Monday, July 29, 2013


Most of the cool stuff I was introduced to as a kid was first the playthings of my older brother and cousins.  By the time I came along they had discovered it, became fascinated by it, played the heck out of it, became experts and moved on to something else.  Luckily they would share, wiffle ball bat Jedi training, Jason and Michael Myers inspired "haunted houses" in the basement and Shogun Warriors!

( Just in case the inset video doesn't work YouTube link here)

Mazinger, the one in the middle, the one you have probably seen before was the domain of my Gene Simmons of KISS loving older brother which left me Dragun.  Sure Mazinger has the cool chest v and the Darth-like mouth, Dragun had 2 axes, a head that has always reminded me of a crab and Superman colors.  Thus, cooler.

The piece is a graphite drawing on vellum, scanned and then cludged together in Photoshop with some ink splots, vector stuff and a bit of color.  Thanks for checking it out and enjoy the rest of Giant Robots and Monsters!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shouldn't You Be Working?

Hey boys and girls, Randy here.  Every so often I like to show off what I'm doing in the office.  I draw a heck of a lot here, and they're pretty stern that I don't stop so I can go watch Cheers. Here's some components of stuff I've done the past few weeks.  I'm pretty sure that hillbilly is based on a family member of mine.  They're all done in adobe illustrator usually while listening to music too loud. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tim's Figure Drawing

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 40 minutes pose

Figure drawing may possible be my favorite thing to do. These are a few sketches from a session I drew at last night. 


Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 15 minutes pose

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 10 minutes pose

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 10-15 minutes pose

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 10-15 minutes pose

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 2-5 minutes poses

Ballpoint pen,  9"x12" sketchbook, 1-2 minutes poses

Theater Posters!

Hi Everyone, Erin here! Every year I have the privilege of creating theater posters for a playhouse in Delaware.  I love doing these - I am a huge musical theater nerd and the gentleman I get to work with is a dream client. We are now working on our sixth season together!

Since poster time has rolled around again for the 2014 season, I thought I would share a few of my favorites from years past. All of these are created digitally.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ben: Beat the Heat!

Its still technically Tuesday!!! (I like to finish things just under the wire)

Procrastination aside, this last week has definitely been a hot one.  Hence the inspiration for the above drawing.  Who says the Heat Miser song can only be stuck in your head in Christmas time?  Not me!

Below are a couple of other sketches thrown together.  And be sure to check out my personal blog for additional updates:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mehrsprachige Zeichnung

First off I REALLY hope that English to German translation site got "Multilingual Drawing" correct.  If not, sorry my German speaking pals!  

I thought I would take this week's post to give a tiny version of the steps taken from concept to final.

As a Freelance Illustrator sometimes jobs feed from one to another.  You do one, it's seen by someone who needs a drawing, they contact you, you get to do a new illustration, someone sees that job, contacts you, etc.. Well sometimes that next person that sees your work, thanks to the internet, is in another country and they contact you (again thank you internet).  That's how I got the good fortune to meet some amazing people in Germany who needed a poster to advertise a vintage, swing era festival. 
Above is step 1 of the process.  1 sketch of MANY in an attempt to find the right image to tell the right story my client wanted to tell.  This is the direction they chose to go with.

That brings us to the final pencil before the finished piece.  Sketched each element separate, the girls, the curtain, the guy in the hat, scanned them in and composed in the final page size.  couple of vector bits for the stage just to make that whole part easier.  After this gets the OK we move on to......

The final piece.  Graphite and acrylic paint on vellum.  After this the text is placed and the whole file is sent to a printer.
This image was seen around Hamburg, Germany last year AND will be seen again this year!  So if you are around that part of the world and see this poster, check out the event, it'll be a blast!  As soon as I know the dates I'll post them on FB.
Thanks again for checking it out.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

They Steal My Thunder, But The Lighting Is What I Need

Hey boys and girls, Randy here with some sketchbook pages this week. When I've got nothing pressing on the table, I love rendering out earlier things from life drawing sessions. The ditch digging part of art can be the best part especially after a long day making things for other people.  There's something about the brain shift that happens that cannot be beat.  David Rakoff sums it up perfectly on this episode of This American Life.  Give it a listen, maybe while you're drawing. 

If these look familiar, I've posted versions of them on Instagram.  Follow me @RandyCrider for more of the same, I promise I won't post pictures of my cat. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Go west young man

Hey there....Reverend Jim here.
I do love westerns...I should say, I love a good western. I'm definitely particular...and skeptical of anything made in say...the last ten years. There have been the surprises...Blackthorn...The Proposition...I even liked Open Range.
However the other night I finally had a chance to watch The Coen brothers True Grit. It's movies like this that renew my faith that today's filmmakers can make an entertaining western. Especially with such a talented cast. 

So last night at DnD I was inspired to sketch this one up real quick. Jeff Bridges was amazing as Rooster. And even though I loved John Wayne's version at the time...Bridges replaced that. A quick sketch with ink and markers.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sketching in the sun

Instead of staying inside today, glued to my computer, I decided to head to the park and sketch some trees.

I know, this post is almost a total 180 degrees change from my "usual" Rust Belt posts but, a little change is good.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Superman Day!

This July 27th is Superman Day at our favorite comic shop - Carol and John's Comics here in Cleveland, Ohio where the Man of Steel was created 75 years ago. To celebrate, the RBMC and many other incredible artists each donated a comic book drawing to the shop.

My personal celebration has consisted of watching a ridiculous amount of Justice League Unlimited. With that in mind, here is my cover:

See you all next Saturday and have a very super week ;)

- Erin

Slipping a Bit, But Still Going

This week has been a little crazy so I don't have as much to show.  Above is a work in progress of Gamera vs. Voltron and below are some Alien and Superhero sketches.  I should have more to show next week and the shame of forgetting to post on Tuesday will be the exact fuel that I need.  See you next week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

RBMC Plain Dealer PDQ Story

Maps are where it's at!

Sorry for that lil pun, I grew up in the 80's surrounded by school posters with phrases like that on them.  Couldn't resist!
So anyway, I do lots of stuff professionally, shirt illustrations, posters, logo designs and the like.  Love 'em all, I've been really lucky with the variety of things I've been able to get involved with but where I first fell in love with Illustration, all Art for that matter, was between the covers of my favorite children's books.  Sendak, Seuss, Milne introduced me to worlds and characters that have stuck with me. I believed in them because they did and when I was afforded the opportunity to work with an Author who made me believe in their work the same way Milne made me familiar with every tree in the Hundred Acre Wood I jumped at the chance.
Wynnewood is the creation of Chautona Havig, fictional village in medieval England and home of Dove, the misunderstood monster of Wynnewood. There's a lot of cool things I'd like to tell you about her BUT I don't want to spoil the story.  Suffice it to say, Dove, whatever she is, is a smart little girl who finds friends and adventure amongst political intrigue and mythological critters. 

Welcome to Wynnewood.  The village and castle.  All ink on vellum (the parchment image was a late addition for this post).  Learned a lot about crowquill and old school ink tools on this one.  Totally hand lettered cause sometimes I get crazy spells. 

The adventure continues this time underground and with dwarves! Same ink, same vellum.  Actually finished the bottle of ink I started the first map with on this one. 

Book 3:  Beneth the Cloak

Last of the Wynnewood series (or is it!?!?!?!) Ink on paper this time with some vector embellishments cause I'm not crazy enough to do all those little dashed swirls by hand.  Speaking of those swirls, little carry over from the last map, had to figure out a way to show above ground and below ground. 
Lots of Easter Eggs in the work I've been doing with Chautona, more so in this map than the previous and more in the next book that isn't in the Wynnewood series.  Here's a couple:  Yes that is Starro, Robin Hood is hiding right around where Sherwood Forrest is, The Battle of Hastings is represented and I did research to find out what would have been the major landmarks for each city on the map during the time period of the story.  Each city has some representation of something that is still there or may have once been there. See what else you can find!
Thanks for checking it out!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wizards...dragons and damsels.

