Twenty-One Artist Salute

August 12th, 2014

This coming Saturday, August 16th, I will be participating in one last epic book signing event for The Sakai Project book published by Dark Horse Comics. I and twenty of my colleagues will be meeting at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles from 4-6pm to sign our pages in the Usagi Yojimbo tribute book all to help raise just a little more money for our pal Stan Sakai needed for his wife’s cancer bills.

In addition to the book, they will be selling beautiful 13×19″ limited edition prints of just a few of the pieces in the book such as the one by Sergio Aragonès that was announced on CAPS’ Facebook page today. CLICK HERE to visit the CAPS’ Facebook page where special revelations about the upcoming signing will be posted all week.

 

Usagi Yojimbo 30

 

The following is the official press release from CAPS:

Los Angeles, CA – On Saturday, August 16, twenty-one members of the cartooning community will descend upon Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard to sign copies of Dark Horse Comics’ recently released book “The Sakai Project” to help raise money for the medical bills of fellow cartoonist Stan Sakai, creator of Dark Horse’s “Usagi Yojimbo” comic book, now in its thirtieth year.

Fundraising efforts were initially spearheaded by the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), an organization of professional comic book artists and writers of which Stan Sakai is a member. Organized by artist Tone Rodriguez, CAPS began collecting original art last December for an online auction to lend a helping hand to Sakai, whose wife Sharon has been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. As art poured in from the cartooning community, many pieces were custom drawings of Stan’s samurai rabbit creation Usagi Yojimbo.

Bill Morrison, a member of CAPS and an art director at Bongo Comics (publisher of “The Simpsons”), approached Sakai’s publisher, Dark Horse, about collecting these wonderful images into a book to also benefit the Sakais. Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson was enthusiastic about the idea, and offered to pay for the book’s publication so that all sales could go to the Sakais. Bill Morrison proceeded to volunteer his time to edit the book in tandem with Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley which was designed voluntarily by noted book designer Serban Cristescu. The result is a beautiful 160-paged hardcover art book featuring interpretations of Usagi Yojimbo by some of the top cartoonists in comics today.

Between the online auction and the book, the cartooning community came together in a unique way to help one of their own. Now twenty-one artists local to Los Angeles will gather one more time to help their friend with a fundraising book signing event.

Attending the signing event will be “The Sakai Project” contributors Sergio Aragonès (“Groo the Wanderer”, “MAD Magazine”), Mark Evanier (“Groo” writer), Tom Luth (“Groo” and “Usagi” colorist), William Stout (noted illustrator), Ricardo Delgado (“Age of Reptiles”), Jeff Keane (“Family Circus”), Rubèn Procopio (“Batman 66”), Bill Morrison (editor of “The Sakai Project”), Tone Rodriguez (“The Simpsons” comics), Dean Yeagle, Steven E. Gordon, Anson Jew, Benton Jew, Aidan Casserly, Chad Frye, Brad Rader, Patrick Scullin, Robert Stanley, Mark Dos Santos and Mike Kazaleh all joining with Stan Sakai (“Usagi Yojimbo”) himself.

Books will be sold for $45 each, or if fans already have the book, they will be charged a nominal $15 to have their books signed by the artists in attendance.

In addition to “The Sakai Project” book, there will be limited edition prints available exclusively at the event of four images from the book by artists attending the signing: Sergio Aragonès, Stan Sakai, William Stout, and Bill Morrison.

The event will take place on August 16 from 4-6pm at Meltdown Comics & Collectibles, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Thanks to Meltdown, all proceeds go to Sharon & Stan Sakai to help with their medical bills.

 

Burbank Bulldogs Water Polo

August 6th, 2014

Last year I was approached to create a one-of-a-kind design for the back of the letterman jacket for a member of Burbank High School’s lady bulldogs water polo team. From what I was told, she wasn’t thrilled with whatever choices the school was offering for the back of the jacket, so her father hired me to create a custom image.

I worked up my own version of a bulldog, kept it tough and formidable and yet added elements of femininity to represent the team of ladies who would deliver water polo justice to their competitors.

And yes, this was for use on just ONE jacket. She has a very nice father.

Bulldog design

Here is the original design done in five colors - black, white, pink, and two shades of blue. The dark blue background was just a placeholder for the dark blue color of the actual jacket onto which this would be embroidered.

 

Bulldog design

Here is the final design as embroidered on the back of the letterman jacket. I was fairly pleased with it, though a little annoyed that they eliminated the black outline from the water that was intended to be there.

“The Sakai Project” Book Signing

July 31st, 2014

As a contributor to The Sakai Project book, published last week by Dark Horse Comics, I will be participating in a big book signing this coming Saturday. Even Stan Sakai himself will be in attendance. If you are in the Los Angeles area, come on out and meet SEVENTEEN artists!

 

Sakai Project

Batman Day

July 24th, 2014

According to every third post on Facebook this week, apparently we had a Batman Day. (The other two thirds of the posts were about Comic Con and cats.) I was not aware we had a holiday to celebrate Batman, so I seem to have missed it.

I like Batman, so I want in on the celebration. I took a little time to reimagine the Dark Knight as someone who enjoyed the luxuries of his fame a little too much. By the time Bruce Wayne reached middle age, he probably was a little soft around the middle, needed glasses, and got to the point where he just didn’t care about shaving. The fact that this version slightly resembles me is in no way my fantasy of hurling myself through the night to rescue citizens in distress with cool gadgets while wearing an unwieldy cape. If I were to do that, I would go without the cowl and take all the credit as Chadman.

 

Chadman

See, this is why I DO NOT cosplay. The costume wouldn't look right, and I'd probably be going around trying to save London instead of Gotham.

 

Well, enjoy (or enjoyed) Batman Day. I have to run. Some spotlight in the sky just got my attention…

The Sakai Project

July 23rd, 2014

Well, today is the BIG day! Dark Horse Comics, in collaboration with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), has released The Sakai Project, a beautiful 9×12″, 160 page hardcover book of artists’ interpretations of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo comic book character that he has been writing and drawing for the past thirty years. Its big splash debut is at the San Diego Comic Con where it is likely to be THE book to take around to artists to get autographed.

 

Stan Sakai

The front cover features an illustration by Stan Sakai, the only spot where Stan's actual artwork appears in the book.

 

The book came about because CAPS (of which I am a member) started a fundraiser auction to help Stan Sakai with bills that exceeded his health insurance coverage in the care of his wife, Sharon, who has brain cancer. So many artists started sending in original creations of Usagi Yojimbo, that auction organizer Tone Rodriguez thought there ought to be a book! Mike Richardson, head honcho of Dark Horse Comics, generously offered to pay for the publication of the book with all sales going directly to Stan & Sharon.

 

The Sakai Project

This is a photo from CAPS' Facebook page. Click on it to see their album of art, both Usagi and non-Usagi, that they sold in their fundraiser for the Sakais.

 

Back in April I shared with you my piece, but I’ll share it again here. It appears on page 30 in the book, right next to my friend Michael Jantze who draws The Norm comic strip. Page 30 in a 30th anniversary book is not too shabby. The painting has found a good home somewhere when it was sold on eBay back in May to help the Sakais.

 

Usagi Yojimbo

Here is the full watercolor and colored pencil piece that occupies a corner of page 30 in "The Sakai Project."

Usagi Yojimbo

…and since it was reproduced small in the book, here is a close-up so you can see some of the detail.

 

So, go to your local comic book shop today and pick up this GREAT tome. You will get to see some amazing art by folks like Mike Mignola, William Stout, Sergio Aragonès, J. Scott Campbell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Tone Rodriguez, Geof Darrow, Tim Sale, Kazu Kibuishi, Adam Hughes, Art Adams, Neal Adams, Frank Cho, Jack Davis, Matt Wagner, and the list goes on and on!

You will also be helping out one of the sweetest couples I know, Sharon & Stan Sakai.

Ken Thorne, Composer • 1924-2014

July 10th, 2014

Yesterday word started fluttering about Facebook amongst film music fans that Ken Thorne passed away. Ken’s name may not be well known outside of film score aficionados or die hard film buffs, but his contribution is no less important, and he couldn’t have been a nicer guy.

I only had the opportunity to meet Ken once. He attended the Fans of Film Music event back in 2011 where he sat on a panel of great composers such as Brad Fiedel, David Newman, Brian Tyler, Nicholas Pike, Christopher Young, and Lee Holdridge. At 87, the elder statesman of the group not only charmed the audience with his gentlemanly ways, but he also charmed his fellow panelists.

 

Ken Thorne

Ken Thorne, taken during the 2011 Fans of Film Music event at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, CA.

 

Since you were wondering, Ken’s contribution to film began in 1948 with British fare that later included Help! starring 4 lads from Liverpool which later led to his work on Head, a movie starring the Beatles influenced band The Monkees (a film co-written by Jack Nicholson no less). He could do comedy like Alan Arkin’s Inspector Clouseau, he was a master at adaptation taking John Williams’ themes to build new scores for Christopher Reeve’s Superman II and Superman III, and he could do action with Tom Selleck’s 1980s film Lassiter. Somewhere along the line (1967) he managed to win an Oscar for his work on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

That day I met Ken, I sat in the audience caricaturing each of the panelists. This drawing of Ken was posted back then along with the other panelists (which you can revisit by clicking here), and I thought I’d share it once again here today.

Seek out Ken’s work. You’ll find a treat waiting for you!

 

Ken Thorne

At 87, Ken Thorne was the eldest of the composers on the panel, and also was the only one with an Oscar which he won in 1967 for his work on the movie "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum."

 

Dog Days of Summer

July 8th, 2014

…well, dog, cat and mouse days of summer actually. It has been pretty hot here over the past few days – routinely in the 90s, but the other day I looked outside and saw 102 on my thermometer. Made me VERY glad to be inside!

Despite having the cool comfort of air conditioning at my beck and call, the outside heat still makes one feel sluggish which was translated vicariously through my arm to paper with these critters. They can do all my slugging for me.

 

Hot Pets

Before any of you e-mail me to tell me cats and dogs don't get sweaty brows, just remember this is a drawing. It isn't real life. Mice, however, always fan themselves in real life.

 

FOR SALE

14×11″ colored pencil on Canson paper - $215.00

(FREE SHIPPING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES  - ADDITIONAL FEES MAY APPLY FOR INTERNATIONAL)

CONTACT CHAD@CHADFRYE.COM


IMF Birds

July 2nd, 2014

Last night I was watching the classic Mission: Impossible television show when I reached over for my sketchbook and started doodling…..birds. Yeah, I don’t know why either. Cold War dramas don’t usually bring birds out of me, even though the Impossible Mission Force does seem to keep the pecking order in check. Although, now that I look at the sketches the next day, that strong eagle on the right does bear a slight unconscious resemblance to Peter Graves. Hmmm.

 

Mission: Impossible

Birds of the Cold War. The biggest impossible mission is keeping them from soiling my car.