Saturday, November 27, 2010

ROM : SPACEKNIGHT Illustration
A Work-in-Progress
For the Spacenite2 Bill Mantlo Fundraiser

If you recall, one of my previous posts showcased a piece that I had drawn for a charitable organization / event (for the MDA - Muscular Dystrophy Association) - as seen HERE.
In that post, I mention the worthwhile nature of doing such unpaid volunteer work for charitable purposes.

Well, this is another such instance.

I'm hurriedly trying to complete an illustration for the SPACENITE 2 - Bill Mantlo fundraiser event held by those fab folks at Floating World comics - link to site HERE.

Long story short, they have had some events in order to raise money for the medical bills of creator BILL MANTLO, former writer (of every issue of ROM and many other Marvel comics) whom, after leaving comics to become a public defense lawyer - has been incapacitated since 1992, after a hit-and-run driver struck him, causing irreparable brain-damage.

Sadly, while I KNEW about the fundraiser, I thought the artists commissioned were by "invitation-only", and so I never thought to inquire about submitting a piece.

Then, a blogger-friend sent me a note that submissions are indeed open for one or two more slots... BUT (and here's the rub) they have to be completed and submitted by Sunday, November 28th!

I only found this out on Thanksgiving day (Thursday).
So, I worked up a few sketches yesterday, and one "semi-final" rough, but still need to redraw it, to smooth out the rough spots, rearrange a few of the figures, add a bunch more and add tons of details to the background and such.

Unfortunately... with all that I have going on today... I'm not sure if I'm going to make it.

BUT, I will work on it anyway.

In the meanwhile, HERE is the "semi-final" rough (minus a TON of details and ideas that are present on the other sketches - which will, hopefully be added in the final image. Such details will include: A Deathwing, more Male and Female Wraiths, a Wraith getting blasted into Limbo, a few other Spacknights - shown in cameo and whatever else I can cram in from the ROM comic lore).

The original is to be 11x17, and this scan crops off a big chunk of it all around.

Be kind. It's just a rough sketch.
ROM: SPACEKNIGHT vs from top left to bottom right:
Female Dire Wraith, Watchwraith robot, HellHound,
Hybrid, Hellhound
and Male Dire Wraith getting blasted into Limbo by ROM.

And wish me luck.
Oh, don't mind the watermark.
It's a comic-book related piece, so I put the logo of my comic blog on it.

Original artworks will be auctioned off some time in December, and prints will be sold of many others, all to raise funds for Mantlo. So, save your pennies and bid early, and often.

If you've EVER enjoyed an issue of ROM, or any of Bill's other comics (of which there is too long a list to recap here) feel free bid OR... if you aren't the bidding-on-artwork kind of person, feel free to make a donation.
Those wishing to make direct donations may send them to Bill's brother Michael who has long been caregiver of his brother.

Michael Mantlo
425 Riverside Dr #12-E
New York, NY 10025

Of course, if PayPal is more your speed, drop by this link to make a direct donation at the Floating World Comics site.
Make a private donation to the SPACENITE - BILL MANTLO FUND directly from your Paypal account. 100% of the funds go to Mike Mantlo.
Or, if money is tight, drop a letter to tell how much you love Mantlo's work.

Friday, November 26, 2010

To recap the past few months...
What's the deal with my new gig?

So, as I mentioned last post, I have found a new job.
One that has been taking up most of my time.

I've been there now for about 2 months, and have a probationary period that ends on January 1st, 2011.
I can't say for sure that I'll still have the job after that, but at least one came along at a time when desperately needed.

After being downsized from my old job, which I had held for nearly 7 years, I was then unemployed for about a year and a half.
The pickings for employment in my area are meager to say the least.
Jobs in my field (as an artist/ illustrator etc...) had been slim-to-none.
Of course, aside from some freelance assignments, I was looking to do anything and everything far removed from an art-based job, as well.
I was looking into everything from customer service to driving a school bus (again).
Not many bites.

Were I to have been more inclined to commute to New York City again, I may have found something sooner, but then a good portion of my paycheck would have gone to the commute, so it seemed best to look in my area for something at a lesser pay, but closer to home.
(Especially, since due to the overwhelming number of applicants-to-job ratio, many positions I was seeing were asking for more experience and responsibilities for far lesser pay-scales than once offered.)

Oddly enough, I almost didn't reply to the ad for this new position, as a printing "pre-press" technician, as it is a bit "afield" of my more traditional artist abilities. It's more "art-adjacent"- with some actual design and creative opportunities here and there.

However, after reading the ad, and quickly researching the company online, I redesigned my resume' to look similar in look and feel to their web-presence.

Sending my resume off on a Wednesday afternoon, which I thought was going to be a day too late to be taken seriously, I was amazed to receive a call the next morning asking for me to come in for an interview.
A Monday morning appointment was scheduled and the meeting went well.
Well enough, in fact, that the next morning I was called again to see if I would be willing to come back to show them what I could do on the computer (Apple Mac) and if I could handle the programs (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator).
So, the next day I went in, and after spending some time learning their processes, ended up pitching in to help them meet a deadline - learning and working (pro-bono) from 11am - 5pm!
With that positive experience behind me, I wasn't surprised that the next morning I was asked to come back in for another meeting - so that on Friday, the job was mine to take.
(The entire process went by so fast, I never had the opportunity to send in the oft-touted traditional "Thank You" letter for the initial interview.)

Supposedly, the ad for the position drew over 200 applicants.
More than 50 of which were called in for interviews.
The final pick was between myself and two others.
I won out.

My new position (at a company whose name I won't disclose, as there is a lot of non-disclosure info that I needed to swear to) is as a pre-press artist/ designer / technician.
I'm pre-flighting artwork and designs that are sent in, recreating some designs, and the occasional complete original work-up, while producing printing plates for these - which will grace products and print work that will be seen and purchased by many the world over.

Through channels there, I also managed to get a side-line into a small print-firm with a facility of high-quality over-sized printers, vinyl plotter/cutters, multi-color/station silk-screen machine and more.

I was worried that if a position that paid enough was not found, we could conceivably be forced to give up our house. You may recall that in preparation for that looming possibility, we had packed the whole place up to move to a slightly more affordable rental.

What many do not know, is that I had indeed MOVED more than half of our belongings to the new location, but within a few days of that - while prepping the rest of our stuff for the journey - I received a call telling us that the rental property was no longer going to be available to us as it was instead going to be sold off.

So, I then had to move ALL that stuff BACK here - and still had to find a job - after losing valuable time which I had spent packing the house and looking for work in the new area.

Anyway, I finished the last of the re-move the day before my new job began, loading up the basement with every box and bauble (and desperately needing to organize it all again).
The place looks like the warehouse scene from "Raiders of the Lost Arc".
We basically have to move in - all over again, but, as the gig has been very hectic, I have had zero time to do any of that as of yet.

So, while I AM employed and can try to enjoy blogging - with a lighter heart - once again, I DO still have a LOT of technical stuff to learn at my job (keeping my mind occupied) and a ton of things to organize around the house (keeping my body busy) for the foreseeable future.

I'll still be blogging when I can, and hope to get back up to a ratio of more frequrnt entries, but until then, know that I'm "on the job" (both figuratively and literally).


MANY THANKS go out to all of you - my friends and followers on the world wide web for your positive thoughts, wishes and prayers.
The universe has answered.
Thank you.