Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who brings a Javelin to a Gun-fight?...

Lady Jaye does...

Here are the inks for the commission I had started. I'm glad for the chance to show a bit of process in how I go about these. When I'm inking something myself, I don't need to go any more detailed than the pencil stage I showed on Fri. For anything that is left sketchy and loose, I know how Im going to finish it and just do that in the inking stage. The background explosions for example. I just needed a basic gesture and shape of the clouds and suggestion of broken up ground or debris. But for the face, hair and hands, I was more specific, because I wanted to get those established as best as I could.

As for the character, I already confessed my infatuated love for this fictional character from my childhood. However, she continues to be one of the main characters in GI Joe that I haven't been able to draw in the comics. Trust me, I've asked for her, I've tried to sneak her in, and unfortunately wasn't allowed. I had one splash page in particular that it was left up to me who to show in the line up of Joes. I asked specifically if I could include Lady Jaye, and was told in fact that I could use anyone except her.  It broke my 7 year old heart.

I dont think it's any mystery, it is a hard thing to take a character who is largely known for her javelin throwing ability, and make her viable in modern warfare. I dont care if your spear has a hidden net, grenade tips, or even ejecting boxing gloves, no amount of trick spears is going to compete with an automatic rifle or grenade launcher in realistic combat. Therefore, Lady Jaye either needed a complete retooling or had to be left on the bench for the time being.

I'm incredibly excited though that she is not only included in the new film, but plays a major role in the new GI Joe: Retaliation movie that comes out this year. It will be interesting to see how they modernize her character, and if there is any defining characteristics that keep her true to previous incarnations. As long as she speaks in that raspy, chronic bronchitis voice that I fell in love with from the 80's cartoon...I'm IN!

Lady Jaye Inks - 180

I'm gonna have to say one of my favorite Lady Jaye moments was in the original Marvel comics run,
GI JOE #67 we really get a glimpse into what Flint gets when he starts a relationship with this firecracker. Scarlett and SnakeEyes are getting back from a mission they had been presumed K.I.A. and Flint lays into them for letting everyone believe they were dead. Lady Jaye just full on decks Flint in the jaw knocking him off his feet! The very next page, she chews him out as he gets up and realizes that Lady Jaye cares for him, and they hug and make up on the last panel....? What?

Flint...that's you're first sign. When your "soon to be girlfriend" punches you in the face for voicing common're gonna be in for a crazy relationship.

If you want to get this great issue or any of the other Joe comics from that classic Marvel run, 
the BEST way is to go to 
They carry nearly all of the reprinted collections published by IDW for 30% off!

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Friday, December 30, 2011

My first animated lady crush...

I've been doing my best to work through my commission list. This is for Lee-Erin who has followed my work and we've chatted for a few years now. This commission in particular has been a long time coming, but Im glad for the chance to draw Lady Jaye.

I've hardly had the chance to draw her in my run on the books and only once before on the cover of the Special Missions collection from IDW.  I dont know what it was about that raspy, pack-a-day smoker's voice Lady Jaye had on the cartoon back in the 80's but as a kid it sure won me over. I had the biggest crush on this character as a little tyke. I know it's ridiculous, but I'm happy to own up to it.

For this sketch, here is the pencil stage, I will be posting the inks shortly. I had the figure sketched in, but knew it needed something else. Answer...ADD EXPLOSIONS! It works everytime!

Love of my life as from ages 5-8 years old, a.k.a. Lady Jaye -  179

For Questions and Comments email me at:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ace and Flint Final....

This was a commission a long time coming, and you've seen it progress over the last couple months here on the blog. I've talked about it quite a bit before, and there probably isn't much more to say except that it's done.  Here are the links to the works in progress as I posted them here:

And now the final!

Ace and Flint Final Inks - 178

Thanks to Andrew Hall from the Comic Art Depot for putting together this flash
of the commission process. You can see some of the subtle changes that the piece went through as it was completed!

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zartan...Cobra in disguise ...

Every time I read that title I sing it with the Transformers theme song going through my head. Just sayin'

So this sketch is for the amazing Jennifer Bennet's boyfriend. Let me explain.

Jennifer is this outstanding artist/craftswoman that makes magic from her sowing machine. And by magic I mean superhero plush dolls. Before you make fun of me for being so in love with these dolls, check out this link.

Okay, now we're on the same page, and you know why I'm so amazed. I first saw Jennifer's work at the Heroes con this last summer in Charlotte. Then again this last Oct. in Raleigh NC. We were able to work out a trade, I was able to get the Turtles across the top and Mr. T on the bottom in exchange for some artwork for her boyfriend. 

