Monday, November 18, 2013

Get Abstract and Love It

Every once in a while I get a job that arrives out of the ether of the internet, as opposed to contacts I build through other contacts and conventions and such.  I recently created a book cover for a client who contacted me because his current book title matched with the title of a personal piece I did last year, Tabula Rasa, seen HERE.

While most of my work focuses on the figure, the client really wanted an abstract shape for the cover and I took on the challenge as an opportunity to experiment with various media and Photoshop techniques. These are some of the test designs:

Below is the final cover that the client selected.

The gig went so well that the client asked me to streamline his current logo as well. Below is the original logo that he had been using, my goal was to simplify this logo while keeping similar themes and the essence of what he wanted the logo to say about his company.

Below is the final logo, that we settled on.

And this is the logo without type as it would appear on the spine of the book.

Aaand because I can't do a post without showing off some form of distorted human figure, I have included the last two sketch covers I created for the Alpha Comics Artist Challenge. Alpha Comics is a great local comic store, Chris H. is the owner and is a super nice dude, and the contest itself always has talented, cool contributors.

This Walking Dead cover won me some markers!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Too Cool to Live

I received official word that one comic project I was hoping to pitch is pretty much dead (or undead) in the water. But something good comes out of every endeavour and this project was no exception!

It was a zombie themed book and it was my first collaboration with fellow recent ACAD grad Lyndon Navalta. It was just so damn exhausting trying to compete with the guy that I just gave in and decided to collaborate with him, haha.

Seriously though, with Lyndon's inks and colours on top of my pencils, I don't believe my work ever looked so good. And though this project fell through, I think we created some great visuals and I am dead set on doing a project with him soon. Met a few other cool cats that I hope I will get a chance to reconnect with as well.

These are the initial character designs.

In other comic news, Riley Rossmo and Alex Link just released DRUMHELLAR from Image this week and it is absolutely killing it! I did up this pic below to drum up some word of mouth but, truth be told, they don't need it, because the word is out and the word is: YEEEEAAAAHHHHHH! SHAMONAY!

And last, but certainly not least, the future! With one comic pitch down, the right thing to do is move on to the next one, and this is Dash Bradbury! Something I am cooking up with Tim Daniel (of CURSE for Boom!) and Jesse Young (based on his short comic Here We Go!) I won't spoil any plot details (Jesse's story is a good starting point) but if this goes well I will get a chance to draw everything that ever was.

Plus I'm working on something with the infamous Mr. James Davidge. More on that when I can.

Until then, fingers crossed.

Once more into the breach!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grouches Bounce (or) Animals Need Wellies, Too!

I am currently in the eye of the hurricane, a moment of calm before the next perfect storm of deadlines rear their ugly heads. So now is the time to update Nick Soup. Update with a vengeance!

All of my spare time this month was spent wrapping up some children's e-books, the most recent being Noah, available soon at Anklebiter Publishing! Written by William Francis, it is a whimsical retelling of the 2013 Calgary flood from the point of view of the animals, awaiting their saviour Noah and being greeted by our own Mayor Nenshi instead. Here are a few choice images!

This book will be available before Christmas aaaaand a portion of the proceeds will be going towards Alberta Flood Relief, which is awesome!

But what if you just can't wait for your all-ages infusion of cartooney fun times!?

You're in luck!

Available now is:

Grouch, also by William Francis, reveals a fun back-and-forth between a father and son and the e-book can be purchased here now. Below are some more samples:

This last image is a fun, little pattern I did that shows up throughout the story on the kid's pajamas. That's it for today's post, but things have been busy so I will be making a few more this week.

Sleep well, my friends.

Monday, August 19, 2013

All This Dirty Business of Movies and Wolf Hands...

Been awhile since I've posted but rest assured, dear friends, my caboose has been locked in overdrive since school wrapped in May.

