Archive for the 'General' Category
Friday, February 22nd, 2013
Clicky any of these images to embiggen… and I mean EMBIGGEN!
The Lovely Anna gets very annoyed with me over one thing—okay, over many things, but this one thing in particular—I’m very impatient when it comes to things I want to have. I tend to get them right away and leave her nothing to buy me for gifts on my birthday or Christmas. Well, here’s another thing she won’t be able to get me for my birthday: the enormous new book Tales Calculated to Drive You MAD: Artist’s Edition.
I saw an unboxing video of this book some weeks ago and blogged about it being a drool-worthy, albeit expensive, item. Afraid it would sell out quickly, I immediately ordered a copy, much to the chagrin of my gift-idea-starved wife. I just got my copy and I can safely say it’s worth every penny of the price tag.
The concept with these “Artist Edition” books from IDW is that they take untouched high resolution scans of original art boards and print them, with pencil lines, white out, paste-ups and all, at their original size on paper that they say approximates the surface of the actual boards. The result is supposed to duplicate the experience of looking at the actual, original art as much as possible.
I’d say they succeeded.
MAD has always had their artists work at 200% of print size, unlike comic book artists which typically work at 130-150%. As a result, the original art from MAD pages are huge, 16 1/4 x 21 inches without bleeds. That makes this book gigantic. Measuring in at 15 1/2 x 22 1/4 inches and 1 3/8 inches thick, it must weigh 15 lbs, but is not too unwieldy to page through… and what pages!
Look at these Wally Wood inks!!!
The reproductions really are like looking at originals. The ghosts of pencil lines are plainly visibly, gray smudges from handling, ruled lines from lettering, yellowing/browning of aged paper, white out from corrections, even the difference in tone from pasted in corrected art is obvious. All the production notes and margin direction are there. That stuff is all interesting and adds to the feel of a real, worked on piece of art, but the real magic is in the inks.
You can see the brushwork, the direction of the strokes…
Jack Davis’s brushwork, and white out use!
More Wood… you can see his pencil work here
You can see the brush strokes. The places the pen blotted and scratched. The uneven strokes of the large, brushed-in black areas. Most importantly, you can see the art at the actual size the artist did it at… seeing his decisions and how he handles the smallest of areas. It’s as close to looking over the shoulder of Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman and company working at the peak of their powers as you will ever get until they actually invent a time machine. In fact, I’d argue this is as close to an actual time machine as you will ever get. It’s amazing how you really get a sense of the original art, not just the original images.
Even the zipatone edges are visible
From one of my all-time favorites…
I have no qualms about recommending this book, even at the $150 cover price. I got it a bit cheaper at Amazon, but it’s worth twice the price regardless.
The only drawback? The physical size of the thing. It’s so big and heavy there is no way to display it. I tried setting it up on a display easel in the corner of my studio’s counter top, but that appears to not work. The pages are so heavy that having the weight distributed mostly along the bottom edge causes the pages to start to buckle within the binding, and the book begins to bend and warp within it’s hardcover shell. I am going to try and figure out some way to prevent that from happening… I might be able to use some kind of clamp on the top and sides to keep the pages in place, but only if it doesn’t detract from the display or damage the cover. Until then it has to be stored flat.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
You have to love Stephen Colbert‘s comment about the paint stylings of former president George W. Bush:
“That is a bold, artistic vision that says ‘faces are hard.’”
That reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit from many years ago, right after the Unibomber was captured after this police sketch of him circulated around for what seemed like years:
Of course no one in their right mind thought this would be of any help to those trying to identify and apprehend the Unibomber. That sketch could be of anybody.
In the skit the setting was a news magazine program interviewing the police sketch artist, played by Norm MacDonald, who drew the unibomber sketch. The interviewer asked Norm why he drew dark sunglasses on the subject.
“Eyes are hard to draw,” Norm replies. “So I always draw dark glasses on people so I don’t have to draw the eyes.”
“So, why the hood over the head?” the interviewer askes.
“Hair is hard,” Norm says. “So I always add a hat or something to cover it up, so I don’t have to draw the hair.”
This goes on for a bit, until Norm shows his portfolio of other criminals he’s sketched… they all look exactly like the Unibomber sketch with subtle changes. I was rolling around on my couch.
I’ve known a few live caricaturists with the same problems!
