Dec 19, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth - Part five of eight

Ah! Ah ha! Ah ha ha ha!

Yes, I am done. I am done done done. Except for a presentation tomorrow, I am done. My comic is done, my finals are done, and Innsmouth is done. It went well. I will be posting the remains of this gutted fish as I see fit. I still have to scan a few, but yes. Yes yes yes.

So here are two images from wildly divergent points in the story. The first is near the climax, the second is a tale told by Zadok Allen, drunken old man.

This first one was intended to be shown rotated 180 degrees and flipped horizontal...but I think it works better like this. I'm not sure. This is when our narrator is in full realization that yes, this whole town is populated by disgusting fish men. He then determines (near empirically) that they are murderous fish men. He then decides to leave through a nearby window.

This second one I like more.
This is when Zadok Allen is explaining to our heroic (and soon to be defenestrated) hero that the early people of Innsmouth's surrounding islands made sacrifices to the Deep Ones in exchange for treasures, both gold and fishy. Also, the fish men later decided that they wanted to intermarry with the island people, which seems like they're just spitting in their faces.

This one was really difficult, because my thumbnail didn't really have any indication of lighting. I just sort of had to make decisions on the fly, which was alright, but ended up being a little time consuming. I really liked making those fishy faces in the rocks. All rocks should have fishy faces on them. Except for some rocks, which are ok on their own.

I think I'm going to be submitting these to some upcoming things in the hopes that they get in and people see them. People would like to see them, right? Some things include Spectrum, Society of Illustrators student show, and 3x3. I don't think I will submit all of them, because there are fifteen (I cropped one off) and quality does indeed vary. I hope you still like the ones that aren't the best. It's nice to have a favorite. I will be posting this all over again in a big lump at the end, and I hope you can help me decide what I should submit to where. That would be nice of you, blog readers. I don't ask much of you.

I will be posting some color experiments that I decided to do after completing the cover (which is colored). I liked how that turned out, so I'm seeing how time consuming it is to add little bits of color to these. Maybe it will make them better? Who knows, who knows.

I love you, blog readers. I really do. I hope you do not hate me for posting lapses that are all too frequent. But honestly, I just wrote a ten page paper and composed a twenty minute presentation for my class tomorrow, so it's not like I've been sitting around doing nothing.

Dec 9, 2008

I swear, I swear, I just need to scan stuff...

Come to this, please. People will be selling things. Among those people is myself. I am selling all sorts of neat prints and maybe an original or two. Also, I'm working there Wednesday and Saturday, 1-2:30pm, so drop by and say hey. Then buy some stuff.

I have four more pieces to do for Innsmouth by next Tuesday, which if you were keeping track, means I have four pieces unscanned but ready to go. Well, one is the cover, which needs color. So, three pieces. Expect two of them pretty soon.

Hey! Cool, right? Thanks to Creative Director Tak Toyoshima and everyone at The Weekly Dig.

Dec 1, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving Shakedown

Hey dudes. I didn't get much drawing done over break, so there'll probably be a bit of a hiatus before new images crop up. Then again, maybe not.

Oh, this is what I did over Thanksgiving break, or rather, Franksgiving Break.

Live large, bros.

Nov 25, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: Part 4 of 8

Hey! Everybody! Awesome. You're all here. Great.

We're at the half way point of my Innsmouth journey, and although I can't quite see the finish line, I'm pretty sure it's coming up soon. My comic for Popgun 3 finished up last week, so maybe I'll post some production stuff from that in lieu of the final thing.

Anyway. Innsmouth! Wow, what a neat place.

There are fish-people everywhere. Here are some fish-people going to Sunday Mass at the Esoteric Order of Dagon, where they will take their fishy communion and pray to their fishy Gods. There's our charming narrator at the top, rather dismayed that he isn't in proper dress. Next time, friend. Next time.

And if you're a good little fishy acolyte, someday you'll be able to swim down and join your fishy Gods in their fishy slumber.

I'm not sure which Fishy God that is (I'm not allowed in the order, owing to my un-fishy nature), but it might be High Priest Cthulhu. I think Mother Hydra shows up in my next one, at least in carved idol form.

So I got this electric eraser, right? Man, I can't believe they have such things. It's awesome, though. It's like a really low torque power drill or screwdriver, but with an eraser at the end. It's great for getting little lines like that Fishy God's fishy feelers. Remember, these are just about 6x9", so those are some tiny lines.

Considering this is the half way point, I thought I might catch up one some of the images that I've retouched. Here are two of them.

In this one I really just sharpened up the background and drew in all of those houses, then I added some more contrast into the foreground to complement it. Much better, much better.

I really just pushed the value on this one a lot further, darkening up the figure and carving the shiny spots into the mirror with my electric eraser. Again, much better.

Hey, have you ever read The Weekly Dig? It's an alternative news magazine up in Boston (or down in Boston, depending on where you are). They're going to print my Monkey King on their cover soon. Totally awesome, right? Yeah man. They've had some cool people on their covers before, like James Jean and evil-Sam. Such great company. It's like being at a sweet party.

Anyway, I'm headed to Philadelphia for thanksgiving, but I'll be kicking out work all through. Maybe I'll post some pictures of Franksgiving, Thanksgiving's hot dog themed follow-up. Hey!

Nov 16, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: part three of eight

Wow. Drawn. Did you guys hear? I was on there on Monday. I almost fainted. It was so wonderful.

I'm really glad that people have been responding positively to the recent work I've been doing. Keep those comments rolling, guys. There's a long way to go.

And so, the third part of The Shadow Over Innsmouth.

This was the fourth piece I did for the series, and now that I've become more comfortable with the media and see it along with the others, I think I might need to revisit it. On the other hand...maybe not. I might just need to futz with the levels or something. This is also chronologically the last piece in the series, when our narrator discovers the shocking truth...! He in also a fish-frog guy! Only, he's just gradually changing. Oh well, off to Mother Hydra and Father Dagon at the bottom of the Atlantic. Also, his left hand is the best hand I've ever drawn.

And the next.

This is from Zadok Allan's exposition on the origins of the Innsmouth curse, where a nearby island was found with giant stone obelisks featuring horrible monsters on them. It's mentioned that the island and the ruins appear as if they were thrust upward from some deep oceanic pit. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. I may go back into this one and add some glyphs to that cliff-face or something, and there's one monster-face I want to change. I'm pretty psyched with how this one turned out, because I did a lot more reductively on it than on the other pieces and I think it looks neat.

