Friday, October 31, 2008

HAL & AL In The New Issue Of COUNTRY WEEKLY Magazine!

Hal & Al's new appearance in the November 17 issue of COUNTRY WEEKLY Magazine, which is NOW ON SALE! This is our fifth or sixth time to be in the nationwide publication and this time it shows Hal & Al with singer/composer Jim Brickman and advertises the Hal & Al Christmas Show! We shot new footage with Jim a few months back and cut it into our Christmas Show, which also features ex-Lonestar lead singer, Richie McDonald! The show will be on Cox Channel 4 and for those who don't live down south, you'll be able to watch it streaming on!

Scott Neely's SCOOBY-DOO Comic Stories Reviewed By Ray C. Tate!

I thought I'd post some nice reviews I'd had seen on the Internet from comic reader Ray C. Tate. Ray has given me some nice praise for my Scooby work over the years now for work that I've done for DC Comics and so I thought I'd post some that I found on It's rare to get public feedback for a lot of the work I've done so when someone does a review I can get a better idea of how I can fix or improve on another job if there was something I screwed up. I usually only hear from art directors, editors, etc. and not the average Joe...So here are some of the things Ray has said about my stuff. Thanks, Ray!

Below each answer in italics with an asterisk are my comments about the stories I drew.

"Night Marchers" isn't much of a mystery. The culprit will seem obvious as will the rationale behind the haunting crime, but Michael Kraiser gets points for breaking from the formula in the conclusion and conjecturing a novel mask for the gang to pull away. Scott Neely relishes the change in setting as well as the change in dress for the gang. Daphne fans will definitely want this issue.

*A fun story to do and I did get to draw the characters out of their normal clothes and dress them appropriately for being in Hawaii. The one small extra I added was the idol around Shaggy's neck is the same idol that Greg Brady wore in the mutli-part Hawaiian episode of The Brady Bunch! I found a screen grab of it and I drew it into my story, though it was so small in the panels that no one noticed. Darn!

This issue of Scooby-Doo also features a delightful short drawn by Scooby-Doo artist Scott Neely. Neely make use of Shag's and Scoob's shared habit of stealing each other's food in an inventive and tasty gag.

*A good and fun little two-pager. I can draw some great 32-decker killer sandwiches!

Three Scooby Snacks offer an appetizing and filling meal for the Scooby-Doo fan. The first story breaks formula somewhat by pre-empting the inevitable "And I would have gotten away with it if not for you meddling kids and your dumb dog!" The writer has the villain make an escape, as it appears Scooby has been cloned. Believe it or not, even with the clone, the writer maintains the fairplay mystery tradition of Scooby-Doo. His clever solution also creates a situation that allows the fake ghost d'jour to use the formula against Mystery Inc. Scott Neely turns in a palatable action-packed episode with a full range of motion more in synch with What's New, Scooby-Doo? rather than the classic limited animation of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

*Had problems with the script. It was a longer story and was shrunk down to a smaller page count so there are flaws that weren't fixed. I built a backstory to the mad scientist that the scars on his face were caused by Mystery Inc. at some point in the past. It was a cool idea in case we were going to use him again, but we never did as editor Mike Siglain had moved on to other DC titles at the time. Also we were into the "What's New" look at that time so I kept it on model and as exciting as I could to that modern series.

Former Batman writer Scott Peterson finds a very clever way to make Scoob's and the gang's encounter with a UFO plausible. He takes an inventive swipe at Britney Spears' name while punching out another fairplay mystery. In addition he includes and unusual guest star and features in the story a rare occurrence, Daphne driving the Mystery Machine. Scott Neely offers very streamlined looks for Mystery Inc. that of course still fit with their traditional image. He saves the complexity for the insides of the UFO and expands the scope of the story with a backdrop filled with uniquely illustrated extras.

*I liked the story. A few panels that I wanted to redo, but the alien ship interiors I liked a lot and I went all out on them.

