Archive for the 'General' Category
Monday, October 21st, 2013
I got this email from someone this morning:
Hi there Tom
My name is
name withheld and I am an internet marketer. I have recently created a training program for people who aspire to make money online, named ‘ title withheld‘. As you can tell by the name, the branding and name is inspired by James Bond, as will be my new sales page (comic strip style).
My question is, would you consider giving me permission to use some of your “James Bond” images for my sales page? If you would be so gracious as to grant me permission then of course I would place an ‘art acknowledgement’ link at the bottom of the sales page giving you credit and also linking back to your url.
The only possible change I would want to make, would be to remove the background and only use the actual figures. If this is something you would consider then kindly get back to me.
Your art work would really make my sales page something special.
Many thanks for your time Tom
I eagerly look forward to your reply
I got a real laugh out of this. It’s more than a little ironic, don’t you think, that someone professing to know enough about how to make money online to teach others how to do it would ask an illustrator for the use of their online artwork for free in order to sell a training program on how to make money online? I mean, if your business is making money online don’t you think you’d be sensitive to the fact that things online have value and ought to cost something to use? The really funny part is he’s actually asking me to remove the backgrounds for him, so not only to give him free use of existing work, but to spend my time altering the work to better suit his need… all for a link. Then again, maybe his business plan is all about getting stuff for nothing to use to sell other stuff for something. Brilliant.
I’m not sure I’d be too interested in this James Bond themed training program. I have a feeling it promise Sean Connery but give you George Lazenby.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
Clicky to embiggen…
If you do, better order soon… my limited edition Doctor Who print “The Doctor is in” just passed the 350 mark, and there are now less than 100 prints left. Once they are gone, they’re gone!
You can get the original print for $25, or I will do an original added drawing of the upcoming 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, for the ridiculously low price of only an extra $10:
Clicky to embiggen…
I do not think these prints will last through the holidays, so if your gift-giving plans include some Doctor Who fans, you might want to order one soon.
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
When you freelance for a living you sometimes get some really odd projects to work on… not odd in the sense that you cannot understand why anyone would want something like that but in the sense that it’s not really something you have ever done before and it’s new territory for you. Most of those types of jobs are kind of exciting, as it’s outside your comfort zone and really makes you think about how to accomplish the project. Here are a few examples of some different jobs I’ve done in that vein, with some links to the backstory (if any):
There are other examples, but these come to mind right away.
Some of those jobs are less exciting, like when someone asks you to copy or work in a similar style of another artist. When I get those kinds of requests I usually either say “sorry, I won’t do that”or try to convince them I can accomplish what they are looking for still working in my own style. In some cases that argument won’t work, like:
Many years ago when I first starting freelancing one of my first big jobs was for a company called Business and Legal Reports, who were producing some comic book style booklets aimed at young kids about the evils of drugs, smoking, drinking, etc. They had their first booklet, a 16 pager called “Don’t Huff that Stuff” about the dangers of sniffing chemicals, something that was big in the early 90′s, was about 60% complete in various stages of pencils and inks by another illustrator. This illustrator had apparently become impossible to work with and the project was badly past deadline. They asked me to finish the comic but keep the same style of characters and such. I sort of winced at that but it was more damage control than anything, so I went ahead and did it. It was very different from my usual style but very easy to mimic. I finished the book and went on to do I think 4 other books in my own style for them.
A more recent one was this illustration, an homage/parody of the famous Rick Meyerowitz “Animal House” movie poster, for an L.A. movie/sound production house. That was a situation where the style of art was part of the gag, and in very MAD-like fashion getting that look and feel was important. That job was a nightmare, but for different reasons.
The image at the top of this post is a recent job where I was initially asked to ape the work of other caricaturists. The art director contacted me and showed me three caricatures of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Salvador Dali he found on the internet. The Einstein he liked was mine, which is what led him to me. The other two were the work of other caricaturists, and he wanted me to “get close” to them.
