More painting; V2 for Exquisite Corpses

I decided to rework the proposed cover of Exquisite Corpses (I’m a one man band, so these things take time) but have been unable to spare much time to paint (job hunt, playing games, a re-tile project at home and other stuff), even though I am eager to get this thing going. I discovered that I enjoy seeing paintings “coming along”and have a vague idea that by periodically photographing stuff as I work on it, I can learn more from comparing previous versions with the current state of the illustration. Here is the same painting after around 2 or so hours of work and again after hours 3 or 4.
I’ve really been into 1930s-1950s ‘pulp crime’, horror and sci-fi mag covers for a while now. This is supposed to be a wrap around cover, so the left side will be the front cover and the right side will be the back (hence dead space at the top for title, etc.). The woman’s costume is intended to look equally at home in Flash Gordon’s universe or Hyboria… a snake man coils around her leg and various other beasties loom in the back, gathered around a fire. I intend to add more monsters back there. The pink fleshy cyclops slug with wings and a big tongue turned out pretty good I think.
I’m pretty fond of it thus far and think it promises to be much better than the first version (see earlier posts like this one). I like the pose of the woman much more and I think it will make more sense to the viewer what is going on.
I hope to be able to put in some time on it next week; between having guests over this weekend and 100 other things, I am pretty busy right now.


Proofing Exquisite Corpses Version #1

I finally got a ‘proof’ copy of my new book, Exquisite Corpses, from Lulu last Saturday. Recently I managed to prepare and proof the book and look at things I might change.
This is not final art, but I placed an image from my portfolio on the cover. The final will probably have color art (we are still working on that).

The book is a monster manual in the same vein as Raggi’s ‘Random Esoteric Monster Generator.’ Each page consists of an image that is divided into three tabs (head, torso and legs or tail). If you slit or cut each page along the dotted lines, you can mix and match the tabs to create weird and goofy ‘combination’ creatures. There are 26 basic creatures, so, by my math, that makes for ~17,000 possible combinations. In addition, there are some tables in the back that will allow you to add more qualities or flaws to your critters (bigger, smaller, laser beams, etc.). The ‘coil’ binding allows the tabs to move freely without falling out.

You can use a razor knife and straight edge to slip the pages into tabs. Note that I have placed a sheet of waste cardboard under the last page I want to slit so I don’t cut the pages behind it.


Here are the tabs being flipped to create a monster:


The first proof is about 95% successful (one of the monsters failed to line up properly with the rest of the pages; I haven’t been able to figure out if that is my problem or Lulu’s). Once I get these few details ironed out and a second proof, I hope to be able to offer it via Lulu to all interested buyers. The only catch is that you have to cut the pages yourself.


Proofing Exquisite Corpses Version #1

I finally got a ‘proof’ copy of my new book, Exquisite Corpses, from Lulu last Saturday. Recently I managed to prepare and proof the book and look at things I might change.
This is not final art, but I placed an image from my portfolio on the cover. The final will probably have color art (we are still working on that).

The book is a monster manual in the same vein as Raggi’s ‘Random Esoteric Monster Generator.’ Each page consists of an image that is divided into three tabs (head, torso and legs or tail). If you slit or cut each page along the dotted lines, you can mix and match the tabs to create weird and goofy ‘combination’ creatures. There are 26 basic creatures, so, by my math, that makes for ~17,000 possible combinations. In addition, there are some tables in the back that will allow you to add more qualities or flaws to your critters (bigger, smaller, laser beams, etc.). The ‘coil’ binding allows the tabs to move freely without falling out.

You can use a razor knife and straight edge to slip the pages into tabs. Note that I have placed a sheet of waste cardboard under the last page I want to slit so I don’t cut the pages behind it.


Here are the tabs being flipped to create a monster:


The first proof is about 95% successful (one of the monsters failed to line up properly with the rest of the pages; I haven’t been able to figure out if that is my problem or Lulu’s). Once I get these few details ironed out and a second proof, I hope to be able to offer it via Lulu to all interested buyers. The only catch is that you have to cut the pages yourself.


