Explosions of activity

Detail from Incredible Hulk Anatomy.

Recent news from my studio:
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The Incredible Hulk Anatomy image did very well. 

  • Published it on Symbiartic, got some good traffic, over 70 Facebook Likes and a few comments there. 
  • Editor-in-chief of io9.com, Annalee Newitz published it there, and it's up to about 24000+ views in 4 days. 
  • This Tumblr-er posted it, and it's been re-shared and Liked more than 370+ times. 
  • I had some fun viewing it on Google Ripples.
  • My Symbiartic post about fine artist Marc Quinn's Self also got a shout-out on Gizmodo.


    I don't have time to do a lot of fan art: but it is a useful tool to getting noticed by a wider crowd, much like how many 90's goth bands did covers of popular Depeche Mode and New Order songs. It's a lot of fun to do though. Wonder what I should tackle next?  Always wanted to finish something with Cloak and Dagger. 

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    I revamped my professional portfolio online. 



Instead of awkwardly grouping artwork by mediums used (painting, drawing) as I used to do, I think I've made it a little more editor and art director friendly by arranging the galleries by topic. 
New galleries are:

Hopefully this makes it easier to navigate. I also tried to pick some really strong images for the first image in each gallery. 
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I'm pretty close to revealing some of the work I did earlier this year. It's my first time doing actual scientific illustration instead of the surreal stuff I'm usually commissioned to do, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. After doing these, I think I shed my imposter-syndrome that flares up a bit when I consider myself a part of the science blogosphere. #Iamscience

For now, here's a little Instagram-preview of one of the images:

© Glendon Mellow



Expect more posts about this project pretty soon!  There's also 4 more projects in the works...


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

Incredible Hulk Anatomy

(This post originally appeared yesterday on Symbiartic, the art+science blog I co-author on the Scientific American Blog Network.)
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Like millions of other superhero comic fans, I loved Joss Whedon's & Marvel's The Avengers when I saw it (in 2D) opening weekend. Motion-captured Mark Ruffalo turned in the most incredible version of the Hulk we've seen yet on the screen.  Squeeing and cheering, it reminded me of a drawing I had made back  in 2002.  I drew this fan art of Marvel Comics' Incredible Hulk, dissected and analyzed. Here it is with a new lick of paint. 

Hulk © Marvel Comics. This fan art has moral © Glendon Mellow. Feel free to share under Creative Commons.

At the time, I tried to draw on not only my mother's nursing school anatomy textbooks, but also gorilla and hominid ancestor skulls (such as Paranthropus, though my murky text  identitifies it with the outdated Zinjanthropus name), inspiration for things like the cranial ridge and large jaw muscles. I included details such as 3 scars on the bone (I'm Canadian: Wolverine wrecked his face a few times and I wanted to document that) and perfect glowing teeth. If anyone has perfect shiny teeth, it needs to be Hulk.
The science and geekery site io9.com recently listed 10 Science Concepts that Could Spawn Awesome Supervillains (by Esther Ingliss-Arkell). Established characters borne of exaggerated real world scientific causes could probably use science-inspired revisions too.  Can't wait to get my hands on The Art of Marvels The Avengers to see what scientific concepts the pros who designed the movie concept art came up with.


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As a bonus not featured on Symbiartic, here's what the labels around ol' Jade Jaws' head say.
TOP LEFT
  • The Hulk Reviewed
  • Points of interest concerning the osteological and muscular systems. 


TOP LEFT: The Skull

  • Note muscle-anchoring protuberances and ridges not found in average frontal and zygomatic bones. 
  • Enlarged and bifurcated nasal cavities; see Appendix 3.1 for discussion and speculation of respiratory efficiency. See also; ribcage and spinal cord sinuses. 
  • Note disproportion of maxilla to mandible. 


TOP RIGHT: The Skull
  • Grossly enlarged frontal fontanelle, similarity to Zinjanthropus found in 1959. 
  • Three scars unhealed grazing left ocular cavity; unusually, no traces of foreign molecules present. 
  • Connective tissue spurs above eyeteeth at gumline. 
  • Note complete absence of tooth decay or erosion. 
  • Analysis of blood vessel to marrow ratios reveals skeletal system itself surprisingly fragile relative to comparisons with muscle and tissue tensile densities. 


