Over the Christmas break I was commissioned by my father to paint a portrait for my mother featuring her and the newest edition to our family, my nephew Ryder Enrique. As we were deciding what the image should be I remember seeing this pic grace my phone during the first weeks after his arrival. While it may have been just another pic in a series of many on one of the almost daily trips my parents took to visit the newborn, it stood out to me. I suggested the following image and away I went.

The source pic

I like to stretch my own canvases.
Canvas prep

under-painting sketch

Shaping up

The finished piece
Came in at the nick of time, finishing it right before gifts on Christmas day. Needless to say it left everybody speechless, so I'm glad we saved it for the very end of the gift exchange. Now there's a new painting up at my parents' and they can start to put away all the undergrad work they have hanging up. 😒

Happy New Year 2019!


Inktoberfest '18

And now a grand post to showcase all of this year's Inktober work is here, scanned and ready for your gawking pleasure. Most of these pieces are packed up and thrown in my Originals art bin that I bust out at local shows like Comicpalooza. A few I do wanna keep and still a few others have already been sold. It's noted which ones. So, if ya really like a piece holla at me and I'll pull it and set it aside. I can also tell you the price. Or you can stop by at Comicpalooza this year and rummage thru the stack yourself.
Most pieces are around 11" x 15", ink on nice Bristol illustation board.

#1 - Two explorers beware the Poisonous Ground

#2 - A Tranquil overlook for our hero

#3 Jordy Benedict III erupts in tears after seeing his friend Pedro has been Roasted for Thanksgiving dinner

#4 Screamin' Jay Hawkins casting spells

#5 Chicken. This piece was a failed piece about a giant chicken attacking a human. Incomplete and yet it SOLD.

These next two pieces are done on 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" paper, drawn on location visiting friends in DC. Vacation don't stop Inktober.
#6 Drooling. Done on location visiting friends in Maryland/DC. Also coulda been #7

#7 Exhausted. Biddy's 1028 CU Rat Motor pod racer leaving all that exhaust. Also done in DC.

#9 Precious. How Greta came to us.

#10 Flowing. Like a 40 drinker when he takes a piss.

#11 Cruel. As in Cruella deVil, rollin on swangers.

#12 - Whales.
#13 - Guarded

#14 - Clock. In this land, time kills you.
#15 Weak. Me and baby brother moving a heavy couch.
#16 Angular. 
#17 Swollen. A Swollen pickle playing a Swollen Pickle.
#18 - Bottle. That's not quite a djinn bottle, is it...
#20 Breakable. Snape makes an Unbreakable vow with Mrs. Malfoy.
#21 Drain. I like this one's description:
Rhonda the Mage sapped Thaddeus the Barbarian with a drain spell when he wouldn't back up off of her with his unwanted advances and she kept saying no. 
She absorbed his youth, power and lifeforce while the others in the party gawked from a distance.
#24 - Chop. A scene from The Wolf of Wallstreet
#25 - Prickly. Mario vs. some prickly foes. Colored by K*Cool. SOLD
#26 - Stretch. Ms. Trunchbull stretches out a kid's pigtails preparing for launch.
#27 Thunder. Thunderhawk vs. Chief Thunder.
#28 Gift. Sabrina was reluctant to receive the gift from the entity.
#29 Double. When you order a coffee and turn around to see your double staring back pointing at you. And then that's it. A fave scene from Terminator 2.
#30 Jolt. Bad Box Art Mega Man takes a jolt in the shoulder facing down Elecman.
#31 Slice. Welcome to Ninja Pizza!
And there you have it folks! Almost time to wrap this year up with a bow. It's been a particularly good one, especially compared to 2017. Now to get ready for the holidays, everybody's favorite time of year. I've got a grand commission coming up. I'll have images up next post.


Tribute to Stan Lee

From my Instagram post:
I got this book signed years ago when Stan Lee made an appearance at a Dallas show I was tabling at. I knew there wouldn't be another chance so I shelled out the 80 bones after I frantically searched the con for this very issue.
Obviously he's a big inspiration for the legacy of story telling he's founded and coasted along with thru the years. But another thing that I find inspiring is how none of this cool stuff didn't start jumping off for him until the second half of his life. It's a reminder that even tho the years seem to go by faster each cycle as long as you work hard and take chances you never know what will pop off and when. That even as we grow older and fret that our best years may be behind us, something bigger than we ever imagined just might be over the horizon. 
Thanks for showing us its possible, Stan. 

. . .