This is not that unusual, especially if you are working with an art director for the first time. They might show you several illustrations from different artists to try and get you to understand the look and feel they want. They don’t expect you to copy those pieces, it’s just a visual aid to describe aspects of the desired piece. This was a little different though. He really wanted me to base my caricatures on the work of others. This I refused to do, and assured him I could capture what he wanted within my own style. The only concession I really bent for was in giving Dali huge, googly eyes… he wanted that very cartoonish element, and I acquiesced. Of course, Dali had huge, googly eyes, so it was not much of a stretch. I think the end result is 100% my style, and the client was happy.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
Clicky to Embiggen…
I had a few people email me about that “Gladiator” parody I did for Cracked waaaay back in 2000 to see if I had any more of it. Well, I do. Quite a bit in fact. There is a sad and interesting story behind that job.
My artwork appeared in exactly four issues of Cracked, all published in late 1999/early 2000. The first two parodies I did I actually wrote myself, with some help on the second one by my pal Jim Batts. “God-Hilla”, a parody of the Mathew Broderick “Godzilla” film, appeared in Cracked #344. I wrote and drew that one as a sample to show newly-minted MAD art director Sam Viviano in the summer of 1999. He was not impressed. I showed it to the newly minted publisher/editor of Cracked, who immediately bought and printed it despite the movie being two years old by then. The second was a parody of “The Sopranos”, where Jim helped me out with some advice about the show and some gags. That one appeared in Cracked #345. Both of these were in black and white. Cracked actually had a color section in those days, wherefour spreads were printed on newsprint but in color, which means 16 total pages (8 actual pages but front and back of each) were color.
The next two parodies I did were written by comedy writer Barry Dutter, and I was assigned the art for these. The first was “eXcreMENt” in Cracked #346, a spoof of the first “X-Men” movie, and this was in color. The last was ‘Glad-Idiot” in Cracked #347. Like most issues of Cracked at the time, there were two parodies in each, and mine was one. The other was done by cartoonist Frank Cummings.
Here’s where things got messed up. I was told this would be the color parody. I was really working on improving my work, and so I spend a really long time on this splash page… especially the color. Looking back at it now, it seems like a pretty spare piece, but at the time it stretched me out. Imagine I have probably spent an entire day of my life coloring the crap out of that splash, I’m working on the second lower panel when I get a call from Cracked to say they are bumping the piece from the color section, so please covert what I’d done so far to black and white, and do the rest in grayscale.
The parody they decided to put in the color section in favor of “Gladiator”, which went on to win 5 Oscars? Are you ready for this?…
That should tell you all you need to know about the state of editorial at Cracked at the time.
It just so happens that I saved an old CD-ROM with the original color artwork from that parody in progress, so here is the world debut of the never-before-seen full color spash of “Glad-Idiot” from Cracked #347:
And here’s the rest of the story (sorry, that’s the best resolution I have on those):
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
… jiggity jig. Back home from Italia in just a few hours. Great trip, now back to work!
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
Here we go again! That’s a Sebastian Krüger Marilyn and Stallone
I saw no caricaturists at all in the small towns in Tuscany I have vistied that last few days… so sorry about the delay in more observations. That said, here we go with another ridiculous caricature report from Italy, this time from the city of Rome!
I found a huge group of artists gathered in Piazza Navona, which is where the famous Bernini designed “Fountain of the Four Rivers” is located.
That’s Joe Bluhm’s Tom Cruise… I think that’s a Court Jone’s Einstein.
Several repeat samples on another artist’s cart???
Krüger’s Michael Jackson…
In general, I found no one with a printed rip-off of a caricature straight from the internet. However, virtually everyone had at least one example up that was redrawn from a recognizable source—including a couple of mine:
Whoops, that’s an old Tom Cruise of mine. I know that Clooney from somewhere… Vizcarra?
The Italians love my Julia Roberts… Anna says it’s because she was in some movie set in Italy.
That Whoopie Goldberg is a bad copy of an other of mine
This one looks suspiciously like an old Antonio Banderas I had on my website years ago. I’d give the artist the benefit of the doubt, but it’s right above the obvious Julia rip-off…
Got one drawn by one of the friendlier and (I thought based on the samples) better artists:
Me in the hot seat!
That’s a lot of gelato… and that cone in my right…uh… dough ball… has a lot, too!
I have to break my Rome caricature report card into two grades:
Caricature work: C. The one I had done was the best attempt at a real caricature I got in Italy, as opposed to the super stylized, cookie-cutter sort of stuff I’d seen in Florence and (briefly) Venice. However, while I’d give the caricature perhaps a low B, the overall grade is dragged down by the hideous body on this drawing. Are those hands, or bubbles at the end of my arms?? Yikes, that body is a total afterthought. I’d have cut him some slack if there was a long line, but I was it for the foreseeable future.
