Sunday, January 30, 2011

Atoms, Motion & the Void: "On the Winning of a Wild Bed"

My latest cover for Sleeves' subscription-only CD series. I'm pleased that the final art is pretty close to what I saw in my head while listening to the story--that almost never happens. I wanted to try something with a whimsical storybook vibe, like Ezra Jack Keats with the added decorative element of the little fairytale images on the bedcover. I'm disappointed I couldn't figure out a way to identify Sherwin with his iconic hat, but it seemed it would make the image too cluttered.

Just for fun, here's some initial thumbnails I did. I kept trying to come up with an alternate composition, because I thought I wouldn't be able to pull off the one I had in mind. I thought my idea for the bedcover pattern was hopelessly ambitious.

My rough sketches for the characters on the bedcover...

...and the final vector art rendering. I could have just sketched these out in photoshop, but I thought they needed the crisp lines that you get with Adobe Illustrator to distinguish them from the main drawing. There's a knight, a dragon, a castle, a princess locked in a tower; then from C.S. Lewis a faun, a lamppost and the White Witch; and it seemed apropos that Alice's rabbit make an appearance. After all my worrying that I would botch this, I knocked out the actual art in an hour or so.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Richard Kuklinski

I just got done reading "The Ice Man", Philip Carlo's amazing biography of one of the more notorious monsters the Western world produced in the last century. I want to mention here that I have never owned a Charles Manson t-shirt, or a painting by John Wayne Gacy, or ever even watched "Dexter". Serial killers are not my thing, but Carlo's book is quite fascinating.

Richard Kuklinski was the top porn distributor (legal and otherwise) in New York in the 70's, and that was his veneer of respectability. His real job was a contract killer for the Mafia. And even that amounted to passing in straight society, because he was also a voracious serial killer who maybe killed as many people for his own reasons as he did for pay, and that's no small number. He wasn't the skulking, pervy kind of serial killer, he was a loyal (though abusive) family man who quietly went out looking to get into street fights so he could take guys out face to face. He was a huge guy, gifted with near-superhuman strength (if his wife needed a refrigerator moved, he'd just pick it up), a catlike ability to stalk quietly, and what can only be described as a predator's sixth sense for danger that kept him alive and out of trouble with the law over a thirty-year career. The guy could have been friggin' Batman had he been so inclined, but as it happened his upbringing left him a straight psychopath.

What's truly amazing about Carlo's book is that he so methodically lays the building blocks of Kuklinski's psyche that you almost start feeling like you understand why he took the path he did.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Presenting the Robot Monster Hoodie!

Bunche put up a facebook profile pic wearing a jacket that he had brilliantly retrofitted from the top half of a gorilla suit that had outlived its usefulness. Since I'm pretty sure that usefulness at least partially consisted of being part of a Halloween costume of the 1950's Z-grade sci-fi flick "Robot Monster", it struck me as a good idea to go all the way with it.

Here's Steve in his gorilla jacket...

...and his original "Robot Monster" costume in all its glory, from our Marvel Bullpen days.