As always, these are 6x9" of powdered graphite and watercolor on 140lb Arches hot pressed watercolor paper.

So, I realized that reposting my images gradually as I rework them is sort of tiresome. I've gone back into the previous piece with Zadok Allan and his sweet Lady Liquor, but I have yet to scan it. I'm thinking of reposting all of the final pieces at the end of the semester so you can get a good feeling of how they all relate to one another. However, I will still probably repost images as they get "completed," but expect a big bulky post in about a month or so.

In other news, did you know they made Electric Erasers? Whitney Sherman told me about them and, well, $40 later it was mine and it is awesome. I haven't used it yet on any finals, but I'm really excited about it.

Also in other news, my comic will be done later this week. Isn't that awesome? I'm still debating whether to post the thing or not. You guys have to promise to go buy the third volume of Image's Popgun Anthology in March, alright? There's tons of awesome stuff in it. Also my comic will be there. You can judge it however you like.

I love your comments, blog readers. They are brilliant and alarmingly handsome/beautiful sounding.

Nov 8, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: part two of eight

My traipse through sunny Innsmouth continues with the next two images and an updated version of the beach scene from the last post.

Thanks for all the comments, they were super helpful. I've decided to keep these black and white for the time being, considering I'm doing sixteen of them before the semester ends. I may work with the color in them after the fact. The cover I will be doing will be in color, though. I assume that'll be in the last batch of images I do.

Here's the updated beach scene:

I darkened the town and added white watercolor paint to bring out the windows and the highlights in the ocean. I think it's good for me to "finish" each image, let it stew for a few days, and then go back into it with fresh eyes. That's what happened with this one.

This next one is actually the second image I made for the project, in which our narrator realizes that his hotel room is exactly as insecure as he feared it might be.

This next image is from earlier in the story when the narrator uses whiskey to coax the story of Innsmouth's haunted past from its oldest citizen, the untainted Zadok Allan. Doing character-based work with pwdered graphite is a whole different challenge compared to doing the atmospheric scenery stuff, but it's loads of fun.

As always, powdered graphite and watercolor on 6x9" Arches hotpress watercolor paper. 140 lbs, I think.

Also as always, comments are hugely appreciated, especially because I'm juggling multiple pieces at once that don't have individual deadlines. If you've got suggestions, have at them! I've got some time to do edits and I want these to be as good as they can be.

Live large, blog readers. Live large.

Nov 5, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: part one of eight

The first two images for The Shadow Over Innsmouth, or rather, two of the images created for The Shadow Over Innsmouth, as these are the oldest and newest images I've made. They just happened to be the ones I touched up first. I skewed the time period back a bit so it would be more fun to draw. Also, the time period wasn't terribly necessary to the story. Like the rest of the project, these were done in powdered graphite and around around 6x9" on hot press watercolor paper.

The first image being a citizen of Innsmouth, and something of a dandy. The second image being the creatures leaving the sea and descending upon the town. I'm still toying around with whether or not I want to add some color to these, as although they were created with the intention of being black and white, a little color might do them good. A super speedy pass yielded the following.

Not exactly what I want, but is it something to pursue? I'm hoping you could tell me.

Nov 4, 2008

New images soon

But first,

Congratulations to Mr. Barack Hussein Obama, our next President of the United States, and congratulations to America, whose citizens are not as stupid as we all secretly feared.

Oct 26, 2008

The Shadow Over Innsmouth: production

Some production stuff for The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft for my Illustrated Book class. I've always wanted to do something based on Lovecraft, but I always back out at the last minute for some reason. Well, now I'm doing a thing for it, and it's a big thing.

These are all roughs. I have two pieces done which will be uploaded later when I finish some more.

Cover with potential text treatment. I forgot to put my name anywhere on the book dummy that I made. Whoops! I'll take a photo of the dummy later on.

Interior cover for the front and back. I imagined the story, which is 70 pages or so, serialized rather than collected in anthologies like most of the Lovecraft stuff. A bunch of his works could be separated into small, classy, illustrated hardbacks.

Storyboards for final images. I did 32 thumbnails and picked out 15 that I liked and am going to be taking to final by the end of the semester. Finals are 6x9", black and white aside from the cover, in powdered graphite and watercolor. I think there's a little check mark next to all of the ones I'll be doing.

I'm keeping my thesis comic under wraps for awhile longer. I think I'll probably just post the thing when it's done on the 17th of next month. I probably won't post the whole thing. You'll have to go buy the Popgun 3 Anthology when it comes out in March.

Or, you know. Talk to me about it.

One of the biggest things I've been pushing myself to do more in my work is move the camera around. I've done a lot of pure line-of-sight compositions, and I'm trying to better my drawing ability by pushing the angles I'm using in my compositions. I think this Lovecraft stuff is a huge step forward for me in that regard. Hopefully the finals don't suck noodles.

Oct 12, 2008


So, I mentioned I'd have a few posts to do to catch up with all of the backed-up images I've created over the last few weeks. This is the first.

I've been painting a bit here and there for a few reasons. My thesis started out as editorial style images based on stories from NPR, which I enjoy. It wasn't a bad start, but ended up being too dry for me. I sort of needed to give in to my personal weirdness. I've just got to make the weird really good.

Anyway, this first painting was for a short story by Etgar Keret, from the episode of This American Life called "The Truth Will Out." It was fun to work on, but painting just takes so so long, I'm glad I'm not doing it for the rest of my thesis.

This is around 10x12", acrylic on White Rives BFK.

Next two pieces are for a gallery show that went up yesterday (the 11th) and goes through until October 24th at The Echo here in Baltimore. There's a big party there for the closing on the 24th with some bands and stuff, so you should go if you're around. It's right across from the McDonalds on North Ave. The show is called "The Pain of Being Dead 2: Baltimonster." The last day should be a pretty good time.

This one is based on Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. An excellent play by one of history's greatest playwrights...who loooooved knife fights. Man got stabbed in the eye, folks. That's the kind of writer we need today

Anyway, Doctor Faustus is pretty cool. It's about devils and stuff.

