Monday, December 29, 2014

A Painting and Commissions

Handsome. Oil on canvas, 16x20. 
None of my usual posts this week because of the holiday. This is a commission I did a couple of months ago. I couldn't reveal it until now because it was a Christmas present.

If you're interested in a commission, feel free to inquire about prices through my email. I'm open for paintings or black and white drawings. Realistic or "cartoony." I'm pretty versatile. Next Christmas will be here before you know it. Or someone's birthday. Or a gift to yourself. Or that illustrated book you always wanted to write.

Thanks for looking,
Mike -

Monday, December 22, 2014


The Ghost of Chtistmas Yet to Come. India Ink on bristol board, 6x9. 
I thought I'd share the black and white drawing from yesterday's post.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014


The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. India ink on bristol board with digital color. 
I have a personal tradition of reading A Christmas Carol each year around Christmas. So, instead of my usual posts that would appear on Christmas Eve and Christmas I decided to do a quick illustration of what's on my mind.

I also stumble across this excellent version of A Christmas Carol. It manages to be both faithful to the source material and artistic, and it does it in 25 minutes. It's a bit trippy as well, but hey, it was 1971. Enjoy.

 And I hope that it might be pleasant for you "to remember, upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and and blind men see."

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Highfather. Ink on bristol board, 6x9.
Drawn with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Highfather was created by Jack Kirby for DC Comics. His first appearance was in New Gods #1 (1971). 

Thanks for looking,
For comic art commissions:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Luminara Unduli. Ink on bristol board, 6x9.
Drawn with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

I apologize for the title of this post. I just couldn't resist.

I had originally planned to draw Luminara Unduli more realistic, but decided to make this a kind of companion piece to the drawing of her padawan. Plus, as I've mentioned before, I really dig Genndy Tartakofsky's Clone Wars series.

Thanks for looking,
For commissions:

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Groot. Ink on bristol board, 6x9.
Drawn with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Groot was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers for Marvel Comics. His first appearance was in Tales to Astonish #13 (1960).

With my Kirby Character project, I've been basing my depictions on Kirby's original designs of the characters. So this isn't the Groot you might know from this year's Guadians of the Galaxy movie.
But this post was definitely influenced by the Guardians, as were two other recent posts. Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, it's available this week on DVD and Blu-ray. It's a pretty good flick. 

Thanks for looking,
For comic art commissions:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Qui Gon Jinn. Ink on bristol board, 6x9.
After LFL
Drawn with a Pentel Brush Pen

Thanks for looking,
For commissions:

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Jean Grey. Ink on bristol board, 6x9.
Drawn with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

Jean Grey was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics. Her first appearance was in X-Men #1 (1963).

Thanks for looking,
For comic art commissions:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Star Wars Wednesday #21: The Galactic Pastime

I'm posting something a little different today. No new art. Instead, I'm sharing an essay I wrote for a creative nonfiction class I took for one of my final college classes. From what we were had to read for that class, I felt like a requirement of creative nonfiction was to be kind of corny. So, I apologize for the corniness in this piece, as well as any clich├ęs Star Wars fans may see.

You can check out all of the Star Wars Wednesdays so far as well as other Star Wars posts in the archives or at my Star Wars Fan Art blog. 

As always, thanks for looking,

The Galactic Pastime

     I like Star Wars. Call me a geek, a nerd, a fanboy—I don’t care. Although, “geek” and “nerd” might imply I am particularly intelligent, I’m not. I just really like Star Wars. I’ve watched the original trilogy dozens of times in the last thirty plus years and the experience never gets old for me. The Empire Strikes Back is one of my all time favorite movies and I’ve probably watched it twice as many times as the other two. I enjoy many of the novels and comic books that are part of what is known as the Expanded Universe. This E.U. material gives us the further adventures of characters we love or introduces new ones that, well, expand the Star Wars universe. I haven’t collected Star Wars toys since I was a child, so I don’t have a room with shelves full of action figures and space ships. I’m not a fanatic after all! My son became a Star Wars fan when the prequels were released. I bought toys for him.

