Thursday, March 30, 2017

X-men Rogue

This one's another of my superhero character portraits, depicting "Rogue," who has since the early 80s been an off-and-on member of the mutant team "X-Men." Rogue's power is that she can absorb and use other people's powers, memories, and emotions, if she touches them skin-to-skin. This power has turned her into a superhero but has made her life completely miserable. Her costume, unlike most female superhero costumes, covers up everything except her head, so she won't trigger the absorbing powers. I did this for the same fanzine that featured "Rachel, the young Phoenix."

A big part of my comic fan life is comic book and superhero costume and fashion. I love designing and drawing costumes. Here Rogue is wearing a simple outfit derived from casual dance workout attire, taken from one of her early appearances. The character herself is kind of a fashion lover too so she appears in lots of different outfits, usually in colors of green, black and gold. The high heeled boots are standard superwoman's wear though it makes no sense for a fighting character who has to stand on the ground. I designed this portrait inspired by the long tall proportions characteristic of fashion drawing art, a nearly-forgotten type of illustration that is still practiced in the rarefied world of "high fashion." I also designed the typefaces.

Black ink on illustration board, 8" x 11", October 1985.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Geometrikon Domes of Spring

Domes and bubbles are the spheres that shine and emit visionary inspiration, as in the posting just previous to this. This geometrikon or Photoshop doodle is again a hybrid experiment layering digital over a marker drawing. The original line work is blue markers and the colors are Photoshopped in, including the pink petals of the cherry trees, which are blooming now in a somewhat weather-reduced state. The design has some "Googie" elements, inspired by the wonderful geometric-curvilinear space style of Tomorrowland.

Markers on sketchbook page, colored in Photoshop, 7 1/2" x 2 1/2", March 28-29, 2017.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Harmonies of the Spheres line work

The author of the visionary text I am setting to image here is a composer of avant-garde music, so some of the ideas he uses are musical ideas. In this panel, number 6, I incorporate not only stylized musical staffs with whole notes, but an actual sample from his hand-written music manuscript, which was sent through the mighty Internet and processed in the equally mighty Photoshop. One of the Seven Creatures, the golden wildcat, is at lower right. The text will go where the ringed planet is, just above the music writing.

These days I feel that I want to concentrate on sequential art (the poorly named "comic books") when I am not doing commercial commissions. That has always been a prime goal for me, to do graphic novel and sequential work. This has never been respectable "art" in the USA but in the last decades has gained ground as "serious" work. In Europe the "bande designee" or comic frames has always been considered fine art, since in places like France and Belgium and Italy words and pictures and frames have always been a part of their art environment on the walls and stained glass windows of churches and in illuminated manuscripts. 

I also am working on a physically smaller scale, or digitally. The experience of caring for and storing my mother's large, heavy paintings, and giving them away for free to relatives and collectors, has shown me what the future of such a "fine art" production is. That is, lost to everyone except a few private viewers and collectors. I believe that art is communication and that art deserves to be seen and shared, not stashed away for decades in a garage as my mother's work was. With the help of the better functions of the Internet as well as digital storage options (even if they might not last and become obsolete) my art can communicate without being hidden away in a dusty parlor or an obscure attic.

Drawing is in marker and Photoshop, 7 3/4" x 4 1/2", March 27-28, 2017. Colors soon.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rachel, the Young Phoenix

The Marvel superhero team the "X-Men" has been through countless changes of character and plot, and terabytes worth of storyline. The first X-Men appeared in the early 60s, a group of super-powered mutants consisting of five guys and one girl, Jean Grey, who had enhanced telekinetic and telepathic powers, and of course, flame-red hair, the standard sign for power in fiction. Her character was re-modeled later on and re-named "Phoenix," with a "resurrection" storyline and upgraded superpowers. With this power she saved the Universe at least once. Later she was involved in a kinky scenario with an evil mutant illusionist and she went over to the black lingerie Dark Side. This induced Jean Grey to be possessed by a consuming entity known as the "Phoenix Force" which caused her to destroy and consume a star and its planet with sentient civilized beings living on it. This was the "Dark Phoenix" who was very bad and had to be destroyed in an apocalyptic battle.

OK with this so far? Jean Grey had been cloned a few times and shows up as her clone in some X-men stories. Every so often there was a storyline resurrecting Jean Grey but she never came back as a permanent character that I remember. But in one line, Scott her mutant teammate and lover and Jean (or her clone) went forward in time and produced a daughter, Rachel, who grew up in a time warp and had similar powers to Jean's. Rachel returned to her own time period and attempted to be a teenage superhero without the dark side. I'm not sure what happened to Rachel the young Phoenix and I haven't explored the endless complications of the X-Men in many years. But she had a good red and gold costume and was able to manifest the fiery bird sign of the Phoenix Force. Whew I think I'm done now. 

This fan art character piece was commissioned for a fanzine run by one of my mutant friends who loved Marvel Comics. I sometimes wonder what ever happened to her. So far the Almighty Intervub has yielded little or no information about her. I am paying more attention to comics and sequential art these days. 

Original art is ink on illustration board, 8" x 11", December 1985.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Terra Nebulo

The weather was dim and grey for "Wine Saturday" but it is always a good thing to visit a winery. This one is "Terra Nebulo Vineyards" in Waterford, Virginia. It is a fairly new winery and their building is fresh and bright. The woodwork is splendid, crafted by a team of Amish builders. The name "Terra Nebulo" sounds like "Cloudy Earth" in fractured Latin but "nebulo" (not "nebula") means bad guy or shady (cloudy) character. The Terra Nebulo logo is an old-fashioned bandit's black domino mask as their area was once known for its bandits. Not raccoons though the creatures wear a similar mask. The wine was nice especially the Traminette (white) and Chambourcin (red). They don't have mature vineyards yet at Terra Nebulo but in a few years, if they can keep the voracious deer away, they will. Here in early Spring there's a hint of green in the grass but no leaves on trees or vines.

Brown sepia tech pen ink and colored pencils, 7" x 7 1/2", March 25, 2017.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What I Saw

The title is "Three and a Half" if you get my reasoning. After 9 years blogging at the By-Product I am introducing a new feature which will appear now and then - no more often than once a month I think. I got the idea and the "What I Saw" from another blogger on Facebook, a retired advertising artist and editorial cartoonist who takes pictures of the urban environment with his iPhone. The idea being that the urban world is full of fascinating abstract (or unusual) images as long as you just look as you wander around. The ubiquity of smartphones makes it easy to gather these images in. Then you turn, crop, do some photomanipulation if necessary and there you are, art by-product by iPhone. There is sometimes a caption but very brief, not like my rambling bloggy entries. "Three and a Half" was taken behind a favorite coffee shop. 

iPhone photo, 12" x 8", March 24, 2017.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Barnard frame 5

I finished Frame 5 of my sequential art rendering of composer Keith Barnard's "Passing of the Soul." In this one, our main character, lying "helpless on (her) bed," is surrounded by the Seven Creatures. She doesn't know if they are hostile or friendly. The lava and dark clouds symbolize her "hellish existence." But things will change for our soul traveler very soon. 

Many layers of color collapsed into this image. Most of the time I was using flat color fill-ins which are characteristic of sequential art. But with the psychedelic magic of Photoshop I can do anything I want with color and texture without messing up the original ink drawing.

Ink on illustration board, colored in Photoshop, 8" x 6", March 24, 2017. Please click on the  image for a closer look but no hellish existence. 

March month marks the beginning of this Blog back in 2008. "Art By-Products" has endured (with some breaks) for nine years! Can I keep it going and supplied with suitable images? The future is not even known to the Seven Creatures of Light.