My brother Brian is now the proud owner of the Mr. T and is giving him a good home. But man as I stood in the glory of these amazing things, I could have just as easily flipped over the Thundercats, Cobra troopers, Destro sitting over there on the right, He-Man and Skeletor, Ghostbusters....the list goes on. Alright, enough gushing, be sure to check out Jennifer's blog, she updates very regularly and is pretty darn hilarious. 

And here is the Zartan sketch that we did a nifty trade for.

Zartan - 177

I'm excited because I'll get to do another Zartan soon. I have one lined up in my commission list. Growing up Zartan and Destro were my favorite Cobra characters, and Snake Eyes, Flint and Lady Jaye were my favorite Joes. I'ts been awhile since I had drawn Zartan though, I think it's been 5 years since I did the issue of Dreadnoks Declassified for Devil's Due Publishing.

For Questions and Comments email me at:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Firefly, Again...Cause SERIOUSLY there can never be enough explosions!

Another Firefly sketch, this was another sketch from awhile back that I haven't had a chance to show until now. Fun to do, this sketch in particular is the result of what happens when I try to ink when I'm tired. I had drawn the figure in, and he was almost completely inked and done. Then as I was nearly finished I started nodding off....with ink pen in my hand. Bad combination. My hand hit the page and a crazed sleep induced scribble went haywire just next to the figure. I startled away realizing what I had done. So to cover up the mistake....I just drew in a huge explosion! The figure was originally just jumping out at you and I was going to do a more design background. I think I had his head a bit different too. By tilting his head more and closing his eyes it made it look more like he was reacting from the explosion I had added. Over all one of my best cover ups. And actually I think the added explosion really makes the commission more dynamic. But I also learned a very important lesson: Never be inking a sketch when you know you're about to pass out from sleep deprivation.

So remember that folks, life lessons and other artistic tips from Robert Atkins Art!

Firefly's Explosion a.k.a. "Happy Accidents" - 176

Original Art 
11x17- Inked (sleepily) on Bristol Board

For Questions or Comments, email me at:

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Great Escape...

This is another Cranboyz special, I've wanted to post this Snake Pliskin sketch for awhile now, but with various themes and current commissions, I hadn't had the chance. First time getting to draw this character, though  I'd like to more often. Very cool character all around from the now classic 80's movie Escape from New York. Just one of the best examples of action movies in the 80's.

Snake Pliskin - 175

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry X-Mas!

Well,  Im guessing some of you are wondering what happened to this thing called a "daily blog" and if I remember the definition of it. Sorry for the delayed posts, but as I should have expected, the holidays were a whirlwind of activity.

Here is the Christmas Contest Sketch, though a bit belated, and I really wish I could have posted this by Christmas morning. The winning sketch idea was suggested by a self-proclaimed geek Mom who goes by "Veritas" on the IDW Publishing Forums. She suggested to do a Norman Rockwell themed sketch homaging one of his classic Christmas paintings. Rockwell has always been a favorite of mine, along with many other artistic storytellers. He had an amazing ability to tell so much story within a single image, and I use that influence in nearly every page of comics I draw. So when I read this suggestion I had it tucked away, pretty much knowing I wanted to go this route.

Thanks to everyone that participated and there were many, many great suggestions. I only wish I had time to do each of them.  So, here is the 2011 Christmas Sketch, with a comic homage to Norman Rockwell.

The Professor with Cerebro - Merry X-Mas! - 174

Here is the Rockwell Painting that I used as a springboard for the idea. 

I liked the concept of a global representation of Christmas, and had to think of a character in comics that could interact on a global scale. It was actually my dear wife that thought of this great idea of using Professor Xavier. With his telepathy powers boosted by cerebro, he could infact see into the minds of every mutant on earth and judge if they would be put on the  "NAUGHTY" or "NICE" column for Santa's Christmas list. Zoomed in you might be able to see who made the cut!

Thanks again for this great suggestion. The winner of this contest has a great blog that you can read here:
and as an artist herself, she has recently created a Deviant Art here:

Check them out when you get a chance. 
Catwings- email me at the address below so I can get your info to mail you the winning sketch!

For Questions or Comments you can email me at:

Saturday, December 24, 2011


A bit of a cop-out on the daily sketches, but I want to make sure I have a sketch posted for each day. This is an older sketch I did for my friend Shane Simek. He's part of the Cranboyz group that collects sketches and artwork at many of the conventions around the country. I've mentioned them before on my blog, and actually here is their BLOG, where they've posted a lot of the artwork they've collected.

