Monday, December 29, 2008

Some More Canterville Ghost—Now in Color!

Okay, first of all, I may not have hit my goal of updating every day (or even every weekday), but 2008 has shown significant improvement in the regularity of my blogging updates. It's certainly been more consistent than how I've handled email and phone calls. What can I say? My schedule regularly kicks my ass.

But everything will improve even more in 2009. Hopefully.

I'm very excited about the color piece in today's update. Jason Millet continues to kick ass on all of our collaborations, and this page is no exception.

I showed a step-by-step development of this Canterville Ghost page, from rough sketch to pencils to inks. Now, Jason's color page completes the process (the publisher will be handlingLink the letters, so you'll have to buy the book if you want to see that stage).

Friday, December 19, 2008

11 O'Clock Comics

On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to sit in with Vince, David, Chris and Jason for a massive (4 HOURS!) installment of one of my favorite podcasts, 11 O'Clock Comics. Don't worry, Vince has broken it into manageable parts.

We talk. A lot. Some of the stuff covered includes Final Crisis #5, selling David on Fables, channeling Kirby, Mike Allred, the language of comics, God-Size Thor, the Athena Voltaire/Black Coat One-Shot the impact of $4 comics on independent publishers, X-Men: Messiah Complex, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, Steve Epting and Captain America, Frank D'armata, Fear Agent, Camelot 3000, Alan Moore's Top Ten, Image's Ted McKeever Library, Michael Avon Oeming , expressive artwork, and we even curtail a drunken Chris!

This one gets a little explicit, so spare the kids.

Download part 1 here.

Download part 2 here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Black Coat/Athena Voltaire One-Shot Preview Pages!

You've seen how the cover came about, now let's take a look at the guts of the book—some of 'em anyway...

Here's how the Athena Voltaire story kicks off.

The book is available for preorder now! Cover price of $2 and available with your choice of cover:

Black Coat cover: DEC083747
Athena Voltaire cover:

Monday, December 8, 2008

I miss you, Dad

My dad passed away a year ago today. He was always a great supporter of my work and even posed for some of my reference.

Here he is standing in for a Nazi badguy.

I miss you, Dad.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Black Coat/Athena Voltaire Special

The next step in the project—Jason Millet adds his brilliant colors to the piece!

And here are the covers with logos and trade dress in place! I'll post some solicitation information next week and will come clean with everything at that time!

This should be in the issue of Diamond Distributors' Previews catalog that comes out this Wednesday:

Find out what a Revolutionary-era Crusader and 1930's Aviatrix have in common, besides their status as two of Ape's most exciting heroes. An adventure spanning two centuries: from the Black Coat facing down a pirate attack to Athena Voltaire encountering the horrifying consequences of the treasure they sought. The two variant covers by Eisner-award nominee Steve Bryant combine to form a poster image.

Try 2 complete adventures from 2 of Ape's greatest heroes for only $2.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In Previews Tomorrow: The Black Coat/Athena Voltaire Special!

It's time to start showing some artwork! This is for a special one-shot that will be solicited in the December issue of Diamond Distributors' Previews catalog (in comic shops tomorrow).

Shown here are a concept sketch by Ben Lichius (co-creator of The Black Coat) and a penciled version of that sketch by me.

Together, the two cover images will form a poster. Ben did a great job on the design.

Next up, we have how it looks inked (by me).

Thanks to all who have waited patiently for the return of Athena Voltaire as we sort out legalities and publishing schedules. I appreciate it greatly and hope that you enjoy all of the stuff that I have planned for 2009.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Ghost Sneaks Around

Is that a ghost? Look out--he's got a gun!

This book is turning out to be a blast!

Friday, November 21, 2008

New York: 1930-something

It's Athena, and she's dressed all fancy! Here's page one of the Athena Voltaire/Black Coat event that I've been hinting at for a while.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More new Athena Voltaire

Here are the pencils to the page I posted a panel from on Wednesday.

I scrapped the plane in panel 1 and drew a long shot of it instead. You can see it when I post the inks...or maybe I'll just make you buy the book! ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ghost is Sad

Here's another panel from the Canterville Ghost. I inked this page last week. Or was it at the beginning of this week? Dates blur together the closer I get to a deadline...

