Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Brothers' Collaboration Part II

I have another brother. He is the oldest. My other brother, whom I make drawings for every Christmas, collaborated with me on an art piece for our big bro. The topic of this drawing revolves around a poorly drawn bunny of doom which our big brother used to draw... the bunny would reek havoc and eat stick people in a most grotesque manner... which I may or may not have explained in last year's Christmas drawing "Doom Bunny VS Giant Schnauzer". My brother provided the Doom Bunny, and I created all of our Family members (wives and girlfriends included) by placing our heads on cartoon bodies... Jib Jab basically does the same thing... but ours looks better, so forget Jib Jab. Boo yah.

In case you are unaware of what I look like, you'll find my face on one of the super heroes... Maybe you can figure out which I am...

I'm thinking of making t-shirts out of each individual character in the drawing and giving them to my family... maybe we can walk around the mall with them sometime and look like big dorks... not that I really need a shirt for that... but I'd be happy to think so...

There was some difficulty creating this drawing... the photos were particularly challenging... not the act of integrating them into the image, but the act of getting the stinkin' photos. The brother who this was made for is not a fan of having his picture taken... and by "not a fan", I mean "HATES IT". So finding a picture of his face without a hand in front of it proved to be difficult. After hours of going through photos, I found the perfect picture... but his forehead was cut off. This required improvisation... If you'll notice, "wolverine" (aka "Eldest Brother") has a blood stain on his forehead... this wasn't to exaggerate the action... this was because his forehead is actually MY forehead. I had to blend my own head with his in order to complete this drawing. It wasn't terribly difficult, but it did create some issues when creating his hair line... I didn't get that part down completely and he ended up with the most epic widow peaks I'd ever seen... so I covered them with blood stains, so it would look like his hair got torn off in glorious bunny battle... So I've now unawaringly narrowed it down to two superheroes that I could be... good luck with that.

This is the second collaborative drawing that I've done with my brother which I've documented. The first being this one... I'm happy with how it turned out.

Brothers Unite!
~ Mark

Monday, December 28, 2009


As is with the clowns, this image was created as another gift for my brother... Whereas the clown drawings followed (though very mildly) some form of a plot, this was more or less a showcase of characters with no other purpose than to be awesome... and I'll allow myself to be a little conceited for a moment... it's a pretty cool drawing.

Though I guess that's not entirely the truth (the part about the plot, not the awesome). The characters in this drawing came from an idea I was kicking around in my head for a Graphic Novel about a year ago called "Brethren"... what was Brethren about? Yeah, I'm not telling... but that has less to do with discretion and more to do with a lack of polished plot... it'd probably just confuse you. But that's not because I think you're ignorant, it's because it makes no sense yet... because, in fact, I'm ignorant. I suppose this means my moment of conceitedness is over. I shall now return to my usual state of self-loathing and sorrow... which for most artists, inspires great work... for me it inspires a mass consumption of Martial Arts DVDs and Pizza. So if the art world doesn't benefit from my work, at least Best Buy and Domino's Pizza will... Just doin' my part.

If you've ever been to my portfolio site (and by some miracle remembered any of the stuff you saw there), then you'll probably find a lot of these characters to be a little familiar. Like I did with my DNA Tree drawings, I used a lot of sketches I had floating around that never really came to fruition... hence, they were in the "Sketches" section of my portfolio and not the "Illustrations" section... I look forward to these Christmas Gifts because it's almost like performing some house cleaning in my head. I go through a bunch of unused creations and give them purpose... and by purpose I mean "a place on an empty canvas"...

I do what I can,
~ Mark

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Clowns You Can Count On...

Alas, another Christmas has passed... which means another wonderful piece of art has been created! Every year at Christmas, my brother asks me to make him some kind of fictional illustration... This year I went a different direction than the usual "Forest with Fantastical Creatures" theme... I went with clowns! So... what? Clowns? Yeah, there's really no logic behind these drawings. I was stuck sitting through an unemployment orientation seminar and doodled a clown with super powers. I just figured clowns are always portrayed as either retarded entertainers wo scare children, or ruthless serial killers... who scare children... So I made them warriors defending their home planet from... space... demons... These are clowns you can count on to save the day... not make babies cry... or grown men for that matter...

