Thursday, August 30, 2007

360 degree tour of my workspace.

What you're about to see is more than likely INCREDIBLY boring to you and you might even be AMAZED by how little you could care, but here it is...

We had to turn our computer room into Zach's room several months ago so the comp had to go into my workspace which meant total overhaul and organization was needed to make that happen.

The sweet computer desk was generously given to us by Tony and Brenda.

My comicbook boxes used to be stacked two high six rows wide. That needed to be rectified so I got these "drawers" from BCW and just put them in there. And they slide out real nice, I can't recommend them enough if you have the same passion (IE addiction) to comicbooks like I do.

This is what it used to look like!!!!

This wall is red because I intend to someday hang up all of my original art here with some nice black frames, which Heidi and I thought would be cool.

I spend a lot of time at this table. The cool thing is at least I'm home when working my "second job". Not only that but Heidi has been an amazing help to me while illustrating the kids magazine. I've gone to her for advice in page layout, story ideas, color choices, and more. She has such good instincts, I'm continually reminded how blessed I am to have her when I just don't know where to go with something. She has her MASTER'S as a READING SPECIALIST and she's been teaching 2nd grade for seven years. Who else could I possibly trust more with this stuff?

Just so I can try to remain consistent from page to page I sometimes hang up the artwork of finished pages while I'm progressing through the story.

So yeah, I'm gonna do a whole blog on Star Wars Legos someday... stay tuned.

That's it, I hope you liked it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Laid Back Wit Ma Mind On Ma Money And My Money On My Mind

Yup, that's Snoop D O Double Geezy fo Sheezy on tha reel yo.

Sorry, I knew a kid who was white as white can be in High School yet knew every word to that song. So today was another one of those terrible days where you have no choice but to inflict pain upon your offspring. Sure every parent has to do it but today was Zach's 2 month check up and he had to get his vaccination shots. Two in one leg and one in another. Heidi went alone since I was working but obviously he didn't like it and although over all he handled it like a champ, he's still been a bit fussy and Heidi was mentally done. Seeing your child in pain no matter how necessary it is, is one of the worst possible things a parent can feel.

We'll have to take him back again for the same shots in a few months so that's something neither one of us are looking forward too.

On a brighter and bigger note our boy is now an astonishing 12.5 pounds!!! When we brought him home he was 6 pounds 13 ounces! Can you imagine doubling your body weight in two months? Yeesh. All of this reminds me though of how amazing God is. His design of a child's development and his incredible sacrifice of his Son. Both things put in greater perspective and gratitude now being a Father myself.

This is him just hours ago laaaiiiid back... with Rupert Brownie Wisniewski watching over him natch.

On to music.

I'm a weirdo when it comes to musical tastes and most who know me know the almost inexplicable range of music that I'm into. Here's what I'm peeping now... some will have an explanation for those quick to judge...

They Might Be Giants: The Else w/bonus disc Cast Your Pod Into The Wind

These guys are awesome. Shane and Rich got me into them back when I was in High School and I've been an addict ever since. They've got 2 kids' albums out already and one on the way (already have some good music to play for Zach). These guys simply cannot be "explained" they just have to be listened to and then listened to again. With every album I purchase from these guys I'm usually not too impressed upon first listening, but after many rotations my appreciation grows and soon after it's another classic in my mind. Weird but true. I've seen these guys probably 5 or 6 times and every show is unique and excellent.

Linkin Park: Minutes To Midnight

I have to admit to having gotten really sick of these guys after their first album. Then they did a remix album, a live album, a remix with Jay Z album... etc. But Eric Schwebach told me to give this one a shot and it won me over. There's some real musical/lyrical growth on this album I did not expect. The only real irritation on this album is the "o-so-typical let's Bash Bush song" Yea we get it, you don't like him... move on already.