It's not there yet, but sometimes I feel like I'm getting closer to incorporating the effortless quality that an Al Williamson figure has in his/her stance. Like I said, I'm nowhere near that yet, but this panel made me feel like I might actually come close in 30 years.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today's Athena Voltare Teaser

Here's another panel from the forthcoming book. Check the Athena Voltaire blog for more preview. I've posted the cover pencils and inks. Tomorrow (Wednesday), I'll post the colored version.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A (semi) recent commission

The list of interesting commission concepts continues! The Headless Horseman versus (Green Arrow's sidekick) Speedy! I actually finished this up around Halloween. Appropriate.

I kinda wish that I had inked it, though.

Over at the Athena Voltaire blog, I update the mystery project a little more.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A little more from that new Athena Voltaire project

Another teaser image from the upcoming Athena Voltaire book that I talked about yesterday (and showed cover sketches from at the AV blog).

I know, I know...a couple of shots of dudes in diving suits—big deal. Waddaya expect? It's the weekend and I don't want to give everything away just yet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Miss Me?

Okay, if you're looking at the posts here, it would appear that I was devastated by the loss of my li'l mutt, which I was. But I wasn't devastated to the tune of 6 weeks off. Deadlines—and life in general—conspired to kick my ass. Thanks to all of my friends who posted and/or sent me emails of condolences, though.

I've still been producing a lot of artwork, I just haven't posted much of it.

Here's some recent Canterville Ghost work. I'll post what's new with Athena Voltaire and Ursula Wilde next week. I just posted a glimpse of things to come over at the Athena Voltaire blog.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chewie: 1993–2008

Airboy—in Color!

And Jason knocks it out of the park with his colors for this one!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Airboy Inks

And here it is inked—just in time for the weekend!

I left a lot of open space on the brickwork to give color artist Jason Millet plenty of room to work his magic. I'll post his work as soon as I get it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Airboy Pencils

After so much preliminary work, the pencils were a joy!

While penciling, I was consciously thinking about which parts would be rendered with a slick, precise line, and which parts would have softer, looser rendering. At this stage, it has the balance I'd hoped to attain.

We'll see how it works out in the inks tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Airboy Rough Sketch

I jumped at the opportunity to draw Airboy! Factor in drawing Valkyrie and I'm so there! This piece is an homage to the famous Dave Stevens cover to Airboy #5 (which is an homage to the cover of Air Fighters #2).

Shown here are the early roughs I did. Val starts off too lanky—I mean there's model proportions and there's taking it too far! I took it too far. I shortened up her foreground leg in the second sketch.

I sent the second sketch to Jason Millet and JunBob Kim for their suggestions and applied their thoughts in the final sketch shown here. I also didn't want Airboy to be as passive as I had drawn him originally, so I added a gun to his hand (rather than the "pleading" gesture) to give it a contemporary John Woo dynamic.

I'm pretty happy with how it's developing. Tomorrow: a look at the pencils.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wonder Woman, Amazon Warrior

Another commission. This time around, the art direction was "Wonder Woman, a warrior version of her with the Roman soldier leather skirt." I've drawn the character before, also in a warrior context, but it was mostly an exercise in mood. This time around, I wanted to accentuate the musculature and ooomph of an amazon. I was looking at Darwyn Cooke's costuming of the character in New Frontier.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Up, Up and Away!

I've never drawn Superman. I've drawn Clark Kent ripping his shirt open to reveal the famous emblem, but I've never drawn the man himself.

I banged this out last week to practice some figure drawing and to try and drum up some new commission work. I was surprised how much fun it was!

This piece also happens to be for sale! $100 takes it. Email me at atomictikistudio at gmail dot com for details!

(I'm thinking of reworking the format for the blog and using bigger pictures (as shown here). Waddaya think?)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bear Down!

I was traveling last week, so I didn't have the opportunity to acknowledge the kickoff of the 2008 pro football season.

Lifelong Chicago Bears fan here. I bleed blue and orange. My son's middle name is Payton (not the contemporarily fashionable "Peyton"), as in Walter Payton, one of my boyhood heroes (along with Jack Kirby and Paul McCartney). His middle name is just as much a tribute to the Sunday afternoons I used to spend with my dad, watching Walter do the impossible. "Walter left, Walter right, and Walter up the middle" were the three key plays back in those days. And we would just watch in awe.

Dad and I continued to watch Bears games week-in and week-out. If I wasn't at his house watching with him, we'd be calling one another after significant plays (multiple times a game!).

Both Walter and my dad are gone now, but I still watch every game. And after a great tackle or a Devin Hester TD, I still reach for the phone, or look to my left, expecting him to be there with me, watching the play and laughing along with me.

I miss you, Dad.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sometimes doing a simple headshot can be the most fun. Take this Batgirl commission, for instance. I always felt that the character was lighthearted and am not a fan of what Alan Moore did to her in The Killing Joke. This piece was an opportunity to get back to the spirit of the Silver Age of comics—y'know...happy!

Plus, I needed to work on drawing smiles (still do!)—they're hard!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Gunslinger

I've been intrigued by Stephen King's Dark Tower series for years, but never got around to reading it.

I got a crash course in the series when I was commissioned to draw Roland, the Gunslinger, in this ink piece.

I love to have fun with design-y backgrounds and this one was no exception! Fun stuff!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take That, Pinko!

Today's picture is part of what could be the greatest commission theme ever.


Vic Sage Pummels the Presidents. For the uninformed, Vic Sage is the alter-ego of the Question, a DC Comics character created by Steve Ditko in the 1960s. Ditko, an adherent to Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, sometimes touched upon his views through the character.

Needless to say, when given the choice between the Question slugging William Taft or LBJ, I chose LBJ. How do you think a Randian Objectivist would view the Great Society?

Take that, Pinko!

(Oh, and someone pointed out that the Question's figure kind of forms a question mark. I wish I could say I was that clever, but I'm not. It's still pretty neat.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Comic Geek Speak SuperShow!

I spent last weekend at SuperShow, an amazing comics convention put on by the equally-amazing Comic Geek Speak podcast. A con like no other, the show is a celebration of both the podcast and the incredible comics community that has grown out of the CGS forum.

In addition to spending time with tons of incredibly talented artists that I'm proud to call friends, (among them: JunBob Kim, Alex Serra, Mike Norton, Morry Hollowell, Brent Schoonover, Ryan Stegman, Jamal Igle, Big Jim, Katie Cook, Dave Wachter, Erica Hesse, Lin Workman and more), I had the pleasure of meeting and reacquainting myself with bunches and bunches of friends who I have met on the CGS forums (NOT singling anyone out for fear of forgetting someone).

And, of course, it was a great time to catch up with the stars of Comic Geek Speak themselves, Bryan Deemer, Peter Rios, Jamie D, Kevin Moyer, Shane Kelly, Matt, Adam and Pants—friends one and all. A big thank you to Matt for putting me up (and putting up with me), Kevin (who picked me up at the airport) and Bob Bretall of the Comic Book Page podcast who hauled me to the airport at the end of the show.

In the photos: (1) a doughy pic of me—time to get to the gym! Pronto! (2) "Surprise, Steve, we're taking your picture!" In the background is JunBob Kim, and (3) from left: Big Jim, Shawn Pryor of PKD Media and me. In the background is the mysterious Mr. Serra.

Yes, I swiped these photos from other people because I'm too damn lazy to take pictures myself.

A wonderful time...

Around Comics

I had the pleasure of being on a couple of episodes of Around Comics the past 2 weeks. In episode 199, series regulars Chris Neseman and Tom Katers welcomed awesome artist Chris Burnham and myself to the show. Much fun was had by all.

Episode 200 hundred featured Chris & Tom along with art god Hilary Barta, my AV-partner Jason Millet and me, for a lengthy discussion about comics craft.

Sinestro Corps Red Skull

A meeting of the Marvel and DC universes in an ominous way! The person who commissioned this one asked for "the Red Skull as a member of the Sinestro Corps." I added in the cosmic cube because, well, it's badass.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Captain America Commission

This one intimidated the hell out of me. I love Steve Epting's work on Marvel's Captain America series (he's doing the best work of anyone at the big two) and wanted to capture just a hint of what he achieves on every page.

I succeeded. I got a hint of it. Next time, I'll shoot for more.

Overall, though, I'm pretty happy with it. I'd love to take another pass at ol' Cap (and will—soon!) and try to improve on this one.

8.5 x 11, ink on bristol board.