Monday, December 19, 2011

The Faerie Folk

As my last post before taking a holiday break, I figured I'd put up the latest of my paint splashes on paper.  Inspired in thought if not in execution by the images of wee ones and fairie folks by the likes of Henry Fuseli and Sir Joseph Paton, here's my take on tiny nature spirit.  Not very natural, eh?  Happy Holidays everyone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Fire Set Off By Franz...

This quickie was based on an interesting photo I saw of two Austrian soldiers sitting on a giant piece of artillery from the first World War.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

[Insert Provocative Italian Thriller Title Here]

With titles like Twitch of the Death Nerve, Black Belly of the Tarantula, and The Bloodstained Butterfly, Italian thrillers of the late 60's and early 70's provide a bevy of beautiful women and shocking images.  Anyhow, this attempt at a stylish quickie again features crowd favorite Edwige Fenech...and again, I got Romero's run of Modesty Blaise at the back of my mind. Oh, and since I brought it up...I believe this was from a film titled Strip Nude for Your Killer (which wasn't nearly as stripped nude as the title implies...still not a good one to put on for Mom & Dad...)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Five in One...One in Five

Today's sketch is from a marred statue believed to be of the Roman emperor, Pertinax.  Pertinax was a high-ranking military and senatorial figure when he took the purple, but when he tried to reign in the excesses of the Praetorian guard following the crazed and destructive reign of Commodus...they, uh...had him killed.  This sparked off a power play that saw five emperors come and go in a single year until things finally settled down under Septimius Severus.  It was during some research that I came across the image on which this is based and loved the Jonah Hex-esque maiming of the marble figure's features.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Works on Paper...

I was having such a good time with a painted collaboration I did on this paper with Jason Shawn Alexander (he's gotta new book about it here!) that I decided to do another quick painting on it.  The choice of imagery corresponds to a new writing project I'm playing around with and who knows, this might come out as the cover some day in the future.  Anyhow, figured since I was 2 for 3 on paint, I'd just finish out the week the same way.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


A second recently finished portrait that was a further experiment in the various chemicals and mediums one can mix into the paint.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The USS Whiskey-Vodka....

The subject of this portrait finally got to see himself painted, and so now, I felt it fair to present it to the public. While I wasn't trying to imitate some of the classics painters of portrait art (ie. Sargent, et al.), I'll admit that I gave them a fair combing over before I got started on this one.  I also employed some of the more traditional techniques...and well...there's a reason they're traditional, they work. My only regret is that some of the light iridescence I mixed in the paint doesn't show up in photos. I must also thank fantastic artist-illustrator Dave Crosland for some helpful hints on the chemicals I could add to get more of what I wanted out of the paint.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Dapper Mr. Hyde...

I feel a bit bad about this quickie...this gentleman, who I believe might be royal family from way back when, became a hair more grotesque with my rendering.  Now, I could've just hidden that fact, and driven straight to Robert Louis Stevenson Tribute City...but, I believe in honesty.  Anyhow, he's not half bad I don't think.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"You are about to enter HELL!"

Today's quickie is of Vincent Price as the mad Don Medina from the 1961 Roger Corman adaptation of the 1842 Edgar Allan Poe story, The Pit and the Pendulum.  The film bares little resemblance to the dark tale of the Inquisition, but nevertheless is a fun atmospheric piece that lets Price pour on the crazy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"You killed my snake..." today's quickie of the great James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom from the original Conan the Barbarian isn't as intimidating as I wanted.  Thulsa Doom was the wizard nemesis of Kull the Conqueror in Robert E. Howard's original stories, and seemed to be called in to replace Thoth-Amon, Conan's more common wizard foe. Still, Jones' portrayal of the snake-worshipping Doom is a great movie villain and the transformation scene is still quite a bit of fun (even if the efx are a tad aged now...).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Fashionable Wool Ruff

Today's quickie was a test drawing for a small commission I received that concerned a sheep.  Coming off the Franz Hals inspired frog, I decided to continue with the Jacobean ruff.  As the sheep was naturally...ahem...poofy around the neck, it made for an easy subsitute.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I present...Mutant Drill...

We've already covered the amazing and bizarre Super Infra-Man (1975).  Today's quickie is of the aforementioned villainous Mutant Drill.  I feel my rendering gave him more physical distinction than he has in the movie where he's a tad more amorphously blobby.  Sadly a sole sketch can't convey the strange movement the actor saddles with this giant rubber outfit had to suffer through...Still and all, one of cheese-dom's greater villains.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Je t' non plus..."

