Monday, September 17, 2012

Venom

Here's another blank sketch cover, but this was interesting because it was on a hard cover book. I drew on the dust jacket for the book. I really enjoyed getting to draw this character. For those long time fans of Venom, I know some don't like this current version. But for me, especially after reading through the story, I think it's much more intriguing and the character has a lot more depth currently.

Fun sketch to do, another from NYCC.
Venom - 435


I really like these sketch covers now, I think mostly because it comes with the character's title 
already in place

This is from the current run on Venom, you can get the first few collections of this story,
 and the issue I worked on here on
For 45% off!



For Comments and Questions email me at
ROBERT@ROBERTATKINSART.COM



Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hero Jam continued...

Here is my finished Captain America for the Hero Jam. You can see it by itself, then in the context of the finished piece.

Final Hero Jam - 433


Here is how my Cap looks in the context of the rest of the heroes...

\

Finally, here is the near complete commission. With just Batman missing...


Lee Weeks:  Thor
Jorge Molina:  Superman
Michael Golden:  Hulk
Humberto Ramos:  Wonder Woman
Mike McKone:  Green Lantern
Alan Davis:  Iron Man
Robert Atkins: Captain America


For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hero Jam Commission....

This commission was one I was supposed to do for the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the show. So for anyone that I needed to have a sketch done at that show, I've been trying to fit those into my schedule. 

In this case I was commissioned to a layout for 8 characters: Captain America, Wonder Woman, Batman, Hulk, Thor, Superman, Green Lantern and Iron Man. I was really excited to do it, but had to think through how such an all star cast would work out. I did this initial prelim and was given the choice who I wanted to draw. Captain America is my favorite character, so if it's up to me, he's up front and I'm drawing him. 


Hero Jam - 432


After the prelim was approved I moved on to an underdrawing layout for my pencils. This was full size. For all the characters I wasn't drawing, this is as far as I would detail them. Other artists were going to be asked to contribute and they could make whatever adjustments and details they needed. I didnt want to put too much in there an affect how they would approach it.


I'll post my inks of Captain America soon, and then after that the full commission with contributions from these awesome artists: 
Lee Weeks:  Thor
Jorge Molina:  Superman
Michael Golden:  Hulk
Humberto Ramos:  Wonder Woman
Mike McKone:  Green Lantern
Alan Davis:  Iron Man

For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com







Friday, September 14, 2012

Ole' Spaghetti claws...


Another sketch cover, but this was just for a head and shoulders sketch. Good ole' Wolverine. Always fun to draw, and I really dig his newest costume (though it's been around for 5 years or so) It's a great variation of the traditional blue and yellow. His claws are a little wavy here because my wand scanner I take with me at shows got a little wiggly when it was running down the book cover. 

Sometimes people will put the book in a bag and board (typical comic protective sleeves) but cut out a window on the front of the sleeve that I can draw on, while protecting the rest of the book. I just kept the book in the sleeve to scan it since they took the time to cut and tape the edges. But while the scanner was running down the taped window it got all screwy. No big deal, but it explains the "spaghetti claws"



Spaghetti Clawed Wolverine - 431


These take about 45 min or so to pencil and ink. They are roughly a 5x7 drawing.

Also, just FYI, I posted my conventions for next year on the left of the blog. Those are links to the convention sites if you need dates or information. I could be adding a few to that list if I can fit it in. 

For Questions and Comments email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Iron Man colors....

I completely forgot to scan this as colors while at the show. I really wish I had, but the guy who requested the sketch took a photo at least. After it's sealed, I'm sure I'll get a better scan, and I'll post that. He is getting the comic graded. That means it will be incased in plastic  or a "comic slab" to keep it's condition preserved and then authenticated. It's a great new collector's market that has grown in comics in recent years.

The only draw back is if you open the case, then you would need to pay to have it graded and resealed.  So some argue that it takes away from the enjoyment of the comic. I think that this new sketch cover idea is a fantastic alternative. You can always buy the regular copy off the shelf and read it whenever. Then get a blank version, if it's offered, and have your favorite artists create a completely original cover to your comic. It becomes a one of a kind, and can often become incredibly valuable. It's value will depend on how good the condition of the book is, (on a scale of 1-10), the artist who does the sketch, the quality of the sketch, and finally the rarity of the book.