Vito DelSante's "The 13th Floor" gives the gang a bit of history as Freddie visits his detective mentor Adan Stone, currently embroiled in an unusual case of poltergeists. The setting is unusual, but DelSante doesn't provide enough motives for the caster of phantoms. The clues are practically non-existent, and you really can't call this a fairplay mystery or much of a detective story. Where he atones for these deficits is in the kitchen scene, which allows Scooby and Shaggy to provide some genuinely humorous bits, inspired by the show. Scott Neely does some spectacular work in these pages. There's a cute moment when Adam Stone goes down to Scoob's level to pet him and explain the problem. I've always enjoyed the fact that everybody accepts Scooby as a talking dog and nothing out of the ordinary. Neely provides slapstick moments courtesy of Shaggy and Scooby, and a charming Daphne Blake.

*Another story I liked. The action and some of the panel layouts I really loved in the end since these scripts are so darn wordy sometimes an extra word balloon can kill a panel layout. Daphne came out looking really nice in some shots.

In the first wintery Scooby-Snack, Mystery Inc. heads for the slopes to cheer their friend toward Olympic greatness. What they find is a yeti with a yen to sabotage their friend’s desires. Robbie Busch really goes all out for this one. The fairplay mystery works beautifully. He gives the reader numerous suspects. He also amusingly adds an adult subtext that’s definitely European, and therefore fitting to the cast. Busch’s jokes hit the funny bone, and his characterization goes above and beyond the original models. Frankly, this first story is enough to warrant purchase. As a bonus, the second story by Scott Peterson intrigues with a locked room mystery that also plays fair with the reader. Bonus points for Daphne being the one to solve the mystery. Finally, John Rozum provides an informative Japanese oddity for the remaining pages. Dan Davis illustrates Rozum's object lesson and despite the scant length still manages to put plenty of character into Scooby, Shaggy and Velma. The art by Scott Neely and Tim Levins in the main short stories bring the Gang to life, make good comical use of Scooby and Shaggy and offer detailed backdrops for the sleuths to explore.

*One of my favorite stories I drew and it was the last one I drew under Mike Siglain's editorship. I was a little dismayed that it featured yet another snow monster and I had drawn like eight snow monsters in my nine years of drawing Scooby so trying to design a new version of one was hard.

"Aaaar!" Writer Robbie Busch, artist Scott Neely and Heroic Age turn toward a storm cast by Long Gone Slivers in "Kickin' Pirate Booty." The characters have a little more salt to them than usual, and aye, but Daphne bedecked in a purple glittering gown is a fetching addition to any crew. The Gang pieces together the clues and finds their formula for mystery set adrift in favor of a clever twist. "Aaaar!" Finally broaden your mind with John Rozum's two-page treatise on the Kraken. A horrid beastie that one, and rendered accurately by Neely.

* I drew this for Mike Siglain, but it was published under Jeanine Schaefer's turn as editor on Scooby. The one geek moment is that in one panel as Velma holds a picture of Freddy and his friend from when they were kids, I drew Freddy as he looked on "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo!" I hoped Scooby fans would have noticed but no one did or at least never told me they did. Oh well... The second story which was a two-pager with the Kraken was drawn in two-days and was pumped out. I love the layout of the second page with the Kraken destroying the pirate ship. Very cool!

It's the back to school special of Scooby-Doo! Behind an inventive cover, two stories, which could have been repetitive, distinguish themselves with a perfect example of how to vary themes. The lesson learned in How to Draw the M.I. Gang doesn't go as planned, and everything adds up to a yummy Scooby-Snack. Friday Night Frights by Robbie Busch keeps the Gang in good cheer with superb-character based jokes, and an attention to the Gang's camaraderie. The mystery's solution is a no-brainer, and it's still fun to watch Mystery Inc. piece together the puzzle pieces. Scott Neely makes the most of a good monster design, and he buddies Busch's gags with fitting poses some of which he must imagine without the benefit of a model. For instance, the bit where the Gang split up benefits from Daphne's big grin. Not seen on the show but extrapolated for the comic book beautifully. Sholly Fisch has some fun with How to Draw the M.I. Gang. Scooby and Shaggy act as teachers for these art lessons, and all four of their illustrative teachings go horribly awry. Neely tweaks the nose of Wizard magazine. His lessons are just as informative as their recent Learn to Draw books.

*One of my favorite books simply because I got to be in a Hanna-Barbera style cartoon! I remember when editor Jeanine Schaefer gave me the script and told me that when Shaggy and Scooby pull the mask off of the ghost that it was me underneath, so that was quite a thrill! I remember talking to Mike Siglain about it and he wasn't sure or not if they could print my actual name as a character for legal reasons or something. Like they'd have to have Scooby call me "Rott Reely!" Thankfully, they didn't do that and I got my little moment of glory. I still have the four original pages of art that I kept for myself. The first story for the issue was typical Scooby fare, which is ok. I wish I could have tweaked the monster a bit more but I can live with it. Doing a comic story is different than drawing one for an animated movie. You have to pump out a villain and supporting characters as you go since the deadlines are usually pushed too tight. There are moments that I like though in it.

SCOOBY-DOO 124 (Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! DVD Movie Adaptation)
Neely's and Davis' art (Davis inked the first 10 pages) is impressive, even more so when you consider that Scooby-Doo is an all ages title and always considered less important than the titles meant for a so-called sophisticated audience. Neely throughout the panels never veers from the model of Hanna-Barbera, and he generates through natural poses and a few costume changes personality in Mystery Inc. His Scooby and Shaggy provide the wild takes, and his illustration of Cunningham's cryptozoologist perfectly suits the dialogue and imagines how Hanna-Barbera might have brought the character to the pages. A background rich in detail and a genuinely fierce looking “creature” added to the diverse cast make Neely’s art particularly special. I would love to see the illustrations enlarged in an oversized volume. This issue of Scooby-Doo has some gems, but the weight of the captions and the preposterous motive of the monster make the foray into the snow a tough slog.

*My favorite comic I did thus far. It was a whole 20-page story and I threw myself and everything I had into it. I wish I had done the cover too but it was done early for sales. It also came really close to being Scott Neely's version of "Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!" since I got the reference and model sheets just in a nick of time. Thanks to my friends at WB Animation for helping me get it overnight so I would still be on schedule. I was fried toward the end of drawing it since I was also doing other work at the time and I got Dan Davis to ink the first ten pages for me. I inked the last ten since they were my favorite pages and featured more action. It was WAY TOO WORDY though. We did cut a lot out of the script but it was still overdone. But what can you do when you have to adapt an hour and half movie into a 20-page comic?

No mistake. One Bullet. The art in the second story by Scott Neely and Dan Davis in addition to a particularly interesting supporting character are the only good things I can list for this issue of Scooby-Doo.

*My cover art for this issue makes it worth it to buy it! The cover was so good that it was also used as a cover on the free holiday issue of "Comic Shop News"! Scooby has NEVER been on there before so it was great to get more exposure for it!

The first tale by Keith Champagne moves along swimmingly and while the careful reader can deduce the nature of this particular monster, the otherwise perfect story is hamstrung by an additional explanation that's completely unnecessary and contradictory to what's seen in the panels. Those panels by Scott Neely are perfectly laid out and filled with cute extras. El-Chupa differs strongly from the reports given alleged eyewitnesses of the legendary goat-sucker. In Scooby-Doo, he looks like an Aztec werewolf, but given the mystery, the appearance of El-Chupa is immaterial.

*It was to be goat-like but I can see where it came off like a werewolf. It was another of my favorite stories I drew and the opening splash page is awesome! I'm very happy with the end result! A great story with not as much dialogue, though there were a couple of panels that the word balloon placement killed some of the detail in the art...

I'm calling foul on John Rozum and Scott Neely for the Calchona, the subject of their latest bestiary. This monster looks like an escapee from an original series Star Trek episode -- think horned white ape suit, and his behavior emulates Yogi Bear. Nope. Not buying this beast as a bona fide legend, perhaps the delusion of one drunk storyteller that Rozum overheard in a bar one night.

