Archive for the ‘Art: Photoshop’ Category

Burbank Bulldogs Water Polo

Wednesday, 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 Preparation of a Samurai

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

I’ll bet you thought I was done talking about my painting that is on eBay this week being sold to raise money for some friends. Well, I’m not. Just as if it was your birthday, I have a bonus gift for you – a peek at the art that happens BEFORE the art!

When I create an illustration like the one I posted on Monday of Usagi Yojimbo attacking, I always do a preliminary drawing to plan my own attack for the final art. Working on a Cintiq (a special computer monitor that you can draw on), I sketch out my scene using Photoshop. First comes a really rough sketch to get the idea out on the page very quickly. Most folks would have a hard time understanding the image at this point, but it is just meant to give me an idea of the overall composition. The size and placement of characters and scenery are worked out in this stage.


Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo

You can see the initial drawing is pretty rough. The birthing process is never pretty.


In the case of this Usagi Yojimbo piece, the tighter digital sketch that came next (seen below) clearly identified the details of the scene. Then, so as to prevent a lot of experimenting in the painting stage, I worked out all the color choices right onto the rough sketch which was then printed out and taped up next to the final paper on my very non-digital drafting table. This made it so much easier to follow when mixing paint and laying down the watercolors.


Stan Sakai Usagi Yojimbo

The image is all planned out now, and ready for paint! Just stay away from the business end of that blade!


If you compare this final color sketch to the final painted piece I posted on Monday, you can see that even more changes were made to the drawing when I transferred it to the watercolor paper. A sugegasa, a Japanese conical hat, was added, along with one of Stan Sakai’s little lizard creatures that often make an appearance in his comic book Usagi Yojimbo. Otherwise all the details are there ready for the traditional makeover as a watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustration!

If you are interested in owning the final piece that will be published in July by Dark Horse Comics in The Sakai Project book, it will remain on eBay until this coming Sunday, May 4. CLICK HERE if you’d like to bid on it!

If you would like to see other great items by fans and pros that have been sold and will be sold, CLICK HERE to visit the Facebook page of CAPS – Comic Art Professional Society. They are selling all this great Usagi art to help Stan & Sharon Sakai with medical bills (all was explained in my previous post)!


Can you caribou?

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Have you ever had one of those weeks where all you can think about is caribou? Boy, I have! Caribou this, and caribou that. Naturally, I did a caribou sketch. How could I not?!


animated caribou

I like to draw from real life. This was about the silliest caribou I've ever come across in the wild.

June & Squirrel

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

This past Saturday night, March 1, was the opening of  Moosylvania: A Group Art Show Tribute to Jay Ward (curated by Phillip Graffham) at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California. Hundreds of people came to see the art by many local Los Angeles creators.

My Jay Ward Studio tribute piece focused on Rocky & Bullwinkle, but instead of “moose & squirrel” as so eloquently referred to by Boris Badenov, I painted “June & Squirrel”. My friend June Foray created the voice of Frostbite Falls resident Rocket J. Squirrel all those years ago, and continues to perform him today at the age of 96. She recently recorded him for a short cartoon that will run in front of Dreamworks’ new Mr. Peabody & Sherman movie. (June was also the original voice of villainess Natasha in the classic cartoons.)


June Foray

"June & Squirrel" was created entirely in gouache with the big circles and necklace details in colored pencil.


June had asked me earlier in the week if I had a piece in the show, and I told her, “Yes, but you will have to come see what it is.” It was thrilling that she came out to the show Saturday night, and equally thrilling that she seemed pleased, and not offended, to have been portrayed in paint.


June Foray

Chad Frye with the grand dame of voice actors, June Foray.


In case you are curious, perhaps you would like to see the preliminary drawing made in the planning of the painting. I usually work out my ideas in Photoshop where this was sketched and colored. Then I print it out and trace it down onto watercolor paper where it gets the full-on traditional treatment. And no, no compass was used for all those circles. They were hand painted and painstakingly outlined in freehand with a Lilac Prismacolor pencil on the final piece.


June Foray & Rocky

This is the rough concept of "June & Squirrel" worked out in Photoshop.


If you are in the Los Angeles area, please swing by Van Eaton Galleries to see all the art. Some amazing creations are on display until March 15 (beware the Ides of March). My favorite is a seven foot tall sculpture of Rocky & Bullwinkle carved out of a tree with a chainsaw by artist Johnny Daniels.

