Years ago I spent a lot of time doing storyboards, beat boards, and a bit of design on an animated monster movie that was ultimately cancelled. These images are beat boards which tend to be more realized images showing a broader part of a sequence compared to storyboards which are the moment to moment actions and acting within a sequence.
When you grow up drawing monsters, sometimes along the way your Mom might ask if you can draw flowers or something "nice."
I eventually got around to painting some "nice" things for Mom. Here is an image I did one year for the folk's Christmas card depicting their schnauzer, Max. I think I based the composition on a found Christmas hang tag or something. I believe their dog was still living at the time, though the image might suggest otherwise.
This painting is my contribution to Art Blocks for Ghana, a charity of The Picture Book Project Foundation with the goal of building a children's home in Ghana. Artists in the Animation and Illustration communities have donated artwork created on wooden blocks to be auctioned for the cause which you can read more about here. Also check out their blog. There are many amazing pieces, more than a few of which I'll be bidding on myself.
These aren't quite storyboards, more like key frames from an expired development project I was involved in. I still have acres of this kind of stuff in my newly, somewhat organized flat files. I discovered the smudge stick from working with Garett Sheldrew who is a master of it, as well as any other medium he chooses.
Here's the promised second comp with the strange Guybrush and Elaine stand-ins. I guess at the point this sketch was done I had less of a handle on who these characters were supposed to be. There couldn't have been very much time between this drawing and the actual pencil comp for the final cover so some meaningful chatter about how to depict these characters must have taken place along the way.
Wow, I've worked on a lot of canceled projects. But they reap a bounty of unseen material to post at this site. Here's another character from a movie pitch which I thought was pretty cool. I previously posted a couple of robots from the same project. At first glance you might think this guy a villain, and you'd be correct. I liked playing with the metal work like it was fashioned by crafts-monsters in a feeble attempt to dress themselves up.
Here's a strange find from deep in the strata. A pencil comp for the first Secret of Monkey Island package in which the main characters weirdly appear to be played by Doug McClure and Bette Midler.
I don't remember where we were in the production of the game but it seems that the Guybrush we all know was not quite pinned down yet. I have another one of these which I'll post soon unless I'm begged not to.
Here's a pin-up I did long ago for one of Jill Thompson's charming and popular Scary Godmother comics. Jill is great at populating her own rich worlds with amazingly colorful, funny characters and I had a lot of fun with this piece. And if she wants to send the pin-up back to me I'll add in Scary Godmother's little wings which I somehow managed to overlook and which Jill was way too polite to mention.
Here's an image I cobbled together in honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day." Since I didn't talk like a pirate and nothing requires me to write like a pirate I did this instead. It's painted on a piece of thick cardboard on top of a loose sketch. I didn't want to get bogged down in planning it out too much. Just wanted to make a picture.
A friend of mine posted an auction for a some original pages I did for his book Fish Police. They were done around the same time as the first Sam & Max comic and are penciled and inked in the same style. I sort of like the John Candyish salesman guy and remember having fun drawing the pissed off octopus.
If you've ever browsed some of my comics pages to possibly purchase, he's posting the four page story on ebay. Steve Moncuse created Fish Police and wrote this short, and even if you don't bid on the auction you should at least thank him for being the one to publish the first Sam & Max comic book.
So if it was really a contract it probably wouldn't have a bunch of pirate skeletons scrawled all over it. I can't quite remember how this piece came to be. Something about trying to dress up a document with images. I like something about it though it doesn't quite make sense anymore.
Here's a character design from a previously referenced un-produced feature project. I like figuring out color schemes for characters and trying to get the costume to play well with the character. This was loosely washed onto a rough pencil sketch on Bristol Board.
Here's a sketch done in the archaic medium of pencil for a Monkey Island 2 background. I honestly haven't played the game in so long I don't remember if I actually finished this one in markers or if Peter Chan finished it or if it was even used in the game.
I sorta like the shapes and sometimes don't mind doing these puppet stage kind of compositions. Somebody remind me when I lose my mind and start reposting the same images.
Here is one of the first tasks I was given at Pixar about 9 years ago. George Lucas was accepting what I believe was an AFI award and Pixar wanted to congratulate him on the back cover of the printed program book. The mandate was to mix George's and Pixar's worlds, and as the cloaked Buzz and Woody Jedi idea was going nowhere, and my favorite Lucas movie is American Graffiti, I pitched this "cruisin" concept.
