Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Me2 pages are up check them out here:

http://www.mtv.com/geek/comic/issue/2283/me2-1-pt-2.jhtml


Join the world of Me2
http://alteredcrystal.tumblr.com/

https://twitter.com/#!/coolkidcarter01

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Should Marvel Do?

In the wake of the DC 52 it seems Marvel has been left eating dust and even worse losing the spotlight in terms of headlines and fan interest. Although I think the DC 52 relaunch has been a huge success I still believe with a little better planning it could have rewritten the way the industry works and strengthend the retail community to the point where it would have turned around the slide of the industry. Okay I know that sounds like a job for Superman but imagine if they would have rolled out the books over a 6 month period and allowed retailers to get some wins under their belt and some cash in hand to support these books. The returnable aspect may helped on a certain level but let's face it nothing instill confidence like watching books fly off the shelves and light up the register.

I believe DC put everything down on the one month total relaunch for a couple of reasons. One they wanted to create something so big that it was as they say "too big to fail." Meaning it was such a gigantic "event", "shift" that everybody had to get on board on some level. It forced the hand of a retail community that was standing on the ledge, pushed there by countless crossover and promises. DC had to cut through that mindset and force them into action. On a certain level the bet paid off. It got retailers excited and it moved product that had not been moving for years. I myself have purchased more DC product in the last month than I have in the last 5 years. Call me a lapsed fan if you must but it no doubt worked on me as it did on thousands of others. It shows that if you create something worth reading comic fans will show up. They want comics to be good and even great. Despite the few churping heads on message boards and comment sections the fans want a win as much as the companies and retailers do.

The second reason DC went all in on a single month of relaunches is that they didn't want opinion/excitement to shift if it launched soft and they didn't want Marvel to make any moves to take the spotlight off them. It feels like they didn't have that much confidence in the launch and they figured let's stack the deck on the buzz interest side. It worked but mainly because Marvel made a crucial mistake. They didn't react on any level. They didn't counter program. They let DC dominate the headlines and the minds of comic fans for 6 months straight leading up to the launch and now for at least another 6 months post launch. It doesn't take a marketing expert or an understanding of brand management to see that was an epic fail.

This brings me around to the question.

What should Marvel do?

After sitting with the idea for a while I thought of a few ways Marvel could retake the advantage in the industry and set themselves up to not only control the next decade of publishing but also have a hand in comic based Transmedia. Sure it would take some serious movement and a couple of gambles but when you take it on the chin for almost a year straight from your direct competitor...now is the time for bold moves and game changing thought.

"Thank you for buying my comic."
Movie Universe: Marvel owns the movie space compared to DC so they must leverage this. Not only because it's how the world experiences their characters it's more importantly how a legion of young people/new readers do. I would do a relaunch of #1s based completely off the Movie versions of the characters and that continuity. Sure they have done an Ultimate line which is really close but I'm talking photo covers and tie ins with all the movies and marketing that goes with it. Play the largest audience possible and stop the confusion that normal people have when they see the movie and come into a comic store and can't find the comic that is exactly what they just saw. Signings with the actors on photo covers alone would generate a whole new level of interest in the printed books. With the new Ipads and the new Iphones having a dedicated chip for video you should have Robert Downey Jr and the other Avenger actors do video intros in character for the digital books. Bridge the media gap in consumers minds. It's seriously long overdue.

SOLD!


Every Toy Should Come With A Comic. I've worked with toys for years. I was also responsible for creating and selling into Walmart and Target the Marvel Authentics Die-Cast toy line. Each Die Cast car was packaged with a comic. Marvel should demand that every toy comes with an actual comic or has a code to download one for free or a coupon to get one from a comic store for free...or all of the above. Kids love comics when they are introduced to them. I know the costs. It will be an extra nickle if that.  Energize your young fan base by leveraging your toy licensing. Associate physical play objects with your publishing end. It's worked for Star Wars on every level. Using the toy aisle to expose kids to your published and larger media is a no brainer that needs to be fixed.

