Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Devious Maids" and Jason Derulo Promo Appears in AMC Theaters Nationwide

This promo spot for the second season of Lifetime's "Devious Maids" has recently been broadcast on television and the web. 

Directed by the talented Joe Nichols, the promo integrates a cool cross- promotion with singer/songwriter Jason Derulo. The party setting is a smart way to revisit these lovely Latinas of Beverly Hills and ponder what secrets they and their rich employers will reveal in the coming season.

In addition to seeing the spot on television and on the web, it was a treat seeing it in the AMC movie theater on 68th and Broadway. My daughter and I were waiting for the movie to begin and we watched it twice within ten minutes. For once I was delighted (and surprised) to see a spot that had meaning for me instead of another mind-numbing commercial for Coke or shutting off your cell-phones. The spot is playing in all AMC theaters across the country. 

I prepped myself for this storyboard assignment by watching as many episodes as I could in the timeframe I was given. It's definitely an entertaining, well told and humorous soap opera with as many twists and turns that one can expect expect to keep the audience interested. Structurally, it turns each beat in all the right places, and seems to build one event over another to impact all the characters. In most cases, the "Maids" aren't quite as devious as their employers, whose shallow short-sightedness is matched only by their narcissistic tendencies. This spot captures all the glamour, luxury, and secrecy of the show, with a little bit of taboo added for fun. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


In case you haven't noticed over the past few years, History Channel has been producing not just documentaries, but also dramatic series and reality shows. "Vikings" has much more than meets the eye. Well researched and written, this spot for Season 2 depicts 9 of the main characters revealing their true nature.
The full-up spot is here: http://www.history.com/shows/vikings/videos/vikings-season-2-teaser?m=51896f6e2acad


Don't be fooled by this woman. When she says finish your peas, you'd better finish them.


Not sure I remember what the rooster symbolized in this sequence with Horick, but I'm sure it's a foreshadowing of creepy things to come.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Desperadoes in Motion


For this pitch I developed with Tony Kaye, time was a big consideration. We discussed the tone of the spot as well as some of the bottle clinking action that we felt was essential for the branding of Desperadoes Beer. In Storyboard Pro, I am able to make a quick animatic - not perfect, but with enough clarity and timing to sell the idea. The implementation of the bikini diver in the bottle, the Day of the Dead motifs, and the cubist Picasso bull was an attempt to elevate the narrative toward a surrealist appeal that would speak to the target audience of 21 - 35 years old. The brand embraces a Midwest backdrop like New Mexico or Arizona. Scratch track is from U2.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New York Comic Con 2013 - A Long Way From Creation

Adam West's cousin's brother....still my favorite Batman
     Let me state up-front that I remember my first comic convention. It was around 1979 or so, when it was called "Creation Comic Book Convention," or something like that, at the Pennsylvania Hotel. The only celebrity there was beautiful Caroline Monroe from "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" and "The Spy Who Loved Me." But I was there for the comics. I sat with rapped attention as John Byrne spoke about his current run on the X-Men, right before his stellar fame took off. He was approachable and accessible to anyone who was in the room. It was the first time the comic book business became real for me. I begged my folks to let me spend the $100 on a "Master Class" that was taught by Gil Kane, Burne Hogarth, Harvey Kurtzman. At one of those early conventions I bought my first Neal Adams comic, an old X-Men issue in the Savage Land. Strangely, I could not find his credits in the book, but suspected this was the guy I heard so much about. Costumed attendees were few and far between. The dress-up was reserved for the Saturday Night Costume Contest. I attended annually for years after, rubbing elbows with the hot and sweaty geeks who perpetuated the aisles lined with dusty back issues in cardboard boxes. It was typical that halfway through the day I would be starved, tired and fighting a headache. Usually I trekked home on the Staten Island Ferry feeling like I overstayed my visit.

Me in midst of painting a Nazi-Zombie with Talens Gouache
     It's all changed now. The NY Comic Con 2013 at the Javitts Center has borrowed the format from the famous San Diego Con. Like San Diego, celebs, movie studios, TV shows, video games, toys, comics, collectibles, tee shirts and even art supplies enjoy the limelight. The costumed attendees comprise more than half the crowd and may be worth admission alone. I was not ashamed to chase down an Adam West Batman lookalike and take a photo with him. The range of quality and creativity in the costume designs and executions ran the gamut from simple to sophisticated. Back in my day, the costumed ones were often looked upon as freaks. Today, they are looked upon as a community of neo-geeks, and proudly so. Spend a few hours at the Con and you will love being among them, as their enthusiasm is a bit contagious. "Artists Alley" is where you can leave the vendors to meet comic book and fantasy aritists, peruse their work, chat and maybe purchase an original or two. Most are delighted to meet fans and collectors. For me, I like running into old colleagues at these tables.
Gouache from Talens
     As celebrities go, I was disappointed with how hard it was to glimpse any of them. As far as I could tell from my "info booth" inquiry, the cast of The Walking Dead, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, William Shatner ("Spock!") and the rest of them were only accessible if you purchased an autograph ticket. The A-listers were charging about 60 - 70 bucks to stand on line in Disney-style queues, something that I had not the time or money for, as I was busy with my demos. In any case, I could not so much pass by the table and see my favorite thespians from a short distance. Although I didn't pay for my pass, (it was courtesy of the good folks at Canson and Jerry's Artist Outlet), I know it was pricey, and I feel sorry for the poor soul who has to spend more than 20 bucks for an autograph.

