Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Occidental College Illustrations

A few months ago, I was asked by Occidental College in California to draw a few illustrations for a recruiting booklet.  The assignment was a fun challenge -- mixing location drawings along with some portraits of famous alumni.

Below are a few of the illustrations I did for this assignment.

This was a very wide wraparound cover for the booklet, featuring the college on the front with Los Angeles visible on the back.  I painted this in gouache and ink on paper - the only drawing I did "traditionally" for this project.

Another view of the campus, this time drawn digitally.  One downside of digital illustration is that drawing foliage takes twice as long as drawing it traditionally!

I drew 10 Alumni portraits, a few of which are shown below.  The fellow with the giant Monty Python hand in the shot is, of course, Terry Gilliam.  They were all drawn digitally.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Minutemen

Here's a recent cover illustration I painted for DC Comics' Before Watchmen project.  It's a variant cover for Minutemen issue #5.  I had fun playing around with the composition, trying to fit all 8 superheroes into a design.   My personal favourite of the heroes depicted here -- Mothman.  Gotta love a guy with antennae on his head.

This was painted in ink and watercolour , with some colour tweaking and adjustments in photoshop.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Batman take a bow

This was an illustration drawn for Grantland Quarterly, to accompany an article about the end of the Batman trilogy of films.  I enjoyed working a sports metaphor into this one.

This was drawn mostly in ink, with a few tweaks and redraws done in software.

Friday, November 02, 2012

My favourite play is the alley-oop!

Closing out our week of posting NBA portraits, we'll end with the big man, Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks.  I always liked Ewing's teams of the 80's, even if they couldn't get past MJ and his Bulls.  He also had a pretty cool hightop fade in his day.

And for those who guessed it, yes, the common theme among all 4 portraits is....they all wore number 33.  Thanks for indulging my NBA obsession, folks.

This one was drawn and lettered entirely digitally.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

I like slam dunks, take me to the hoop...

And day 3 of our 4 day NBA portraits series brings us to...Scottie Pippen, my favourite "point forward".  

Like the last one, this one was drawn in my tiny sketchbook, in ink and a cheap red marker for the tone.

One more portrait left to go for the week!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I like the way they dribble up and down the court...

Continuing on with my theme of posting NBA portraits this week, here's "the hick from French Lick" --  Larry Joe Bird.  

I always liked Larry's wispy moustache -- I'm glad I got a chance to draw it.  This one was done in brush and ink, in my very tiny sketchbook. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Basketball is my favourite sport...

If you're like me, when you read those words, you immediately hear Kurtis Blow in your head.  That's like my favourite basketball related song, ever. 

Anyway, the NBA season tips off tonight and to celebrate I'm going to post a drawing of an NBA legend every day for the rest of the week.  See if you can guess the connecting theme in all the week's portraits.

Starting us off today...Kareem Abdul Jabbar!  I'd still pick him over Shaq in a fantasy draft.     

This one was drawn entirely digitally, and I had a lot of fun trying to reproduce my pen and ink style and lettering in software.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Iron Man for the umpteenth time

Some people know I tend to doodle Iron Man a lot.  This one is a bit more elaborate than a doodle, and was painted in gouache on 13" x 17" paper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Elvis and Muhammad Ali

I painted this double-page spread about a year ago, for a special book on Elvis featuring artwork from comic book illustrators.  I was excited to participate, and when they told me they'd like an illustration focusing on Elvis and Ali's friendship but in a "Batman and Robin action scene", I knew this would be extra fun to work on.  

The finished illustration was painted in gouache and ink, and you can see below the various roughs and thumbnail drawings I did while working up the concept.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gerald and Cullen Rapp

As some of you may know, I recently signed with illustration reps, Gerald & Cullen Rapp.  On their website, you can check out my portfolio while, above, you can see  the first piece of work I did after signing on - my take on the iconic Rapp logo.  I was very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that group of artists.

This piece was drawn completely in software, using Sketchbook Pro.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time Travel!

A recent illustration I drew for Torchbearer magazine, on the subject of quantum physics, time travel and viewing the past.  I was grateful that they gave me the latitude to do a "pulp sci-fi" take on it.

This one was painted in goauche and ink, with some colour tweaking in photoshop.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fan Expo!

It's that time of year again, and I'll be at Fan Expo here in Toronto, selling prints and chatting with comic fans.  So, to get in the spirit of comic-con, here's a few recent super-hero (and super-villain) sketches.

The Superman and Batman sketches were drawn in ink and gouache, while the Joker one was coloured with dyes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes: Exhibition @ 129 Ossington

During September, Gallery @ 129 Ossington will be hosting an exhibition of original paintings from my recent book, Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes.   The show will feature approximately 30 paintings from the book, ranging from small ink sketches to large paintings in gouache.  There'll be an opening reception on September 6th, so please drop for drinks by if you're in Toronto that day!

Michael Cho
Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes
Showing: September 5-29, 2012
Reception: Thursday, September 6th, 7-10pm
Gallery Hours: Wed- Sat 12- 6pm or by appointment

Please contact Gallery @ 129 Ossington for more information or if you want to inquire about artwork sales.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sketchbook Ronnie James Dio

Another straight-up b&w drawing on cheap paper...this time of Ronnie James Dio, whom I always considered a frontrunner for the Ugliest Man in Rock and Roll Award.  As a teen, I knew metal heads and I knew dungeons and dragons nerds...and both of them made peace over Dio, the hobbit wizard of metal.

I have no one to thank for suggesting this one, I just always knew I'd draw a picture of Dio one day.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Sketchbook Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Another ink sketch on the same bad rag paper as the previous post.  I'm enjoying drawing in pure b&w lately -- I haven't done much of that in the last few years.  

I have my buddy Alex to thank for suggesting the subject of this one.  