This is 15x19", acrylic and mixed media on tan BFK.

So, I did that and then got another idea for the show, and since I was still recovering from my horrible illness, I went ahead and did another.

Here's a big monkey!

He's the same size and media as Faustus up there, but is way better. I'm hoping to sell both of these at the show because I love money.

Anyway, I don't think I'm going to bog you guys down with more text. I think I already did that with the last few posts.

I'll be putting a bunch of storyboard and production work up for my Lovecraft story pretty soon, and then a big update on my comic. Alright!

Oct 10, 2008

My Wacky Medical Adventure - Part 4 (The End)

Alright, so what happened?

The first leg of my stay was in the emergency room, where doctor after doctor filtered through, asking me the same set of questions. Any history of medical illness? Any vomiting or nausea? Allergic to any medication?

No, no, no.

The first night was the strangest, as my closed throat caused the doctors some alarm and a lot of confusion. The immediate thought was that I had abscesses behind my tonsils that would need to be surgically drained. This sounded awesome. I was really psyched to have the fluid drained from giant pustules growing behind my engorged tonsils. I couldn’t think of anything better.

But of course, how in the world would they find out if I had abscesses if they couldn’t see past my uvula? Oh, CAT scan. Awesome. At around two in the morning on Sunday, I was wheeled around the hospital, past cries of “My arm! My head! What’s wrong with me?!” (this is not a fabrication, and these went on all night), and into a tiny room with a giant radiation box. When you’re in a fever-soaked delirium, getting any sort of unfamiliar medical evaluation immediately becomes hundreds of times more daunting. Especially the part where they tape your head down so you don’t move, and maybe, just maybe, you can feel the radiation. Maybe.


The CAT scan came back negative, so aside from the immediate “Thanks be to sunny Jesus they didn’t have to shove a scalpel and tube down my throat,” my reaction was, “Ok, great. What’s wrong with me, then?” Well, they didn’t know. I asked if my previous diagnosis of strep was incorrect, and they just sort of shrugged and said that it was probably correct, but along with all the other stuff I had, the penicillin wouldn’t have done anything.

Oh, awesome. Really awesome. My chief doctor gave me the preliminary diagnosis of mononucleosis, but again, it was delivered with a kind of shrug that wasn’t exactly reassuring. Also, mono is the best, because you can’t do anything about it. You just sort of sit there with your throat closed and sleep and sleep and sleep. So, although I was told I had mono, the doctor decided to treat me for tonsillitis just in case. This sounded pretty cool, because hey, antibiotics clear tonsillitis up in a day or two and you start feeling better immediately. I was all for it.

But then it turned out I was allergic to one of the first antibiotics they gave me. Vancomycin? No thank you, I really like my skin and don’t really want to claw it off. They put me on a milder antibiotic and steroids as well, which helped to slowly shrink the shelled mollusk that had lodged itself in my windpipe.

Of course, not all of this took place in the Emergency Room. Being an EMERGENCY room, people aren’t generally kept there for too long. Maybe somebody with gunshot wounds comes in and needs a bed. Things like that happen in Baltimore with pretty high frequency. Shortly before I left the emergency room, I was besieged by doctor after doctor, who all asked me the same questions. Still in something of a stupor, I didn’t really understand what was happening. One doctor would come in and say, “Hello, I’m your doctor, ____________” and then proceed to ask me a set of questions. This happened seven or eight times. I didn’t piece it together until later, but I think that these were all new doctors who were practicing with gathering information from patients. It would have been nice if they let me know.

And so I was off!

…to another part of the hospital!

And what could possible top my stay in the Emergency Room? Why, my stay in the Intensive Care Unit! This was actually pretty boring and can be summed up in a couple of bullets:

-I was the only conscious patient on the floor.
-I had those little sticky circles wired to my chest to constantly monitor my vitals.
-I had a blood pressure thing strapped around my arm for the entirety of my 24 hour+ stay there, which went off every hour without fail.
-I had two blood pressure things strapped around my calves that went off every two minutes to ensure that my legs didn’t atrophy while I was bedridden.

At least here I had a television where I could watch…the Game Show Network…seriously. That was all that came in. So awesome.

On Monday afternoon, once they decided I was on the up and up and that I wasn’t likely to seize up and keel over dead, I was moved to a different room on another floor. I didn’t have to have all of those things strapped to me all the time, just my iv drip. While it was nice to be able to move around a little bit, it was still pretty aggravating to have to wheel around my iv cart whenever I wanted to get up to wash my face or anything. Being slightly away from death’s door also meant that I had less and less contact with the doctors, which was really disagreeable. Every time I actually saw my doctor, I asked if I could leave and he would say, “Yeah, we’re going to try and get you out right away.” This happened a couple of times over the course of about thirty-six hours.

Before I could leave, though, I needed one more thing. An ultrasound. Apparently mononucleosis can really mess up your spleen, and despite my lack of abdominal pain, they had to make sure my spleen wasn’t ruptured. Ok, no problem. I’ve seen these things on TV when women are pregnant. Doesn’t look so bad.

Let me tell you, there in my completely lucid state, with a perfectly normal temperature, that ultrasound was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced in my life. It all started out by being wheeled down to the hospital basement and left on a gurney to wait for my turn. There was someone on a gurney in front of me and one behind, neither of which was moving much at all. I waited there for nearly an hour before I was brought into the room for my test.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen your insides, or more specifically, the outside of your insides. We all know what the intestines and stomach look like in anatomy books, but it’s much different to see them in there in the grey and black, moving. They expand and contract like muscles, but there are forms there, shapes from some alien world. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been stressful at all if I had some reference point for what healthy innards looked like, but there on that gurney, with that plastic nodule pressing into my belly, I was panicking at the cephalapodian shapes on that screen. I saw the dread priest flitting from world to world, freed from his Cyclopean city, and I was afraid.

But hey, turns out I was ok.

I never got a clear answer on what, aside from mono, I had, but they gave me antibiotics and tons of other medication just in case, and that was that. I got to go home on Tuesday night and got to go back to class the following Tuesday. A week of bed rest did me quite a bit of good, although I’m still working on making up all of that homework.

