Sometimes as artists we have a difficult time finding inspiration when it comes down to create. I know people immediately go to poetic answers when we talk about inspiration, but the reality is that in many cases; inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. For me, inspiration strikes anywhere and anytime; and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I could be driving around town and suddenly an old house gives me an idea for a horror story, or maybe a cool looking race car gives me the inspiration for a race story; so on and so forth. But, when it comes to sitting down at the drawing board and coming up with ideas, inspiration is elusive sometimes; that's why you have to be proactive when it comes to creating.
What do I mean by being proactive when it comes to creating? Simple, when inspiration hits; seize the moment. Don't wait until later in the day, don't let the muse escape you; stop what you're doing and create. You might be thinking "But sometimes we can't create at that specific moment in which inspiration hits, what then?" Well, here's what I do... I used to always carry with me some sort of notepad in case inspiration arrived; now I use the Notepad App on my phone. If an idea pops in my head, I simply pull out my phone and write a quick note; that way when I actually sit down to create I have a good starting point. That's me being proactive.
Now, the poetic answer about the things that inspire me is simple; my family. My kids have literally changed the way I view my art now, I don't create just for me; I create so that they can enjoy it as well. I've turned down projects because the themes are inappropriate for young audiences, cause as much as I appreciate fans loving my work; I appreciate my kids enjoying what I create even more. Other than my family, music inspires me.
Music is a powerful ally for creatives, it can motivate you, calm you down and some music can inspire you to create entire universes; for me music is as important as pencils and ink when it comes to creating art. Sometimes I need to illustrate a melancholic scene so I listen to Sarah McLaclhan, maybe I'm drawing a heartbreaking scene between two lovers so I listen to John Mayer, maybe I'm working on a fight scene so I listen to Eminem; it depends on what I'm working on at the moment but music never fails to inspire me. So there you go, my two main sources of inspiration are my family and music.
Where Do YOU Find Inspiration When Creating Art?
As you all may or may not know, I've been collecting comics since the early 90's and the other day while driving to a comic book shop here in Virginia; my friend and I were talking about how we began to collect comic books. You see, the beauty of having a lifelong friend who has a lot of the same hobbies you do is that; he might remember details of the past that you might have forgotten and vice versa. While i remembered our first steps into this larger world of comic book fandom he remembered that our first real collecting began not with comic books per se; but with comic book trading cards! When he told me this the memories came back like a tidal wave and nostalgia took over me in a way that I did not expected. As we arrived at the comic book shop, I got the books I was looking for and proceeded to search for something that was insanely popular in the 90's but not so much in this day and age... Marvel Universe trading cards!
Of course they had a few assorted cards in a box and unopened boxes as well, although we left that day without buying them. As we left all I could think about was how much fun those trading cards were back in the day. Young people, let me help you understand why these cards were so cool and important for someone like myself as I ventured into this world of comic books and geekdom in general. See, back in the day we didn't have Wikipedia to learn about all our favorite characters, we didn't have enough money to buy all the comics we wanted in order to learn everything about Spider-Man or Wolverine; what we did have were trading cards. Each card told us the character's stats, basic origin, allies, foes, powers and were usually beautifully illustrated by some of the best artists in the business! Another benefit was that they were easier to collect because they occupy far less space than comic books. But one of the things I enjoyed the most about trading cards was that you could exchange your doubles with your friends and complete the sets, making them even more engaging than comics. But how could such a wonderful hobby disappear the way trading cards did? Did fans got tired of them? What exactly happened to comic book trading cards?
I don't know what happened to the hobby of trading cards but I do know one thing, I think I got bit by the trading card collecting bug again and I'm going in full force; I'm tracking down these trading card sets and collecting them. Hopefully I'll get a few people interested in the hobby again and who knows, maybe we start building a fan base again and companies take notice. Wishful thinking! I think the time is perfect for trading cards to come back because, with so many changes and company reboots; the only way fans could keep up with storylines is if A. they're rich or B. they have a trading card set that can tell the main stories in a few cards.
