Tuesday, December 28, 2010

31 DAYS OF SANTA changed to 25 DAYS OF SANTA...

Super sorry, peoples, but I'm cutting the series short, for a couple reasons-

1.) the freelance is beginning to build up a little, and I promised to start it up beginning in January. That time is creeping up fast now, and the days I missed already, I'd have to do some rush work to give myself some breathing room in between

2.) Not too many people care about Santa past Day 25 (you know, Christmas Day, after which most folks tend to think two things- PARTY LIKE ITS 2011, and MAKE SURE I DONT PASS OUT NAKED IN SOMEONE ELSE'S FRONT LAWN AFTER PARTYING LIKE ITS 2011

3.) Ummm... Because? Yeah. Because. Other things too, but that's enough. Onto new things to post. And new art. Not Santa related ;)


Monday, December 27, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 27th Day- Aubrey Beardsley

I'm counting down :) These have been fun, but I have some freelance to get back to!!! Hopefully these last few come out as good as I'm hoping they will...

 Aubrey Beardsley, another famous Art Nouveau artist. Hung out with Aesthetic Movement contemporary Oscar Wilde and the like. British born, died at a very early age. Did a lot of erotic stuff, then towards the end of his life, converted  to Catholicism, and asked for all his naughty drawings to be destroyed. Thankfully, that didn't happen. Fantastic graphic blacks and details, and organic forms. I love great black and white art as much as I do color, and I diggeth him righteously- as should you.

PS- he would've owned those lateral lines in the robe. I however... did no owning whatsoever, unfortunately.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 26th Day- Tex Avery

Nice holiday weekend. That's it.

Wasn't as successful with this one as I hoped. I sort of assumed that since my other animator-influenced works were done decently successful at not too lengthy of a time, that my Tex piece would be quite similar. But I guess that "assume" saying can come into play here. I must've been a little too excited over football and roller skating today. Tex Avery took one part slapstick, mixed it with 2 parts elastic form, and stirred it on the next level above HIGH, called COCAINE-INDUCED NEVER-ENDING-THRILL-RIDE. The guy didn't let up in his cartoons, and provided the racy subject matter that glue the adults.

His Bugs Bunny/ Elmer Fudd/ Daffy Duck/ Porky Pig shorts were all responsible for establishing the characters' famous personalities. When he moved on, he created Droopy Dog for MGM, the Wolf and Red Riding Hood, and those great, nonfamous-character shorts like Cars Of Tomorrow.

I prefer his Bugs and Daffy over Jones', and that early style of his is heavenly in my opinion.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 25th Day- Alphonse Mucha

Merry Christmas everyone! How was everybody's holiday? What did you all get?

I got boots.

Alphonse Mucha- Ever hear of Art Nouveau? Artistic movement during the late 1800s/ early 1900s that dealt with the organic, as opposed to its direct predecessor, Art Deco, which focused on geometric structure. As with Picasso and the Cubist movement, Art Nouveau is nearly synonymous with Mucha, a Czech illustrator famous for his posters and ad work.

My favorite part about Mucha's story is that he saw both sides of the art world in terms of popularity. At one time he was homeless, and he worked tirelessly as a starving artist until he was successful. Gorgeous linework (that I didn't come close to emulating), great colors, beautiful women, elegance, form. Often always a favorite amongst illustrators who take pride in their drawing abilities.

Friday, December 24, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 24th Day- Robert Crumb

Had to skip YET ANOTHER day- oh the makeup time will be fun; should hopefully get them all done by New Year's. But here's today's...

If you know of Robert Crumb's style and work, I don't need to tell you that I played it conservatively- I threw some vanilla on this piece in hopes to keep everyone at peace. If you DON'T know Crumb, the counter-culture 70's underground comix ICON to so many, I merely took one of his most famous creations, Mr. Natural- an old, 'wise' guru-type who stands on the edge of genius and hypocrisy, seemingly taking advantage of those with less wit- and threw on some jolly reds. Note to the easily offended- if you decide to look him up to see more of his stuff, the man is pretty blue and risque with his material. I've seen bluer, but Crumb helped set the mark, and he never has backed down after so many years. He's proclaimed a spot to take up, and understands if he ever goes conservative, he will undoubtedly be called a sell-out, or at the very least, washed up.

