Peroxide Blonde

Peroxide Blonde by Sara Light-Waller

Back in the old days women dyed their hair white-blonde. It was the sexy thing of the moment during the late 1920’s and ’30’s. They used peroxide to do this style of bleaching and the color was called “peroxide blonde.” If you look at the way this type of white-blonde hair was treated in period art you can see that if the artist intended to highlight the whiteness of the hair, they’d show a lot of colorful highlights. (Kind of like a played-down version of the shiny lights you’d see…

A new painting and this week’s Rocketeer

Hollywood Glamour meme

I’ve been working on my oil pastels again, continuing my study of Hollywood glamour portraits from the 1920’s and 1930’s. These are the sorts of illustrations you’d see on the covers of the A-list fan magazines such as Photoplay. In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m showing off my newest pastel painting and talking about why Hollywood glamour portraits can make a useful study. Read it here.

Inktober and Guy Gifford

I always enjoy #inktober. Pen & ink is one of my favorite illustration techniques and probably the one I use most often. I always find it fun to do a few extra drawings in October for #inktober. Here are the two drawings I’ve done so far in 2023. As you can see, my 1930’s theme remains. Each of these drawing uses a different approach. The girl has quite a bit of stippling but the hoodlum has none, using instead parallel ink marks with some cross-hatching. I’m getting used to my…

Recreating Pulp Art (in color): A Journey

Recreating Pulp Art meme

In last week’s ROCKETEER, I premiered a new pulp copy–“The Shadow” magazine cover featuring “Hidden Death” (September, 1932 issue.) I also talk about my journey as a pulp artist and historian, trying to better understand how the original art was created so that I can create new pieces that have the colorful and melodramatic pulp-art feel. In the article I show you some of my original fine art pulp pieces. You can see the new copy and read all about it here.

Two new articles, a story in progress, and a drawing for practice

Rocketeer alien series meme

There seems to be a lot going on at the moment. For the next few weeks the ROCKETEER is going to highlight aliens in honor of the Chehalis Flying Saucer Party—a local event celebrating everything UFO. (It’s like McMenamins UFO Festival only smaller.) I’ll be discussing pulp-era and slightly later stories with the themes of invasion, alien manipulation, control, and humanity fighting back in stories ranging from the absurd to the deadly. The first in that series came out this week: “Tactical Error: This Star Shall Be Free.”  The story…

Reconstructing Otho

In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m talking about a character from the “Captain Future” pulp stories, the android—Otho. More people today know him from the Captain Future anime from the 1970’s than the original stories. The anime takes some liberties with the character’s original design. In my post I talk about those changes and how Otho was originally conceptualized. You can read “Reconstructing Otho” on Substack. I’ve been noodling around with some Otho drawings using the original design from the 1940’s. Because he’s supposed to be a master of disguise and…

Inking Round-up May 2023

Inking Roundup for May 2023

Art is all about practice, and I practice all the time! My father used to marvel at the fact that I didn’t need any impetus to do art, I just do it. This month I’ve focused on improving my line and brushwork with ink. In this week’s ROCKETEER I show you what I’ve been up to, including a short video, detailing my practice pieces for the month of May. You can read this week’s newsletter here.

Linework and New Pens

Brush and ink after Cartier

Recently, I have become frustrated with the quality of my brush and ink linework. I was aware that  the type of lines I wanted to create should be created with a real brush and ink but I stuck to my brush pens. They are more convenient, certainly more tidy than dipping a brush into ink. Plus, I have good control over them. Decades ago in graduate school I used a dip pen and brushes with ink. Honestly, when good quality brush pens became available I was glad to make the…

Edd Cartier’s Cramped Panels

I have been in love with black and white interior illustrations for a long time. In the late 1980’s when publishers started pushing for color wherever they could, I refuted the claim that black and white illustrations were uninteresting and uninspiring. At that point it was rare to see interior book art in anything but children’s books and graphic novels anyway. But I never gave up on interior illustrations for all types of stories. Now that they’ve begun to come back around it’s nice to see stories illustrated again. But…

Earle K. Bergey Cover Reproduction

Exciting Sports Comparison

You all know that I like to make pulp copies as part of my on-going learning process. My goal as a pulp painter is to become familiar with the original pulp covers and understand them well-enough in terms of color, composition, themes, etc.. to be able to create my own book covers and fine art paintings which accurately reproduce the look and feel of that era. I believe in creating the whole “package” for my books. I want to create an experience for readers which is immersive. And so far…