In the case of the guy who got this Iron Man from me, this has become his new collector's hobby and he has at least dozens of graded sketch covers. At first I abhorred doing these, but that was early on when the cover stock to draw on was glossy and terrible. But publishers (specifically Marvel and recently DC) have picked a great card stock cover to draw on, and apparently to color marker on as well!

For this sketch I was specifically asked to recreate the look of the animated Iron Man dvd cover, which has a head shot of Iron Man on it. So I did my best.

Iron Man Colors - 430


My first colored sketch cover.

For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Iron Man...

This was going to be my first colored commission on a sketch cover for the blank comics. I wasn't sure how well it would take the markers, but I had seen some pretty amazing color pieces on books before. There are much better colorists out there than me, and they seemed to not have a problem with it.

So I started with the line art. I had a french curve (basically a ruler for curved edges) that I used for the longer lines. Keeping Iron Man's noggin' symmetrical was the hardest part. It's not exact, but I'm not a computer either. Most of it was free hand since the lines weren't that long.

An interesting fact about comic art, if the line is within the range of motion in your wrist, then I'll rarely use a ruler or stencil to get a straight or exactly curved line. It increases speed to not have to grab a ruler everytime, and also gives a bit of "character" to your lines. However, when it comes to cars, weapons or other manufactured items that need to look exact, it's best to break out the ruler. If not, your M4 automatic rifle will look like a play-do version of the gun. But most buildings, especially in the far background don't need an exactly straight line.

A lot of inkers I know will use the penciler's ruled out straight lines as a guide, and just freehand them in the inking stage. Again, it gives more character to the line, and every little bit helps keep your drawing from looking too stiff.

Now, after saying all that...this looks pretty stiff. Mostly this is because I haven't done any rendering to indicate light and shadow. I know I'll be doing that in the color stage.

Iron Man Head - 429


I'll post a photo of the colors shortly....

For the current Invincible Iron Man stories, check out this link at my blog sponsor
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For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Venom...

This Venom sketch was for a guy named Erik at the NYCC. It was part of a larger jam piece, that was 17x22. I did the layout for a Spiderman in the center all beat up, and the commission was going to be of all the various versions of Venom about to finish Spidey off. I did my layout, then Erik quickly ran back by my table and asked for the commission back. Mark Bagley had an open slot in his schedule, so the piece was whisked away. It came back with an awesome Venom just above the one I had started.

Apparently, the line up for this commission was going to be Mark Bagley, Steve McNivven, Jim Cheung, then me. I found this out after I did mine. But hey, you do what you can.

So here's the version of Marc Gargan's Venom.

Venom - 428

I usually try to push my figures to make them more dynamic. However, when you're constrained by a jam piece that's not fully laid out, it can actually ruin the over all piece if you make your figure too large or over emphasize it. ....well that's going to be my excuse when these other artists blow me out of the water with their Venom's. oy.

If you want to get a copy of the Venom issue I work on recently (#20), you can pick up the collected trade here at INSTOCK TRADES!



For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

Deathstroke NYCC....

Another convention sketch from NYCC. I didn't think I was going to be able to get to this one at the show. The guy who commissioned it asked me Fri. night to do it, then that evening I wasn't able to fit it in. Even after drawing til 4 am. I just couldnt do it. I had others who had pre ordered sketches that still needed done and I was trying to make sure those were taken care of. He was leaving Saturday at the end of the show, so in the last couple of hours I did my best to finish this up before he had to leave.

I think I've said it before, Deathstroke is my favorite bad guy in DC comics. So any chance I have to draw him, I'm going to jump at it.




Deathstroke - 427

I also just realized that INSTOCK TRADES still has my 2009 sketchbook INSTOCK! 


I'm completely sold out of that limited run of books. But they have a few left. Just follow this link to get the book I put out right as I was starting GI JOE.







For Questions and Comments email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baroness...

This was a commission from the New York Comic Con that I recently got back from! Man that was a crazy convention. LOADS of people came out for the show. It sold out completely each day, and I heard tickets were going up on eBay and scalped outside for up to $500. It's definitely the next San Diego Comic Con but on the east coast. The other great thing was it was almost completely about comics. There weren't major movie studios or video game companies set up. It was all about the comics medium.