His style is something, though. There are times where I believe others can draw circles around the man. Even so, that's not what makes great art necessarily. A good style, good design, clear message- they all go into making successful illustrations.

I personally love his work, don't know if I want my little cousins seeing some of the stuff until they turn 16, but it would make for more fun conversations at the dinner table.

Medium: ink, digital color

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

31 DAYS OF SANTA: DAY 22- Arthur Rackham

Thanks for not chastising me so much. I'm back, with...

Arthur Rackham. Illustrator during the Golden Age (turn of the century), famous for his Alice In Wonderland book illustrations, Rip Van Winkle, Grimm's Fairy Tales, drawing gnomes, being awesome, etc.

As his career coincided with the photographic printing process, like Parrish, Wyeth, Pyle, and many other greats, he took advantage of it with great technique. Fantastic drawing in organic form. One of my heroes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

31 DAYS OF SANTA: 20th Day... UH OH...

Apparently there aren't enough hours in a day for me, even on weekends, and I didn't even catch up on my zzzs. I'll make up for it, just gotta get some personal commissions finished first.. then back on track. It's a lot of fun for me, and I'm grateful to those who regularly check in, and especially those who share my blog to others- one can only do so much in promoting himself, so those who share my links really add to the element.

I've got some great ones coming up that I'm really hoping to do killer jobs on.

PS- I'm not doing any charity work this Xmas due to the blog posts taking up most my time. I blame it on everyone who's following my Santa blog :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 19th Day- Chuck Jones

This was another one that gave me a moment of emotion, and interestingly, it happened while drawing the feet. It stems from memories of drawing Loony Tunes as a wee sprite, and my consciousness back then of just not getting the feet right. Actually, anything below the knees is still an issue for me when I'm drawing, so when I hit those feet on Santa, I thought, Not bad, kid. The feet looked even better on my original sketch. The cartoons I enjoyed watching most, and I realized that at 28, I got those feet down ;)

Chuck Jones started early with Leon Schlesinger's animated production studio, which eventually became Warner Bros' animation studio.  He worked in Tex Avery's unit when it was formed, and eventually became a director. His early stuff was conservative in style and cutesy. Then THE DOVER BOYS came about, becoming a ground-breaking short that took a step toward the other end of the animation style spectrum- abstracted shapes, less fluidity and movement in shots, and finally, he began to get funny. The rest is history, and he's known by many moreso than other greats, much of which is because he continued to make some great cartoons after his time was up at Warner Bros (Grinch, hello?). He created his own studio, and did work at MGM with Tom & Jerry... and if you don't remember or never saw the MGM opening trade mark for his Tom & Jerry cartoons with Tom attempting to be macho inside the emblem like MGM's mascot Leo the Lion, it's on YouTube. Cracks me up every time I watch it. The one I saw was dubbed in Spanish, but, well, Tom's part wasn't. Same ol' "Meowrr... MEEOOOWWRR FSST  FSST!" Haha, love it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 18th Day- Jae Lee

Didn't spend a ton of time on this- more of a study than most my others to this point.

Why this particular pose? I COULD use the argument that Jae Lee's characters are often times encased in silence and melodrama, which would be a fantastic excuse now that I think about it... but instead I'll be honest- it's 4:52am.

Anyone who knows my comic book work and know me as such an artist have probably heard my never-ending accolades and critiques on Jae's work. Been a fan since FANTASTIC FOUR: 1234, (colors by José Villarubia, who I believe fits Jae's art better than an any other who's come along- no disrespect to Isanove, and whose coloring style I hinted at in this piece). I feel I could write a bio (at least in pamphlet form) on Jae Lee and the evolution of his styles. This quick study, without using visual reference (believe me- I've spent so many hours doing such collectively), marries his brittle-slight-curve-to-straight-line-with-occasional-overlap era with his fluid-organic-graphic-line that followed the former, both of which directly precede his current touch of lets-feather-all-my-shadows-because-I-discovered-I'm-that-cool-with-dry-brushing, ALL OF WHICH continue to contain themselves in photorealistic forms living in a world of high design that's almost 'New Age Nouveau', if there were ever a term coined, (if not, then ®Dirk Shearer, suckas)

See that paragraph? And that was all in one breath. Jae Lee bio pamphlet, get ready to be written!

While he may lack in visual character depth due to his desire to usually keep his drawings drenched in 'Emo Shadow' (®Dirk Shearer), and his basic storytelling skills are sometimes sacrificed by the time spent on great layouts and design, that latter, along with his continued mastery of line and personal evolution of noir, have arguably won many a reader over, especially those more interested in the art than story.

I'm a big Jae Lee fan- BIG. He's the reason my comic career has gone the direction it has thus far. I've allowed other artists to influence my work as well, but not to such an extent. Good or bad, that's the truth.

May have to change the title of this blog to 31 DAYS OF OLD PAPER TEXTURE.

Friday, December 17, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 17th Day- George Herriman

George Herriman's Krazy Kat has been influential to many a cartoonist, be they strip or animated, that have come after it- C. Shultz, Bill Watterson, Chuck Jones, Patrick McDonnell, and more have named it as inspiration.

It broke ground or at least marked its territory with a few elements- though the scripting was often simply formulaic and repetitive (simple-minded, care-free, gender ambiguous cat's ga-ga over mouse, who's so distracted and disgusted by the affection that mouse finds sole comfort in pelting cat with a brick in each strip, which the cat takes as a return of mutual amour, all while dog officer tries to uphold the law by- sometimes successfully- apprehending mouse for recklessness and tossing him in jail... cat imagines this as a friendly game of tag), descriptive characterization, the surreal visuals of the oft-surreal,  ever-changing backgrounds, (from panel to panel, no less), and the dialog/ verbal play- Krazy Kat spoke in his own dialect, sort of reminiscent of New Orleans speak- all helped keep this strip going as a creatively successful entity.

It wasn't the most popular with readers because it broke formula, thus making simple minds afraid of creative evolution (sorry) wonder- but critics loved, and have continued to love the strip. Good thing to have a fan like William Randolph Hearst in your corner to keep the print going for a long, LONG time in his newspapers.

Had I the $$ I would most definitely own this collection. One day.

PS- some might say that I like the old paper effect. Well........... I do.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 16th Day- Thom Glick

Honestly not my best effort- got home from derby practice at 1130am and had to wake up for work 7 hours later, but a solid 1.5 hrs on this, thus giving me a neat 5.5 hours of sleep, on par with my average for these December days.

Some parts were decently successful in emulating, while other areas, like shadows, highlights, I'd have to study a little more to nail down and gain the true wisdom of this great style. Then again, although I absolutely love his art, I'm not going to attempt to become a Thom Glick clone... but I could certainly pick up one or two elements to consider incorporating if it betters my own stuff.

His website- www.thomglick.com. Great style- abstract, and quite hip. A really good illustrator, and it was always fun watching him make magic out of fat models in drawing class.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 15th Day- Brad Holland

Brad Holland- I love this guy, and there's not too many folks who don't. Self-taught, very nice dark-to-light style, and always thinking. Intellectual and contemplative and quick-witted makes any interview a joy to read. SOMETIMES, rarely, his concept doesn't do the best it can in illustrating an idea, but most times, they're gems. Did I say I love him? . . .

If Holland were doing this exact piece, his texture wouldn't be quite so sharp, and he probably would've used a color palette based more in reality. I'm pretty sure he uses oils because the acrylic dry brushing begins to build up dimensionally and hinders the the paint's application to the surface- that or maybe he dilutes his paint slightly, and probably doesn't use as coarse a brush as I did. He incorporates more realistic lighting too.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 14th Day- Al Hirschfeld

Broadway, Celebrities, New York, New York- Al Hirschfeld caricatured the glitz, the glamour, the beautiful, the outrageous... the unique species that is pop icon. With seemingly only a few perfectly placed strokes, he created life, and made still pictures move- and express. His simple, animated style somehow, (and it made me realize first-hand while trying to emulate him), became the essential manifestation of the personas he went for.

Aside from a stay in Europe for a few years, he lived in New York his entire life. Broadway posters, programs, magazine covers.

He wrote the name of his only daughter somewhere in EVERY caricature he created- Nina. From the videos I've seen of him, he was a genuine personality, someone you all would want in your life just to make it all more clear. The state of New York should've ammended legislation just to keep his 99 year old body away from any gas pedal, tho. Just saying.

PS- if you don't think my Santa is a caricature of someone, well... some people just don't know Santa like I do. Or just go and google images of David Thewlis or something.

Monday, December 13, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 13th Day- Pablo Picasso

I didn't go with the realist, blue period, rose period, surreal, dada, neo-classical...


I went for the jugular with the analytical Cubist. Which, if you don't know much on Picasso, it's probably the movement you DO know.

And I either threw in yet another hint of Thom Glick, or I discovered a little mortar in his foundation. Either way, it was nice to go so abstract- something I RARELY try, even in m' doodles.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 11th Day- Lotte Reiniger

This one's in the style of German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger, who created probably the first feature length animated film, THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED. She was influenced by Chinese silhouette puppetry early on, and made quite a few films in this tedious style of cut paperboard and tinted glass. She and her crew developed some neat camera tricks throughout her career, and traveled around Europe on visas and eventually London so they could avoid Nazi control.

I own THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED, and I will confess quickly that it's not for every DVD library. Chances are, a child would be bored in 5 minutes and look for the nearest sharp object to play with for emotional stimulation. However if you dig the history of cinema or German Expressionism, it's at least a must-see.

Some very nice Art Nouveau designs in her work. She definitely had some talent with the scissors.

Medium: digital

Friday, December 10, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 10th Day- Shel Silverstein

Don't laugh, but um... I sorta nearly... teared up... when I scanned this in and took a look at it. Shel Silverstein holds that much nostalgia and moments of clarity and poignance from my wee youth. His writings quite possibly could've been some of the first that I read that made me 'get it', that underlying moral, or emotional underlying story.

Of course, I'm talking about his articles from Playboy.

Medium: Micron.

The trick to his style (I dunno if he employed this or not, but it worked for me in imitating him, at least), is that my first pencil lines laid down were pretty much the final placement of structure- as in, I didn't sketch any super light form of ovals or gesture drawing underneath. Rather, I went contour to contour. . . Maybe a hair too much stippling for Shel's look, but I think I almost NAILED that face. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 9.5th Day- Me Again...

Just a sketch that I doodled quick while taking a break from trying to get the style down of a certain illustrator to come (Goddang, that illustrator is hard to do, but his stuff is SOOO simple).

Anypoo, a doodle...

Why do I like such creepy looking Santas?? Then again, many of my drawrins' look 1% evil. Hell, no WONDER I never get requests to work on a happy kids' comic. Frank- get on that.

PS- This sketch has a hint of Thom Glick in it. Don't hit me, Thom.

31 Days Of Santa: 9th Day- Winsor McCay

All I have to say is- THANK GOD FOR PHOTOSHOP. Wasn't too happy about this until this morning when I got to throw in the background and give it an aged look, along with just a couple small edits. Looks a little more McCay-like now. I'm sure he used dip pen for his ink work, but I got home late from roller derby, and wanted to hit this quick. Micron it was.

McCay was most renown for his super popular comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland" as well as being a pioneer in animation- youtube "Gertie The Dinosaur". Crude, sure- but he took steps ahead of others at the time. The man was devoted to his art, and it showed in his great draftsmanship. Absolutely wonderful style that reminds me of a simpler version of another favorite illustrator of mine, whose style will come sometime this month ;)

I definitely want to play more with this style, the colors.... good golly, I love me some McCay.

Medium: Ink, dyes, digital (running theme, huh?)
More later...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 8th Day- Andy Warhol

I was going to wait until later to post this one, but I felt some who may not know the artists I've posted so far, might be hungry for a familiar style. So...

This is "Dirk Shearer imitating Andy Warhol goofin' around with Haddon Sunblom".

Here's a controversial and ironic one to mix it up. Controversial because some, maybe many, view Warhol as a weener who eventually went the easy way of collecting creatives around him to either help make his art in his desired medium- actors, musicians, gallery artists, filmmakers, etc- or to up the ante of his celebrity.

Others see a revolutionary- THE POPE OF POP ART, and all the inevitable social commentary that goes with it. I'll hold my beliefs to myself, and hopefully you can decide for yourself after reading up from all sides (if you even care at all to hold a belief), but I will say this- Oh, how rad it must've been to grow one's self-celebrity by recycling imagery of other celebrities and rehashing them out in new colors.

When he died, he left nearly his entire estate's worth to funding for future art. That's pretty damn righteous in my book.

What's ironic- 'making a celebrity out of a celebrity watcher amongst millions of celebrity watchers'-  I am an illustrator, and I'm an artist who took great artwork from a great artist (Haddon Sunblom's (who had to have been influenced by the great JC Leyendecker) Coca Cola Santa), recycled it, and rehashed it in the vein of another great artist, (Andy Warhol), who partly became famous for rehashing art (photography) of artists.. and.... and......


{...Ladies and Gentlemen- Dirk Shearer's head has unnecessarily blown up.}

Medium: Digital (I know- would've been much more bad ass to have painted this, but I'd like 8 hours of sleep tonight for a change- thanks, buh-bye.

Need a gift for your loved ones? You COULD buy a print of my Andy Warhol Santa (on 8x10) for $10, OR consider purchasing an original or print of one of my previous 31 Days Of Santa entries- David Wisniewski, John Held, Jr, Mike Mignola, Ub Iwerks, Dr Seuss, Sanrio, or Barry Moser Santa.

Print requests go to dirkshearer@gmail.com; compliments, rants, and raves go here under the comments block.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 7th Day- David Wisniewski


Artist: David Wisniewski
Born: Baltimore. 
Children's book illustrator: The Golem, and oh so many other cool cut paper illustrated books.
Originally trained to be a clown. Found a better way to entertain kids than scaring the poop outta the ones who have phobias of such wretched, vile creatures of the big top. Unfortunately passed away at too early of an age of I dunno (49 yrs old), in... sometime after Jesus' death (2002). Remind me to update that. P.S.- he was Jewish.

(UPDATE: Oh crap- maybe he wasn't Jewish. I thought I had read some time ago that his decision to take on the traditional tale had something to do with his Judaic roots, but I can't find anything now, so I must recant. I won't delete it, for it's an error on my part, and I feel I should keep it out in the open, both as a reminder that what I say over the internet can be in fact influential negatively by false reporting, and because I didn't want to 'dupe' anyone into thinking I simply pretended I never wrote it. My bad. Nothing wrong with Jewish people, mind you. Just something wrong with my memory)

Hey, it's 1:24am! I'm going the **** to bed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

31 DAYS OF SANTA: 6th DAY- John Held, Jr

I've moved half my workstation (mostly my dyes and paintbrushes, really), in front of my computer to shave off some unnecessary time for all the blog art. This... may not end well.

On a stupidly related note, my cats have discovered this, and have begun the whole 'collective species stand outside of window staring in at the protagonist of a horror film' game.

Today's Santa is inspired by the man whose art represented a decade and a personality. John Held, Jr- The Jazz Era, The Roarin' Twenties. He influenced the times and fashion about as much as the times influenced him. He was THE guy back then, and his art was all over magazines, notably Life. Many of his popular cover illustrations were of characters on a flat red background, but Santa would've gotten lost on red obviously. Thankfully, he placed elements on other flat colors, too. His flat colors were much flatter than what I did, but, well... still trying to figure that one out.

MEDIUM: dyes, ink.

Notes of interest- the Roarin' Twenties probably contrasted from the previous generation more than any other since, so today's parents should be thankful as they look forward to their kids growing into awkward adults... awkwardly. Held Jr, was raised around Mormons... and... still became the artist of jazz, fashion...some may say, sin (oooohh- MUFASA!). Held also worked in woodcuts, but didn't carry so much the same style. In the military he did some neat secret cartography too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 5th Day- Mike Mignola

I had a dream last night that I was running away from zombies through corridors under a huge hangar with a small group of people. I love when I dream of zombies; I typically get to knock the head off one or two and ker-pow another in the nethers...

