I'm an illustrator who's been doing comic art for several years, well since age 3, but you know, in the modern period, under the Third Rail Design Lab mark, since 2003. I produce original characters and storybuilding material set in the TRDL Universe, complete with interwoven origins and a universe timeline and including generic RPG attributes/powers descriptions, for use by gamers and gamemasters in either their own campaigns or in ones set in the TRDL universe as well. It's all available on my site, but we also sell a fat trade paperback series of character books. I'll post some of that on another occasion. I produce a comic, Finit-e, which can be found on the site and read through an online viewer, or via PDF / CBR for desktop, iPad, etc. users.
I also do comic art commissions, usually RPG characters or designs developed for creator-owned character concepts and stories, but also mainstream comic art subjects as per client interest. Some of this has been erotic in nature, sort of two different but sometimes overlapping client groups there.
Lastly, I have a message board, the R3 Forum, attached to my Third Rail Design Lab illustration site, which was started to support the discussion of the TRDL Universe character stuff and also the Finit-e comic, but grew to include news and reviews and all sorts of stuff, but most importantly for this thread: a recurring weekly art jam. The R3 Illustration Jam has been around for years, dating back to the halcyon days when art jams were much more prevalent on the supernet, at that time known as the This Week jam. I've hosted it on R3 for several years now and there are hundreds of topics, as you can imagine, being a weekly jam. The jams are open-ended, never close, and always open to interpretation, so while the character selections are pulled randomly from a pool of contributions by members, of comics, TV and film characters, artists have always had the option to choose any iteration of that character, or design their own. Personally, I've used the jam as a warm-up exercise, but also as a means of producing art that lives outside of my commission art duties and my personal TRDL-owned material.
These days, I've been using a retro pin-up theme in the pieces I do for the jams, either as bomber girls, propaganda art, or simply pinup pieces. It's often a challenge to work a classic pin-up vibe into a superhero piece, but I enjoy it.
I encourage all the artists who happen to be members of CBR to hop in and contribute to the current or past jams as they have the time and inclination. The more the merrier. But in this thread, i'll be sharing some of the pieces I've produced, for your viewing pleasure (or outrage) and comment. I hope you enjoy them!
Don't be a stranger here, on the TRDL site and R3 Forum, or wherever else I may run into you, be it the Alternative Press Expo here in SF, or the social sites like Deviant, Facebook, CAF and the like. I try to spread the TRDL presence around. Feel free to drop me a line through CBR's messaging system, or email if you have art ideas, commission requests, or want more information on Third Rail Design Lab!
This illustration was done for the R3 Jam on TRDL's R3 Forum. Artists can participate in any open jams by heading here. The subject this time: Cheshire, from DC Comics.
I like the character of Cheshire, though not so much the costume, with all the green on green semi-swashbuckler details and very 80's headband and one-sleeve action. But She reminds me, in tone, of where Viper could have gone but didn't: fast-acting poisons, extreme martial arts skills, and most interesting, the babymomma thing. I tried to give her a mixed-ethnicity vibe in her face and skin tone, reflecting the vietnamese-french background. I like how it turned out.
This illustration was done for the TRDL R3 Illustration Jam, the subject being NINJA!. You can see the jam and all the entries, as well as view or contribute to other jams on my TRDL R3 Forum.
Given my time constraints AND my love of revisiting earlier work, when I have an opportunity to pull something out of the process drawer for one of the jams, I take it. This piece started life as a potential piece for one of the 80′s Ladies Calendar projects from a few years back, if I remember correctly. I put some work into trying to get the physique lean and muscular and in working out the details of one of those triathalon-type athletic swimsuits, so I saved it for a future opportunity just like this. The jam this week originally sent me down a different path, but when I was going through my sketch folder over the weekend I found this piece and remembered that Jinx was a ninja in the G.I. Joe world. Sure, she’s a red-cloaked, exotic-weaponed, garishly-decorated ninja, but hey. She’s just THAT GOOD. The concept here is that she dove down to a Cobra sub that is lurking under the surface, and is preparing to get up IN there and wreak havok.
This illustration was done for the R3 Jam on TRDL’s R3 Forum. Artists can participate in any open jams by heading here. The subject this time: evil versions of superheroes.
So as soon as I saw what this week’s topic was, I realized how much I wanted to do my version of Walfiend’s design, despite the fact that I still have ANOTHER related pic in the works. But since that one wasn’t really in the pin-up vein, I decided to do a fresh piece, same character, and I’m glad I did. This is a nod to Walfiend’s redesign of the Crime Syndicate version of Wonder Woman, Earth-2′s Superwoman (Lois Lane). I love the design he came up with, particularly the asymmetrical cloak and pin-shield, the inverted tiara, and the use of silver bracelets. This is another turn at drawing a villain in my pin-up series, which by it’s nature has a good girl vibe, so I’m relying on the background and the eyeshadow I guess. Plus, I think there’s a knowing smile there. An ‘I’ll crush you’ smile.