Today's quickie in ink was something of an unexpected surprise.  I was taking in Antonio Margheriti's gothic mystery tale, Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye (1973), wherein a series of strange murders takes place in old Scottish castle, when who should appear as the Scottish inspector...celebrater chanteur Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991).  Granted, many Italian productions often featured curious international casting...that wasn't what was surprising...I just didn't expect to see Serge.  So this was my quick ode in ink to said surprise.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"No. It's Pronounced 'Eye-Gore'...."

Marty Feldman (1934-1982) was a British writer and comedian, perhaps best known in the U.S. for his role as Igor in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein.  It was perhaps between that and his appearance on the Muppet Show that created my lifelong fondness for this funnyman (well...those...and yes...Yellowbeard.)  Feldman also wrote for and starred in the pre-Python series At Last the 1948 Show with John Cleese and Graham Chapman, and Terry Gilliam did animation for his solo series, Marty.  The above sketch was taken from the Italian Comedy, 40 gradi all'ombra del lenzuolo (aka. Sex with a Smile, 1976) in which Feldman gives a hilarious turn as an invasive and unstoppable bodyguard.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pulp, Glue and Words....

The time has finally come to unleash my literary...ahem...fury on an unsuspecting world.  (Unsuspecting because there were a whole lot of folks who didn't even know I'd written the damned things.)  So, I'm proud to announce that I'm releasing my first two novels via Createspace (Amazon's publishing arm.)

Book 1 - Memories of the Children of Death:
Description: God’s conscience tells him to leave. His lapses in memory make him a danger to himself and everyone else.  Kato’s faded out.  Pixie and her robot, Bill, have been attacked by roving gangs of vampires and clowns.  And Io loves him, but just wants out. The more God thinks, the fuzzier things get, and the fuzzier they get, the more it makes him sick.  On the rollercoaster of endless nightlife in this city of the future, a fuzzed out brain was the order of the day…but as the frivolity passes, the truth sneaks out of the shadows to spoil the party.

Memories of the Children of Death follows a group of friends who, as their worlds drift apart, pursue the truth behind the shadowy figures and strange occurrences that tug the  strands on the web of roads and train tracks that flow between the superstructures that truly touch the sky.

(Available Here! and on Amazon)

Book 2 - Rubber Finger #11

Description: Magnus Freelyson has problems.  Only, he didn’t used to.

Magnus had been a quiet cog in the massive machine, the Giant Rubber Monster Inc., that owned half of the world.  When the company’s head, Fred Freely, appears to have died mysteriously, Magnus suddenly finds himself in the captain’s chair. But it’s not just running things that he’s going to have to get used to.  For one, he now knows that Fred’s his father, and that’s just the start of his new family problems. Betaville, owner of the other half of the world, has already begun to clamor at the gates in search of a conquest that will end the decades old stalemate of consumption. But smack in the middle of it all is the path of red herrings, bizarre plotting and a host of clones and doubles that Magnus must unravel to find the true Fred Freely… who might not be quite as dead as everyone thinks…

(Available Here! and on Amazon)

Monday, November 14, 2011

"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?" - Candide

This little fella, modeled in a way after the looser illustrations of Doré, is an idea I've been toying with for a series of short tales.  His costume is cobbled together from period clothing featured in the group portraiture of Dutch master, Frans Hals. Hals, though not as well known outside the art world as his contemporaries, had a style and technique that was very influential on both Impressionists and Realists alike, such as Monet, Whistler and Courbet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

In Tribute to King Kirby...

This sketch, a bday gift drawing of a friend, was a quick tribute to comics great Jack Kirby (1917-1994).  Kirby, who helped create Captain America, The Fantastic Four and the X-men among others, is one of my favorites for sheer crazy, gigantic, wild imaginative inventiveness when it came to colossal sci-fi technology.  Kirby covered whole pages with clunky and chunky colorful machines that radiated fire and lightning between huge arrays.  Anyhow, this was a stab at capturing and collaging together some of Kirby's visuals.  (And yes...I realize I should've colored it...)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lightnin' & The Blues...and Reds and Yellows...

This quickie of Lightnin' Hopkins, my second, also started as a paint test warm-up.  But since I warmed up with it over several days, it sort of got finished.  Using Lightnin' as a subject again was largely inspired by a collaboration by Jim Mahfood and Jason Shawn Alexander of Miles Davis and Son House which I believe will be on display for Art Basel in Miami this December. I suggest you check it out...assuming I'm right.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Paint Test Gone Too Far...

