Monday, August 30, 2010


I just found out recently that I am officially exhibiting at IlluXCon 3 in Altoona, PA. I am really looking forward to this, everyone who went last year has been telling me how fun it is. Soon I will be adding an appearances column to the blog here, but as so far I only have two planned it seems a bit of overkill. So, I will just list it here

Friday, August 27, 2010

Influence Map

This is a meme that has started doing the rounds. Normally my "competitions" are a joke, but this time for real. Name all the influences, and win a sketch.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kuttner Anthology

Hey all,
Here is the final cover for the Kuttner Anthology for Centipede Press.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sketchbook (Aug 2010)

I have never been a big sketchbook guy. That is not to say I don't sketch, just that I have never carried a book with me at all time ready to quickdraw. Well, it is time that changed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Update On Reilly Correspondence Course

I would like to start by saying sadly, as near as I can tell there are only three surviving contributers to the NIAD correspondence course. Clark Hulings, James Bama, and Michael Aviano, if anyone can put me in touch with one of these three gentlemen i would be forever grateful. Also to avoid clutter, I have created a new blog specifically for the pursuit

In an attempt to gather more info on the NIAD course I contacted Kent Steine, a student of Owen Kampen (a Reilly student). He cleared up quite a bit as well as added some new wrinkles.

In addition to telling me that Russell Patterson's chapter is on cartooning, he had this to say.

"Good afternoon Mr. Gist,

Hope this finds you doing well. I am indeed familiar with Mr. Reilly's correspondence courses.

Along with his "films" it is the most oft asked question about him.

My teacher, Owen Kampen first introduced me to Mr. Reilly and the correspondence course in 1979. Kampen was a student of Mr. Reilly's in the mid 1940's.

The course was titled National Institute of Art and Design. Unfortunately, I have but two of the lesson plans, one by John Gannam. The list of contributors is 29 deep. Many were former students, such as James Bama, Michael Aviano, Clark Hulings and Gerry Allison.

The actual school and courses were officially not offered to the public, but the demise of development did not involve Mr. Reilly's death. The courses were to be published by Northwest Schools, and carry a copyright date of 1964. Mr Reilly passed away Jan 1967.

To the best of my knowledge, all the course books were printed for review by the contributors, and presentation. It is why so few exist. My version, came by way of John Gannam, Jr..

References to the demise of the "National Institute", and Mr. Reilly's passing are likely confused with the opening of the West Coast arm of The Frank Reilly School of Art. With offices and studios already leased, his untimely death ended the expansion, immediately.

The Frank Reilly School of Art continued for a time in NYC, but ultimately could not make it. All of the remaining students transferred to the ASL, along with a couple of the instructors. Namely, Jack Faragasso and Bob Schulz.

Hope this has been of some help to your quest. If you have any further questions or interests, please feel free to contact me anytime. I am also sending a copy of our correspondence to my assistant, Kris. Stay in touch!

With every good wish,
Kent Steine"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Calling All Bibliophiles and Illustration Historians

As a sort of follow up to yesterdays post, it was brought to my attention that Frank Reilly and some of his students were involved in the creation of a mail correspondence course similar to the Famous Artist's Course.

This info was passed on to me by Glen Orbik, and this is the story as he has heard it.

"The course never actually happened as Reilly died before he could start it up completely.
The chapter I have was from Steve Rude - it's the John Gannam chapter. He stumbled across it when he "cold called" John Gannam Jr. from a phone number he looked up in a mid-west telephone directory . J Gannam Jr - a retired phone co. employee - not an artist himself -
let Steve talk him into coming out to see his upstairs room full of his dad's paintings and that's where Steve got the chapter of the course by Gannam. Frank Reilly's name was only noticed by Steve secondly. Later that same year ( 2006) Stuart Ng mentioned that he had found a copy of the whole course. I believe the story was that it came from an ex-Disney artist who had put more or less a complete version of it together on his own. He may have been one of the instructors listed - I'm not certain. A friend of mine who looked it over said it was very impressive and all there except for the Russell Patterson chapter."

So basically what I would like to know is if anyone out there has seen this course or has any information on it.

A)There was an article and an excerpt from the course in American Artist Vol. 26 from 1962
With limited research into copyrights I have discovered the following:
B)The course was copyright 1963-64 by Northwest Schools Inc.
C) The following is a chapter list
1.Material by Michael Aviano
2.Form in Art by Frank J. Reilly
3.Perspective in Art Michael Aviano
4.Human Form by Frank J. Reilly
7.The Head, Hands, and Feet by James Bama
8.Drapery by Cliff Young
9.Beauty and Character in Art part 1.John Gannam part 2.Douglass Crockwell
10.Animals by Paul Bransom
11.Line Drawing by Henry Pitz
12.Value by Frank J. Reilly
13.Theory of Color by Gordon A. Johnson
14.-23. ?
24. a)History of Illustration by Henry Pitz
b)History of Fine Art by David Robb
25. ?
26. Covers part 1 by Jerry Allison part two by Clark Hulings

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mail Bag: Andrew Loomis

I have been asked a few times since I started this blog
"Andrew Loomis? I read somewhere that he's one of the major inspiration for Fixler and Orbik?"

I had initially answered
" It is true that there is a big influence and inspiration from Loomis' work, but as far as I know there was no direct teacher student relationship. However I will ask Glen to be sure."

Recently I got an answer to this from the horses mouth, Glen says
"I also hadn't really absorbed the fact that Reilly , Loomis and
Rockwell all had the exact same teachers at their core (Bridgeman and
Dumond) . - I'd never really thought of them as "David" guys as
well - very cool..."

Updated Reilly family tree

Here is a beautiful Andrew Loomis painting courtesy of Bobby Chiu

Friday, August 13, 2010

Card Sketches

Hey all,
Here are a few of my sketches from over the years.

Here are a couple from Magic: The Gathering

and a few more from World of Warcraft

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life Drawing Studies and Demos (Aug 2010)

2.5 hr

20-30 min

5 min

anatomy studies

20-30 min

5 min

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sketch Redux (Avenger)

Here is a cover I did for The Avenger Chronicles for Moonstone Books.
The assignment was basically to illustrate a pulp cover of the Richard "The Avenger" Benson. I liked the idea of doing a James Bama style image with our hero standing in front of the door to his headquarters. This turned out to be more challenging than I had expected.

Here is my first sketch

The A.D. had this to say
"Ok, first…GREAT work!
I think you were the perfect choice for this! You bring some life and dimension to this guy! WOO!
A couple of quick comments:
1. As you probably know, the Avenger’s facial muscles have been paralyzed. He cant frown or crinkle his eyebrows, so I will need you to tweak that please.
2. The doorway is quite a bit more ornate than how it is described in the books…would you be adverse in changing that up for us? Let me know if you need the description.
(It’s a cool door, though!)
3. Somehow,,,and this is tricky…we need some idea of danger here…a looming threat…you have a nice angle of the scene and a nice bird’s eye perspective, but I think we need something more.
Any ideas as to how we might accomplish this?"

I had a couple of ideas on how to do this, but the one I settled on was a menacing cast shadow draped across the image (very pulp noir, which I felt was appropriate)
Second attempt.

The A.D.'s comments
"Again, very cool sketch!
Ok, a couple of things:
1. His eyes look to be closed…? Can you open them a little please? Thanks.
2. The “A” above the door has to go, sorry…J
3. The shadow seems to be ok…thanks.
4. The doorway is still much too ornate for the description…sorry…as far as we know, there is no archway at all, and the “Justice Inc” is just straight guild lettering, nothing fancy at all…its supposed to be really plain and unassuming.
5. The doors…I imagine the doors would open out…but that’s not important, but what is…is that they need to be plain doors…for a kind of storage building…this was not a residence, so there would not be wooden doors. I cant seem to remember if they were glass doors, but please give them a more “warehouse” kind of look, which means an absolutely plain door…Maybe they are metal, because he has a LOT of security built in…"

Third times the charm

"Ok…we are VERY VERY CLOSE TO being there!
**only suggestion might be “Justice inc” should be, according to books, "Justice, Inc." (comma & cap, in dull gilt lettering)
So, you can finish it up anytime…keeping that in mind!
Thanks so much for your patience…!"

On to the final


Friday, August 6, 2010

Congratulations to Lucas Graciano!

and all of the other Chesley Award winners, including some I am proud to call friends.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dr. Pretorius by Sargent

Okay not exactly, but close enough.
Robert Leininger posted this drawing over on his fantastic blog Classic Movie Monsters of Ernest Thesiger (Dr. Pretorius from James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein) by John Singer Sargent circa 1911.
So basically this is a drawing by one of my favorite artists of a lead player from one of my favorite films.
According to Wikipedia "Thesiger moved in several artistic, literary and theatrical circles. At various times, he frequented the studio of John Singer Sargent..."

In doing research for this piece I found something even more extraordinary, a drawing of Boris Karloff by Nicolai Fechin circa mid 1930's. So now we are talking about a drawing by my favorite portrait artist of the star of one of my favorite movies. Mr. Karloff's wife Evelyn evidently donated this to the British National Portrait Gallery where it currently resides.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Inside the Artist's Studio:Anatomy (Aug 2010)

Here are some anatomical drawing I did for an anatomy class this semester.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On The Easel (Aug 2010)

Okay here is my final sketch for my new zombie cover for Palladium Books

Yesterday when I posted what I feel was a failed attempt a couple guys asked
"I like it! Hardly a fail probably just not exactly what the brief/client requested/required.
Thanks for posting."
"Explain why you think its a failure. Right now it looks like a portrait and I don't see a problem?"

To which I responded
"It was actually all my decision, I simply didn't do enough exploration through thumbnails. What you are seeing here is just a small portion of the image. Matt what you are saying is exactly the problem, it looks like a zombie portrait which is not what was right for the narrative/scene. What I had in mind was a bit moodier, which I thing I achieved in the second sketch. Tell me if you agree."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Zombie Fail

Hey All,
Here is the start to a sketch for a new zombie illustration. I made it about 1/3 of the way through the sketch before realizing the composition was a total failure. I liked the zombie design though so I thought I would post it. Keep an eye out for the final sketch in a couple days.