Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet Revenge - The Color Final!

So I just put the kibosh on an illustration for baking website that's set to launch next month. Sexy ladies, suggested violence and oversized desserts -- totally up my alley, right? RIGHT!

Even more exciting, for me, is the fact that this is the inaugural illustration to be birthed from the surface of my laser-pad (aka, my Wacom tablet)! I haven't used one of these things in nearly a decade, so there was definitely a re-learning curve. But, hot damn -- once I got back into the swing of drawing and painting on a monitor, I was trippin' at the disco! So. Much. FUN!

I can't wait to see what having Mr. Lazer (yeah, I've named my Wacom tablet) in my arsenal is going to do for my art from here on out. *rubbing hands together, diabolically*

- Gum

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wu-Tang Clan vs. The Beatles!

Big ups to my friend, Sally - aka Fixpert - who hooked me up with this incredible mix of The Wu-Tang Clan and The Beatles! If you're a hip-hop head with a soft spot for those wacky Brit boys, then you're gonna dig this. Check out the free download here:


Coolin' on the poop deck,
- King muh'fuckin' Gum

Choker Pinup Sketches

My pal, Ben Templesmith, invited me to create a pinup piece for his & Ben McCool's new mini-series, CHOKER (Image Comics). I got to read an advance copy of the first issue, and it was incredible! The two Bens have done a grand job of creating a lush, well-developed world of drugs and criminals, detectives and monsters. I've been sworn to secrecy, so I can't discuss the story at all. But the sketches above are preliminary doodles for the main character, Johnny Jackson, and one of those monsters I mentioned. I'll be featuring both in my pinup painting.

The first issue hits store shelves in February. Be sure to ask your local comics retailer to order it!

Now, where's that pesky raincoat...
- King Gum Crosland

My new sketchbook, "Little Clouds"

About four years ago, I turned this old library book -- titled "Little Clouds" -- into a sketchbook. The opening inscription reads, "Started in the wee hours of January 21st, 2006." I did a few meandering pieces in it, then put it aside and forgot about it. Now, years later, I've pulled it out of cold storage and started working in it in earnest.

Above is my first finished sketch, "Glory." The book, itself, is a work of art. It's all printed on gray-toned paper. The text is hand-written, and a lot of the pages are prints of doodles, diagrams, and collages. Between all of that and my own knack for mixed-media, I'm very excited to see what sort of magic I can conjure up between it's thick covers.

Stormy seas in Oakland, today....
- Gum

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweet Revenge!

It's been a strange, gnarled day of me battling my printer, getting attacked by a cat, and listening to incredibly loud music. If you haven't checked it out, yet -- or even if you HAVE -- you gotta dig on my friends' Jane Dope and Food One's BEAT BEE SESSIONS. Volumes 1 and 2 are online now, and are about the most incredible music mixes I've heard in years. So badass and funky... so righteous and raw.

I finally had to give up on the HP beast, and heed the call of the freelance hammer. The pics above are the linework and color study of a website illustration I'm doing for a delightful independent baker, starting up her own business. Yum!

"Baby, I am black. But only from the waist down."
- Gum

ps-- Okay... I'm actually black all over :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloody Shadows

This is my second painting of 2010, titled "I Leave Bloody Shadows." Enjoy!

Hustling off,
- Mr. Gum

Friday, January 8, 2010

Under The Influence: HE-MAN

My latest painting, "EVIL," will be on display at Gallery1988LA's new exhibition, opening tonight -- UNDER THE INFLUENCE: HE-MAN & THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE! Dig the info in the press release below:

TONIGHT marks the opening a huge group show paying tribute to one of our favorite childhood cartoons and toy series of all time: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!! Come see how 100 of your favorite artists have re-interpreted these cherished characters. ALSO... don't miss seeing the gallery transformed into Castle Grayskull!

We are also extremely pleased to announce that 15% of the Gallery profits from this show will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.

The opening reception will be TONIGHT
Friday, January 8th from 7-10PM

Gallery1988 Los Angeles
7020 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 937-7088 /


Low and behold, my first finished painting of the year -- "EVIL." Originally, I was gonna make a romanticized portrait of Prince Adam (He-Man) and Kringer, but this piece is much more in line with what excites me creatively, these days. Also, I'm tired of themed group gallery shows, and modern-cartoon pop art. So I figured I'd better do something I could really sink my teeth into that (hopefully) would stand out in a room chock full of art. With my fine art, I want to create images that are raw and emotive... energetic and enticing. I think I pulled it off, here. Now I just need to wait and see what the viewing public thinks of it.

I've got two more "Dangerous Women" paintings coming hot on the heels of this one! Stay tuned....

Up from the depths,

- King Gum Crosland

"EVIL" In The Works

Hey All! Here's a little behind-the-scenes of my process in creating my first painting of 2010, "EVIL."

Once the black and white drawing is sealed in with matte medium, I can go buck-wild with the paints, without any fear of accidentally erasing the graphite drawing. Since the sealing process effectively turns the graphite into a gray tone that I can push around, I've already started to make the turn from drawing to painting. In the step above, I take it a step further, by laying in a flat color tone. In this case, I've chosen a reddish-brown mix of burnt umber, bright red, and raw sienna.

Laying in the flat color allows me to unify the piece. It's no longer black and gray lines on top of a white background. Now I can start laying in my darkest darks, and flat color tones as a sort of road map to the final painting.

By this step, I've darkened the flat reddish-brown tones. I've also started blocking in areas where I know things will be their darkest. Also, notice the bold red strokes in her face and arms.

And by this stage, things are definitely starting to come together. I'm starting to build up more color tones and pushing my darks as far as I want them. By now I know where I'm going with the piece. Or, at least, I should. Oddly enough, just a few steps past the scan above, I hit a wall. I wanted to lay in a dark background (a-la-Sargent) and make Evil-Lyn and the skull really pop. But I wasn't sure. I mean, I've been doing such bright, "colorist" type work, making something totally dark and in a limited palette was a little intimidating.

Luckily, I was on the phone with my friend and fellow illustrator, Marc Gabbana, when I hit this stumbing block. Marc suggested I stop being such an undisciplined punk and make a color comp. So that's exactly what I did.

I whipped up the above comp in about 15 minutes and, oh sweet Lordy, it was time well spent. I got to see all of the color/tone choices I was considering actually in action! This comp would prove to be my real roadmap to the final painting. Whenever I'd get lost in the details of the piece, I'd just look at the comp and be reminded to trust my instincts.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

What do ya do with a drunken sailor?
- David... Mr. Gum if your nasty!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First New Painting of 2010

"Evil," pencil drawing on canvas

So I'm kicking off 2010 with a visual bang! I've been slugging it out with a couple self-written comic projects, making new freelance moves, and digging deeper into my latest series of "Dangerous Women" fine art pieces. In line with the latter, the above pic is the sealed pencil drawing for my first painting of 2010 -- "Evil."

The piece is a tribute to Evil-Lyn, and will be on exhibit at Gallery1988LA's "Under The Influence: He-Man & The Masters of the Universe," which opens Friday, January 8th. Evil-Lyn was always such a badass bitch on the He-Man cartoons, and even in the movie. I mean, remember that whole Dolph Lundgren whipping scene?! So I wanted to show her at her finest, rocking the mad witchcraft she's known for. I'm pulling lots of musical (and I guess visual) influence from Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. And I'm also feeling very inspired by the works of the American Impressionist, John Singer Sargent. Check the pic below, to see what I mean.

At this point, I've done the drawing in a soft pencil on a pre-stretched canvas. Then I've sealed it in with an acrylic matte medium. The sealing in is where the uber-fun begins, because that's where I start to build up my tones and shading.

Unfinished version of Madame Pierre Gautreau
by John Singer Sargent

I'll be posting more step-by-step shots of this throughout the week, so stay tuned.

Happy New Year!
- Dave Crosland aka King Gum