BOTTOM RIGHT: Musculature

  • Layers of cartilage and dense marrow-like tumours surround blood vessels; protecting both vessels and braincase simultaneously. 
  • Jaw muscles extend to skull ridge homologous to gorilla. 
  • Note muscles allowing subject to shut nostrils: unheard of in primates. This trait normally found in desert-dwelling ungulates such as dromedary camel. 
  • Jaw may lock while mandible is at any degree of extension. 
  • Elasticity of muscle tissues allows striations and contractions on 4-axis per muscle. Eyes and mouth can close using enormous, continuous pressure. 


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Above image done in pencil and painted in ArtRage Studio Pro. The Incredible Hulk is © Marvel Comics and I did this piece of fan art without permission but with respect.  I claim only a moral copyright to this specific rendition of their character.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the Scientific American Blog Network!

Cloak and Dagger wip

Decided late last night to get cracking on another Marvel Comics image for fun.  Below, the start of my work-in-progress of Cloak and Dagger, being done with ArtRage Studio Pro.



I've always liked these two, ever since their half-book run in Strange Tales opposite Dr. Strange.  Artist Bret Blevins' take on the pair defines them for me, though I loved Kevin Nowlan's covers. This series introduced the sinister Mr. Jip (and also had the best Dr. Strange stories ever, after he destroyed all the ancient talismans that protect Earth in order to save his friends. He becomes super evil to save the world.)


Art by Carl Potts and Bret Blevins

Dagger is a teen dancer, and should be lithe, but it often portrayed in a really voluptuous way which I don't think fits this character. Her costume is revealing, but also carries a really simple design that would work well even without all the skin showing. Cloak's skin is supposed to appear sort of like old wood, so I'll see what I can do in this image to grant that effect, though most will be in shadow. 

For this image, I wanted to have more mystery, and an air of menace. We'll see how it turns out. 

Here's some previous sketches I posted a couple of years back:




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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Cloak & Dagger © Marvel Comics, fanart being done without permission.

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Snowy Man-Thing wip


Decided to play around with this one some more and switch the crystals at the base to snow.  Still a work in progress: I'll need to add some more frostiness to ol' Man-Thing.

Does he need a carrot nose?  Nah.

I'm really enjoying ArtRage Studio Pro, and I've been using this image to unwind whenever I have some time. Also, if you're an ArtRage fan, check out the updates that come with 3.5: now their's scripting!  Basically, you can record a movie while you paint. I plan on making use of that pretty soon!

Previous looks at this work-in-progress here.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.
Man-Thing copyright to Marvel Comics. Fan art, without permission> Respect their authoratay!

Man-Thing work-in-progress continues

My piece of Man-Thing fan art continues. 




You can see the pencils here, and the start of the digital painting along with commentary and an explanation of who this character is, here.

Coming along I think:  I like this background better than the previous one. Still a ways to go in the detail department. Using ArtRage Studio Pro. 


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.

Art Monday: Man-Thing WIP

(Should I bring back my Art Monday posts?  I feel like I've been posting more often so I'm not sure they're relevant. Maybe if I just talk about technique?)

Every summer I feel a huge urge to do some fan art.  So right now I'm taking this Man-Thing drawing from a few years back and colouring it using ArtRage Studio Pro. 



I tend to post desktop screen captures a lot when talking about ArtRage.  The reason for this is that the first time I saw what the program's interface looked like, I knew I had to get it. As a traditional oil painter, a lot of digital painting programs feel like you're working in Excel or Word: all these drop down menus and hunting under the headings for the tool you need.

ArtRage immediately struck me as a different beast.  And it is.  Most of your tools are in the two 1/4 wheels in the corners, the left for the types of art media (including chalk, glitter, watercolours, tech pens and much much more) and the right-side one for your colours, lights and darks and metallic-ness. When using a digital drawing tablet, it becomes easy to just dab, dab and you've switched your brush and paint, just like using the real thing.

Here's where my "Trapping the Man-Thing" painting is so far:




Man-Thing was originally created by writers Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway and artist Gray Morrow. In case you're not familiar with the character, the basics are this: Scientist Ted Sallis was working in the Everglades to re-create the lost Super Soldier Serum that had turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. The terrorist group A.I.M. has somehow persuaded Sallis's wife Ellen Brandt into betraying him for the formula, and when he goes on the run from them through the swamp he injects himself with the formula and crashes into the oozy muck, where the chemical agents in his body along with mystical forces, transform him into the Man-Thing.

Man-Thing typically has no memory of being Ted Sallis, and shambles slowly along, stopping evil-doers. It can sense fear, and fearful beings burn at his touch, due to chemicals secreted through his hands or embrace. Man-Thing is entirely composed of vegetable matter, most of it rotting and it can quickly re-grow parts of itself when say, shot in the eye with a shotgun.  At different points, Man-Thing has been the Guardian of the Nexus of All Realities, which is found in his swamp, and recently joined the reformed villains superhero team, The Thunderbolts. More on Wikipedia.