We knew this was coming sooner or later as Stan was getting up there in age. Just glad he held out as long as he did. My uncle used to collect comics when he was a kid, and so when I was a kid I'd go to his old room at my grandma's, now a guest room, sprawl out on the bed and dig into the box of leftover single issues to read. He sorted out the valuables and stashed them away in a metal suitcase in the closet. Fully understanding how comics could be valuable I knew to stay away and just left them alone. But, all the rest of those books in tall cardboard box in the corner were fair game. And there I was every summer or every weekend, whenever I was there I could be found in the guest room sifting though these silver age classics. As I'd flip through the dusty yellowing newsprint pages I'd gawk at the ads for all the cool mail-order gadgets you could get for a dime. But, I'd always skip Stan's soapbox cuz all these teeny tiny words and paragraphs were boring. I'd always read the "Hi Heroes!" opening but soon my mind would drift away to the next page.
But I'm not gonna lie, I do remember taking note of that opening line, the fact that this one man, who just so happened to have a conveniently easy to remember/spell/say name represented the output of this company. It always stood out to me. And it was in every Marvel comic I'd pick up in that box I'd always skip over Stan's Soapbox. But it was there and even though I didn't partake it still gave me this sense of a human at the other end of the story, where the magic manifested originally. Digging through the DC comics in the stack I didn't really get that human connection. The was no iconic man behind DC, and to tell you the truth I'm not sure if that had anything to do with me favoring Marvel over DC (and I ain't dissin DC or hate them or anything so don't come at me).
I was tabling at a comic convention in Dallas and we heard Stan Lee would be making an appearance, signing autographs and doing photo-ops and what not. Having been such a fixture in the comic scene it was easy to brush off a Stan Lee appearance. Not because I didn't care or anything, but because the price was always expensive, for the ticket AND the waiting in line. It was always easy to dismiss it and say "Oh, I'll catch him on the next go'round." But that day something clicked in my head: maybe I won't catch him on the next go'round. It sounds like a morbid thought, true, but I did realize he was getting older. There were already a few stories of him canceling appearances to do health reasons and such. So, I resolved to get an autograph. 
The thing was I decided this after they announced it over the loud speaker that the line would be forming soon. At a frantic pace I figured out I wanted him to sign a comic, but which one? At the time I was reading the Romita Sr. run on The Amazing Spider-man and I remembered there was a specific cover I liked: number 59, the first appearance of a Mary Jane on a cover. I immediately ran to the dealer's room and one by one scoured each purveyor-of-long-boxes until I found what I was looking for. Sure it wasn't in mint condition or anything, but the price was right. Besides, this was about the principle; I wanted Stan Lee's autograph on a favorite Stan Lee book. For me, not be resold. The condition didn't matter. Soon after, I purchased a ticket for an autograph and set about to get in the line.
And boy did that line fill up. People came through asking if they were in the right place clutching their resin Thor statues and Captain America shields looking to get them scribbled upon. The con workers were extra vigilant in containing the line, checking if you indeed had an autograph ticket and making sure everyone stood against the wall. We would joke, "Up against the fucking wall!" for weeks after. Once the signing started the line moved fairly quickly. I was talking to my friend, fantasizing that he would scrawl Excelsior! along with his handle and how we would talk to him for a second. But surprisingly (not surprisingly) the way the autographs worked was you handed your item to a worker who handed it to another worker who handed it to Stan to sign, and it was handed off to you after you passed a draped partition to the other end of the line. In other words, we didn't get to talk to Stan, let alone breathe the same air. I did manage to wave to him from the end of the line and tell him thanks. He acknowledged me with a grin and a smile before the worker brought him the next item to be signed.
The disappointment about how that all went down soon faded as we realized he's a busy guy, he's old, and everybody wants an autograph. After that we were just stoked that jumped on it and got one ourselves. Indeed, I was correct, I would never again attend an event that Stan Lee would be signing at. And so here we are.
It's an understatement to say that Stan Lee revolutionized comics and fandom in general. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention his controversial creator status working with other iconic, yet way more private, creators such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. He was definitely a pioneer in a an industry that nobody could foresee what would come, how churning out work-for-hire kids fodder would transform into the billion dollar industry it is today, and there were no protections yet in place for the birthers of these brainchildren. Including Stan. He just found other avenues to keep his face and personality in the game.  
It's the end of an era. And as the art of sequential story telling marches on into the future and as we mimic Stan Lee to try and create our own successful universes, let us remember that he had nobody to mimic, no steps to follow. He blazed the trail into the unknown. Cuz that's how you do what he Stan Lee did, you do what hasn't been done before.