Wednesday, August 7, 2013

RIPPING OUT THE ROOTS

Okay, so after living in the Home that all 3 of my children were born in, and grew up in, for 17 years, we are moving. Not just the House, but my Studio as well. This all happens on Monday. We have been packing and going through the painful horse shit, that is moving, all the while me, trying to stay on top of deadlines, and work. Good news? CHIN MUSIC #2 out AUG 21, also, my chapter in Neil Gaimans, THE GRAVE YARD BOOK, finished, this saturday!. out in October. And already 5 pages into ISSUE #3 of CHIN MUSIC. 

So If I have been out of touch, THIS is why. 

I am gonna put on a sale on my Online Store. Wanna help set up the new digs, and the Brand New JOLLY ROGER STUDIO, and get Art and swag in exchange?! then go to 

www.thehempenjig.bigcartel.com

 and take advantage of the 25% discount rate  on your entire order, and claim yer Booty!!!! The Harris Clan sure would appreciate it. Its been pretty rough here, for quite a while, and I have shared that with you guys. Thanks fer all the letters, notes and help. We are truly blessed in the way of friends!

The discount code for the sale is:

BIGASSSALE3

Thanks all, now back to packing.


T

Friday, July 26, 2013

CURVEBALLS

Its been a while since I have had the time to do this, you know, Blog. But I decided, after a breif respite from the seemingly neverending SHITE that seems to have rained down on my family for the last year, to see if writing about it might help to " Exercise the DEMONS!", so to speak.

The last year has been pretty rough. We have had to deal with unexpected Illnesses, financial woe, and a miriad of other things that are none of your business…;)

I know everyone goes through this kind of thing, and not for a minute do I think we are special, and beyond the reach of Ill fortune, or just plain, Bad Luck. Im just bellyaching a bit. Maybe hoping that my connections via Social Media might be Kindred spirits in this regard.

The first issue has been the all mighty Dollar. After a 6 and a half year run on 50 monthly issues of EX MACHINA, I decided to take a break. So we took a week long vacation with the kids to the beach ( after not having a vacation in many years due to my schedule ). It was bliss. But only now, after a few years since that book was finished do I see just how burned out I was.

I have been working consistently in Comics for over 20 years, and in all that time Ive only done 2 monthly Comics. STARMAN and EX MACHINA, respectively. ANd with good reason. Drawing a monthly book is hard. Very hard. It drains every bit of juice you have as an Artist. Especially if its a creator owned endeavor, as were both of these books. Because its "Your" baby. Its all you, and yer trying to put out your best possible effort as a creator. Doing Company Owned/Freelance work just isnt the same. At least not after you have done that for years, then moved to doing personal work.

So while you are on a monthly for one of the Big 2, the money is great. Regular work, and regular money. Plus I have done both of my monthlies for DC, and they are superb when it comes to paying out royalties. I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of 2 very successful Monthlies at DC, and the royalties on both series have been VERY good to me and my family. But that, is really what you hope for as a creator: That as you get older, the work and effort you put into a series will hopefully take as much care with you, as you did while creating and producing it.

So after I finished EX MACHINA, I eased up, and decompressed. Buy only after a few years did I realize how burned out I was. Nobody can sustain that kind of pace forever. At least not when you are older. I co-created and produced STARMAN in my twenties. EX MACHINA was done in my late 30's/early 40's. So I started to realize that my speed wasnt what it was. Mainly because I didnt have an Editor knocking me upside the head to keep me on track.

SO, we started to feel the pinch financially. And after a lot of soul searching, despair, late bills and just plain Bad Times, I realized I was in a creative slump.  OK, so If you dont know what that is, or have never been through it, I refuse to try and explain it to you. Mainly because a LOT of folks just think its laziness. I assure you, it is not. Its the most painful thing a creative type can go through. Having no vision, creatively and not being able to produce, its just plain torture.

So being a Freelancer, and at the mercy of the level of production you are capable of, well, things can fall apart pretty quickly financially. And thats what happened. Slowly. Too slow to track it and realize what was going on.  So you set about trying to figure it out. You sell Original Art, you take Commissions, and do whatever you can to get money in the door. But thats not the same as producing. Doing new work. Perpetuating your reputation as a creator and enduring.

So things fell apart. But I am an Illustrator. Its a badge of honor I wear proudly. So I had to find a way. A way to rebuild and fix things, take care of my Family and regain the respect  from family, Friends and Fans that I may have lost.

