Saturday, September 23, 2017

New Things Change

SO there sports fans, Al here with the latest:
It’s been a dog’s life my friends but rest assured, I’ve been working on many different things and real life got in the way of creativity. And for that I am sorry. Website changes, moving, new 9-5 jobs to deal with have been throwing me a lot of things to deal with but I am getting better about dealing with it.
That and a new computer on top of that.

Now this year has been sorely missing many shows to be a part of because of everything else being so chaotic but I am planning on getting into the BIG 500 this year. There has been a lot speculation that might not be another due to the ever changing landscape of Portland’s art scene.
But I am not worried about that.
Even if there wasn’t another show l would still be turning out work for other places that I have been showing work for the last several years.
So there is that.

This is also something that has been lacking in my world of late but now I have a piece that is nearly completed for a client at my new work place. And of course it is of a nautical nature. A tugboat. Now unlike my other ocean going adventures (like Richard Parker) this is a real tugboat so there is a certain amount realism that needs to be depicted in this image.
But I will have to say that it is looking very good and very close to completion. And that makes me very happy.

Of course there will always be Richard Parker. And it continues to grow into a very long and laborious project with fantastic end to the story. The funny thing was friends of mine who were asking about the story and how it was progressing and eventual end gave me some insights into how I was going to end the book.
Lets just use the Hollywood pitch “Jules Vern meets Jacob’s Ladder (the movie)”.
And there you go.

There have been a number of new images that have been generated for Parker as in a total of 9 new images and 4 that are being contemplated over. Each new 9”x12” scratchboard continues to become so more complex than the last that I might have to re-render some of the older images to keep everything up to speed visually.
I do know that could be a death knell of a project but I think that when I am done with the work and most if not all the work is completed and scanned in (perhaps with a few tweaks) but when it’s done you’ll understand the effort of putting this together in my part time.

And I know the images that keep posting are always all over the board but it is actually there to keep me interested in what I am creating and it keeps it fresh for me at the same time so I don’t become complacent with my own work.

I mean seriously for the longest time Parker had no face just a helmet.

To off set the work with Parker and keep a practiced hand at traditional penciling and inking in comic book vein I’ve settled on the public domain character of Robot Monster to work on. And doing so keeps the art fun to produce.

But the hardest thing to keep in mind is making this book and it’s story fun for me to work on. In way I think I can understand how other more famous creators can get bored with their own work and wrote themselves into a corner. At least I have felt that this has happened to a couple good story arcs like Xenozoic Tales, American Flagg!, Dreadstar.

And with that I am out here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A year in REVIEW 2016

Hey there sports fans, Al here with the latest:

As the year has rolled over and it is a time to look back at the previous year of what was good bad and bad and hopefully being a little wiser, like any of my reviews of comic book shows and gallery shows it's time to REVIEW 2016!

Namely things have been a little quiet as far as the art SCENE has been concerned. 
I don't think that there is one person out there that hasn't felt that 2016 has been a good year regardless of your politics, dealing with the crazy weather that we will all have to live with from here on out to the major celebrity die off that we have had.

All of the factors have had a roll in the art scene whether it has been for a show or event. When the buying public is uneasy about something they don't buy art. 
It's just the way it is.
The beginning of the year started off really cool. Having a great solo show opening at the Slingshot Lounge was awesome and selling one piece to a couple that had one of my pieces from two years earlier. 
The cool thing about this other than the sale which is always cool in my book, was the fact these people hit me up for a commission in the space vain. 
Now had kinda avoided doing Space Stuff for one reason - detail.
Detail is hard to do especially with scratchboard and making it good and functional. I had to research the crap out of space movies and watch them over and over again. I think I could almost quote "Interstellar" by heart. My girlfriend was getting a little tired of me re watching it. 

But after that there was a dead zone of almost six months where there was nothing going on no art no nothing. Cept getting my driver's license.

And that was a big deal for me!

Then as the year began wind down from the Presidential Election things began to heat up again in the field of art but with a noticeable difference. There seems to be a listlessness to the work and the feeling from the artists who are producing the work. 
This bothered me but I hadn't at that time figured out what I was seeing and sensing. I couldn’t put my finger on it but after confirming with other artist I knew that when it hit me that there was NO HEART to the work.
Technically all the work that was out there was pitch perfect, color composition, but there was just something missing.