*OK, so they all aren't gold. It does kinda look like a Mugattu from Star Trek! Ha! What was I thinking as I jammed this one out? I drew it fast and the story was lame (it was a filler story done in an emergency) and I remember asking the editor to take the dialogue out so the monster didn't speak. I lost that battle and he does come off like a Yogi Bear character. Oh well...we'll get them next time!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Protecting People From The Evil Dai Shi Clan! - Prelim Sketch for POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY Book 4!

Here's a sketch prelim for y'all! I did this rough for one of the new spreads for Power Rangers Jungle Fury (Book #4) called Enter The Wolf! I'm almost done the pencil stage of it and it's proven more difficult since there is a TON of detail on the villains of this story! I've got about 5 spreads left to tighten up from my thumbnails. This art that I'm sharing will have their three animal spirits floating behind the Rangers. I do it all separately so that I can play with the composition in the computer later once I scan the art...

In other news, I also got a new Scooby project this week from Schibsted in Sweden called The Forest Phantom to pencil now as well for a December 1st deadline! Moving right along I'll start that mid-next week after I finish the Rangers roughs! Also this weekend, I have to finish a new Alfie cartoon and layout the new issue of DCM Magazine! We got a great interview with James Bond actor Daniel Craig so I have to lay that out as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

POWER RANGERS JUNGLE FURY - "The Force Of The Elephant" Kids Book Final Art!

Here's a bunch of spreads for the 3rd Power Rangers Jungle Fury book called The Force Of The Elephant! This was just finished the first week of October and it came out great! Very happy with the work here though it was a mountain to climb as well to get it done on time. Candy did a great job helping me again to get this thing done as I got the manuscript for the 4th book (and last of the series) in the middle of finishing the job. I'm doing the tight pencils for it this coming week (I did the thumbnails and layout this past week and it features the Purple Wolf Ranger in the story)! This 3rd story has the Power Rangers getting help from Master Phant to help them defeat the Pangolin and the Dai Shi! Enjoy!

POWER RANGER JUNGLE FURY - More "Fangs And Fury" Kids Book Final Art!

Here's some more final spread art for the 2nd of four kids books I'm doing for Power Rangers Jungle Fury! It's called Fangs And Fury! These came out great! Candace Bell was a big help in getting these colored and done on deadline, which was tight for it! I strived to keep it as accurate as possible so that even a hardcore PR fan will like the work and see that we did it justice! There will be text boxes over certain parts of the art to tell the story. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

...And Yet Another HAL & AL Concert Ad!

...And yet another ad for Hal & Al's concert coming up at the end of November! This ad will run in The Advocate daily newspaper in Baton Rouge! It will run everyday for three days in a row leading up to the event on the 30th. Really had to rearrange some stuff to make it work in this design's 'live area'. I also had to add the "Free Photos With Santa" line and a blurb about the Baton Rouge Christmas Parade that Hal & Al will be attending as well!

ROBERT WAGNER NATURE WATCHES - Conceptual Watch Design Done In The Late 90's

Here is the final color art I did with color markers for a watch line that The Mint was doing for actor Robert Wagner. I don't know why he had a nature watch but I worked on it. At any rate, these rough color finals were to show the look of the final designs for the leather watch band itself. The actual watch band art would have been etched into the leather or rather it would have been used as a guide for the artist doing the work. This scan is from a color copy of the actual work so it lost a little something-something. This was also one of the 4 or 5th things I did at the beginning of my time at The Mint. I was still learning the ropes of office politics and back-stabbing and the drama of betrayal that was always going on there. It was kinda like Survivor and you had to align yourself with certain people over another group. Like Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm... only with adults. It reminds to this day why I love to work at home than in a studio! Artists can sure be whack-a-doos!

