Monday, December 28, 2009

Hokus Krokus Studio

We've moved over to Hokus Krokus Studio to better present what we're up to. Come check us out.

Monday, December 21, 2009


HK collaborator Ian Wilson Ross wrote the closing track to UNICORPSE, the 48 Hour Film Project Providence fantasy entry by They're Using Tools! Check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Batman by Sonic Nova - Final

Here's the final version of Sonic Nova's Batman. Originally I wanted the coloring to have a modern look, along the lines of Dave Stewart's work on Hellboy. But I soon discovered that it was difficult to apply modeled coloring to this particular drawing. Flat colors were the only thing that seemed to work. I might try coloring a chiaroscuro drawing next time around for better results. There were quite a few phases for this one, but here are the phases that actually mattered:

-original pencil sketch by Sonic Nova
-redrafted pencils to alter the perspective.
-digital inks with Adobe Illustrator.
-graytone drawing in Photoshop to establish values.
-rough colors in Photoshop.
-final colors in Photoshop by Ursula (because I'm slightly color-blind.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ethan Banville at The Haha Cafe

Behold! Footage of Hokus Krokus collaborator Ethan Banville at The Haha Cafe in Burbank. The performance was part of Gerry Katzman's popular standup comedy class... nsfw.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ethan Banville: standup at the Haha Cafe

Author, television writer, and Hokus Krokus favorite Ethan Banville will be performing standup at The Haha Cafe in North Hollywood on Tuesday, December 1st at 7pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Lizzie Borden: A Tale Of Two Cities"

Gallery X will be hosting "Lizzie Borden: A Tale Of Two Cities", an exhibition of over seventy pieces of art focusing on Lizzie Borden from October 14th through November 17th. The reception will be held this Saturday, October 17th, 7pm-10pm. Gallery X is located at 169 William Street, New Bedford, MA.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Tale Of Two Cities

Here's the artists' invite to A Tale Of Two Cities, an art exhibit focusing on Lizzie Borden and co-curated by Sonic Nova & Susan Hauck at Gallery X.

And here's the flyer for the current group exhibit at Gallery X:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sonic News

Sonic Nova now has a piece in the Gallery X group show, on display until August 30th.

And here's a clip of Nova as Count Orlock on Penny Dreadful's Thanksgiving special:

Dr.Sketchy's LA 8.16.09

Here's a sketch from the Dr. Sketchy LA session on 8.16.09 at the Medusa Lounge. I switched over to Newsprint and China Markers for this session. I feel a little better about the sense of force on this one, but I really have to bone up on anatomy.

Norma & Margie 2009 redux

One of my longterm projects is an update to Norma & Margie, a short animation I did with a crew of talented characters a few years ago. New Stuff:

Here's a page of the new storyboards for Scene 1. I'm adding more shots for better continuity.

Here's the redesign for Gutch. The problem with the original was that the design for the profile didn't match the front view. At the bottom right is the original design.

Friday, August 07, 2009

DSLA 8.2.09

Here are some sketches from the Dr. Sketchy's LA session at Billy Shire Fine Arts on 8.2.09. I'm trying to get the figures to have a sense of gravity, and a better sense of gesture, so I've been backing off on the Chiarascuro.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's LA 7.19.09

Here are some sketches from last night's Dr.Sketchy LA at The Medusa Lounge. The models for this session were Sash Suicide, Zoetica Ebb, Christine, and Jennifer from Gallery Girls.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

Opening today in the U.S., “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” wonderfully conveys the miasma of puberty, but is ultimately unrewarding… as our hero fails to grow up.

Read the full article (Warning: Spoilers) here.

Read my other CBR articles here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's LA at The Medusa Lounge

Here are some sketches from Dr.Sketchy's LA session at The Medusa Lounge. The Models for the session were Julie, Lillian, & Marla; costumes & masks by AMF Korsets.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Red Envelope

Here's another old school one by Sonic Nova, originally for Red Envelope.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Another old school illustration by Sonic Nova, originally for Red Envelope.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Elder

Another sketch from 2003:

Thursday, May 28, 2009


A sketch from 2003.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Orlok's House of Pizza

Here's a page from the mini for Sonic Nova's Troy City Comix.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sonic Nova at Gallery X

Sonic Nova will be displaying some of his works at the Gallery X New Works Group Show, which will run from May 13th through June 14. The reception for the show will be held on May 16th from 7pm to 10pm.

Clive Barker at the LA Times' Festival of Books

Sporting a freshly shaved head and torn jeans, Clive Barker sat down with Gina McIntyre at the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books on April 25th 2009, to discuss his "Abarat" series and other creations. The "Abarat" series depicts an archipelago of islands where every island corresponds to an hour of the day. Barker remarked that he spent six months researching the concept after he came up with it to ensure that no one had used it before.