   
Great for collectors...but what about the kids?

They watch the movies but where are the comics???




Create the Marvel version of Image. Marvel seems to have gone away from having talent create new characters. They obviously want to completely control the catalog and not have to negotiate with creators down the line if they make a movie or use the characters in a video game. I'm sure they have an army of lawyers telling them to do this but...let's think out of the box. If Marvel wanted to dominate comic book media outside of comics they should start partnering with creators on creator owned projects. For a % of the IP they could offer their partnership in the publishing arena and also help them set it up as a movie through Marvel Studios. Five years down the line Marvel ends up with a hand in whatever becomes the next Walking Dead. The creator get's the muscle in and out of the comic publishing world. It's a win, win and turns Marvel into a true house of "new" ideas.

For The Win!




Monday, October 17, 2011

Miller Time

The other week I was thinking about artists I wanted to work with. Frank Miller came in first so I decided to try my hand at coloring this living legend. Below are my first results with a coloring over one of his pages from Holy Terror. I am tempted to color some more of his pages. I just need to find some Holy Terror black and whites.
My idea was to keep it more tonal than full on rendering. Trying to preserve the mood of the spotted blacks. Loads of fun.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bloodstrike

For those of you that missed the 90's Image era I worked on a book called Bloodstrike. The basic idea of the book was that a government group of superheroes would get killed and brought back to life for each mission. Universal Soldier meets Youngblood.

I had come off of working for the Homage team and I was eager to do my own thing. Extreme Studios was exploding and Rob Liefeld was kind enough to give me a crack at Bloodstrike. He had an idea for a bold new direction for the book. It went from being a team to single character book. With a mysterious anti-hero taking on the name of the Bloodstrike team.

My goal was to out Extreme everyone with the art. I wanted to smash people in the mouth with the layouts and crack them over the skull with the level of detail. The new direction seemed to really resonate with readers and till this day I get asked to draw pictures of this iconic character.

A couple of years ago Rob and I discussed doing a new version of Bloodstrike. I was eager to get another shot (pun intended) at the character but I wanted to bring a modern look and feel to it.

My intention if the idea had moved forward was to go all out with the action and kick up the gore. I wanted to create something that was unlike any comic I'd done. I imagined it as Metal Gear/Ghost in the Shell vs The Authority.

Unfortunately the project never came together. Just this week it was announced that there will be a Bloodstrike relaunch. I was hit with several emails and messages asking if I was going to be working on it. I will not but from what I've seen it looks like a very impressive book. I wish them the best as they add another chapter to Cabbot and his undead super hero bad asses.

Below are some of the designs I did for the project as well as the first issue pitch I put together for the project.





Bloodstrike-Born Again


Pashtun Mountains located on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.
Two Months Ago.

Four Blackhawk helicopters fly low and fast through the jagged Pashtun mountains by night. The Blackhawks are delivering a team of special forces operatives to a remote Taliban controlled area. They are chasing down a well know terrorist leader. The lead chopper is piloted by Maria Shawn her call sign is Fourplay. Fourplay notices that something is wrong with the choppers controls and navigation computers. As they close in on their target the chopper in the rear explodes. A NuGene active terrorist has flown through the chopper destroying it and killing everyone on board. The team has been drawn into a trap with Nu Gene active mercenaries. The rest of the choppers start taking on fire from Nu Genes who are firing on them from below!  Fireballs and energy blasts light up the night. A half man/bat flies along one of the choppers and rips one of the soldiers out his seat throwing him to the ground. Fourplay brings her chopper down and delivers her team. She pulls her chopper up and a giant horned creature comes out of nowhere and rips off the tale of the chopper. It spins out of control and violently crashes. Fourplay pulls herself from the wreckage.  She reaches for her pistol and realizes her right arm is missing from the elbow down. She looks up and sees the special forces team getting slaughtered by super human mercenaries. She calls in an air strike on her position. She looks up and sees two Predator attack drones bombing the area. We focus on her eyes as the flames from the explosions move towards her. We cut to a satellite video images of the explosions from above.

Cut to an edited versions of those images on a TV screen. A broadcaster describes how four U.N. copters crashed on a humanitarian mission to deliver supplies to a remote Pakistani village stricken by a flood. A promo for an Entertainment Tonight/TMZ type show focusing on members of Youngblood.

We pull back to reveal a woman and four men dressed in dark Euro/Matrix gear watching the broadcast on a large screen TV. It's 24 hours since the Pakistan attack. They are located in a large loft in London. It has no furniture just a single T.V. and a large table. The room is made up of concrete walls and floors with windows running across the wall facing out to the London skyline. Rain is falling. "Turn those lies off." The female says. She is a large Latin woman. Imagine a Mexican Wonder Woman. The guy sitting at the table has spiked hair. He snaps his fingers and the TV turns off. The three last men smoke and quietly wait for something to happen. They all wear tiny earpieces making them look like secret service Euro trash. A knock at the door. They all look at each other. A bit of fear in their eyes. Suddenly a man wearing a trench coat and carrying a suitcase phases through the door.  He puts the suitcase on the table. "Complements of the Sheik for making sure his son was not given a one way ticket to Getmo." He pulls out stacks of Euros from the case and puts them into even piles. They each take out various duffel bags and cases and begin filling them up with their money. The Woman smells her money and smiles. Suddenly the window shatters and an armor piercing shell rips her in the chest. She flies across the room and through the trench coat man (he phases) and through several walls and out of the building and down to the street below. She hits the ground and crashes down into the subway system. A cigarette falls from the mouth of the spikey haired guy.

Voice over.
Cabbot as Bloodstrike" Rule one: always take out the strong guy on the team first."

We follow the bullet backwards through the hole in the wall and across town to a rooftop (think Wanted) Rain falls on the roof but one spot is dry. Bloodstrike pulls off a camo sheet that gives him electronic invisibility. He has a huge tank buster sniper rifle. He stands up rain evaporating off the barrel of the gun.

"Super teams have a hierarchy. They piss in their pants when the strong guy goes down. When you can leap a tall building in a single bound you can get cocky and sloppy. I'm here to remind them what fear is."

The trench coat man orders them to attack. One of the men turns into the bat/man creature and rips through the window screaming his head off. One of them turns into a horned creature and jumps from the window landing on the ground and jumping like the Hulk. The spike haired guy begins glowing with electricity and the last guy turns on fire burning his clothes off.

"The flyers are usually the first on the scene. They send intel back to the group. Kill the flyer. Blind the team."

Cut to the man/bat swooping in on Bloodstrike. He talks back to the group with his earpiece yelling out Bloodstrike's position. Bloodstrike jumps from building to building and forces the Man/Bat into a tight spot in between two buildings. He turns side ways to fit and as he comes out his wings are cut off by laser wire strung between the buildings. He crashes to the floor. He looks up into the rain as Bloodstike's boot crushes him in the face. Bloodstrike punches a needle filled with anti NuGene nanos. The Man/Bat reverts to his human form.

"The big one will need room to use his size and strength. I'll take that away."

The horned creature jumps onto a roof and charges set under it explode and he falls down through the building to the basement. Bloodstrike meets him there sword drawn. They square off and the Horned creature can't move and can't ram Bloodstrike. Bloodstrike uses his size against him and cuts at him with his sword. He stabs him in the heart and presses the hilt of his sword sending Nanos into the creature turning him back to a human and robbing him of his powers.

The spikey haired electricity user is making his way down a dark alley. He is visibly nervous. He's heard of Bloodstrike and for NuGene Mercs he's like Michale Myers and Freddy wrapped up into one ass kicking package. He hears a noise and stumbles falling into a puddle. A shadow blocks out the moon. Bloodstrike is standing in front of him. He fires an electricity blast that goes right through Bloodstrike and into light pole triggering a feedback of electricity that fries him. Another Bloodstrike comes out of the shadows.
"Good job." he says to his other self. "No problem" says the other self. The other self flickers and disappears revealing that he was a hologram the whole time projected by a device on a nearby wall. Bloodstrike hits spikey hair with the anti NuGene nanos and moves on.

The Trench coat man is hiding holding an automatic sub-machine gun. As he puts the gun around the corner Bloodstrike appears and rips the gun out of his hand tossing it across the room. Trench coat man tries to phase and a current running through Bloodstrike's gloves stops him from escaping. Bloodstrike is about to interrogate him when up from the floor comes the Strong woman who punches Bloodstrike and tosses him around the room. She grabs his arms and breaks it. Twisting it like a broken doll. She grabs his head and is about to crush him when a sound from outside distracts her. The roof suddenly rips off, revealing Shogun! He punches Strong woman freeing Bloodstrike. She jumps at Shogun and they tumble off of one roof on to the roof of a nearby building. She rips off his arm and he hits her with his energy mace. Shogun is about to lower the boom on her and suddenly she is pulled through the floor. Trench coat guy has helped her escape. Bloodstrike stands up his arm dangling. He twists his arm back into place resetting it. He squeezes his hand into a fist. Next time I won't play so nice he mutters to himself.


Maria wakes up violently. Sitting upright in her hospital bed. She rubs her face unaware of where she is. As she rubs her eyes another hand appears brushing back her hair. She doesn't seem to notice. Than a fourth hand appears straightening her hospital smock. She slowly becomes aware of that she has four arms. She freaks out falling out of the bed kicking and screaming. She crawls into the corner of what now appears to be a hospital room.

A voice from across the room comforts her.
"Welcome back to the land of the living Fourplay."
She looks up to see Bloodstrike with his back to her looking over his shoulder at her.

Her screams echo through the deserted hallways.

End issue #1










Friday, October 14, 2011

Robopocalypse

I recently read the book Robopocalypse and was inspired to do a series of digital sketches based on the book. The first is of the character 902 Arbiter Class Freeborn as he appeared in the final assault. From what I've read Steven Spielberg is making it as a movie. Some great scenes in this book. Perfect for movies.

I also included various other robot sketches I've done over time. A Kanye West Robocop mash up. My quick District 9 sketch and a couple others.



























































Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Skeletor Digital Paint Over WIP

Decided to digitally paint over my Skeletor sketch. WIP

UPDATED!

Let's take a peek at the progression of this piece.

Digital Sketch. Skeletor or The Taskmaster?

Adding volume and testing out color schemes. Will paint over most of it before it's done.
Getting into designing the armor and beginning to get all the shapes in the right place.



I'm ADD when it comes to painting. Always experimenting. Keeps it fun.


Skeletor Reboot

I've been watching He-Man on Qubo. A lot cheesier than I remember it but still very entertaining.

Of all the characters Skeletor was always the most interesting one to me. That inspired me to do this quick warm up sketch of him. I have some other way out ideas for what I would do with him. This was just more my Walt Simonson does Skeletor riff.

-k


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Me2 Launches!!!

My latest comic book project Me2 is now available on MTV Geek!
Make sure you check it out and leave comments!
Check out Me2

Monday, September 12, 2011

Emerald City Blues 03 Special Editions

Emerald City Blue is my re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz. It's now on it's 3rd issue and you can pre-order it here: ECB 03 Pre-Order



I've also created two special editions of the first two sold out issues. You can find them here: ECB 1 and 2 special editions

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Superman Reboot

Here is my take on a Superman costume reboot. I wanted to keep the simple idea of the original but maybe tap into the idea of Superman as a streamlined super speeding blur of color. Pushing the symbol as the key feature of the costume.




Sunday, July 17, 2011

Little Tokyo has Pop

Steering clear of the so called Carmageddon I made my way to downtown LA to check out the Future City Exhibit as well as the Art In The Streets exhibition at the MOCA Giffen. The Future City exhibit was interesting more for how they put the show together than the actual material in the show. They used POD self storage containers as mini exhibit spaces that were positioned in two main locations on both ends of Little Tokyo. Such a smart and terrific idea. Instantly inspired me to do a Comic Book/Art Show in a similar fashion. I also spent time checking out an animated short by one of my favorite artists Koji Morimoto. I was hoping it would be presented on a larger screen but it was still fun to watch it projected onto the back of it's own Pod container. Giant Robot was also there with a mini version of one of their stores.

Being that I'm a Comic Book creator/publisher I couldn't pass up the Japanese American Museum 's retrospective on Comic legend and master Stan Sakai and his fantastic creation Usagi Yojimbo. I've always been a fan of his amazing work. A chance to see some of his work up close. A true treat for art and Comic Book fans. A must see.

I also made time for the Art In The Streets at MOCA Giffen. I didn't think it was possible for them to top their Murakami exhibit from a few years back but this is on the same level in terms of scale and a commitment to showing off the grit, the lifestyle and in some cases beauty of so called "Street Art'. All the usual suspects are there Shepard Fairey, Banksy etc The attention to detail and the variety of art work on display is staggering and a welcome. Even the Levi's film exhibit was interesting.

I made my way to my usual haunts. Kinokuniya bookstore and Curry House. From the second floor I saw an interesting store across from the mall. This little shop is called "Q Pop" . The minute you walk in the store it's like entering a whole other mental space.  Part retro James Bond 60's hideout and part Harujuku hole in the wall Art Otaku paradise.  Q Pop it wall to wall with cool art objects. I learned that all the clothes, jewelry, designer toys are all one of kind. I was able to meet the co-owners and they were kind enough to let me take a few shots. The store is co-owned by artist Christopher Mitchell. Christopher is a Emmy nominated storyboard artist on such great shows as Sponge Bob Squarepants, Samurai Jack, Power Puff Girls and is now working for Disney Feature Animation. Q Pop is definitely a must see shop when cruising LA for new and unique artist driven merch.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Anime Manga Pro Am Movement

It seems like I've been watching Anime in one form or another my whole life. I watched Speed Racer, Starblazers and Battle of the Planets as a boy and graduated to Robotech/Macross, Gundam, Akira as a teen.  I always had an eye on the visual style of Anime and Manga and that dominated my artistic style in my formative years and till this day influences what I create. As Anime and Manga have grown and become the dominant form of artistic expression for youth culture I've watched and enjoyed seeing this once so called "underground" style make it's way into the mainstream. In many ways it's followed the same route as Hip Hop and Rock and Roll before it. Growing, evolving, causing controversy and capturing the rebellious nature of youth with it's seemingly outsider cred but with the marketing machine to reach a very wide audience. It's appeal to a diverse group of young people culturally has taken it to a level I don't think anybody expected in the 80's. A combo of great content, Exoticism and the emergence of Anime on Cable TV have pushed Anime and Manga into the Western world in a big way.

I attended Anime Expo this weekend and every year I go I notice the divide between the Anime and the American Comic creator culture grows wider and wider apart. If you walk through the artist alley you will see the difference right away. It's 85-90% female creators. Which at a comic show would be the reverse. The average age of the artists seems to be in the late teens to mid 20s. Go to a comic show the average age of a creator seems to be 30+. The look of the tables is totally different. Every table has a variety of prints displayed above and below the table as well as banners, stands and various shelving. It reminds me of a cross between Open House in elementary school and a homemade school carnival. That's in no way an insult. In fact I admire their uninhibited creativity. They are as much fans as creators. They are consumers and creators of content at the same time. They also sell anything and everything. Homemade Etsy style jewelry and stuffed animals, Mangas, Comics, prints, bookmarks and it seems every type of button pin known to man. They try anything and everything to present their work. They approach it with an "anything goes" mindset to creating product. They don't seem to judge each other because they are above all else part of the same Otaku culture. It's one big creative party. If it's cool to you...you sell it. To me these artists are on the cutting edge of the Artist/Hobbyist/ Pro Am movement. 

The biggest difference between the Anime/Manga and the American Comic community is that most of the Comic creators are either working in the Comic Book industry or in some other visual arts medium. Toys, Video Games, Animation, Special Effects. The Anime artists don't really have a professional medium to graduate up to. They are a soldier without a country so to speak. No matter how big they get selling their work at shows, they will most likely never have their own animated show in Japan and or have their work printed in the world wide Manga industry. The shows and their out reach through Deviant Art and various sites are the height of their expression from a professional perspective. Therefore they go all in with their creativity and work. I for one appreciate what they do. I purchased several Mangas/Comics in the artist alley. As the Pro Am Anime /Manga movement grows and creates a hierarchy I believe soon the fans will want the work of artists that come up through the Pro Am movement as much as the artists who create content from Japan. It seems inevitable that as a group they will eventually put one of their own on the same level as a Japanese creator. On a small level I'm already seeing certain artists beginning to make that leap into that role.

My hope is that the DIY creator culture will continue to grow and become self sustaining and not put creators in a position where they have to sell their work to a large company to get the type of exposure and financial security their ideas deserve. I'm not saying they shouldn't sell their ideas to a big company but it should be one of many options for success not the only one. The Anime/ Manga community seems to be on the cutting edge of this movement. Mainly because they are pushing the boundaries of storytelling, product and digital techniques. They have the freedom to do what they want and they are using that freedom with startling results. Every art form needs fresh ideas and creators that are willing to push the boundaries of what is considered good and acceptable. History has shown that what seemed underground and niche has a way of becoming the mainstream darling in the future. Anime/Manga has proven this. Eventually the storytellers and artists coming up through that movement will do the same. I for one am looking forward to it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Emerald City Blues

Some new images from Emerald City Blues my re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Emerald City Blues Deluxe Edition

For those of you that follow my work. You might have seen my pages from my project Emerald City Blues. ECB is my take on the Wizard of Oz taken in a more mythical context. I explore the darker side of imagination and the perception of what is real and the meaning of existence...oh..and there is lots of fighting and swords....

As a project ECB started in a really unique way. It began as part of 24 hour comic book day. 24 hour comic book day is an international artistic challenge where you try and create an entire comic in 24 hours. I took on the challenge and although I came up short I did manage to pencil 17 pages of the first ECB story and ink 11 of them. It was a lot of fun but little did I realize that was just the beginning of where ECB would go.

In the days following that 24 hour burst of creativity that gave birth to ECB I started to script the pages and began to see the beginnings of a larger story emerge from those first action packed pages. As I finished the pages I would post them on Deviant Art. Much to my surprise the pages began to develop a strong following.

As I started to attend more Comic Conventions I decided to do a small print on demand run of ECB. I sold out of it quickly and went back to print with a new cover and second issue. I sold out of both of those! This lead to me the decision to put ECB out through Comic Book stores. Once I made that decision I started to think how I wanted to present ECB to a wider audience. This train of thought lead to ECB the Deluxe Edition. Which is the original story colored and refined with a few added story elements. The process of pushing this story and art to a new level has been a challenge but very exciting because it's becoming the book I imagined that in that first 24 hours.

I'm posting a sneak peek of Emerald City Blues the Deluxe Edition along with the original pages as they appeared online and in those original print runs.

Best,
Karl


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Free Comic Book Day Recap


Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day and I spent it at Geoffrey's Comics doing sketches for Comic fans. As a kid I worked at Geoffrey's Comics and even though the location and the faces have changed I still feel like it's the place where I first learned to love the art form of comics and met a lot of the friends I still have today.

I arrived at the store before 10 am and there was already a line around the building with kids and Comic fans eager to get some free comics! My nephew Jack road shotgun and the always hilarious and super talented Michael O'Hare double teamed the line of sketch hungry Comic fans. We drew for four hours straight. (South Bay representing!!!) The most amount of requests were for Captain America, Deadpool, Wolverine and various characters from the Kick Ass Comic. Sold some of my sketchbooks and did some of my better sketches of the day on the back of them. I wish I would have snapped a few shots of the better ones. I did a Two Face a Hobgoblin and a Joker I was happy with.
(to get one of the few remaining copies I have of sketchbook click here: Future Flashback Sketchbook

Midway through my good friend Dave Riddick showed up with his sons and fun was had by all. Unfortunately Captain Greedy aka Geoffrey Patterson could not make it because he is sick and recovering in the hospital. Customers of the store signed a huge get well card and everyone gave their well wishes to his son Geoffrey Jr. who now runs the store. Saw some familiar faces from back in the day and had a good time meeting the Comic fans and spreading the Comic book gospel.

As creators we meet readers at conventions which gives us one type of perspective on the industry. I think interacting with fans in the Comic Book stores is a lot different because the Comic store is the front line of the industry. It's where the rubber meets the road in terms of selling Comics and converting people to your work and to the art form. For me talking to the readers and learning what they like and what they are buzzing about was much food for thought. I recommend FCBD it to every creator/self publisher. You meet the fans, you work with the retailers and you have a great time.

-Karl

Friday, May 06, 2011

Flippers Free Comic Book Day

There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of days about people who buy commission sketches at conventions and turn around and "Flip" them on ebay. Over the years I've had different opinions about convention commissions but for the most part once someone buys something from me I feel it's their property and they can do with it what they please. I've had key pieces of art switch hands over the years. Sometime I don't know why the person did it, other times I felt like the art ended up in the hands of someone who appreciated it more. Once you sell a piece no matter the level of emotion you put into it. It takes on a life of it's own.

There was a point where I just did free sketches for people at every convention. I would draw the entire convention and I almost always had a line. I only changed my policy when I found out certain people would hit me up at every show and turn around and sell the free sketches on ebay for $50-$100 bucks. I was not cool with it because it was not in the spirit of how and why I was doing free sketches. I changed my policy to a free sketch if you purchased something. Which seemed to work pretty well. In the end I settled on free sketches for kids and a set price for sketches and for more complex pieces a higher commission price. I've found that sort of weeds out the "flippers" and the people who really enjoy your work seem more than happy to pay for the artwork they want. As recently at the Wizard World Anaheim show I had a collector commission a sketch cover from me and he had one of the guys who does grading come over and watch me draw it so he could get it sealed and verified that I drew it. For him it's obviously an investment. Which is fine by me. If he turns around and sells it five years at a higher price it only contributes to the overall value of my artwork which in the end I believe will benefit me in the long run from a financial standpoint.

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I used to like to go through my old artwork and try and remember the mindset I had when I created it. Now I focus more on what I'm creating at the moment or where I'm planning to take my art in the future. Past artwork hopefully represents a step towards learning something new.

Art for me is about taking an idea or an emotion and realizing it through a drawing or painting or in a printed book. Once those ideas are converted they reside withing the experience I had making the art and the experience someone has viewing or reading it. In that sense the physical artwork doesn't hold a sentimental place in my life. In many ways I'm sure it would have a better "life" in the hands of a collector who will display it or have a deeper emotional connection to the physical art. In this case I don't mind giving the artwork a better life...for a price..ha!

For those of you that don't know tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. I'll be doing free sketches (I still do them from time to time) at Geoffrey's Comics from 10am-12pm. Come by get some free comics and a sketch!
15900 Crenshaw Blvd # B
Gardena, CA 90249-4875
(310) 538-3198
First person to mention Deviant Art will get a free signed issue of Samurai The Graphic Novel!
You can always buy a copy of Samurai The Graphic Novel here: Samurai TGN buy page!

-karl

BLAST Palette 01

For years I struggled with painting and coloring. Mainly because I couldn't separate the color theory from the ideas that going into the rendering (like and shadow/texture). Once I moved them into two schools of thought...coloring became easier to understand. It's still something I'm working on and trying to get better at so I thought it would be fun to share one of my tricks with you. For me coloring can be approached as a graphic design problem. How do I pick the right color combo for my design. In some respects I believe the right color combos, keyed to the emotion of the piece is more important than the rendering.

I keep a palette of color combos that I can pull from no matter what rendering style I use. With a few tweaks I created some combos I plan to use on future BLAST pieces. I have provided them as a download for you to experiment with along with some line art of the original BLAST piece.
Have fun!


-Karl

PS you can buy a limited edition print of BLAST here: BLAST limited edition print






Thursday, May 05, 2011

THOR

Got a chance to see a screening of THOR last night hosted by the LA Times with a Q&A with Kenneth Branagh and Chris Hemsworth. I've always enjoyed the THOR comic and character. If you know me you know Walt Simonson's THOR is in my top five comics of all time. Great epic stories and art. After reading those comics the standard for what a THOR story can be is set pretty high. That being said I didn't have high hopes for the movie. From the trailers it felt more like Hulk and less like Iron Man. After waiting in a huge line for about an hour we were let in. I have to say the LA Times Hero Complex crew was well organized and on point. They managed the crowd got everyone seats and free popcorn and drinks. The theater itself is the sort of IMAX mini screen but was still huge. If you can see the movie in 3D IMAX it's on a whole other level.




(Mini Spoilers ALERT!)










Okay so if you are still reading you don't care about spoilers or in this case mini spoilers. I don't want to give the whole movie away. The story starts out pretty fast paced on Earth but quickly moves to Asgard. Suffice to say Asgard is like this amazing futuristic Jack Kirby/modern concept art mash up that made me think of how f%$king cool would it be to see a New Gods movie. Branagh get's down to not only telling the story but also character building from the moment the movie starts. Despite all the beautiful eye candy not a chance is missed to reinforce and build the characters and every scene is edited to get the information and drama or epic nature of the scene without dragging. He really captured the right balance between a complex comic story and action adventure pacing without cutting down on the actors. It really works as a super hero Shakespearean toned adventure. The actors and dialogue leads with the effects riding shot gun.


I sometimes forget how great Anthony Hopkins is when he is given a great role to wrap his acting skills around. He owns the part of Odin and his father son relationship with THOR an Loki reveals so much about their characters without having him play the part as Johnny the Explainer.

The Frost Giants are played as force of nature and THOR's adventure into their realm is on par with any of the action scenes from LOTR. The Frost Giant King comes off as noble/savage and a bit scary. All well played.

Once things move to Earth Natalie Portman and crew brings the THOR out of water story to life. Natalie Portman comes off very Julia Roberts like in that every scene with Hemsworth is funny, cute or touching. The chemistry is great and Portman earns her Geek street cred back post Star Wars.

As for Hemsworth. He becomes THOR. Maybe it's his acting or maybe it's the fact that I only know him only as Kirk's father in the Trek reboot but he really inhabited the character. I do believe he will be taking over Hugh Jackman's spot as the Geek hunk de jour.

The movie has a ton of Easter Eggs and lots of humor and action. I won't spoil the ending or give away much more. THOR is right up there with the first X-Men and the first Iron Man as far as Marvel movie go.

In the Q&A afterword Branagh discussed his love of the character and the idea that THOR is such a genre mashup and that's what appealed to him as a director. He also keyed in on the selling the relationships between the characters even without the costumes and effects. Obviously he understands the craft of acting and he looks to give each of his actors the tools to put their skills on display. Branagh also talked about the epic nature of Marvel's plans for the crossover of the movies and characters. He seemed into the idea and was very interested in doing a THOR sequel. He also talked about how they did concept art and animatics for at least two more huge fight scenes that he would like to use in other THOR films ending of course with Ragnarok.

Hemsworth talked about how they built a fighting style based of the poses from the comic. This is pretty evident in the movie with certain poses looking like Simonson and others like Hitch. He said they looked at footage of Mike Tyson punching to get the savagery of a hit and get that across in THOR's fighting style. He also talked about working with Joss Whedon on the Avengers and that he was leaving to start shooting it in New Mexico.




In other news I'll be signing and doing free sketches this Sat. for FREE COMICS DAY at Geoffrey's Comics in Gardena from 10-12. Come down and get a free comic and a free sketch!