Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Straight Banger 2

Straight Noise Banger 2:

Dog Lady
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Andrew Kirschner
Skin Graft
SL Makita
Interstates Ect. Collab Project
Fascist Insect
John Revolta

Now That's Class


I'm DJing the Sunday Brunch at The Beachland Tavern on January 10th from 11am to 3pm. I'll be playing music from film scores, probably mostly from different spaghetti westerns and samurai films, with the occasional blaxploitation souljam thrown in. I love that shit. Here's the b/w work in progress:

I really like this piece. The first part of December was slower, and even though I was working a lot, it was all on non-paid personal stuff. I've been grinding on a couple comics, and then a couple pieces that I gave to people as gifts. Working on longer term projects is probably a good thing to do once in a while. I draw all the time, and sometimes ...while I'm doing it, I get a little freaked out by the fact that I actually know what I'm doing. I didn't come to The Monastery on Christmas, and it felt weird. Wrong, even. What the hell?

Here's the splattery stuff I scanned and dropped onto the art in the sky. It's fun to make this stuff, and I like the way it looks. It's just a mess of ink and some white out. It took me 3 minutes to make that. I wondered what it would be like to blow this up to some bigger size, so I made a 20 x 40 print of it last night when I was printing the posters and fliers. I think it came out awesome. Here's a crummy photo of it:

I will gladly sell this thing to anybody for pretty much any amount of money, or in trade for something dope (food is dopest). Get at me and we'll make a deal.

So, the origin of "Cinematico" is that I recently participated in a Mix CD exchange, where the CD I submitted was a 46 minute long jam of songs mostly from soundtracks and film scores. I often listen to instrumentals while I draw, especially in the planning/rough stage. I really love the way music can conjure stories, narratives, adventures, romance, doom. I love how simple beats can make me feel completely capable.

The requirement was to make multiple copies of the mix, and package them. I ate up the idea of the packaging and went slightly overboard.

I took these pieces of watercolor paper I had sitting around and cut them into a fold out design. I planned this out a little, but not nearly as well as I would have liked.

The majority of the music is from Spaghetti Westerns, Samurai films, and Blaxploitation movies. I decided to draw characters representative of those genres on one of each of the packages. So, the fourth is a wolf-form self portrait. I stuck one track on the CD that's not from a movie, a Black Pus jam that I added because I wish there was a movie it could possibly be from. It's a pretty bonkers track. So that's the genre the wolf design comes from. The genre of "Bonkers".

The package folds out and the illustration spans the width of it, there's more art on the inside too. It's widescreen, letterbox format. So much fun to draw. With any luck, I'll get four mix CDs from other participants back. There's also a track list/explanation sheet, in the industry they call those "liner notes", or so I've heard.

I've been to The Beachland's Brunch three weeks in a row now, and I gotta say- it's a really great way to spend a Sunday. One week I was there hanging out all afternoon. This past week, I went in, ate, and then came to work fulfilled for the entire day. The food's great, the drinks are great. Hopefully on the 10th, the music will be great.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In The Cold

The struggle is uphill, always. The obstacles are many and imposing. The burdens, heavy. It never gets any easier and there's never a reprieve. Even at the pinnacle, you find yourself alone. But... you don't turn back. It never even occurred to you not to embark on this journey, this harsh path through the night. In the cold. By yourself. This is what must be done.

It starts with that one step. After that it's one foot in front of the other. You make your moves, take your time. Be careful. Pay attention. Behind you is the evidence that you're actually going somewhere. The footprints, bold scars on an otherwise pristine snowscape. A trail back to where you've come from. Where you've been. The story, incrementally told to no one... but you.

Going back to when I was just a pup, many years ago, I would draw an annual picture of Santa Claus for my father at Christmas. I didn't plan this, it just kind of happened. It was just something I did. I haven't done this in a long time. I've definitely drawn Santa Claus pieces over the past six years or so, painted them, printed them... but these were not specifically for him. They were for everyone. I've sent them to my best friends, and strangers. I've sold them. Lost them.