Although Barker’s voice was hoarse from a recent operation to remove benign polyps from his throat, he spoke at length about the third book of the "Abarat" series, which was fifteen pages from completion at the time of this interview. In keeping with the rest of the series, the third book of "Abarat" is inspired by paintings that Barker works on daily, of which over a thousand have been painted. Eventually he hopes to produce an "Abarat" encyclopedia with a detailed description for each painted character. Barker also mentioned that he was fine with other authors writing about Abarat after completion of the series. The "Abarat" book series will be five volumes in all, and Barker has already completed some paintings for the fourth and fifth volume. He felt that the third book has been the most difficult to write, as he had to set up not only an apocalypse, but also a deliverance from it. Barker felt that his subconscious mind - “the painter’s mind” - worked out a piece of the ending for him, and if one looks closely at the paintings, one of the character’s anatomical details will yield a clue to a major surprise in the last chapter of the third book.

In response to a question by McIntyre regarding Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, Barker answered that he enjoyed the trilogy and its radical anti-Christian stance despite not agreeing with it personally.

At this point the interview opened to the audience for questions. The first question regarded the deal with Disney for "Abarat". Barker responded that the deal was no longer in place.

Another audience member asked about Barker's creative routine. He explained that he writes in the daytime and paints at night. Barker also noted that he keeps notebooks handy for detailing dreams (he presented one to the audience as he explained), and wrote the manuscripts for his novels in longhand.

When asked why he chose to write a fantasy about identity, corporate greed, and maternal figures, Barker replied that fantasy is an introduction into our dream minds and a lens for our culture.

Although he had no clear answer as to why he chose a teenage heroin - Candy - to focus the "Abarat" series on, Barker noted that girls mature quicker through their teenage years, which has its advantages when using them as protagonists.

Barker then discussed his next collection of books, “The Journeyman.” The first book of the collection will be delivered to Barker’s publisher, Harper Collins, later in the year. "The Journeyman" collection is a “book of books”, and will include a volume dedicated to horror, and a volume dedicated to poetry. He then treated the audience to a poem that will be included in the book of poetry.

When asked how long it takes to complete one of his paintings, Barker explained that it takes about “a week of evenings” to complete a typical 5”x4” painting.

In response to a question about the pending release of the third “Book of the Art” (a series that began with “The Great and Secret Show” and continued with “Everville”), Barker responded that there was more pressure to finish "Abarat", noting that the "Abarat" series has been published in forty-two languages. He said that the third book of this series would come out in three or four years.

When asked how felt art may be used to help kids discover themselves, Barker responded that kids should be allowed to do the work that they gravitate toward, to develop their own worlds. Reciting a favorite quote from William Blake, Barker said, “Make your own laws, or be slave to another man’s.”

In response to a question about special effects in movies, Barker replied that he hates CGI, and explained that his approach to special effects is informed by his painting. He also mentioned that there are plans afoot for a “Nightbreed” television show.

When asked about creative blocks, Barker explained that he’s a “secretive worker”, and advised artists not to be too quick to trash their work, or worry about what people might say about their work.

The last question the audience asked Barker regarded the sequel to “The Thief of Always.” Barker answered that he's prepping the book in his head, and that he sold it to Harper Collins for a dollar, as there is no marketing push for the sequel, despite an enthusiastic response to the first book.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dr. Sketchy's LA at Billy Shire Fine Arts

Here are some sketches I drew at the Dr.Sketchy's LA relaunch, which was held at Billy Shire Fine Arts. i haven't drawn a live model in a class setting since 1993, so I was pretty rusty. Scar was the model for most of the session. The next session is being held at the Medusa Lounge on 6/21/09.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Kriss Bliss & Sonic Nova at The Tomorrow Gallery

Kriss Bliss & Sonic Nova (who worked on Norma & Margie) will be presenting their latest work this Saturday at the Tomorrow Gallery as part of the Fall River Open Studios Tour.

Saturday, May 09, 2009
11:00 AM to 4:00 PM EDT

Tomorrow Gallery at Border City Studios
1 West St
Fall River, MA 02720

for more info:

Monday, April 27, 2009

LA Times Festival of Books Goes BOOM!

Mark Waid and the team of BOOM! Studios held court at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last weekend to discuss the publisher's increasing line of books and the art of writing for comics.

Read the article here.

Check out some of my other comics-related posts here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CBR Plays "Watchmen: The End Is Nigh"

CBR recently took Watchmen: The End is Nigh for a spin, and bring you a report on the violent new video game set in the early days of Rorshach & Nite- Owl's partnership.

Read the article here.

You can also read some of my other comics-related posts here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons

Although I didn't play very often, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) factored into my teenage years quite a bit. I loved reading the rulebooks and developing ideas for campaign settings (a campaign setting is the background where a series of game adventures - the campaign - take place). Eventually, I would apply those development techniques to writing projects. When Wizards of the Coast released their fourth edition, I decided to run a campaign that would be played by two different groups. One group is made up of a couple of guys who play occasionally at my house. The other is made up of people who sign up to play my campaign at the Pasadena D&D meetup held at Game Empire.

