The Art of Craig Elliott has arrived! We are packing all of the pre-orders and will begin shipping the books on January 3 (after the New Year holiday). As I mentioned in a previous blog, Craig Elliott has generously offered to sign an exclusive 4 x 6 inch bookplate. He is drawing an original pencil head sketch of a lovely woman on the reverse side. Each drawing will be unique. Sorry, no requests please. All copies of Craig’s book ordered direct from Flesk Publications will come with one of these special bookplates at no charge. We will continue this special arrangement with Craig as long as he is willing. It won’t last forever. Now is the time to take advantage of this gift!
Also, Craig was in the area a few days ago and signed a few cases of books for us. The books will also come signed in the actual book while supplies last.
Reverse side of bookplate with original pencil sketch by Craig Elliott.
One of my favorite art publications, Spectrum 18, came out earlier this month. This is the first volume to break the 300 page count. It’s big, yet still lean, without any unwanted fat. All of the pieces within are strong representations of the artists and field. There are lots of familiar faces and better yet, many are unfamiliar to me. Spectrum continues its mission of collecting the best in contemporary fantastic art for the year. A big thank you goes out to editors Arnie and Cathy Fenner for what is a massive undertaking each year to make Spectrum happen.
I am pleased to see that the two pieces I submitted on behalf of Mark Schultz and Jim Silke were both selected by the judges and included. The Schultz piece is his cover artwork used on our Xenozoic book collection and the Silke art is for his Jungle Girlsbook cover. I also enjoyed seeing pieces by William Stout, Petar Meseldzija and Bill Carman make it in. Stout’s “Pumpkin Brains” painting from his Zombies calendar was selected for the back cover of the paperback edition.
Each section is a joy to peruse. I find the unpublished section to be especially exceptional. It’s filled with gems. I’m guessing some of the pieces in this area are rejections from clients that may not otherwise have the opportunity to see the light of day. Or they may be personal works, but it doesn’t matter what they were intended for, I’m just glad to see them in a collection. Check out the Kinuko Craft art on page 283, wow! Other personal favorites include Dave McKean (page 261), Shelly Wan (page 297) and Donato Giancola (page 278).
Spectrum is available just about everywhere books are sold.
A friend of mine, Jonathan Leveck, has taken on the herculean task of writing a review for each of DC Comics The New 52 #1 titles at his J’s Comic Book Review on Facebook. Jonathan has evaluated each comic with honest, genuine, snarky and critical observations for nine of the titles so far. I’ve been enjoying his approach that is backed up with a deep knowledge of comics and a fluid writing style.
His most recent review concerns Justice League International #1 by Dan Jurgens with art by an artist I admire, Aaron Lopresti.
I buy the occasional comic if the art grabs me. Personally, unless I like the art I won’t pick up a comic–no matter how good the story is. To me, comics are art driven and without good art (subjective, I know), I won’t even give the story a chance.
I have been a fan of comics since the mid-eighties and regularly visit my local comic book shop, Hijinx Comics. (Owned by a good friend of mine, Neil Farris.) This New 52 line feels nostalgic to me in relation to the revamp DC did on a host of their titles in the mid to late eighties. (Superman, Justice League and Justice League Europe are among my favorites.) This time period was during my introduction to comics as a kid. I’m guessing there will be a whole new generation of fans who will feel this New 52 line will be something they own and can feel a part of, much like I enjoyed and have an attachment to the DC revamp in the eighties.
I think every generation can benefit when a character is reintroduced with a fresh approach now and again. By keeping the status quo and not revamping titles or characters it only panders to old fans and does not make the field open and welcome for new fans. I’m a big proponent of change and growth. Given this, The New 52 has been a welcome sight for me.
To get an idea of which title(s) you may want to peruse, take a peek at J’s Comic Book Review.
The upcoming Flesk books Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm and The Art of Craig Elliott are getting closer to arriving in our hands and at the stores. The shipper has let us know the books will be arriving with us on December 29, and with Diamond Comic Distributors by January 10. All of our pre-orders will start shipping immediately. I estimate we will have them all out the door by the end of the first week of January. The books should appear in the book trade and comic stores in mid-January.
While we are waiting for them to arrive, Craig Elliott and I have been discussing ideas about how we can make his book even more special. Besides the three covers to choose from, you will receive an exclusive bookplate when ordering direct from Flesk. Craig has offered to sign and provide a quick sketch on 4 x 6 inch bonus bookplates. This plate will have a design printed on the front with a space left for his signature. Then the backside will have a head sketch in pencil. Sorry, but no requests. You will receive this special bonus gift at no extra charge. This is a way of saying thank you for buying direct from Flesk.
Craig and I have also been discussing an exclusive 100 copy ultra-deluxe edition. These will come with a slipcase. Just wait until you see what we’ve come up with! The slipcase will be non-standard and very unique. And even more exciting is that the book will come with an 8.5 x 11 inch tip-in of a giclee print of a pencil drawing on archival 100% cotton watercolor paper that has been hand painted in watercolors by Craig. No two will be alike. These 100 copies will have a personal touch that will be beautiful in every regard. The pricing will be announced in the next few weeks. Be sure to email Flesk Publications at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be placed on the waiting list.
Craig’s first sample. The pencil sketch is printed on archival 100% cotton watercolor paper and then the watercolor is painted on by Craig.
We are now taking pre-orders for our upcoming book Warren Chang: Narrative Paintings. All pre-orders placed by January 15, 2012 will come signed by Chang. Over the next few weeks I will begin posting new blogs about Warren, with a new interview and the story behind the making of the book. I also just received preview copies of Narrative Paintings. I’m absolutely delighted with how the book came out. I’ll get some pictures up soon.
For now, here are the book details and the official biography on Warren. Follow the links at the end of this post to learn more, to pre-order and to visit Warren Chang’s website.
Warren Chang: Narrative Paintings is the first individual collection of Warren Chang’s fine art. A gifted storyteller, Chang portrays the human condition in his paintings, often depicting the downtrodden and disenfranchised while at the same time celebrating the human spirit. He is perhaps best known for interiors and genre scenes depicting the fieldworkers of Monterey County in California, where he grew up. Additional paintings in this collection offer scenes from life, landscapes, interiors and an engaging series of self-portraits. Chang’s written commentary accompanies many pieces, providing a personal approach that complements his skill at painting and utilizes the techniques he developed during fourteen years of teaching drawing and painting. His talent as a teacher is further demonstrated through sketches and step-by-step procedures.
About Warren Chang
Warren Chang was born in Monterey, California, in 1957 and graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1981. After 20 years as an award-winning illustrator, he embarked on a career in fine art in 2000. He has been honored as a Signature Artist member of the California Art Club and a Master Signature member of the Oil Painters of America.
Chang’s work has been recognized nationally and been profiled in many art publications, including the covers of American Artist and International Artist magazines, accompanying a series of eight articles on instructional painting that he authored. He has been an instructor of drawing and painting for fourteen years, including three years at the Pratt Institute in New York City and currently at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and he conducts painting workshops nationally.
Perhaps best-known for his genre scenes depicting the field-workers of Monterey County, Chang portrays the human condition in his paintings and often depicts the downtrodden and disenfranchised while at the same time celebrating the human spirit. Additional highly regarded paintings include his scenes from life, interior scenes of artists, models and students, landscapes and an engaging series of self-portraits. All of Chang’s paintings represent a personal truth through his reflections of real life. Technique is subordinate to his ideas, as he channels an honest expression from within. This allows him to paint sincerely. A unique form of thinking prevails in his works, and each new painting represents a new discovery of himself.
His awards include “Best of Show” at the Salon International in 2003 in San Antonio, Texas; the Southwest Art Award of Excellence in 2008 and the Fine Art Connoisseur award for painting in 2009, both at the California Art Club’s Gold Medal Exhibition, held at the Pasadena Museum of California Art; and first place in RayMar Art’s Fine Art Competition in 2010. Chang is participating with the America China Oil Painting Artists League’s exhibition of contemporary American and Chinese realism at The World Art Museum in Beijing (2012), which is the first stop of a yearlong tour of major provinces in China. Furthermore, The Butler Institute of American Art will celebrate the art of Warren Chang with a solo exhibition in May of 2014.
It’s an obvious crude copy of his art and not done by Dean. Looking at the other auctions this same seller has for sale, the pieces on offer look highly suspect to me. Whether this dealer is knowingly selling fake original art or has no clue what he is actually offering is not for me to say. This is a good example of why it is important to be careful when purchasing originals and to familiarize yourself with the artist before buying artwork so you don’t get duped.
Dean Yeagle has already filed a complaint with Ebay about this fake representation of himself being available. As of this writing it looks to have been pulled down, but as possibly sold to someone who unknowingly thought it to be genuine, unfortunately.
If you notice more fake artwork by this dealer or at any other time, I encourage you to notify Ebay.
If you are in the market for Mark Schultz original art, Mark urges you to check out these two items he has posted on eBay. The auctions are for a worthy cause: all proceeds go to the Benefit for Carrie Smurkowski. Carrie is a good friend of Mark and Denise’s who is battling cancer and facing horrendous medical bills.
You can access the auctions by going to eBay and “Mark Schultz benefit art,” or go directly to:
I received the Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm book printer samples last Friday. One of the most important things to me is hearing the artist’s blunt feedback concerning a new book. I sent a few copies to Bruce and had the chance to get his reaction. We are both very pleased and love how it turned out. Now I’m anxious for the book to hit the stores and to hear what all of you think. While we wait for the books to arrive at the end of this month I thought I would share some pictures, and also include some stories over the course of the production of the book.
“Can you watch the booth for a little while? I’m going to go see if Bruce Timm wants to do a book together.” This was my asking my right hand man, James Walker, at Comic-Con in 2009 to watch the Flesk Publications booth while I tried to track down Mr. Timm. I didn’t know Bruce beyond meeting him as a fan a few times to get his signature. As far as I knew he had no idea who I was. (I never assume anyone knows who I am, or should for that matter.) I walked over to the Naked Fat Rave booth where my pal John Fanucchi runs the stand. I knew Bruce does signings there off and on throughout the show. Bruce happened to be there, along with a line of about 50 people all wanting his attention. I asked John if he could introduce me to Bruce and he was glad to help by bringing me behind the booth. I feel when you present yourself to someone you only have two minutes to introduce yourself, make your proposal and impress someone. If they continue to talk to you beyond those two minutes and ask you questions then you are in good shape. If you keep talking after two minutes and they aren’t asking questions, well, then you aren’t doing so well. Realizing there was a long line of people waiting for autographs and that he was busy, I made my introduction and inquiry in one minute, and then asked if he would be willing to talk about the possibility at his convenience. I was flattered to discover he knew of my company and he agreed to talk in the future. All in all I took about three to four minutes of his time and he was back to signing books in short order. It happened quick enough where the fans weren’t giving me the evil eye for extending their wait time.
One thing I was plainly aware of from the start is how busy Bruce is, along with his status in the animation and comics fields. I wanted Bruce to know I was serious, yet also give him his space and not be aggressive. I have a massive amount of respect for who he is and what he has accomplished and just basically stayed true to who I am and followed my gut on how I should present the book proposal to him. Originally my idea was for a 64 page collection of his personal female art that could possibly be a series of volumes that would come out a year or two apart from one another dependent on how much art Bruce could produce, or was interested in drawing. My goal from the start was a book that was on Bruce Timm, not a book that revolved around the characters that he works on. I wanted to see “The Art of Bruce Timm,” not “The Art of Batman” by Bruce Timm.
