Monday, October 6, 2008

Killer Queen

I was invited to participate in a group gallery show, Night of the Living Artist. The concept of the show sounded like a lot of fun, pick an artist (living or dead) that has influenced me and make them a Zombie. I first thought of Michaelangelo or Mucha but decided to look into other artists besides painters, that have made a nice influence on me. So, I picked Freddie Mercury from one of my favorite bands, Queen. As a teen, I'd sit in my room, listening to their music. For what seemed like hours I'd sketch ideas or interpret their songs into sword and sorcery images using Freddie as the main figure. But, instead of wielding a mike stand, it would be a sword. I could easily have portrayed him as people probably would remember him with short hair, mustache and sleeveless t-shirts. Here I've captured him the way I remember him, early on, royalty of glam-rock from a serious Mick Rock photo.

Friday, October 10, 2008 through October 31, 2008.
Opening reception Oct. 10, 7-10pm, closing reception will also be a Halloween party on Oct. 31, 7 -10pm. “Night of the Living Artist” will be including our resident DJ, DJ Tapedek.

The Chicago Art Department
1837 S. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60608

The artist will be using their prefered media and pick an artist, musician, or author (living or dead) that was an influence and Zobify them. Some of those picks include Preston Blair, Franz Kafka, Oasis, and even Jim Henson. The Chicago Art Department (CAD) cultivates new and emerging Chicago artists. Through education, exhibition, artist residencies, and community building, CAD is dedicated to supporting new voices and ideas. “My hope is this common theme will show how a range of different artist can come together in one show. And also give a chance to those new artists, who may have never been in an exhibit.” says Kerry Flaherty, curator of the show and resident artist of The Chicago Art Department. “Night of the Living Artist will have Fine Art, Illustrations, and even Plush Sculptors presented in a fun atmosphere.”

Gallery info:
CAD is in Pilsen
1837 S. Halsted St. between 18th and 19th Sts.
Bus: 8 Halsted. Fri-Sun noon-5pm.

For more information about the exhibit or for gallery
hours, contact The Chicago Art Department at
312.226.8601. Or go to

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Avenger Chronicles

When I first started illustrating covers for Moonstone Books, Joe Gentile (Publisher and Editor in Chief) asked what covers would I want to do among the titles that they were doing. I asked about two characters: The Phantom and The Avenger.
It's been a long wait but I finally got my chance as Moonstone is about to release The Avenger Chronicles. The book will be released with two variant covers; one by Peter Caras and another by Dave Dorman. For the die hard Avenger fan, Moonstone Books is offering a special Limited Edition with some extra material and my cover featuring Justice Inc.

I had originally planned a straightforward cover featuring a grey Richard Henry Benson. And I tried a couple of different ideas, one concept specifically using an "A" similar to the posters for "A Clockwork Orange".

This concept later developed into a standing Avenger figure and the shadow sort of forming an "A" against a cold steel wall.
I gave it a shot but in the long run, it didn't work for me.

After seeing where I was at with the cover concept, Joe asked if it was possible to do the Justice, Inc. team as a cover for the limited edition. It was something that hasn't been illustrated before and he thought that it would be "special" enough for the Limited Edition.

So, I started fresh based upon our conversation and I came up with a more stylized costume for him, almost Nick Fury though.
But aside from this costuming not working (again) I had to figure out how to place the additional six figures with him, effectively and dramatically. Originally I avoided the floating heads idea because I didn't think it would work. So, I tried placing the figures behind him three on each side, but there wasn't enough room for that and keeping the central figure large enough without making it a wrap around cover.

Finally, the floating heads idea clicked with me and I figured out how to pull it together, keeping the updated pose with some adjustment to his look and jacket. I can't really say what made it click for me, possibly walking away from it or looking at some books. The top image is the finished cover art completed in pencil.
Look for the release of the book soon from Moonstone Books.