When I traveled down with Dan and George to the EUCON 2016 show there was a subtitle feeling of apprehension but there was many different artist there hocking their wears but there was something.
But at that show for me, pieces that I had produced for the DIVE IN Art Show at NWIPA caught the eye of a lady passing by and it turned into one of those great turning points for the show for me and it fed upon itself the as well. I was purely just bring a finished piece with me to show case this is what a finished piece looks like. Prints are good but seeing a actual original piece of work has a special kind of glow to it.

And though the show was not a huge success for some I did pretty well. I was getting closer to that point of where I could actually be not only breaking even on the show but almost making a profit from the work.
But I didn’t have the time to really think about that show because I had two other shows to do.
One was prepping my work for the BIG 500 and trying something new with it by digitally coloring the work and the other helping my girlfriend with her booth for a 3 day event here in Portland called the Crafty Wonderland Show.
It wasn’t till the BIG 500 this last year that I realized there was no heart to the work.
I had seen this thing before in the comic book guild I had ran decades ago in Eugene but now I was seeing it on a massive scale in Portland from a lot of great artist I personally knew.
In the Guild I had talked to the comic book illustrators about “feeling good about your work”.
People can see when you are not feeling it. They might not know what it is but there is something off about of the work- even if it is technically correct, there is something off about it.
When the art producing public is worried about the State of the Nation and the buying public is looking for that escape from reality and not finding it you know it could be a bad year for both because both groups are suffering from the same emotional turmoil.
Of course for me, I had managed to produce a decent amount of black and white work that I really poured my heart into and colored them and surprise they all sold!

By the end of the year riding high from the BIG 500 sale of ALL my pieces (which by the way has never happened to me before.) I ended up with a commission for doing a classic Captain America piece.

Now I prep myself for a new year, a new job after leave and old one for nearly 16 years. I think that this year as I near my half century mark that this could be a major turning point in my life and pursuit of art.

Now I just have to make some new stuff!

Time for this kid to check out
And as always there are places for you to check out as well.

HOWEVER there are these books that I still need to add to the archive for Black Box Comix. And mind you there is website
and the facebook page 

The Website also has some new stuff added for the comic books featuring Corpse Cop. 

I am outta of here. 

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Shows in REVIEW -EUCON 2016

Hey there sports fans, been a while and there has been a lot of things that have come up in the last month or so concerning shows both of the comic book variety and gallery.
But I'll review the latest first ECON 2016!

After a small amount of prodding from my friend George I will hopefully give you that which you deserve the pro and cons.
THIS WAS THE 2ND annual comic book show for the EUCON. And expectations were high for a repeat of last year.
The attendance of last year was three times the amount that was expected. That alone was great and it did translate into great sales.

There was no real complaint there as far as I was concerned, other than would people remember who I was and was coming back home to conquer like a Viking coming into a small township.
I did better than I expected there and was crowning achievement of my personal best.
But this was a different show with an extra day and pitted against a University of Oregon game that was scheduled towards the end of the show
Well I can tell you that and more.

The PROS and CONS of EUCON 2016

I have tabled with several different people over the years. And a vast variety of different personalities. All of them have been fairly positive and enlightening with insight to each individual. An this is no different. I have tabled with both Dan and George separately.
As compared to last year I always look at my table mates as someone I care about and have a great time with. This time round I would say that having George Leon and Dan DePaolo as wing men was pretty darn cool.
So thanks guys for paling around with me.

I will include travel from the show in this category. Travel went off without a hitch. It was sunny most of the way but there was a fair amount of fog as well. For this time of the year in the Willamette Valley this is actually not that uncommon. We made it there pretty damn quick and began the unloading process for set up.
The travel from was about as quick. Only exception was rain on the way back just as we left Eugene.

3). LOAD IN and SET UP
The thing about shows is the load in and set up. And after about 18 years of shows, we had this down in spades! I think it took us more time to park and check in where our tables were at than the actual set up. 20 mins in and out!


Now I have had a number of customers and I even had returning customers coming back and buying things from me. So that was exciting for me to see returning people who remembered me from the show last year and handing credit cards to be swapped for art and comic books.
It was nice to see that there was a number of products selling from table from everything from prints to postcards to comics to original art work!
I have had some good conversations with people who didn’t buy anything because cash was (and always is) in short supply.
I was able to explain the process of working on scratchboard and how I was able to incorporate digital medium to add color to the per-existing art. One of the best times was talking to a young woman who had already been working in the medium but was curious about the technique of getting the soft line work. When I told her about the extra fine steel for making fog, clouds, smoke wool and using flat matte ink that I use for my brush pens for correcting mistakes and the use of gloss varnish to even out any problems.
The other was from the sale of of an original piece of art work that I had just included at the last moment to have on my table to show off what an original work could look like framed and matted.
This was a teacher whom had started talking to me and wanting to know about my process and using a medium that not a lot of people use. Judith (that is her name) was kind and asked for my business card then a short period came back and said “I’d like to to buy that piece.”

At first I was completely dumbfounded. “Whaaa, sure.” I never expected that the Richard Parker Piece was gonna sell. I was excited that another piece of work was leaving home. I may not have sold during it’s first run but it definitely had more to give at this show. I had already sold enough to make a good dent in the amount to cover the table cost the day before with the sales from prints and comic books – particular Corpse Cop “Inhuman Torch”.
It was a decent enough sale that both George and Dan both looked at me like what did you just do Bennett? Big sale, now I know who to hit for drinks later.
This was a sale that blew open for me the rest of the day I had a sold other items directly after. It was a lot of fun.
BUT the most amazing part of this whole story was the fact that Judith had her two daughters bring back a tool for helping me along cutting the scratchboard a fine tip retractable x-acto pen knife. So cool. It spurred me to start using right away another piece with the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

So a big thank you goes out to Judith!
So with that we now come to the parts of the show that didn’t do so well. THE CONS of EUCON. Now mind you this time around I didn’t have an issue with the organizers of this show and they are my friends on top of that so but there are nit picky things that should be addressed for future shows.

I have mentioned in the past of the Booth Barnacle. Actually this came very early on like the first of the show for me. This guy came up and had started off with talking about looking for an artist to work on his stories. And though he had bought the very first print of the show. And I was thankful for that but dude move on. Shove, bounce do something else other than mumble at me about the plethora of stories ideas. Come up with a good concise pitch AND can you pay the artist that agrees to you and what you are talking about?
There were two other instances that caused some issues. The Boy who Cried “Free Stuff”. This was a young kid who was running around the show floor hitting up artist’s alley vendors for free swag.
Hey kid here is something free for ya- advice. Knock it off! Here is a free rubber band as George said. The thing about the kid was that came back the next day and did same damn thing. And asked, “I don’t know if I asked you this before but do you have any free stuff?”
The last one was the customers who kept taking photos of our work. Particularly George’s work was being targeted cell shots. Ask before taking a shot or some tables are gonna get flipped.

I think that this was biggest disservice to Artist Alley was having vendors selling a Sheeeetonn of fan art that they didn’t even make! There were I think three different vendors there in their booth set ups that were selling not only fan art but other comic related products as well. I know for a fact that there is no way in hell that you guy with the flimsy 15 ft tall PVC pipe tower of shame you made that! If you are gonna be in the artist alley be honest represent your self right. It almost make me think of the bait and switch routine.
The other issue that I have other than these guys aren’t being honest is the fact that these towers nearly fell down on top of a bunch of people because accidentally bumped it!
Hey if I wanted to watch the leaning towers of crap work fall go to freakin’ FANCON 20 whateverthe”F”!

3). P.A.
I understand about that you need to have one of these for dealing with lost and found kid’s/adults OR some safety issue at the event but I was kinda a little tired of hearing about “Give me your best Chewbacca imitation”. I think I had heard a continuous run of these contests over the PA for three days. Common dude give it a rest.
I just wanta listen to the music that was being pumped in. SOOOO much better than George Thorogood and the Destroyers “Bad to the Bone” like what George and I were subjected to at Crypticon!

These are not the cosplayers I was talking about.
Now I am certain if you have gone to any of these shows you are going to see cosplayers doing their thing and walking through the alley ways between tables showing off their creative intentions to like minded folkes. Super cool but go do it someplace other than in front of my table.
These young cosplayers get a walk because they don’t know show ediquite please, please , please don’t take photos in front of my booth/table. I’m trying to sell my work here. 

So here is the question would I go back?
Yes I would. It was a fun to head home and see old friends and sell artwork.
With only a few modifications EUCON could be a great big small show. I know that this shows had things working against such as the previous elections and of course dealing with ever present changing time schedule when things were supposed to happen

Time for this kid to check out
And as always there are places for you to check out as well.

HOWEVER there are these books that I still need to add to the archive for Black Box Comix. And mind you there is website
and the facebook page 

The Website also has some new stuff added for the comic books featuring Corpse Cop. 

I am outta of here. 