Lo! the masses demand proof! My word is not to be taken for truth!?  Then feast your eyes dear friends:

I guess the biggest news is Wolf Hands! the webcomic I've been working on for the last couple months, nearing the end of it's first season. It is written by the incomparable Mr. Justin Heggs, as talented a creator as he is charming. The hard copy book is being printed now, primed and ready for release at The Calgary Comic and Toy Expo in September, at which I am blessed to be a guest. Damn, what a lineup of talented creators!

Next up, some info illustration for a local music video by my constant collaborator Doug Cook for the band Jung People. These drawings were a change from what I normally do and were a hell of a lot of fun. They're not featured in the video for very long but they look great thanks to some stunning animation from Ryder McLean. You can view the video here!


Also for a local filmmaker was some work created for an opening title sequence that riffs on Game of Thrones. The project is One Hit Die! which premiered online this week. It is pretty damn good and the director Spencer Estabrooks did a damn fine job putting the animation together. I even got to see my work on the big screen at the premiere! My mistakes were huge!

 That's all for now, here's a little Mod Vampirella to help you hang up the blood habit!

Friday, June 14, 2013

"A Screaming Comes Across the Sky"

Ah... that's one of my favorite openings to a novel ever.

For years I waited for the fourth year illustration assignment which focused on a book series, always knowing that I would use the opportunity to create works for my favorite author Thomas Pynchon. I never really knew how I would approach it and I was honestly surprised with the results, which are pretty far from the aesthetics of my previous work. But I'm in there somewhere. And it felt damn good to pay tribute to the man, the enigma, the legend.

So here are the first three novels, collected as a set.

Below is a photo of the package that I also designed and created, fashioned after a package sent through the WASTE postal service. It got a bit tattered up after my presentation, and please forgive the photo blur. Twas a satisfying challenge creating the package and getting all the measurements right.

And finally, I included a box of special features that would arrive in this package. And this was the result of me and Jason Mehmel just geeking out Pynchon style, daydreaming about what we would love to see in the set. (The paper doll drawings are stock art since I didn't have the time to do additional illustration.)

And now I eagerly await his new book in September. Since I'm finished school, I will probably have the time to

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Strangest Places

Behold! The final project for my Information Illustration class which was definitely the most fun to research! This was a documentary assignment where we had to follow someone around, creating on-the-spot sketches to convey a feeling for their craft, tools and being in the moment. Being a huge fan of the Calgary music scene, I knew instantly I would try to depict the energy of a live show.

But what band should I focus on? When I asked around, the name that kept coming up was... The Suppliers!

They're a great band and I was really lucky to sit in on an interview with them and then do some on-site sketching of them as they played at the Gateway.

I noticed the drawing took a bit of a dive after a few beers, but it also became a lot more fun.

The final image is a compilation of these spontaneous sketches and a central piece based on some reference photos. I hope it does the band justice because they are an active, talented bunch who put on a great show.

Music, videos and more from the Suppliers can be found here!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two Weddings and an Historical Shootout that Probably Leads to a Funeral

One of the great things about being an illustrator is that you occasionally get to play a part in some very special moments in people's lives. Case in point, these two commissions for some beautiful folks who are tying the knot this summer.

This one is for a wine label.

And this was gifted to the bride on the day of the ceremony.

And now, on to the usual Nick Soup fanfare! featuring unrequited love and bloody revenge! A few years ago we were given the class project of interpreting four environments based upon a Robert Service poem. While I wasn't entirely pleased with the finals, they garnered attention from some nice folk doing a short film here in Calgary. It is based on the truly awesome Service poem called The Shooting of Dan McGrew. These are the concept drawings I created for them to help develop the visual look of the film and hopefully raise funds as well. I'm pleased to say that (I think) they redeem my earlier attempts.

Dan McGrew


The Stranger

The Stranger (portrait)

Ext. Stranger's Cabin (should have added a glow on those lights...dang)

Int. Stranger's Cabin

Ext. Saloon

Int. Saloon

Best of luck to the filmmakers. After reading the script I can say they definitely have the feel of the poem down pat. Can't wait to see it!