Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

August 3, 2008

Chicken Scratch

Filed under: Doodles — M Kitchen @ 10:01 am

This sketch was inspired by the amazing drawing style of artist Mike Kitchen!

March 10, 2008

The Making of a Movie Prop

Filed under: Colour,Sketches,Spy Guy — M Kitchen @ 1:01 pm

Last October when Hawley Anderson contacted us on behalf of Dimension Films for comics, product, and signage to use in the upcoming feature film called SUPER HERO, I got the idea to create a life sized cut-out of SPY GUY.

The following documents the “creative process”.

Originally I was going to use existing artwork (due to time constraints) however there wasn’t anything in existence that matched what I envisioned in my head – so it was back to the drawing board. In a last minute rush, I hacked out this sharpie sketch.


I’ve started using sharpie markers to force myself to commit to a gesture rather than endlessly chicken scratching with pencil.

Next I used the Dave Sim tracing paper method to pull an actual drawing out of my sharpie sketch. I find that drawing on the mirror image helps to quickly tighten up the drawing, and then enables an easy transfer to the S-172 Bainbridge.

Once the pencils are transfered, the inking process begins, using primarily a Hunt 102 nib and a Windsor Newton #2 (not to mention some form of white out).

At this point I scan the artwork into the computer, and in this case I realized that I had drawn SPY GUY’s head too small. D’oh! For a moment I thought about redrawing the whole thing, however instead opted to just scale the thing in Photoshop.

Then I added some colour (doing my best to ape the Anime cell animation style) and voila! I had a final image.

This was then sent off to the fine folks at The Lot to be turned into a life sized cut out. Here is the final product!

Photo by Anika Kitchen

Look for it in the background of the SUPER HERO movie coming soon to a theater near you!

January 7, 2008

SPY GUY#1 – Sneak Peek

Filed under: Sketches,Spy Guy — M Kitchen @ 3:24 pm

I’m looking forward to inking this one.

This shows my new work process of roughing out the page on 11″ x 17″ paper using pencil and sharpie marker (and whiteout) before doing a tracing paper transfer to bainbridge s-172 illustration board.

Photo was taken while on public transit commute.

October 19, 2007

SPX 2007: Field Report

Filed under: Conventions,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 11:10 am

SPX 2007

4:50 am Friday morning, Blair and I hopped in The Possum-Wagon and commenced on our journey to Bethesda MD USA for the Small Press Expo. It was a nice drive. Travelling through Maryland on the I-70 I was captivated by the beautiful rolling hills and miniature mountains, with scattered farms and colonial houses. I wanted to move there. Immediately. It sure beats the concrete sprawl of the GTA. I should have taken a picture. Next year, I’ll take a picture.

1:00 pm we arrived at the convention center ahead of schedule. How we managed to arrive on time, when we’ve been consistently running late on our local cons, I have no idea.

photo by Blair Kitchen courtesy of Possum Press

That left us plenty of time to eat some lunch, set up the booth, and get ready for the doors to open at 2:00.

Not that it mattered much. Friday was a very slow day. And yet, it held a few surprises. Like the interview we did for VOA Indonesia. And meeting up with people I had only ever encountered online. So that was nice.

photo by Blair Kitchen courtesy of Possum Press

Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to adjust my own internal anxieties by letting go of worries, and trying to embrace an optimistic and positive outlook on things. And this con turned out to be a good testing ground to prove some theories. In fact, each time I recalibrated my internal dialogue to keep with a more positive outlook, it seemed like good things would happen.

Learned a few lessons… like this one: Ecclesiastes 11:10.

And this one: Matthew 11:29-30

And this one: Matthew 6:25-35

After the show on Friday, the Marriott set up a bar downstairs. And I could really go for a glass of wine. Of course a glass of wine would cost me the profit of two comic sales. Well, they finally broke me down and I approached the bar.

Was asked “do you have a ticket?”

“No… where do I get a ticket?”

“I don’t know. It’s $6.50 without a ticket”

So… if I get a ticket, that’s like selling two comics…

“I’ll be right back… I’m going to find a ticket”.

This sent me on an expedition through the convention center looking for the SPX organizers who would surely be the keepers of the drink tickets. Sure enough, they were in the bar upstairs, and surprisingly, Karon Flage saw me and waved me over. Of course, she had mistaken me for someone else (bald heads look alike) but she was more than willing to hook me up with some drink tickets. Yes. This was the sign that told me this weekend would turn out just fine.

Lesson learned: Matthew 7:7

Oh yeah. There was also cake.
It made me laugh.

In an attempt to cut costs, we had abandoned the idea of spending $100 a night for a plush room in the Marriott, and instead camped out in the Possum-Wagon. Aside from being impaled by strange seat hooks and attachors, and having reoccurring nightmares of being harassed by parking lot security, I had an incredible sleep.

Saturday, I awoke to a brand new day. A sponge bath in the bathroom sink freshened me up, and I managed to score a free coffee from the restaurant upstairs, and some French toast, strawberries, and another coffee from a buffet downstairs. This all seemed to endorse the above lesson.

Here Blair has finally awoken from his slumber in the Possum-Wagon.

The show that day started off moderately slow, and remained that way until eleven o’clock when things went crazy and picked up. Here are a few sketches that were done over the weekend. Check out Possum Press for more.

It was a great crowd. Not as artsy and esoteric as the APE and TCAF crowds, and not as pop-culture mainstream as the FAN EXPO crowds. Which seems to be a good fit for our target audience for both SPY GUY and THE POSSUM.

One added bonus was that while I was wandering, I noticed a bunch of other artists I had been introduced to on Dave Sim’s Blog and Mail (that I’ve been meaning to check out). So when I did my round of trades, these were the first artists I hit.

Specifically Scott Berwanger (Anubis), Pat Lewis (Abominable), and Steve Peters (Chemistry).

I never did manage to get a trade with Jim Coon (Beaver). Maybe next year.

In all I scored a box full of comics, (that I’ve been reading all week on the GO Train). That always makes a break-even or profit losing show seem all the more worth while.

Some other notable events were meeting with the Diamond reps, getting some comics to Heidi MacDonald (could there be a review in our future?) and meeting Dan Merritt from Green Brain Comics, who told me one of his agents picked up our books at the Toronto FAN EXPO this summer. Cool.

We had great neighbours at this year’s show. To our right was John Bintz who draws “A Moment of Clarity” and to our left was Kevin McShane, who does the superhero / hollywood parody “Toupydoops”.

The end of Saturday finished of with the Ignatz Awards, and some more wine and drink tickets.

This ended our SPX Saturday.

We had another wonderful night sleep.

Sunday morning I woke at the crack of dawn, where I sponge bathed in the sink, and made my way to the hotel lobby where I bought a coffee, found a comfortable seat, and cracked open my stash of trades.

What a great morning.

10:00 – 1:00 we attended the panels that were offered, which was a good way to spend the last few hours of the con.

All things considered, SPX was a success.

August 27, 2007

FAN EXPO 2007: Field Report

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 6:39 am

It’s been a year since the last Fan Expo. Our first con. Attending Fan Expo 2007 had me reminiscing about the all the conventions we hit this year. What worked. What didn’t. Things to think about for the future. And the realization that the pop-culture crowd seems to be our target audience. If you’d ask me last year, I would have thought that the A.P.E. or T.C.A.F. would have been the crowd that would gravitate to our comics. But the Fan Expo continues to blow all the other cons out of the water. Which has got me seriously considering the other BIG THREE comic cons. Maybe next year?

As for celebrity guests this year: Adam West and Johnathan Frakes were the two I was most interested to see.

On the comic book front, the heavy hitters were John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr. who had a sketch off that I would have loved to watch, but couldn’t because I was busy selling comics. Sometime this week, I’ll have to scour the internet to see if it was captured on film.

Here is an interesting con sketch… one of our customers was having comic artists finish an old issue of Alpha Flight! Check out the Spy Guy appearance (along with The Grad and The Possum)!

And here are some other con sketches that came out quite well:

Spy Guy vs. Darth Vader.

Spud & Harry vs. Doctor Who.

Spy Guy Batman team-up.

Spy Guy vs. Spy Mite.

Spy Guy Captain Kirk team-up.

Adam West vs. Spy Guy.

Spy Guy SCUD team-up.

Spider-man vs. Spy Guy.

Harry Potter vs. Elijah Wood (as Kevin).

