Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where Have All the Pages Gone???

So I finally found a summer job and it is in the fifth circle of hell known as a restaurant dish pit. I won't blather on about it because I've already done my fair share of griping but it is definitely tough, stressful, disgusting work and my productivity has slowed. But I'm chasing dreams here, and that doesn't come easy. My current comic project for the Calgary Expo is also rather labor intensive due to the nature of the story and the sheer abundance of photo reference. It is a 5 page story for my writer friend Jason Mehmel and the top pic is a preview of page four in progress.

But as a bit of a treat, I realized I hadn't ever posted my inked pages from No More Parents, a pitch project that me and Andrew Foley were working on that I wasn't able to finish. I still really love the concept and characters and hope to put together a pitch someday. But until then, enjoy this all-ages tale in progress.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Well, it took longer than it should have, but I've finally reached my 100th post here at Nick Soup and I have some new and old work to show to celebrate! Thanks to everyone who's been checking in on the blog over the years, the feedback and critique is always appreciated.

The top pic is another poem written by William Dorman for his kids. These are always fun because I really get to let my imagination run wild and get super cutesy. It took me forever to get the little girl's eyes right, I ended up having to flip the whole pic just to get them aligned correctly.

And who doesn't freaking love drawing dinosaurs!?

These pics are from my Media Exploration class this year, my first real foray into watercolor media. That class was amazing for experimenting with media and letting loose. These were mostly homework assignments, some of them working better than others. It's a long hard road to competence with real media, but I'm enjoying the walk.

This last one is my fave, a real-life scene where me and Natasha got ice cream during a typical Calgary Spring snowfall.

Now let's take a trip down memory lane to my first blog posts, to a time when I liked cartoony violence and yo mom jokes and was obsessed with perfecting things before releasing them to the public. Clearly, not much has changed.

First Post Evah!

Second Post with First Pic Evah!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Avast! Holiday Men, ho!

Andrew Foley had the great idea of reprinting Holiday Men for the upcoming Calgary Expo in June. He suggested a pirate motif based on the idea of this reprint being a pirated edition. And so here's the loveable crew of murderous mascots rendered years after finishing the first issue, and adorned in their Sunday Pirate best.

It was interesting to tackle these guys after so long a hiatus. I felt a bit of pressure to a better job than I had a when I first drew them in 2008, I suppose to secretly tell myself that all the time and money on schooling was worth it.

The cover concept changed a bit since the rough thumbnail, mostly just the subtleties of the poses and the removal of the big tanker, which I feel would have crowded the page and taken away the focus from the HMen themselves. I realize the color palette and painting approach is very similar to the piece that will appear in the Calgary Expo Souvenir Book in June (I can't post the pic until the book debuts) so I'm going to have to make some new brushes and palettes, I think.

EDIT: Made corrections based on helpful feedback from Cognoman! And man, Blogger s f-ed right up right now, screwing with my old posts. Blah!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Because Peace of Mind is a Carefully Constructed House of Cards

As my temp agency scours the streets and my resumes float through the void looking for a place to land, I am at home waiting for the call that will lead me to full time summer work and peace of mind knowing I'll be able to pay rent and keep myself (and my gluttonous cats) fed. Until then, I am hard at work doing freelance illustration and creating a structure for my life designed to keep me sane and productive.

This involves a 9am wake up, followed by dishes and general cleaning and then straight to work answering emails and drawing up a storm. By working like a madman at home, I feel a bit less guilty for being here at all. Anyways, here are some of the newest entries in my sketchbook.

Some photo ref here with some spot-collage inspired by some of Natasha's work. Fashion magazine's are probably the best resource for interesting fashion and figure reference. As are art-school girlfriends :)

This is a photo of a Bauhaus actor in full costume. This picture struck a strange chord when I first happened upon it while researching the Bauhaus school for art history. I love the overall strangeness of it. Her pose in the chair. The blank expression on the bronze helmet. I started devising a pulp story in my head called The Utopian Machinations of the Illustrious Madam Bauhaus where she basically floats around in a rocket-powered Wassily chair, shooting at Neo-Futurists who plan on restructuring the world using a purloined Dada Device. Maybe I'll get to draw it someday.

The surrounding doodles are from Drink n Draw.

Which is still at Dickens. And still awesome.

This last one is a work in progress, based on the idea of a wolf wearing a red riding hood mask. The statue is from the Garden of Versailles in France which is chock full of beautiful mythological statues which make for beautiful reference. I don't often draw animals but photo ref helped immensely with this one, as well as shaping my pencil lead to create texture, something my ACAD parter-in-crime Ryder McLean experiments with a lot. (If he had a blog, I would link to it here. Hint, hint, Ryder;)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Death and the Maiden...and Some Cops...and a 1972 Dodge Challenger

Here is a piece I've submitted to an indie artist art book that'll be available at the upcoming Expo in Calgary this June. The RGB colors here are different than the final CMYK that'll end up in the book, but they're close enough. I had never read Poe's short story until this year. I ended up doing an adaptation of it into an animatic, as well as this poster so now I'm a bit sick of it, and sick of drawing horrible displays of carnage. But it's a great story and it was a good opportunity for me to flex some of my darker, horror muscles.

I remember during the first week of anatomy, someone mentioned that my attempt at scary work looked very "Scooby Doo." I then set out to push my scary stuff into darker territory. Bleeding eyeballs help with that.

This was the final assignment for Illustration. An iconic poster in the form of the old communist/socialist propaganda of Russia. I liked the contrast of Soviet colors with exploitation Americana content. Different process for coloring on this one, as I didn't rely on greys for value, but separate masks of red and yellow, as well as really pushing the blacks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Sketching is a state of mind, man. It's a lifestyle, ya dig?"

My attitude towards my sketchbook changed dramatically over my second year at ACAD, which recently came to a close.


Sketching is just something I need to be doing all the time, and the thing that makes it enjoyable is the idea of using the sketchbook as a journal of sorts, a log of your influences and experiments with art and ideas and sometimes more personal than that. I've been able to more than double my in-sketchbook productivity.

I've been pushing more observational work and photo reference to compliment my current abilities and my teachers are really pushing me to push that further.


Anyways, here are some choice pages from my current sketchbook.

"Yeah, it's a Moleskine! Because I'm worth it!" he screams, ever searching for validation.

I should mention that the intro page of each of my sketchbooks is now ornately decorated with unicorn magic by my girlfriend Natasha, as well as the promise of nude photos for anyone who finds my skethbook if lost.

"Nude photos of who?!"

I'll never tell! *wink* EDIT: I may have accidentally implied these were photos of Natasha. I meant to imply they were nude photos of me. Better? Worse?

Stay on the lookout for an overview of my second year projects and explorations!

And get some sun, god knows we all need it.