Saturday, January 21, 2017

RIP John Watkiss

We were heartbroken today to learn that artist John Watkiss has died.

John was only 55, and one of the leading talents in our field. It was our privilege to have worked with him on the DelRey, Robert E. Howard series volume, Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures.

Although John was a co-founder of the Sherman Oaks-based illustration school that we were attending at that time, we first met him at a Los Angeles art supply store (World Supply) when he did a live painting demo (a magical experience). When we were asked to suggest potential artists for Sword Woman, we floated John's name with little hope that he would actually accept. Needless to say, we were thrilled when he did.

John would go on to create 61 illustrations for the book. His preferred working method (in this case) was to have us carefully describe the specific content of each illustration that we wanted to see him deliver—and deliver he did, as the two examples below clearly prove.

They picture "Dark Agnes" de Chastillon, the title character from the opening of the title story, "Sword Woman", as she emerges from the woods, racing to freedom having just slain her piggish bridegroom; a brute forced upon her by her conniving and equally brutish father. John's pictures capture the bridal-gowned-wearing warrior-in-the-making with a vicious and luminous visual poetry that left us breathless. No one could have done better.

John's beautiful frontispiece for Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures.
John's likewise magnificent opening illustration for "Sword Woman".

The website Tripwire has a more detailed obituary, with information about his many other important projects HERE.

Our sincere condolences to his family and many friends.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Checking In

(click on images to view larger)
This week we received our copies of the first two volumes in the new Masters of Science Fiction series from Centipede Press. These two hefty books (they're each thick as a brick) collect a trove of excellent work from Fritz Leiber and James Patrick Kelly. Centipede publisher, Jerad Walters, asked us to provide the wrap-around covers for both books, and suggested we could find a way to recall the whimsical graphic covers created by Alan Aldridge for Penguin's science fiction line back in the late 1960s. They're both excellent books (beautifully printed and bound), and we had a blast doing them, and Jerad tells us we can look forward to doing more!

In Adventures of Two-Gun Bob news -- for the final issue (#4) of Dark Horse Comics' tremendous mini-series, King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border (Truman, Giorello, and Villarrubia are SO freaking great), our editor, Philip Simon, allowed us to have an entire page (rather than our standard half-page format) for that issue's Two-Gun Bob episode (our 225th). Apparently, our editors over on the upcoming and ongoing Conan series, Conan the Slayer (Aaron Walker and Rachel Roberts), liked what they saw, and asked us to start creating full-page strips on a regular basis! How cool is that?! Twice the 2GB in every issue starting with Conan the Slayer #1. We're stoked!

Cheer up, Bob, you're getting twice the space from now on!
Finally, we'll leave you with a small Batgirl drawing we did on a comic book backing board as part of a benefit for the Pittsburgh Toonseum -- one of only three comics museums in the USA!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RIP: Glen Orbik

SKULL-FACE (click on image to enlarge)
We were shocked today to learn that artist Glen Orbik has passed away. We first met Glen back in the late 90s because we had a mutual friend who ran a tiny comic book shop out of his garage. Every Friday we'd run into Glen there and find ourselves caught up in hours long conversations about comics and illustration. He always struck us as a super-nice guy.

It wasn't until later that we really became familiar with his work. Glen was an amazing painter whose beautiful pictures graced the covers of so many comic books and Hard Case Crime paperbacks. Wow! Every new piece was better than the last. If you're not familiar with Glen's work, do yourself a favor and Google his name. It will knock your socks off.

In 2004, when we were choosing artists to do paintings for The Illustrated World of Robert E. Howard, we immediately thought of Glen, and asked if he would contribute a painting of Skull-Face. He did, and as usual, he hit it clear out of the park.

He was a great guy, a great painter, and far too young to leave us.

Our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends, and his partner, Laurel Blechman.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4

On May 22—24, we'll be in Kansas City, MO at the Flesk Publications booth (#202) for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 4! We set-up at the first Spectrum Live back in 2012, and it was easily one of the best conventions we've ever been to. It seemed as though almost every living illustrator we admired was there in that room -- plus, the thrill of being introduced to the work of so many new artists for the first time. What a wonderful weekend. If you're able to make it, please stop by the booth -- we'd love to say hello!

Check out the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live website at:

And visit the Flesk Publications Facebook page at:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"Dreams, and dreams and the ghosts of dreams"

Back in 2008, we did an Adventures of Two-Gun Bob strip based on a dream described by REH (the strip ran in Solomon Kane #1). We felt that the dream imagery should stand apart from Bob's usual waking life, and asked our friend Gary Gianni to draw the dream sequence for us, while we drew the final panel with Bob waking up after having fallen out of bed (a tip-of-the-hat to the great Winsor McKay's classic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland).

In Conan the Avenger #12 (which hit the stands last week) Bob finds himself lost in another dream, and once again we followed the same formula, except this time we asked our good friend Mark Schultz to draw the dream! We were thrilled when he agreed, and Mark turned in his usual beautiful job -- see the two panel sample below.

We should also note that Mark Schultz is this year's Guest of Honor at Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, Texas! If you're a Howard fan, we can't recommend it highly enough. REH Days is always a lot of fun! Mark has also illustrated a special postal cancellation stamp featuring Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft that will be used to stamp all mail sent out from the Cross Plains Post Office on June 12th! So, if you can't make it to REH Days, but know someone who is attending, you might want to ask them to send you a postcard!

If you're a fan of Mark's work, you should also pre-order his upcoming book, Storms at Sea. Mark has been working on this book for years and the result is way beyond outstanding. To paraphrase Carl Denham from 1933's King Kong, "They'll have to think up a lot of new adjectives once this book hits the racks."

Storms at Sea will be released by Flesk early this summer, and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.

Check out this link at Comic Book Resources, which features an interview with Mark, along with several illustration samples.