So, after the WHISTLING SKULL was released by DC Comics ( thank you Ben Abernathy, Hank Kanalz and Jim Lee ) I decided that I would leave the Freelance life of working for the Big 2, and pursue ONLY Creator Owned endeavors. I found IMAGE COMICS. Through the suggestion from my lawyer and Contemporaries, I pitched CHIN MUSIC with Steve Niles to IMAGE. They loved it and we are on the Eve of the release of issue #2. With a commitment to do ROUNDEYE: For Love, to finish WAR HEROES with Mark Millar, and an open door beyond. Plus wrapping up my Chapter in THE GRAVEYARD BOOK with Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, I really feel like I have found my home. I am doing the work I always hoped I would get the chance to do, and am happier creatively than I have EVER been in 20+ years of drawing Comics.

So on the Eve of a life, upturned and trying to rebuild? Im thankful. That my family is in tact. We have food in our refridgerartor, a roof over our heads, and the opportunity and freedom to pursue the things we love. In my case, that would be comics.

TONY-F-ING-HARRIS

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PRE-CON COMMISSION LIST FOR LILLE OPEN!!




http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lille-comics-festival/81153350060

I am now opening my Pre-Con "A" -Commission list for the show. These will be completed before I arrive in France and delivered  at the show. These are studio pieces, hence a bit more attention can be paid to each piece. It's $400 US for an 11x14 pencil, ink, and greywash Illustration. It's a limited list, depending on content of requests made. So act quickly. email me at…shipwreck@cox.net

I will be taking a short list at The Festival of my Convention "B" sketch. It's 9x12 and is pencil, ink and greywash.  These are $250 US, and I will not do company owned characters. Only my own or Public Domain charcarters.  Looking forward to meeting all my French fans, as this is my first trip there! See art examples below…..

TONY





Monday, March 4, 2013

PUTTING OUR OLD HORSES DOWN, INSTEAD OF OUT TO PASTURE

As I lay in my sick bed over the last week , with little to do, I caught up on the happenings, good and bad within the Pop Culture that is and surrounds my life. I found the normal stories one would upon surfing various websites, Blogs and message boards. Typical Fluff, Internet Trolls and squabbles over nothing. Awesome new releases from the Big 2 and from the smaller Publishers, AND the Indy press. I caught up and kept track of ECCC 2013, reading various press releases, reports on Panels, and followed the guest list on Twitter to see what I was missing out on. And I did a lot of Writing. Writing for my personal Projects forthcoming. Writing Bios, and creating Character profiles and back stories for charcaters in the Current books Im working on, ( WHISTLING SKULL, CHIN MUSIC and ROUNDEYE: For Love ). I even came up with a whole new Story, a new property in it's infancy stages, to take it's place in line, gestate, develope and wait it's turn, until my full attention turns back to it, to see it thru to Birth.

But some of the most moving, disturbing and sad stories I have come across in the past week or two have been to do with Artists, Old School or Contemporary, Traditional or Digital, being marginalized, Laid off, Fired, Forgotten or even Black-Balled. And as a Brother to those people being affected by these current happenings, my heart swells, and aches for anyone who pursues creative endeavors, who are seemingly suffering BECAUSE of what or who they are, with little or NO help coming from Contemporaries, and certainly NOT from the Animation Studios, or Comic Book/Book Publishers, except for kind words( well meant ) on the Internet. This really has my head spinning. Not that I am sitting, planning some massive movement to "fix" it. But to just REALLY take it apart from all angles, so that I can understand it. Not just read about it.

Now, some of this is easy to do. Because I know some of these people on a personal level. So I heard about it from them, or they reached out to my family for Moral support, etc… Some not so easy. It requires reading, research, spending time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any number of Social Media. Normally that's hard, because I have a Full time Job as an American Illustrator/ Creator, Comic book Artist/Writer, Designer and Graphic Artist. Plus a wonderful wife and 3 great Kids. But like all creative types, I spend too much time farting around, and cram in all the work in the 11th Hour. Which in my case sometimes is better, as I feel like I work better under pressure, not when I've been given too much time. But this time, I have my "Sick-Bed" to thank for the time, to accomplish a lot of this.

The current situations happening in Hollywodd currently are interesting, to be sure. Dreamworks animation lays off somewhere around 200-350 people. And that equates to what I read equaling something like less than 20% of their entire work force which is estimated to be somewhere near 2000-2500 employees. These numbers fluctuate according to multiple sources. They are estimates on my part. Now after I found about this, I started snooping around my regular Social Media haunts just to see what was being discussed and said. Interesting, isn't quite the word I word I would use.

Of course Social Media is what it is. Raw Nerves running amuk, unchecked aggression, and "Keyboard-Courage" to BURN!!! SO I kept that in mind while I surfed. What I found were 2 main camps of thinking.

1. The big companies in Hollywood that do and own the Animation Industry are getting filthy rich off the backs of the Creative workforce occupying the offices producing Animated features, and the Creative Folk are being comparitively , paid peanuts, and now being fired or laid off because the Studios took a risk on a property, and it did not pan out at the Box Office. They feel they are owed a piece of the Pie. It's not fair, and the employees are "Owed" something.

this one is interesting, on many levels

#1 is for the most part conjecture, assumption and anger on the part of Employees that feel they were wronged, and naivete on the part of said employees as to how the financials work in regards to getting a feature made, or who is paid what, and what is owed to what company…..blah, blah, blah…the fact is, the Studio- their employer and owner of the I.P. that's being developed into an Animated feature….they own that I.P. period. Lock-stock-barrel. Film making is Capitolism. Studios are in the Business of making money. Every Film they produce is Risk. And its a risk that THEY are taking financially, NOT their employees.



2.  The Creative Workforce in Animation are Salaried employees, and Freelance Contractors. They are charged with a task at a job they are paid a wage to execute. This wage is agreed upon by the Employee, and Employer at the time of hiring. Sometimes the hiring is conditional, limited to a certain time frame to complete a feature. So the "Employees" do not own a single percentage of the Studios property, so they are not entitled to profit sharing on any level. They don't own anything. Not even their visual concepts executed during their tenure at any Animation Studio. If the Creative workforce at these studios want more money, or greater compensation for work done on an Animated feature, then they MUST strike out on their own, create their own I.P. so if it's exploited in various media, Animation etc.. that as the Creator of said, I.P.  will benefit financially from their Creation.

this one is even MORE interesting, at least to me……

#2  not much for me to add here. This opinion, which I cobbled together from tons of different comments kinda says it all. They were also variations on both #1 and #2 that I ran across, but these were the prevaling notions concerning the matter. It's to be noted here, that this is not the first time, nor the last time that this has and will happen in Hollywood. Is this specific to Animated Features? NO. There are few that are "Quasi-Permanent" fixtures at ANY Studio. And even they get rotated back to Gen-Pop eventually. My thoughts: Create your own I.P., do the Work for Hire stuff, when the pay is good. But understand, you are disposable. You could be the Biggest Name in Comics, Drawing all the BIG ANCHOR BOOKS!!!! yer still the flavor of the day. You don't wanna hear that, but it's true. YOU ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE.  There are 50 other kids half your age, that will work cheaper than you. So look out for yourself, AND your I.P. There is an absolute in comics, that is rarely uttered, and even more rarely discussed:

There are 2 types of Folk that work in Comics….

1. ARTISANS:  Persons skilled in an applied Art. A Craftsperson.

This is the backbone of the Comics Industry, and we are ALL part of this Machine at one point or another….."

2. CREATORS: A person or Thing, that creates something from WHOLE CLOTH. The "Home/Birthplace" of something created.

" This is the Arena where you rise and fall on the Merit of your own Ideas. No one to blame but you. And the house of those who will add a lasting contribution to the industry…."

Like this, or do not. THIS IS FACT.

I also think every word of what I wrote above applies to the Comic Book Industries Creative pool. 


finally, to borrow from Chris Cornell( Musician and Frontman for SOUNDGARDEN ),…."to be yourself, is all that you can do."


I AM TONY HARRIS, AND I AM A CREATOR.




Thursday, October 11, 2012

WATCHMEN ART FOR SALE!!

UPDATE!!!!  !!!!!UPDATE!!!!!!#2

ALL WATCHMEN ART HAS BEEN SOLD! Thanks for your interest and support!

SILK SPECTRE II HAS BEEN SOLD!
RORSCHACH AND DOCTOR MANHATTAN( and respective prelims ) STILL AVAILABLE UNTIL OCT. 31ST

Hi all. I have three black and white illustrations done for Mattel to be included as Tarot Cards in  limited edition Action Figures coming I think in Early Spring!