A couple of notables from my recovery phase:

-For a while, everything that I ate went up my nose. Everything. Soup, macaroni, Jell-o, everything.
-For the first couple of days I was home, I slept upwards of sixteen hours per day. It was awesome.
-My beautiful and amazing girlfriend Kali was with me all the way, doing all sorts of great things: making me tea, calling my mom while I couldn’t talk, emailing my teachers and boss to tell them I was alive but incapacitated, holding me up while I was buying medication from Rite-Aid, all of it. Wonderful, wonderful.
-My first goal for when I could swallow liquids again was to drink as much Yoo-Hoo as I could buy. I don’t know why, but I did it, and it was great.

I’m going to be trying to catch up on posting the backlog of images I’ve created. I’m going to have to do it in chunks so I don’t overwhelm you folks and so everything gets the proper attention it deserves. In the next post I’ll have two images I did for a gallery show that’s opening tomorrow night here in Baltimore, as well as the first painting I did for my thesis before I changed it. There’s a bunch of fun stuff to be posted after that, but we’ll get to it in time.

I’m sorry I haven’t been responding to all of these comments both here and on Facebook, but again, I’ve been working really hard on making up work and I don’t have a lot of spare time these days. Hey, look how long it’s taken me to post this part!

Anyway, that’s the end of my Wacky Medical Adventure. Thanks for hanging on.


Turns out I was a ghost all along or something. Also the plants are trying to kill us but Samuel L. Jackson was the villain.

Sep 30, 2008

My Wacky Medical Adventure - Part 3

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure that it mattered that I wasn’t tested for strep. I’m not allergic to penicillin, thank god, so the only averse effects of my prognosis were mild side effects like nausea. No big deal. In hindsight, I’m not even sure that the doctor would have done anything for me had I been tested and pronounced negative. Really, it seemed like my body needed time to degrade before anything could have really been done. Later on, a second doctor would inform me that yeah, I probably did have strep, but it was just masked by what developed next.

I read that, once diagnosed, strep throat can be cleared up in twenty-four to forty-eight hours with medication. Sometimes it’s not just the medication that eases pain, but the knowledge that someone figured out what was going on and that it would all be fine in a short while. I held fast to this little bit of information over the next thirty-six hours or so while my body did everything it could to convince me that no, I wasn’t going to be all right.

Fever dreams are interesting. Every single one I’ve had seemed to be a manifestation of the agony I was going through, even while sleeping. Flashes of my bones melting and reforming, inching closer and closer to punching through my skin from he inside ebb and warp in mingled variances. My creaking flesh twists and splinters while, in the corporeal, I am soaked in ever cooling sweat. They go on continuously, seemingly for far longer than I ever sleep. When I finally break from my restless sleep to dim morning light, I am exhausted but relieved; a child tormented by night terrors forcing his eyelids agape.

Imagine, if you will, a full night of fever dreams. Then imagine, the next day, between the restless sleep of the night before and the plaguing illness, you are unable to stay awake for more than a half-hour before submitting again to the fever-sleep. This was my Saturday. I propped myself up in bed and watched TV while Kali worked away on the computer (and did well to make sure I didn’t pass out and die). I set a pillow immediately next to me and alternated between equal minutes of delirious consciousness and terrifying fever dreams. Although I continued taking my medication, the looming threat of a second misdiagnosis crept closer to the forefront of my mind as the hours ticked by and my condition exacerbated. Saturday may have been the longest day of my life.

As midnight neared, I realized that I was going to have to return to the hospital at some point. My fever waxed and waned throughout the day, but the evening brought on the sickening menace of a second extended bout of fever swept sleep. This was an intolerable thought. Thankfully, my roommate and my girlfriend were able to escort me to the hospital as Saturday drew to a close.

Although the ER was packed as always, my advanced condition alleviated my wait to some degree. After registration, there is a small room where a nurse records your symptoms and does minor diagnostic tests including checking temperature. In my previous visit, I was in between what I thought was a fever, and my temperature barely registered above normal, dulling my priority among the waiting throng. I was concerned that this time would be no different, as it seemed as though my fever has subsided for the time being. When the thermometer was finally withdrawn after an inordinately long respite under my tongue, the digits “103.3” glared malevolently on the blue LCD. I would not be waiting any longer, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I would not be going home any time soon.

I apologize for the brevity of these posts, and how many I am forced to write to log the whole ordeal. I originally intended for this to be in two parts, then four. It looks like it may hit five in the end. Perhaps six. Thank you for your patience and your concern in what has been a terrifying time in my life.

Sep 28, 2008

My Wacky Medical Adventure - Part 2

My anger fully peaked by the outrageous incompetence displayed at the Mount Royal Clinic, I decided two things: first, I was going to the hospital if I felt even a tiny iota worse the next day, and second, I was going to get some goddamn jell-o.

The jell-o was an integral part of my recovery plan that, along with hot tea and Gatorade, was an attempt to convince my body that, hey, I’m not such a bad guy. I figured if I was super nice to my throat, it would respond in kind and perhaps, just this once, heal itself without much pain. By the time the evening rolled around, I knew this was clearly not going to happen. I made my decision early to high tail it over to the hospital the following day. If all went well, I would be diagnosed with tonsillitis, I’d get my prescriptions, and I’d be ready to go to class that day.

One thing that I know about the Maryland General Hospital Emergency Room is that it’s always, always full and unless you have a damn good reason, you’re going to be waiting a good long time. The thing about sore throats is that you really need someone to take a look at it to know the extent of the damage, so simply talking to the receptionist and trying to relate how awful it is didn’t really accelerate my visit. It seemed quite strange to have people waiting in the Emergency Room for several hours, but there I was. It was just over two hours of exasperated Pokemon battling before I was actually called in to a different room. A different room where I waited for another half hour.

The doctor I saw, like the man from the clinic, seemed to sympathize well enough. He nodded when I diagnosed myself with strep or with tonsillitis, and scoffed along with me at the folks from Mount Royal. At that point, my throat had closed far enough that my voice had lowered substantially and my words were slurred together. A quick glance at my hulking, spotted tonsils (which at this point had yet to fuse together to end the world) led him to release a low whistle and an informal diagnosis of “Whew boy, you’ve sure got strep.” He swabbed my throat, but started before sealing the sample for testing.

“You know what? I’m just going to treat you. This’d take another forty-five minutes or so, but I’m sure you’ve got strep. That ok?”

In a moment of blindness, I accepted. At that point, I absolutely knew that the Mount Royal Clinic had misgiagnosed me and that this man, who listened to me and who worked in an honest-to-goodness hospital, surely knew strep when he saw it. He prescribed penicillin and I took it greedily. In these early stages of my illness, my throat was lenient enough to allow passage to medication and water, two things that they would spurn later on.

The literature that accompanied my prognosis claimed boldly that most patients suffering from streptococcal bacteria (that’s me!) generally feel better within two days once medicated. I took this timeline cheerily, but a lingering doubt festered in the back of my mind. I had been misdiagnosed once before…

Sep 26, 2008

My Wacky Medical Adventure - Part 1

Some of you may remember that in late April of this past spring, I came down with a really monstrous case of tonsillitis. You may remember that, for awhile, I didn’t know what it was and had to simply while away my days until it became bad enough where I was forced to go to the emergency room. That all started with the doctors at the Mount Royal Medical Clinic telling me that I had a virus and that there was nothing they could do. I waited for a couple of hours in their offices just to get a blithe dismissal and a note to miss class that day. When I did get around to dragging myself to the emergency room (in the pouring rain, no less), the doctors at the Maryland General Hospital were bewildered that I had waited as long as I did before getting checked out again.

This is a necessary preface to my most recent medical adventure, as both of these stories begin in essentially the same way: misdiagnosis.

An escalating sore throat is always a troubling sign for me. Like most people, I have gotten to the point where I can generally tell when I’m getting sick, and recently I’ve been able to tell fairly correctly how sick I am going to get. Last Wednesday, the seventeenth of September, I realized that a sore throat I was nursing was slowly getting worse. More troubling still, my tonsils were swelling. Remembering what happened last April, I decided to catch this illness early. Despite my previous run-in with incompetence at the Mount Royal Clinic, I was sure that with my previous illness documented, I would be taken a bit more seriously.

So, on Thursday morning, I endeavored to see a doctor at the clinic. Things started off well enough: they already had my insurance in order, I’d remembered to bring my DS to play, and I got in pretty quickly. Things seemed pretty shiny. I met the first doctor, who seemed receptive enough to my symptoms. He sympathized well enough and took note of the distinctive yellow-white spots on my left tonsil, in addition to their ponderous size. A rapid Strep test yielded the first bit of bad news: negative. A proper diagnosis of the streptococcal bacteria would mean I’d be on antibiotics within the hour and feeling better by the weekend. Both the doctor and I expressed out skepticism at the diagnosis and our confusion towards my tonsillar markings. Another doctor was called in for a second opinion.

This doctor stood very close to me and never once dropped the condescending smile plastered across her face. The “second opinion” I was hoping for had no medical foundation attached to it. She simply entered the room to make sure I knew that they weren’t going to help me. In addition to assuring me that my illness was due to a virus they could or would not treat, she made sure to tell me that, yeah, that last time I had tonsillitis and took antibiotics to get better? That wasn’t right. Despite the fact that I was diagnosed with tonsillitis and then took antibiotics to treat tonsillitis, which went ahead and cured my tonsillitis, the nurse was adamant to make sure I knew that I actually didn’t have tonsillitis. I had a virus, which could not or should not have been treated with antibiotics. According to her, the curative aspect of the antibiotics was entirely in my head. This is not an exaggeration in any sense.

I left the clinic blind with fury. I was already determined that I was going to head to the hospital the next day and get a real second opinion if it killed me.

Sep 3, 2008



I don't really mean that.

I finally got a new computer, which is nice. It means I can work on large files without worrying that it's going to freeze and I'll lose all of my unsaved work. Really not fun.

Anyway, school's started up this week, so I'll have a steady stream of work to post in the coming months, both from my thesis (more on that next week) and from my Illustrated Book class (more on that later in this post), and from external projects (more on that right now).

I was asked to submit something to Image's Popgun Anthology, and I jumped at the chance. I jumped a little too far, though, and I've since had to scale back my original idea, which I will finish at some point.

My first story that I came up with is called The Magnificent Zhao. I roughed out mostly the whole thing, and it ended up being around ten pages of drawings with a light sprinkling of text. The script isn't really anything concrete, so I won't bother posting it. It's really a lot of sighing and then a bit about some other stuff and then a declaration. Here's the first page. I intend(ed?) to add some very light color in either digitally or with some washes of paint (after the thing is totally sealed).
It's done in Charcoal, watercolor, and graphite and is about fifteen inches high. Here's some more stuff from the same project. This is a little sketch I did in my watercolor notebook which, I think, kick-started the idea in my head, though the final story has nothing to do with any of this.
Here's the original rough character designs for Zhao (lil bro) and his unnamed death (big bro). There's younger Zhao towards the bottom.
After I decided to table TMZ for the time being, I went ahead and did what any sensible person would do. Wrote a funny little story with no outline and no forethought and decided that was just about what I wanted to do. After that, I guess I realized that comics have pictures and decided that I ought to fomulate some characters. Unfortunately the top of the page was cut off, which detailed my splendid little names for what characters I needed (guy one, guy two, guy three, king, werewolf). Here's some faces, none of which really work for me.
Something started to work on that second page, but it's not entirely figured out.

There's an upcoming show at the Read Street Tattoo parlor here that's monster related, so I've been thinking of things for that. I wanted to draw something upside down, so I drew this vampire. He's pretty silly. I'm getting pretty comfortable sketching right into photoshop. It's like painting, but without all of the mess or necessary technical skill.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm taking Illustrated Book with Alan Comport this semester, which is a neat little gem of a class where we spend the entire semester working on imagery for a single piece of text. I'm not 100% certain, but I think I'm going to be doing Shadows Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, which is a nice little story about people marrying fish-frog monsters and their misadventures. Here's a little fish-frog doodle, again done in CS3.

I have my thesis presentation tomorrow morning where I have to talk about what I'm going to be doing for the whole semester before I decide to stop everything and scribble monsters in my notebook. I'll post the whole of my thesis essay next week, and maybe my sketches for week one.

Thanks for commenting, guys. I always love to hear what people are thinking and to see that people still come to this drafty old mine even throughout my absence. Way to pull through, champs.

Jul 14, 2008

Little dudes

Hey bros and lady-bros, no new finals this time, but a couple of quick little things.

I've been having some trouble thinking up pieces to do that aren't just more of the same. I'd love to post here and say that I've totally gotten over that and these sketches are the wave of the future, but I can't really do that. So, here's some big monsters and tiny people:

I had some scraps of paper left over from cutting down larger sheets for pieces, and so I drew boxes in charcoal and brushed it around with some water, then drew into it more and added some black and white watercolor at the end to round things out. The first piece is probably the 20th incarnation of a little sketch I've been working's still not quite working for me, and I think it's because of lack of focus. What's going on? Who are these people? Who's that big dude? I can only answer in vague, disconnected words (protector, forest fire, offering), but beyond that there isn't really a narrative or whatever.

Maybe in the future or something.

This one didn't have a sketch or idea behind it. I just blocked in some shapes and went to town. Then I drew some little dudes with hats.

I hope to have some more little guys like these soon...maybe when I finish the sketchbook I'm working in and buy a nice new watercolor Moleskine.

Even more, I hope that I have some actual finals and maybe an idea for my thesis in the coming weeks. Later bros.

Jul 7, 2008

corrección de color

Hey, remember when I was all like, "Yeah, I color corrected some stuff and I'll put it up when I get the chance," and you were all like, "Yeah right, Bosma. I'll believe it when I see it." Well look who's got the last laugh now, eh?

Here are the other two frontier giants I did last semester, all glossed over with a nice sheen of CS3 and then color corrected some more. I'm much, much happier with the top one, as that was the weakest of the three paintings and therefore the one I spent longest correcting digitally. So I'm pretty happy with the advancement.

In other news, I just got back from Icon 5 that was held in New York City this past week. I was volunteering there with a bunch of other MICA students, on account of our department head (Whitney Sherman) being the chair of the conference this year. It was pretty rough working from eight am to six or seven at night, but two open bars, free copies of American Illustration 26, a bunch of other swag, and the opportunity to cavort with with a lot of my heroes in the industry was a nice little prize at the end. The last night was especially great, as Sam Weber, Jillian Tamaki, and Frank Stockton all but gate-crashed and ended up talking to a few of the MICA kids for awhile.

I'm hoping to get to work on a couple pieces I've been sketching lately, but I'm not sure if I'm just treading the same territory I always do (giant monsters, small people), so I may or may not try to mix it up. I'm going to update this thing with some sketches once I get things worked out, or hey, maybe even before then.

Jun 20, 2008

I'm a big jerk

Also I'm pretty lazy about doing color correcting on things that I've already spent hours correcting for print. But whatever! You folks deserve better.

So, I spent the last couple of weeks tidying up my portfolio for my Society of Illustrators interview for the Zankel Scholarship, and that entailed getting my ass in gear and doing some heavy alterations to a few pieces. I was totally going to be all ready to have them up here before I posted anything, but well, here I am. I'll post them some other time.

I had my interview on Wednesday with the other three nominees, and although I didn't win the whole shebang, it was a fun trip. Francis won. You know Francis, right? Francis. Congratulations also to Cassandra Diaz and David Jien, who also deserve some money.

Aside from doing color correcting and what have you, I decided to redo my Macbeth illustration that I posted a while back and to do a semi-accompanying Julius Caesar piece. Here's the Macbeth:

I think, in general, it's miles more successful than the earlier version. A lot of times when I'm doing a re-draw of a sketch, I like to post both side-by-side to determine if there's anything, anything, that I like better in the first version. In this case, I don't think that there's anything I prefer in the first piece. That said, it is not my favorite piece I've done and I can't quite place why. Hmm! I'm just going to have to keep working. Acrylic and digital.

Here's the Julius Caesar:

I was pretty pleased with this when I was doing it and immediately afterward, but I've soured on it quite a bit since then. I've been called out on my Sam Weber influence before, and so I'm going to make a conscious effort to distance myself from this certain style of mark-making that he's famous for. Nothing upsets me more than stuff like that, so I'm panicking and trying to resolve the issues.

I don't have any concrete ideas on what to do for a new project, but I've got a couple vague things kicking around in my head. I'm trying to keep up a pretty quick turnaround on my work over the summer so I don't fall into that ever-enticing lull that have plagued my past summers. Hopefully I'll have more to show for myself in the coming weeks as I hammer things out.

May 21, 2008

Sketches, itinerary, new digs

Well, I'm here. Here at the new site address. I am really hoping I don't lose all of my readers and all of the people who link my blog. If you've got me linked, please change it! I'm here now.

The impetus for this change was primarily so I would have something succinct to put on a business card that I'm going to be making rather hastily for a trip Kali and I are taking near the beginning of June. Well, I guess there's no better time than now to rough out my itinerary.

May 24-28th - back home in Philly, making delicious food and watching terrible movies.
June 1st - moving into my new place, in real life this time.
June 6-9th - NYC with Kali for MOCCA. This is what I'm making the business card for.
June 18th - NYC for my Society of Illustrators interview.


Well, I got a call from my brother yesterday, who simply said that he (being the phone-receiver at the Bosma household in PA) answered a call from the Society of Illustrators, who it seems were looking for me. I applied for the 2008 Zankel Scholarship in the beginning of May and I guess they liked my work enough to bring me up there in June for an interview. I'm getting a free train ride and hotel room for the night, and maybe even a big chunk of cash to help these student loans go down easier. Ah, who am I kidding? A chunk of that money would go directly to Apple for a new computer.

Anyway, I have to get a professional-quality portfolio printed up for that, so I figured I might as well do it before MOCCA so I'd have something to show. This means not only color correcting all my work to a nice gleaming polish, but ideally kicking out another couple of pieces before SoI.

I've decided to revisit a few pieces I did last year that I'm not entirely happy with, or at least haven't gotten out of my system. Macbeth is one of those things I just haven't gotten out of my system yet, so he's getting a makeover. I have a couple other compositions, but this is pretty much a direct redo of the poster I did for Sam Weber a month or two back. I'm planning on doing a few more Shakespeare pieces in the near future. He's just a good guy, is all.

I mentioned in the original post that the Giants I did were not entirely color-corrected to my satisfaction, and I meant it. This guy's finalized, though:

I used to get really hung-up on making the color corrected files look as close to the originals as possible, but as I got older and wearier, I sort of stopped caring about that one and instead just endeavor to make the pieces look as good as possible.

