Sketchbook...
"The Temptation of Amadeo" is based on descriptions of a painting by the vampire Marius in
Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned" and "The Vampire Armand". It was a chance to play around
with early Renaissance style painting, and a great illustration exercise to incorporate the various
elements and moods of the novels.
In September of
2000, I visited the
Black Hills of South
Dakota. I'm used to
thinking of the
Dakotas as flat
prairie, so I was
pleasantly surprised
at the incredible
beauty of the Black
Hills, and completely
blown away by
Crazy Horse
Mountain. The sheer
size and audacity of
the project (they're
carving a whole
mountain!) and the
story of Crazy
Horse...well, we
visited Mount
Rushmore later that
day, which looked to
me like four white
guys huddled
together, looking to
the east for rescue.
The story of Crazy
Horse would make a
great graphic novel.
An aquaintance of
mine inspired this
ink and colored
pencil sketch.
Left: An illustration based on
Dan Simmon's "Hyperion" and
"The Fall of Hyperion", of a
mysterious creature known as
the Shrike. Sometimes the
cover illustration of a book
makes you want to do your
own version. The cover art
basically showed a man
covered with spikes, while the
text actually makes it a lot
more menacing! A note on
technique here: on pen
sketches like this I rarely pencil
them in first, I just draw. I often
hear beginning or non-artists
worry about "What happens if
you make a mistake?", as if the
Art Police are looking over
their shoulders, ready to rap
them on the knuckles for
drawing the wrong lines!
(Maybe they went to Catholic
school!) The answer is: I use
the mistake, or cover it up, I
don't worry about it. The
drawing is very organic that
way.
At the San Diego Comic
Convention in 2001, I was
privileged to be in a booth
next to where the legendary
comic book artist John
Buscema was making a rare
(and as it turned out, one of
his final) convention  
appearance, doing a signing
of his newly published
sketchbook. This afforded
me the opportunity to dash
off this quick portrait, which
he was kind enough to
autograph, commenting with
a smile, "You make me look
so old!" He died the
following January. It is
difficult to estimate his great
influence on my work.

Below: In comics, it is often
necessary to do work on
"spec", hoping to get a job.
This is from a spec page for
CrossGen comics.
Art by Chaz Truog