So here we go- Mr. Mignola. Should be nary a surprise I respect his art so much- name me a comic nerd who isn't a fan of his neo-German Expressionist noir style, and I'll turn lead into a Lovecraftian demigod. I liked the black and white original drawing as much as I did the digitally colored final, so I posted them both. Two-fer!!!

Media: Pen & Ink, digital color.

I myself laughed my buns off for 15 seconds while sketching this concept, and if I'm the only one to have done so, I'm fine with that. That being said, I think we should all request to Mike that he do a one-shot Santa story the next time we see him at a con. And tell him that scratchboard artist who owes him the Lobster Johnson piece sends his love.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 4th Day- Ub Iwerks

Ha, sorta been losing at least an extra hour of sleep doing these, so last night after work, I decided to take an hour nap before I tackled today's Santa.

That hour lasted 10. Hours.

Had skating practice today, then went and helped some of the derby members wrap gifts in the mall, and by the time I got home and comfortable, it was 5pm- NICE.

Without further stalling, here is Day 4's Santa, done in the style of Walt Disney's right hand man for many years, Ub Iwerks. (Note: the coloring's more stylized after published Mickey Mouse illustrated stories, rather than the b&w or fully colored cartoons). IF you didn't know, Ub and Walt worked at the same design studio together in Kansas City and were tight like bros for a number of years. Walt, displaying his savvy entrepeneurial skills early, designated Iwerks as his main man with the magic hand.

Together they went on the road from Kansas City to California. They worked for an animation studio and created Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to that familiar, cute, black rodent. Walt basically gave a friendly metaphorical gesture involving a middle finger to 'working for the man', and went off on his own. Ub joined Walt shortly after, when Ub, on some free time, created a new, copyright-free rodent that Disney apparently ha-zaa'ed at and proudly pronounced, 'This character will make me, er, US, kings of the WORLD!' So Walt creates a new company, and employs Ub Iwerks as the main animator, probably the ONLY animator.

Employed with a fist of steel, that is. Apparently Walt worked Ub's pencil down to a stub, and after creating Mickey Mouse and some episodes, Ub quit. Friendship ruined. Ub started his own company, created a couple new characters that amounted to not half the popularity that MM had, walked around Hollywood with his hands in his pockets for some years, until finally coming back to the man with the master plan. Disney I assume asked for his feet to be kissed, and after loyalty had been once again established, allowed Ub to come back and work for him.

There's a lot more, but I prefer to move onto the next Santa then go on babbling with knowledge I picked up from Wikipedia and distant memories from my History Of Comics And Cartoons class at school.

Medium- ink, with dyes, digital for old paper texture.

Friday, December 3, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 3rd Day- Dr. Seuss

Pen & Ink plus dyes. Having not worked with dyes in quite a spell, I got a lil' dark in my 'aged paper' effect. My inks seem a little thicker as well, but overall, at least it doesn't look more like a Grandma Moses.

Tidbit of information- Mr. Geisel, as his friends call 'im, was a devout Lutheran. I thought he was Jewish. Oh well- at least he liked Jewish people. Unlike Luther... who so happened to be the father of Lutheranism. But Seuss wasn't too fond of the Japanese. Until after the war... then he felt bad for what he said about them during WWII, and made up for it.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 2nd Day- Sanrio

I can tell already that Wednesdays will be that one day to squeeze art in the best of my ability. Roller Derby practice is on Wednesdays and Sundays; Wednesdays after work will most assuredly be reserved for the easier styles.

SUCH AS THIS ONE! Sanrio (Hello Kitty brand)! OK, you got me- it may not necessarily represent one particular artist, but the branding is iconic enough that I felt I could run with it. Plus it's my blog- I do what I want. Because it's my blog, (nyehh!).

Is it Hello Kitty in a Santa outfit? I don't know, but by golly, he (or she?) sure does prefer you stare at that candy cane instead of wondering what's inside the bag.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

31 Days Of Santa: 1st Day- Me/ Barry Moser

FOR THE MERRY MONTH OF DECEMBER, I decided to take a stab at showing you guys a Santa I've created every day, each in a different artist's style, technique, etc. Mind you, it was not even a full day after posting my holiday cheer-filled idea for everyone to see, when 1). I decided to join the local ROLLER DERBY league, thus committing myself to AT LEAST 2 practices a week, (which would alone place a sweat bead on this brow), and 2). a couple freelance gigs decided to surface for added entertainment. Oh, top that with the day jarb. That being said, I will not puss out......... probably not.