This piece, I drew for my father. This year, we spend this day together, out in the world for the first time in a long time. Together, we both travel this path. Alone. In The Cold.

Rooster Haus

January 7th, 2010: at Front Room Gallery, a show. Wooden Skin is three drummers doing a percussion trio. They do something unique every time so it's best not to miss them. Jordan Knecht, Matt Dill, and Charlie from St. Louis are awesome travelers making their way across the arctic Mid-West. Revelation Blitz is George V (Steve Dracula/Pimlo) and John Elliot (Emeralds/Outer Space), so that will be awesome.

I'm really pleased with how crazy this Rooster/House thing came out. Sometimes when I try and execute something like this, it looks like I tried to hard to make it work. This just fell together. I dunno... it's a rooster... with a weird looking Victorian house puzzle growing out of it's back.

I was sternly told NOT to set this roosterhaus in a background off a destroyed city. This person was adamant that I do something more fantastic and weird. I think I already planned on not using my go-to setting of a bombed out looking skyline, but still... so, bubble tree and mystical city from a million miles away got drawn, hard.

I probably should have planned out the entire thing better. As it stands, I just drew the rooster really big and placed him on this small background. A lot got covered up, which I don't really mind.

I accidentally didn't save the final version as a psd with layers intact, so I can't do a breakdown of the colors. This is the stage right before I colored the foreground. It definitely gives you an idea of how bonkers the colors are getting over here. I have no idea what I'm doing half the time, but I like that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mystery of Two in February

The mighty Mystery of Two are doing a winter residency at Arts Collinwood in February. Should be interesting, with great local shows all month: Filmstrip on the 6th, The Buried Wires on the 13th, Freedom on the 20th, and Founding Fathers on the 27th. Brought to you by The Letter "F".

For some reason it took me a really long time to get this from sketch stage to final. Like, more than a week. I'm never that slow, but I just worked on this incrementally. I think choosing the colors for the text took me at least an hour. I went with making it look sooooo cooold. February can be pretty harsh here. I'm never entirely prepared for the harsh weather, but once we're in the thick of it I feel like it's just matter of fact. Sometimes I feel like it's a challenge, like I have to go out just because it's harder than when the weather is nice. Not that I mind staying in and just drawing. I've been working on some new comics. I've been really hyped on comics lately, and I'll hopefully be posting some soon. They're part of my 2010 plans, which... Big Fat Gritty THANKS to Mike Hawthorne for the love and kind words on his blog a couple weeks ago. I've known Mike a long time and hold him up there with the greats of comics, as well as one of the most honorable and bad-ass dudes I'll ever know. He and I are going to throw down, and get bonkers, with some sequential art over the next year and I'm super stoked about it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gritmas 2009

Things have been both kind of crazy and pretty chill lately. I've been meaning to post up a bunch of various things, but haven't found the moments for typing. My hands have been busy. Been making moves out in the world. Been baking cookies in The Cave. Been hyper about producing comics again for the first time in a while. Been layered up to combat the harsh skies. Been plotting out schemes for 2010 and beyond. I'll hopefully be posting up again really soon.

In the meantime, I want to mention how well Genghis Con went and give a shout out top all that exhibited and attended. I was really anxious about the day all the way up to and including the hours right before. It totally went off without a hitch and everybody had a blast. I haven't seen that many happy people all having as much fun in such a way in a long minute, and both Scott and I couldn't be more pleased. Big thanks to Cindy and The Beachland. Big Hard Cleveland Thanks to Andy MacDonald, who came from New York, and Abhay Khosla who froze his ass in from LA.

Merry Gritmas, friends. Make it a good one.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Bachelor in Cleveland 2: Christmas Lights Boogaloo

The second in the series of "Cleveland Bachelor Show of The Month" posters for This time it's for the Beachland Christmas show, featuring Bears, Unsparing Sea, The Modern Electric, Shit Slicer, Mystery of Two, Terminal Lovers, and All Dinosaurs. Seven local bands filling both the Ballroom and The Tavern, not a bad way to spend the night before Christmas Eve.

