Archive for the ‘OTHER PROJECTS’ Category

zombie pin-ups

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

 So here is a funny story about the previous zombie portrait – which is of a zombie version of my friend, Anthony Leano (writer and publisher of the comic, “Brains”).

Anthony went on a trip, and when he got back, he emailed me with the heading, “Your pin-up saved me from going to jail!” In his own words (edited and pieced together from Facebook posts to suit my chronological and storytelling designs):

“Had an awesome time in Seattle this weekend @ Emerald City Comicon … ran into a string of good luck the whole trip. Until I got pulled over for driving 5-10 above the speed limit …

…We were on the side of the highway in a town of 4000 people, for about an hour…

“…Got tossed into the back of the police car for not having my I.D., almost went to jail…

…The cop took pictures of Shawna, Paul Allen and me. Pictures of my tattoos and he fingerprinted me … He was using a camera that was broken with dead batteries he had to swap out and tape together…

[Anthony didn’t have his identification with him] “… after an hour of us trying to prove who I was … I [finally convinced the police officer] by showing him a drawing of me as a zombie that Chris Wisnia drew. It was a pin up for my comic book BrAiNs issue number two.

Pretty great. I feel like I’ve really done my part to help a friend in need. Here’s my pin-up of Paul Allen, artist for the above-mentioned “Brains #2” issue (hope it can help equally well, Paul):

zombie pin-ups

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I have met and made many friends in the comics industry, self-publishers like myself, who have asked me over time if I might be willing to do a pin-up for them that they could publish in their comics. I’ve always been kind of, “Yeah, yeah, whatever, we’ll see.” It was nothing personal against them or their books. I just felt there was so little time in the day to work on MY OWN PROJECTS, that are dear and precious to me. It would just be time away on something I’m less passionate about.

But last year (2009), I kind of had a change of perspective. I finally realized, we’re all in this together, struggling and trying to make it, and we should support each other, any way we can. If they want to support me by allowing me to be published in their work, I should support them by trying to make a really nice pin-up for them. It’s a compliment that they want me included in their book, and I should be gracious.

These are my friends who’d been asking to make pin-ups for them, for some time:

Anthony Leano and Paul Allen do a comic called “BRAINS” (From The Land Beyond Publications), and Mike Hampton has a comic called “Hot Zombie Chicks.”

Anthony and Paul had a party to celebrate their birthdays in June 2009, so I decided I would make them pin-ups for their birthday. Here’s Anthony’s:

I’ll post Paul’s tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Here is the completed work, including texts I added, all by hand:

Daniel Loxton beautifully colored the image:

Skeptic launched this as the “cover” of Junior Skeptic, which is an insert in Skeptic Magazine #35! They’re the greatest!



Monday, September 27th, 2010

So ever since I created Dr. DeBunko, I’ve been in touch with the Skeptic Society, who has always been ultra-supportive of my comics work. Junior Skeptic Magazine editor DANIEL LOXTON began to discuss possibilities for collaborating for Skeptic, including some Skeptic Magazine Dr. DeBunko possibilities which never panned out. In May 2008 he mentioned “some little projects coming up we might be able to help each other with.” In June he confided that it would be for a Junior Skeptic illustration, possibly a cover, and that he had the go-ahead to use me as the artist if he wished.

In October, he said we should be ready to begin that project in about a month. In November he said they had to bump the project to complete some books. In April 2009, he finished his huge projects, and we began!

These were my instructions (my “script”):

“… Doris Danger style image of two 1970s teenage *males* confronted at a lakeside by (very roughly) this emerging black-lagoon-style creature … Action is menacing monster, scared teenagers (either standing in Shock! Horror! or fleeing are good). It can be stylistically as over-the-top as you like. (You may wish to hand-draw the Junior Skeptic logo to keep the style unified.”