FORCED PERSPECTIVE DEER STATUE - Conceptual Design For A Sculpture In The Late 90's

Here is a forced perspective deer statue that I did some sketches for. This is the one I liked most as a concept. It was to be a 8" tall statue that if you looked at from the front would give you the impression that the deer was far up the hill and away from the hunter's cabin when it was actually right next to the deer! Cool concept! It was to sit on a Cherry Wood Base. This was done in mid-'99 and I used a simple cross-hatching style to do it. It needed to be done fast so there was no time to really work it. Enjoy!

DRAGON & WIZARD BELL JAR - Bell Jar Conceptual Design Done In The Late 90's

Here is a dragon and wizard bell jar design I did for The Mint in spring or so of '99. I remember I drew some designs for it as I was working on Pokemon art. The end of my time at The Mint was near at that point and they were falling apart and were doing more stuff on the cheap so we didn't really fine tune these concepts as I might have before on my earlier work with them. This bell jar was to be produced as a miniature with a height of about 4" I believe. It was a small line they wanted to do, which I don't even know if they did make in the end. I have others, but I liked this one the best. A basic Wizard attacking or summoning a dragon. You fill in the rest...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SCOOBY-DOO - "I Want My Mummy!" Comic For Sweden!

Here is a new Scooby-Doo story I drew and word ballooned for an overseas Scooby publisher in Sweden called Schibsted Forlagene. It's called "I Want My Mummy!". A typical kind of Scooby story that I really loaded with detail AND, as usual, I wound up killing parts of my art with the balloons again. The one thing I really liked about doing it is that I had complete control over the placement of the word balloons, which is a crap shoot when I do art for DC Comics over here since someone else does the job and sometimes you get that misplaced or jammed in word balloon that makes me cringe. I'm of the old school that each word balloon should be a piece of the art and meld with it to make a unified cohesive piece of art that has balance and beauty to it. At least that's what I strive for, but I usually get over-written scripts that have way too much going on and everyone has a balloon to say something in...and that's sometimes just one panel out of a nine-panel layout...but I digress.

I also did a fair amount of reference of Egypt and the clothing styles to keep it as accurate as I could. The first panel with the restaurant is one example, though the word balloons really killed the detail of the restaurant in the end. If people request it, I'll post the original balloonless art so that you can see it in all it's unfetted and winsome glory. Ha!

For the benefit of the readers of my blog who like Scooby and wouldn't get to see the final work over here in America, I did the English translation version of the story for you! I did this for two reasons. One, so that I could get an accurate size for each word balloon and how the dialogue would fit in nicely and two, so people could at least read it over here! Click on each page image for the larger readable one! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dr. Seuss' THE CAT IN THE HAT - Salt & Pepper Shaker Conceptual Design In The Late 90's

Here is the final concept art, in color, for a Cat In The Hat salt and pepper shaker I got the chance to work on at The Mint in the late '98 or so. This final drawing based on the pose that was liked the most and I was lucky that they allowed me to ink the drawing to match a Seuss drawing style that was in the book. I also kept the colors to a minimum and used the palette that the original Cat In The Hat books used. The Cat himself is the pepper shaker and when you take him off the ball he's sitting on, the ball and objects around it are the salt shaker. I still like how it turned out and it had good anchors on it to make it a nice item...or so I hoped. It was inked on bristol board with a brush and then colored with magic markers.

Below are some pencil designs that were done working out the ideas of what could be, but were not chosen. They were drawn on vellum with a mechanical pencil to get the finer details worked out. I'm posting these since they came out looking really nice!

I like some of these fun designs, the end, it didn't make it past the prototype sculpt phase. Why you ask? Because it was really flimsy and delicate even though the prototype was solid. It just looked too dainty, and in the end, it would have been a much better idea to just produce it as a statue. I remember holding the prototype in my hand and shaking it gently to get an idea of how it would work and I was scared to touch it! The Cat's thin body and arms just looked too breakable. They should have made the limbs thicker but then it would have been off model. I couldn't imagine how they were ever going to package and ship these out without any massive breakage. And in the end, the 'Powers That Be' came to the same decision...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

HOLLYWOOD HAL & RHINESTONE AL - Artwork For The New Christmas Music CD!