My personal favourite artist for Man-Thing was Liam Sharp. Check out his cover to issue #7 of the 90's run here (with Namor of Atlantis!).

I've created this image below to illustrate some of the specific techniques I used. 



One of the handiest things most digital programs can do, ArtRage included, is cleverly overlay a pencil drawing on top of the digitally painted image.

In this case, I used real analog HB technical pencil in my Moleskine sketchbook to draw Man-Thing. I scanned him in and after creating my digital painting file, imported the drawing into a layer in ArtRage. Then, I set the layer to "Multiply" which allows the pencil sketch to kind of float on top of the painting, while the painted colours are still visible. That way, the drawing is more than a guide to be traced or a springboard to the rest of the painting: the pencils are part of the final image.

You can see the multiply-layer pencil clearly in the image above with Man-Thing's arm and shoulder. I've made the other painted areas invisible there and left the painting on his face by comparison. I blurred the background using a Gaussian blur in Photoshop to make the effect clearer. The pencil is totally visible. (Kind of like it blurred out...may keep it.)

It's a both more restrictive and less to work this way. It's moreso since the final image is determined by the pencils, but also less so since I can kind of just cut loose on the painted colour and texture and let the pencils describe the form. Using Multiply this way is a pretty basic tip for people doing digital painting, but I'm describing it here in case some of my blog readers are unfamiliar with it.

If you're familiar with Photoshop and worried about trying ArtRage since a few of your tools won't be available, don't fret. You can export ArtRage paintings into Photoshop with all layers intact and back again. Handy that. Though as I spend more and more time with ArtRage I'm finding there's very little I need to use Photoshop for.

So, why is Man-Thing being trapped by these crystals?  Do we need a villain?  Baron Mordo or Mr. Jip lurking in the background?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Man-Thing is wholly owned by Marvel Comics.  This is fanart in homage to the cool mucky character. 

New WIP: - Marvel's Man-Thing

I don't know what it is about hot weather and Fan Art - I'm always compelled to do my favourite Marvel and Star Wars characters in the summer.






I think this pencil drawing of "Capturing Man-Thing" I did a couple of years back will finally get the colour treatment using ArtRage 3 over the next few days.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Man-Thing is © Marvel Comics and I am doing this fan piece without permission. I do not plan on making any profit from it.

Highest form of flattery

One of The Flying Trilobite fans on Facebook recently purchased some stickers from my print shop and let me know he had placed them on his bumper. 

photo © Thomas Trae 2011

I asked Thomas Trae if he could put the picture up and he did. 

Then he showed me the highest form of flattery toward my art:


photo and arm © Thomas Trae 2011 and forever. 


He got inked!

"Did I forget to mention the Flying Trilobite is hovering over the Megasquid?" said Thomas.  Our ensuing conversation:

  • Flying Trilobite Is that painted?
    Thursday at 15:05 · 
  • Thomas Trae ‎'Tis inked, good sir.
    Thursday at 16:16 · 
  • Thomas Trae And boy did that area hurt. Not so much the trilo, but the green. Aaaaand he had to re-do it several times on different occasions.
    Thursday at 16:20 · 
  • Flying Trilobite Holy monkey - permanent? A tattoo? People will know you and I belong to some sort of ancient arthropod-worshipping cult --- er!! I mean people will *think* you and belong to some sort of cult. But that's just silly, heh heh....
    Yesterday at 03:55 ·  ·  1 person
  • Thomas Trae The trilobite just seemed to compliment the Forest Cthulhu. Yeah, we share 'the Mark' now. One day, when the stars are aligned, the Great Winged Trilo will rise from the depths of an alternate history...
    20 hours ago ·  ·  1 person

My Brother!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Fanboy Monday: superhero anatomy

When I originally posted this, I was squirrelly about infringing on copyrights, and so I called it a "Made-Up Hominid". I've tried to learn a lot about copyrights, both here in Canada and in the U.S. and a fan homage is another thing entirely. I own some moral rights to the art, but I may not profit from it since the character belongs to one of the comic companies. So. Time to "out" this drawing as the fanboy piece of art that it is. Should be easy enough. After the guess, I'll list the diagram notations that are absent in this picture (you can see the indicating lines) in the comments.

This art was done like, a gazillion years ago. Next week will feature some more new content.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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