Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Buying Comics Back in the Day

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was in the small town of Pocahontas, Arkansas. It’s a town I visited a lot as a kid because my parents grew up there and also I spent a week with my cousin there each summer. It’s a classic small southern town like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. It had a town square with an old courthouse in the middle, a laid back pace with friendly people and it also had a “five and dime” variety store, namely Peter’s Variety Store, also known as “Joe Pete’s” because Joe Peters ran it.

Whenever I would find myself in Pocahontas, no matter the reason, the one goal I had in my head was a visit to the greatness that was Joe Pete’s. Why you ask? Because, in addition to the tools, candy, combs, shoe polish, umbrellas and other odds and ends, Joe Pete’s had a WALL of comic books. Not only did they the newest issue of Justice League, they had last month’s and the month’s before. This proved invaluable to me, as I myself lived in a small town and got my comics at places like the JR Food Mart, Safeway and Leaks Quick Mart. I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a comic book store back in the day, so I’d often miss issues of my favorite books.

Joe Pete’s was a gold mine for me. There was nothing better than getting a stack of comics (with the price written in grease pencil so you could know how much they were with tax, see image to the left) and catching up on any adventures I might have missed. The place seemed like it was in a time warp. I would visit in the late 70s and early 80s but it felt like it was a store from the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately Joe Pete’s closed years ago, so every time I go by the empty store front I feel a bit sad, but the memories of the place also make me smile. My wife Heather snapped the picture above of me outside the old shop. When I showed it to my mom (who had to endured my many requests to stop by there growing up), she said it looked like I was waiting for the store to open. Maybe she was right.

Meeting an Inspiration

Have you ever gotten to meet someone that inspired you as a kid? Obviously not a family member, but a musician, writer, politician or someone like that? Well, I recently had the pleasure of doing just that. I met a comic book artist who I was a huge fan of growing up, Mike Grell. He was the first artist whose work I recognized from book to book. I own every issue he drew of Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, Warlord and Starslayer. I used to copy his style (and even signature). Back in 1980, I actually wrote to "Ask the Answer Man" in DC Comics and naively asked, "How can I learn to draw like Mike Grell?" Unfortunately, they printed my question wrong... "Could I learn to draw like Mike Grell". Either way, I'm sure I would've gotten the same answer. (See image below, note my amazing crossword abilities too).

I was a guest at the Dallas Comic Con a while back and so was he. I was so psyched to get to meet him. He was very kind and gracious, a really nice guy. I commissioned a Warlord sketch from him, which is amazing (see image above). I actually showed him the issue of World's Finest with my question in it, he got a big laugh out of that. He was shocked at the date and asked how old of was when I wrote that. I told him that I was much older than I looked. When he heard my age he joked that I need to loose some hair and get fat, which I took as a compliment. I was a real treat to meet someone that influenced me so much. It occured to me that comic book artist often have a better chance of meeting their idols than a lot of other professions out there with conventions and all. Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Patch Geeks: A Confession

Considering that I draw comic books, I don’t consider myself super-geeky. And my wife, although exposed to my world, is not geeky at all. But with that being said, together we are Patch Geeks. We love the outdoors. State parks, hiking, caves, animals, etc. And when we go to certain destinations, we always try to find a patch to commemorate the experience. The photo above is our collection so far. I’m only posting this so I can look back in a few years and see how much the collection has grown and to admit, in public, that we indeed have a problem.

Birthday Goodness

Another year has passed and not only have I’ve been lucky enough to see it come and go, I got a lot of cool stuff. I think I’ve got my reading materials set for the next couple of months. I scored U2 by U2 (very cool book), The Art of Cars (awesome looking), Blankets (I know, I know, everyone else read it three years ago), Batman: Hush Volume 1 and 2 (some artist don’t like Jim Lee but it looks fun), Welcome to Jasorassic Park (an older Fox Trot book that I was missing). And The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956 (always greatness). I also got the new live acoustic Foo Fighters cd, the new Audioslave cd, Cars dvd and a Bluetooth adapter for my Mac.

I’m very thankful for all these cool presents, but despite their awesomeness, you could throw all of them in the garbage and in exchange for another year with my friends and family around me, happy and healthy. And that’s the truth Ruth.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Low Cut Jeans, an Illustrator Time Trial

I wanted to see how fast I could take a sketch and turn it into a finished Illustrator piece. Not a super-detailed one, but a simple stylized image. I've had this sketch laying around for a while, so I thought I'd try it. This ia a 50 minute one. It was kinda fun to see how fast I could do it and it still be happy with the outcome. As you can see, the background wasn't part of the original sketch, I just threw it in. Not the best image I've ever done, but I like it. Hope you do too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Grab Bag of Images

A commission for a woman in England, a magazine drawing for work and a high school basketball program illustration, also for work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fall 2006 image.. a bit late

I'm a little late with this but I've still managed to meet my goal of changing my homepage image out at least every season. I've had a lot stuff going on and I finally found the time to do it, so here it is. Hope you like it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Photos from the Live Art Show (Wizard World Texas)

I had great time at the Live Art Show on Saturday night. Met a lot of cool people, got to do some drawings for charity and got to see amazing work by follow artists. I got to work with Brock Rizy and Benjamin Hall, both of which I've hung out with before but for only a sort amount of time. So it was cool to spend some time with them. Tom Kurzanski was there, I met him for the first time. Very funny dude, great artist. Also Kristian Donaldson, who is an amazing artist, I wish could've talked with him more.

We had a lot of artists show up asking if they could contribute, so we let them jump in, including Kody Chamberlain and Cheeks, it was nice to talk with him, great guy. A lot of nice pieces were created and a lot money was raised for Heroes 4 Heroes, a new charity that gives comics and other media to troops over seas. Here are a bunch of photos from the show...

A solo piece by me...


My other solo piece...


A piece by Ben, Brock and me...


A piece by Tom, Brock and me...


Tom, Brock, Ben and Me with a group piece. My portion of it stunk...


Cheeks working on one...


Ben at the boards...


Tom starting one...


A three shots of the crowd...




Drawings from the Dallas Comicon

I'm a little late in posted these, but here are some commissions I did at the Dallas show. Sorry for the crappy photos with the flash bouncing off them.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Live Art Show - Wizard World

I'll be participating in another live art show after Wizard World Saturday night. Come on out!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dallas Comic Con!

Once agian the great guys at the Dallas Comic Con have invited me to be a guest at their show. It's on Saturday, October 28th from 11:00 to 6:00 and Sunday, october 29th from Noon to 5:00 at Plano Centre in Plano on Springcreek. Looks like it's gonna a big show.

Media guests include:

Maggie Grace
- Shannon from the #1 television series LOST. Also appeared as Elizabeth from the horror film THE FOG. Appearing Saturday only!

Ron Glass
- Shepherd from the television series FIREFLY and SERENITY (2005), and much more. Appearing courtesy Las Vegas Autographs Saturday and Sunday!

Jake Lloyd
- Anakin Skywalker in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Also featured in recurring roles on THE PRETENDER and ER. Voice of Anakin in STAR WARS video games.

Kelly Stables
- Evil Samara from THE RING 1,2,and 3. Appearing Saturday only courtesy Las Vegas Autographs.

Daniel Logan
- Young Boba Fett in STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Also appeared as Zaylan on HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.

Comic creators include myself and:


Ethan Van Sciver
- SUPERMAN/BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH
Steve Rude - Creator and artist of NEXUS.
Mike Grell - Known for his art on GREEN ARROW and WARLORD.
Brian Stelfreeze - Cover artist for SHADOW OF THE BAT.
Todd Nauck - Creator and artist of WILDGUARD.
Kerry Gammill - Artist of SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS,
Paul Gulacy - Artist of CATWOMAN, JSA CLASSIFIED.
Phil Noto - Artist of DANGER GIRL: VIVA LAS DANGER.
Scott Kurtz - Creator and artist of PvP.
Brian Denham - Artist of DARKNESS, KILLBOX, ELSINORE.
Cat Staggs - Airbrush artist for STARWARS.com.
Tom Hodges - Artist of the STARWARS webstrips.
David Hopkins -Writer of EMILY EDISON.
Ben Dunn - Creator and artist of NINJA HIGH SCHOOL.

So come on out!

Click here for more info on the show.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hot Topic Halloween E-Card

You know that store in the mall where all the emo and goth kids hang out? Lots of cool black clothing. Hot Topic! Exactly! Well, I hired by a company that was working with them to create a Halloween e-card. Here's a look at the stuff I created for them. First up is the two characters and the different pieces of clothing, hair, and skin that you can mix and match. Second is the three backgrounds to choose from. And last is some accessories. I made the one of the figures fairly big to show the detail, so you may need to scroll to see them all. Unless you have a gigantic monitor.

Click here to see the actual e-card.

Frisco Style Magazine

Here are some pieces I did recently for a local publication called Frisco Style Magazine. They came up with the content and I did the drawings (obviously). Anyway, here they are...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CAPE 2.5 Live Art Show - Photos

Here's some photos my wife took of me creating my piece at the Live Art Show and Auction for Lea Hernandez (see a few posts below). We had a great time at the Metro Grill, the event raised a ton of money and I got to hang out with my artist friends (you can see Kurtz drawing next to me). I don't know what the final bid was on my piece. When I left it was up to $45, which is much, much more than I expected. I also don't know who won it. If it was you, let me know!

