Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zero to Sixty

-By Dan dos Santos

If you're one of our West Coast readers, this opening may be of interest to you:

“Zero To Sixty” marks the fifth anniversary of Corey Helford Gallery opening its doors in Culver City, California, and on Friday, July 1 the gallery will salute the occasion with its most exciting group exhibition of the year.

For the momentous event, more than fifty artists from around the globe were invited to create a special piece for the anniversary show. The exhibition will include new works by celebrated artists who have shown with the gallery since its inception: Natalia Fabia, Sylvia Ji, Buff Monster, Kukula, Lola, Korin Faught, Brandi Milne, Eric Joyner, and David Stoupakis.

“Zero to Sixty is a show of what’s best at Corey Helford Gallery and what’s to come — new works from the artists who’ve shown with the gallery from the beginning and a host of works from artists we just love, like Joe Sorren, Todd Schorr, Greg Simkins, Kent Williams, Nick Walker, Sas and Colin Christian, and also some artists who have never shown with us before, like Meggs and Kazuki Takamatsu,” explains gallery owners Jan and Bruce Helford.

Open to the public, the reception for “Zero To Sixty” will take place on Friday, July 1 from 7 to 10pm.

Aside from showcasing the the works of industry veterans like Kent Williams and Anita Kunz, The Corey Helford Gallery also boasts a wonderful roster of young up-and-comers who are sure to make their mark on the industry as well. Two of my favorites of late have been Mia Araujo (seen above) and Billy Norrby (seen below). Both of these pieces will be included in tomorrow's show. More to come on these two fine artists soon.


Flesk Prime

By Petar Meseldzija

Good day to you all!

I have an announcement to make today. There is a new and exciting book coming out in July from Flesk Publications, titled FLESK PRIME.

This is what the publisher says about it in the introduction:
“Flesk Prime serves as a fresh look into the imagery of five exceptional artists: Craig Elliott, Gary Gianni, Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz and William Stout. The essence of each craftsman is captured here to satisfy their fans as well as individuals who are enjoying their first glimpse. The section on each artist begins with an introduction and a biography written by Flesk publisher John Fleskes. The five were invited to handpick their pieces for inclusion, to showcase the best representation of their work. Furthermore, new quotes have been obtained to capture the artists’ own thoughts. Each chapter shows the dynamic range of styles and illustrations and unique diversity of these five creators…”

The book is only available direct from Flesk Publications ! If you want to learn more about the book and to purchase it, please go to Flesk Publications

Needless to say, I am proud to be a part of this beautiful  book alongside with some legendary names from the comic/illustration field. I hope you will forgive me this act of lack of modesty…

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Brother Bear Coloring Pages

Posted in Brother Bear Coloring Pages
Unknown Brother Bear
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mark Twain Stamp

Gregory Manchess

I painted the portrait of Mark Twain for the newly released stamp by the US Postal Service. Twain returns to my portfolio once again.

My first serious head study in clay was a portrait of Twain. My first accepted piece in the Society Annual was a charcoal portrait of him for the cover of a Hellman Design Associates calendar. I did them both from memory.

For the stamp, however, I looked at quite a few photos of Twain. I chose a shot from 1907 that was too contrasty, but had the right attitude. I had to shift the value of his fantastic white hair, even though it couldn’t fit in the frame. Such a magnificent face, and perfect to draw.

Phil Jordan and I worked together on planning the piece. He’s such a great art director, always open to my thoughts. As you can see from my thumbnails, I worked through a few designs. He suggested the riverboat element would be best for this particular portrait of Twain, instead of Halley’s Comet, as they had used that motif on an earlier stamp of Twain. Once we agreed on a final layout, I did a quick color study.

One challenge was designing enough space into the image so I could give a feeling of the Mississippi. The final trick was getting it to look as painterly as possible at an inch and a half across. I down-sized my brushes, working the final at six inches wide, actual size. After three months of on and off work, the painting came together in about two hours.

A later change reduced the size of the riverboat by about 10-20%. No digital magic--I actually painted it down smaller. That took about the same time as the entire painting, but I was happy to do it. The original goes into the USPS permanent collection and I wanted the painting to reflect the actual final stamp, if it ever went on exhibition.

Even though it was small, I had a check list of criteria for the project:

-Large portrait head

-get hair to read

-strong light on facial structure

-classic Twain look


-Mississippi River


-room for type

-contrast values for type to read

-painterly strokes

Sequential shots of the painting in progress:


St. George Drawings

By Justin Gerard

This is some recent development work on the St. George project. I'm still not sure how I want to tackle these two pieces. Oil, watercolor, or all digital. Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, June 26, 2011


By John Jude Palencar

GovDeals is an online auction site and a great resource for artists. The sellers are typically cities, townships, colleges and other public institutions. Many of the items offered are in surprisingly good shape Currently there are around thirty States and dozens of cities that have thousands items up for auction. The list of sellers is ever changing so you have to check the listings often. The scope and variety of items is staggering. Need a "Crown Vic" for the next “Blues Brothers” movie - they got it. Need a dentist examination chair for your next horror illustration - place your bid. All items are sold “as is” with no warranty. In most cases you will have to arrange to pick up the item at your own expense. I think this is a small inconvenience when you can purchase a very usable piece of studio furniture in great shape for pennies on the dollar. After you register you are good to go. The nice feature is that a few sellers may be a short drive from your home. Here are just a few items that have been up for auction and some that are still active. GovDeals lists the contact person and phone number, should you have any questions about the auction etc. Explore the site, have fun.... You might be the winning bidder on the amphibious vehicle and could use it to bring your items home. GovDeals site: HERE
Saturday, June 25, 2011


-By Dan dos Santos

I was in the comic shop today with my sons. As I was browsing the European comics section, my four year old (who is apparently far more astute than I) says to me "Hey Daddy, look... your painting!" I went to where he was standing and saw that I was on the cover of Previews this month. I'm pretty psyched!

I painted this image in 2009, but it was pushed back by the publisher several times. The image is a wraparound, but I have not been able to share it in it's entirety because DC Comics has yet to go public with it. Just a few more weeks, and I can finally post the whole cover. I even have a ton of sketches and progress shots to share with you all too!
Thursday, June 23, 2011

La Planete Sauvage

By Eric Fortune

"La Planete Sauvage" is a french animated film also known as "Fantastic Planet" in english. This animated feature has been around since 1973. I've seen this cover on vhs tapes at the local video rental store for years and yet I never took the time to watch the film. On a recent visit to my parents house my brother randomly brought up the film and we sat down and watched it.

At first I noted the very dated look and primitive style of animation. However, the film's strangely surreal imagery and odd portrayal of humans had such a profound affect on me I knew I'd most likely make a post about it. I probably relate to the film more now than I would've ten years ago. However, the content seems as relevant and disturbing as ever. If you haven't had the chance or haven't heard of the film til now I figured I would share it HERE.

As a bonus the sound track is also quite good and I thought complimented the imagery perfectly. For anyone into hip hop you may very well notice some samples used from the film on some classic hip hop trizacks.

ps I always say "expectations" can kill a good film. So to prep myself prior to any movie I feel myself getting my hopes up for I repeat these three phrases. "Worst plot ever. Worst special effects ever. And Worst acting EVER." This usually sets me straight. You may hate this film ;)

Hope Gallery & Brian Despain

-By Dan dos Santos

As many of you know, I live in Connecticut. One day, about 10 years ago, I was in New Haven shopping for art supplies. In the art store I spied a postcard for a gallery show hosted by a local tattoo studio. The studio claimed to have the works of Luis Royo and Joe Linsner on display amongst several other illustrator heavyweights. I thought to myself, 'There is not a chance in hell that there is a Royo on display in New Haven'. I found the gallery in question, named Hope Gallery, and sure enough there before me were the works of Linsner, Travis Louie, Mark Elliot, and slew of other great artists! I was stunned that this gem of a gallery was tucked away in New Haven and that I had never heard of it. I spoke to the owner Joe Capobianco (a tattoo legend in his own right), and initiated what would quickly become a very dear friendship.