     “Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things.” Yeah, that’s nice, Master Yoda, but I do crave those things. And Star Wars does it for me. It’s a modern mythology spanning a galaxy far, far away. It’s a fantasy or fairy tale with wizards, knights, and monsters. It has a princess, but as often as she is the damsel in distress she is the heroine who is doing the saving. In the Star Wars universe, I can join the scum of the galaxy for a drink at the Mos Eisley Cantina; I can fly copilot in a Rebel Snow Speeder as it flies between the legs of an Imperial AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) lumbering toward the destruction of a Rebel base; I can hide in the crevice of a rocky cave as a Rancor devours its prey. Much like films of a generation or two before, Star Wars is swashbuckling swordplay. But instead of Errol Flynn as Robin Hood we have Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. Star Wars is aerial dogfights, but instead of WWII American and German aircraft over Europe we are over the Death Star in space with Rebel X-Wings and Imperial TIE fighters. And it carries on the tradition of the space opera originated with Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

     I did not see the original movie in the theaters, and I was only four when The Empire Strikes Back was released so my memory of actually seeing it at the local drive-in movie theater is a bit snowy (it would become my favorite later). I do remember anxiously waiting to see it all day, but I can’t actually remember Empire from that night. It is one of the earliest memories I have of spending time with my dad and brother. My brother would help to cultivate my love for Star Wars by explaining the plot and talking about the characters with me. We could talk the ins and outs of Star Wars like we were talking about baseball stats. “So, if Luke becomes a Jedi Knight, he’ll be able to lift a space ship with a wave of his hand? Awesome. What? Who’s his father?! Yeah, Boba Fett is cool looking.” And of course, “They have to make another movie; they left Han Solo frozen in carbonite at the end!” My brother was five years older than me, but here was something on which we could connect.

     The last of the trilogy, Return of the Jedi, was released in 1983. With technology as it was at that time (it would be five or six more years before we had a VCR), I couldn’t watch A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back whenever I wanted. They couldn’t impact my seven year old imagination the way Return of the Jedi would. This final chapter in the series would be the greatest experience of my life up to that point. I don’t know if it was opening weekend, but the theater at the Cumberland County Mall was packed. The opening crawl set the scene: “Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet of Tatooine in an attempt to rescue his friend Han Solo from the clutches of the vile Gangster Jabba the Hutt….” I was fixed on the screen until the closing credits. After the movie was over, something in my face must have told my mom I was in love (and no, not with Princess Leia in the slave bikini). We were still in the lobby of the theaterwhen she asked if I would like to see it again. We watched Return of the Jedi twice that night. As far as I was concerned, I had the best mom in the world.

     My mom did not need to buy my love, but she certainly knew the way to my heart—with Star Wars merchandise. I was the type of kid who could be left alone with my toys for hours and not bother anyone or need to be bothered. So, instead of playing with cars and trucks or running around outside, I would reenact scenes from Return of the Jedi with action figures that my mom bought for me. From the rescue plot at Jabba the Hutt’s palace to the Battle of Endor, I would relive the movie over and over. I was happy playing in the universe that George Lucas created. That’s why my mother went out of her way or spent a little too much for these stupid toys based on a silly movie that she cared nothing about. She simply did it out of love for me.

     And there is a lot that is silly about Star Wars. Lightsabers are awesome, but they make no scientific sense. A four foot blade of light that extends and retracts from a metal handle and can cut through just about anything except other lightsabers is a real stretch. Then there’s the primitive tribe of teddy bear creatures successfully beating up on the technologically advanced and armored Imperial army. Yeah, okay. Then there are the amazing coincidences that take place. In a universe of thousands of planets that are inhabited by millions of life forms, including humans, one farm boy happens to come into possession of a pair of robots that would lead him to rescue a princess who turns out to be his twin sister. That takes place in the first movie, but they don’t find out that they are twins until the last movie. Before that revelation, we learn in the second movie that Darth Vader, the evil Emperor’s right hand man who was holding the princess captive in the first movie and the villain hunting the Rebel twins (though they don’t know they are twins yet), is their father. It’s completely preposterous. I love it.