This was drawn from a photo reference that I actually took, but am not posting because it's a pretty crappy photo. I like The Terminal Tower, though. How awesome would our lives be if the original plan for Goodyear to use the observation deck as a terminal for dirigible travel between Cleveland and New York City had actually been feasible and worked? "Pretty goddamn awesome." is the answer. Hey, it could still happen. Dirigible travel might be the next best thing.

I'm old enough to remember the Cleveland Skyline when the Terminal was the tallest building, and when the plans to build the BP Building included making it taller than the Terminal, it was kind of a big deal. I vaguely remember that Cleveland freaked out at the idea of something new surpassing something traditionally held as the standard. Didn't matter though, Key Tower went up 6 years later. Skyscrapers, what an awesome idea.

Our hero, this time drinking a milkshake from UDF, outside, in the cold. I'm a huge fan of the UDF milkshake. They're open until 1AM! My favorite is the chocolate peanut-butter, extra thick. I always go to the Lakewood one, and there's always something weird going on. Just those weirdos that are only ever hanging around in Lakewood, buying smokes or standing next to the payphone. Always an adventure. Sometimes I wonder how long it will be before I'm one of those weirdos.

I just drew the text by hand, I didn't lay it out first. I figured by now I kind of know what I'm doing with this stuff. I like using the banners on something like this, but then it took me forever to land on the colors I eventually ended up with. I tried a hundred different schemes.

This is what the snow layer looks like when I scan it. Black ink splattered on white paper. I used to just splatter white acrylic paint right on the art, but then coloring that and keeping the snow white would be impossible. So I've evolved to simplify.

It's the holidays, so the city lights up the Terminal with a red and green glow, it looks okay. I will say though, the lights in Public Square are pretty bonkers. I don't really remember if I even saw them last year or ...paid attention any other year, but this year I drove down Superior and my eyes got rocked. I'm a pretty grumpy dude, maybe, but I really love Christmas lights.

So, I drop the character in on top of the background, which, sometimes I don't do this. Sometimes I draw it all as one, but this time I kind of knew I wanted the white stroke around The Cleveland Bachelor. Also, I think I was still working on the text layout when I started drawing the art. So if I needed to re-size the character, it makes that a lot easier.

So, I take that piece of black ink splattered white paper, make it a layer over the background but under the character. Then inverse it so it's white on black, then just delete the black so all I have is white splatter on the art. I almost opted to not use this technique on this one because it obscures the background so much, but then when I ran a proof, it looked awesome. So, yeah, snow.

I'm really not looking forward to the snow this year. I mean, it's beautiful and it makes the warmth of being bundled up and cozy that much more warm and cozy, but goddamn. I hope me typing this doesn't call upon the winter demons to come forth and lay frozen waste to my city. I'd like at least a couple more weeks of sludge free wheeling.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Mighty Macaroni Melt

Another month, another Sandwich Special at Melt Bar & Grilled!


Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
Coated with Seasoned Breadcrumbs and Fried to a
Delicious Golden Brown
Nestled Between Even MORE Melted Cheese
and our Wonderful Fresh Baked Bread
Are You Kidding?!?

I don't have time to do a thorough "behind the scenes" write up on this poster, but let me just say that I've had this sandwich and that it truly is Mighty. Such an amazing invention. I took some out of town comics friends to Melt on Saturday after Genghis Con, and I think it almost killed them. I'll write about Genghis Con later, I think I might have a lot to say about it. It went really well though. Just incredibly well.

Speaking of Voting for Sandwiches, go to Melt's website,, and vote for the special you want to see added to the menu. If you know what's good for you, you'll vote for The Godfather. I'm not saying anything bad will happen to you if you vote for something else, but you never know. Accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. I'm just sayin'.

Also, at the Melt Website, special limited edition 12 x 18 signed and numbered prints of my posters are available in the shop. Of course these make great gifts for your favorite Melt fan friend or family member!

That sandwich is so good. You can also just order the Fried Macaroni, as a side or what have you. It's amazing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Mech vs J Grit

So Andy MacDonald, AKA A Mech, is coming to Cleveland for Genghis Con! He did this sweet sweet line art for this poster for the show.