At the moment I'm taking a break from D&D to catch up on writing (and other stuff), but I'll probably be playing again sometime in March. The new games will be a little different, in response to gameplay from the previous sessions. Here are two changes that involve writing:

Standalone Adventures - My original campaign structure for the two groups was an epic made up of two interwoven plotlines. The plotlines were structured so they would lead up to a grand finale, a single game session where everyone played. It would take a year to play through to completion. When I tried this structure out, I discovered that players would often forget what happened during the previous session. In addition, new players who joined the game in Pasadena would have trouble getting up to speed with the continuity. Keeping a set of journal notes online (and on index cards) helped a little bit, but the extra work really wasn't worth my time. The solution I've decided on is to run adventures in the future that can be completed in one session. The adventures still take place in the same setting, and if players are interested, I'll have a bible of the setting online.

Mechanics First - When I wrote the original campaign, I started out with a "high concept", and fleshed the storyline out from there. This approach works for a movie, but it doesn't guarantee that the players will become immersed. In fact, the situations where the players enjoyed themselves the most were a result of game mechanics. An example of a mechanic would be a trap that the adventurers encountered while they were searching for something. The new adventures that I run will actually be built around mechanics, rather than a story concept.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Portland Part Two

Here's part two of the journal I kept when Ursula & I went to Portland for New Year's. Ursula was interested in moving to Portland a few years ago, but we didn't get around to checking it out until recently. You can find part one here. (You can also find the previous journal I kept of our trip to Paris here.).

12/31/08 - Wednesday, New Year's Eve.

From the Ace Hotel we trudged in the rain to Voodoo Donut; my Bavarian creme donut that made the dreariness fairly bearable. After that we went to Old Town Pizza and met with Hans, a developer that works with Seso. They talked shop while I looked for things to do. From there we went to the Nines to meet with Samantha & Kirsty. The Nines is light years away from the diners and dive bars I usually hang out in, but I quietly kept my reservations to myself and thought of pranks to pull on the hotel after they throw us out. Gordon showed up after a bit, and the two of us picked up the luggage while the rest of the crew went shopping for tights. I met Gordon during the four years of debauchery that I spent in New Bedford. We were waiters at the Olive Garden, and there was a lot of hard living going on. Since our lives have changed substantially (for the better), I was curious to see what would happen when we got together for New Year's.

Of course, New Year's Eve turned out to be a blur. We went to a restaurant called Bajingo's and another place (that I don't remember the name of) for the countdown, the crew singing to Simon and Garfunkel in the car on the way. To be honest, I was already wrecked before we left the house, and would have been content staying home with the dog. I made a mental note to myself not to get that whacked out least not for the rest of the vacation.

1/1/09 - Thursday, New Year's Day

Woke up with a hangover that didn't fade until 8pm that night. We had lunch at McMenamin's by the Columbia River; the scene reminded me of Twin Peaks. Afterward we went to see Milk in Vancouver, WA, where Gordon lives. Milk's story is pretty inspiring. I think the thing that strikes me the most about it is that he really didn't start living his life and making a difference in the world until he was forty.

1/2/09 - Friday

I met up with Dennis Culver for lunch at Sante Fe. Dennis & I originally met through a message forum several years ago, but I've only seen him in person a couple of times. It was great catching up; I'm looking forward to his comic from Oni Press coming out in February. Later that afternoon Ursula & I went to Excalibur Comics and had dinner at the Bagdad Theater in the Hawthorne District.

In the evening we went to see a free show at Doug Fir. Pabst Blue Ribbon everywhere. The first band up was the the Slants at 9pm. They sounded like Dead or Alive meets Bloc Party. The crowd got really into them towards the end of their set when the synths came into play. Next up was Western Aerial, a power trio chock full of riffs. They reminded me of a 1971 Mach One Mustang, the kind of car you would see kids from voc race on the quarter-mile. The night closed with the the Family Gun, a glam outfit with a touch of Moony Suzuki. The room was packed for their set: tight jeans and expensive tattoos as far as the eye can see.

1/3/09 - Saturday

On Saturday we went to the Gorge to check out the waterfall. The ice made the visit a little precarious; Ursula was sliding around everywhere. We followed up the gorge with lunch at the lodge and then beer and pool at McMenamin's Edgefield. At home later that night, Gordon & I messed around with his collection of guitars & effects pedals, then we watched the 500 fingers of Dr. T., one of the strangest movies I've ever seen...imagine David Lynch directing H.R. Pufnstuf.

1/4/09 - Sunday

As Gordon dropped us off at the airport, "I really want to be in LA" by Eagles of Death Metal came on the radio. The irony never ends.