Artist's Alley, where the artists have tables to display their work, was in a completely different hall. So you had to walk down a few different hallways to get there. At first I was worried that being so far away from the main hall, it would reduce traffic in AA. But I think after an hour or two each day, attendees got so tired of being crammed into an enormous room and not being able to move, they headed over to AA and it was great! We had a large space, well lit and it was definitely quieter than the show room. Which helps with the drawing environment.

Thank to all the Joe Fans especially for coming by the table and saying Hey! Also thanks for buying stuff. It's a very expensive show to go and set up to display your work. And by expensive, I mean over $1500 just to be there for a weekend. So when fans come and buy a sketchbook or commission a drawing...my wife really appreciates it!

Speaking of commissions, here is a Baroness sketch that I did for Jackie Tam. He's supported my work for quite a while now, and I've finally had a chance to do a drawing for him. I tried to do as many commissions as I could this last weekend, but even staying up to 4-5 am each night, I could only do so many. I'm glad he was able to get his sketch at the show!

Baroness - 426

Also, I had the awesome chance to visit with the fine people that own and operate my favorite online comic dealer...INSTOCK TRADES.

I know this sounds like a plug for their business...well that's because it is. BUT it's a sincere endorsement! Their product literally lines the walls of my studios on more bookshelves than I care to admit. But it's so easy to indulge since they have such fantastic discounts. 

I also realized that they still have my 2009 sketchbook INSTOCK! 


I'm completely sold out of that limited run of books. But they have a few left. Just follow this link to get the book I put out right as I was starting GI JOE.






For Comments or Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Airtight...

I've been to a few conventions lately and with all the character sketches I've done, I finally have some more content for my blog. Mostly I've been doing work for companies and publishers that I can't show yet, so it's been difficult creating new work to spotlight here.

But luckily this should keep me posting regularly these next couple of weeks.

So first up is the GI Joe character Airtight.  You might be asking, "Who the heck is Airtight?....and why is his gun a vacuum?"

Both are valid questions. Airtight is the GI JOE member responsible for Hazardous materials, their inspection and cleanup. Maybe not the most useful GI Joe. Of course going into combat situations, you're going to want Snake Eyes or Stalker on your team. But if you come across hazardous waste, neither of those dudes are going to be of much use. I don't think Chemical Spill cleanup is a Ninja ability. So then Airtight's your man!

...and I don't know why his gun is a vacuum...


Airtight - 425


For a collection of ALL the Marvel GI JOE comics, 
you can get the IDW Publishing reprints discounted at 



For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

TMNT- Raphael colors...

This was a sketch I did at a convention this last year. I put the logo up top and had Mark Roberts do the colors to make it a more finished illustration.

It's hard for me to say what my favorite 80's property of cartoons or toys would be. In no particular order my top 5 are definitely:

1. GI Joe
2. He-Man
3. Thundercats
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5. Transformers

That's not to take away from other great shows like M.A.S.K., Silverhawks, Voltron, etc... But I think the most memorable properties provided a great toy line to coincide with the cartoon. With the exception of Thundercats, the other 4 I had toys of growing up and at my age in the late 80's when Turtles were huge I was at that perfect age to really get into it. 

So any chance I ever get to draw 1 of the above properties, I revel in the nostalgia and really enjoy the chance to draw it. 

TMNT- Raphael colors - 424


IDW Publishing is currently putting out a GREAT monthly ongoing Turtles book! IDW has also started collecting the classic comics from the 80's. 
You can get the collected editions for 20-40% off here at



For Comments or Questions you can email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

GI JOE combined cover COLORS!...

Here is the final combined cover. Pencils and inks by me, colors by Simon Gough .

I was really happy with how this ended up. Simon was a trooper, I was only able to send him each part as I got it done, and he had to color each cover separately. In the end he had to go back and patch it up to make it seemless, but of course that turned out just great as well!



GI JOE Combined covers Colors - 423




I'm positive I'll have a limited edition run of prints for this, just working out format and size. I should have them available for next week at NYCC or if you email me with a request. They'll probably be 33x17 on a thick cardstock semi gloss paper. According to my print prices it will probably run between $35-$40 (not including secure shipping).


For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GI JOE Combined 3 part inked cover...

Here is the final cover inked with all three parts combined. Over all I like the balance and flow to the piece. Even in hind sight there would be things I'd change (more vehicles for one), but for the most part I'm happy with how it came out. It was by far the most ambitious cover I've tried to date.

List of included characters:

Duke, Helix Major Bludd, Chuckles, Serpentor, Baroness, Wet Suit, Torpedo, Gung Ho, Stalker, Rock n' Roll, Beach Head, Road Block Tunnel Rat, 5 Cobra Troopers, Scarlett, Snow Job, Zartan, 2 Cobra Eels, Lady Jaye, Flint, Firefly, Mainframe, Dial Tone, Destro, 4 Cobra Vipers, Cobra Commander, Storm Shadow, Snake Eyes, Mutt and Junk Yard, Dusty, Hot Sauce, and Hit n' Run.

Included Vehicles and drivers:

Firebats, Hiss Tank, Stinger, Stun, Trouble Bubble and Dragon Fly.

GI JOE Combined Cover - 422


The best way to catch up on the IDW run of GI JOE is to visit
INSTOCK TRADES.com! 


They also have in stock some of my very first GI JOE collected convention sketchbooks. I'm sold out, I believe they are the only place you can still get them for cover price!


For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

GI JOE: Snake Eyes 17 Cover inks part 3 of 3...

Now here is the 3rd part of this massive cover. I figured this would be put on the Snake Eyes issue obviously with him and Storm Shadow fighting. This cover probably went through the most revisions as far as things changed or added. I made the changes myself, and it came about because I wanted to add more characters.

In the bottom left instead of the Arashikage symbol, I added Mutt and Junk Yard, Dusty, Hot Sauce (I'll talk about him in a moment) and Hit and Run (Thats for Justin at General's Joes.com)

However adding these characters in the bottom right, all of a sudden the rush of GI JOE vehicles headed in that direction didn't make sense. I never meant for those two pockets of the illustration to interact, but it was hard to not think it was intentional. So I switched out the beloved Vamp, Wolverine and Mobat for the ground Cobra Stinger and Stun vehicles. I put some flight pod Trouble Bubbles and GI Joe Dragon Fly helicopters in an air battle above.

I was sad to see the Joe vehicles go, because those are some of my favorites, but replacing it with other vehicles is a great consolation. (Sorry Clutch didn't make it Dan.)

GI JOE: Snake Eyes 17 Cover inks - 421


Real quick, you hard core Joe fans might be asking "why Hit and Run?" and "if you're going to add Hit n'Run, why just a tiny picture of his head?" Well, mostly it was entrapment of sorts. I had drawn in Snow Job on the previous cover as a shout out to Gary Godsoe from the "What's on Joe Mind?" podcast. Snow Job's his favorite character. Justin, a co-host on the podcast and runner of the website General's Joes.com went and threw down the gauntlet on Twitter. He said if I didn't include Hit n'Run on this massive cover then he'd never spotlight my art on his highly Joe-fan trafficked website. I caved...but he asked (forced) me to include this character literally the night before I was turning it in, and a tiny headshot was all I could work into a cover that was already inked. 

So Justin...Take what you can get and this had better be on your front page for a week!

Okay, so Hot Sauce is a collaborative GI JOE character created by Elvin Hernadez and Enrique Rivera, with some input from myself and Bryan Tillman. It all started with Elvin and Enrique complaining about a lack of Puerto Rican representation in the GI JOE ranks. Very long story short we came up with a new GI Joe character called Hot Sauce and ever since issue #3 of IDW's run 3 years ago I've been sneaking him into the backgrounds. 

Cleaning up debris in the background, crowd scenes in the cafeteria, in photos with BBQ hanging on the wall, even in the crowd on the cover of GI JOE v2. #6, he's shown up completely under the radar.  I brought this up with Chuck Dixon last year at MegaCon and he seemed to really like the idea of using this character as a go to guy for the Joe team. As of issue 15 he was officially canonized, and so now completely unclassified we know who this mystery Joe is. 

Here's Enrique's initial design and a few pages of Hot Sauce.






You can find more of Enrique's art here on his Deviant art site:


For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com


Monday, September 3, 2012

GI JOE: Cobra inks, part 2 of 3...