He sent me some photos and sketches of what the Thetis Lake Monster is believed to look like. He may have sent some links to stories too. I read a couple articles online, and looked up photos of the Thetis Lake. Then I sketched this in pencil:


Monday, September 13th, 2010

When I picked sidewalk square number 25, it was before 8am, and it seemed like a very pleasant spot. By 11am, the sun was getting pretty hot.





“Alyssa Mann” is the person who sponsored my drawing. Sponsors paid to have their names worked into the artwork. Most of the sponsors were businesses, but my sponsor was just a kind person who believed in supporting children’s art programs.



While I worked on SPLUHH, I overheard people who walked by, who would say, “Wow!” or laugh. The other sidewalk artists didn’t make Kirby-style giant monsters.





Now that you’ve seen the “ACTION SHOTS,” here’s a break-down of how I did the piece. I brought with me a print-out of my SPLUHH monster for reference:




MY FIRST HOUR: I don’t remember ever doing a sidewalk chalk art piece before. When I checked in, I was given a nice box of really intense-colored pastels. I was also given a sheet of sidewalk chalking “tips.” These tips included using water, spray bottles, or brushes to spread the chalk and bind it to the sidewalk better, and to get a more solid color. I hadn’t been prepared for any of this.


I grabbed my purple pastel and sketched out the SPLUHH lettering to make sure it would fit. Then I grabbed my yellow, and fleshed in a SPLUHH shape. Procrastinating, I colored in the SPLUHH letters, grinding the pigment into the concrete with my finger tip. It made the color look better and more intense, but I could tell my fingertips wouldn’t last long this way. AND, next thing I knew, my purple chalk was gone, used up completely by the lettering. Then I realized I hadn’t yet put my sponsor’s name in, so I hastily squeezed it into the composition. My chalks were going fast, and I realized I wasn’t going to have enough.


Luckily, I have two small boys, so at 9:30 am I made the twenty-minute trek back home, raided their closet, and came back with a couple extra packs of chalk. I also returned with a bottle of water, a small bucket for the water, and some brushes.


I had trouble with the square format. It changed things compositionally. I found I wouldn’t be including a lot of things I’d planned to include, due to space constrictions.


I tried playing with the water and brushes, but ended up not liking the results anyhow. So I just ground the chalk into spaces as deep as I could.


I began just filling areas with color. I filled SPLUHH with yellow. I colored blue areas behind SPLUHH. I colored green areas underneath SPLUHH for grass, and tan areas for hills. I used the cheap pastels from home to fill all these areas. I saved the nice, bright pastels for later, hoarded them like precious things, hoping their diamond-value would help the piece shine, when applied at the end. If I applied them now, they would just get covered over with the cheap, lacklustre filler.


I knew I wouldn’t be drawing any fleeing, running figures in the foreground, but I decided to draw a few palm trees. I had trouble making a mouth shape I was happy with. Notice in the photo above, my “SPLUHH” reference image, and the tips of my shoes, as I took the picture.


I had a conversation with a passersby, who said the piece looked done. He associated “done” with all the areas being covered with chalk. All the areas being filled. I explained I had to highlight and accentuate areas now.


When I make comics, I only use black. Now, here, I only had one black chalk, so I knew this would be a very differen’t looking piece. It would look like a chalk piece. Color-wise, I was reminded of Wayne Thiebaud’s art.


Wayne Thiebaud. Cake Window (Seven Cakes). 1976

I was fortunate to take some classes from him in college. He talked about mixing colors around edges. Edges of objects, edges of shadows. Mix colors that don’t belong in those edges. Oranges and yellows and blues. It gives the objects a luminescence, and inner glow, and energy. So I mixed some pinks and oranges around SPLUHH. Then I butted those colors up against purplish bluish skies, so that the complimentary colors would give SPLUHH an extra pop. If I didn’t like something, I just ground a new color of chalk over the top, and that took care of it. But the overall piece was still very “chalky”. I finally grabbed my darker, nicer pastels, and began highlighting areas of SPLUHH, of the cliffs, of the trees.I reddened the eyes and lips. I put some grass stalks. I felt done at around noon, then visited with other artists, looked around, dickered with the piece for another couple hours without making any real changes, packed up, and called it a day at 2:30pm.



Friday, September 10th, 2010

September 4, 2010

Sacramento’s “Chalk it up” festival is a non-profit organization created to support art education programs. Their website is

This is their twentieth year. Labor Day Weekend (September 4-6), two hundred artists came out and drew on five-by-five-foot sidewalk squares. There was live music, food, vendors, and children’s activities.

I was invited to participate this year. I decided to draw my Jack Kirby-style “Spluhh monster.” A lot of artists take the three-day weekend to create their masterpieces. Registration was at 7am. I hoped to get there by 8am, and finish in time for a late lunch that first day. I suspected I would work faster than a lot of artists.

Here is the square I chose for myself. Number 25.

My wife popped over with my boys at around 9am, after I’d had a chance to write “SPLUHH” and roughly sketch out SPLUHH’S shape. It was an interesting exercise trying to fit the work into a square rather than rectagonal composition.

I shamelessly brought a pile of shwag to sell to passersby. I think I was the only one.

Since they were there, I let the boys help with the piece, and add some lines to the work. Boris did it first. He grabbed a piece of chalk and started “chalking.” I tried to capture the act on film, but by the time I had the camera up, he was on to other things and didn’t care to participate again. Oscar worked at the piece for a little while, though.

TUNE IN NEXT MONDAY, fans! Chris will walk us through a “BEFORE AND AFTER” process, start to finish, of creating his FULL-COLOR five-foot-square “SPLUHH” monster! See you then! – Rob Oder, Editor-in-Chief!

“Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies”

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

My friend, Jefferson Pitcher, asked me to contribute a portrait to his gorgeous three-disc CD package, “Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies” by J. Matthew Gerken, Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher (Standard Recordings, 2008). It comes with a book, showcasing a portrait for each President. Lots of great art.

You can read about the project HERE!

You can buy the CD at AMAZON.COM!

I was given a few choices for a President I could do. I was on the fence between drawing Coolidge and Cleveland. There’s a fantastic shot of Coolidge on the farm, in overalls and a silly hat, with a scythe or something, whacking at grass. And I was so tempted to use that pose. But I ultimately chose Cleveland for some reason. I was transfixed by a portrait Eastman Johnson painted, in particular with Cleveland’s face (that expression!) and his delicate, pudgy hands.

I referenced the image for my portrait, but just took the parts I was interested in – the face and the hands – and truncated the rest to fit in a square “CD case” format.

I was working on the piece at DragonCon 2007, and Frank Brunner (sitting at the table next to me) looked over my shoulder and commented on the strange hands.

“FIVE MONTHS, THREE WEEKS”: a research project

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

In February 2007 at the New York Comic-Con, I was approached by Joseph Gregov, a student researcher at the University of Connecticut. He studied mass media effects, and was putting together a project to investigate the effects of subtle pro-social messages in American entertainment media. He chose comics because the nature of the panels and balloons allowed him to better edit the story and see if different versions produced different results in different groups of readers.

As a card-carrying Skeptic with a strong conviction in the benefits and importance of “SCIENCE,” this sounded like a fun, good, and meaningful project for me to contribute to. I low-balled a fee I would charge, hoping to solidify the position, and I got it. Here are the first four pages of the story I was given, before the word balloons were added. I worked from Joe’s script.

[click on image to enlarge]

This is the story:

A guy, who’s just out of a long, serious relationship, gets picked up by his friends to drive to a party, where they meet up with some girlfriends bringing their friends. One of the girls has sewn a banana design on her skirt.

I assume this is where the research and study of people’s reactions to pro-social messages begins. Notice the two below pages are an “alternate ending 1” and “2”. Both begin with holding the car keys, and deciding what to do with them. Decision one: be responsible and don’t give the keys to the drunk. Result: you’ll make out with the girl and she’ll come home with you. Decision two: the drunk asked for the keys, so give them to him, and let him drive you home. Result: the drunk will crash into a parked police car.

Joseph wrote to me in December 2007 to give me some updates on the research project. It was posted digitally online, and he was able to recruit over 400 participants. The statistics showed that overall (65-70%) the primarily non-comics-reading audience enjoyed the art. He didn’t tell me any specifics about the data of the study. For instance, I was interested to hear how people like morality stories jammed down their fiction . . . “DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.” I was interested if people noticed there was a subtle morality lesson by the lead character not letting his drunk friend drive, or if they just thought it was a nice love story. Things like that.

Joseph said he was planning to post a public link to the story, but I haven’t heard from him again (it being three and a half years as I post this), so I don’t know what the story looks like completed and lettered. I had worked from a script, but he had told me the script would probably change once he saw the art.

Joseph, we’d love to see the story! Are you still planning to post it?

“She’s A Superfreak” #2 pin-up

Friday, May 28th, 2010

In February 2006, at the Orlando MegaCon, I befriended Andrew Gregory, who said he was enjoying my Doris Danger stories, and gave me a copy of his bizarre and entertaining comic, “She’s a Superfreak” (Movement Comics). By the end of the con, he had commissioned me for a pin-up for his book. It was my first paid commission. He asked for a Kirby-style giant monster, and this is what I came up with:

[click on images to enlarge]

It was published in “She’s a Superfreak” #2 in 2007. Meanwhile, I altered it for my own sinister purposes, and included it in “Doris Danger Seeks … Where Urban Creatures Creep and Stomp!” (2007) as a splash page of my own.

Fans! You can buy our self-published Doris Danger comics on our MERCHANDISE PAGE! You can buy the 96-page “Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures at AMAZON.COM!

Caveman Robot pin-up

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

As we revamp “Tabloia Weekly Magazine: The Web Blog”, we find for the first time, going through the Tabloia vaults to pull out all this old work, that it really wasn’t very good! Much of what we’ve posted here was conceived and scripted and lain out as early as 2001! “The Lump” and early “Doris Danger” stories which went to press in 2004, were actually drawn in 2002! This realization of outdated, amateurish shoddiness prompted us to begin publishing this latest Tabloia series … “Other Projects!” Expect to see pin-ups for other people’s comics, a short story from an anthology, CD art, a trading card, and, well … that’s about it, actually!

Here’s our first, which is still OLD! -Rob Oder, Editor-in-Chief!

Click on images to enlarge

This is a pin-up I did for Jason Robert Bell’s CAVEMAN ROBOT comic, “Oolar! Stories from the Wild World of Caveman Robot” and “Tetragrammatron One With Two!” (Tetragrammatron Press) back in 2005. Yes, that is all one title – it was a flipbook, with “Oolar! Stories from the Wild World of Caveman Robot” on one side, and then you flip the book over and there will be “Tetragrammatron One With Two.” If you’re like me, you’ll read and re-read that book’s title, and try and make linguistical sense of it.

The book is 44 pages of black and white madness by Britton Walters, Jason Robert Bell, Shoshanna Weinberger, Luc Thomas, Chris Wisnia (my pin-up is colored and text is added) and Greg Cook! You can get more details at!

I later used a portion of the image for the inside front cover and title page of my second Doris Danger treasury, “Doris Danger Seeks … Where Urban Creatures Creep and Stomp!” (2007)

I removed Caveman Robot and added a couple passersby which I swiped from another Doris Danger page from the same book, which you can see here, if you look around a bit:

Fans! You can buy our self-published Doris Danger comics on our MERCHANDISE PAGE! You can buy the 96-page “Doris Danger Giant Monster Adventures at AMAZON.COM! (You’ll find OOPF, but you won’t find the above leg picture included!)