I haven't gotten around to scanning that last piece that I did, and for that, I am sorry. I'm in a rather transitional period here.

May 14, 2008

Moving house

So, in an effort to become a better professional, I've decided it's time to rename this here site. I'm not changing it from SLAM BOSMA, obviously, because that's too awesome. It's the URL I'm talking about. It's a little ponderous and a little difficult to remember if you need to type it in anywhere.

So what's easier? I suppose is pretty easy to remember. Good? Good.

I'm going to change it in about one week, so feel free to update your bookmarks folder or the links section of your site if you've got me linked. And by "feel free," I mean "please please please change it so I still get traffic from you kind people."

I'm still shooting to have a new post at the end of this week, but it's hectic. I went to the emergency room this past weekend and found out I had tonsillitis, which kind of sucks. Also, I'm moving to a new apartment tomorrow, so I've had to pack and all that. What a bummer.

Don't forget! ! !

May 9, 2008

Wrapping up the semester

So, my semester is over, which I guess officially makes me a Senior. That's pretty cool, but also terrifying. Over the summer and into next year I need to figure a few things out. The first and most important is how I want to market myself, because that then leads into what kind of work I want to do and how I want to finish pieces. Lately (as you have seen, devoted reader), I have been less excited about working in the simplified style I had been developing. I am becoming more interested in working a bit more representationally, though still keeping forms stylized. I am also trying to learn how to paint, seeing as I have no real background in the medium. I think I'm getting better.

I have two pieces that I'm going to upload to the blog, but I'm holding off on posting the other one, because I want to make sure I stay in the flow of creating new work even though I don't have assignments. However, I'm going to need a little time, and so I'm going to wait to post the second piece. Hopefully by the time I post it, I'll be underway on a new piece.

This is sort of an extension of the assignment that yielded the Minotaur piece, which people seemed to like. Same idea of using a mythological creature to symbolize a contemporary issue. This one is a golem representing the advent of artificial intelligence, and specifically the destructive potential of that intelligence. You ought to know the story of the golem. It's pretty cool stuff.

Like the Minotaur, this was done in black acrylic and then colored digitally. Unlike the Minotaur, I actually tried to render the form a bit. I'd say it's moderately successful. The original print of this has a whiter glow about the forehead, and the human arms are more naturally colored with fleshtones and such. One of the alternate versions of the coloring that I did had blue arms, because they popped better against the clay colored golem. I changed the glow to make it more blue and kept those blue arms in there. I'm pretty happy with it. It's definitely from a transitory period in my work, that's for sure. Don't expect my work to look like this in the fall.

I'm not sure what the next piece I'm going to do is. I have several rejected sketches waiting to be completed. We'll see what I can cook up.

Maybe I'll start posting stuff on this blog aside from illustrations. People do that, right? Blog? I can post about movies I saw or websites that are cool. I don't know, man. Seems a little unprofessional.

We'll see!

May 4, 2008

I guess I'm getting better

Hey dudes. Guess who's getting better? Me, sort of. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to hopefully get some antibiotics to fix my throat. Maybe I have tonsillitis or something. Whatever it is, it's stupid and ought to die.

This past Friday I was in New York for the Society of Illustrators student show. I wasn't in it, but a whole bunch of MICA seniors were. Hop on over to Kali's blog to see a couple goofy pictures and some of the talented folks who got in. Kali got her super sweet Estelle LeBlanc poster in! Special congratulations also to Jeremy, who won the absolute grand prize, and Eamonn, who won a cool grand.

So, seeing as it's finals time and I've been sick, I've got this disgusting backlog of work to do. Normally, I try and keep posts relegated to the end of the week, when I actually have some time to sit down and write things at me leisure, but this is only one of four pieces I have due this week, so I'm splitting it up some.

This was an assignment for our Fashion Illustration class, which still isn't Fashion. It's being led by Frank Stockton who is sometimes called Frankstock and apparently called Stocktone (emphasis on the tone, if you ask Sam Weber). Anyway, this assignment was based on a list of things called "Things Worth Shortening Your Life For". For some reason I decided to do one based on professional weight lifting. Here it is.

I'm still working on combining traditional media with digital stuff. This was acrylic, ink, and photoshop all slammed together in the end. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, considering I did it super, super quickly. Anyway, I don't really have much to say about that.

This week I've got a few more things. First I have a piece based on the fortune, "You will become more passionate and determined about your convictions," which has a cannon and some arrows in it. Then I have an advertisement for some sort of razorblade which has some birds in it. And finally, I have this golem thing I've been putting off working on for so long. Those'll all be up at the end of the week, I think.

Ok bye!

Apr 27, 2008


I am sorry, everyone. I ought to have posted earlier this week, but I've been stormed with work and haven't really finished anything lately. On top of that, I'm bed-ridden and horribly sick with mono or strep or the flu or some other such stupid nonsense.

As I've been sick, I haven't been working. I apologize. I have...I guess three pieces left to do in the semester? Expect them up in the next two weeks or so, as that's all we have left. How embarrassing.

On a lighter note, I got second place in Project Rooftop's Iron Man contest, behind the one and only Daniel Krall. That felt pretty good.

More apologies.

EDIT: I probably have anthrax poisoning. WebMD said so.

Apr 18, 2008

Here's a new thing

Hey everybody, there are going to be two posts this week! I've got this one thing that I'm itching to get onto the web, and I've got a complementary piece that'll be up in a day or two.

So let's just get to it!

This was for an assignment for Jose Villarrubia's Illustration Concepts class (the basic Junior-level IL course here) which was to use a mythological creature to embody a contemporary societal issue. I chose to tackle (zing!) the use of steroids in sports, which is something I get inexplicably furious about, despite having little to no interest in the sports where HGH is most commonly used. Regardless, the minotaur seemed like a nice solution.

This was a new process for me, which was to do a black and white acrylic painting and then kick it up with some digital color. It really saved a lot of time, but I can see how this would need a lot more work if it was a different piece. It works really well for limited color, but I guess it would take a longer time if I wanted to do a lot of rendering or whatever.

