Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Doll Parts"

Here is the original, uncropped (un-cleaned-up) art for a strip done especially for the PECULIA book collection ~

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The original art for my page in the big (16" x 21") 2008 anthology Kramer's Ergot #7 was so big that I actually did each 7 1/2" x 11 1/2" panel separately - on a separate piece of watercolor paper.  When each panel was done I assembled the thing with photoshop.  
While in photoshop I made some minor adjustments and then got caught up in doing more and more little tweaks and corrections and changes in the art.  It was handy and fun to be able to clean areas up a bit, make them clearer.  (I had ended up doing a lot of that on Cat Burglar Black).
But other changes I made were completely unnecessary -- I started recoloring figures,  reshaping faces.  That photoshop can be an insidious thing!  I ran right up against that age-old question of all painters:  "When is it finished?"  I could have kept going indefinitely, making it "better and better" -- it was kind of addictive.  
But if I have learned anything over the years it's to accept my artistic limitations.  I wasn't using photoshop to improve my skills or learn new ones -- I was using it to change art I had already drawn and painted.  So, finally I came to my senses and realized I was overworking the thing and it was time to just stop.
Looking at both versions now, after a couple of years, I have to say that the originals are better - none of that tweaking was necessary, really, beyond cleaning up a few messy spots.  I hadn't really improved anything.  I had just removed more and more traces of the human hand from the art. 
Don't get me wrong -- I'm sure that for most young artists who have grown up using computers that photoshop (or whatever gizmo one may use) IS like an extension of their hands.  It's just another tool after all - anyone will tell you that.  (Actually everyone will tell you that).  It ultimately comes down to having that necessary drive to do the best work you can do, whatever you're using.

I'm posting the non-tweaked original panels here -- and at the bottom is the final (tweaked) version that was printed in Kramer's - (plus a photo of the actual book) so you can see what it looked like all put together.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A peek at The Hidden

I'm not sure, but this may be the first review of my latest book, The Hidden. Its always a pleasure to be reviewed by the thoughtful & insightful Curt Purcell  - who is almost TOO conscientious about not giving away a single spoiler - except to say that the book is not particularly a laff riot. (It is true that the tone may be somewhat grimmer than longtime readers are used to, although those who have read the DELPHINE series may be better prepared).  Thank you, Curt!

The Groovy Age of Horror: THE HIDDEN

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A video sneak preview of The Hidden has been posted by Fantagraphics.  (Warning ~  to readers who prefer to know as little as possible before reading the book -- the preview does contain some minor spoilers.) ~


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Creaky old "Invisible Hands" somehow found a new life on YouTube

Thank you, Chuck Klosterman & Grantland (third video down):

YouTube Hall of Fame

"Invisible Hands" came out of my love for old horror movies and pulp stories.  When I wrote & drew it for MTV (via Colossal Pictures in San Francisco) I was still working a day job while doing as much freelance illustration work as I could get - and dreaming of one day having a chance (and the time) to do comics.

For years (and years) people used to ask me why the six-part serial I created, designed, drew and wrote (directed by Denis Morella, with music by Eric Tallman, produced by Colossal Pictures & shown on MTV's show "Liquid Television in the early 1990s) -  "Invisible Hands" - had never been released on VHS (remember that?) or DVD, even though MTV did release a few "Best Of Liquid Television" compilations.  (Beavis & Butthead and Aeon Flux also debuted on the same show -- & I was keenly aware - and totally okay with the fact -  that my humble and creaky little genre cartoon would never be anywhere near as popular as those two).

So I told the story again and again to people who wrote to me over the years and asked me how they could get a copy.  I explained that MTV owned the copyright and it was up to them -- and that I had no idea if it would ever be released.  Thanks to the lawyer I had hired for the occasion, I was able to keep the rights to the characters & story in print - since it first appeared in my self-published comic Night Drive in 1984.  But I had no control over what happened with the completed six two-minute episodes - or the full twelve minute version which was also shown sometimes on MTV throughout the early 1990s.  

I was one of the few freelancers to be a part of Liquid TV (most were on staff at Colossal), so although I wasn't too surprised when I was not invited back to do more "Invisible Hands", I was disappointed --especially when I was told that there was a cartoon in the second season (created on staff, for staff salary) that was trying to copy I.H. - or at least cover the same pulp mystery territory.  I don't know for sure myself since I didn't even have cable back then!

So for years I figured I.H. would remain locked away in MTV's vaults and never be seen again.  Then YouTube came along.  

And although I had nothing to do with uploading it onto the internet (I'm still not sure how one actually does that -- I need to learn someday) -- I was very happy to see that fans of Liquid TV remembered my humble and creaky and silly little genre cartoon and that some were even fond enough of it to post the episodes on-line.  

So although I never made another penny off the thing after my initial payment - never any royalties that might have come from video releases -- at least now it's out there for people to see again.

I wrote a couple of earlier posts about "Invisible Hands" on this blog, for anyone interested:


And thank you again, loyal readers, for reading all this stuff!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh no -- I'm on Tumblr!

I just uploaded a bunch of pix today.  It seems like an easier way just to view art.  We'll see how it goes...

Here it is!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"On A Deadline" and other illustrations

From top to bottom:  
"On A Deadline" - promotional card
"Financial Discovery!" (for Kiplinger's magazine)
"Bad Doctor" (for Mother Jones)
"Fear"(I can't remember the magazine! 
 I think it was a city magazine of some kind.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Take off that mask! What? -- It's NOT??

A special note to collectors:  Sixteen color drawings from last October's UNMASKED series - which haven't previously been offered for sale - are now available for purchase ~

Careful - some of them bite!