The Mask That Reveals – Colors

The colors for this (and the next number of series of illustrations) are being laid down with Grutbushes. All my previous Photoshop coloring was done with the “brushes” that come with the program. I saw an online ad for the Grutbrush collection and figured that it would be fun to give these tools a try.

I love working with real world tools to make my art but, with limited time, it doesn’t work to use them to color my illustrations. With real paint one needs a good chunk of time to get any good work done otherwise there’s no point getting the supplies out. With Photoshop one can “paint” in 15 minute, 30 minute increments. No set up. No clean up.

The Mask That Reveals – Pencils

“Change is good.” So goes an oft heard euphemism (and occasional advertising slogan).

Nah. Change is inevitable. The best changes are usually those one makes of ones own free will. I’m (intentionally) making changes to my posting schedule. Instead of twice a week I will be posting three times. Instead of posting on Sunday and Wednesday I will be posting Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

On Sunday I will post the basic pencil art of an illustration. On Monday I will post the inked line art of the illustration. On Tuesday I will post the finished colored illustration. With my signature chop. I’ve been forgetting to put that on the work I’ve been posting here.

Thank you for dropping by. Comments are always welcome!

Summer 1968 – Seeking Favor from the Throne of Damnation

Taylor LaSalle raised his arms dramatically, intoning, “Satan will tear you apart! I am his hand in this world and he has granted me great and terrible powers!”

I resisted rolling my eyes. I said, “There is no Satan, LaSalle. Nor any God in Heaven. I’m not sure from who your powers come but it is not the Devil. You are being used.”

Taylor flexed his fingers and sparks like electric charges danced between the tips. He said, “Oh course I am being used! We all serve a Master! I have chosen the Lord of Hell and he has rewarded me for my service.”

I rolled my eyes. 


Autumn 1884 – An Ocean Away From Home, Two Steps Away from Hell


Chang continued ironing shirts as if I had not spoken. I leaned over the counter so that he could not help seeing my face. I said, “I understand that you don’t wish to be seen talking to me. I know that you want that even less than to actually talk to me. I shall make this easy for you. I shall get very upset. I will shout and holler and behave like an angry African. I will say, in words loud enough for your neighbors to hear, that you are a stupid stubborn Chinaman and that you deserve to have a demon eat your soul. I will stop out of your shop, slam your door behind me and walk out of Chinatown without looking back. Then, at midnight tonight, I will be waiting on the roof of your building. No one will see me arrive. I will be there for fifteen minutes. If luck finds you there at the same time, perhaps you can answer one or two of my questions.”

Chang made eye contact with me for, perhaps, a second. 

Winter 1814 – Riding on a Wind of Screams

Billy’s face remained pale. “Captain Fury sails with the British,” he said. “The Mourning Dove trails their fleet. They may not know it but it, but he is there.”

Father refilled Billy’s beer. “We beat him once. We can beat him again.”

Billy looked at his feet. “We didn’t beat him, Red. We survived him. I’m an old man now. I’ve no wish to tempt fate twice.”

Spring 1810 – A Connoisseur of Clothing and Tragedy

Cyprus shivered despite the heat. The fever held him fast. 

I recalled the previous week’s customer. Father had said the creature’s diet was meager and rare. He was sustained by a weeping father’s tears. How well must he have been feasting.