Caricature displays: D-. This was saved from an F by the absence of any printed work straight from the web, but almost every artist had giant, full color samples up and yet no one worked in color (the 10 Euro price had a small “no color” by it in all cases. Talk about false advertising! Also lots of redrawn rip-offs… sigh.
This concludes my Italian caricature reports… I want to put a disclaimer here to say that I know several EXCELLENT Italian caricaturists so the work I have seen and have reported on should in no way be interpreted as saying there are no really good caricaturists in Italy. I just didn’t see any outstanding ones on my travels.
Thursday, September 26th, 2013
I had much better luck in Florence than Venice finding caricaturists. We found a square with almost all portrait and caricaturists right in front of the Uffizi Gallery, and several more around the Piazza del Duomo. It takes a special kind of guts (or stupid) to sell your artwork only feet away from some of the greatest works of art ever created, but street caricaturists are seldom accused of being timid.
That Madonna is a Krüger
I’ve seen that Roberto Benigni somewhere…
The Connery I believe is a Vizcarra…
The same Benigni and the same Jackson… not sure where that one is from either. That Jagger is a Burke…
I will say one thing for the artists in Florence… while several had obvious rip-offs of some other people’s work, at least they took the time to redraw them and not just tack up a print from the internet. I’m not sure if that’s really any better or not, but at least it took them more time than a few clicks with a mouse. I saw a lot of Krugers and Mulatiers, some Vizcarras, a Geoffroy, a Joe Blum and, yes, a couple of mine.
That’s my “Ace Ventura” from like a million years ago…
That Steve McQueen is a Mulatier I think…. Nicholson looks familiar but can’t place it…
This guy was set up near the Uffizi…
That’s my Julia Roberts in the middle. I think the Tom Cruise I recognize also from elsewhere…
The Jackson is a Krüger, Connery a Vizcanno…
The Rowan Atkinson is a Op de Beeck, same Benegni as others…
These look like all original works!
One thing I noticed right away with these artists, none of them drew in anything like the style they had displayed. There seems to be a stock style here, the 3/4 view “bubble cheek” look. I saw similar styles in Paris a few years ago. Might be an overall European thing.
I got drawn by one artist who had one of my samples up, and then another whom I though was the best one of the lot.
This first one was pretty awful:
Me on the spot…
Looking up at my ripped off sample of Julia…
The final result… ??
The second one faked me out with his samples. They were far better than his actual work:
Liked his samples… not rip-offs I could see.
Showing me the damage…
Looking happy about spending 10 Euros on this…
Florence Caricature Grade: C+
Too much of a stock style, too many rip-off samples and too big a difference between the samples and the actual art. On the other hand, they were out there working hard and the skill levels were (mostly) competent.
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
I thought, just for fun, I’d look for street caricaturists while on my trip through Italy and report back on a couple of things, including:
- If they have any stolen caricature samples up on their display (mine or anyone else’s I recognize)
- If they are any good
I’d include some pictures and get my caricature drawn in each city we visit, those being Venice, Florence and Rome. Here’s my report on Venice’s caricature artist community:
Venice Caricature Grade: F
Ordinarily I’d never give a live caricaturist less than a “D”, and I’d only give them that low a grade if they had nothing but ripped off samples on their display, and the kind that were printed right from the stolen art, not even attempting their own drawn version of it. However, I have to give Venice an “F” simply because there were no caricaturists anywhere. The Lovely Anna and I walked the city from stem to stern while we were there, and I only saw one caricaturist/portraitist the entire time we were there. That gentleman was set up only a little way down the edge of the Lagoon from Piazza San Marco. He gets an “F” because he wasn’t open when I stopped by to get one drawn, despite the area being packed with people. Boo!
Next up: Florence!
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
The Lovely Anna and I are off today on our 25th anniversary dream trip. I have a few posts scheduled to go for the next week or so, and I might check in from Italia if I get the chance. Otherwise, Ci vediamo a ottobre!
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
… of the scheduled posts feature on my blog that is supposedly fixed. If you are reading this. it’s fixed and all is right with the world. If you are not reading this, I am currently cursing Go Daddy, WordPress, the Internets, Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Miley Cyrus (just because) and technology in general.