Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Star Clipper 20 Year Anniversary Art Show

Continuing my theme of giant invaders conquering the St. Louis skyline, I made a print for an art show opening this week at Star Clipper. The design is above. The prints themselves are pretty large and fluorescently 2-colored so they may not photograph well but I'll try. In the meantime, here's the sketch:
It should be a neat show featuring new works by lots of local artists united by love for our favorite comics shoppe. Here is a sneak peek at the inspiration for my pieces, a masterwork at least 20 years in the making. And here is the famous (and still available for purchase!) tote bag I designed a while back.
See you there Friday night!?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tastes of St. Louis

Drawing done for the RFT about this weekend's upcoming Taste of St. Louis event downtown. Pretty self-explanatory I think! Palette inspired by the converging colors of the Old Courthouse and the world's largest Vess bottle.I hate the Lumiere Casino and its stupid roadside jumbotron so I was glad to get to destroy them in my drawing. Everything else I love and am sad to see go.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Double Play

Collaborative drawing made my little buddy Nolin Shumate and myself tonight at the ballpark. We lost to Arizona, but the crazy nachos were awesome. I guess you could say we lost the battle but won the war.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So Close it Hurt

I was perfect through the front-end of the tenth, with knees wobbling, came in high on the head-pin and left a solid 6-10. Oof. Thanks anyways to my Handsome Bros. for doing their best to act cool and collected and not jinx me, and to our lovely opponents the Bowling Beavers.All said and done, I ended up with a nice series. YOU DO THE MATH. (751)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Word is Born: BEAT STREET

Here's a painting I did for the Cinefamily (at the Silent Movie Theater in LA) September calendar. (Acrylic wash, colored pencil & india ink on cardboard, 24" x 20"). It's illustrating the Word is born: hip-hop at the movies, 1979-1984 festival playing there this month, specifically the movie Beat Street.

Beat Street has got a special place in my heart as it's the first movie I can remember seeing in the theater. It has got a gritty vibe that other mainstream "hip hop" movies lack. I tried to capture this along with the story of the four main guys' friendship.
If you can't get one in real life you should download the entire Cinefamily program for Sept. - Oct. It's also got stuff by Jordan Crane and Ivan Brunetti in it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gone Fishin' + Halftone How-To

Pick up the new issue of COMICS COMICS, the hottest tabloid newspaper of comics art and criticism, for a new gigantic one-pager by yours truly. It is reprinted above at a thumbnail size. (Don't try to actually read it or your eyeballs won't speak to you for a while).
You can get your own copy of the awesome oversized magazine from the publisher. Here is a sample panel of my strip, which tells the secret history of comics-related activities along the Ohio River going back 1200 years:
You may have noticed that I'm using a black dot halftone look for this strip (as well as all my recent Amazing Facts & Beyond strips). From a distance it looks like there are areas of gray shading, but when you look closely it actually looks like this:
The reason you would want to use this process is to have complete control over how your final printed art looks. Although advances in digital printing technology have improved handling of continuous gray tones, with this method you know precisely how "dark" the grays in your art will print. I've gotten enough questions about my personal process for home-made halftoning to want to type up a quick tutorial. Here goes:
I reckon I'm a little bit too young to have used actual store bought halftone paper, like the legendary (and out of business) Zip-a-Tone, which was clear plastic adhesive sheets with black dots printed on them in a variety of spacings. For a while though, I made my own "poor man's Zip-a-Tone" out of laserjet transparencies and paste them right on my inked art with glue-sticks (see above). This was punk but messy and time-consuming to I moved to "thinking man's Zip-a-Tone" which involves a computer ("rich man's Zip-a-Tone?"). Here's my process:

1) Scan my lineart drawing at 600 DPI grayscale. This is a good time to tell youngsters never to scan in "lineart" or "bitmap" mode. You and your graphics software will do a much better job at fine-tuning the gray edges of your lines than leaving it to your the robot inside your scanner.

2) Play with the levels to make the ink look black and the paper look white. Do all the clean-ups, tweaks, etc. to the art, change the image size to the final printed size.

3) Convert the file to 1200 DPI bitmap, with the setting to 50% threshold. You do this because you ultimately want your lineart to be totally crisp and not halftoned.

4) Convert the file back to grayscale leaving it at 1200 DPI.

5) Go through and add the gray tones with a 20% K. You could do it darker if you wanted more dense dots. (no need to do it on a separate layer, just use the paint bucket or a brush set to 'darken' or whatever. All you should have a white pixels, black pixels, and the gray tone pixels)
6) Convert it to back to 1200 DPI bitmap, with the 'haftone screen' settings set like this.
(you can mess around with those settings too, if you want your dots to be bigger or stupid shapes or whatever).
Then you are done!
The main thing is that your art is thresholded before you start adding grays. Otherwise when you go to turn the whole thing to halftone your art will get a tiny bit fuzzy around the edges.
To leave you with another piece of halftoned art I did recently, here's a tough t-shirt design I hooked my mom and her students up with. I will do a tutorial on Illustrator Barb Wire Pattern Brushes another time.Go Louisville Male High School Bulldogs!