Here is the new finished artwork for the new Hal & Al Christmas music CD titled Christmas In Wannabeeville, USA that is in production now! I'm awaiting the proofs from Oasis CD manufacturing so that I can sign off on it and it goes to press. This will be our first Christmas CD for Hal & Al and I've been after Scott to do one for Hal & Al almost since the beginning. This will be a FREE music CD and will be given out at the concert on November 30th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to the first 1,000 kids who attend! We will also have them to hand out in the month of December for other Hal & Al appearances! We thank our sponsors and we thank for picking up the tab for this fun CD! You can click on the images to see the bigger artwork! I left the CD tray grid on the image of Amie so that you can see how I had to frame her to make it a great design that isn't blocked by that tray! I'm pretty happy with this CD design and I can't wait to see the finished product in my hand!

UPDATE: One of my friend's inquired who Amie Comeaux was, so in the interest that others may want to know as well, you can go to:

HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS - New Logo For Scott Innes' Yearly Charity

Here's the new logo I whipped together for Scott Innes' yearly charity thing. Done in about an hour after I played around with finding a font I liked. It's simple and was done for a small area on the website where people will be able to click and donate. The second design is the same, but I had to add the Neighbors Federal Credit Union logo to it since they are a sponsor for it as well and they need a logo for their clients to see for their own site and emails they will send out.

The last logo here that is all in red on white is will be a one-color t-shirt design that will be made. I like the simplicity of it and how it's kind of 'boxed in' to frame it better. It should be up on the wynk site by the end of the week!

UPDATE: The logo is now up!

Monday, October 13, 2008

SCOTT INNES "WARM & FUZZIES" - Music CD Art & Design!

Here is the final artwork for Scott Innes' new CD called Warm & Fuzzies! This is a free CD that will be passed out at promotional events that Scott and WYNK Radio will be doing. It's a lot cooler than a t-shirt that most places do and it has songs and other feel good Christmas things on it that Scott has done on the radio over the years at WYNK (WYNK 101.5 in Baton Rouge). I did the CD art two weeks ago and it's now being manufatured at Oasis CD Manufacturing (where all our Hal & Al stuff is manufactured as well). The cover art with Scooby is a tweaked piece of art that was used on a cover of a Scooby comic I did a year ago. I had to digitally fix it make Scooby look like he was sleeping and reorganize the layers of the art to make it work for a CD cover format. The back cover uses elements of the Christmas card I did for Scott a few years ago. I reused a lot of stuff to get it done in between all my other gigs I got going on so I'm glad that this wasn't a four or six-panel CD layout. Being just a two-panel folder layout helped to keep it simple without craming too much in. I think it came out looking great! Thanks to Rollin' Homes for sponsoring it! You'll also be able to download all the tracks for FREE at when it is released officially! Who doesn't like free stuff?!


Here's the new full page ad for our Hal & Al live concert in November in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! This ad will run in the new issues of City Social magazine and Baton Rouge Parents magazine as well as The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. Come one, come all! First 1,000 kids get our new Hal & Al Christmas CD for FREE! I'll be posting the final art for that in a few days, but you can see the cover for it on the ad! Boo-Yah!

INDIAN PHOTO KNIFE - Conceptual Knife Design Done In The Late 90's

Here is an Indian 'Photo' Knife design that I did toward the end of my time at The Mint. It was to have a seraded blade and a wooden-carved handle with silver ends. There were to be some kind of gems placed on it, and I did red rubies since I thought it looked good and complemented the colors more. Blue would have worked too I think. It was a much more simplified knife than the other dragon ones I posted on my blog. The open area was to be where a photo of Geronimo or some other famous Indian figure was to be placed. I can't remember who it was supposed to be at this point though. The knives were always drawn on graph paper first to get the design balance down and then we would redraw the knife onto white paper, tracing paper or vellum and then do the color. This was colored with magic markers and some colored pencils. The sheen across the blade was done with blue pastel.

DOWN ON THE FARM - Old Ford Farm Tractor Conceptual Design Done In The Late 90's

Here's a side view sketch of an old Ford farming tractor I did for The Mint in mid-'98. Don't know what kind of model number tractor it is was since the piece of art wasn't labelled. There were a few I did but I wasn't really a 'gear head' so I just kind of did the art relying on the reference being good. You can see the paste-overs and fixes I did on the bigger version of it. We did work quite a bit for the reproduction end of things and didn't work for the original art end of it since no one would ever see the stuff outside of the artists who did further work on the stuff. Now the GUNSMOKE stuff I did and posted was done to be seen on products and so I kept the original art clean and mistake free as I could.

SAINT FRANCIS - Conceptual Design For A Sculpture In The Late 90's

Another conceptual design today for a sculpture/figurine based on Saint Francis. I think it was to be a Porcelien figurine but I can't remember now. It was to have a base on it with a bunch of animals around him in the verbal concept that was talked about and so I drew it based on a checklist of what they wanted to see. From that I did three drawings of it and this was the final version. Just pencil and no color. This was done at a time when the layoffs at The Mint first started to happen in mid-'99 and people were panicking, and even the art seemed to reflect the inner turmoil of the company. The art directors would tells us that the pencil sketches were fine and no color was needed on a lot of stuff. The cheaper the art the better, in a sense that they'd just give the drawing to a sculptor and they'd make it into a prototype and worry about a color palette later on. A lot of stuff was designed completely from every aspect before it was even considered worthy to give it to a sculptor or artist. They were cutting back and if they could save money but not having me color it, it was to their favor so I just left it with some crosshatching.

I'd also like to note that on this art you can see that the doves are all touching in one way or another and they take off from the ground. For those who aren't familiar with sculpting, you always need to anchor everything to give it support. Delicate or flimsy sculptures will make it impossible to pack and ship worldwide. They would most likely add a super, thin wire that would run down the center of the doves somehow to give it an added support. It would also depend on the sculptor as well since they weren't told to mimick the drawing exactly. If something needed to be fixed design wise they did it, so in a lot of cases the final product only matched the conceptual design in minimal ways after it was produced. The rule of thumb at The Mint was "to first and foremost make a design as exciting and interesting to look at, and then you figure out how to manufacture it" and also how you'll pack and ship it to collectors. Since this was toward the end of The Mint's collectible manufacturing portion of the company, they went straight to the "How are we going to manufacture it?" stage. I still like it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

MORGAN LE FAY - Conceptual Design Of 'The Enchantress' For A Sculpture/Figurine In The Late 90's

As her name indicates, the figure of Morgan appears to have been originally a fairy (Le Fey) rather than a human woman. Later transformed into a woman, and King Arthur's half sister, she became an enchantress to continue her powers.

This was my final version in full color of a sculpture/figurine of Morgan le Fay I did for The Mint in the late 90's. There were about 4 or 5 other pencil versions that I did of her with the cat around her as she was conjuring up some spell. I tried to make her sexier than the normal dress of the day since she had a sexuality to her that her character demanded. Because of the timeline to get it done in color I painted the final art with Magic Markers and highlighted some aspects with colored pencils. The original art was around 11" x 11" on tan-colored Canson art paper.

This image is a scan off of a color copy of my original art. The original was much more vibrant and popped off the page a lot more, but since this is a scan off of a 2nd generation copy of it, it has lost a lot. The Mint had a good color copier in it and everyone used the thing so much that when I went to make my copies at the end of the day of stuff I did, the copier needed a cartridge change or had some other issue with it, so some of my design art is what it is. They kept all the art and the only art I got out with when the place was going under was my original GUNSMOKE and Old West stuff I did since that was my favorite art I did there, though I wish I had snagged this on my way out. It's been 10 years since anyone has seen this art as it's been in my archives. Enjoy!

EASY RIDER - Pewter Sculpture Conceptual Design Done In The Late 90's

Here's two versions of a final design I did for an Easy Rider Sculpture for The Mint in the late 90's. These were the final versions though there were plenty of roughs with different moments of the film being immortalized in pewter. It was the same idea as to what I did with the Audrey Hepburn figurine that I posted last. Not sure why this design was the one chosen. Maybe it was to appeal to motorcycle collectors more than some of the other designs which had the characters taking more of the focus? The reason I'm posting the pencil version is for you to see the alternate version of the text logo that I did. We ultimately went with the 'engine plate' logo as you can see on the toned version. It was supposed to be a pewter statue with a limited use of bronze mixed into it, so I used magic marker as a simple guide as to placement. The cool thing about the base plate was that I designed it to be in the shape of America and if you saw the other viewpoint I did of it looking straight down from the top you could see the familiar shape. Then once the figures and bikes were added they'd be 'traveling across America' as they did in the movie. I thought it was a cool idea. There were more sketches as well done for it, and there was one that had Jack Nicholson's character sitting on the back of Fonda's bike, but I think we had to take him off for licensing reasons. As I recall, not sure though, we only had the rights to Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper likenesses.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

AUDREY HEPBURN Conceptual Design Art For A "Breakfast At Tiffany's" Figurine In The Late 90's

Here are some of the sketches I did of Audrey Hepburn for a proposed figurine that The Franklin Mint wanted to make in spring of 1999. I was called into the main art director's office from my cubicle in the art department and he told me about what they wanted to produce, but that he wasn't sure at that point what film or moment from Audrey's life that they were going to bring to 3D life. He told me I'd be working on it and he'd have more info after lunch and for me to go to the Mint's library and start to get reference on her. So after lunch I went to the Library (which was one of the nicest libraries I've ever been in. They had a LOT of great reference books on all kinds of things and some I'd used for outside projects such as my original Scooby-Doo audition to help me with the backgrounds I had to draw!) So this first sketch above was a pen and ink that I whipped out trying to get a likeness on Audrey in 2D. I drew it from a shot from Breakfast At Tiffany's, which I thought would be the movie that the 'suits' would want to work designs around since it's her biggest and best film she ever made to my mind.

After lunch I sat with the art director again and we talked about the approach I would take. It was to be a figurine based on the Breakfast At Tiffany's film and I had a copy of the movie on VHS which I had gotten from the library to watch and get ideas for possible 'scene' diaramas that I could come up with. There were about 10 or so scenes that I drew up and here are some of the best ones that I really liked...

Now in the midst of drawing up ideas, I was also told to come up with a static pose that could possibly be made of just Audrey standing there looking into Tiffany's window as she does in the beginning of the film. Now, the funny part is that I was told that this was the LAST THING that we wanted to do and the direction was really to make something special and unique that a Hepburn fan would love to own that they normally couldn't get from anywhere else. There was, in fact, a $20 Barbie doll version of Audrey in the SAME exact kind of pose and dress coming out relatively soon and it would be hard to compete with a much cheaper version that could actually move since it had joints. Plus, it had a lot of cool little props that you could take and play with. Mattel did a superb job with it. I drew only one version of Audrey standing in the famous pose (which is directly below) and had an overlay of acetate with a pair of glasses pasted on. They wanted to have that design add-on so you could take the sunglasses on and off of the figurine if you so desired.

This last drawing is my's the scene at the end of the film when Holly (Audrey's character) jumps out of the taxi cab and runs into the alley to search for Cat. It's a pivotal scene in the film and the perfect closure. I kinda wish they had gone with this concept since it was so unique and I thought Hepburn fans would have love to had this as a figurine. In the end...they chose the boring standard pose that is above. Ugh...
As I sat back in the art director's office I asked him why after all that work did they just wind up doing the safe and boring design that they didn't want to do in the first place? He just looked at me and said, "What can you do?" Ah, corporate suits know how to run stuff into the ground and we're just cogs in the wheel. This was kind of the beginning when I knew The Mint was on the downturn. It really hit the skids soon after when we were doing the Speed Racer 'Mach 5' car, which is another story all together...

At any rate, enjoy these designs for what they are and what could have been!