Then, after he also drew the background, he let me throw down some mass colors on that thing, and drop our standard GC Designs on the thing:

Genghis Con is shaping up to be one for the ages, for more info check in with our old pal facebook.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Here's the second of my two "two shows two cities one poster" pieces. The other being for Music Saves/Square Records joint Holiday Get Down. This jam is for Cleveland's mighty Filmstrip and The Kyle Sowashes from Columbus. Fox Japan is playing the Dec. 18th Columbus show at The Treehouse. All Dinosaurs are playing the Dec. 19th show at Now That's Class in Cleveland.

I did another flip-able poster before, for a Keelhaul/Municipal Waste show in Austin, Texas last year. I also used a CMYK color scheme for that one. I like this design move. It's fun and lends itself to that positive/negative thematic conflict idea. Which reminds me of a dialogue from LOST, where John Locke is talking about ...backgammon.

That robot is so happy. Columbus, where Happy Robots learn to love in the forest garden. The Cleveland robot is just a tough mean Heavy. This is not unrealistic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dinosaur Jr

The mask is for protection, as much as anything. It hides the truth under that smile, under that expression. Keeping any and all outside and at arm's length. Oh, don't worry, it's all good. The bandages cover up the nicks and scratches, the cuts and abrasions. Gives them time to heal, keeps them hidden. They'll go away. Soon, they'll be scars. Scars, chicks dig.

Harpoon? Through the chest? I don't know what you're talking about.

This poster has no practical application, the show Friday and sold out. So, yeah... commemorative poster anyone? Comment or get at me and I'll hook you up. Dinosaur Jr was actually the first band I ever saw live. They opened for Neil Young at Blossom when I was 14. Beckett Warren's dad took us and I think we got there just as they were playing. I remember it being super loud, but other than that, my memory is foggy. This is the first I've ever heard of Gypsy Nomads. I don't have a ticket, so I'll probably be in The Monastery drawing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday Get Down 2009

Your 6th Annual Holiday Get Down, presented by Music Saves and Square Records! Casual Encounters, The Walkies, Talons, Shiny Penny are playing two shows back to back. I'm working on another poster like this for two shows in Cleveland and Columbus. It's strange how things happen at the same time like that.

I struggled like crazy to come up with this piece. Seriously. I really wanted to draw something fun, like, party-centric fun. I don't think I even know how to HAVE fun, much less draw it. Seriously, I was drawing polar bears making snowmen, and penguins playing instruments, then a super bundled up Santa-Cat! None of it looked all that good, or fun. So, I searched my heart for what I really felt about this jam. What would make me want to go to a party, or two parties, in December? Well, a cozy, obviously warm, glowing building in the middle if a blizzard with a million footprints leading the way.

I decided to go with a lone polar bear, guitar slung across his back, on the long walk through the snow. Layered up, the winter is upon us... or, it's supposed to be. After I worked all night drawing in the cold, then printed till 4:30am, slept for a couple hours, and came back to The Monasery... the place is flooded with sunshine. It's almost like it's warm in here. Unbelievable. It's November. I'm sure the other shoe will drop any minute.

I really really like how these colors came out. I added a layer of splatter that I changed to white for the snow. I think the glow of the windows came out awesome. I almost spent another half hour or so adding a ton more subtle changes, but then had a moment of clarity where I realized I was done, and to proceed would be to overwork this one. So I saved it, and gave it a name. That name was Finished.

Giant Dog-Wolf Occasion

Another show at The Happy Dog, with Stimulus Package (their last show), Cobra Verde, Good Touch Bad Touch.

Brittany from Stimulus Package asked if there was a story behind this piece. I'm sure there is, I'm just not 100% certain what it is. Sometimes I have a story in mind, or I add details and things that are specific, or references to things that are happening with me or people I know. I actually love doing that, and feel like it's one of the reasons why people even like my work at all.

