Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hobbity Holidays to all, there and back again!

OK, it's finally here! My new Brill/Stockham Christmas card for 2012. This year's theme is, obviously, The Hobbit! I had initially thought about doing one based soley on the designs of the new movie, but since it was going to be caricature-ish and cartoony, I thought perhaps I should base it more on the old Rankin/Bass TV movie. You know, the cartoon one with John Huston as Gandalf and Orson Bean as Bilbo. Thats why the cutesy cartoon version of me is wearing that particular outfit. But when working on the sketches of Bel and Edmund, I realized I preferred the new movie designs for their costumes. Although, in deference to the cartoony style, I gave Bel fantasy comics/games elf ears instead of purely LotR ones. Sorry Bel! Also I liked the movie gollum better for our dog (whose name is actually Gandalf) than the REALLY creepy TV one! I put our other Husky, Luna, in the background as Smaug. Our cats Merlin and Gallifrey are portraying Thorin and Elron respectively.

In any case, it's a bit of an amalgamation of the two, which works for me because I LOVE the old Hobbit movie! And as much as I enjoyed the Peter Jackson movies, I still have a soft spot for the style and watercolor wash elegance of the Rankin/Bass version of middle Earth.

Anyway, happiest of Holidays to everyone and hopefully an even happier new year!

PS: Here is the black and white line art.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Honorable Rabbit-san!

Recently I saw a drawing challenge posted by a site called OzComics on Facebook calling on artists to post their own interpretations of Stan Sakai's beloved comic book character "Usagi Yojimbo" and I just had to toss one in! I love Usagi and have a collection of the books (not quite all of them yet, but working on it) which are wonderful tales told by a master storyteller.

This was the drawing I did for the challenge. It took about an hour and a half...and he turned out looking too much like the Grinch to me, but all in all, it turned out pretty well. I even received a kind compliment form the samurai rabbit's creator, which was a real treat! Thanks Stan Sakai for giving us over 25 years of Usagi's adventures!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brillustrator Artwork Samples

These were a small story sample I did to send to whoever was publishing the comic based on the original TV version of TMNT. The whole style and layout is fun and accessible; geared toward a younger audience. As you can see, these aren't inked. They were meant as penciling samples. the bits of lettering were just guides for me, not meant to stay either.

This was a sample piece I did as a pitch for doing a comic book based on the TV series, "Jim Henson's Dinosaurs!" It's meant to show the art style and general feel I wanted to bring to it, but also to show that I could render accurate versions of the established characters. Don't forget to click on the images for a larger view.

The next three images are the cover art and two pages from "The Power Within", which was a critically acclaimed anti-bullying comic book project I did with Northwest Press publisher/writer Charles "Zan" Christensen. It started as a 24 Hour Comic Day project, but quickly expanded into a full color project published through Kick-Starter donations. I used a youthful, very accessible style for this book, hoping that a fairly wide range of readers would find it enjoyable.

Also, because he was able to get the publishing costs almost entirely covered, Zan has been able to send much of the inventory to schools and youth programs all over the country at NW Press' own expense, which I thought was a really amazing gesture!

This page was done for one of the CLAW (Cartoonist's League of Absurd Washingtonians) comic 'zines. The theme was for CLAW members to draw each others' comics. I chose to draw my own version of my friend Mark Monlux's "Comic Book Critic" pieces. Mark creates cartoon reviews of movies, so I did my favorite movie and drew it in a style similar to his with a format of relating the movie to my childhood that he might have used. Many of his reviews use elements of his life to personalize a movie-going experience.

Here are a few of the 24 pages that were drawn for a defunct project that was going to be a fictionalized story based on a B-list celebrities' life, written by that celebrity. The project was not to be, but at least I have some sequential page layouts to use as samples...

This was a poster design done for Egghead Software, waaaaaay back in the day! We did a series of them with different themes including this one based on Casablanca. They were colored in flat cartoony style, but I made a photostat of this one and hand-tinted it in a more appropriate mono-chrome.