Third Rail Thrills is a series of pin-ups inspired by classic cheesecake art. Some of these pieces may also occur in my other series' such as the Propaganda Art or Bomber Girls, but the Thrills series puts them against the showcase background and they are part of a growing collection on the main site.
This illustration was done for the TRDL R3 Illustration Jam, the subject being Marvel’s Ghost Rider.
I was never a fan of this character. I like flaming skulls plenty, but like a lot of 70s Marvel, it’s so pop-culture heavy and therefore dated, it’s hard to accept it. Sure, Silver Surfer still flies around on a surfboard. But there’s something about a flaming demonic Hell’s Angel cipher that just never gets interesting to me. That said, I wanted to give it a try, so I did a TRDL Redesign, pushing forward to the year 3033.
In this design, the world of the 3000′s is one devoid of biological life. Artificial intelligence rules. Therefore, my Ghost Rider is a bot. I thought it was an interesting conceit that sentience, like the soul, is so little understood by science, that there’s no reason that if artificial intelligences could gain sentience, that they wouldn’t gain souls, and therefore have one to trade to Satan. And so, a demonic bot, we have here. To make him more dangerous in this world, I made his core out of a recovered, damaged Chinese nuclear pile. The head may be familiar to some of you. The wheels are actually fission tesseracts, held together by ungravity fields. He’s carrying a container on his belt that contains the DNA samples of each of the men that were once Ghost Riders before freed from their duties. The gun, posture, and framing elements will be familiar to anyone into manga in the 80s, I hope!
This was a commission done for a longtime client, basically an African-American, female interpretation of Thor. We played around with references and ideas for awhile: he was into a particular Valkrye costume, plus some colors from another character that pushed to black and yellow. What I tried to do was make her built, tall and powerful. The dreads have a bunch of little jewelry tchotchkes in them that plays against the stars nicely. We looked at a few accent colors for the cape, and one change he asked for was a new symbol for the belt, now shown as being the norse rune for 'D'. I did a version with a staff for a weapon, but he preferred weapon-free, with an outstretched hand receiving lightning.
This illustration is the second in my series of sketches based on real people I see around, riding bikes and looking awesome.
I saw this girl months and months and months ago, locking her bike up downtown. The bike was an unidentifiable tarcke bike, kind looked like a factory fixie, but the bars and saddle looked older. I was struck by her big puffy parka hood with the hair creeping out. Dodgy in summer, but I guess perhaps not here in the bay area. She was some sort of an Asian mix, and yes, pink belt and all, that's an accurate interpretation of her outfit. Sadly, no helmet that I saw.
This illustration was done for the R3 Jam on TRDL’s R3 Forum. Artists can participate in any open jams by heading here. The subject this time: S.H.I.E.L.D. / H.A.M.M.E.R./ Avengers agent Victoria Hand.
Victoria Hand remains one of the few characters in mainstream comics that maintains a non-supered state. For awhile, we had a number of these well-designed, complex characters floating around in the books by the big guys: normal humans dealing with powers in a superhero world, but it didn’t last: Crispus and Renee in GCPD became superheroes. Lois Lane of course jumps in costume every few years, as does Jimmy. Lex Luthor pilots a purple and green armored suit, against his own character concept. They threaten to give Barbara Gordon a way to jump around in tights again, and frankly, at Marvel, we’re down to Foggy, Dakota and a few Daily Bugle staffers… but Victoria has spent most of her time as a SHIELD/HAMMER agent in a business suit. Sure, it’s a sexy business suit, and she does have that neat hair striping, and sure, she carries a big gun when necessary, but for the most part, she’s fun because she’s the normal human unafraid to stand up to the powerhouses of the Marvel Universe. For my pic, I’ve given her the Third Rail Thrills pin-up treatment, but I threw the Goblin Glider in there to acknowledge the business relationship that put her on the map.
You can find a larger version here.
You can also see this illustration herein the TRDL Tribute Gallery.
This one was done for R3 Forum member Twowingsmambo (pat) and his mega-awesome wife Deina, for their wedding in late summer 2009. Pat's one of my best buds from college, so he got the old-timey redesign treatment...
The approximate time period should be apparent from the costuming and text, but there are some other details:
- Deina’s dress is blue, because I find her refreshing. Well, it WAS, before the sepiatone.
- That’s a very old, but very real, bike. I have to dig up the references. But I chose it because the riding position is tall and upright, and it suits Pat, who is tall and upright.
- They live in Vermont
- They have a chicken coop.
- They are Landscape Architects
When I first started participating in online illustration jams, one of the groups in which I became involved did a lot of cartoon and anime characters in their jams. I discovered almost immediately my only interest was in drawing these properties in my own style, not mimicking the style of the animation or what have you. Flash forward to today, it's the same here with Amy Wong, one of the secondary characters on Futurama. I treated the character as a model sheet for my own costuming, and went that route, Asian girl, pink bare midriff sweatsuit, etc. However, I did give her very stylized locks of hair to nod back to the cartoon, and I kept the big clunky boots off to soften it as a pinup girl. The aircraft fuselage graphics are supposed to be saying 'robot killers' but one never really knows with Google Translate. Ha.