With Christmas right around the corner, I needed some catching up time on other projects. Also I wanted a chance to show this sketch I did for Shane.

Ultron is one the biggest and baddest Avengers Villain they have. Created by brilliant scientist, Hank Pym (a.k.a. Giant Man, Ant Man, Yellow Jacket, etc...) Ultron gained A.I. and has adapted throughout the years becoming near invulnerable. Basically, you don't want to mess with this guy!

ULTRON - 173

Original Art done in a 11x14 sketchbook, ink on paper.

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thor Holiday Storm Bringer...

With all the craziness with Christmas, just time for another quick post. Today's sketch another THOR with his more modern costume from the J. Michael Strazinski and Olivier Coipel run on the Thor comic.

Thor - 172

For a great deal on this classic run you can check it out at 
the Hard Cover Omnibus is now 42% off!

For Questions or Comments about the blog or my art email me at:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Classic Commander...

Here was a commission done very similar to the recent cover of the new Cobra Commander for the IDW cover. Though with his classic hooded costume used in the old Marvel run of comics.  Just a quick post today, trying to catch up with the holiday hustle.

Cobra Commander Hooded - 171

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Captain America

A bit of a left over commission from the blank covers. This was just done on 9x12 bristol board, but it's for someone in that same group. First chance to draw the movie version of Cap.  Fun to do, I liked all the costume details!

Captain America (Movie version) - 170

Christmas Contest Update
I've narrowed down a top 3 from the list of Christmas character (scene) suggestions from the various sites and emails. However, I'm still taking suggestions until Christmas Eve! The right last minute suggestion just might be the one to make it! 

Again the contest is simply to suggest a character or scene that would be an appropriate piece to draw for Christmas day. If I choose your idea, You will get the art created on that day for free shipped directly to you! If a suggestion is given here, please make sure to include your name so I can get in contact with you.
Thanks and Good Luck!

For Questions or Comments email me at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Strongest there is.....

I've rarely had the chance to draw the Hulk. Some people are great at it, I'm still trying to find my way with him. Huge characters like this take on a whole new set of problems in proportions and anatomy. Also, you can draw a big muscle bound figure and color it green, but still not come close to capturing the character that is so identified with the Hulk. It is a combination of figure proportion, head and face, even his body language, and how he would stand at rest that exudes his particular uniqueness. I dont think I've hit it yet, and Im sure it would take quite a bit of practice to get it.

I've had the chance to draw him for Marvel a few times. Most recently in the She-Hulk #1 book where he is fighting a character named Thundra. The funny thing about that is in the script's panel description it just said "Show a classic Hulk vs. Thundra fight."....thats it. So I figured, lets put them in the city tearing stuff up!

Cool, I was happy with it enough, but the feed back I got from the writer said, "I like the shot...but it's supposed to take place in the desert. Thought you should know..."

heh. So I took another sheet of paper and light boxed over this panel, I sketched in a few quick lines to show a desert instead of a crap-ton of buildings, and 

They got back to me..."Looks great"   There you go, a peek behind the scenes. And this was the final panel here below.

Well, so like I said, I don't get the chance to draw the Hulk. I did get a commission from a while back that I'm finally getting to just in time for Christmas! Taking another stab at the big Green Machine!

The Incredible Hulk - 169

Original art 11x17 on Bristol Board
Penciled with 4h lead, and inked with Copic Mulitliner tech pens

I'm not an avid Incredible Hulk reader. Though I really do enjoy the character. Can anyone suggest a DEFINITIVE collection or arc that is the greatest Hulk story? Or atleast, a recent one that does a good job of representing the Hulk?

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Atomic Robo Contest winner!

So waaaay back in the beginning of the blog, about a month or so in, I did a contest based on this Atomic Robo sketch:

The contest asked for a caption to go along with the image above. Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener, the creator's of Atomic Robo, were kind enough to judge the caption entries. The winner of the contest is 
Jeff Morris with his caption: "Support the War Effort: Recycle @$$ Whuppin's!" For the blog, I've decided to adjust the language just a bit, though I appreciate Jeff's enthusiasm. 

Jeff has won this original sketch, along with the colored print with his caption placed on it. Because of the nature of the sketch and his quote being more specific to WWII, we did up the sketch as a propaganda poster from that era.