Here are a few random pages of sequential work, including a storyboard for a commercial, three pages from my "Madman" project for CLAW, a page from a personal project called "Dogwood Tales" and finally a comic strip I did entitled "Reptile Disfunction".

Here are a couple of sample pages I did for a project I was working on several years ago. I was inspired by the old "Sword of Conan" comic magazines and wanted to have a similarly illustrative style, since this was meant to be in black & white.

This piece was our family Christmas card last year. Each year I pick a theme, and for 2011 I wanted to do "Star Trek". I based my art style on Mort Drucker's "Mad Magazine" ST parody since the card would be caricatures of us. I, of course, am Captain Kirk! I'm posting it here as an example of an inking and coloring technique.

This pin-up piece was done mostly as a sample dealing with using established characters.

These two color pencil/watercolor pieces were projects I did at Sun Sportswear several years ago. They held a number of licenses to do shirts using characters ranging from Luney Tunes to Garfield, and even Disney! The "Lion King" piece I did was one of the designs we took to the Disney offices in Burbank when we were trying to get the license--which we did! The other was a Christmas card I was asked to create for the company.

Please browse through other pages of my blog to see my comic book sketches and other art projects such as chalking and paper sculpture.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

Sorry about this, but I am a man that likes puns and when I saw the viral video of the little girl who was "tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney", this is the image that popped into my head and I've been dying to do this sketch ever since! So late last night I decided to get it out of my system.

Whatever your political persuasion, please just sit back and enjoy the power of the pun!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hop, Hop and AWAY!

Decided my sketch from The CLAW's last Open Swim meeting, of the long defunct "Hoppy, the Marvel Bunny" needed to be inked. It came out pretty nice, I think. If only I could get someone at DC to do this as a kid's book! ^0^

Meanwhile, next to the inked version, here is my original sketch done at the event. I used red pencil to represent the main color component of the costume, since I knew I wouldn't have time to ink it properly at the event. I used an actual comic book page board because the event was about comic characters and I felt it would give my presentation an air of authenticity.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This is a cartoon done for a new CLAW 'Zine! This one is all about giving classic monsters the "Twilight" treatment. I thought, King Kong as a broody teenager...hmmmm.

I picked Kong on the spur of the moment. Another thing we were supposed to add was to have the character doing something against the "rules" that are established for that character to follow. I thought about making him gay and having him carry a guy up instead of Fay Ray...but that seemed too cliche in and of of itself, so I decided that he would drag a friend up with him because he'd be too shy to bring a girl. Maybe he's still trying to sort out his sexuality. ;) I didn't NOT make him gay... Like so many teens, he isn't sure about what he wants--and he's grumpy about it!

I added a second page to the "Twilight" inspired 'Zine, because we had one cartoonist drop out. This time I did a sequential art page, rather than just a movie-poster style piece.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Justice is a B*tch!

Here's a character design of Sheriff Belinda Moon, the lead character of my upcoming comic: "Dogwood Tales", copyright 2012 Mark Brill, etc, etc.

I wanted to see how the characters from the Dogwood series would look using this style of drawing. I'm thinking about doing the covers using this style. So here is Sheriff Moon, looking ready to take on the world with nothing but courage, wit...and occasionally, a Colt Peacemaker.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rogue Works!

So I saw this post on FaceBook from Dark Horse Comics: "Draw The Goon Art Contest"!
And I thought to myself, "Hey self, I love The Goon! And I love Eric Powell's art--I need to get in on this action!" So last night when I was busy having insomnia, I did this piece. I had been going through one of my Drew Struzan books for inspiration and really liked this technique of using color paper as a neutral background. I hadn't done it in a while and have been wanting to do some new pieces this way, and The Goon seemed tailor made for this style. Anyway, long story short--I did this and sent it off to the contest. I hope Eric Powell enjoys it--that's what it's really all about! A little love for Frankie and The Goon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


So, this last weekend the Tacoma Art Museum hosted an event they were calling the Iron Artist Chalk Off! It was held across the street from the museum on a vast stretch of concrete called Tollefson Plaza in lovely downtown Tacoma, and above are pictures of the piece I labored mightily to produce.

As it turns out, "Iron Artist" was a good name for the event because August 4th turned out to be one of the hottest days this year--at least as far as the Pacific Northwest is concerned. And crawling around on 10,000 square feet of brightly radiating concrete, only made it worse! We were absolutely sweltering! There was virtually no shade at all--although I did post myself next to a little tree in a planter so I'd have access to a tiny patch of shade--but after two and a half hours' work, I was about at the end of my meager resources. I should have made the blackness of space around the figure darker and more completely filled in, but by that time my hands were shaky and I could barely keep a grip on the charcoal! When I got home my face was as red as a beet, for all I wore a protective hat. And I paid for this folly over the next couple of days as my leg and arm muscles forcefully reminded me that they are not used to this kind of exercise!

But I managed to finished my "Teddybears Are From Mars!" design, which I did partially in honor of the upcoming Mars landing. It came out pretty good, and considering that this is only my third chalking event ever and that I had no clear idea in mind before I began this odyssey, I was fairly satisfied with the result.

Thanks to Mark Monlux, (www.markmonlux.com) and Vince of Darkain Multi-Media (www.darkain.com) for taking photos which I have shamelessly re-posted here.

Here is Mr. Monlux's Flikr page showing everyone's drawings:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Return of the Crypti-Creatures!

Three new sketches that I did at Crypticon this year. I had these scanned but needed to transfer and re-size them and only just now got around to it! "The Creature for the Black Lagoon" drawing is the one I had autographed by Ricou Browning, the Creature himself!

Appreciation to my friend Alexsander von Mausheim (who bought the other two and added them to his collection) for allowing me the chance to scan and present them here!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last night was not only the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riot and beginning of the Gay Rights Movement, which is now even more appropriately called the "Equal Rights Movement", but it was also a CLAW Open Swim event which I was hosting. In remembrance of the fore-mentioned anniversary, we chose as out theme: "Alternative Lifestyles of the Super-Fabulous!" My fellow CLAW member Anique Zimmer did that schweet poster illustration and I added the text.

Anyway, the idea was to take an established super-heroic character and decide how they might choose to fly their PFLAG as it were. Initially my thought was to do a drawing of a character exactly as he is, after all--gay people are (and here's the big secret of the gay community) just like everybody else! Except for who the hero was dating, there would probably be no change at all. (And another CLAW member, James Stowe, used that very theme to excellent effect with his recreation of the Spider-man Giany-Sized Annual "Wedding Issue" cover, where everyone is the same, but Spidey is Marty James Watson!)

I decided to NOT to be subtle. I was the host, so I wasn't really competing or anything...and I didn't have a clear, good idea going in. So I just took one of my fave superheroes and GAYve him a rainbow makeover! Before he was a crime-fighter, he tried wrestling...and wrestling singlets are hot, so I started there. I didn't think of the perfect tag-line for the drawing until I got home. "With great PRIDE comes great responsibility!" I HAD to add it in. I thought it was clever, even if I do say so myself.

Anyway, it's just a little rainbow fluff for you to enjoy. ^0^

Happy PRIDE!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This last weekend, I attended Crypticon in Seattle. I did some caricatures and some sketches. One of the sketches I did was of "The Creature form the Black Lagoon", which I was able to have signed by Ricou Browning, the man behind the Creature's mask! He is the only one of the original Universal Monsters that I ever managed to meet, and it was a great honor because, at one time in my life, they were a principle obsession--I used to play "Monsters" with my friends (I was always the Wolfman, btw) and we collected the old Aurora model kits and stayed up late on Saturday night sleep-overs to watch them stalking about graveyards on the Late Late Late Show! We even built "Spook-houses" in my friend Brad's garage. I even had the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" model!

All in all, it was fun and interesting as cons always are to me, but I only just broke even. I did however score a totally cool Plush TARDIS for my ever-expanding Dr. Who collection. When all is said and done--I am still a huge geek!

Anyway, I'll post a few more sketches later.