We're starting this blog off the self-centered promotional way...

Santa, MY way. Odd, eccentric, makes you wonder how your alcoholic Uncle Wilhelm from Maine is doing on that crabbing boat he purchased this year with his tax return.

Done in scratchboard, which is essentially a board, be it masonite, cardboard, paper, illustration board, etc, with a thin layer of white clay, and topped off with a layer of black ink. Scratch away the black to show the white- sort of like working a negative, but don't be fooled and make a black line into a white line; instead, scratch the white around the black- (get it? Ooh, you're clever!). Scratchboard came about once printing methods became more advanced, and replaced wood/ metal engravings, which were types of block printing. Photographic reproduction was used for scratchboards, expending the issue of a block's shelf life after so many print runs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fantastic Four Scratchboard Commissions

At the New York Comic Con a couple months back, I did a Human Torch commission in scratchboard for a super nice and cool couple, nice enough that they contacted m and asked for the remaining Fantastics to go along with him. Aw. I like when people do that :) It's really ... fantastic.

Commissions allow one to throw their own personal touch on established characters. Mucho FUN TIMES!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Santa of all shapes, sizes and styles.

To help fill this blog up, I'm giving myself a sketch-a-day project for the month of December.

31 Santa Clauses in 31 different artists' styles, and I'm open for suggestions.

Shoot a private email, comment here, or anywhere else that I've posted this of your favorite artist whose style you'd like to see emulated. I might do some digital, some tradish, maybe all digital, maybe all tradish- dunno just yet. But give me some idears to think about.

I suspect this will be very tough, but a great experience fer sher.

-Dirkus Malurkis

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


FINALLY. After 36,565 conventions this year, I'm down to number 36,566, the final convention. MID OHIO CON, Columbus Ohio, November 6 & 7.

Above is a batman commission I did at Mid Ohio. I made a hellboy and a Silver Surfer, too, but alas, the "forget that your camera is right beside you at your bidding' bug bit me once more. The quite gifted Jeremy Sorrell (http://jrs2345.deviantart.com/) hooked me up with a JPG of the Batman sketch I did for him.

Some conventions surprise you, and some go just as you hope and expect. New York was verbs 1 & 2. San Diego- 2 & 3. Pittsburgh, Bmore, Balticon and the York Book & Paper Fair- fall in the Expect Only column.

Mid Ohio, however- and I still don't know exactly why- was a surprise... sort of. I was surprised I didn't make as much business as I'd hoped, and I was surprised at the little amount of traffic my table received. Those are surprises that bring a dropped head. But, there were the other surprises of the happy Dirk kind. I was surprised by how many familiar faces I got to see throughout the weekend, and the warmth of that familiarity made it as much a positive convention experience as any of the other cons I've been at. And I was surprised, despite lackluster sales, how much fun it is for me to share my art with those interested. I never get tired of explaining my processes, talking art with fellow and aspiring illustrators, and chatting, LEARNING from those who decide to speak to me on topics regarding illustrators of yore.

Pittsburgh's my 'home convention' for now- not because I once lived there or really know the area that well, because I honestly know one street, and that's it. It's home because I've been at that con now for at least 5 years in a row now, and most of the organizers know me, are very friendly, and definitely enjoy seeing me return consistently. Right back at 'em.

Bmore's my local con. I've done it a few years now, I tend to gain cool freelance gigs every year, and I've always been able to walk away with a few extra bucks from commissions in the pocket to take home.

San Diego is great, and loads of potential, but way too expensive- travel, food, shipping, table cost- all add up to negative Washingtons for my budget. Someone should fly me out there for free.

New York is San Diego but affordable! Simply put. Totally on the list forever more.

York Book & Paper Fair- the super local, super-out-of-my-element con. I do it for a couple reasons- I love old books and finding old illustrated novels to lust over, it's cheap, and the organizer is a hell of a man to root for.

