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  Process of a Piece or Prints Ahoy!

I often get asked at convention appearances.... “How long did this take you to do?” When I tell them the answer, they're usually quite surprised. But I'm here to tell you... this doesn't all come together in ten minutes! So I figured I'd try to showcase just how much time and care go into creating one of these art pieces.

First there's the blank page... this is often the toughest part of the process. Trying to decide what's to be drawn, the subject, the setting, the concept. It's all got to start from somewhere, right? But once that decision is settled on... it's a long way away from being complete. Now, I always tell people, whether they're other artists, or fans, or just casual onlookers... I'm NOT a fast artist. The initial pencils can take me anywhere from 10 to 18 hours to completion. Not all in a row mind you, there's coffee breaks in between, perhaps a meal or two... but I'm talking cumulative here. So after that 10 or so hours (and its' usually longer... 10 hours is more like a “sketch” to me sometimes), I finally end up with a pencilled piece of art. I like to work on 11x17 blueline, because I like the amount of area (I call it real estate) to work with. I can make the figures nice and big, and hopefully... end up with something nice and dramatic. Take for example, this recent Hulk piece.

When this is complete, I will then scan the image, making it into a digital file. I then email this off to an inker.

  Now inker's often get a lot of sarcastic comments that they're nothing more then “tracers”, or that they don't have the real skills to be an artist themselves. I'm here to tell you, I don't work with those that have that mindset. Inking is a specialty in itself. Being able to convey texture's and tones, shadows and lights, with just the use of a brush or a pen, absolutely amazes me how they accomplish it. I've worked for years with a gentleman by the name of Jeff Austin, and I'd put his skills up against any of the top talent that may have more name recognition in the business. He does NOT just trace my pencils. He prefers to call himself an “embellisher”... and I'm so glad that he does... and that he likes to take what I've already put down on paper, and try to enhance it. If you find yourself a quality inker, that you work well with... one that seems to envision and help capture the mood, the look of what you drew... hold onto that person! Quality inker's are a rare breed to find. I've had great associations with many fine, talented inkers in my career, but I always enjoy whenever I get to work with Jeff. This was what he was able to bring to this Hulk image. This particular piece took Jeff well over 11 hours to finish. Not because he's slow... but because he's meticulous.
  Then the next step is off to the colorist. It's more then just hauling out the old Crayola's I will tell you! Coloring, as in inking, is a talent and a skill unto itself. I've always said “Owning Photoshop does NOT make you an artist”... nor does it make you a skilled colorist either! I've tried to color some of my work in the past... and believe me, it's much tougher then one would think. They have to possess the skills of a painter, and the savvy of a computer tech, to color in today's industry. Most comics work these days, is all colored digitally, and I would think that's a boon. However, if you're lucky... you can also find “old school” colorists that can do it all by hand! An amazing skill, if you ask me. This Hulk piece was tackled by the talented hands of Micheal Kelleher, who is just such an artist... he can do it by hand, computer, heck he could probably make a cave wall look like a Rembrandt! There's not much the man can NOT do. This was a genuine thrill to see when he was finished, and it was a matter of _____ hours to completion.

So as you can see... it's many hours, and many skills that are brought to bear, to bring this work to you, the fan. But the smile I see on your face when you pick up some of my art... makes it all worthwhile!

Please contact me if you enjoy my work or if you have an interest in obtaining a piece of art for yourself..