Friday, January 6, 2012

Katie Cook - Luke Skywalker and the sands of Tatooine

A few years ago the bookstores at nearby Rutgers University were going out of business in order to be replaced by Barnes and Nobles. As a result art supplies were 50%, and then 75%, off. I managed to buy too much comic art board (twenty or so packets) at 11X17, a few 9x12 pads, tons of canson and colored pencils and various color sharpies. The canson will eventually get convention sketches and that should be really fun. But when I was standing there that first day looking over the pickings, I was amazed to see pads of 5x17 bristol for comic strips. I always assumed artists cut their own from larger sheets, and when I saw these pads I knew they would be a ton of fun for convention sketches. As stated in my first blog, Sean Chen did the first one ever for me, and charged me $80. Here is that first one.

I was amazed at what he had done. Sean Chen has been my go to guy for these ever since, and has now done 5 of them. But more importantly, he set my passion for this idea aflame. I have gotten just under 50 now, and 30 or so have been posted already on comic art fans. I would say that a few artists really fail to give me anything special for the size and just do their standard pinup, but most have been money well spent. I decided I would use this blog to debut new pieces in this format, and today I wanted to show off a really special piece. Done by Katie Cook, this piece has been seen on her blog but I have not yet shown it off myself until now. When I approached Katie with the blank bristol board (at Comic Geek Speak perhaps?) and asked her to do something Star Wars themed, she said she knew immediately what she wanted to do. Here is what she gave me later that day.

I know, really (in best Craig Ferguson voice). Can you believe it? This is right in so many ways. From the way Luke stands outside the panel, the simple yet inspired scene choice executed with such wonderful coloring, and the amazing way she captures the feel of the whole movie - I am blown away with it all! Thank you Katie Cook!!! I chose this one to debut first on my blog because it is what I hope for when I hand out these 5x17 sheets, that I get an artist who takes advantage of the format and executes a great scene in their own distinctive style. I will follow this up early next month with a wonderful Chrissie Zullo strip that finds inspiration in the Star Wars universe as well, and hope to show off something new in this format once a month thereafter.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's post is essentially an unexpected bonus for me. I need to post some reference shots for an artist doing a commission and figured why not post them here. And since this is for mass consumption why not post some random but relevant thoughts as well, eh? The artist (today) is JK Woodward, who is currently having a nice sale on commissions he will mail to your home; starting at only $35 too! The subject matter of my commission is the Michael Golden DR. STRANGE portfolio. I say JK is the artist today because I am asking artists to do their version or an homage to these classic images that I loved as a youthful lad. I was lucky to have Darryl Banks do a version, or homage really, of the portfolio cover a few years ago. Here that is, in all its' glory!!!

There are six plates, in addition to the wonderful cover. I am going to have JK take his shot at one of the three portfolio plates shown in this blog post. Basically I think these three, of the six, suit him best. Besides, I already have a version of the Eternity plate done by Otis Frampton. I dig that one as well and would show you if not for this unwieldy image adding feature. Back to the ones for JK to choose from, here is the The Ancient One plate.

I am not the first person to realize that hindsight is 20/20, but I can be amazed quite often at how things take on added, or more accurately altered, significance over the years. I often discover in my midlife years that what I thought was old back in the day was in fact quite new at the time. For instance, in college I had these portfolio plates on my walls. The Dormammu one here was right over my bed. How could the ladies resist?

Oh I was so cool.

I certainly was too cool for school, as my second semester gpa of 0.75 for 16 credits would attest. What a Nightmare. But those portfolio plates worked their magic on me. I remember buying them in New Brunswick and I thought they were some rare and ancient treasure overlooked since the seventies, man! I loved them all immediately, and it turns out the portfolio was far newer than I thought it was. It came out in 1983 and since I came to New Brunswick in 1985 it probably arrived in the comic store only a short time before I did. But we went home together. I had it on my walls until I got married, and who knows what happened to those plates when the wife took over the home decorating. But I got a new set not long ago and have it proudly displayed not far from this computer. The wife, she came around soon enough.

UPDATE 2/5/12: apparently JK chose to do The Ancient One, the first of the three plates presented above.