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Monday, February 11th, 2013
As a big fan of The Beatles and John Lennon, I’m happy to say a piece of my artwork is part of a new ebook entitled A Lennon Pastiche: Expressions from Fans of John Lennon, now available for download exclusively for the iPad. From the iTunes Bookstore:
A Lennon Pastiche: Expressions from Fans of John Lennon is a fully immersive, interactive opus, chockful of art, music and poetry, culled from fans around the world. This is a pastiche, not a pistachio: there’s a mélange of music, a potpourri of paintings, a welter of words, a variety of videos, and a cornucopia of crazy stuff!
This book of tribute allows you to literally, virtually and symbolically touch John Lennon. Through music, words and art. As John so wisely and presciently penned, “Love is touch, touch is love.”
Contributors include author Judith Furedi, Lennon confidante May Pang, producer and promoter Sid Bernstein, Mad Magazine artist Tom Richmond, fine artist, restauranteur and toy designer Kevin Stark, Lennon roadie Ed Kleinman, and a plethora of other fans and friends of John Lennon.
Also included is my pal Steve McGarry, whose syndicated Biographic illustration of Lennon is one of the previews on the iTunes page for the book. This is a pretty fun and VERY interactive multimedia ebook, with lots of music, video and fun artwork along with some great observation of what John Lennon’s music meant to the contributors.
Here are my pages, which you can see include links to my website and this blog. The sketch of Lennon is from my book:
Clicky either to embiggen…
A nice tribute to one of the most influential musicians of modern times. Check it out here.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
Friday, February 1st, 2013
Recently I reposted something I’d wrote about how working on “spec” is a really bad thing, both for you and for other artists trying to make a living. My buddy Stephen Silver, a very well known and successful animation artist and illustrator, posted this highly energetic and right-on-target rant about why working for free, for “exposure”, or otherwise for anything except a living wage, is bad for the profession. He’s passionate about it, for good reason.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Only 10 days to go in the Kickstarter campaign to fund this sure-to-be-great documentary about MAD Magazine and it’s 60 plus years of holding a funhouse mirror to the world in general, and influencing generations of humorists in the process. They are woefully short of the $50,000 goal. They need a flurry of activity and a few big sponsors to step up, but they could also use a lot of little sponsors as well. $25 will get you a DVD of the final documentary (updated from the download they previously offered at that level). If enough people do that, they’ll meet their goal.
So many Kickstarter campaigns are trying to fund phantom projects that are little more than an idea and no substance yet. Alan and Doug have filmed hundreds of hours of interview footage with many MAD greats, and as you can see from the production values of the trailer, this will not be a cheesy home video. If you have not pledged for the project, please do so. If you have, please pass this along to people you know who might be interested.
I pledged a little money, but my real contribution is that I have offered to do the movie poster for free. That’s more dough that goes to the production of what I think is an important documentary.
I sincerely hope they get this done.
Monday, January 21st, 2013
Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of the great Al Hirchfeld. Maybe it doesn’t show in my style much, but I count his work as a main influence, and inspiration, behind my wanting to do caricature illustration. I got to meet Mr. Hirschfeld once, and that meeting led to my getting the original pictured above. You can read that story here.
This fall The Lovely Anna and I took a trip to Los Angeles—just for fun and to see some people there who have become very dear friends. We went out sightseeing one day, and visited the Paley Center for Media on North Beverly Hills Drive, which had (and still has) an exhibit of Warner Bros TV memorabilia. It was a fun exhibit, with things like the Central Perk set from Friends, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman outfit, and many other cool things from TV shows.
The highlight for me, however, was as we exited. Going down this long ramp, we ended up in a side area of the lobby that had several dozen framed Hirchsfeld pieces from television history. I Had no idea this was there, so it was a complete surprise! I think they were all limited edition prints as opposed to originals, but they were still great fun to see. Here are a few pictures I took of some of the ones I liked the best (sorry for the glare and bad focus in some):
Very cool to see the color ones. You would think Hirschfeld’s style, being so identified with line, would not translate well to a painted look, but it did. He did quite a bit of color cover work for TV guide and other publications.
Friday, January 18th, 2013
I just shipped out a whole batch of my Limited Artist’s Editions of The Mad Art of Caricature! You know, the limited-to-120 editions with the handsome, hand-numbered bookplate and the caricature of YOU (or whomever you want) drawn by me! Here are a few of the recent ones to show how these turn out:
Yes, these are still available, but we are well into the back end of the 120 limited editions, so if you want one don’t wait too much longer to order!:
Monday, January 14th, 2013