Geeze… the list goes on and on… so let’s end with:

The Possum Spy Guy team-up.

August 22, 2007

TCAF: Update

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 8:26 pm

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has come and gone. Another interesting show which had a vibe similar to A.P.E. That is, people seemed to be less interested in the standard sized glossy covered saddle stitched (stapled) pamphlet comics, and more interested in mini-zines, art objects, and graphic novel books. That said, the reaction to the Possum Press | Ultraist Studios joint catalog was actually very good.

The venue for TCAF was the Old Victoria College building and the Burwash Quad on the University of Toronto Campus, which was a nice classy place to hold a con. Gaging the size of the crowd was deceptive due to the multiple rooms and levels, and being in a corner table in a side room, it always seemed as though the place was relatively empty despite a steady flow of people.

It is such a different vibe from the super-hero cons like the Fan Expo (coming up this weekend). I found it strange wandering around the floor as it felt as though I was walking through the corridors of broken dreams. The majority of the vendors are self-publishers, and all of the vendors are dumping their hearts and souls into their work. Each one selling a piece of themselves for a minimal price, desperately looking for takers. Unless of course you are one of the headliners selling art prints for 50 bucks a pop. Now I don’t feel like uploading all of the sketches that were done over the course of the weekend, though here is a sampler (click the image to see the enlarged sketch):

Here is a Mexican couple who were taken by the villianous cast of the Possum #2 (who gave us a literal review of the Spanish portions of the script). Given they are fans of Mexican wrestling, what better sketch to do than Harry pummelling the Seven Deadly Dwarfs! I even had them write the caption.

More fans of The Possum who picked up a Value Pack! Heed Spy Guy’s words or warning about Possum fans… he speaks the truth!

SPY GUY: Minis has always been popular with the ladies. Or, at the very least, the cover has been. I’ve always been curious what they think after reading it…

It’s always a pleasure when asking “what sort of sketch would you like” when the response comes back “draw me”. The “team up” and “versus” sketches usually end up being my favorites.

Trisha wins the prize for “most fun accessories to draw”. Now looking at that sketch, I just wish I remembered to draw in the ground shadows…

Somewhere outside of the old Vic building, a rather depressed looking Seth and Chester Brown were overheard saying: “I wish we were as famous and lovable as the fabulous Kitchen Brothers”…



For more TCAF field reports and sketches, click on over to the Possum Press blog:
day 1day 2

Stay tuned for FAN EXPO 2007.

July 16, 2007

A.P.E.’07 Sketch

Filed under: Conventions,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 9:42 pm

It doesn’t look like I’ll be getting a chance to post any new artwork soon, so in the meantime, here is a sketch that was drawn during this years A.P.E.

More to come.

June 18, 2007

Paradise ComiCon Pics

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 8:59 pm

Here are a few pics of some happy customers from the con (complete with caricatures).

* Click the pic to see the sketch

June 11, 2007

Still Hard at Work

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Photos,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 10:10 pm

Yet another convention picture taken by a secret spy cam! This one comes from Danny Truong who was much quicker in posting his convention sketch than I ever will be…

But he’s not the only happy Ultraist / Possum customer smearing his con sketch all over the internet. Chris Miller (who also left a comment a few posts back) has Beta-Ray Bill vs. Spy Guy floating through cyber-space as well.

Click here for Sketch 1.

Click here for Sketch 2.

May 13, 2007

Guest Artist Pin-Up Sketches!

Filed under: Announcements,Conventions,Sketches — M Kitchen @ 6:10 pm

Regular visitors will have noticed that I haven’t been posting much artwork recently. Well that is about to change with this post! I have 2 guest artist pin-up sketches. An Ultraist Studios Blog Journal FIRST!

Here we have SPY GUY with THE POSSUM drawn by Blair Kitchen! And the amazing thing about this drawing is that it is the first time in SPY GUY’s 20 year history (my God, has it been that long) that I have seen SPY GUY drawn by someone other than myself! Neat!

Here we have SPUD & HARRY drawn by über-fan Alan Groening. It was drawn on official Ultraist Studios stationary live at A.P.E.’07. Again, the first time in SPUD & HARRY’s 20 year history that I have seen SPUD & HARRY drawn by someone other than myself! Thanks!

There is something exciting about seeing another person draw a character that you’ve created.

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