Today's quickie wasn't as quick as it was meant to be.  I was doing a paint test/warm-up for an illustration I was preparing to act as the cover for the release of my upcoming book.  I scanned through my photos for a snapshot of anyone that had some contrast and some color to it to try and mimic, and fell on this one of my friend Kate.  Instead of just blocking in some color and getting ready to move on, I worked it and worked it and it sort of came out finished.  Naturally, I had by then run out of time to work on the book cover.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Glass Bubble Helmets...

David Lynch once made a great point in an interview that all the science (aerodynamics and whatnot) placed on design would forever eliminate things that were just cool from common objects, like fins on old cars.  The more I thought about it, the more I agreed.  Let's face it, most objects rendered under pure, streamlined, utilitarian design are also kinda boring.  I mention all this because I figure it'll also kill all those crazy ideas of the future that the men of the past were so crazy about creating.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Baggage of the Overlook...

Somehow the last sketch led to this old-fashioned bellhop.  So, he's the follow up.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallow's Eve...

I figured this one was appropriate for Halloween as I was told that it looked like something out of The Shining.  On a strange side note, I once met Joe Turkel, who played the phantom bartender, Lloyd, in the Kubrick film (He's perhaps better known as Dr. Tyrell in Blade Runner), at a breakfast place in San Diego.  Of the rather lengthy number of entries on the "People I Least Expect to Run Into Today" list, I must say that he ranked rather high.  But he was very polite, and I was happy to give him the newspaper from our table.

Friday, October 28, 2011

From Across the Table...

Another quick collaboration with Jason Shawn Alexander.  He spent a section of the evening doing half-faces with most of those present, including Jim Mahfood, David Mack, and others.  A fun night and a fun experiment. (Psst...I'm the one on the left....but you already knew that.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Double O Jonzo

Not really a quickie sketch so much as a quickie painting.  A gift for a friend who needed a little secret agent flair in his life.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Princess Dragon Mom...

This sketch isn't of the evil villainess I used to title this entry.  It's merely one of her mutant henchman from the bizarre Shaw Bros. knock-off of Ultraman, Super Infra-Man (1975).  If you never saw this one as a kid or aren't quite the trash cinephile I find myself being from time to time, it's essentially a bizarre, incoherent mess about ancient demons wreaking havoc on the earth, until a super-scientist creates a bionic man to fight the evil.  It's far less Lovecraft than it sounds...and is more rubber monsters in a kung-fu movie with a certain hint of the 60's Batman TV show.    Now you might say, "But, Ry-Guy (I hate it when you call me that), Ultraman wasn't exactly Ingmar Bergman." he wasn't, but on the sliding scale, this pushes him much farther in that direction.  Ah yes...Witch-Eye was what the subtitles called her...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weird Figures...Straaaaange Figures...

Mondo Candido (1975) was a strange modernization of Voltaire's Candide, and the only fiction film by "schockumentary" directors Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, makers of Mondo Cane (1962).  This time, Candide not only travels through a variety of places but also time, in a very similar look and spirit to the films of Gilliam and Jodorowsky. The above sketch is of actor Gianfranco D'Angelo as the Barone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"If I were my father. I'd have you tortured..."

Claudia Cardinale was born in Tunis to Sicilian immigrants to the Northern coast of Africa.  In 1957, she won the Italian embassy's "Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia" pageant which sent her on excursion to the Venice film festival where she began her work as an actress.  A sex symbol of the 60's, Cardinale appeared in two of my favorite western films, Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, d. Sergio Leone) and The Professionals (1966, d. Richard Brooks) as well as playing the lovely Princess Dala in Blake Edward's The Pink Panther (1963).  (Her "drunk" scene with David Niven is incredibly charming.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random Ronin...

I'm not really going to try and explain this one.  It was another drink and draw and I was drawing a blank.  Not very visually stimulating, your average blank.  Then I remembered a favorite Japanese woodblock print, so I started sketching and smearing...and eventually ended up with this cute li'l devil.  Go figure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Center of the Galaxy

Sagittarius, the ninth symbol of the zodiac, contains the densest part of the Milky Way as it lies near the galactic center. The Babylonians identified the symbol with Pabilsaĝ, the tutelary god of the city of Isin (now in modern Iraq).  The Greeks later associated him with Chiron who was the mythological tutor Achilles.