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Hey y'all, Al here with the latest!
So it's been a while since I've been posting and there is a very good reason for that - I've been been busy!
Between doubling my effort on the Space Commission Triptych and prepping for the upcoming shows of this last recent Rose City Comic Show and getting ready for the 2016 EUCON in Eugene next month and this is all coupled with 2016 Inktober I've been busting my ass to crank out good work not just stuff that you sneeze on a sheet paper and call art.

With that I'm also preparing several pre existing scratchboard images and "re mastering" them with color for the BIG 500 this year.
That stuff I'm excited about because I have gotten a negative feeling that color is just going to grab people's attention than black and white.
And of course this doesn't include my solo art show for next year at NWIPA. I still haven't come up with a name for that one yet but there will be one "Up from the Depths"
And have Chuthulu be part of the poster fish people of Dagon and of course with Richard Parker as well.
Now this ain't as easy as "Yeah, I'll just whip this out!". Nothing like that. There just had to be a plan.
So there you have it a small amount of stuff to look over and ponder.
Peace out! (- drops the mike)

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Hey there sports fans, Al here the latest!
Let talk about the ROSE CITY COMIC BOOK SHOW 2016.

Now mind you I didn't attend last year's show as I was under the gun for gallery shows and the first EUCON show down in Eugene Oregon. So some of my facts will be out of date.
There were a few set backs at the beginning even before the show started.
A while back you might have remembered that I mentioned how real life has a tendency to throw the monkey wrench into things?
Well this is no different and since this is the year of Monkey Blog for Rose City Comic Show 2016, and he's been working overtime. And in this case he almost had me over a barrel with the printing of the 3'd installment of Corpse Cop.

But the kicker was the fact that my good buddy George Leon wouldn't be able to attend this year's show. It was a real bummer that he wouldn't be hanging out with Dan DePaolo and myself.
He had wanted to go but like I said real life has this way of making things happen.
But have no fear for I am pretty sure that he will be attending the EUCON show this year with Dan and myself.  Haazah!
1).  The LOAD IN. I in years past have tabled with a number of friends and every single one of them a professional vendor. This means that the set up which usually takes place before a show is tag teamed. And with ease and speed our table set up was done in about 35 minutes. Less time than it was to find a parking space.
2). BOOTH NEIGHBORS. I have had been both situations where I have tabled in Artists Alley and have had some issues with next door neighbor's. Either being the EXTREMELY messed up situation at Crypticon back in 2013 with the Human Wall of Shame or Emerald City Comic con of 2012 with a small jazz band playing right next door. Thank God Maverick was there to keep me laughing.
This year Dan and I had the pleasure of a ceramist named (blank). Her work was great and impressive.
And they were POLITE.
I would table next to them again.

3). TRAFFIC. With cos players just across the way I was worried at first that people would be so enamored of the detail and work put into these costumes that no one would see our tables and work. HA��.  Nothing was further from the truth. Walk ways were large enough o have people see both.
4). CUSTOMERS. Everyone that came by our table was kind and mostly respectful. Never did we have to deal with "booth barnacles".  If you are aware of this very descriptive name please let me enlighten you. A "Booth Barnacle" is a individual who lingers around your table and engages you meaningless conversation for an hour without ever buying anything from your table and keeps you from being able to make any other potential contact with other people. I have had these happen a couple of times and have a Barnacle Scraper to remove these pests.
I didn't have to bust it out.
Everyone that came by said they liked the work that they saw and said so. This was a very validating thing to hear. And some of it turned into sales as well.

In times past not always but sometimes the weather can have a HUGE influence on what is going on inside a con. And this happened at both large and small con alike. The Lifework NW show with the huge outpouring of people make everything into a sweat lodge. This so makes buy trendy hipster shit much easier till you get it home.
And yes that was a dig at Linework.
Rose City was good and I hadn't heard anybody complaining.


I have had trouble in the past with them but this time around- nope! They stayed for the most part in an area that was designed for them. Totally cool.
But now it's time (drum roll please.��) for the CONS of the 2016 Rose City Comic Show.
1). ONE COS-PLAYER singular.
On day one of the show and about three and half hours into show I'm talking to one friends and formally a fan Natalie at my table. We are talking about things non comic book related. During this time frame there have been numerous groups of cos players coming an going past the booth with no problem when this young shit bag decides to stop and put his 32 oz. ICEE on my table because there is space for it.
Natalie looks at me as he is getting a photo op with his back turned to me.  And she says "Did he just do that?"
My response to that move was "Oh
Fuck the hell NO!"
I snagged his drink and held behind the table. When he turned around his drink wasn't there but I was holding it.
"If you want to put something on someone's table, ask!"
He looked at me totally dumbfounded an scurried away like the like the ratfuck he was.
If someone had bumped the table or anything I would be out a couple hundred dollars of product. Did he have the money to cover that potential mistake? Good God no.
I tried to be calm (I wasn't I was pissed) and I was stern.
I had heard stories like this from other professionals who had the same thing happened to them. Arrrgh. Wake the fuck up!