This is quite a departure from my usual work, which is a lot more simplified. The reason for that is, well, because sometimes I have to remind myself that I can draw at least semi-realistically. So there we are.

I feel good about this piece. It seems to have struck a nice balance between my childish desire to draw monsters all day long and my desire to have some sort of greater meaning to my work, even though it's a simple concept.

I don't really have any links to throw at you this week, but just keep clicking away at that (newly updated) sidebar to see some pretty great stuff.

Apr 11, 2008

Right on time!

Look at that! Here I am, not one week from my last point --completely within my allotted weekly timeslot for which to post--and we've got new stuff! That's awesome. Three new things. Totally rad, really.

Things have been going pretty well. I went to the Big Huge Games open house last night, which was neat. Even though I don't think I really want to work in the videogames industry, it was interesting to go and see how they work and all that. It seemed like a lot of fun, and I'm not going to outright rule out the profession as a whole. They had Fresca! Come on. Two kinds of Fresca and a pool table and a shower in the bathroom and all kinds of cool stuff.

On a secondary note, I might start doing some comic work as an assistant, which means I'd just be laying in flat colors, but it's a segue, I guess. Money is money is money. I'm going to meet about it today. Should be neat.

Ok, let's do this thing.

This first guy is the realization of one of the sketches in the previous post. This is a piece based on Kappas, from Japanese mythology. I already posted all about them last time, so I don't think I'll go into that any further. Anyway, this was done in Acrylic with some colored pencil, which looks like it's going to be my default way of working from now on. I guess this is about 8" x 18" or some such.

I'm ok with how it turned out. It's nothing special, really, but it's kind of pretty. I'd probably put around another hour or so into the fine details on this one if I had the time.

This next one is the realization of my Macbeth poster that I did for Sam Weber's last assignment in Fashion Illustration. This was a really fun assignment, and it's kind of a bummer that Sam only got five weeks to teach. He had some really interesting things to say. Also, his watercolor originals are brutal, even before he puts the final sheen on them digitally.

Well, this was also done in Acrylic with colored pencil. I know that his crown gets a little lost, but that's something I'm planning on adjusting at a later point. I'm happy with how it turned out. I think this is 9" x 14", which is pretty much my standard size for paintings.

I love Macbeth. I love Shakespeare in general. I don't have all that much to say about this poster.

This last piece was done for a short poem about a kid who was brought up poorly and clings to the tail of the Beast of the Apocalypse as it destroys the planet. It was a pretty neat little poem by Charles Simic. Here's the poem in it's entirety:

He held the Beast of the Apocalypse by its tail, the stupid kid! Oh beards on fire, our doom appeared sealed. The buildings were tottering; the computer screens were as dark as our grandmother's cupboards. We were too frightened to plead. Another century gone to hell - and for what? Just because some people don't know how to bring their children up!

Pretty cool stuff. So, this was done in Acrylic and colored digitally, which was a new thing for me. I liked it well enough. It certainly saved some time. I'll probably try it out in the future for stuff.

I have a couple of things to resolve before I can call this done. Specifically, the lower part of the tail needs some more definition and a little bit more of a highlight so it doesn't get lost when it all gets shrunk down.

So what's in line for next week? Well, I'm planning on doing a piece or two for my Concepts assignment, which is to apply a mythological creature to a modern societal problem. I've got a few good sketches, and at least two that I'm planning on taking to final. So there.

Shut up!

Apr 7, 2008

Slow going

Hey, remember when I said I'd have one finished piece for this post? That was a lie. A terrible, terrible lie. This week though! Get ready. The next post will have a minimum of three, maximum of four nice finals. Here's a sneak peak, plus something older that I liked but never uploaded until now. These are basically sketches with a little color to make it easier for me to paint.

This is a thing for Fantasy Art, where the assignment was wide open. I really love a lot of sprites and demons and stuff from Japanese folklore, but I guess I steered clear of doing anything directly Japanese for a long time. I'm not sure why. I think maybe it was too dangerous to delve into something I love so much. Also, I think doing Samurai imagery is a little cliche. Samurai are badass. I know Samurai are badass. Let's get on with our lives.

Anyway, I really love kappas, which are water-dwelling turtle-monkeys that have water in a depression on the tops of their heads. They are experts in the art of koppojutsu, which is the ancient art of bone-breaking, which they invented. They also like to kidnap children and rape women. They possess incredible strength, but are drained of it if you can get them to spill the water they keep in the tops of their heads. An easy way to do that? Bow to them, and they'll bow back, the polite suckers. It's a really simple image. There's that Samurai there, right? He's trying to get to that temple over on the right side. There's some kappas in the way. Whatever.

This next one is the second and final assignment Sam Weber's given us for Fashion Illustration. We basically just had to do a poster for any Shakespeare play with no guidelines beyond keeping it proportionate to 24x36.

This is the composition I ended up going with for Macbeth, which is a pretty badass tragedy, though not actually my favorite (Hamlet, holla). This isn't scene specific, it's just trying to evoke the sense of the play. A little supernatural, pretty violent, and a little sad. Dude's trapped by his own conception of fate, is all. This is a painting, and it's just about done. I forgot to paint his crown in, so I'm going to be doing that shortly. It looks pretty ok. Megaprops to the lovely and talented Kali Ciesemier for helping me figure out color things.

This next thing is something I did for Brian Ralph's Character Development class last semester. The assignment was to redesign a packaging mascot that we thought looked stupid. We only had to do one, so I did the Red Baron, who sells frozen pizza and shoots down planes. Afterwards, though, I remembered those wonderful Crest Gel commercials and had to do the whole team and their villain, the Cavity Creep.

Gouache on Bristol, like everything else I was doing last semester. These were crazy fun.

On a separate note, I'd like to thank everyone who has a link to my blog. I'm getting some nice traffic leeching off of your better traffic, so I'd like to extend my appreciation. If I don't link you but you link me, give me a heads-up and I will rectify the situation. I like to help. On that note, if you've got some time, check out the links on the sidebar there for some of the best Illustrators and designers around. It's a pretty solid list.

So, a recap for what's to come in the next post: One (1) Macbeth poster, One (1) Kappa/Samurai piece, One (1) Beast of the Apocalypse, One (1) Quetzalcoatl vs Treesaurus Rex tea party.

Wait. Did I just blow your mind?