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sketchbook Son House

Another sketchbook portrait, this one of blues legend Son House.  Drawn in ink on paper.  

After years of always trying to draw on the right paper for the job, I'm actually more interested now in what drawing on the wrong paper looks like.  So this was drawn on a pad of paper I bought at the dollar store.  It's really high in rag content, so it gives a nice texture to drybrush.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sketchbook Musicians

Most of the stuff I've been posting lately has been finished illustrations, whether for clients or for fun.  So I thought I'd take a break here and post the kind of stuff I draw in my sketchbooks during my down time.   Lately, it's been portrait doodles of musicians, as you can see from these scans.

All of these were drawn in ink and marker on paper, usually at the end of the night while listening to some nice music. My goal was to practice drawing in ink, as opposed to inking finished pencil drawings. Nothing fancy there.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunday Style Spider-man

Here's a recent illustration I did for the Washington Post.  It's a cover image for their Sunday Style section, to go with an interview with Andrew Garfield, star of the new Spider-man movie.  

I had a lot of fun with this one, despite the tight deadlines.  The whole thing was drawn digitally, mostly in Sketchbook Pro.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Batman and Robin

Concluding my month long posting of super-hero paintings, here's a recent Batman and Robin piece.  I always enjoyed drawing Robin, but I never really liked drawing Batman until recently.  Now I can't get enough, as you can see from my twitter feed.

Like the rest, this one was painted in gouache and ink on board, and is approximately 12" x 17" in size.

Note:  this and other super-hero themed paintings are for sale through Albertmoy.com, who now handles my comic-related art sales.  You can check out more works here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spider-man and Dr. Strange!

Another week means another super-hero painting, but this time there's two!  Spider-man and Doctor Strange are among my favourite comic characters, probably because of their co-creator - Steve Ditko, who did such an inspired and imaginative run on both those books.

These paintings were done in gouache, on 12" x 17" board.  

Note:  these and other super-hero themed paintings are for sale through Albertmoy.com, who now handles my comic-related art sales.  You can check out more works here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Silver Surfer vs. The Thing!

Continuing on with my recent pledge to post a new superhero painting every week for the next month or so, here's one of the Silver Surfer vs. the Thing.  I based this on one of my favourite Fantastic Four comics from the 60's.  I bet some silver-age fans can guess which one.

As with the other recent paintings, this one was done in gouache and ink on board.  

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Mighty Thor

I'm finishing up a bunch of super-hero themed paintings right now, and thought I'd start sharing them on this blog.  First up is Thor, god of Thunder, in his awesome original look as designed by Jack Kirby.  I'll post the rest of them over the next few weeks.

As usual this was painted in gouache and ink on board.  It's about 12" x 17" in size.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes - Signing @ Type Books

Now that the book has debuted at TCAF, I'll be doing a signing for Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes at TYPE books here in Toronto.  We'll also be featuring a small gallery show and sale of roughly a dozen paintings from the book.  TYPE is a fantastic bookstore, so please come on out if you're in town --refreshments will be served!

Here's the info:

Michael Cho
Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes
book signing 
featuring a gallery show of selected work

@ TYPE Books
883 Queen Street West, Toronto
May 23rd, 6pm - 8pm

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes - the Book

I'm happy to announce that my new book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes will be out in May, from publisher Drawn & Quarterly.

As some long time followers of my blog might know, I spent about 5 years drawing and painting the alleyways of downtown Toronto in my spare time, slowly producing the artwork for this book. I've featured maybe a dozen of the drawings and paintings here in my sketch blog over the years, and you can still find them if you go through the archives. Now those drawings, along with many, many more unseen ones are being published in an 80 page artbook.

Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes will debut at TCAF, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, in early May. I'll be at the festival, signing copies and promoting the book. There will also be a launch at TYPE Books on Queen street later that month -- which I'll post on this blog later.

In the meantime, I'm grateful to the fine people at Drawn & Quarterly for publishing this book, and thrilled that it's finally complete and available. Here's hoping some of you like it too.

Shown below are a few of the new paintings in the book. They were done in watercolour, goauche and ink on board.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Emerald City Comic Con

Ok, I'm packing up for my first ever trip to Seattle and the Emerald City Comic Con this weekend. I'll be at table E-20, selling prints, doing sketches and trying to meet as many people as possible. This is the first con I've done on the west coast in a while, so I'm pretty excited.

And on that note, here's a quick painting of Daredevil I did as a pre-show order. It's done in goauche and ink on board.

Monday, March 12, 2012

More Editorial!

And here's a few more recent illustrations I did for Boston Magazine. They were all designed to accommodate a masthead in the top left and usually a few paragraphs of copy inside the art.

With all of these, I tried to vary the styles to fit the subject matter. They were all painted digitally, and I had a lot of fun making custom brushes and experimenting with different approaches. For those who are curious, most of my digital work is painted using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I probably use that for 80% of my digital process.

A christmas themed illustration about illuminated neighbourhoods.

For a January article about New Hamshire's demographics and it's primary.

A Valentine's themed illustration about couples meeting via social media and texting.

For a March article about an increase in rookie state troopers.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Boston Magazine

Wow, it's been a while since I updated my blog. For that, my apologies; I was busy completing paintings for an art book, which I'll post about in a little while.

In the meantime, I've been doing a series of monthly full page illustrations for Boston Magazine, which you can see here. They were all designed with room left for copy to be placed inside the art, as well as the section header at the top.

The art director was gracious enough to give me a lot of freedom with this assignment, so I I tried to experiment with different approaches. As a result, I found myself working digitally quite a bit and some of these were done 100% in software, something I wasn't ever sure I'd be comfortable with. Now, I'm really enjoying some of the opportunities that drawing in software provides. I'll probably do more digital work for a while as I play with the possibilities.