Over the years, Hope Gallery has hosted some amazing shows, many with a strong emphasis on SF/F illustration. They have also hosted several seminars and workshops... including one by myself last year. So, I am very pleased to announce that next month, they will be hosting Florida-based painter Brian Despain for a 4-hour painting seminar on July 31st.

If you are familiar with the Spectrum annuals, you are likely familiar with Brian's work, which is included year after year. This seminar is great chance for young artists to learn the ins and outs of being a professional painter from an award winning artist. Brian will reveal his complex creation process as well as share insights and answer questions about his life long career as a professional artist in this four hour painting seminar.

If you are in the NY, CT, or MA area, you should seriously consider coming in for this seminar. I know I will definitely be there! Hope Gallery will have an exhibit on display, and will also be hosting a BBQ that same weekend, which is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the local talent and pick Brian's brain in a more casual atmosphere. Basically, it should be a really fun weekend!

You can find out more about Brian Despain's seminar on Hope Gallery's Event Page. Or click Here to buy tickets, which I am certain won't last long. I look forward to seeing some of you there!

Hope Gallery has also conducted a short interview with Brian in light of his upcoming seminar. Here is that interview straight from Hope Gallery's website:

Interview with Artist Brian Despain


How long have you been painting?

I’ve been painting with oils for about six years. Of course that doesn’t include the undirected, feverish dabbling I did in the two painting classes I took in college but that was more flinging and/or smearing paint on whatever surface I could find in a desperate attempt to have the required number of “paintings” by the end of the week. In other words I didn’t learn a whole lot. So, six productive years... Now before I come across as some kind of self proclaimed genius (even though I am in fact a genius) I’ve been painting digitally for much longer, since ’95 if memory serves. In other words I learned all my color theory, composition, painting style, etc, years ago, so when I picked up oils I had all the fundamentals in place and only had to learn the idiosyncrasies of the medium. It made the whole process much easier.

How would you describe your style?

I’m often lumped into the pop-surrealism group but honestly I don’t really think I’m truly a pop-surrealist like Todd Schorr, Ron English, or Robert Williams. If pressed I’d say I’m more of a neo-symbolist. I try to infuse my art with a lot of symbolic references and emotional triggers which much closer mirrors the idiom of the Symbolist movement of yore.

What are some artists that you look up to?

Wow, how much time do we have? There are so many artists that I enjoy looking at or are envious of their talents it’d be impossible to put them all here. But for the sake of a good interview here’s a few. John Singer Sargent and J.W. Waterhouse for their ability to handle paint, W.A. Bouguereau for his ability to render light, Alphonse Mucha for his unerring sense of design and composition and so this isn’t a list of dead guys... Phil Hale for being a monster painter, James Jean for his unholy talent, and Mike Mingola for being a god damned visionary.

What is one of the most important lessons that you have learned as a painter?

That no matter how much you think you know there’s always something new to learn. Every time I start a painting it’s like going into battle. The paint reacts almost like a living creature and it’s when you become complacent and stop paying attention to it that something goes horribly awry. Even when you ARE paying attention stuff can still go wrong. I think in every single painting I’ve ever done there’s an area where the paint did something radical and I ended up having to “fix” it, probably while swearing a lot.

Where have you found some of your reference material?

I find a majority of my inspiration from the internet. There’s a wealth of sites dedicated to imagery of all kinds is a great place to go see some wicked illustration, mostly sci-fi and fantasy stuff but really amazing stuff none the less. hosts more main stream illustrators but again there is a certain bent to the majority of the artists there that may or may not suit one’s tastes. And of course there’s always places like or that use the shotgun approach and just sort of deliver whatever to you, however, there are gems in amongst the noise.

What can people expect to learn at your seminar?

Though it’s being sold as a “painting” demo I feel that watching someone paint, no matter how cool you think they are, is mind numbingly boring outside of five minutes.  As such I’m planning on talking a lot more about the nuts and bolts of art. Based on the “give a man a fish, teach a man to fish” adage I feel there’s a wealth of behind the scenes knowledge, i.e. not just the “how” of painting but the “why” as well, that is rarely touched upon in art schools. I’ve spent a good amount of my own time philosophizing and conjecturing about what goes into making a good painting and why people think and act the way they do and as such have formed some pretty broad theories that if applied to art can, in my opinion, raise the artistic experience for all involved. I’m planning on sharing some of this knowledge in the hopes that the audience can take that information and use it to amp up their own art. That and I’m going to run through my labor intensive process of how to put together a painting. Maybe I’ll juggle too.


Hope Gallery's website:

Brian Despain's website:

I'd rather be painting...

Having returned from an inspirational week at the Illustration Master Class in Amherst, I am dying to continue the work on a large panel I began as a demonstration there. Today I'll lock the door of the studio and enjoy some time with Frodo, his orc torturer in Cirith Ungol, and a long session of Phillip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi... I hope your day is as pleasurable!


In the Tower of Cirith Ungol: Prisoner

48" x 36"

Oil on Panel

In Progress

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your own IMC

-By Jesper Ejsing

I have, with envy, been following all my Facebook friends posting photos from Illustration Master Class 2011. I so much would have wanted to be there and be a part of that melting pot of artistic inspiration. But I couldn’t, and I wasn’t. ( Claus from my studio even went and got back to tell us all how great a time he had and how much he had learned ) So what is second best? If you cannot go and learn directly from the masters... Buckle up and teach yourself. In many ways I have been forced to be my own teacher right from the beginning. And it ain´t all bad. The upside is you only study what you like. The downside is you only study what you like.


You can never see too much. Look through all the artbooks you can get your hands on. Notice how the artist of every painting solved a problem. I do not mean for you to only look when you need to solve a problem yourself. If you only look for solutions when you need them, you will only learn to solve the problem right at hand. If you beforehand have seen and understood the solution you can wrap the clarity around all the ugly little trouble bits when they pop up. I did that with water. I looked at Anders Zorn a lot and tried to get the grip on how he made water. I am not saying I can do water like Zorn now, far from it actually, but I have a small selection of watery effects that I can pull out in a tight spot. Imagine the same with rocks, clouds, trees and mountains.


Pushing yourself to a higher level is the most important thing to me. I might have said it before, but Moebius once said “ I try 10 % new in every picture I do “, and that quote has stuck with me ever since I read it. In order to learn something all the time you need to get out of the comfort zone. Lets say I do a fighter looking bad ass and threatening. I've got to draw it as good as I can of course, but in doing that I focus my “new 10%” on hairstyle. The client will never notice, my friends will possibly not see it, but I will definitely know, that the hairdo on that sucker is young, fresh, new and something I have never done like that before. You see how this in a stretch of 20 paintings has made you grow seriously as an artist and has built up your visual vocabulary to the brim. Also, this little mindset keeps you from stalling artistically.

Studies and testing:

I have never been much into that, but I have heard that it is good. I bought tons of sketchbooks, dreaming of filling them out with doodles bursting from life and imagination. They end up being used by my children for finger-paint. I do sketch a lot, but almost only on projects that I am working on. ( when I read Justin Gerard's updates and see all his testings, I feel like buying a new sketchbook )


Try to tell a story in every picture. It doesn’t matter if it is a nude barbarian on a hilltop that you are sketching. The millions of ways you could tackle this is overwhelming. Telling a story, even in a posed figure, narrows down the choices and makes you focus on the facial expressions, the mood, the pose and well; yeah everything. This of course also means that you need to do more than just a thumb or two. In trying to tell the story right, you might need 20 or 30 (or even more) small tryouts before you make the right choice. To me, I need to see them on paper before I judge if they work. I guess you can feel it in your guts when you hit the right one. Everything seems to click. ( and sometimes un-click when you see the thumb the day after again )

Speed up:

This is a tricky advice. You should by no means do sloppy artwork. Once in a while you get a job or you deicide to do a painting that has room for some testing of your own. I had to do a poster a while back that was sort of a gesture for a friend. I had read on Todd Lockwood's homepage that he did a dragon poster for a convention in only one day. I decided to try the same and see if I could do a full poster painting in only one day too. It is not my prettiest picture ever. A lot of the details could have been way better, and so on, and so on with the excuses. But the great thing is it taught me to simplify. The time limit forced me to take bolder chances and fix things without reference or safe holds and security lines of any sort. It was an experience I could use in every painting after that, and that I (now that I think about it) have completely forgotten. I need to do a one-day-painting again, I think.

I will get back to you if I think of anything more you can do to educate yourself, and force yourself to grow outside of your limits. Have you got any ideas you want to share with us on how you can teach yourself? Please do comment on this post. Gotta go. Today is my birthday and the rest of the studio guys are screaming for cake.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares

If you happen to be in NYC tomorrow night...

Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

6:30 - 8:30pm

Society of Illustrators

128 E. 63rd Street

NY, NY 10065

The artwork found on pulp fiction magazine covers has rankled American sensibilities since before your grandparents time. Now for the first time on film, Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares takes an in-depth look at these incredible yet misunderstood works of art; some of which, due to their controversial content, are rarely seen in public today.

Pulp fiction art is more than simply an American art form; it is a state of mind. Politically incorrect, shocking, offensive and deliciously fun, it is unforgettable. Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares takes you behind the scenes of this forgotten art form with interviews of the artists who created these sinfully entertaining paintings and the collectors who have kept it alive.

Winner of the 2006 Best Documentary award at both the Dragon*Con Film Festival and The International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival, documentary filmmaker Jamie McDonald gained exclusive access to the world s largest pulp art collection - owned by pulp art historian Robert Lesser. Whether you are a true fan of the art form or a curious newcomer, Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills & Painted Nightmares will leave you thinking differently about what constitutes true art.

Jamie McDonald is the producer and director of "Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills and Painted Nightmares." The film won "Best Documentary" at the International Sci-Fi and Horror Film Festival in 2006. Jamie is an Emmy award winning producer who currently hosts "New York Originals" on PBS. The television series profiles classic small businesses in New York City. Jamie was also a producer at Fox News for 6 years. Prior to that he was at CBS News where he began his television career as a page on the "Late Show with David Letterman."


$15 non-members $10 members $7 students

or call 212 838 2560

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Producer/Director Jamie McDonald

Art by Hugh Joseph WardHollywood Detective, 1934
Monday, June 20, 2011

The Debbie Reynolds Collection

-By Dan dos Santos

Debbie Reynolds (Mother to Carrie Fischer), was not only an actress and singer, but also a notable collector of film memorabilia. Over her lifetime she amassed one of the most impressive collections of cinematic costumes in America. Two days ago, much of that collection was auctioned off, including Marilyn Monroe's famous 'subway dress', which fetched $4.6 million dollars.

Amongst that collection were some amazing pieces that would serve as wonderful reference for a fantasy artist. Such as, Elizabeth Taylor's dress and crown from the film 'Cleopatra':

Debbie Reynolds also collected other film memorabilia, including matte paintings and concept art... many of which centered around the works of her close friend Elizabeth Taylor. Here are two gouache paintings by Duilio Savina, used as concept pieces, again for 'Cleopatra'. The original paintings measure 40 inches wide.

The auction may be over, but the catalog is still available for download and contains hundreds of images. I don't know how much longer it will be available, so download it soon! The full PDF can be found here: a45_debbie_reynolds_catalog.pdf

This catalog is a treasure trove of wonderful costuming ideas and textures. From Ben-Hur to Joan of Arc, you're sure to find something inspiring.