Since Woody wears a cowboy hat I originally tried putting him in Bob Falfa's black '55 Chevy but it ultimately felt too obscure compared to John Milner's iconic yellow Deuce Coupe sporting the THX plate.
It was a quick and fun painting but was published in black and white with a printing glitch causing it to be reproduced in low-res, so this is the first appearance of the piece as it was intended.
Here's a second take on the robot character and true to form, I'm often more partial to the first impulse. Though I don't mind this painting and I'm happy with the colors and shapes, I prefer the guy in the last post. This one has more of a C3PO vibe and feels a bit more predictable as the put-upon service-bot in my opinion.
Here is a character design for an animated feature pitch. I found a stack of designs from this project and will post them over the next few days. I tried to be aware of the very broad volumes for this guy and as robots go he's one of my favorite that I've done.
Miraculously, I've managed to keep posting here fairly regularly for about two and a half years. I still have loads of material to post as long as people continue to show up and look at it.
I thought it might be worth creating a blog strictly for Sam & Max while Spudvision can remain a catch-all for any other kinds of art, especially Toybox which is the home of your very own host Starchie Spudnoggen.
I'm working on the format for the Sam & Max blog and will post a link here as soon as it launches.
Years ago I used to buy odd tchotchkes from Seattle's Archie McPhee & Company catalog. In those pre-website days you would actually submit a printed form in a stamped, hand-delivered envelope accompanied by something called a personal check which was a voucher of sorts for funds to be transfered from your bank in exchange for goods. It was all very quaint.
One of their adopted corporate icons was the charming and enigmatic Bibo the "god monster." On one of my order envelopes, in a sad grab for attention, I included a drawing of Bibo and was pleased when they printed it in one of their subsequent catalogs. I recently happened across the image posted on their blog after they discovered it in a stash of old customer envelope art.
Here's a big oil painting of the Edison Family done long ago for a reissued edition of Lucasfilm Games' Maniac Mansion. The back of the box has a photo of an eerie haunted house-type hallway. Originally I was commissioned to do a tiny painting to be hung in a constructed scale model hallway,... until someone realized it would cost more to create a scale hallway than it would to make a full-sized one. At that point the commission was revised to ask for a full size portrait. I thought of it as a Disney Haunted Mansion style piece and painted it in a weekend in oils with a few fairly large brushes.
Here's a caricature of Dick Swan. Dick had a great comic store in the south San Francisco Bay Area for many years and he shares my love of 60's toys especially Nutty Mads and Weird Ohs models. He still sells rare comic books on ebay. I can't remember the occasion that prompted this drawing but was fun to depict The Big Guy as one of those great old "fink' type toys.
Here's a tattoo design I did for a friend I used to work with. Although a bunch of my images or characters have been made into tattoos I think this was the first time I set out to design a tattoo. I like how simple it is and how the ends hook back on themselves but it doesn't quite look like most tattoos I've seen which is possibly why it was never confirmed to skin.
If you like it and want to use it, go to town. I'd love to see it etched onto a person.
Here's a comp I did for Telltale's Sam & Max Season 2. We didn't choose it but I thought without the text it might make a fun print to do in the near future. As far as hyper-over-stated detail it seems to show some potential that hasn't nearly been tapped in this sketch.
I don't do too many pin-up type gals. This one has been seen before. She is the better half of the pair of gangland villains from the un-produced game design "Sam & Max Plunge Through Space." This image started as a super rough pencil sketch. I pulled it together with acrylic washes and was pretty happy that it retains a lot of the roughness that can sometimes get worked away too much in this kind of painting.
Here is my contribution to a local art show that kicked off the infamous Petaluma Butter and Eggs Day weekend which itself is a celebration of debauchery and unleashed id in a David Lynchean vision of quaint parade floats and cute babies in fluffy chickie costumes. The Petaluma River cuts through the western downtown area and the art show at the Heebee Jeebee Boomerang Gallery is called the River Monster Project.
Here, of course, is the comp for the final LeChuck's Revenge painting. Looks like I hadn't yet thought of the idea of the dead bird plume and what is Elaine doing there besides looking like a man? It appears I reversed the values of the clouds and sky for additional eeriness and tried punching up the phoney baloney lighting on the figures. All in all a handy exercise I guess.
Here's another unused cover idea for Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge. It's the second of three. I sold the first on ebay a month or so ago and I still owe you a photo of the unique item I bought with some of the cash. This painting is also one of the images that appear in my INTERVIEW at Alternative Magazine Online.
