Monday, December 15, 2008

Captain America #48 Cover

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Yes, it's that time again: when Marvel leaks out some previews of upcoming books, in this case for March 2009, featuring Captain America #48. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING
The New Captain America faces the crimes of his past as the Winter Soldier as the Sub-Mariner and the Black Widow struggle to stop a new foe from unleashing a deadly attack on the world! By the best-selling Eisner, Harvey and Eagle award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

This cover presented a new challenge in that I haven't ever really tried to paint fire before (at least not this close up). All in all, I don't think it's quite as successful as another recent painting challenge I had with splashing water, but it's always fun to try something new. Anyway, the focus of the image is the Invaders, and that's always a good thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sketchbook 013

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More of the same. I broke out the old crowquill pen for the three smaller faces on the right side.

These pages are all starting to look the same to me, but you can never get enough practice drawing faces. On the other hand, the same thing applies to figures, so I think I'll try to do more of that on future pages.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alchemy Space Lizard!

In a previous post I mentioned Alchemy - a free sketching program that is geared toward spontaneous visual experimentation, and since then I've spent the past several weeks slowly transforming an Alchemy sketch into a finished painting. I say slowly because as usual, I only work on stuff like this a little bit at a time - usually 10 or 15 minutes in the morning while I'm trying to wake up.

Here's the initial Alchemy sketch. It's not totally arbitrary in that you can get certain shapes to go in specific directions as you draw, but a lot of what happens is completely random. In this case it is supposed to represent some sort of armored soldier -

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I used this as the starting point for the painting below and as you can see, quite a bit of what was in the initial sketch survived to the finished piece.

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What's cool is that there are dynamics with the shapes and how they interact that I would have never come up with on my own and I think they add a lot of visual interest. On the other hand, none of it looks very practical and I would hate to have to attempt to draw that armor over and over and from different angles.

Also - Alchemy Space Lizard would be a kick-ass name for a band.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sketchbook 012

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More heads. A couple were from reference, the rest are made up.

Also, if you're interested, another Fallen Son sketch cover is on eBay here. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Captain America #47 Cover

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Marvel has released a preview of their February 2009 Solicitations, including Captain America #47. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:


Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING
The New Captain America in the hands of the enemy in China! His secret past as the Winter Soldier in danger of coming to light! And what are his old Invaders teammate the Sub-Mariner and the Black Widow doing while Bucky Barnes faces his darkest past? By the best-selling Eisner, Harvey and Eagle award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

A pretty straightforward cover with a symmetrical composition, but I'm fairly happy with it. I remember back during my Crossgen days I sort of got stuck in a rut doing several covers in a row with this same type of composition featuring a central figure until Butch Guice snapped me out of it. I'm certain it won't happen again here though, because I've already done the cover to issue #48, even though I can't show it to you yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


From the Alchemy website:

"Alchemy is an open drawing project aimed at exploring how we can sketch, draw, and create on computers in new ways. Alchemy isn’t software for creating finished artwork, but rather a sketching environment that focuses on the absolute initial stage of the creation process. Experimental in nature, Alchemy lets you brainstorm visually to explore an expanded range of ideas and possibilities in a serendipitous way."

You may have already heard of this program. I first discovered it a month or two ago but haven't had much time (or any time) to experiment with it. It's free to download and looks like it will be fun to explore. After opening it and figuring out the basic interface, I did these two quick sketches (with a little photoshop flourish here and there)-

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Like I said, this was a month or two ago, and even though the nature of the program makes the sketching quick and spontaneous ( both of these took about five minutes each) these are the only two pieces I've done so far. Hopefully I'll get a chance to play around with the program some more soon. Download it here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

January Covers - BONUS!

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I wanted to make sure it was okay to show this cover before posting it on my blog since it didn't actually appear in the solicitations, and now that I've been given the green light, here it is - the variant cover for AVENGERS/INVADERS #8 featuring the new Captain America and the original Invaders. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

Cover by ALEX ROSS
Variant Cover by STEVE EPTING
With the real enemy revealed, two teams of Avengers are drawn together for a brutal battle royale. Meanwhile, a secret from the Invaders’ past threatens to destroy the present, upend the chessboard and send several heroes back through the veils of time...perhaps lost forever.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

I've always loved the Invaders so I jumped at the chance to do this. And here's a little bonus - the approved thumbnail layout:

Monday, October 20, 2008

January Covers

A couple of covers have leaked out from the January 2009 solicitations.