Now I do understand I really do that this is needed for a large event such as Rose City is but JEEZUS would crank down the volume! There were a number of times I thought that my ears were going to spontaneously start spurting blood from my ears! Trying to converse with my customers was insane. Nobody likes to yell at another especially when you are trying to carry on a decent conversation. I think that Dan I were (as well as everybody else for that matter) were blasted from 2:30pm to 3:30pm with inane “Billy please meet your mother at such and such.” And then immediately repeat the same thing like we didn't hear the first time. Sorry what did you say? I couldn't freakin' hear you the first time!

Now unlike the load in which was easy by the way the load out was a clusterfuck and half. Not because we weren't able to break down our gear or anything like that. Mine you we did have some personally issues pop up keys locked in car, bike ride to get back up keys without bike helmet because ass jack decided that they would rip mine off. No, aside from that stuff the crew that was in charge (if you can call it that surely had no idea how to organize the loading dock with the different vendors.
Everyone was tired from the show itself and just wanted to go home.
Having to pack 6” grates across a parking lot and across the street to a nearby parking lot. Absolutely BOGUS!
You would have thought they would have been better prepared. Ah HELL NO.

So there you have it both sides of the same show.

Would I go back? Yes. Granted there would be some stipulations along with it. A corner booth is a must.

SO NOW I WILL IMPART SOME WISDOM HERE (and you don't have to agree with it either but just think about it):

1). Get a booth if you can afford it. It will automatically set you apart from the Average Joe in artist's alley. Again there is nothing wrong with being in there and I understand the cost factor but if you can do it – do it!

2). Don't bring Indy made comics. I am sure you're scratching your heads about this. Aren't the shows about comics? Yes, they are, just MAIN STREAM stuff, not Independent comics.
Ah screw this guy he doesn't know what he's talking about. Just hear me out and here is my logic about this topic.
When you go to a moderately big show walk around the booths and see which ones are doing a lot of business. You'll see a lot booths selling old collectible main stream comics.
You'll see a lot of vendors selling main stream associated merchandise like coffee mugs, t-shirts, action figures. And will find other artist's selling multiple prints of copyrighted characters.
All of these kind of vendors do pretty well for themselves. But since we have been coming from a comic book art P.O.V. lets deal with that.
Artists at a main stream show need to be aware that by making and selling prints based upon popular characters i.e. Deadpool, Wolverine, Batman etc. You as the maker of these images have to have an okay by the company for the use of these characters licensed and give a portion of the profits you make from each sale and give it to the company. There are a lot of guys who don't know this and the few that do are playing with a loaded gun. It will only be a matter of time before one the companies see them and drag them into court for copyright infringement.
Independent Comic Book Companies like my Black Box Comix don't make a lot if at all at these bigger shows. Only at a smaller venues like Stumptown Comics Fest used to be or the more current Linework NW show do independent creators have a chance to make something that will be seen and bought.

3). So know why would go to a show and sell work?
I hate using this word but do it for the exposure. The only way for people to see your work is too sell yourself and the art style you are promoting. By only selling prints you can gage your potential buyers reaction to the work. This is much simpler that convincing someone to buy a small press book. Think of this as emotional investment. Plus usually a print is 4 times more expensive than a comic and for one 100th of the images including the cover amount of work.
When you see a cover of a comic that you like you pick it up to see if the art is the same inside. You want to know if is then you can figure out whether or not to pluck down cash for it. With a print, you have an immediate reaction to the work like buy/not buy. Then you move onto the next customer. That's the business.

Get your Artwork up off the table and hanging at eye level. People can see the work from a ways away and get interested in the work before they even get there. This also allows to block people from seeing something else that maybe more eyecatching than your work such as a hot looking cos-player. You want to keep that buyer there as long as you can to seal a deal – but not to long.

Time for this kid to check out
And as always there are places for you to check out as well.

HOWEVER there are these books that I still need to add to the archive for Black Box Comix. And mind you there is website
and the facebook page 

The Website also has some new stuff added for the comic books featuring Corpse Cop.

I am outta of here.

posted from Bloggeroid