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Illustration

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Marooned

Creator of the Marooned long-form webcomic, Tom Dell'Aringa asked me to do an illustration for the collection/graphic novel, which has been successfully funded via Kickstarter. Here's the process on my piece.

Marooned_PaulF_process

I'd hemmed and hawed on the content, layout and style for a while, finally tossing out all my ideas and scribbles at the last minute for a different stylistic take on the Marooned characters. I modeled the alien terrain on The Garden of the Gods, in Colorado, where I spent a week with my my family on vacation in '76, taking some color cues from that area, as well. With a couple green creatures in the piece, I made my stars lean green, for balance. Then, for the last touch, I added four different textures, but I'm not sure you can really tell the diff. I gotta stock up on more textures!

Even if you missed the campaign, copies of the Marooned book may available once Tom has them printed up, and it's off to press as I type. In the meantime, visit pixelmech.com to see what else Tom is up to!

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Incredibly Small

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Just had to draw this today. A study in contrast of style and policy.

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C'mon and Shine On with the Holy Rocka Rollaz!

Just released is a new album from The Holy Rocka Rollaz, and it sounds great! I did the art and design for the entire CD package, a six-panel fold out affair, which houses some fine '50s-style pop/rock inspired by the music of Buddy Holly, and others. It also features a couple hilarious novelty numbers, One Ball Daddy and Cindy Lee is a 38D (I'm working now on art for a music video for the latter - more on that at this blog, later).

Listen to song samples and order C'mon and Shine On from CD Baby, and check out the art, below. I'll post tomorrow about my creative process on this project.

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Front cover

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Lift the CD from the case, and see...

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Four panels from the interior comic book-style liner notes (sans text), which chronicles the origins and evolution of the band and album:

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The full cover spread

Rip the plastic wrap and it all looks like this:

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Click image for short instagram video

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Music Video Art: Creative Process

Here's one way I create my art and comics:

HRR_CLee_garage_process For this series, I did all the roughs and layouts in Photoshop. I move those into Manga Studio, where I tighten the pencils (if need be - this one didn't) and jump into the line art. Inking in Manga Studio allows me to work quickly and loosely - I just undo strokes I don't like, and try again. I export the line to Illustrator, Live Trace it and color away! Doing the final art as vector allows me to re-size as needed without any loss in resolution - if I want to do a large poster of any of these at a later date, it'll be no sweat.

Maybe that seems like a lot of bouncing around from program to program, but many times I'll pencil in Manga Studio, and color in Photoshop. Whatever the needs of the project, I'll do, and this process is still much faster than the time consumimg process I've used for traditional pencils and inks.

This one of about fifty pieces needed for a music video I'm working on. Some frames are less involved, some more. I'm more than half-way through, and I can't wait for you to watch the video!

In the meantime, check out song samples, or maybe pick up the Holy Rocka Rollaz CD pack - C'mon And Shine On!

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Drawing Superman

For a sketch group I belong to, an image popped into my head for Superman. I sketched it up and did the line work in Manga Studio, coloring in Photoshop. The whole thing took less than an hour.

supes_fricke_process

Rather than a heroic pose or action scene, what came to me was the hometown boy returning to the farmstead where he was raised. I'd been drawing during the same period images of a friend visiting the crash site of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, so melancholy fields were on my mind.

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Cheese Pig

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My wife called me a cheese pig the other night. I kept nibbling Co-jack as we prepped for dinner. She was so mad! Cheese doesn't last long in this house with me. Cheese Pig! I really can't disagree.

Update: Just thought of some parody lyrics...

Cheese Pigs are made of cheese
Who am I to disagree
We travel Wisconsin, France and Germany
Everybody's looking for some cheese

Cheddar cheese wants to bemuse you
Camembert wants to be smoothed by you
Feta cheese will always abuse you
Colby cheese tends to make you snooze

Eat your cheese up, chew your cheese up, bindin' up

Cheese Pigs are made of cheese...

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Hitchcock Poster


I mentioned yesterday I'd drawn Hitchcock before, a long time ago when I did this poster illustration for a novelty company in Chicago. This was 1984, about a year before we began work in earnest on the first issue of Trollords. I was 20-21 at the time, and drew using pencil and pastels more back then. Most of this holds up pretty well, although it's stiff in a couple places. I used an Ebony woodless graphite pencil to achieve really dark darks, no doubt rubbing it with my finger or stump, a trusty kneaded rubber eraser at the ready. This is a photo of the original artwork, executed on 18 x 24 illustration board.

I was/am quite the Hitchcock devotee, having attended seminars/showings of his work and read plenty of books. For the poster, although I included a few references to specific movies (The Birds, Psycho, Rear Window and Dial M For Murder), I tried to incorporate as many of Hitch's themes and motifs: birds, voyeurism, mirror images (twins), train tracks and the wine bottle from Notorious. I faltered in my execution of the quintessential Hitchcock heroine, an amalgam of Kelly, Leigh, Novak, Miles, Saint, Carroll, Hedrin, Day. As in Vertigo, Hitch tailored his leading ladies to be a certain type, what became known as the Hitchcock Blonde.

I've just discovered a handful of these posters in the Blue Moon archives, so email me if you have interest in purchasing one. I'll update here if I make them available at on online shop.

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Emoto Music CD Cover

I just realized I never posted this image on the blog, my favorite of the three CD covers I did a few years ago for Emoto Music.


The first two covered the Who and What, but the third answers the question to some degree with Where, featuring not only their logo, but elements that are actually in their lobby, larger than life (the dragon fly, bowling pin and alligator). How'd you like to start work each day walking by those statues?

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Holy Rocka Rollaz button

My buddy, Mark's band, the Holy Rocka Rollaz, is picking up steam (and gigs) this Summer, so he asked me to remaster, retool and re-purpose some hot rod art I did some time back, this time for a button. He suggested we change the background color, which was a great call! Here's what I came up with...

They're playing almost every Friday night this Summer at the History Cruzer Car Show in North St. Paul. My family and I will be out there a few times this Summer for cotton candy, cheese curds, vintage cars and classic rock 'n' roll! Check the Holy Rocka Rollaz site for details and upcoming shows.

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Coast Guard Lobster


I recently had the pleasure working on a piece for the Coast Guard, a cartoon lobster illustration to be used on a coin and more. I did the art while the agency I worked with handled the rest of the border design and display font.

My first pass had the lobster simpler and happier:
I was provided more reference for the buoys. They also wanted to see his eyes on stalks and a bit more of his lower body, so...
And everyone liked it fine. But with more time to assess and with more eyes on it, they wanted to go a different direction, so I drew up this new rough:


I like how it turned out, but still have a soft spot for my first lobster.  =  )
Here's a look at my final illustration sans border: