well known for his work with crowd scenes, and all that implies. Simply put, it means you end up getting a lot of jobs doing complicated crowd scenes because… well…. you CAN. In the world of freelancing there is never anything wrong with getting jobs. However when a lot of jobs end up being time consuming crowd scenes, you sometimes just wish for a nice, simple single figure illustration job to cross your path. MAD has utilized me on many crowd scene projects, in particular their “A MAD Look Behind the Scenes of…” features that they have occasionally done. I’ve done a lot of them for other clients as well.

It’s not that I hate crowd scenes. In fact, I like them. They are a LOT of work but when you are done with them they are always something you can sit back, look at and say “whew! That one was tough” but be pleased with the effort. In fact I’ve been known to do much more complicated scenes than the job might necessarily call for just because a really detailed crowd scene is always visually intense and affords the opportunity to make it dense with visual gags, cameos and other fun stuff that makes the viewer really look it over thoroughly. The dense, “chicken fat” technique of filling space with a lot of gags has always been one of my favorite parts of MAD, and is something I’ve always enjoyed incorporating into my work when I get the chance… MAD or otherwise. I’ve also always subscribed to the philosophy inherent in the famous quote by Wally Wood about doing very detailed and busy art: “If you can’t draw well, draw A LOT”.

I’ve been meaning to do a tutorial on how to do a crowd scene illustration, and in late November (2008) I was assigned a tough one for MAD that I thought afforded the opportunity to demonstrate how to approach and execute a crowd scene. In consideration of that thought, I saved conceptual sketches and stages of this particular job for MAD so I could use them to illustrate how I go about constructing a crowd scene.

Design and Layout

Crowd scene or no, the first step is the same as it is for any job… identify the object or end result desired and consider the most effective way to visually accomplish that result. If that means a crowd scene, then in most cases the scene itself is a means to that end. What I mean is that the crowd scene is merely the vehicle to deliver the message and/or the main focus of the illustration. There are key areas of the scene, those that deliver the main purpose of the illustration, which need to be incorporated into the greater whole in such a way that they act like individual spot illustrations throughout the busy main scene. Effectively they act like panels of a comic book page, drawing the reader’s eye across the image. The trick is to blend these areas into the larger illustration but still make them “stick out” is some fashion so they are understood to be more important that the surrounding imagery. I call these elements “principals”. You design your entire image around these principals, setting them up in the layout first and then adding the “secondaries” or “filler” in around them. This simplifies your layout because at first you just ignore the rest of the scene and concentrate on placing the principals.

The most important part of setting up a crowd scene is establishing the point of view (POV). You need to define this and keep it in mind as you set up the scene, and the POV must serve the goals of the project. In this job for MAD, the two page spread called for a massive crowd scene at Barack Obama‘s inauguration, made up of multiple principals in the form of written gags/word balloons that would span the crowd. MAD‘s original concept was for a POV from the back facing the stage, looking down slightly on the crowd.

inauguration1

The problem with that POV illustrates an important point about doing crowd scenes… “Crowd Mentality”. Crowds have two important elements to their makeup. The second one I will get into later. “Crowd Mentality” means that in a general sense most crowds follow a pattern where are all doing the same thing. Even truly random scenes like the floor of a large cocktail party will result in distinct clusters of people doing the same thing… in that case conversing. In the case of this scene, where Obama is giving his inauguration address, the crowd will all be facing the podium and listening to the speech. Considering that, a scene set up from behind the crowd would mean the viewer would be looking at the backs of everyone’s heads. That wasn’t going to work, so I switched to a POV from the stage, looking out over the crowd.

inauguration2

In general a crowd scene is going to call for a POV that is elevated above eye level. Anything too close to eye level will result it the obscuring of the people in the crowd more than about two people deep. This particular job needs a big crowd with lots of faces, so I will have to use a fairly high POV, looking down on the crowd and not necessitating too much in the way of receding or far distance figures. In fact I ended up going with an even higher POV in the final illustration than the one in the rough above.

One side note: there are many different types of crowd scenes. The crowd in the stands of a sporting event will not be the same as one in the a fore mentioned cocktail party. When laying out a crowd scene you must take into account the environment and purpose of the gathering. To that end the most effective means to do this is to actually imagine yourself in that environment, and take a “mental” look around to see what it’s all about. In the stands of a baseball game or other sport, for example, you are crowded shoulder to shoulder with the surrounding crowd. The stands/seats of the stadium restrict the crowds to rigid spacing and straight rows. Only elements like the height of the person, their posture and how they lean will dictate their relationship to their neighbors. In a more varied environment like a dance floor, the spacing and organization of the crowd is much less rigid, and there can be gaps at random all around. Likewise at that cocktail party, there will be clusters of people of various numbers interacting. What the crowd is there for also makes a difference. Who are they paying attention to? What is the reason for the gathering? Put yourself “in the scene” and try and understand what you are trying to visually describe. Read the rest of this entry >

Tenacious D and the NCS at Comic-Con!