So, with that said, here's a few pics of me and my boy opening our very first box of Marvel Universe Series III trading cards from way back in 1992!
P.S. Share with us in the comments if you had, or still have; a collection of trading cards. What do you think about them and/or if you'd like to see these make a comeback.
Since today is #throwbackthursday I decided to review an older book, I hope you go with me on this ride. The Anchor, published by Boom! Studios; was written by Phil Hester and illustrated by Brian Churillo. Let's begin...
Published by Boom! Studios
Writer by Phil Hester
Illustrated by Brian Churillo
First things first, this book was a pleasant surprise! I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't anything even remotely close to what this book brought to the table. At first glance this book is merely a punch up story and although it most definitely has plenty of fighting in it, it also has bits of religious overtones sprinkled in with some history as well; making a delicious stew of a beautifully illustrated religious carnage.
The story revolves around a stoic behemoth of a man with amazing powers who's sole purpose is to destroy these monsters that have suddenly appeared throughout the World. As the story progress we see more of his backstory and his reasons for being hellbent (no pun intended) in destroying these creatures.
Incorporating theology, history and very stylistic art, The Anchor is a book worth checking out. The art reminds me of Hellboy and with the inclusion of demons, ghosts and a monster hunter; any Hellboy fan would be pleased with this title. The book is fun, fast paced and beautiful to look at; overall a very entertaining read.
A short while ago I was approached by the owner of my favorite coffee shop out possibly doing some graphic designs for some t-shirts they were planning on producing for the shop. My immediate answer was absolutely and so began our journey. Fast forward this morning, Black Friday madness and all; management at the coffee shop officially announced that the new t-shirts were on the shelves and available for purchase. Here's their official announcement...
Once upon a time there was an amusement park... and in the tool shed a Church was born... that church grew & would go on to another location and finally rest in Pinewell, where OV Church now resides. The church had a vision to love their community and @coaster.coffee was born. We are pleased to unveil our tribute tee designed by @m_a_carmona a local Ocean View artist. Stop by tomorrow & grab this tee!!! Coaster swag at its best!!! #coasterswag #oceanviewamusementpark #oceanviewnorfolk #visitnorfolkva #belocal#buylocal #giveback #tshirt #newdesign #tees#peopleofcoaster #nonprofit #yourpurchasematters #ovbiz
This was my first design based on the specifications given to me by the owner of the shop, but I also sent them a much more elaborate design that'll (hopefully) be on one of their t-shirts in the near future. So, if you happen to live in or near the Hampton Roads area; make sure to stop by and grab one of these limited edition t-shirts designed by yours truly. -MC
Since today is Thanksgiving Day, as a thank you to all of you that support me and my Truthful Comics family; I want to give you something in appreciation for your support. Here's the fully finished cover art for issue #2 of Project: New Wave. The art is done by your truly and it was colored by the amazing Francisco J. Rivera!!! Btw, Frank is also coloring the interior art for Project: New Wave; so the interior will look as amazing as the cover! We hope you like it and we want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day.
Como hoy es el Día de Acción de Gracias, como agradecimiento a todos los que me apoyan a mí y a mi familia de Truthful Comics; Quiero darte algo en agradecimiento por tu apoyo. Aquí está la portada completamente terminada para el número 2 de Project: New Wave. ¡El arte está hecho por ustedes y fue coloreado por el increíble Francisco J. Rivera! Por cierto, Frank también está coloreando el arte interior para Project: New Wave; ¡para que el interior se vea tan increíble como la cubierta! Esperamos que les guste y queremos desearles un feliz Día de Acción de Gracias.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Todd McFarlane & Jon Goff
Art: Jason Shawn Alexander & Todd McFarlane
Letters: Tom Orzechoski
I have to admit that I'm just starting to read Spawn on issue #300 after dropping the book on issue #100 way back when. Back then, I thought the book had reached it's climax with Angela dying, Spawn being able to control his body enough to revert back to his real face (Al Simmons) and killing Malebolgia and becoming the King of Hell; but the main reason was that Greg Capullo was leaving the book after issue #100. So I was ok with dropping the book for good. Heck, I had a 100-issue run that I loved and regularly go back to and read; I don't need any more Spawn stories... or so I thought.
Then, a few months back Spawn #300 hit the shelves; and all of sudden the realization that I hadn't picked up a Spawn book in a few years hit me like a ton of bricks. I had this uncontrollable urge to pick it up that it wasn't even a choice, my mind was already made up; so I did. If you wan to read my thoughts on that book here's the link to my review: Manuel Reviews... Spawn #100. But this time I'm reviewing the subsequent issues #301 and #302.
First off, the story takes us on an entirely new status quo for Spawn; which is risky and refreshing. He's always dealt with his problems (for the most part) by himself, and even when Cog, Angela, Terry, Sam & Twitch helped him out; he accepted their help reluctantly. Now, realizing he's depleted of damn near all of his powers; he comes to the realization that he won't be able to take on this war that's coming by himself. So far I'm in.
Now let's talk about the artwork on this book. On issue #301 we get art from Greg Capullo, Todd McFarlane, Clayton Crain, Jerome Opeña and the regular artist Jason Shawn Alexander. The book is great because it gives you different flavors for different chapters, which helps the story move along and gives each chapter a difference ambience; so far I'm loving it. Things change in issue #302. My problem (if you can call it that) is that the book's regular artist's art is the weakest of the five artists on issue #301, and that's a problem.
Don't get me wrong, it isn't terrible by any stretch of the imagination; but when you compare it to McFarlane's or Capullo's art or even Opeña's art; you notice something is not quite on par. I'm guessing Todd sees something in Jason's art that he likes for Spawn and I have to admit, on some pages the art kicks ass; but for the most part to me it looks a bit sloppy. Again, maybe that's why Todd chose him to be the regular artist on the book, maybe I just need to get used to his art; but so far it's been difficult. I'll give him a chance though.
Have you read them? What do you think about Spawn's new direction? Do you like JasonShawn Alexander's art?
It's safe to say that 2019 has been the best year yet for our small indie publishing house but there's not a shadow of a doubt that 2020 will be the best year Truthful Comics... BY FAR! With more than a few projects already in pre-production, we still haven't stopped working and staying on target; as hard as it is sometimes.
As I write these words I'm pleased to announce that today I finished inking issue #3 of Project: New Wave which is a huge win for me personally because it gives me the opportunity to, not only work on issues #4 and possibly #5; but I'll be able to work on at least one short story as well as other side projects that may come up in the near future. So we're ahead of schedule for 2020 and just a few minutes ago my brother, colleague and colorist sent me a sneak peek of what the cover is gonna look like and all I can say is... well... I'll let you be the judge! Get Ready!!!
De seguro puedo decir que el 2019 ha sido el mejor año hasta el momento para nuestra pequeña editorial independiente, pero no hay duda de que 2020 será el mejor año Truthful Comics ... ¡Y POR MUCHO! Con varios proyectos ya en pre-producción, todavía no hemos dejado de trabajar y de mantenernos enfocados en el objetivo; tan difícil como es algunas veces.
Mientras escribo estas palabras me complace anunciar que hoy terminé de entintar el comic #3 de Project: New Wave, lo cual es una gran victoria para mí personalmente porque me da la oportunidad, no solo de trabajar en los comics #4 y posiblemente #5; pero podré trabajar también en al menos una historia corta, así como en otros proyectos que puedan surgir en el futuro cercano. Así que estamos adelantados para 2020 y justo hace unos minutos mi hermano, colega y colorista me envió un vistazo de cómo esta quedando la portada y lo único que puedo decir es... bueno... dejaré que sean ustedes los jueces! ¡¡¡Prepárense!!!
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