Tips for painting in casein

Thrilling detective copy

Casein paint is not as well known today as is acrylics or watercolor. It’s an ancient type of paint, derived from milk protein. It’s fast-drying, and water-soluble. Once dry, the paint becomes water resistant to a large degree. This allows for building in layers as you would with acrylics or oils. The finish is matte and a bit chalky, unlike the shiny surface of acrylics. Casein has been used for both portraits and murals since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One advantage to this type of paint is…

Robert Graef copy

Graef copy comparison The Spot of Life 1932

Here’s my newest pulp copy, Robert Graef’s cover painting for Argosy August 1, 1932 featuring “The Spot of Life” by Austin Hall. This story is sequel to “The Blind Spot” by Hall and Homer Eon Flint. My painting is mainly watercolor with touches of gouache and pastel. It’s always nice to have an excuse to get back to watercolor, it’s such a beautiful medium and ultimately my favorite. This piece was quite challenging but very fun to do. I worked larger than I normally do for copies — 12″ x…

Reproduction of the “Serpents of Siva” pulp cover

Serpents of Siva comparison

George Rozen cover painting for The Shadow magazine featuring “Serpents of Siva” in the April 1938 issue. This copy was something of an experiment. I was struck by the luminous green color of the buddha and wanted to try to recreate it with colored inks and densely-applied colored pencils. I set it up on Stonehenge paper. This is a heavy paper with good tooth and can take some wetting. I feel the results are a mixed bag. The luminosity comes through but the color isn’t dense enough. Probably, casein or…

“Tomorrow We Die!” Thrilling Detective Pulp Cover

Thrilling-Detective-1938-comparison

When I saw this pulp cover from October 1938 (left), I was immediately struck by the beauty of the woman holding the smoking gun. I’m still researching the original cover artist but it was certainly one of the now-famous pulp illustrators. As per usual, the original was most likely painted in oils. I can tell because of the glazing of the skin. When I do a copy like this I work as though I’m painting in oils and not in watermedia. This approach has pluses and minuses. On the plus…

Three George Rozen Shadow copies

The Rackets King 9bbb hard crop

Over the past year, I’ve dedicated a great deal of time to the improvement of my pulp art. George Rozen is one of the many pulp artists I’ve been studying. His “Shadow” covers from the 1930’s are truly wonderful–the art is punchy and the visual storytelling, top notch! To date, I’ve copied several Rozen “Shadow” covers. My most recent one is a copy of the June 15th 1938 issue featuring the novel, “The Rackets King.” This was my first attempt at copying one of the famous Shadow “hand” covers. It…

SILVERBLADE – Redux

Silverblade cover iss 1

Once, a very long time ago in the 1980’s, DC put out a comic “maxi” series called, “Silverblade”. It was written by Cary Bates and the art was done by Gene Colan. The hero was Jonathon Lord, an aging movie star. One day, bitter, washed-up Lord makes a wish that is answered by an uncanny entity in the shape of the Maltese Falcon. The entity gives Lord the ability to transform into any role he ever played on the silver screen, the most notable being the swashbuckler, Silverblade. Of course,…

I just tiptoed onto Locus’ 2020 Recommended Reading List

Locus 2020 graphic

No, it wasn’t one of my books. Not yet, anyway! Instead, I have an illustration in a book that has made the 2020 Locus Recommended Reading List! The book is The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume One: The 1930s and my illustration is “The Science Fiction Special.” First Fandom Experience Project got two books onto this prestigious list in 2020, the second being The Earliest Bradbury which is another peach of a book. Congratulations to the First Fandom Experience project for this wonderful (and well-deserved) accomplishment! Here is…

The Shadow and The Five Chameleons

The Shadow Rozen and SLW

Today’s challenge, create a George Rozen SHADOW magazine cover reproduction. And here it is, side-by-side with the original cover art. I love these old 1930’s SHADOW covers, the images are so iconic, the colors so bright, and let’s not forget about all those anatomically correct hands! Simply fabulous! This cover is from the November 1, 1932 number featuring “The Five Chameleons.” My reproduction is painted in gouache and watercolor in a Stillman and Birn Delta series sketchbook. The original was probably done in oils. I really enjoy doing pulp reproductions,…

The Story of the “Science Fiction Special”

The Science Fiction Special by Sara Light-Waller

Recently , I got a really fun commission–to illustrate an ice cream sundae called “The Science Fiction Special” for THE VISUAL HISTORY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANDOM: VOLUME ONE: THE 1930’s. This book is a compilation of rare material and ephemera from the early days of science fiction fandom. Then, as now, fans would gather for meals and drinks and excitedly discuss favorite books and movies. In an interview with John L. Coker III, David Kyle recalled this treat [Science Fiction Sundae] as a regular feature of meetings of the International…

Zorro: The Daring Escapades

Zorro book cover

I’m delighted to announce that I have a new, all original illustration in Zorro: The Daring Escapades (2020) by Bold Venture Press. This fresh compilation brings sixteen new adventures of the dashing caballero! My illustration is for “Zorro’s Midnight Mission” by Will Murray. The Story Behind the Illustration There are two things I can say confidently that I know something about—horses and the desert. I started early with both—my first play was the Romberg operetta, “The Desert Song” which my aunt took me to when I was a tot. I’ve…