Friday, April 27, 2012

Detective Comics #9 Variant

I had the honor of working on a variant cover to Detective Comics #9! Check it out:

     The idea was simple enough.  Batman fights a bunch of Arkham inmates along with some Talons.  I originally was going to do something different with the cover, but decided to do a big action fight sequence instead.  This was the first time I got to draw some of the talons and I had a blast with these guys.  They are fun enemies to draw.  I penciled this first on DC board and then inked it digitally.  Colors were done by Peter Steigerwald.  I loved his use of reds on this cover!  All in all, I was very happy with the outcome and so honored to be able to draw a variant for Detective comics!


(Penciled artwork is also for sale here as well as the original pencils for the BATMAN #8 variant here)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Most Influencial Artists List

I've had a few days off this week which is a very nice change of pace.  After finishing the Batman Annual I realized I went 40 some days without a break and worked straight weekends in order to get it all done on time.  When you pull something like that, your body needs a break.  I did do a bunch of covers this week and I'm excited to be able to share the artwork on this blog once DC reveals them.

  The nice part about a break is a chance to do a few new blog posts.  Once the Batman Annual comes out I'm sure there will be quite a few new readers and followers to my blog and I thought it would be a cool little post to talk about some of the most influencial artists on my style and career.  They are in no particular order and mostly just a chance for me to sing some praises to my favorite creators and give some insight as to who I look to for inspiration.  So let's begin!

David Finch

  There is so much I can say about Dave but I'll try to keep it short.  This is the guy who gave me my start and helped me reach my goal.  He's had a huge impact on my life, even before I met him. 
  When I was in college, Dave came and spoke to my class about his job.  At that time I had given up on my comic book dreams because I didn't think I had what it took to make it in the industry.  Dave inspired me to try again and shoot for something bigger.  His artwork has always been big with me as well.  His Ultimatum run was a hugely influencial work that helped to solidify the style I wanted to chase. 
  As I've posted before, David has been my mentor and teacher for the past few years.  I had emailed him 2 and half years ago to see if he would give me a few pointers and that turned into a 6 month hardcore comic training bootcamp.  I learned all I know from this guy and his huge heart is one of the reasons I have a job today.  He didn't have to submit my work to DC, or bring me to comicon to show my work to some of the DC editors, but he did!  When I was struggling to reach deadline on my first work (Superman/Batman #70) he sat down with me and helped me race to the finish.  He gave me my biggest break when he asked me to do the final 2 issues of his Batman: The Dark Knight run which helped me earn a DC exclusive contract. 
  Without him helping to get me a job, I wouldn't have even had the money to buy my wife an engagement ring.  I owe a ton to this guy and he has never asked anything in return.  The man is pure class.  David will always be my fav artist and the biggest influence on my art and one of the biggest on my life. 

Jim Lee

  Jim Lee was the first comic artist I ever really followed and an artist I unknowingly followed since I was a kid.  My first exposure to comic book characters came in the form of Bruce Timm's Batman the Animated series and Fox's X-MEN cartoon show.  The designs of the characters looked very close to the Jim Lee designs for the characters and I loved the way that show looked. 
  Years later, in my teens when I started to read comic books, the first DC/Batman comic I picked up was Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb's BATMAN: HUSH.  I remember reading that book and thinking to myself. "This is the ultimate version of Batman" and I believe even to this day it hasn't been outdone.  I know that people who like classic comics will argue with that and maybe say Neal Adams Batman was the best, but for me, Jim Lee captured the ultimate look for Batman. 
  Jim quickly became the artist I wanted to emulate and even to this day I find his influence come seeping out into my artwork.  I began to collect much of his work and tried to copy his style.  His shapes and body anatomy are great and his characters sillouette is so heroic and perfect.  I got the chance to meet Jim at a DC diner in New York last year and I felt like a little kid meeting their sports hero.  After David Finch, I think Jim Lee would be my number 2 influence style wise and I consider his work on HUSH to be the defining book that I read that gave me the goal to persue a career in comics.

Travis Charest

  I found out about Travis Charest after Dave handed me a copy of Charest's Spacegirl collection and a copy of Wildcats/X-Men Golden Age issue.  At first I didn't really know what to think about all of it, but after a few days of looking through it, my mind was blown as to the detail of Charest's work.  If there is one artist in the world that I wish I could emulate 100% it would be Travis Charest.  Sadly, the guy is way to good to even rip off!  I love everything in his work from his cartoony realism, to his amazing line work (both smooth and rough) and his beautifully shaded and painted covers.  His faces have so much personality to them and his style screams his mastery over the medium.  I've begun my quest to collect all of his work and I have a copy of his Wildcats: Street Smarts TPB next to my workspace for constant study and reference.  In my mind, he is in the top 5 greatest comic artist of all time.  Yes, he's that good.  Check out his blog below and you'll be astonished!

Ivan Reis

I discovered Ivan Reis when I picked up the first issue of Blackest Night a few years ago.  I was immediatly blown away by his work, his energy, his texturing, facial expressions and his amazing shadows.  The detail that he pumps into his pages is unbelievable.  I love his line work as well and all of the tiny renders that he puts into his work.  His layouts have been a huge influence on my work as well.  I love his use of the widescreen panel.  Ivan will put 6 or 7 widescreen panels on a page and fill them with all sorts of awesome details.  I've naturally gravitated to this style of storytelling and I love it.  Check out Blackest Night and the new Aquaman series for an amazing look at his work and talent!  Also a shout out to his partner in crime Joe Prado who's inks make Ivan's work sing.

Steve McNiven

Again, Steve is another detail driven artist that I am naturally attracted to style wise.  From his work on Avengers, to his awesome pencils on Old Man Logan to his killer run on Captain America, Steve's work always shines.  He also has a bit of a Travis Charest angle going on as well.  My favorite thing about Steve's work is his faces.  He uses great angles and really captures a great amount of realism in his work.  I've also been gravitating toward his style more and more and challenging myself with trying some of his awesome angles and layouts.

Jerome Opena

In my personal opinion, Jerome Opena is the best comic artist in the industry today.  I still remember the first time I read through Uncanny X-Force and was speachless as to how amazing this guys work is.  He straddles a fine line between ultra realism and cartooniness but it comes together so perfectly.  His shadows as unbelievable and his panel layouts and composition is my favorite in all of comics.  Do yourself a favor, go on Amazon and buy Uncanny X-Force volume 1 (and the other volume he has done once that is released) and study this guys work.  He is the best.

Frank Quitely

I have to admit, the first time I saw his work, I couldn't understand what the fuss was about.  There have been a few artists like that in my time where everyone loved them, but I couldn't see why.  Well, I have to say that the first Quitely book I ever read was Batman and Robin#1 and I was mindblown.  I went back and bought all of his work because I became an instant fan in awe of this guys storytelling and incredible pencils.  He's got a very unique and different style, but draws some of the best comics you could ever read.  All Star Superman is among my top 5 fav books ever and his art on that book was so different from anything I had read at the time.  Batman and Robin #1 was one of the 2 books I had read that made me revisit my dream of being a comic artist (the other was Dave Finch's Ultimatum).  I got to meet Frank as well at the DC diner.  This guy is not only an awesome artist but a great guy as well!

Joe Benitez

  While working for Aspen, the company would graciously bring me out to some of the cons they went too.  My favorite part of the cons was sitting down next to Joe an learning from such an amazing artist.  Joe, being a buddy of Dave Finch, has also been a huge influence in my career, helping to guide me in the right direction and giving me pointers on how to become a better artist and find "my style".  The guy may look gruff, but he's got a heart of gold and has been a great mentor in my career. Not only that, but his art is amazing!!!  Joe's Lady Mechanika is one of the best indy titles around and is some of the most gorgeous art you can find on the stands.  Can't wait for the next con I go to to hang with Joe!

Mike Mignola

Last, but not least on my more detailed list, is Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy.  He is another artist I've come to love recently.  I believe his covers are some of the best in the industry.  His mastery of simplicity and shadow is what makes him so special!


Some more of my fav's

Lee Bermejo

I've been hooked on Lee as of late.  How can anyone not love this guys work.  His art on the Before Watchmen book is going to be legendary.

Tim Sale

Tim Sale's Batman books are my favorite Batman stories of all time.  I got to meet Tim a few years back and he is a great guy.  Awesome artwork, beautiful inkwashes and great depictions of classic characters.

Gary Frank

Another artist with amazing details.  I want to render like him one day!

There are so many other artists that I love but I could go way to long on this post.  Guys like Darwyn Cooke, Frank Frazetta, Olivier Coipel, Esad Ribic, Bryan Hitch, Ethan Van Sciver, Bernie Wrightson, J. Scott Campbell, Frank Miller, Lienil Yu, and Yannick Paquette to name a few.  I'm also sure I'm missing a bunch of guys but I'm hoping this maybe opens up some doors to some other artists out there for you to check out and study!

Monday, April 23, 2012

I've Come A Long Way... And YOU Can Too!

I was searching through the interweb yesterday and decided to plug in my name in google and see what poped up.  I found so many cool goodies that I forgot even existed! 

What you are about to see is some of my work from roughly 5 years ago.  The first page is a flickr account I didn't even know I had, but on it is some of the stuff I was drawing in college!  I took 3 years of animation training (both 2D and 3D) at Windsor's St.Clair College and this Flickr account has some of the drawing I did during that time.  When I look at it, I'm so blown away by how much my art has changed. 
Some of the first drawings in this link were the drawing that I sent to Dave Finch and asked him if he could give me a few pointers.  That's how all of this got started!

Click Here

This second webpage is the first comic I ever did back in highschool.  I can't believe it still exists online!  Take a look and have a good laugh.  My wife and I were looking through this the other night and couldn't believe the progress that I've made on my art.

My First Comic

I wanted to post this to show some of you who check out my work that you can come a long way in a short amount of time.  It takes dedication, lots of hard work and sacrifice, but you can improve and make your dreams a reality! 
  Between my first comic and before I met David Finch, there is at least 5 years of work and progress, and between David Finch and where I am at today, there has been 2 and a half years.  If you're an artist and getting down about yourself and your work, there is hope!  Keep pressing on, look for learning opportunities everywhere and shoot for your goals!

Look what just arrived in the Mail

Getting mail from DC Comics is always a fun time.  Whether it's a box of their montly releases or a few copies of a book I've done, everyone loves getting a package!

These arrived this morning.  It's really quite mindblowing for me to see something like this.  2 Years ago I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be doing variants for Batman.  It's just not supposed to happen this quickly!  Im so thankful to DC, to Mike Marts, Katie Kubert, and Rickey Purdin for putting their faith in me to be able to tackle stuff like this.  Im so excited about my job and my future and this is a very special day for me to see my work on the cover of a Batman book.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Free Comic Book Day Signing at Gotham Central Comics!

MAY 5th, Gotham Central Comics in Mississauga, Ontario.
David Finch and Myself will be doing a signing for Free Comic Book day as well as the Grand Opening of the store.  We will be signing from 12pm til 5pm.  There will be lots of goodies there as well as some new prints from myself.  Come out, stop by and check out the store!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Batman #8 out this week

Batman #8 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is out this Wednesday April 18th!  Don't forget to grab the variant cover edition by myself and colored by the great Peter Steigerwald!

Also, some other news coming soon!  Batman Annual, some other Batman covers and a new project are all on the horizon!