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First up - Captain America #46. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING
70th Anniversary Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC (see page 4)
Eisner-Winning artist Steve Epting returns as the New Captain America comes face-to-face with an old ally -- Prince Namor -- on a dangerous trip to China. Can Bucky and Namor team up to save the memory of an old comrade-in-arms as Cold War crimes come back to haunt the Winter Soldier? Part 1 of 3.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

You may notice that I'm erroneously described as an "Eisner-Winning artist", when in fact I am only an Eisner nominated artist. I'll have to try to get that corrected if possible.

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The second January cover is for the CAPTAIN AMERICA: THEATER OF WAR series of one-shots covering Cap's time during WW2. Here's how Marvel describes it:

The third in a series chronicling the adventures that made Captain America the hero we know today, Paul Jenkins (MYTHOS) does what he does best, weaving a tale of war, brotherhood and legacy. From skinny Steve Rogers at boot camp to the Super-Soldier leading a battalion of men against the Nazis, this is the Captain America you thought you knew but you’ve never seen. And when the choice is between his country or his best friend, this is the decision he had to make.
64 PGS./Rated T+ ...$4.99

I had great fun painting this one, and even though this is the fastest I've ever painted a cover I'm fairly pleased with it. I would love to do more WW2 stuff.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Overpass Assault

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Another dopey speedpainting done over the course of the last week or so. No story behind this one - it was just done for fun and as a warmup before painting some covers.

Now I'm going to tempt fate and again attempt to show you an animated version that condenses the 2 hours or so of painting time into about 15 seconds. It didn't work out too well the last time I tried this, so let's see what happens today.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Sketchbook 008

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The center figure is a sketch of my daughter playing at her computer. The others are from the covers of some of her DVDs. Hopefully at least one of those is recognizable.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two for Tuesday

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First up, a quick one from this morning. I had timed myself so that I wouldn't spend more than 45 minutes on it, so there's not much detail. I kind of like the mood of it though.

The second sketch is a commission for Steven Gettis' awesome collection in which he has artists draw their favorite literary figure, author, or character. I'm not going to post my contribution here, because I want you to go to his site and browse through the amazing array of talent he has commissioned over the past decade. You can see it by clicking the link below-

Hey Oscar Wilde! It's clobberin' time!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beer Is Good

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I saw this Austin Briggs Illustration on James Gurney's blog (who posted it by way of Leif Peng) and had to laugh at the fact that beer ads haven't really changed much at all since the 1950s.

Captain America #42 is on sale today, featuring an unadvertised 3 extra pages of story for the same low price! Another added bonus is that these extra pages (in the form of the story's epilogue) feature art by Luke Ross, giving you a little sneak preview how awesome the next story arc will look.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


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Just goofing around trying some new brushes and new techniques. When I first started painting in Photoshop, I wanted to replicate the feel of traditional media as closely as possible, partly because that's the look I wanted for the Captain America covers I've been painting, but also because some digital paintings look sterile and artificial to me. However, there are things that Photoshop can do that can't be done any other way. I've been consciously avoiding these digital techniques on most of the published work, but I'm doing more and more of them in the speedpaints.

I'm not sure where (if anywhere) this may lead, but I'm having fun experimenting.

By the way, I didn't reference any tank when painting this. It's completely made up, so try not to laugh too hard at how impractical or stupid it looks.:)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Captain America #45 Cover

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Marvel's December 2008 solicitations have been out for a few days, featuring Captain America #45. Here's how Marvel describes the issue-

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Penciled by LUKE ROSS
Villain Variant by TBA
It's Bucky versus Batroc and a mysterious foreign agent from his past as the Winter Soldier, as he fights to keep a secret super-weapon from falling into enemy hands! But the shocking ending of this three-parter brings a new twist to the mission... and sends our New Captain America in search of whatever is left of his old comrades, the Invaders.
From Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross - Part Three of Three
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

This completes the trilogy of the thematically related covers, and next month we'll move on to something different.

Also, on sale this week - The Death Of Captain America: The Burden Of Dreams Vol. 2 trade paperback.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Mess O' Commissions

Here's a few recently completed commissions, including the inked version of the sketch I used for this Rocketeer painting. By the way, for those of you who have asked, I still can't accept any new commissions just yet, but when I can I'll let you know.
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Red Sonja and Dean Cornwell

Okay, so my earlier post had to be nuked due to technical difficulties. I'll get it all sorted and repost it in the future. Hellboy will not be denied!