As a fun side note, the Greeks sometimes described centaurs as drunkards who could not handle their liquor, and yet drank all the time.  Interesting, considering what was going on when I drew this.  Not half-bad for a drawing of a horse at a gallop with no reference.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Hey There, Li'l Fella...

Another entry from one of the drawing sessions with Jason Shawn Alexander, Jim Mahfood, Dave Crosland, et al. (Yes...I'm aware that his arm's way too long...)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Crashing Toy Trains

This was a late entry from a late night drawing session.  And no, it was not reflective of my condition at the time.

Monday, October 03, 2011

"If I could find my head, I'd go get it examined."

Perhaps Stanley Donen's best known film, amongst a cavalcade of good ones, is Singin' in the Rain (1952), which is not only a musical that even musical-haters might enjoy, it's also a fantastic recreation of the effect that the introduction of sound had on motion pictures.  I was introduced to Donen by Saturn 3 ( 1980), which, despite a promising cast, director, a script by British novelist Martin Amis, and one of the craziest robot designs of all time, ends up being a dull throwback to cheapie 50/60's scifi movies (it's too competent to contend with the abysmally trashy fun of a Robot Monster (1953)).  But my favorite Donen vehicles, outside of the Cook & Moore spectacular Bedazzled (1967), are Donen's two Hitchock knock-offs, Charade (1963) and Arabesque (1966).  While Hitch still produced a few more films during this time, Hollywood seemed to be looking for someone to fill the suspenseful void.  Many tried, and while some are good campy fun, only Donen's really hold up and stand on their own from Hitch's mold.

The above quickie was inspired by a lobby card of Sophia Loren from Arabesque.  She's quite the stunner and far more the femme fatale foil for Gregory Peck, as compared to the chemistry of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in Charade.

Friday, September 30, 2011

It Came from...OUTER SPACE!!!

Today, I decided to break the order a big and post this little number, a collaboration I did with my good friend and fine artist Jason Shawn Alexander.  It all started with Jim Mahfood drawing a crazy robot, which led me draw a bubble-helmeted spaceman, which led Jason to do drawn his own bubble-helmeted spaceman.  It was late, and he didn't get as far into his as he'd been working on other the end of the night, he handed it to me and said "Here. Finish this."

Having recently begun to play with my gouache again and enjoying mimicking my beloved paperback and poster illustration of old, I took it and went hog wild for a couple of days.  It turned out fairly well I think.  I presented back it to Jason for his birthday.  Now, I thought I'd put it up here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Closely Spaced Parallel Lines

Hatching, using parallel lines to represent tones or shading, originated in Western art in the Middle Ages, and by the 15th Century had further developed into cross-hatching, using sets of parallel lines placed at an angle to one another. Artist and Illustrator, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), is recognized as perhaps the greatest master of the technique.  And if you're wondering why I'm telling you this, it's because I couldn't think of anything else to go with this, art history lesson.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Angel of Death was summoned. He cannot return empty-handed."

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee has been a fixture in entertainment for over 50 years, and at 6' 5" with a famously booming bass voice has largely mastered the art of portraying villainy.  He was initially best known for playing Lord of the Undead, Dracula, in the long-running series of Hammer Horror films opposite Peter Cushing as Van Helsing (though this dynamic acting duo played a great variety of parts at the studio).  This quick sketch is from one of the few roles where he got to be the hero in the adaptation of Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out where he saves his friend from a satanic cult led by Charles Gray. At 89, years of age, Lee continues to work and was seen in two of the biggest franchises of the last decade by appearing in both the Star Wars films and Lord of the Rings.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Little Candy Hearts at the Emerging Cinematographers Awards

Tonight, there will be a screening of the short film I wrote, Little Candy Hearts, as part of the Emerging Cinematographer Awards.  Our Director of Photography, Abe Martinez, will be honored as part of the program.  Directed by Seaton Lin and Produced by Hunter Woo, the short depicts a story of intrigue as a modern neo-noir in Los Angeles.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Well, you're about as romantic as a pair of handcuffs."

A quickie sketch of a young Lee Marvin from 1953's The Big Heat, helmed by Fritz Lang.  A grim noir,    one of the film's most memorable moments was Marvin's character, Vince Stone, hurling a pot of scalding hot coffee in his girlfriend's face. Granted that may not be up there with Richard Widmark pushing the old  lady down the stairs in Kiss of Death (1947), but it's still pretty shocking.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Beauty, of course, is the most important requirement and the paramount asset of the applicant." - Flo Ziegfield

Alfred Cheney Johnston was best known as the photographer for the Ziegfield Follies in the 1920's. After his death in 1971, a treasure trove of Johnston's personal collection of prints and plate negatives were found stored away at his home in Connecticut.  The very graceful nude and semi-nude photos, mostly of Follies showgirls, would have been too risqué for even Ziegfield to run at the time.  This sketch was inspired after one of Johnston's photos.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who's More Famous to the Billions Millions?