Hanson: The Walk

Now this one people are going to think I'm nuts... but trust me. These guys (yea I know the lead singer looks like a girl with stubble) have grown since their MMM Bop days (which is an album I don't own). They've moved away from their major label, started their own and have been writing and recording the music they WANT to make. Previous guest writers and musicians have included the big dude from Blues Traveler playing harmonica, Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Johnny Lang, etc. I highly recommend their albums Underneath and This Time Around.

Barenaked Ladies: Barenaked Ladies Are Me/Men

This is essentially a double album that was recorded and released over the last couple years. Heidi really got me into this band and the depth of their songwriting despite the "radio hits" they've put out on their last major label albums. Again this is a band that has finally broken away from a major label and is doing things their way. In fact earlier this year Heidi and I went on the first ever Barenaked Ladies cruise. We left out of Ft. Lauderdale went to Turks/Caicos Islands and spent four days on a boat with BNL, Guster, Jason Plumb, Harlan Williams and some other cool peeps as well. I recommend every BNL album.

Harry Connick Jr. Anything the guy does I generally love, highlights include: Star Turtle, To See You, Blue Light Red Light and She.

Black Label Society: I like most everything by BLS... Stronger Than Death, Sonic Brew, Mafia etc. Just outright heavy metal with some ripping solos. For more Zakk Wylde with a more southern rock flair go with Pride And Glory or for a mellow soulful journey check out Book of Shadows

Carloline's Spine/Jimmy Newquist: Anything by these guys owns! Straight up rock and roll with CS or laid back jams with Newquist, either way you CANNOT go wrong. Some of my favorite music right there.

Burden Brothers: Mercy or Buried In Your Black Heart

This is where the former lead singer for the Toadies went along with the former drummer for The Reverend Horton Heat (both bands which are awesome). This is just good ol' down n' dirty rock n' roll. Sure some lyrical stylings are not meant for little ears but I don't play this with the volume low. Great cruisin' music... windows down, wind whippin' good stuff.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What's he so happy about?

Well for starters he pooped all over himself and while daddy was cleaning him up and putting on his diaper he starts spitting up so daddy goes to take care of that and while that's happening he kicks his diaper off and starts peeing everywhere. Yea, he's smiling because he just PUNK'D daddy.

My boy Eric chillin' with ZAKK (Eric's the only one allowed to spell it like that according to Heidi).

Zach and his Popa like to sleep.

I like this one.

He doesn't laugh or smile much for me. He's pretty much a Mamma's boy at this point.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Something I haven't done in a long time!

I actually drew a couple of things just for fun. I've made it no secret that I wanted to spell my son's name ZAKK after Ozzy Ozzbournes' guitarist Zakk Wylde. The man is a master of his craft. He sings, he plays guitar, bass, and piano. He can do a very touching song about loss or a rippin' song about never giving up. Either way I think he's cool and thought my son wouldn't take issue with the inspiration behind the spelling of his name. Heidi and I have decided to hang original artwork up in Zach's room based on two of our favorite comicbooks Herobear and the Kid and Owly. So as a warm up for my own addition to our sons room I worked up an Owly Ozzbourne piece with Wormy on vocals.

Next up, the boy who has given me all of my practice getting ready for Zach sent me an AWESOME Star Wars illustration. His name is Dylan and one of our bonding things to do is duel with our lightsabers (he has Obi-Wan's and I have Mace Windu's, because purple lightsabers RULE) and play with Star Wars Lego's. Well I was inspired by Dylan's art, knowing he drew it out of the sheer love and joy of doing it. I needed to do that, but in my own way. So I whipped up a stormtrooper in an artsy fartsy kind of way.

So big shout out to Zach, Dylan, Andy Runton and Mike Kunkel for the inspiration.

Soon I'll be posting more pics of Zach I promise.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I am a Comicbook Geek

Well this last weekend was Wizard World Chicago (which is a multimedia event centered around comicbooks). I'm at the point now where I take three of my nephews with me so they can check it out too, meet some creators, buy some stuff and goof off. I've been going to this convention since I was in middle school. My brothers Walter and Steve used to take me to shows before I could drive and once I was driving I'd go with my buddies Rich and Shane. Years later with my buddy Jason and now with the nephews. I only missed one year and that's when I was coming home from my honeymoon.