Also, please check out The Art of Jay Ward Productions book by Darrell Van Citters with a forward by June Foray. Darrell and June were both signing the book at the show, but you can also find this great tome on Amazon!






2013 Monster Month: Day 13 – Mr. Hyde

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Dr. Jekyll’s famous alter ego still roams the streets of London at night, but it’s not what you think. He derives great pleasure from sneaking rides on the ferris wheel when it is less crowded.


The Fun Loving Dr. Jekyl

London shouldn't be too afraid, unless that London fog is really Mr. Hyde's personal fog.


Whaaa? Can it be? Another new monster is coming tomorrow leading up to the Halloween grand finale!!

2013 Monster Month: Day 10 – It’s a Noisy Day In the Neighborhood

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Neighbors. We all have them: big neighbors, little neighbors, happy neighbors, gardening neighbors, elderly neighbors – even crazy cat lady neighbors. The one type of neighbor that many people could say was perhaps the most annoying, the most insanity inducing, the most unbelievably invasive, and the most downright selfish is the NOISY NEIGHBOR!

Noisy neighbors can look just like you and me. They actually seem normal when observed in public. They are livin’ the dream in their SUV like 99.7% of America, they take their kids to school, then to soccer practice, and enjoy time together at restaurants and shopping malls. In fact, they might look just like MY neighbors.


Meet my neighbors who could look just like YOUR neighbors.


However, underneath those quintessential gee whiz exteriors lie the hearts of beasts so inhumane and insensitive to their surroundings, that they look down with pleasure from their worldly perch to derisively sneer at the little people below them. I speak as one of those little people literally from below who has grown weary of the derision over the past year.

The creatures who live above me have far and away been the noisiest neighbors ever to occupy that apartment in the sixteen years this has been my home. From the first day they moved in, it has been an incessant stream of late night hammering, cabinet crashing, chairs scraping, toilet seat smashing, foot stomping, running, jumping, music playing so loud that lyrics can be heard, somersaulting, bass thumping, doors slamming, and I’m pretty sure buffalo herding. I’ve thought about giving them a “Noisiest Neighbor” trophy, but the above descriptive inscription would cost too much to engrave since the trophy shop charges per letter.


Noisy Neighbors

I'm convinced that my neighbors' front door is a mystical portal that, when entered, returns their public personas into these more natural forms.


You can always tell when the husband gets home because you can trace exactly where he walks by the sure-footed thuds of what must be steel-toed military boots that are weighted down further with bags of coins tied around his ankles. Their young daughter of possibly seven years old has apparently not yet learned to walk because one can only hear her run wherever she goes in that confined 800 square foot space. (I think she may be training for the summer olympics gymnastics team.) Even when they go out, their cat tears around the joint as if forever teased by a never ceasing laser pointer. The only one who is usually quiet is the wife, unless they are either fighting or making up.

I know what you are thinking. “Boy this guy is super sensitive to noise.” No. I’ve had my share of interesting neighbors. I’ve lived through the screaming Koreans, the drug dealer, the weekend partiers, the smelly pot smokers, a family of four with two little kids who were VERY well behaved and considerate, and even a sweet couple whose lives were forever altered when the husband passed away from cancer in the bedroom above mine, but NEVER before have I had neighbors that awaken me DAILY at any hour of the night with just a foot-stomping and toilet-seat-slamming trip to the bathroom.

Despite the one year plus of frustration that rains from above, something positive has come from the ordeal – three new Monster Month monsters! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17), right? But perhaps I’ve just taken that out of context a smidge.


Girly Monster

Sure it's funny now, but only when you ignore the fact that the noise is real.

Come back again to see what will be freaky on Friday!

The Force of Comic-Con

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Well, this is Comic-Con week. While many of my friends and colleagues will be congregating in San Diego for the grand daddy of all comic conventions, I shall remain in Los Angeles working on the Lalaloopsy TV show.

Comic-Con is a crazy time with 150,000+ swarming the hotels, restaurants, streets and convention center all looking to get their nerd on. I won’t be missing it one bit, but I do share an affection with the crowd for the great geeky experiences to be had there in excess. So, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring by posting a pretty nerdy sketch today.

If a mouse had Jedi powers, what would he use the Force for? Why, liberating cheese from traps of course. Enjoy!


Star Wars Mouse

"This IS the cheese you are looking for."

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The following image is a public service announcement for America…

Chuck Norris

You stay classy, America!