Here is the second part of the 3 part cover. Since I was allowed to pick and choose which characters to use, I had to put Flint and Lady Jaye in there pretty prominently. Scarlett, I wanted to balance the Duke I had up top. In the cartoon Duke and Scarlett were more of an item. In the comic it's been suggested that they had a past, though now Scarlett it pretty much devoted to Snake Eyes. I know...drama.

For me the "it" couple was always Flint and Lady Jaye. I also wanted to include characters that have gotten face time in the books with IDW, but that I haven't had the chance to draw much or at all. So then I include Snow Job (that was for you Gary!), Zartan, and Firefly.

Originally in the layout, I had a group of Skystikers in the upper left. My favorite toy, maybe of all time, the GI JOE F-14 jet. As I was combining the covers I realized I had a little Helix shooting off to the side in the first part of the covers. It just looked like she was a little fairy shooting Mr. Bludd unless I gave her something to be directing the fire. So again I start including more figures into this cover. I wasn't able to fit in the basic Cobra Troopers I wanted in the bottom right of cover 1, so it made sense to include them here.

The other change was to move Flint's gun arm more centered so he was more completely on the cover. Another challenge was making sure these images combined, but also felt like stand alone covers in their compositions.

Here's the final inks on part 2 of the cover. I believe this was going on the Cobra issue, but I'm not sure.

GI JOE: Cobra 17 (I think) Inks - 420


Here is the cover so far with Part 1 combined with Part 2. 



For comments and questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com

Sunday, September 2, 2012

GI JOE #17 cover inks...

I realized I didn't scan in what I had for my pencils, but I think that was because I went straight to inks on this cover. I was really under the gun on this and had to turn it out quickly due to my schedule. But even so I added a few characters down at the bottom. I previewed that little section earlier on my blog. In my layout I didnt have Rock n' Roll or Tunnel Rat, but both were characters that I wanted to draw and I was able to squeeze them in by putting Gung Ho at the top of that demolished wall.

For this cover, IDW gave me complete free reign to do whatever and include whomever I wanted. The only stipulation of course that they be IDW versions of the characters, which I'm totally fine with. I've had the chance to design the majority of the people on these covers, so it was a great way for me to wrap up the last 4 years of my work on the book.

That's not to say I'm not doing anything with GI Joe anymore. In fact I still have some interior work to do and more covers coming. But I had just finished my last SE arc, and this cover was officially my 60th consecutive cover for the property.  So it seemed like a landmark and I wanted to acknowledge that in my career with this cool cover.

Other minor changes from the layout, I moved Chuckles (in the Hawaiin shirt) and Baroness to balance the image more. But other than that and the character additions, this cover stayed basically the same. The other two coming had more changes.

GI JOE #17 Cover inks - 419


The label at the top says issue #18, but I just labeled it wrong all throughout the process. Not sure what I was thinking.

These kind of collage, "movie poster" covers are incredibly difficult to balance action, figure grouping and keeping it from looking too busy. I don't know that I did it particularly well here, but I tried to balance small figures and tight detailed spaced around larger objects and figures to give the image a chance to "breathe". 

 For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com





Saturday, September 1, 2012

GI JOE Cover #17...

Okay, well I know it's been awhile since I posted. It's just because of the amount of deadline work I'm doing at the moment. I've gotten a few projects done and out of the way. So I have just a bit of breathing room before starting my next big project.

I'm excited to show the work I'm doing, but I'm under certain non-disclosure agreements on most of it. So I have to keep it under wraps until the product hits the shelves or the project goes public.

For example, this cover to GI JOE for the IDW comics I was working on back in early Aug. and finally the books have started coming out, so now I can show this enormous cover.

This combination of three covers joined together took about a week to pencil and ink. I'll post up process shots along the way and some commentary on the choices I made. So first up here is my layout for this piece. Just about 50 characters and over a dozen vehicles...I've been wanting to do a cover like this for years!

GI JOE #17 Cover layouts - 418

This was my first layout, I made changes in the final.

 Here is a labeled version I provided for my editors. 



I'll post more up. I don't think I can show a finished version of the 3rd section yet. So I'll go into detail on the first two parts.


For Comments and Questions email me at
Robert@RobertAtkinsArt.com