     Confession: I like the prequel trilogy. Yes, there is some dialogue that makes me cringe. There is plenty of bad acting. There are even some hiccups in the special effects created by the cinematic geniuses at Industrial Light and Magic. But when George Lucas and company get it right—it’s mind-blowing. Giant sea monsters, pod racing, lightsaber duels—YES! A chase scene through the air of a bustling metropolis, political intrigue, Yoda jumping and flipping around with a lightsaber—YES! Massive space battles, Wookies, the creation of Darth Vader—YES! And on top of all of that they have John Williams.

     George could have given us pure garbage to look at for two and a half hours (I know, some say he did), and I would have been happy with John Williams entertaining my ears while looking at that garbage. As I write this, the soundtrack for Revenge of the Sith is in my car CD player. Some folks love Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. Give me Williams. Listening to his work on Star Wars, I am transported to the trench run on the first Death Star, or weaving around an asteroid field in the Millennium Falcon with TIE fighters close behind, or in the throne room of the Emperor as Luke Skywalker fights the temptation to succumb to the dark side of the Force. It may be that I love the Star Wars soundtrack because I’m a fan of the franchise, but the music did impact my tastes. Because of Williams I did come to appreciate the artists I named above as well as many other classical composers. John Williams is still my favorite.

     But the prequels are special to me aside from John Williams or the scenes where George nails it. In much the same way my parents and brother were able to enjoy the original trilogy with me, I was able to enjoy the prequels with my son. Mikey and I knew what the new trilogy was going to be about: how Anakin Skywalker would turn to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We didn’t know how that change would happen, though. We would spend time before or after the movies speculating about what it would be that would push Anakin over the edge. We would usually agree on who our favorite characters were or what scenes we liked best. After each movie I would take him to the toy store and let him pick out an action figure. I probably had as much fun doing that as he did. I don’t think he knew how I enjoyed spending that time with him. He knew I was always a fan, but he didn’t know it took me back to those ways Star Wars connected me to my family. It was one of the things that connected me to him as well.

     I had never gone to a midnight screening for a movie. As far as I knew, as far as any fan knew, Revenge of the Sith would be the last Star Wars film. Mikey and I had our tickets in hand and we stood in a line that wrapped around a quarter of the theater with a bunch of freaks. A few Jedi in robes of earth tones were standing in front of us. Behind us a short Darth Vader held a red lit lightsaber. Further back in the line a white Stormtrooper helmet bobbled on the neck of a skinny teen in jeans and a yellow Star Wars t-shirt. Mikey and I did go as far as wearing our Star Wars t-shirts. It was, after all, the midnight screening at the final Star Wars movie! We could geek out a little and be unashamed. We had a blast that night and went back to see it again the following weekend. I’m hoping we will be able to see the next Star Wars movie together again.

     New movies are in the works. Shortly after Disney purchased Lucasfilm and added the Star Wars franchise to its empire, it was announced that they would be making a new trilogy as well as some spin-off films including one about a young Han Solo—my favorite character in the Star Wars universe. The first movie in the trilogy is scheduled to be released in 2015. I don’t know what to expect, but I have high hopes I will be sitting in a theater with my son who will have been a Marine for about two years by then. My daughter will only be three years old when the first movie hits theaters if the 2015 date stands, so I am already eagerly awaiting the second of these new movies to share that experience with her. I’m sure I will have exposed her to all of the previous films before then and have her thoroughly prepped. There are female fans of this pop culture phenomenon, but she may not like Star Wars after she gets a taste of it, and that’s okay. We will find other ways to connect. Maybe I’ll still be able to bring Princess Leia to our tea parties anyway.



Monday, December 1, 2014


Detail from preliminary drawing for chapter seven header of Bid the Gods Arise.
More info here.
This will be my last Bid the Gods Arise teaser for a while. Hopefully, we'll have some news about the illustrated book soon. If you buy the Kindle version let me know and I'll make sure to let you know when the illustrations have been added. Check out all of my Bid the Gods Arise posts here. 

Thanks for looking,