2&2 is the story of Tommy Hanson, a disgruntled comic book artist with a security bear and a peculiar fixation on a certain fictional man of steel. He suddenly finds his life turned upside-down when he meets and is attracted to a mild-mannered, yet attractive stranger named David Sharpe -- who happens to be dating Tommy's estranged sister.
Below are a series of videos that were created to promote the show and its fundraising campaign.
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One of the many hats I have worn over the years has been that of a comic book colorist. In the process, I receive an electronic version of the page (and in most cases, the script). My task is to bring it into Adobe Photoshop to color.
Please note that for these pages, the line art was done by the penciler and/or inker of the respective comic books. Anything color is me. Anything black is not.
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Fonts have always been a fascination of mine. Ever since the advent of computer typography, I had wanted a typeface that was based on my own handwriting.
The above image (and this body copy) illustrates the product of the long, laborious process of creating a font from scratch: Emerald Sentinel Scrawl.
Below are a couple of Flash-based animations I have done.
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As is true with most any artist, not all of my creations have been done for others. Even at my most busiest, I sometimes take a moment (or two or a hundred) to create my own work. In this slideshow are some examples of what I have done in my down time.
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So, after designing the nine logos for Quannapowitt Players' Suburban Holidays III New Plays Festival, Producer and Playwright Patrick Cleary asked me to design a number of additional logos for his own plays (24 in all).
First and foremost, he wanted to include them all in a poster to be hung in his home. Secondly, he wants to include them in a web site showcasing his work. Thirdly, he hopes to include them in a published collection of his work.
With 24 separate shows with which to contend, I had a fine line to walk stylistically. Each design needed to stand on its own in quickly conveying the overall theme of the play, yet they also needed to look like all belonged together in the same grouping when displayed together.
If you were to combine the time it took for this project and the Suburban Holidays logos below and divided by 33, I probably averaged a logo every hour. Not a bad use of time from sketch and concept to final piece.
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Quannapowitt Players is a community theatre based in Reading, Massachusetts.
This November, QP will be producing the third incarnation of their annual Suburban Holidays New Plays Festival. It is a great way for local playwrights to get their work on the stage. All of the component shows make some reference to a particular holiday. In the past, the plays tended to focus around the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, but any holiday is fair game. As of this writing, my contribution is two-fold.
First off, my 15 minute romantic comedy, Arbor Day, was chosen to be one of the paticipating plays. Secondly, I have designed logos for each of this year's participating shows. These will be used in marketing materials for the festival.
Note: The logo for the festival itself was designed by Jonathan Sachs.
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So DC Comics recently revealed a production photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the upcoming feature film, Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice.
While I like the overall look and I am glad they didn't go with the outdated bathing suit motif, I found the subdued tones to be a bit lacking. Other than the iconography, wasn't much there that differentiated Wonder Woman from any one of a number of modern takes on classical Greek armor.
As an experiment, I decided to see what would happen if I reintroduced the classic colors to the design without making any other modifications whatsoever.
What do you think?
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How many Boston landmarks and animal tails can be squeezed into a graphic for a pet care company?
That was the challenge for this particular piece.
When I sat down with Heather Gay, the owner of Tails of Boston, she mentioned that she wanted a cute collection of animal tails against a not-quite-geographically-literal representation of Boston (in a brightly colored "Marvel Comics" style to boot).
Below is a copy of the graphic that originally was on her web site. Her main issue with the existing graphic was that it was more about Boston than it was about the pets.
In addition she thought that the paw print wasn't unique enough, as many of her competitors used paw prints in their designs.
(Not to mention her company is "Tails of Boston" and not "Paws of Boston")
To the right is a screen capture of the Tails of Boston website with a variation of the graphic that was designed to fit into the existing footprint of the previous cityscape.
In addition to the logo and the web site graphic, this assignment also included companion artwork that is intended to be wrapped onto the Tails of Boston company car. (More pictures forthcoming)
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Ah, yes. The double cover from hell.
Or rather the double cover that may or may not be a Guiness Book record holder. (More on that in a moment.)
This, my highest profile, credited comic book work to date, was the cover to Devil's Due Comics' 25th issue of their G.I. Joe: America's Elite series.
Adding to its signficance was that it was released on the 25 year anniversary of G.I. Joe. This meant that they had to do something special to celebrate.
What did they do? They drew every single character who was ever a member of the team -- 236 to be exact, all with his/her distinct costume.
It took me about two weeks to color. And about a week after that, I got an e-mail from my editor saying they had forgotten four people!
Also included in the e-mail was line art for a patch that I needed to apply to the artwork.
Of course, by this point I had forgotten how I had achieved some of the rendering effects. It took a bit of trial and error to get it to look like the four had been there all along.
Jim Steranko, a noted Silver Age comic book artist, took one look at this cover in my portfolio. His exact words when he saw it were, "You've gotta be f--king kidding me."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
So, about that Guiness Book record...
A couple of weeks ago, Marvel Comics came out with Deadpool #27, a comic book that touted the Guiness Book of World Records seal. Apparently the Deadpool cover contained 232 characters, of which 224 qualified as publicly recognizable.