Attack of the slugbats and snake-man

OK; here is where I call this one ‘finished.’ I could keep working on it ad infinatum, but I think I made some mistakes early on (particularly in layout/positioning of the figures but also in rushing through the initial sketch — the figures look particularly wooden and stiff) so I’m going to move forward and see what lessons I can draw from this while forging ahead.
I definitely need to work on my patience and try to find more ‘source material’ to use for the positions of hands, muscles, etc. Both of these figures look like scare-crows or robots and the slugbats look like flying green bananas. I think the blue snake-man looks wierd the way he is wrapped around the pillar (it does not look 3d to me) and I wish I had made his body skinnier.
I like the cave but need to work on making the rocks appear more textural. I also think the cave should be much darker and rougher-looking.
I look forward to trying this again!


Keep on keeping on…


This is the current state of the painting. I feel a lot better about it but think it still needs a ‘layout’ revision (see yesterdays post). I’m enjoying seeing the progress from the series of snapshots I have been taking (even though the quality of my digital camera leaves a lot to be desired).
Other good news is that I got a ‘proof’ copy of Exquisite Corpses back from Lulu this morning and look forward to cutting the pages and trying it out. Stay tuned and thanks for all of the encouraging messages.


More work on Exquisite Corpses Cover


I did a little more work on the “slugbats” and the humans, some work on the snake man and added the underpaint for the flames that the slugbats can shoot out of their eyeball. Although I like the general layout, I worry that once I crop it (so the left side ends up on the back cover and the right side ends up on the front cover), the image may not make a lot of sense. I also don’t like how 90% of the slugbat that is blasting the man is hidden by the snake and the woman, or that 90% of the woman is wrapped up in the snake… so after I work on this some more (for the practice) I’ll take another crack at it.
Below is a ‘mockup’ of what the cover might look like; I think you can see my concerns a little more clearly this way:


I have a book with lots of ‘pulp era art’ — one image of which I think will work if I swipe the layout. The book is “Art of Imagination” that I bought at closeout a while back — the book is worth more than the ~25.00 that the used sellers are charging for it on Amazon (in my opinion). I’ve never read the text, I’ve just looked at the gorgeous reproductions on every page.

But I plan to do a lot more work on this one before I give up on it — even if I don’t use it for Exquisite Corpses, I need the practice!


Try to do something creative every day


I’ve felt mentally and emotionally starved for the better part of the past several years. First the stress of losing my job, then getting a new job and all of the financial ups and down associated have really taken their toll. One of my goals, to help combat the malaise that all of these ups and downs bring, is to try to do something creative every day… whether that’s working on a painting (see in progress above) or doing some sketches or even just looking at other work that interests me.

The above is an ‘in progress’ shot of the final cover for Exquisite Corpses. I have some reservations about this artwork and may try a different version. The image is the entire cover (front and back) with the left half appearing on the back cover and the right half appearing on the front. It portrays 2 ‘pulp style’ warriors (male and female) in a tunnel fighting a blue snaky thing with a human head (the snake-guy is coiled around the woman) and a slug-bat eyeball monster fighting the man. On the back cover, two more of the slug-bats flap up to get in on the action.


‘Exqusite Corpses’ proof is off to the printers!

I just got done uploading the first version of my new “Exquisite Corpses” book to Lulu. I don’t yet have the final artwork for the cover (I just used some placeholder art) and it will take between 5-15 days for Lulu to send it back to me so I can look it over and test the concept and make sure it ‘works’ before I make whatever minor changes are needed and offer a new version (v2) for sale. Estimated page count is 91 pages; estimated cost is around $10.00 for the book and it is A5 size (about the same size as an 8.5×11 sheet folded in half vertically)… profusely illustrated. About 26 pages in the book are blank, but when you see the book and how it works, I think it will make sense why.
When the proof arrives, I’ll post pictures showing how it works.
Unfortunately, the shipping is $3.99 for one book — which ups the price to around $14.00 each… which isn’t too bad, but is just about $2.00 more than I was hoping for it to cost. I’m making less than $2.00 a book gross. Now with the time and postage and sample copies I’ll be sending out to a select few members of the blogosphere, the project will probably be a net loss — bad business for an unemployed guy, but I’m hoping that the book will generate interest and get my work some attention.
Due to the special nature of the book, even if I took out all of the slightly pervy or PG 13 stuff, I doubt anyone would publish it as more than a vanity project, but I eagerly anticipate the public’s response because this book is a labor of love.


Yeeks!

It only gets worse! Check out the not-so-subtle reference to a popular and hideous internet meme from the upcoming Exquisite Corpses:


Oh the humanity!


Yeeks!

It only gets worse! Check out the not-so-subtle reference to a popular and hideous internet meme from the upcoming Exquisite Corpses:


Oh the humanity!