I recently discovered the Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen and absolutely love it! It has quickly become my new "go to" pen for sketching. The best thing about this pen and the ink it uses, is how quickly it dries. You can do a sketch and almost immediately paint over it with watercolors without any smudging. The bad thing about the pen to me though, is that it is designed as a desk pen and thus has a very long handle. It is kind of unwieldy to draw with and very limiting in it's portability. However, this can be fixed in seconds with a saw.
Many of you will remember reading Cartoonist Survey #283 with illustrator extraordinaire, Rich Powell. I absolutely love his artwork and finally had the opportunity to commission him to create an illustration for me.
While looking through his portfolio, I saw a great drawing of an old blues guy and had to have it. Unfortunately that one already belonged to none other than Sam Viviano, art director for MAD magazine. Rich was very accommodating and agreed to do another one for me.
Not only did the illustration come out awesome, but he finished it in no time and was nice enough to create a video of him drawing it. Readers of this blog know how geeky I get over watching people draw, so this was an unexpected bonus!
Rich really made the whole experience wonderful, and I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to get some original artwork.
Take some time today to visit Rich’s website. You can commission him to create a wonderful illustration for you by clicking on the Purchase Art link at the top of his site. You won’t be disappointed!
Thanks again Rich!
I received a request wondering how similar to the illustration I originally saw in Rich's portfolio was the completed illustration I received. Below are small images of both drawings, with the one I own on the right. See much more of Rich's work here!
I started making these smaller watercolor maps last week. They are 5" x 7" and are done with artist grade watercolors and archival paper and ink. Send me an email if you are interested in having one made for you.
I was lucky enough to receive the Expeditionary Art's Pocket Palette for Christmas. This tiny watercolor palette is perfect for travel watercolor painting or urban sketching. It has refillable metal pans that attach magnetically to the business card holder sized case.
I filled the pans with artist grade Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith tube watercolors.
Award winning artist, illustrator and cartoonist Rich Powell was born on Long Island in 1963. He grew up in New Jersey and served in the Marines after high school. While studying at the California State University, Hayward he met his wife Frankie, who is also an artist.
Rich spent many years working in the computer gaming field starting at Sierra On-Line in the early 90s. During those years he worked as both a conceptual artist and eventually an art director. When Sierra shut down he began doing freelance work.
As a freelancer he has created illustrations for logos, t-shirt designs, board games, greeting cards, character/mascot designs, cartoons and more. His illustrations and cartoons have been used by MAD Magazine, Playboy, Our State Magazine, Highlights for Children, The North Carolina Zoo, McGraw-Hill, The National Institutes for Health and many others.
His hilarious single panel cartoon, WIDE OPEN! (Formerly Dixie Drive), is distributed by Universal Uclick on the Gocomics.com site and also appears daily in Asheboro, North Carolina’s Courier-Tribune.
In addition to his cartoon and illustration work, Rich enjoys combining his love of old toys with large scale acrylic paintings.
A couple of weeks back Rich was honored at the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Awards weekend by being presented with the 2013 Best Product/Advertising Illustration Silver Reuben. This is quite an honor and one that he truly deserves.
Rich lives in Asheboro, North Carolina with his wife Frankie. They have a daughter Bailey who is also a very talented artist. Be sure and visit the Rich Powell Illustration website to see much more of his work, as well as his blog which is updated regularly. You should also check out his WIDE OPEN! comic here at GoComics. Very funny stuff!
What is your favorite pen to use?
It's funny you ask this now. I work in 3 different ways: Usually for MAD or Highlights, I cartoon in pencil and pump up the contrast in Photoshop before adding color. I like the "scratchiness" of the line: When I do a watercolor humorous illustration I'll go over the pencil with a waterproof ball point or marker (Uniball Elite or Pitt or Pigma) to preserve that scratchy look. If I'm doing a gag cartoon such as my Wide Open panel, I'll use Superblack and a nib (most of the time!). I'm no master of the nib so I wrote to the great Jim Woodring whose inking I greatly admire and asked him what HE uses. He was kind enough to mail me a nib! It's a very cool thing: A Brause Fingerfeder #29. It's shaped like a hand wherein the extended index finger is the nib. I would have expected no less an artifact from Mr. Woodring. I placed that Talisman aside and bought myself a pack!
Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I use a Pentel Twist-Erase mechanical .05. On an excursion in Savannah with a bunch of MAD guys I turned around in the bus to talk with Sergio Aragones and noticed a Twist-Erase in his pocket. "Wow!" I said. "I draw with the same pencil as the great Sergio!" He took his out and asked me ".07?" and I answered "No...05" he grins and says "Oh well!"
Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
Depends. Cartoons that I send digitally are most often done on the computer. I love working in watercolor though and do that often. I like the bleed.
If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
I have a Pelikan set of watercolors and sometimes use my Dr. Martin's Synchromatic Watercolors. Unless my daughter (an art student) has swiped them.
What type of paper do you use?
I've been using the new Strathmore Mixed Media pads lately. Very versatile and affordable.
What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
I am absolutely horrible at drawing good looking women. Sad, I know.
Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogs/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I like to use Jerry's Artarama. It's based up in Raleigh, NC but they have a catalog. We don’t have a mom and pop shop around here and I hate Hobby Lobby.
Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
I ran out of chickens so, no.
Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
I like Jazz, Folk Rock like Dylan or Wilco, blues.... but that's not all. I like many genres. I find it hard to pay attention to the lyrics if I'm really into the drawing. So, mostly Jazz I guess.
What was the first job as a cartoonist/illustrator that you were paid for?
I drew bachelorette party cards where the men's "naughty bits" were left out for the women to draw. Ugh.
Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite? MAD, Creepy, Eerie, National Lampoon.
What is or was your favorite comic strip?
I loved the Far Side, Watterson's art, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, Buck Rogers...too many to mention. I like gag cartoonists: Addams, Kliban, Gross, MK Brown.
What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
Yes. New Yorker collection that my parents had. Early stuff like The War Album, 1925-50. I've still got them.
Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
I went to Cal State Hayward after the Marines for a fine art education. Painting/drawing/sculpting...nothing you can get a job doing!
Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Both. Easier to approach people, larger audience, crappier wages and more competition.
Did either of your parents draw?
My dad (an accountant) painted after work. He was good!
Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My dad was.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I teach the occasional quickie class at the local library. I wish I was better at it.
Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
Passion and work ethic, if you want to make it as a cartoonist.
Do you collect anything and if so what?
All sorts of crazy crap. Anything old and strange looking.
If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
Koko the Clown.
Are you a righty or lefty?
If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Manage my fabulously wealthy late parent’s fortune.
In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
A giant, green monster of a drafting table that ends up far too cluttered.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I screw around with a guitar. Not well.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
Draw, draw, draw.
Who is your favorite artist? I couldn’t begin to answer that. I love cartooning, illustration, photography, painting, collage...
Thanks again for taking the time to participate, Rich!
I'm a fifty-something year old married guy who is referred to as "The Geek" by my wife. That may give you the quick version. If you want more info read on. I grew up in the 60’s-70's as a huge fan of the Big Bad Bruins, Godzilla, Rock Music, Comics, all things scary, drawing and reading. Hmm...doesn't sound like a geek to me... I work for a financial institution as a Web QA tester. I am happily married and have been for over 15 years. I enjoy cartooning and drawing in pen and ink and occasionally will add some watercolor. I have been playing the guitar for years and just recently taught myself the ukulele. I love classic Sci-Fi and Monster movies. Preferably in Black and White. I am not a fan of the new slasher gross-out movies. They come too close to reality. Now the Creature from the Black Lagoon....that’s a movie.