Atomic Robo Colors - 168

Thanks to Mark Roberts for doing the colors, 
and my brother Brian Atkins for working up the design and typography!

Check out the AWESOME stories collecting  Atomic Robo's advertures! Each volume is a great, self-contained story arc. They can be read in any order. The best place to get them at 25% off

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Commander's Right hand lady...

You have to give credit to Cobra Commander, He sure know's how to pick a second in command. From the beginning of the IDW run on GI Joe, I've been lucky to have had the chance to tell stories with the Baroness all throughout. She is one of the characters in the GI Joe property that has a Very distinct look. Almost like she was cast as an actress back in the early 80's and if you don't capture that just right, then you missed the mark and it just looks like a double in a Baroness outfit. I struggled with it early on as I realized this, and every time I had to draw her it took me 2 or 3 tries. I think my favorite drawing of her that I've done was for this cover to GI Joe #16.

Colors by Andrew Crossley.

This was before we had even seen the original IDW Cobra Commander, and he was communicating with the Baroness through a video device. I went with that idea as if the device was monitoring her in multiple ways. I actually took the time to draw each of those little panels, because I wanted them just right. Instead of copying the main image over and over. I really liked how Andrew colored up those panels to give them a cool look and variety, especially the x-ray.

Over the course of the last few years, I have drawn quite a few Baroness commissions and sketches. For whatever reason though I had never really drawn her in her original costume, until I got to do this turnaround.

Baroness Turnaround - 167


Finished inks

 Now, I'm not saying this is the definitive Baroness. I don't know that I'm capable of that. But there is something to be said about her original costume. It still holds up today nearly 30 years later, and you certainly can't say that about every GI Joe design.

Original Turnaround Art
11x17 Ink on Bristol Board

For some classic Baroness stories, IDW published a "Best WORST of Baroness" collection.
You can find it here at INSTOCK TRADES for 30% off!

For Questions and Comments email me at

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Firefly...Cause there can never be enough explosions!

Another quick post today, This is part 2 of 2 for the commissions I needed to get to Michael "Frick" Weber. If you remember a couple of days back I did a character from his books "The Field on the Edge of the Woods". Again you can find his creator-owned books here on his site:

This Firefly is for his son, and I'm glad I'm finally getting around to it. I generally break up my commissions into two catagories. I have the larger, cover quality commissions that are a higher rate and I generally spend a full day on. Then I have a second level, that are what I call Convention Style Commissions, and it's the equivelant to what I can get done at a show. I generally spend 2-3 hours on these and they aren't as expensive. For those of you on my lists, it might be confusing why I'm doing certain commissions in what order. It just comes down to freelance scheduling. Trying to fit everything thing in I need to do for my deadline work (Covers, Interior comic pages, Commercial Illustrations) and then seeing what time I can squeeze in for the day to devote to the blog and/or my commission list. 

Just so everyone knows, I'm doing my best to keep up with this commission list and squeeze these in, while keeping as high a quality level as I can. 

As for the sketch...Firefly rocks!  Any disagreement....No?..... Then we're good. ON to the sketch!

Firefly (Cobra the Enemy) - 166

Original Art - Commission
11x17 Ink on Bristol Board - 2hrs~

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Friday, December 16, 2011

The return of Awesomesauce, dun, dun, dunnnnn....

I'm pretty sure it's common knowledge that ninjas are in fact one of the coolest things in the world. Maybe second only to Chuck Norris. I consider myself privileged to be trained in the Ninja Arts....and by that I mean I learned how to draw ninjas, Im sure I couldn't fight my way out of a paper bag. Let alone assassinate that bag in the process.

At any rate, I enjoy the fact that I get to draw ninjas on a regular basis. This is the cover art for the upcoming Snake Eyes #11 comic coming out from IDW Publishing. For anyone not picking up Snake Eyes right now, issue #9 is a GREAT jumping on point. Interior art by Alex Cal, who does some fantastic work! and written by Chuck Dixon. I will be coming back on the book as of issue #13 as the regular interior artist.

StormShadow really starts to appear throughout Snake Eyes' book in #9, and will be a prominent role in series when I come on. Here are my inks for the cover, and the colors worked up by the Master of the Ninja Coloring Arts: Amazing Simon Gough!

SnakeEyes 11 cover- Storm Shadow -165

Pencils and Inks by Robert Atkins

Colors by Simon Gough

A Link to my previous Blog Post about my 
Storm Shadow costume redesign!
Storm Shadow ART

The cheapest way to start collecting Snake Eyes is to go to my blog sponsor
Discount Comic Book Service
and start pre-ordering Snake Eyes. You just go to the site, look under the publisher IDW or search "SnakeEyes" and add it to your cart. Each month the book will be shipped directly to you for 30% off!
The other option is to go to
and pick up the book after it's collected in a larger format. The Trade combines the monthly issues into 4-6 issue arcs. These books are also 30-40% off but you generally have to wait at least 6 months after the books come out.

Thanks for the inquiries, but the Original Art for this cover is already SOLD.
If you are interested in future cover work, email me at:

 I will add you to my Cover Art Mailing list. I will email you when I have a new cover available. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Edge...

I've been excited to post this, and it's been a long time coming. A guy I've met this last year, Michael "Frick" Weber, had requested two commissions from me. One, a character from his creator owned books "The Field on the Edge of the Woods", and the second a Firefly (Cobra character) for his son who is crazy into GI Joe!

Today is part 1 of 2 for his commissions. This character is named Pilate from his recent books. You can find a fantastic 28 page preview of Book 1 here on his site.

Pilate - 164

Also, over the last year Frick has been working on a very cool video project taking advantage of his Comic Convention attendance to interview comic creators and ask questions about the industry. 

He calls the series of videos
Comic Book Storytellers
Links to the YouTube videos are here below. He was kind enough to give me some air time, so I would appreciate all the support you can give him. If you enjoy the videos, please share them with the buttons for Twitter, Facebook and email below the video!

Episode #1

Episode #2

Episode #3

Episode #4

Episode #5

For Questions or Comments email me at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Video Game Art...

Most of my work consists of drawing covers and interior pages for comic books. It's what I enjoy the most, and I'm glad I get to do it full time. Occasionally, I've had opportunity to work in a few other industries; Toy package art and design, Video Game concept and animatic work, Licensed property illustration, and other various commercial illustration jobs.

I had the chance to work on the cut scene animations that periodically show up through the DC Universe Online game. That was a lot of fun, as I've not worked with DC characters nearly as much. I will show some of those examples soon.

The other game I had an opportunity to work on, I can't disclose now, but here are a few unused designs of an "angelic" character that you can play. What I can say about the game is that it was a sequel and the previous designs of the angels weren't very modest, being scantily clad female warriors. The wings were more metal armament than actual wings and they ran around the country side in "Slave Leia" metal bikinis. It never seemed to practical to me.  I'm sure some of you would thoroughly enjoy that game, personally I've never played it.

What I appreciated most about this assignment was that I was given the challenge to depart from the previously immodest design and come up with something practical, regal and closer to an angelic representation without just drawing a "classic warrior angel". I liked that someone would see my work, and think I'd be the right guy for this kind of job. Here was my first go round of designs:

Concept Art: Female Warrior Angel - 163

I wanted the coat to flare at the bottom to give balance to the outstretched wings and help show motion.
Click to Enlarge

When walking around, I thought the collapsed wings would flow and act like a cape. For weapons, she would carry dual curved blades sheathed behind her, allowing her to run or fly unencumbered by a larger sword and sheath. Even at rest her hair would always be in motion.

Trying various hair designs.

Just something to show, a little change of pace from my superheroes or GI Joe work.

The artwork above is available to purchase.
Each piece is $50, 11x17 on Bristol board inked (the head shots are just pencils).

For Questions or Comments email me at:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If Toy Story took place in the 70's....

So I had another odd, but fun request. At the last con I went to I had a young boy and his mother come and ask for a GI Joe commission and I'm getting my pens ready for another Snake Eyes piece. When out of the blue they ask if I'm familiar with the old 12" GI Joes from the 60's and 70's. I told them, while I know about them, being born more around the 3.75" figures from the 80's I didn't know much beyond the invention of the Kung-Fu Grips, New abilities to Talk and Life-Like Hair.

The boy was getting this commission for his Dad, who always told him stories about his GI Joe figures back in the day and how he would, get this..., dip them in Kerosene and light them on FIRE?!? So he wanted a commission depicting his Father's first person point of view in the act. You know, for nostalgia.

GI JOE Adventure Team...about to need a Medic - 154

In doing research for this commission, I learned some interesting facts: That

, "Now with lifelike hair!" Their hair is made up of thousands of tiny hairs that are electrostatically applied to wherever glue has been painted on the head. The electricity makes each, individual hair stand on end. It's pretty cool!... and, for those that had these as kids, quite the nostalgic feeling to run your thumb over the hair on a "fuzzhead" Joe. Over time with added playwear, the hair can start to come off and leave bald spots."
Quoted from the Yesterville Blog

Over time the dude's hair starts to fall out? It really is Life-Like Hair! 
Also I really dig his huge gold medallion. 

