Monday, January 09, 2012


Here's a piece I did for a show in Austin that got canceled. I was just going to sit on it until they booked another show this would be appropriate for but I'm so happy with it, and how it came out that I decided to post it anyway. The band is a hardcore grind crust legendary type of band, and I wanted to go pretty far into black terrain with some guttural doomed out gasmask imagery. Also, the fans of that kind of hardcore, in general I think they respond to black and white art more than bright vibrant eye-popping oranges and pinks. So I knew I wanted to do something I could easily do a black and white version of also, and make it crusty and stark. I've done that before and I've got a couple projects I'm working on where that will be the case for other reasons (cost of printing).

I'm pretty stoked about sneaking in that Chuck Taylor. That was fun.

I always liked the term "Doughboys", which seems so locked into that time and place of the first World War and like, that generation of Americans. Trench warfare is such a completely insane idea. They did a pretty great job depicting it on the first episode of the second season of Downton Abbey, which just aired last night. Watching that might even been what encouraged me to post these. At any rate, there's a character that goes on leave from the trenches a couple times, and I just can't imagine being able to get away from that hell and then having to go back.

Get this: the last surviving Doughboy that fought in the first World War just died last year, at the age of 110! Frank Buckles! What a dude.

Anyway, here's the ink splatter I scanned and used to create the colors of the sky and background of this one. Splatters. I can't believe I'm still doing this. Just making a mess and turning it into something. I'll be posting some more stuff later this week. I've got an announcement and some other stuff. Working on some posters that I'm super psyched about! Stay tuned!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Old Friend for a New Year: Hunrgy Hungarian Returns, MELT 2012!

Hey friends, it's January, it's 2012, it's time for The Hungry Hungarian Paprikash Melt at Melt bar & grilled!
Pulled Roasted Chicken
Huge Homemade Dumplings
Creamy Paprikash Sauce
Provolone Cheese
Amazing Vegetarian Version Available

As you can see, I went with a nice quiet snowy winter scenario starring our favorite polar bear friends and family, Junior Bear looking out the window watching the snow fall and accumulate. I have pretty fond memories of doing that as a pup, just watching the sky full of flakes and clumps of snow. It always blew my mind, the idea that no two snowflakes are the same. Sometimes, if it was particularly clumpy snow, you could pick a cluster drifting on the wind and watch just that one, try to focus on it and follow it through the path to the ground, or watch it get pushed back up into the gusts of wind. Those were good moments.

I wanted to show the process a little more for this one, but I don't know what I did with the rough sketches I used to develop the concept. I knew I wanted to use the polar bears but I wasn't sure how. I landed on this after thinking of the "watching snow fall" idea, and wanting to do an warm color inside vs. cold colors outside juxtaposition. So, here's the black and white line art, drawn with brush and ink on 11" x 17" Bristol Board.

On to the colors, the first step was just to go bonkers in Photoshop with the warm/cool effects. I chose my pallet and kept it pretty limited. I had a good time though. I really like the looks on the cat and dog's faces.

Here, all I did was add a subtle texture to everything outside the window using a map of ink splatter I made specific for this piece, then changes the color of the line art inside the window to that brownish orange, the color of lines of the Christmas lights, and then created a glowing effect on the window and the lights on a separate layer set to a pretty low opacity. Some of these touches are overt and some are simple and subtle, but I think it's all important. I think in some cases there's a fine line between kill and overkill, especially in Photoshop.

Lastly, for the illustration at least, I added two layers of snow falling. It's just a matter of making those ink splatter pieces, dropping them over the art and changing the color to white. Then setting one of them to ...shoot, I think it's only 35% opacity, but it's pretty low.

I drew the text by hand and scanned it. Here's what it looks like before coloring it and adding it to the poster. I like these banner moves. I used to do that a lot, then migrated away from it for a long time. Now I'm finding really good uses for banners all over the place at Melt. It definitely falls into the "tattoo art" themes have been a large part of Melt's visual dynamic.

Here's the line art for the Hungry Hungarian Melt sandwich. I've drawn so many of these, I can draw them in my sleep. This is actually the last thing I do for these posters now. Sometimes I draw the sandwich when I draw the illustration and the text, but lately I've gone all the way up to final colors before drawing the sandwich. It occurred to me to just reuse the sandwich drawings from last year, but eh... that would be weak sauce. Weak. Sauce.

Here's the final again, with the text and sandwich. It's a great sandwich, too. I highly recommend it, especially on cold cold Cleveland in January nights after trekking around in the snow and winter all day.

Also, Beverly Hills Cop is being screened as one of the January Melt Late Shift movies at Cleveland Cinemas' Capitol Theatre on Saturday, January 21st at Midnight. Melt is doing a special Fried Banana in the Tail Pipe Trick Melt sandwich, with fried plantains, grilled pineapple, fresh avocado, spicy tomato relish, and muenster cheese. I can't wait to try this.

I used this screen capture from the movie to get Eddie Murphy's likeness down. Though, this image is from when Axel, Rosewood, and Taggart are in the strip club, I set him outside in what I wanted to be an 1980s styled color wash, almost an abstract blend of pastels and process colors. I really wanted it to pop. I think that worked.

Here's the dessert card for January. Continuing with these characters, I'm not sure this one is as successful as the last two, but I like it. I like using the word balloons and the panel breaks on the card. I've been working on a lot of comics lately, and this is like that bleeding into the way I'm doing everything. Also, Heath Bar Crunch Cheesecake!

That's it for now. I feel like I've been typing for a year. I hope this post made sense. Hey, check back later in the week, I'm going to post some fun stuff and hopefully you'll be into it. I figure if you're still reading this then chances are you will be.