This next drawing from my Sketchbook is from the cover of "Episodes From The Zero Hour" Volume 1 from Blinding Force Productions featuring Tommy "Knuckles" McNichols. This piece (and specifically the finished painting) is a very important project to me: one, because I'm mighty happy with the way all the noir, pulp and private eye influences all fit together for me, two: because the project moved along nicely with the writer, art director and designer and, three: because it forged a great professional and personal friendship with the designer Anthony Schiavino. Aside from Anthony having an impeccable eye for good design, he's a great writer / creator himself with some really fine ideas. Anthony and I talk a lot via email all week long, talking about everything important: comics, films, art, work and family (not in that order). We've become great friends this year and it all began with a Tough Guy, named "Knuckles" created by his cohort Jay Butkowski. It's a great pulp story (available at: www.lulu.com/zerohour) so give it a try.
When Anthony first inquired about my schedule and interest in the project, he had the cover designed with color palette options and a rough sketch. The original layout had "Knuckles" sitting behind the desk with his feet up, but after discussing the character with Jay and Anthony I came up with a rough thumbnail that had more body gesture and attitude of a tough guy for hire. More of a "Bobby the Mitch" swag to his personality. I also put more emphasis of noir by adding the blinds and played with light and shadows. Adding the framed boxing photograph behind him in the shadows introduced a bit more of the characters past.
Have a great 2009! Thanks for visiting the blog over the year. It's been quite a busy year for me, which explains the lack of posts but I'll get to them and I will try and update with new posts on a more regular basis in the coming year. I still have some exciting things to showcase as they take shape as well as continuing with the Sketchbook entries. See you next year.