For Questions and Comments email me at:

Monday, December 12, 2011

What the Joe?...

Just a quick post today. You know a guy is a die hard GI Joe fan, when he gets a commission from me and the character he asks for is William "the Refrigerator" Perry.

Yes,  he was seriously considered a GI Joe and to prove it had his own action figure made as a direct mail order back in '86.

This was a sketch I did for Jason Gavin, though I was a little more "accurate" to his physique. 

GI Joe - The Fridge! - 161

For Questions and Comments email me at:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is there a Doctor in the house?...

Just a quick post today, and an announcement about my blog schedule. I had this great calendar all mapped out with who I would draw on what week and so on. I've stuck to that periodically, but often work and previously requested commissions  are taking priority. Which is really how it should be. I mostly do this blog for fun and let people know about my work.

The theme week or month is a luxury and while I still have plans for some awesome theme weeks, I wont be able to dictate exactly when they will be coming. I originally had a He-Man theme week set up for December, and others I had planned even back in Nov. that I would be surprised if I get to them before Christmas. That said, I do have 4 unmovable theme months that you CAN count on, and I wanted to announce them so you can help spread the word or be on the look out for them.

JANUARY JLA Month: Starting with the new year, all through Jan. any character that has been a regular member of the Justice League of America is a possibility! A chance to spotlight many DC Characters.

MARCH Madness: Street Fighter tournament. For those of you who grew up playing this game in any of it's versions I need your participation. I have seeded the top 16 characters from the various incarnations of the Street Fighter Series. Each day I will post the two head shots of the upcoming fighters. I will post a daily poll on who should win. Based on the results of that pole, that night I will draw an image of the fight and declare a winner. It's a classic tournament and I will have available PDF tournament brackets to print off and complete. Anyone that emails me a finished bracket prediction before the end of the first week gets entered into the Tournament Contest! The winner with the most accurate prediction of the fights and ultimate winner will receive the final fight piece of art and the art for ALL of the head shots as top prize!

To make the most of this one, I'll need lots of participation so please spread the word and be prepared to vote! From the first round of the tournament to the final match this takes exactly a month to complete.

MAY the Force be with YOU Star Wars Month: A chance to spotlight 31 beloved Star Wars characters as I delve into all things Cool! I'm crazy pumped to do this as I have hardly drawn any Star Wars characters in the past. One of the perks of the blog!


GI JUNE: I had originally planned to do a week of Joe characters and a week of Cobra characters but even that wouldnt have been near enough to do it justice. JUNE will be the last month of my year long sketch challenge and I want to end it with a bang. I'm going to need a suggested list of 30 GI JOE and/or Cobra characters to fill up JUNE. I will open the suggestions to the public soon, but I want to keep them all in one place so that I can compile the best list possible. I will give info on where to post your suggested characters soon.

I hope you are all as excited as I am for the coming year and the chance to draw/see some great characters come down the line!

Alright, enough talking already. Sketch for today is:

DC COMICS- JSA Dr. Midnight - 160

ONE of my Favorite Justice Society and Justice League of America Stories is this stand alone book 
by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco called 
 You can find it here discounted at

For Questions and Comments you can email me at:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A little old and a little new...

First off something I had drawn from awhile back that I just came across again online. I went to a small, but wonderful comic convention in Richmond, Virginia for the first time 2 years ago. It was a newly created 2-day show, but boasted a pretty amazing guest list for it's size. That has a lot to do with how great Brett is, the show manager. I was there when IDW's new launch was running full blast and Larry Hama, Chuck Dixon and myself were all there. I was sitting right next to Chuck and we had a great time getting to know each other better and shooting the breeze all weekend.

Early on we noticed that everyone had a proper name plate at their table that the convention provided. Unfortunately for Chuck, his show name plate was grabbed by the guy who picked him up from the airport to use as a "I'm picking up Chuck Dixon" sign and was then discarded. So the morning on the first day Chuck was sitting with me in the corner of the room with out anyway for people to know who he was if they didn't recognize him visually.

As a quick aside, if you have met Chuck he is notably one of the nicest and hairiest guys in comics. So I'm sure you'd remember him.

Appalled by the situation I quickly grabbed a piece of bristol board, folded it in half and did this make shift name plate.

