Bocado Tapas Wine Bar Artwork pt. 2 - nudes

Quick post today! Once again I'm realizing how few photos I have of these. I'm sure if I dug around a bit more I could find some more, but here are two pictures of pen & ink sketches I did for Bocado at the same time as I was finishing the paintings. I remember thinking that I was going to blow through these in an hour each or so but wound up staying up really late the night before they were supposed to be done. Sometimes anxiety about the quality of the work shows up at the worst possible moment. The model wishes to remain anonymous, and therefore has no face in any of these...

One of the original sketches:

And then I ran out of images to use. So next is a sketch for one of the dancers from an earlier post:

This next sketch I think deserves more explanation than I'm prepared to give. I put it up here because I'd promised some nudity in this post and haven't really been able to follow through! It's a little dirty I guess, but in my defense it was for a client who'd wanted a sexy new image for his computer repair business. Previously, he'd been fortunate enough to have a friend who would do this sort of thing for free, so when we got to the pricing part of the negotiation, I suddenly stopped hearing from him. Eeeenteresting. Oh, well.

-Kung Fu Mike


Artwork for Bocado Tapas Wine Bar

I approached this fine art project from the perspective of a commercial artist. I was commissioned by the owners of Bocado (click title for a link to their website) to do a number of Spanish themed paintings and drawings for their dining rooms and bar. It was a great experience and has been terrific promotion for my work in the Worcester area since its completion.

Upon starting this post, I realized what an awful job I've done at photo-documenting my work for Bocado. To attempt to make up for it, here are a few details from the paintings while still in progress:

Up next: I'll leave you with what we all came here to see - hardcore nudity!

-Kung Fu Mike

Old stuff - part 1

Here are some pieces I did a long time ago and have gotten a lot of mileage out of. There's nothing wrong with any of them, in fact people react really well to them, it's just I did them so long ago it's about time to display them one more time and move on! I called this section Old stuff part one because I'm sure I'll do a lot of these posts before getting to more recent work. Here are a few pieces I'd intended to use for a comic book almost five years ago. Click on the pictures for a larger view. One last victory lap in three... two... one:

Here are some character sketches I also just found. Why not?

-Kung Fu Mike

Jefe O'Hara #3 (unpublished)

Here's a comic that I'm disappointed never went to print. It represents my first experience with what's referred to as "metafiction," (meta for short - click title of this post for a wiki-definition) and might be hard to follow without some sort of dialogue. Unfortunately at this point in time, there still isn't any, which is the reason the book was never printed. The basic plot of the story is about a comic book police officer, Jefe (pr. - "Heff-ay" / "Chief") O'Hara, who (through a higher power) suddenly becomes self aware and realizes that he exists as a comic character, his fate and future dependent on the ramblings of his writer/creator. Thinking and therefore being, frustrated by the structure of his comic life, he breaks free of his comic boundaries, ultimately winding up in a lengthy argument with his writer (creator) while they travel in a vehicle (literally) throughout the story. But anyway, here are a few pages:

Well, I started uploading pages and I guess I just couldn't stop. I had fun (and admit I may have read too much into the original story's outline) playing with ideas of breaking boundaries, both with the character and his restrictions (smashing gutters with an axe) and with this last page I decided to post, where the ink bottle breaks through the edge of the page. I thought this story could've been a pretty interesting one to finish up, given all of the questions dealing with mankind's fate, free will and belief in a relationship to their own creator (that smug bastard!), posed by not-too-subtle representations of each. Will we crash if we give up our driver's seat? Do we exist past the edge of the page?

Hm... That's deep.

-Kung Fu Mike


Comics and illustrations for a local magazine

Here are a few things I did a while ago for a currently out-of-print magazine. Since I'd alluded to putting some comics up in my last post, I'll start with that:

Adding color to the line drawings in big, chunky, geometric shapes like you see in these pages was a result of some technological issues I'd been having while working on it. My computer at the time was on its last leg, even breaking up and working on the pages a half-page at a time still took forever and really discouraged me from doing digital color work at that time! In this particular case I decided to over-simplify shapes when blocking out color, which ultimately I feel added to the effect I was going for in the first place; not snapshots of being there, but foggy, disoriented memories of a night out. I haven't really experimented with the technique since then. Based on the story of her 21st birthday, Bar fly #4 was adroitly written by Erin Anderson.

Here are a couple of other illustrations I did for the same publication, one to go along with a play called This Old House, written by Richard Keller, a dialogue between a couple in a failing relationship, and the secrets they've kept from each other. A lot of people seemed to enjoy the image and technique in this:

I'll be honest, this next piece I really regret not being able to do a more interesting (better) job with. It was printed anyway, with an excerpt from Abu Asal's short story Seven Against the Moon, a survivor's account of the horrors of the Darfur genocide. In my defense, I found myself at a loss for how to depict all of the images of grief and loss present in the actual story. I couldn't quite envision it and, as an unfortunate result, the piece received sort of a "nothing" illustration of two soldiers back-lit by the moon. Apologies to Abu Asal.

-Kung Fu Mike


Joint locking like cats & dogs

Here's a fun project I finished up last year for a local Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school looking to enhance their kids' "Kid-Jitsu" program. It was the head instructor's idea to give the students some fun Jiu-Jitsu related activities to do outside of class, and he contacted me to do some line art for a coloring book of cats and dogs beating (breaking, choking, hip-tossing) the snot out of each other. Kids love that stuff. I know I still do did, except I am was all about giant turtles doing Ninjutsu instead. Click on this post's title for a link to the school, and take a look at some examples below:

It's not too violent, right? Again to show where an idea might begin and might end, here are some of the original sketches that I thought were too cutesy and cartoonish. I figured the students (and the client) would appreciate the accuracy of the techniques more than Looney Tunes character design. It's hard to show joint expansion on rubbery limbs!

Alright, I guess that's it for today! Too much kid's stuff lately, next post will be at least a little more grown-up... Comic books, anyone?

-Kung Fu Mike


Siegfried - Children's book

Here's a project I thought would shoot me to instant fame and success - my first children's book.

While it didn't do for my illustration career exactly what I'd hoped it would,
Siegfried, a 32 page children's book (published by the EcoTarium in Worcester, Ma., 2008), was still a valuable experience overall (gotta get that first one out!). I looked at the project as a chance to make a picture book of my hometown, each page essentially a pen & ink postcard of one of Worcester's memorable locations as a runaway stegosaurus makes his way through town. To see how the story turns out, you'll have to go buy a book, below are just a few of my favorite scenes. Click on each for a larger view.

Because I think it's fun to see what happens to character designs as a project progresses, here's the initial sketch I sent to the author of the book, Cookie Nelson, before we were sure the project would be a go:

The book sold pretty well for what it is, and the release party was a lot of fun, considering the appeal to Worcesterites and those from surrounding areas, I feel that more could have been (and could still be) done with it, given some more aggressive marketing. Prove me wrong, children! Prove me wrong!

Corner Grille - Mural Progression

Photos of a mural I completed this past summer for the Corner Grille on Pleasant St., Worcester. For once I planned ahead and took photos after each session so that, if you wanted to, you could add up the amount of sessions/days it took to complete the project. (But that's only if you wanted to.) The whole process was spread out because of the unfortunate weather system that hung over New England for the first month of the summer. I did maybe two days of work before the next 28 were consecutively rained out. Awesome.

If you're from the area and you haven't made it there yet, you should stop in sometime - food's great!