Kirby Dog Action

Just thought I'd share some pictures of the new puppy. He's growing fast. First up is his first tug of war with the rope. Below are some recent shots to show his new size. He's gonna be gigantic.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Beach Blanket Bingo!

Here's a new piece that I actually did for my day job as a Graphic Designer for an insurance company. I work on a couple of their monthly magazines and they let me do a drawing for story about their upcoming convention in San Diego. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do more.

The empty space at the top and on the left is where the copy for the story went in case you're wondering. And it's a two color magazine, that's why it's not full color.

Live Art Show and Benefit Auction

Come out to the Metro Grill in Dallas this Saturday night (September 30th) at 9:00 pm for some great art and a great cause. Zeus Comics, PVP, Pop Syndicate and Fanboy Radio are sponsoring CAPE 2.5, a Live Comic Art Show benefiting comic book artist Lea Hernandez and her family. I’ve been asked to participate; hopefully I’ll overcome stage fright and produce a nice piece.

From the press release… “After a house fire claimed everything the Hernandez family owned including her art, the comic book community is rallying around Lea with a live comic art jam and comic art auction. While a DJ spins, comic artists work on oversized canvases before an assembled audience. Once an artist finishes a piece it moves to an auction area where anyone can bid on it.”

Not only did she lose everything she owns but she lost six of her family pets, two dogs and four cats. Luckily, she and her family, including two special needs children, survived. The proceeds from the art auction will go towards helping them get their life back on track.
Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Recent Pieces


Here are a couple of pieces I did recently and just forgot to post. One was for a logo for a company called the "Lawn Rangers", the other was for a banner promoting a kid's face painting event. See if you can guess which one is which. Make a game of it.

I have a ton of other pieces that I've done that I'm dying to share but I just can't yet do to contractual obligations. Hopefully soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kirby Dog!

Well, the wife and I got a new addition. A six week old Yellow Lab, that we named Kirby. Named after legendary comic artist and visionary Jack Kirby. I figure most people that stop by here are into comics and art and know who that is. If you don't, then do yourself a favor and look him up.

And if you know me and are into comics, I'll answer a question you might be thinking. No, I did not steal the name from my buddy Scott Kurtz. As a matter of fact, when I met Scott's hound, I actually said, "Hey man, I've been holding on to that name for when I get a dog some day." Well, that day finally came and I'm using it. There's room for another dog named "Kirby" in this world.

Anyway, he's sweet, cute and all those other descriptive puppy words. The cats still haven't taken a shine to him. But hey, it took them a while to take a shine to each other.

In other news, busy with freelance and David, I will get to the LBS. Promise.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back in the Day (or The Rare Art of Cal Slayton)

This should be good for a laugh or two. I'm a bit of a pack rat when it comes to drawings, I have years and years of them. And the majority of them are pretty bad when I look back on them. I mean, I'm fairly happy with the stuff I'm producing these days, but I sincerely hope I look back at these new pieces and cringe.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a handful of drawings I did years ago as a crazy kid with a crayon. I think they all fall between the ages of maybe 5 or 6 to 11. Man, it brought back some memories going through these old things. Hope you have at least half the giggle I did.








Paint Shop Pro Groups (You have my permission)

I had no idea there were all these groups that were dedicated creating signature tags, web sets, calling cards and email tags using Paint Shop Pro. There must be hundreds of them. Most of them on MSN. They use artwork from different illustrators and add effects, change backgrounds, create animation and things like that. And apparently they're very copyright conscience (which I applaud) because in the past two weeks, I've had about 30 people email me for permission to use my stuff. Everyone has been extremely kind and polite and very serious about copyright issues. They always will credit the artist, give them link and adhere to any restrictions the artist may demand.

So, to save me from having to reply to a bunch of emails, if you've found your way here through one of these groups and would like to use my work, yes you can.

My restrictions are:

1. Credit me and link to me.
2. None of the images can be used in anything of an adult manner and the clothes stay on the figures, no nudity.
3. None of the images can be used in any way for profit.
4. Send me a copy. Maybe I'll post some here.

So there you go. I'm honored and humbled that any of you would have any desire to use my silly little drawings. Thanks for checking it out!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Colorado Revisited

If for some crazy reason you've been checking out this blog since the beginning, you might have seen the photos we took in Colorado last Fall. Well, we're heading back agian this year and it inspired me to add more of the pictures we took last year to the page I created. I think I added about about 16 or so more.

So, if you're into nature or photography or you're just bored at work, give 'em a look. I'm sure when we get back for our second visit, I'll post the new ones. Should make for some good photos since we will be hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Just like last year, we're renting a cabin in the woods. We're pretty darned psyched about the whole thing, I gotta tell ya.

Click here to check out the updated pictures from last year.