Snake Eyes Chuck Dixon Name Plate - 159

Personally I'm thinking, man I want to look out for my man Chuck, and he'll get this cool name plate with a rockin' picture of Snake Eyes that he can keep and cherish for years and years. Of course, as I give it to him, he's surprised and appreciative and proudly displays it throughout the rest of the show.

Robert's Pride -1 / The World's chance to utterly Humble me - 0
I'm winning!

Like I said the weekend goes along great, we have a wonderful GI Joe panel with Larry, Chuck and I. Great stories were told, I met a lot of now great friends for the first time (Keith and Jon). Then right before the show ends someone comes up and asks Chuck if his name plate was for sale. That perks my ears up and as soon as I look up, Chuck, without the briefest hesitation says, "Sure, How about 20 bucks?" and BOOM just like that the guy whips out a 20, asks Chuck and I to sign it and is off. Chuck looks over at me with the biggest grin on his face, entirely pleased that this was the first name plate he had ever sold.....

Robert's Pride - 1 / The World's chance to utterly Humble me - 1
It's currently a draw...

For even the slightest second, I've got to be honest...I thought "Come on, I'm the one who drew it, shouldn't we split the cash?" I agree, not the brightest moment of my life, but I'm human. Chuck then takes the $20 and stuffs it in his Donation Jar that he uses to support our Troops that he displays on his convention table for EVERY show he goes to. I then understood the enormous grin on his face...

Robert's Pride - 1 / The World's chance to utterly Humble me - 2 (in as many seconds)
I lose....and for good reason.

What I learned from this experience:

1. Chuck is a pretty awesome dude who actively puts his money where is mouth is when it comes to supporting our fighting troops.

2. I'm a turd.

Alright, on a brighter note I've got a couple more colored X-Men sketches that the
 Spectacular Simon Gough has colored up for me!! First up:


And everyone's favorite Southern Belle:

Other previous blog posts with the X-Men Color Updates:

For any Questions about available prints, or Comments on the Blog email me at:

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Commander wasn't built in a day..

Generally when working up designs, there is always some trial and error. Some elements seem to fit just right from the beginning, and then some take quite a bit of revision. With this Cobra Commander, I seemed to hit on his uniform from the beginning only needing minor tweaks, but it was with the helmet that I got to work with Hasbro and IDW back and forth the most.

While I actually like each of these versions, at first Hasbro's final choice wasn't my favorite. But the longer I look at it, I completely agree with what they chose in the end.

The challenge was to keep elements of Krake's helmet, with the vents especially, and combine that with the Commander's original look and elements of IDW's previous version.

What I really liked about Antonio Fuso's IDW design with the previous Commander was the cut of the neck piece that came up to his cheek bones and then down under his chin. Then especially the two bottom fangs just adds so much for such a small detail.

The original battle helmet has the classic mirrored face plate and smooth crowned helmet.

You'd think I was more mature then to add the word balloons, but that convention photo was asking for it!

So it was a matter of incorporating each of these elements. But even in doing that I was able to come up with 3 or 4 versions to choose from.

Cobra Commander's Battle Helmet designs - 158

Hasbro chose the middle helmet on the top row. But without the raised fin.

The minor uniform tweak was to replace the belt knife with a second side arm on his left thigh. So that's about it. I did these sketches, once I heard back, I did few more helmet designs. I got approval to move foreword, then I did the turnarounds that I posted a couple days ago. Once those were approved I did the cover that I posted yesterday. All just part of the process, and it was pretty painless considering how fun the challenge was.

Cobra Commander Helmet Model sheet
Original art available for purchase!
Art is 9x12 ink on bristol board, as you see it above.
To purchase or for Questions and Comments, email me at:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cobra Commander Covered...

If you do not want to know who the current IDW Cobra Commander is, please wait to read this. Instead go read GI JOE #8 that just hit shelves yesterday and all is explained. 

Cobra Commander Cover Process - 157

Finished Pencils for Approval

Generally anytime I have had the task of redesigning GI Joe or Cobra characters, I always take their original comic or toy design and build from there. I update when necessary (i.e. The Dreadnoks ripped up mid-drift shirts don't stand for "tough guy" anymore), but even with the updates I want to keep certain elements the same.

For Cobra Commander, we wanted the visor and battle helmet. One of the design elements I loved about the previous IDW Commander was the fangs at the bottom. I played with putting fangs at the top as well, but automatically felt too much like Serpentor. The side vents hold that design element from who the character is now.

The character Krake, who becomes the new Commander, I actually had the chance to design his costume as well in GI JOE #24. His first appearance, that Im aware of. When I initially designed Krake, we wanted him to be a master marksmen with handguns and a ruthless close combat fighter. He had a strategic mind and would be sent by Cobra to lead a team on any mission and the organization knew it would get done. In that Joe issue, he was sent in with a squad of Vipers to bargain with or wipe out an entire village of people. Men, women, and children were massacred under his direction. It was the first time in drawing comics where I realized I had to take the content that I drew very seriously. That it wasn't all fun and games, and for every hero, there are real life villains out there. Krake was the embodiment of them. So that's my connection to the character.

Finished Line art

Upon learning that he was going to be the new Commander, it made a lot of sense to me, knowing this background going into it. Also it helped inform the new design, that it would be a mix of the old Commander, and his battle armor and breathing mask. The helmet itself, was what I went back and forth with Hasbro on the most. Not that it was difficult, but we went through a few versions before we went with this one. I really wanted the cape, to show leadership, and without it he wasn't looking too far removed from one of the soldiers. So that sets him apart. The other fun reason for the cape, is that it conceals a pair of SIG p22x series handguns.

He has his dual holstered sidearms, in plain site and quite intimidating. We wanted to keep that element from Krake and it sets him apart from the more business-man mentality of the previous Commander. But I felt that if for whatever reason he was with out those, he would never allow himself be unarmed to AVOID what happened to the last Commander!

This was my first chance to take my Cobra Commander design and drawing him from a different angle. I found I liked the contrast that the design allowed, with the heavy blacks on his lower half really grounded him. Leaving his upper armor open with little rendering gave the design some breathing room visually.

So this should also give those involved in the current Custom Cobra Commander contest some color visuals to base their figures on. Here is also the reveal page from GI Joe #8 on stands now!

The lead up to what caused a reason for a new Cobra Commander is a fantastic story orchestrated by the writers and editors at IDW. You can read this 100 page compilation of the essential stories that lead up to the previous Commanders "dethroning" It's 30% at

For any Questions or Comments email me at:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SnakeEyes in the flesh...or, well the plastic

Having been involved with GI Joe professionally for about 6 years now, I thought I had been to most websites, forums and fan pages out there. I've always tried to make myself available for questions or to give insight into the process. Across the board one of the common themes I've found throughout Joe fandom is their passion and CREATIVITY especially.

Here on JOE, they've established a site dedicated to creating home made GI Joe and Cobra action figures. This was a whole new devotion to the world of collecting that I wasn't aware of, until a few years ago when I went to my first Joe con. I was simply blown away with the craft and professional ability of many of these custom made toys. Ranging from variations on a costume to completely new figures, many of these home-schooled sculptors were producing very high quality toys.

While I have yet to actually design a toy directly for Hasbro that has been made into a figure, I do get to see these custom figures made that represent my work very accurately. As a toy collector myself, I can say how cool that is for me!  I want to give a particular call out to this Snake Eyes figure by "meandnooneelse" on the Joe Customs board:

 Custom Action Figure Spotlight- Snake Eyes - 156




This was an interesting coincidence. He did that photo of SE kicking Zartan a year ago. I just recently drew this sketch of SE kicking Zartan last week without ever seeing his photo. Too cool!

My Cover to GI Joe #17, still one of my favorites to date!

Great job all around, and I think a perfect example of how complete these get. Fantastic attention to detail, especially including the straps for the uzi on his pack. That was a design element I was happy with, and Im glad he included it.

For hundreds of other fantastic customs, you've got to check out 
Just click on the "Customs" tab at the top and there are catagories for Figures, Vehicles and Playsets!

There are more that I've seen that I want to spotlight, and I'll show those through out the year. 
I dont know if Hasbro is making a toy of the new Cobra Commander design, soooo

Robert Atkins Art - Custom Figure Contest

For anyone that does a custom Cobra Commander based on the new IDW design, you can submit photos to me by email at: 
Post a thread on and send me a link to the thread.

You've got the turnaround available HERE, on yesterday's blog post.
I will take submissions through 
Jan. 31st!

At that time, I will post each submission and create a poll to the left of the blog
 for my blog viewers to vote on their favorite! 
The poll will last a week.

The winner of the polled contest will get an 11x17 inked GI Joe or Cobra commission of your choice!
So spread the word, all you old hands can submit, but this might be a great chance to take a shot if you've had an interest in the hobby. Any and all submissions are welcome!

For Questions or Comments email me at: