Monday, June 29, 2015


This is the cover for the May issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show. It's based on the issue's cover story "Gemma Barrows Comes to Cooperstown" by Jamie Todd Rubin. "Gemma" is a touching story about one of the greatest pitchers of the 25th century, a woman who made her way to baseball immortality through grit and determination. When the story opens, Gemma has already passed away so there is no detailed description of the character. This left it wide open for me to do something I rarely ever see. There was also a cool part of the story that referenced playing baseball in artificial gravity. I'm a huge Babylon 5 fan and all I kept thinking is how fun it would be to paint a baseball field on a rotating station! That excitement resulted in the design of a stadium within a Syd Mead inspired space station. SO. MUCH. FUN.
After doing a few dark moody paintings recently it was a fun change to attempt a predominantly bright yellow illustration and make the environment feel massive in scale yet not compete or distract from the focal point.  Once I knew that the figure would be a black woman it was easy at that point to make sure the background had enough color and value contrast to allow her to pop.  I also made sure most of the compositional lines all flowed into her.
I chose to add a bit of symbolism to the painting in the form of halo lighting above her head.  This alludes to the main character being deceased and also how fondly and lovingly she is remembered by all that knew her.

Rough color block in over original unfinished line art

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Oil on Panel 18"x24"
Available for purchase
This is one of my contributions to the new Mars Attacks: Occupation Trading Card set which continues the storyline from the Invasion set released in 2013.  The art description called for a 16th century knight, a samurai, a 1970's boxer and maybe a 1930's gangster (all alien abductees from various points in human history ) to somehow break out of their stasis pods and escape a martian base.  The focus had to be on the knight and the boxer as they fight their way out of the stronghold.

My first thought when reading the assignment was how much fun it would be to explore designing the martian base interior (or at least a hint of it) as well as painting an African American boxer from the 70's punching an alien in the face.  The boxer was made the focal point of the painting for two reasons. First, I thought it would be a nice change to see a minority figure in the foreground of a multicultural scifi painting where the humans are united against a common foe.  Secondly, the boxer is the only one of the heroes that would have ever seen a hand gun or knew that the martian's ray gun could be used against them.  I imagined they'd have to shoot their way out.  Boxing gloves and swords alone against ray guns would have left these guys vaporized pretty quick.
Early sketches reveal my desire to make the boxer look like a cross between KungFu Joe and Black Dynamite.

The characters needed to be consistent as they are in other cards in the set.  It was decided that the boxer should be barechested and have more of an Muhammad Ali/ Joe Frazier vibe instead.  Once the sketch was approved I went to work.   Thankfully I know a guy that is super muscular and agreed to model for me.  It would have been a nightmare to try and make myself look muscular or work from assorted muscle reference.  

final drawing

There are a number of tremendously talented painters working on this new set which was just successfully funded through kickstarter.  I look forward to seeing all the art when Mars Attacks: Occupation is released.