By spring of 2010 Bruce started sending me art, and sending me extra art, and then additional art, and the pieces just kept coming. I was flabbergasted to see so much amazing art. The book kept growing, morphing and expanding. I found myself rethinking the book with designer Randy Dahlk several times and sending updates to Bruce for his thoughts. By Comic-Con 2011 I had a 304 page preliminary designed book to show Bruce at San Diego. On the Sunday of the show Bruce found some time to flip through the pages. I could tell by a few of his comments that we didn’t nail it. There were issues with the pacing of the book. I sent the dummy book to Bruce after the show to give him time to absorb the design and offer suggestions. Shortly after, I received an email from Bruce that basically put into words what I was expecting to hear. He expressed that book needed an extensive overhaul. Let me state how exceptionally well Bruce phrased his email and gave clear explanations regarding how the book could benefit from a redesign. He offered many examples and suggestions. Sure, I wish we impressed him more, but I was in no way disappointed. I was energized about the possibility of improvement.
These pictures (above and below) represent a small sample of the pages I had printed out for Bruce to look over. All of the red pencil notes are his giving me his preferences for which pages were working and others that could benefit from adjustments, with explanations why. When compared to the final book, you will see in both of these examples that there are many pieces and page designs that were ultimately cut from the book.
It’s easy for someone to be sensitive about putting work and time into a book, then having to make a significant amount of changes. I’m not one of those people. I don’t take constructive criticism personally and look at them as an opportunity for growth. I got excited about charging into the book and improving it with Bruce’s suggestions. I took over the book from Randy. Randy had other obligations to attend to and I found it easier to just make the changes myself, rather than have Randy serve as an extension of my arm for me. It would probably take me longer to explain the changes than make them myself. Randy did good getting the basic template down. The rest could be wrapped up by me and Bruce. I dived in to redesign the book over the month of August and September. It’s fair to say the book was designed by Randy Dahlk, Bruce Timm and myself. There are pieces of all of us in there, but it really was Bruce who encouraged and pushed me in a positive way that got me stoked about redoing things until they were just right. Bruce really knows how to bring out the best in me and I feel like I gained a deeper sense of design over the course of these three months than the last three years. The things I learned will drastically change how I look at design and my approach for all books in the future. I’ve been publishing books for nearly ten years and I still feel like I am a student. I constantly work harder to improve the books I produce. It was quite the positive experience and an honor for me to have this opportunity to work with and publish a book on Bruce Timm.
These pictures show a grouping of printer proofs (above and below). These are made on the actual paper the book is printed on. I check colors, tones, values, shadows, darks and lights, a final check for typos, and anything else that grabs my attention at the time. This is my last chance to make any changes. Once approved the press specialist’s use them as guides to make sure the pages are printing per my approved specifications. I tell them what I expect in advance, then raise them to my level.
Here is a copy of the Naughty and Nice hardbound edition out of the slipcase and sans jacket. This front image and the back side artwork are not found inside the book and are exclusive to the deluxe edition.
From left to right, the back of the paperbound edition, the back of the hardbound deluxe edition and the front of the slipcase for the deluxe edition.
Here’s another interior sample showing a few pages and the paperbound edition in front.
One final topic from me is regarding the interior art. The high majority of images are of nude women. One thing that was very apparent to all of us working on this book is our desire for all of the women depicted in the book to be classy, elegant, and in general for the book to be respectful to women and celebrate them in their natural form. You will not find any images in our eyes that would denigrate or be disrespectful to women, or classify them as victims. We gave this quite a bit of thought since we hope this will be a book that women can open and enjoy, not just men. I consulted with a few women when putting together the book. I actually pulled out one piece that a certain individual felt went a little too far, even thought it looked innocent to me. She made a valid point why she felt it inappropriate and I listened. Everyone has different tastes and ideas about what is appropriate or not appropriate. I think we did a great job and if someone disapproves, well, this isn’t the book for you and that is OK with me.
From start to finish this project was a terrific experience. I hope you have enjoyed this post.