Yes...I know it's Sunday. Since I missed my Friday....and me being a self proclaimed Reverend...what better day to post?

This was a piece I did for a client a few months back. Her husband is an attorney who wants to be a writer. Like most of us creative types, he struggles with uncertainty and self doubt. To help keep him motivated she asked me to flesh out his characters so he could have it to look at when those moments occur. A noble concept indeed. I have both Craig and Mr. Crider to thank for the color help. Since I work so much with black and white...the thought of doing times causes me to hyperventilate.'s some shots of my inking progress.
I start with outlining most of the piece just to wrap my mind around the line weights needed to create my foreground, midground and background.

Then I begin laying in my solid blacks...or spotting them as some call it. This I do to create patterns to help lead my viewer around. Something I more typically do in comic pages to lead the reader. I then work on textures, such as the grass...the rock formations..the details in her armor and the scales of the dragon. I keep in mind at each point what is closest...and what is further away. I work a lot in brush, usually when doing and at times the forms and shapes of the body. 

This being the finished results before I begin laying color. In most cases, such as this, I work in a combo of marker, acrylics and colored pencil.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Feelin' Lucky?

Hey dudes, Randy here. 

Once I found out I was having a daughter, I've been pulled towards drawing tough chicks. I'm not fan of firearms in the real world, but I'd rather her rock an image like this rather than a Disney princess any day of the week.

Threw this on a shirt over at RedBubble, and we'll have stickers at live events (as well as the imminent online store) if you know anyone equally tough as my daughter. 

Also, it looks like I'm doing an "Ohio" series, so expect more like this in the very near future. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tim's Action Comics #18 Cover

A couple'a weeks ago, I painted this comic book cover for Carol & John's Comic Book Shop to commemorate 75 years of Superman, and the city where he was created (Cleveland, Ohio).

...and to sate your morbid curiosity (you know its true), I have a whole bunch of photos detailing the creation of this cover.

The fresh unadulterated sketch cover 

I photocopied the cover and did all my initial sketches on cheap crappy Bond paper (to not ruin the actual cover). The goal was to draw "Superman and Cleveland", so I figured that Sups' would also enjoy one of my favorite spots in the city (with a slightly better vantage point), the statues overlooking the Lorrain-Carnegie (or Hope Memorial if your new to town) Bridge.  

 At this point, I decided that I really really hated the modern "New 52" logo and branding, and I wanted to use the masthead from 1939, so after finding the appropriate reference (, I mocked up everything in photoshop and printed it out on more bond paper.

I taped down the comic to my board, masked it off to keep the rest of the comic clean, and then gessoed  on front cover...

I then covered the backside of the mockup printout with soft (9B-ish) graphite, and taped it to the board, over the front cover...

and traced over the taped down mockup with a ballpoint pen...

then, when I peeled back the paper, I was left with a clean graphite transfer on my cover.

The next step was painting the cover, I'm using acrylic paint mainly because it dries fast, and it's water soluble (so no mineral spirits smell). I covered it in a warm yellow ground because: a) I hate starting with a white page, and b) because this painting needs to be warm and fun.   

After the ground dries, I start painting in some of my shadows (seen on the staute's face) using thin coats of a darker color (but not black, using plack paint for your darks will dull your colors, so I use a "Burnt Umber" or "Raw Siena", NO black was used in this painting).

The painting is built up gradually this way, with thin coats of paint, moving from background to foreground, and you start adding in lighter colors to define your highlights. 

The retro masthead is painted in, everything is allowed ample time to dry, and then I apply an acrylic varnish to even out the paint and make it shinny and cool.

The comic is CAREFULLY removed from the board. I used drafting tape, but even that isn't 100% perfect when you're removing it, so steady hands and a trusty x-acto knife are crucial.

Thanks for sticking with this, I hope you enjoyed the ride. If you're in the Cleveland area, you can see the actual painting, and tons of other fantastic covers at Carol & John's Comic Shop.