Somebody stop me if I'm repeating. I hunted around and did not find this one in the archives so here we go. Anytime I'm asked about favorite classic arcade games I first think of Sinistar. There was a tiny arcade across from my art school in the 80's where I would play Battlezone, Joust and especially Sinistar. The idea of a skull-shaped, ravenous doomsday machine just speaks to me for some reason. This was my submission for the first I Am 8-Bit gallery show several years ago. Sinistar's catch phrase was "I Hunger" so I decided to depict him as a demanding baby.
Here is a location in the town of Toybox; your very own Starchie Spudnoggen's For Sale and Trade establishment. This was done for a story about a scarecrow named Fishbone who's found by Ernie and Suda in an irrigation ditch after his butter cracker eyes have been eaten by birds. Selflessly deciding to help him replace his lost eyes, they find their way here.
It's a proven fact that everyone loves to draw Hellboy. This was done years ago, and I don't know if Mike Mignola ever actually drew Hellboy with such hugely broad shoulders or if that's just how I got it into my head when I painted this. I would paint it very differently now but there was still enough that I liked about it to post it. Here's a slightly recent-er Hellboy painting I did (still with the enormous shoulders, hmmm). Guess I should try him again sometime.
Suda's design came from a doll I built in high school. I had a contest with one of my friends to each try and create the most horrible doll. Her hands and head are clay, the body cloth and the dress was found in a thrift store bin. Her eyelashes are made from an old paintbrush.
My friend's doll wore a pink dress and looked like a toddler who someone had deflated. He kept her in his closet so he wouldn't accidentally see her at night. He wins for horror but over time Suda has cute-ened up. She's extremely difficult to capture but I know it when I see it.
Suda doll: Red clay, acrylic, fabric 16" high. "Family Portrait" Acrylic 6"X9"
Last weekend Joe Ranft, the legendary Pixar story man would have turned 50. If you don't know about Joe, Google him and you will be enlightened. I did this painting of Joe after having worked with him for years on the Cars story crew. It was based on a photo that I had taken of him on a research trip on Route 66. I was fortunate to be able to give him the painting before he passed away in the Summer of 2005. He hired me at Pixar almost 9 years ago and I still think about him every day. Miss you Joe!
Yet another set of characters for an un-produced animated feature project. Enjoyed trying to angular-ize my default rats, the ones that wind up in any on my comic projects though I still opted for my standard droopy nose. Was fairly pleased with the Guinea pig as well.
The painting sold and very soon I will post what I am using the funds to buy.
I've posted an auction for one of the three comps I did for Monkey Island 2 LeChuck's Revenge. This painting was done to express one of the ideas I would take to final. It was meant to convey the idea and less meant as a finished illustration. I thought a keen Monkey Island fan might find it worth having as a piece of the company's history.
But for me, there's actually something I want to buy on ebay and I always prefer to sell something to help pay for whatever the next uselss item will be. If it all works out I'll share the result here.
Imagine Max Imp's disappointment if Sam & Max is NOT chosen or perhaps loses by the one vote YOU may have cast. He might be inclined to take up residence in your furnace, compelled to skitter around in your attic during the night or crawl up into your sinus cavity while you sleep to lay his terrible eggs. Do your part! Go to TelltaleGames.com and cast your vote for SAM & MAX! Thank you. That is all.
Here's another Tiger, obviously more of a science-fictiony character. Had fun with the colors and the chunky strokes around the face, though his muzzle is a bit funky. All in all I was pretty happy with this guy.
Here is another character from the unmade feature pitch I referenced earlier. My standard washey acrylics on top of a loose pencil sketch xeroxed on bristol board. I fixed his near leg in photoshop because it was a hair undersized and always bothered me. He doesn't quite sit on the ground right but it was a very quick painting so I forgive it somewhat. Tigers are fun to draw and paint and I have another one I want to do this year, which is part of the Toybox cast of characters.
This is one of my favorite character pieces done for an un-produced feature project. It started with a very loose soft pencil sketch, xeroxed onto bristol board and painted in thin washes of acrylic. It was one of my first in this style which I became fond of for the stretch when I was doing a lot of these.
I normally post something for the holidays but was sick this year and my efforts to paint something new proved fruitless.
I'll be at it again soon but right now, here's something I had forgotten about - a quick sketch for a company who said they wanted to do promo Sam & Max PVC figures. It didn't happen and I forgot all about it but now that I see them I want to look into doing something in vinyl like the old Pogo characters that you would get on the soap package. If you waded through my office you'd see that I'm knee-deep in stuff like this. Would be fun to add my own guys to the din of visual noise.