Originally, these were meant to be one large image... but when I tried placing all the clowns on one page and adding a background, the colors contrasted so much that I fell victim to an epileptic seizure and woke up 3 hours later cuddling a balloon animal in the shower with my underwear on my head... Once I recovered (and properly reconfigured the location of my underpants), I created three different 11x17 images with very simple backgrounds to prevent my brother from suffering the same fate as myself... though that would have been amusing...

The background on the image to the left is a forest of Tootsie Pops... unfortunately they clashed too much with the clowns in the foreground, so I "shadowed" them out and left the interpretation to the viewer... though I guess I just ruined that interpretation by saying what they are... I had hoped to create the imagery of a "Clown Planet", but like I mentioned earlier, the colors were just too dang conflicting with the characters that I bailed on that concept... I aim to tackle this concept when I have more time... but Christmas creates tight schedules... schedules which interfere with good art... hence, no clown planet... just a planet.

That's all I got, though... these aren't really the kind of pictures you elaborate on. Clowns. Fighting Space Devils. Lollipop Trees. Seizures.

Circus music... followed by swift death,
~ McM

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Video Game Tribute #9: Primal Rage

What do you get when you cross "The Karate Kid" with "Jurassic Park" and throw in a hint of "Mortal Kombat"? Only the greatest fighting game since Ice Ninjas learned to rip a man's spine out by his hair! I'm talking, of course, about the only game that I truly believe was manifested from my wildest 5-year-old dreams... Primal Rage.

One part Kung Fu, one part Dinosaur. Primal Rage pitted Beast against Beast in this prehistoric, yet somehow post-apocalyptic, fighting game. While I still consider Mortal Kombat to be the greatest fighting game series of all time (yeah, that's right, Street Fighter groupies can kiss it), Primal Rage stands out to me because of how unique it is to its own genre of games. Generally, a fighting game consists of ninjas, sorcerers and Bruce Lee rip-offs (one, two, three)... but Primal Rage decided, "You know what? We should use Dinosaurs." ... and the rest was history.

In Primal Rage, you have a roster of Dinosaurs, Apes and some weird snake thing... now it's possible some of you are wondering how you make a fighting game with giant monsters that doesn't follow in the footsteps of Godzilla with fire-breath and city demolition... well it's simple, teach em' martial arts! That's right, not only are they prehistoric beasts... they know kung fu... You've got Raptors performing flying kicks, monkeys somersaulting through the air and serpents blocking, ducking and jumping like defensive masters... and in case you're not flipping through a pile of Britannicas wondering where the heck you missed all this in Science Class, get this... they have super powers. Oh, yeah, they've mastered hypnosis, spit fireballs, shoot electricity, summon arctic cold to freeze their enemies... one of them even has the ability to urinate acid... now if that isn't every boy's dream, I don't know what is... though I'm sure there's a few club-hoppers out there who think they're urinating acid... but I'd rather not get into that.

If the concept of Kung-Fu dinosaurs isn't enough to keep you coming back for more, the game pays homage to the glorious Mortal Kombat series with a variety of Fatality Finishers... Me and my good friend Edgell blew about 20 dollars worth of quarters at the arcades a day just trying to discover these bloody-delights... and they were well worth our parent's money. Did I mention one of the characters pees acid?

So yeah... Primal Rage rocks my socks back to the stone age... All I'm saying is, a Crane-Kicking T-Rex equals a solid video game experience in my book.

Not like they can do much else with those little arms,
~ Mark

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video Game Tribute #8: Metroid

When I think of women who kick butt, there's only one name that comes to mind... and it's not Ellen Ripley, Laura Croft, or even Amy Winehouse... It's Samus Aran... the baddest intergalactic bounty hunter in the universe, the bane of every parasitic space alien's existence... and coincidentally the protagonist of one of my favorite video game series of all time... Metroid.

