I'd like to share two pieces of artwork with you. The first one is an illustration I created last night to accompany an interview I did for an upcoming book about Latino comic book creators. Written by Professor Frederick Aldama, the book features interviews with my friends and fellow cartoonistas Carlos Saldana, Rhode Montijo, Rafael Navarro, among others. (And yes, these fellas are linked off to the right!). Slated to be published next year by the University of Texas Press, this book will, as far as I know, be the first major volume to cover the work of independent comic creators of various Latino backgrounds. I was copy-editing the interview over the weekend, and had to send off the illustration along with the edits.
I have to say it was great to be able to have a chance to look over what I said in the phone interview. I've done some interviews where I've read it after publication and thought, "OMG! Did I say that?!" Frederick was a very well informed interviewer, as his questions delved into the individual artist's cultural upbringing and influences, as well as such topics as the 'unique' distribution we have in this country regarding our comics. And yes, I looked over what I wrote about that topic and STILL sent if off!! A great feeling though to be able to actually be a visible part of that particular group within the overall comics industry.
The second artwork I want to share is this painting I'm working on.
This measures 16" x 20" and is acrylic on canvas board. I got into the habit of painting on canvas boards about 2 years ago. For quick, more simplified paintings, I like using this material. To show you a little bit of my process in creating, I took these pics. First pic is, of course, the drawing! I first designed this in my sketchbook, but it didn't take too many sketches to get the compostion. It funny, but I used blue pencil to lay it out on the canvas, then went over it with pencil! (I guess this way if I ever photocopy the painting, the blue underdrawing doesn't show up!)
Here's the first pass of paint. Sometimes I start with the figure, but this time the background just called out to be painted first. I don't why I started with the background though. Maybe it was just to see the defining shape, or maybe it was just to see what all that yellow would look like! The reason I picked the color yellow was A) I usually pick a red background when doing a color piece for El Muerto and B) since I was thinking in terms of a resurrection, Easter came into my mind and yellow just seemed appropriate!
Here's the next pass of colors. The black suit, hair, neck and white t-shirt and logo. It's always interesting to paint the mariachi suit because it's black, so I always have to decide if I want it flat black and dark gray with black shadows. The hair is usually more densely black, with some blue highlights (yes, that comes from Superman's blue-highlighted hair I dug as a kid!). What I like about the design of El Muerto is that from the back, you actually see his logo reversed out nicely against the black jacket. And the white patch of t-shirt you see below the short jacket is a nice design element, I think. I always liked that Superman had an S-symbol on the back of his cape and Spider-Man had that cool spider/ladybug design on his back.....
More blending of colors and indications for wrinkles and shadows. Adding more texture and density to create more weight and really build the figure. I don't claim to have the skill to produce photorealistic paintings, but my personal taste lies more in an expressive creation. In college, lo those many, many moons ago, my first life drawing instructor walked by my charcoal studies and told me "You've got a great expressive style, don't ever let anyone change that." I think I've pretty much let that be my mantra for the last 20 years... As an artist and a person!
I'll come back to the painting and tighten up some details, but I like creating these spontaneously to capture that particualr mood in a quick session or two. Plus, I've already started 2 more paintings in the same size and medium. We'll see those later!