Now the comicbook industry is getting more accepted these days because of all the movies they're making from comicbooks. Sure there's Spiderman, Batman Begins, Superman, X-Men and the like, but there's also movies like History of Violence, Road to Perdition, 300, Sin City, V for Vendetta being made also. Hollywood has clearly run out of ideas and is now mining the comicbook market for all it's worth. To many who are fans and creators of comicbooks this has brought validation to our medium to see the material accepted by a wide audience. To me it never needed validation. To the ignorant comicbooks are kids stuff and spandex. And yes, the majority of them are superhero fare (of which there are many excellent titles now Daredevil, Captian America, Invincible). Some are certainly for kids and are very well done and even venture into kid's books as well like Herobear and the Kid, Owly, The Shy Creatures, The Land of Sokmunster. But there's a lot more to it... there's the horror of The Walking Dead, the fantasy of Bone, the political trappings of Ex Machina, the trials of a war torn family in Fax From Sarajevo, or war torn zoo's in Pride of Bahgdad, the difficulties of growing up and facing relationships in Blankets, and even Biblical stories of Testament. It is a medium to be proud of and enjoy just as much as movies, novels, fine art (except for that Jackson Pollock 'I sneezed on the canvas and it represents the duality of man' pretentious rubbish). For some reason there are people ashamed of the medium of comicbooks. It is not a lesser medium by any means and if current trends are any indication it seems that all the good ideas are coming from comicbooks these days. Not that this is news to us who've read Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns or Maus.

I love this medium, even moreso I love the art! I'm an artist, I illustrate a kid's magazine that features children's book type stories and I still dabble in the comicbook illustration as well. One of my favorite things is getting original art. It's expensive and nerve wracking and I therefore do not own much. And half of what I do own was either done for free or given to me by the artists.

Some of what I own and think rocks!

This was given to me by Joe Quesada who is now Marvel's Editor in Chief. (I'll post more from him later) This was a sheet of thumbnail drawings he did that eventually turned into a cover for this book and was also used on a shirt and poster.

Several sketches from Mike Kunkel done for me at conventions 2 of Herobear and the Kid and one of Sokmunster.

Mike is a super cool guy who has done work for some cartoons like Juniper Lee and My Gym Partner's A Monkey. He's starting work on a Shazam series for DC. It'll be the only DC proper book I'm buying. He's that good.

I have some pictures of Zach I need to upload and I'll have some more art stuff later.

Oh and here's the cover for the first kid's mag I did. Second one should be out in a week or so. I reworked this cover image for the next printing BTW... I'm almost ashamed to post it but here it is.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Too much to do too little time.

Me and the Boy Z'n

My gigantic family

My sister Lynda and the Boy

One of my awesome nephews Cody looking like the stud he is.

So we've been back since Sunday night but life has been a blur since. I needed to get crazy busy on the next issue of the kid's magazine. I spent a bit of time on it going on a 16 hour coloring marathon. Also penciled, inked and colored the cover. Got that done, had a procedure on my feet that is a bit disgusting so I'll save the details. Let's just leave it at toenails being permanently augmented. I spent the first half of the day with the Boy in order that Super-Wife could get a wee bit of rest and clean the homestead and take a shower without the worry of the Boy. I went to AMS showed him off to a few peeps there and then chilled at Jason's for a bit. We rocked some Ghost Recon whilst the Boy slumbered. So far Zach has watched Band of Brothers, some Battlestar Galactica, Saving Private Ryan, Scrubs, The Office and Black Hawk Down with me. Don't worry I keep the volume down.

My Niece doing her best Lindsey Lohan blocks the Paparazzi shot.

The girls had a shower, while the boys went and played skee-ball and video games.

You do not want to hear this bear Growl!