John Graham Mellor, better known to the world as Joe Strummer, was one of the most iconic front men of punk with the Clash.  This quickie sketch was taken from 1987 cult film, Straight to Hell, by Alex Cox who had also helmed punk classics Sid and Nancy and Repo Man.  In addition to Strummer, the film's wild cast also includes Sy Richardson (a personal favorite), Dick Rude, The Pogues (as Mexican bandits no less), Jim Jarmusch, and a crazy couple cameo with Dennis Hopper and Grace Jones.  A fun oddity that I best remember for Strummer's hilarious make out scene with Jennifer Balgobin.  Sadly, Strummer passed away unexpectedly at 50, and after recently watching the movie again, I wish we could've gotten him on the screen more.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Apollo, lord of the silver bow..."

Today's quickie was a flashback to many moons ago when I got to go on a tour of northern France.  One afternoon was spent wandering the gardens of the palace at Versailles.  In addition to the host of neo-classical statues lining the walks, there was the great Apollo fountain.  The picture I took of it (reproduced below) is one of my favorites.  It was a slightly overcast day, but the hazy fog behind the statue only showed up when I printed the photo giving it a mood that wasn't present in reality.  In any event, call is nostalgia, but I felt like doing a quick rendering of the horn blower at the front.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"No, some men don't like to be taken for a ride..."

The title quote is from 1965's James Bond adventure, Thunderball, which starred the lovely Claudine Auger of whom this is a sketch.  Initially written to be a screenplay and was developed by Bond creator Ian Fleming, producer Kevin McClory, and screenwriter Jack Wittingham, Thunderball was later turned into a novel credited solely to Fleming, compiling various drafts and materials from the film project.  This created a long-running legal dispute over authorship that briefly allowed a loophole for the production of a non-MGM non-Albert "Cubby" Broccoli produced Bond picture, 1983's Never Say Never Again...which, oddly enough, brought Connery back to the role of Bond after a 12 year hiatus following 1971's Diamonds Are Forever.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not Quite Modesty Blaise...

I can't remember where I found the still that I adapted this little 60's number from...but there she is...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Insert Uranus Jokes at the Nearest Sword or Sandal...

This friendly looking fella was one of the strange Atlantean guardsmen in Hercules and the Captive Women (1961, aka. Hercules Conquers Atlantis).  I have a soft spot for peplum, the sword and sandal epics of Greek or Roman times or mythology.  While they'll never replace my beloved spaghetti westerns as my top Italian genre films, they're cheesy, goofy good times are almost always good for a laugh.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

8...9...10...10 Victims!

A silly quicky of Marcello Mastroianni from the sci-fi satire, The 10th Victim (1965).  (I'd tell you what the image is from...but it's sort of a major spoiler...)

Monday, September 05, 2011

He Who Got the Most Moneymakers Shaking...

Blues Legend Elmore James was perhaps most famous for his extreme technical ability on the guitar and his employment of a slide, earning him the nickname King of the Slide Guitar.  "Shake Your Moneymaker" is probably one of James' most swell known tunes, and his stirring sound and shouted vocals still pack a heckuva wallop.

Friday, September 02, 2011

"Way Down in the Hole..."

Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits, one of the most distinctive singer-songwriters in sound and presence, probably requires little by way of explanation on my part.  Though I was first exposed to Tom's music through his soundtrack work for Jim Jarmusch, it was the early, melancholy satire of his piano blues number "The Piano Has Been Drinking" that sent me on a dive through his catalogue.  While his gravelly growl of a voice might have some of the acquired taste of a strong Scotch, if you've not heard his stuff, you owe it to yourself as a music lover to taste a bit of a true original.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"So You Go Your Way, Wild One/I'll Try and Follow..."

Charismatic frontman for Irish rock band, Thin Lizzy, Phil Lynott seemed to have an interesting mix between a sweet shyness in interviews, and the definite strut and swagger of the rocker on stage. Phil, unfortunately, passed away too young and the rock world lost yet another diamond in the rough.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart, singer/songwriter and creator of the great genre-fusing wall of sound and energy known as Sly and the Family Stone.