Art supplies for all who want great deals at Jerry's.
     I used Talens gouache to promote this excellent line of water soluble paint. I got lots of questions about the material as well as lots of interest in my work. Several attendees said I was "Bad-Ass" and "Awesome" and a few inquired about buying the Zombie piece I was painting. The gouche made it easy for me to cover large areas with opacity, and still rework the area with water if I needed to.

     On day two, I drew portraits of customers in their newly purchases sketchbooks, and even did one on a trading card. I had the pleasure of meeting some friendly and appreciative fans. Kyle from Canson along with the gang at Jerry's Artist Outlet couldn't have been more supportive of my efforts. I finished the demo with "reportage" drawings of the kind that got me started in my career. I enjoy the freehand approach, working directly with a dipping nib and ink. 

     Comic Con was fun and exciting. I enjoyed working my tail off, being flexible to the needs of the booth and the crowd. I had a blast and would like to attend again next year. And I have plenty of enthusiasm to experiment more with some great art supplies. Now let's see…I have a year to figure out what to work on.

Check out my gallery of images below. Click to enlarge.

Above: Zombie gouache demo in progress
as a Cosplay customer inquires about art supplies
Below: Finished zombie demo painting 

Above: Portrait of Leo in his Canson sketchbook.
Below: The model and his original.
Drawn with Bruynzeel pencils
Add caption

Top; View of convention floor with pen and ink.
Above: Jerry's Artists Outlet Booth with a few familiar faces.
Talens ink and Van Gogh watercolor

Portrait of Mandy, resident Booth-Babe 

Zombie nurse with zombie Deadpool. Stellar makeup.

Are we having fun yet?  
Not sure who the ape-rabbit is but I like him.
The splitting image of Kitty Pryde
as created by Claremont and Byrne 
"I'd kiss you but you're so damned ugly... ."

What's the word of the day Pee Wee? 
The girls from Jerry's: Bonnie, Nancy and Christine. Hi girls!!

Yours truly blabbing about the properties of gouche with Kyle,
Canson's brilliant product manager in background. 
Many people don't know that
Boba Fett got his start in a piano bar on Tatooine.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blick "Drink and Draw" with Dr. Sketchy, Grumbacher and Canson

 Amazing Grace - Burlesque models in real life 

I recently represented Grumbacher Art Supplies at the "Drink and Draw" Grand Opening party of Blick Art Supplies new art store on 6th avenue and 20th street. Grumbacher supplied color pencils and markers from their Polycolor line to all participants of the 5- 1/2 hour life drawing sessions. Canson reps Kyle, Ed, Arthur and Jon joined us to promote their excellent paper supplies. 

The dedicated students...

All who registered for the opulent event were rewarded with some of the best models on the planet, courtesy of Dr. Sketchy's  Anti-Art School. In addition, generous goody bags were stuffed with Canson sketchbooks, Grumbacher pencils and charcoal. For a class that cost $5.00, the participants received at least 40 bucks of supplies, hot and cold catered food and a great open bar stocked with beer and soft drinks. Where can you find a bargain like that? 

Dr. Sketchy's costumed models are professional burlesque dancers, as evidenced by three of the most outstanding specimens of female grace, poise discipline and showmanship I've ever seen. I've drawn thousands of models in the course of my education and career, no exaggeration. Parsons, The Passalacqua School, Art Lab at Snug Harbor, Salmagundi Club, Art Students League, Disney University, Crealdi - I've been around. Melissa Dowell, Dr. Sketchy's Creative Coordinator,  and her team set up the stage, poses and time for each session. The DJ, (yes, there was even an ultra-cool lady DJ) was spinning great tunes, and even played Adam Ant for me by request. The whole affair seemed to be effortless and on auto-pilot, although I am sure experience and careful planning had a lot to do with it.

Statuesque trio

If art supplies are your fancy, check out the Canson line of sketchbooks and watercolor paper. You can't go wrong with products so thoughtfully manufactured and distributed worldwide, starting in 1557. Their 150 lb Illustration paper is the bomb, and the 9x 12 "Repositionable" Art Book is my new favorite. The spiral-bound book has pre-perforated pages that can be removed and re-ordered without the mess of frayed scraps. Treat yourself to one and see what I mean. When choosing drawing implements I am again reminded of the impressive quality of Chartpak brands. Grumbacher has charcoal sticks available in 4 grades from extra soft to hard. I find soft the most versatile and have used it for blocking broad shapes and values in my storyboard work. I use a paper "blending stump" to get a smooth area and rub out the highlights with an eraser and eraser shield. 

Canson Repositionable Art Book
and Koh-I-Nor Cedar-Wood Color Pencils

The Koh-I-Noor line makes my favorite colored pencils. The Polycolor 12 pack are oil-based and encased in cedar wood; they are smooth, rich and go down heavy. Their cousins, the Koh-I-Noor Woodless Color Pencils, are easily as smooth. They have a lacquer coating which I love, but don't be upset if they break in half when drawing. I am not one for lining up my pencils when I work. I  dump them on the floor, use them up, break 'em and sharpen the pieces as needed. The students loved them. 

Banquet of food.
Most came to draw....some came to eat.
Blick's recent partnership with Utrecht Art Stores should prove to be interesting. Both carry a great range of supplies, seem to have good customer service and knowledgeable staff, and remind me how much I love shopping for "analog" supplies.