For those unfamiliar with these games, they're about a Bounty Hunter named Samus Aran who gets hired to infiltrate a group of Space Pirates living on the planet Zebes (who are replicating a dangerous organism called a "Metroid") and inevitably kill anything that moves. Sounds simple enough, but I've got to give credit where it's due, this was probably one of the more detailed game plots of its time... generally, an NES game would start out with something like this:

(Characrer's Name),

There's something bad happening... you should seriously consider stopping it.


Because let's be real... Japan couldn't make a Nintendo game without throwing Mario in there somewhere... I'm still not sure why a chubby Italian is the mascot of a major Japanese industry... Anyway, from there, Chaos ensues and Samus blows everything on the planet Zebes to high heaven.

There's a billion reasons why I think these games are so awesome... the main reason being that every obstacle in the game is solved in one fashion, and one fashion only... by blowing it up. Right down to the means of opening doors. Typically, you open a door by turning a knob and applying force. In most futuristic concepts, there's some kind of console on the wall, you push a button and a hatch opens... but Metroid is based so far in the future that civilization decided, "Hey, why are we wasting our time pushing buttons and turning knobs? Let's just shoot lasers!" That's right. In Metroid, hatches don't open unless you fire your gun at them. If the hatch is red, then it won't open by shooting it... so clearly you need some kind of key right? WRONG. You need a missile. I'd hate to have Samus over for dinner at my parents. They have a red door...

"Crap, can someone call AAA? I left my gun in the car!"

"Hey man, hand me that pistol, the keypad on my phone is locked..."

I swear, any further in the future and we'd be using nuclear weapons just to start up our computers. Though, given the extremity of Samus Aran's sheer badness, I'm sure it's possible that the doors in the future actually do use key cards, but Samus just feels like making a mess... and she does it with one hand tied behind her back... and the other stuffed inside a Plasma Cannon set to "Kill"... No, for real though, Samus only has one usable hand, the other is a gun. I'd like to see Amy Winehouse do THAT.

Any objections, Lady?
~ Mark

Angelic Interpretation

So it's clearly been a while since I've updated this blog... I'm over it.

In any case, I've got a couple of pictures which are ready for posting... unfortunately I can't post them until after the holidays, they're gifts for my brother, and I'd rather not have him visit my site and see his gift early... that would be most disappointing... I hope no potential jobs are lying in the balance, waiting to be dazzled by new blog content only to be let down by my unrelenting desire to maintain the element of surprise on Christmas day, hence erasing me from the pending list of employment... and for what... Christmas Joy?!


But anyway, I was rummaging through some old art work of mine and came across a pretty interesting piece I made for a class in college... yes, I occasionally made an effort in school... though rarely was this the case. Technically, this was a sketch for a far more impressive final product... unfortunately, I've been unable to locate the finished work... which isn't a big deal, I never ended up using this sketch because it didn't quite follow the same visual style as the other pieces. But it's pretty awesome on its own, I think... it brings me back to a far more creative time.

In its nature and style, this is one of the more darker pieces which I've worked on in the past. I don't remember exactly what the criteria for this project was, but the theme I chose was "Angels"... Clearly this is not a traditional angelic interpretation. I chose to go along the thought process that angels are nothing like we imagine them to be... i.e. white men in robes with big fluffy wings and glowing halos of light around their heads. I'm sure someone in biblical times may have been visited by the aforementioned angelic embodiment, but I imagine that in their true form, the one which cannot be seen with mortal eyes, is something far more abstract and intimidating.

If you look closely at the drawing, you'll probably notice there's an abundance of eyes formed within the patterns and shapes (you have to look for them). My idea was that angels are an observant presence, always watching from within the spiritual realm, beyond our own natural vision. A city is vaguely defined in the background of the drawing, implying that this angelic being is watching over the cityscape, protecting it with an almost frightful unseen presence... which is the only way I can remotely begin to explain what I believe the power of God must resemble...

Though I'd like to find the other finished drawings, I think this one was probably the most interesting of the bunch, it's a shame it didn't make the cut. I should go back and finish it sometime...

~ Mark