Since the G.I. Joe cover was not put up for consideration when it was published, the jury is still out as to whether all 236 are recognizable enough to qualify.
Either way I am enjoying the added attention to my coloring work.
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So last spring, I found myself with some down time in between projects. I knew I had 2&2 at FringeNYC coming up, so I figured I'd put my feelers out to my colorist contacts for some uncredited flatting assistance. None of them had any immediate projects, but they said they'd pass the word.
Almost immediately, I got a call from Ethen Beavers, the illustrator for a three book young girl novel series, the Ultra Violets. Book number one had just come out and he needed a replacement colorist for books two and three. Would I be interested?
Of course I would.
He went on to explain that the characters were designed by Chris Battle, the creator of the Power Puff Girls. Since book one had already been done, I would need to hit the ground running to match the look and feel of the existing style, but would still be able to make it my own. The artwork would be rendered in greyscale and printed with purple ink for a pseudo colored appearance.
That was all the better as far as I was concerned. Greyscale limits the color palette. Instead of millions with which to work, I in effect had 100. It is always a welcome challenge to create effective contrast between very similar tones.
Work on my first book (the second in the series) commenced in the spring and there would be a hiatus over the summer and by early fall, the final book would be ready for me. Perfect timing. The books straddled my Fringe Festival commitments.
While in New York City for the festival, I was killing time between shows and I popped into a Barnes & Noble store and wandered into the kids section. Not expecting the book to be out until later that month, I was taken aback by a face-out prominently displayed on the top shelf on the Young Readers section.
Not too many people can say that they had an Off-Broadway show and a published book appear in New York at the same time. I am very happy to be one of them.
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Back in 2008 I read a news article saying that film maker, Del Shores, was writing and directing a television series that served as a prequel to his cult classic, Sordid Lives. At that point, I had never heard of either Mr. Shores or Sordid Lives.
Little did I know what would result when I did.
My roommate at the time had seen the film, so we set out to watch the series -- each with a different perspective. From the very first episode, I fell in love with the wacky, raucus characters with their heartfelt, real emotion. Sordid Lives knew how to walk the fine line between the absurd and the real.
I soon learned that the film and television series had been based on a play. While the series was still on the air, I found out that a local theatre, Spotlight Playhouse, was doing an informal reading as part of their Dramatic Reading Series. I jumped on that opportunity, and that led to five years of involvement with Spotlight. In that time, I served as in-house graphic designer, board member, and production designer for a number of shows. (See the Clue: The Musical and Theatre Poster sidebars on this page for examples of my work with Spotlight Playhouse.)
Although Sordid Lives: The Series was popular and was initially renewed for a second season on Logo, Producer Stanley Brooks held the show hostage by refusing to pay the actors and Mr. Shores for repeat airings of the show (which was rerun multiple times on the channel). This escalated to a lengthy legal battle where Mr. Brooks ultimately declared bankruptcy to avoid paying what he owed. This in turn doomed any hope of a second season ever airing.
It was during this uncertain time that I first reached out to Del Shores via e-mail and Facebook, offering my support. This led to intermittant chats and e-mails over the years where I started to jokingly refer to him as my guardian angel. It just seemed that every time I had writers block, I either watched one of his films, read one of his scripts, or had an e-mail volley with him, and suddenly the proverbial fog had lifted.
Flash forward to 2012 when my original play, 2&2, was rehearsing for its world premiere (and then in 2013 for its New York City premiere), Del took time to spread the word on his Facebook fan page -- a kindness for which I will always be grateful.
Throughout all of this, I really wanted to be involved with a full production of Sordid Lives (as opposed to an informal reading). In 2013, I shared a copy of the script with Quannapowitt Players' play reading committee. By the time deliberation had ended, Sordid Lives was part of its 2013-2014 season.
The above artwork was created for postcard and electronic mailings to promote the show.
In addition to creating the promotional artwork, I served as Digital Production Designer, devising projected PowerPoint backdrops for the multiple locations in the play. The slide show below illustrates examples of these backdrops.
Oh, and during the run of the show, guardian angel Del unknowingly struck again. Based on the artwork I created for the production, I got a freelance gig (Tails of Boston, which is detailed further up this page).
I hope it's not the last time he strikes.
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As Production Designer for Spotlight Playhouse's production of Clue: The Musical, my primary task was to reverse engineer elements of the classic board game for use in the show.
During the course of the play, Mr. Boddy calls upon members of the audience to select cards at random to determine who will kill him, where, and with what.
To help in the game, oversized suspect, room, and weapon cards were created (not to mention a replica of the Confidential Case File envelope.)
To help the audience figure out whodunnit, the ticket stub was utilized as the Detective's notepad from the game.
The reverse side of each card was designed to replicate the classic game card background with two notable exceptions. First, the name "SPOTLIGHT PLAYHOUSE" was substituted for the "PARKER BROTHERS" text on the original. Second, each card was marked with a hidden code allowing the actor playing Mr. Boddy to know the chosen card from the back without the audience noticing.
Even larger versions of the room cards were used in conjuction with representational furniture to create the minimalist illusion of having six separate rooms on the same stage. (For the sake of balance the musical only utilized six out of the original nine rooms from the game.)
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