Gen Con- one and done. If I belong in the gaming book world, it's going to be with a publisher who's willing to take a risk with my black & white scratchboard style. I don't see it happening, unfortunately, and that bugs me a little, but I guess I'm a decade late as color is much less expensive to print now.

Origins- Gen Con with less big publishers, and therefore even smaller pockets. But another nice trip to my Alma mater.

Balticon- the lone sci fi con- cute, cheap, a fascinating experience that can only get better in terms of roping me deeper into the realm of genre fiction, and possibly forcing my participation in either larping or bondage clubs. Both are at equal plausibility at the moment.

I haven't signed up for ANY cons next year yet. I have to really concentrate on being even more frugal than ever before if I'm to pay off the man in 2.5 years, and I want to make sure I'm making good calls as to where I travel. New York, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are lock-ins. Everything else is open on the table for consideration. But next year, I absolutely MUST make room for a good 4 day long hike or road trip. I missed out this year.

Thanks to Brian Kane, Dwayne Todd, Jason Bowser,, Otto, Wallace, Frank Cvetkovic, Joel Jackson, Mike Watson, Ren McKinzie, Dexter Rothchild, Emily Holt, Greg Kissner, Drew Jones, Jeremy Sorrell, & Phil Carter for the nostalgia.

PS- Michael Berryman is such a nice guy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My friends over at EPISODES FROM THE ZERO HOUR asked me to provide a quick illustration for Jay's award-winning short story "The Robbers". I'll also be providing artwork, both cover and interiors for their upcoming Volume 4. Fun project!

Check out Jay's short and my final illo HERE

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New York Comic Con...

...WAS THE BLITZ! Sorry. That doesn't make sense, but I typically use one of 2 other rhyming words in lieu of BLITZ.
Honestly though, it kicked nards. I sold original scratchboards, prints, Mice Templar books, worked on scratchboard and pen & ink commissions. Now I typically do this, but the difference here is that I made like 33% more at this con than I have at any other con. WOW!!!! Granted, the table cost 200% more than any other one I paid for, but uh... HEY, STOP MAKING ME STEAL MY THUNDERS!

To add to the fun, I had two of my good pals join me in the madness- writer/ fellow artist Frank Cvetkovic (http://gofrankgo.wordpress.com/), and comic nut/ doodler Seth, aka Sid, (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#!/ScarlettSpider). These chaps were great tag-alongs, helped me all weekend, and put up, without complaint, my excited obnoxiety (NEW WORD). We shared laughter in new cartoons, trolling around NYC, and grossing each other out... ok, that was MY personal duty.
I feel this whole year of convention going, whether it were at a table purchased, or merely attending, really culminated to this show. Particularly, I'm glad I got to go to San Diego with a Professional Badge, as it was pretty much great prep for the busy-ness that would be NYCC. The only regrets were that I didn't have a chance to meet many fellow creators, which could have been solved by hitting up one of the after-parties, but I had to get those commissions done. (SIDENOTE- I unfortunately am pretty absent-minded when it comes to taking pictures of commissions, but know this- I made a bangin' pen & ink commission (in the sense that I was a bit unsure how it'd turn out but was pleasantly surprised) of Swamp Thing, and a few scratchboards of Zatanna, The Human Torch, and Batman... crossed fingers that one or two of the customers post pics for me to 'borrow'.

(UPDATE: Oh look! One of them did just that!)
Up next- York Book And Paper Fair, a local, one-day show that specializes in print collectibles. My second year doing this show... maybe I can find a book or two illustrated by one of the Golden Greats, (last year I bought a 1919 3rd Edition of THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish). After that I just have the Mid Ohio Con left for the year, which means another return to Columbus, my home for 4 years during college.


Monday, September 6, 2010

May the train chug along...

Been busy with cons and two jobs this year, and not dedicated enough to keeping the blog up. I'm trying, though.

Here's a commission of Abe Sapien I did for a young dude who met me at the Baltimore Comic Con. I couldn't get to it at the con, but conveniently, he lives nearby, so I got to do it this weekend. I'd like to begin focusing on a standard style for my commissions, so that it's easier for me to do these things. I look at folks like Chris Samnee and Mike Henderson and have much love and respect for how prolific they be with their work, which only cements and improves their style.