In the meantime, here's a Red Sonja speedpaint (done for fun) and a copy of a detail from a Dean Cornwell painting.

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My hope when doing things like the Cornwell copy is that by studying in detail the techniques of other artists, I'll look at my own efforts with a more open mind to different approaches. It's too easy to get comfortable doing what has worked before over and over again.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sketchblog: Year One

Today marks the first anniversary of the ol' sketchblog, and since August 21st is Hellboy day (at least on this blog) here's a quick sketch-

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Well, I said it was quick. Just trying to keep the tradition alive.

Thanks to everybody who drops by here on a regular basis, and especially to those of you who take the time to leave your feedback. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

In other news, Captain America #41 came out this week featuring the penultimate chapter of the current story arc, or as Ed likes to call it: "The Death of Captain America Act 3 - The Man Who Bought America: Part 5".

Here's a little behind the scenes stuff - some graphics I made in Photoshop during the production of the art for this issue. The first is a sign for the Diner that appears on page 2-

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- and the second is a series of little campaign posters I made for a single panel on page 20-

I have no idea who snuck in the Colbert poster that appears in the printed book.

See you in year two!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Captain America #44 Cover

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Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I'll try to do better next month. In the meantime, here's the cover to Captain America #44. If you compare it to #43, you'll notice a theme has developed. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils by LUKE ROSS
Variant Cover by SAL BUSCEMA
Part two of this smashing three-parter pits Bucky Barnes, the new Captain America, against his own past as the Winter Soldier, and one of Steve Rogers deadliest foes... as the remnants of the Cold War creep into the states, searching for a secret weapon that only Cap can stop them from getting their hands on. But is that really what's happening, or is it all a trap? Find out here - by Brubaker and Luke Ross!
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

And no, I haven't forgotten about the step-by-step of the cover process I promised earlier, but I will have to delay it for a bit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Captain America #43 Cover

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Marvel's October 2008 solicitations are beginning to appear, featuring Captain America #43. Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils by LUKE ROSS
Bucky has survived his first major trial as the new Captain America, but now a villain from his past - both as Bucky in WW2 and as the Winter Soldier during the Cold War - has come to the U.S. and he'll have to face his history just as he's finding his feet in the present. The beginning of a gripping war and espionage tale, with some familiar faces for long-term Cap readers, as the New Captain America moves further into the Marvel U. And for this action-packed three-part story, award-winning Cap writer Ed Brubaker is joined by acclaimed artist Luke Ross (Jonah Hex, Samurai).
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99

This issue marks my 20th painted cover, and it's an ongoing experiment. Next month, I'll try to post a step by step of the cover process, much like the page process in the previous post.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Page Process

Captain America #40 went on sale this week, and instead of my usual lame generic post announcing the fact, I've decided to show a little of the process involved in drawing the book.

After printing out the script, I'll usually go through and do thumbnails directly on the script pages as I'm reading it. These are generally quick impressions, and are subject to change (to put it mildly). Here's the thumbnail for page 11-

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The next step is the actual pencilling. I really prefer drawing with pens and markers instead of pencil, so "pencilling" may not be the right term. I only use pencils to roughly block in the figures and then draw everything with whatever pen I have laying around, using a Sharpie for the big solid blacks. Usually on this step, I'll lay out everything a little more carefully than you see here, but since this page required no establishing shots or busy environments, I could just concentrate on getting the figures on the page-

This then gets scanned into Photoshop to tweak the placement and composition, completing the "pencils" part of the process-

This rough is then printed out on 11x17 paper and then taped to the back of an art board supplied by Marvel. My drawing table has a lightbox and I go straight to inks from this stage. There may be some incidental pencilling as I go, particularly if I'm working on something very specific, like a certain building or type of car. Faces and hands also are subject to being refined before the inks go down . Here's the final inked page-

Finally, it's uploaded to the folks at Marvel, who then pass it on to the one and only Frank D'Armata for coloring-

- and that's that.

I don't follow these steps exactly for every page, but for the most part this is how it's done. I'm constantly trying to tweak this process and eliminate steps in an attempt to increase speed and production, so this is all subject to change.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Under The Sea

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More unseen art - an older speedpaint from last year.

In more current news, Captain America #39 is now available in your local comic book retail store - and in case you need a reminder, it looks like this-

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sketchbook 004 and 005

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The figures on the left of page 5 are after Leopold Sanchez.

Heroes Con tomorrow!