July 19th, 2014

FoolsofRock_Richmond

The National Cartoonists Society just released thier full signing schedule for San Diego Comic Con, which includes an appearance by Tenacious D aka Jack Black and Kyle Gass, with illustrator Luke McGarry, who will be there promoting their Festival Supreme show and signing limited edition posters of the event with art done by Luke! Here’s the full schedule:

Wednesday, July 23 (Preview Night)

6 PM – 9 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)

Thursday, July 24

10 AM – 12 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Lex Fajardo (Kid Beowulf)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)

1 PM – 4 PM

  • Jeff Keane (Family Circus)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • RC Harvey (Meanwhile… A Biography of Milton Caniff)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Keith Robinson (Intellivision, Making It)

4 PM – 6 PM

  • Jack Black (Tenacious D)
  • Kyle Gass (Tenacious D)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)

6 PM – 7 PM

  • Brian Crane (Pickles)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)

Friday, July 25

10 AM – 12 PM

  • Tom Bancroft (Animator)
  • Tony Bancroft (Animator)
  • Brian Crane (Pickles)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)

1 PM -3 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Jay Fossgit (Bodie Troll)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)

3PM – 5 PM

  • Rich Arons (Turbie the Turtle)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)
  • Jack Mendelson (Jacky’s Diary)

5PM -7 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luanne)
  • RC Harvey (Meanwhile… A Biography of Milton Caniff)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)

Saturday, July 26

10 AM – 12 PM

  • Jim Bennet (Dog Butts and Love)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Jay Fossgit (Bodie Troll)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)

1 PM – 3 PM

  • Tom Bancroft (Animator)
  • Tony Bancroft (Animator)
  • Brian Crane (Pickles)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)

3PM – 5 PM

  • Rich Arons (Turbie the Turtle)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)
  • Jeff Keane (Family Circus)

5PM -7 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luanne)
  • RC Harvey (Meanwhile… A Biography of Milton Caniff)
  • Jason Walz (HOMESICK)
  • Luke McGarry (Illustrator)
  • Steve McGarry (Biographic, Kid City)

Sunday, July 27

10 AM – 12 PM
  • Rich Arons (Turbie the Turtle)
  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • RC Harvey (Meanwhile… A Biography of Milton Caniff)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)

1 PM -3 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luann)
  • Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine)
  • Jeff Keane (Family Circus)

3PM – 5 PM

  • Greg Evans (Luann)

I’m in there a bit. Check back at the NCS website soon for more details about how to get a ticket to meet Tenacious D!

Want It!

July 18th, 2014

Bat van

The Folding Man

July 18th, 2014

Paste Magazine has a terrific article on the incomparable Al Jaffee and the MAD feature he created and made famous… the “Fold-In”. Al talks about the thinking behind his favorite Fold-Ins from the last five decades. Go check it out.

Incidentally, Al still does the Fold-In every issue. He still hand delivers the art to the MAD offices. He’s 93.

Illustration Throwback Thursday #4

July 17th, 2014

Rolaids1

In 1994 I got a job through a design firm to do a cover illustration for the “Rolaids Relief Man Award Media Guide“, a 4 “x 9″ booklet with the current year’s Major League Baseball relief pitchers statistics, put out by Rolaids in conjunction with their sponsorship of the MLB “Relief Man Award”. The cover usually featured caricatures of prominent relief pitchers and/or past award winners. The design firm angle was typical of smaller specialty publications, especially for sports teams or sponsors. They often hired a design firm to do the design and layout of the publication, and then the client would provide the content and a printing house would publish the results.

In this particular case I ended up doing two covers. Originally they had me do the above illustration of three pitchers “knocking on the door” of the “300 Saves Clubhouse”. They liked the final results but we ran into trouble when it was discovered that MLB had to give the approval for any image that included more than two professional players together at once, which was a new legal requirement. Rolaids did not want to go through that process, so we did this second cover with only two pitchers:

Rolaids2

I believe that is Lee Smith and Goose Gossage. They liked this one also, and we agreed on a kill fee for the first one that was only a little less than my full fee. Both of these were done using the traditional comic book line and color method (pre-computers) of a film pos overlay and blue line board which is then hand water-colored.

Unfortunately the people that printed the guide didn’t know what to do with the overlay/board combo and just drum scanned them both together at once. That resulted in misaligned lines and horrible color. Even though it as not my fault, the design firm blamed me and I never did another job for Rolaids. They stopped giving out the award in 2012.

Sketch o’the Week- Mads Mikkelsen!

July 16th, 2014

madsThis week’s SotW subject is Hannibal Lecter himself, Mads Mikkelsen. Digital study.

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