This one is an occasion where I just got an idea and ran with it. Well, Brittany had also mentioned that she liked wolves, so I knew I wanted to include a wolf. I wish this wolf looked more wolf-like and less dog-like, but still... it's a lady riding a giant dog-wolf! Taking out some creepy soldier/cops. I think maybe this character will be back. Yeah, definitely.

I've got a lot more on the way this week, I'll never sleep again.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A Bachelor in Cleveland

This is the first of a new monthly series of posters I'll be doing for The Beachland, and Cleveland Bachelor, a blog about Cleveland stuff.

This is a situation where I had never heard of any of these bands, so I had to actually look them up and make sure I didn't draw anything too divergent. Evangelicals are from Norman, Oklahoma. Holiday Shores are from Tallahassee, Florida. Mother Country Madmen, are locals. Booyah.

We're going with a recurring character for this project, so I figured I would at least spend a couple minutes trying to do the design work that I'm going to use for the long haul. Justin, THE Cleveland Bachelor, suggested a robot, dinosaur, or viking character with characteristics suspiciously similar to a college professor... so I went with a robot, because any dinosaur I want to draw probably wouldn't be as versatile and vikings... vikings need to be taken seriously. I figured there would be a sense of humor about at least some of these posters. Vikings need to be taken seriously.

I toiled with this layout for a little while. I'm trying now, not to repeat myself too much. I almost went with a giant deer-headed creature climbing up on the busted ass city, maybe coming out of a body of water. Instead I felt the need to play it more subtle... an OPEN GRAVE. Maybe I'm still a little infected by Halloween, and maybe I just like the idea of resurrection. Anyway, there's the ruff.

So, this is about as detailed as I felt like getting with these pencils. This is the first poster I designed in The Monastery, the new studio space I've been renting and finally moved into this weekend. The Monastery is awesome. I really really like working there. This isn't the first drawing I did there, but it's the first poster. Though, I totally miss my cats while I'm there.

The inks came out pretty loose, I think. I like it. It's good to loosen up every now and then. I think the tree could have used a reference, but I knew that most of that would be covered by text anyway. I planned for that.

Yeah, colors. I'm actually really happy with how this came out, color-wise. This, I didn't really plan out at all and just kinda worked out as I went. I think my cats are kind of freaking out about the fact that now there's absolutely nothing in The Cave. It's pretty empty. I need to remedy that soon. A couch? A hot tub? A cave-size maze-like series of kitty trees and kitty condos? Suggestions are welcome.

So, tonight at Midnight I'm going to start a 24 Hour Comic. I've wanted to do this for a while, and I never set aside the time. Well, I'm doing it. So, yeah. At the very least it will be something new for Genghis Con, at the most it will be another chapter in the series of Clevelyn stories I've been telling in Shiner.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Map Out That Disaster

No time for Love, Dr. Jones! I'm in the throws of making moves so it's just gonna be a quick post today: The Chinese Stars from Providence, RI, Casual Encounters, Filmstrip, and Johnny Utah.

I spent a very long time thinking this one out, considering how simple it is. It just took a little focus to map out that disaster.

I really like how this came out though. I think the softer foreground colors was a good move, too. I dunno... I've been pushing it for a minute. We'll see where it goes next. Who knows?

Right now I'm blasting Black Pus. Body On The Tide. It's probably cold, but the sun is out.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Cave

I just realized while I was working, that today is the last day I'll be working in The Cave. I just took this series of pictures to make this weird looking collage to mark the occasion. I love that both los dos gatitos got in it. That's Rider on the printer/copy machine, and Chalita on the kitty condo on the far right. It'll still be The Cave and I'll still live in it, but I'm moving the studio out into a space I'm renting behind Front Room Gallery. I think I'm going to call it The Monastery:

I've been working in this apartment since the day I moved in, ten years ago. I'm not sure how I feel about making the move, other than it really needs to be done. I'm looking forward to working in a new place, and having it separate from my home. At the same time, I'm not entirely sure what I'll actually DO in The Cave without the studio being here. I know my cats are probably going to love having a lot more space to hang out in.

Hey, look, I got a haircut: