Saturday, September 24, 2011

ERB Thrillogy

I've been a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs for almost forever. Like a lot of comic book readers in the 1970's I discovered Tarzan and John Carter from reading their DC and Marvel comics and then later on buried myself in some paperbacks. Much later I found out about Billy Byrne, The Mucker, equally entertaining... But, I am really attached to the ERB universe of John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Tharks, White Apes, Mars... I think you get the idea. Painting and drawing the ERB John Carter/Mars characters have always been on my mind but I've always questioned, "where do I even begin"? There's a rich history of amazing illustrations bringing those stories to life by the likes of masters: Krenkel, Frazetta, Kaluta, Kubert, Buscema and Nebres. For many years I have been pretty content with just admiring those images. I'm not even going to begin discussing the upcoming Disney JOHN CARTER film... What you see here are my preliminaries and the finished painting for the ERB Thrillogy cover from Pulp 2.0 Press. The challenge was to showcase the three books: A Princess of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes and The Mucker. Classic characters all on one painting.
Pencil sketch:

On the board with pencils and acrylics:


Monday, September 19, 2011


Earlier this week I saw a color proof for my new piece from The Dialogue Project, which is a series of poems illustrated sequentially by a variety of artists and published as limited edition prints. I made a visit to the Transmission Atelier studio to check out the production and I have to say that I was incredibly impressed (again) at the quality that James Kay captures when capturing and printing artwork. At first glance I couldn't tell the original from the copy.

I've been excited about being a part of The Dialogue Project ever since the publisher, Cory Glaberson commissioned me to do "any poem" that I wanted! And I was equally thrilled that Robert Garcia was going to handle the design of the series as well as lettering the piece. "Orpheus" was finished in time for San Diego Comic-Con but the prints are just getting set to roll off the press. They are available now from the publisher or from the Reel Art booth at any major comic book/entertainment convention.

It all started with the poem from the play, "Henry VIII":

Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves, when he did sing.
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.

Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

-William Shakespeare

My rough sketch as I had originally envisioned.
And while I ended up reworking this rough sketch, it really shows elements of what I wanted it to be and where I eventually ended up.

Blocking in the drawing on the board.
More sketching and influences of Pre-Raphaelite imagery and art nouveau emerged as I began gathering my reference.

And then on to Bob Garcia to be lettered:

(Not Final Version)
Other artist's in the series so far: Michael Zulli, Rick Geary, Mark Nelson and Howard Chaykin. I may be missing somebody...
So, for updates and ordering information please go to their website: