I recently helped a my friend Steve move into his new home. One of the things I helped moved were these large framed boxes. He asked me if I knew what was in the boxes as they weren’t labelled. I had no idea until when he opened them I saw they were illustrations by me, from 1999.
In 1999 I had just started my Art Fundamentals program at Sheridan College. This is when I started to learn about using different illustration techniques and materials I had not used in high school. It was a long commute at the time and I would bring my large portfolio* with me with all the sketches and assignments I did that day.
Steve at the time was going to college in Toronto and we ran into each other on the commute. He saw some of the stuff I was producing and proposed a drawing to me:
“Can you draw Venom?”
I said sure I can probably quick sketch something now in my sketchbook.
“No a big drawing, like poster size? One of those Fleer trading card poses.”
I replied I’d need to see this Fleer card one day. Back then Marvel was producing these collectible cards with amazing illustration work with Fleer, makers of sport cards memorabilia. One weekend I stopped by his place to see this card and I thought it was doable. Steve then asked if I could do another illustration, and opened up an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly for an ad of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
“Can you do Raziel in full color? I’ll pay you for both!”
Thus began the 1st paid commissions I’ve ever done. Going to school full time the money would help me pay for materials. Due to my course load at the time, I told Steve I would have to work on these during weekends. It was a long term project but he was not in a rush.
For Venom, it was primarily smooth cartridge paper with underline sketch in non-repro lead, then rendered in a full value range of pencil lead. Simple materials but the rendering techniques I used along with kneaded easers and torson pens, were a new touch.
As with Raziel, that was done primarily in pen and ink, with some marker. Instead of paper I started using hot press illustration boards. Main outlines were rendered in technical pen nips, followed by ink washes.
I liked how the turned out and so did Steve. His mom got them both framed and how he has the space to hang them up in his man cave. It feels great to provide people your gift of the arts and they put it on display for others to see. 🙂
*Fun Fact: I had a big scratch on my portfolio, so I covered it up with a picture of Darth Maul from Star Wars to cover it up.