So I have a total of 6 Illustrations. 3 camera ready black and white Illo's of DOCTOR MANHATTAN, RORSCHACH and SILK SPECTRE II. I also have the respective preliminary drawings for each. 

The finished Illo's are on acid free strathmore drawing paper measuring 11x14 inches, with an image area of 7x10.5 inches. And the Preliminary drawing are on stock Bond, measuring 8.5x11. All are done in India ink, except for some Copic marker greys on 2 of the Prelims.

The color images shown here are just so you can see what I did with the Digital color.

I am open to, and prefer to sell them ALL as a set, but I will break them into 3 sets: DOCTOR MANHATTAN/PRELIM, RORSCHACH/PRELIM and SILK SPECTRE II/PRELIM.

Each set is priced at $800.

If I am approached by 1 buyer, the WHOLE SET OF 6 ILLO'S  is priced at $2200
Shipping and insurance at paid buy buyer, and is buyers choice.

First come first serve.  Serious inquiries ONLY. Please contact me at ~

shipwreck@cox.net

Cheers! See images below!














Friday, June 29, 2012

WATCH ( MEN ) THIS....

!!DISCLAIMER!!: The following is MY opinion. Nothing that I write here is fact, just one mans opinion based on my personal tastes artistically.

OK, so I got my comps from DC, and cracked open the box like I have a thousand times before. I always leaf through the books to see what jumps out at me, cover-wise. As a cover artist I do this all the time. To see what others are doing. More specifically to see what they are doing "right", or "wrong"in terms of cover art. Then I look at cover credits to see if any writers or artists I dig have done anything new. Some months are better than others. I admit, I don't read as much as I did before and even after I became a pro, but Im pretty choosy when it comes to what I do read. Just no time. Especially with a family. So when I see something in the box, or in the rare occasions when I go to a LCS, that tickles my fancy, I open the book up and have a look. After all, kids, these are Comics! So for me it's ALL about the Art ( needs to be a tight, well paced story too ).

So, imagine my pleasant surprise upon opening said box, when right there, on top, was issue #1 of BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #1.

*Now, the reason for my excitement was not necessarily because it's watchmen, or that it was written by Brian Azzarello. But because J.G. Jones is one my favorite Artists/Creators working in Comics. BAM! I love his work. Excellent draftsman, storyteller AND human being.*

 So I started to do the cursory "flip-through". You know the deal. Look at all the pretty art, check out the storytelling, poor over the color, and soak it in. Then you give it a read. Sometimes a second if need be. But in this case it was needed. I wasn't sure that I had read everything "right". Or that I fully understood things that were being said/inferred by certain characters. But , YES, I did understand it. And I gotta say, I didn't much care for what I was reading..........

!!!!SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!!!!














Not just as a Pro, but as a Fan, and reader of comics, I have 1 rule when it comes to a mini series that I apply to what I choose to read, and what I choose to produce for consumers:

ISSUE #1 MUST BE  EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE. THERE IS NO ISSUE 2 through ?????!!

 You have to nail people in the forehead. Hook them with everything you've got. If not, they likely will not bother with an issue #2. That said, I thought the pacing, the beats, and the content, well...pedestrian. Nothing was really happening. I'm not saying it has to be fist fights and explosions on every page. I'm just saying that I need my attention held. Especially now that the actual story page count of a comic is now at 20. There was a lot of exposition( a bit too much IMO ) and reliance on having a full knowledge of the source material, which doesn't make a Comic, "Reader Friendly". And more exposition. Then more.

Then, the scene that really knocked me backwards was THE COMEDIAN and JACKIE-O having drinks, watching her "Boys" play football, and chatting. So am I made to believe, after reading this scene that JACKIE-O is a mean spirited, scheming succubus, who sneakily infers that, " Drug addled bleach blonde, Bitch -Whores", are a pox  on her marriage, and that they should be done away with? Which THE COMEDIAN does on the following page after I assume he has had his way with her,( judging by her nakedness and the fact that he is buttoning up his pants ) and caused/forced her to O.D. on prescription drugs. Then kisses her naked ass with relish as to what he's just done. So in the course of a handful of pages, Azzarello manages to  vilify both women quite handily, and in my estimation, quite distastefully. It's a shame, cuz the artwork sure was pretty.


Post Script~

In a time when Comics have a spotlight on them, and more attention given to them by main stream media and the buying public, I think what we need is more ORIGINAL MATERIAL. Not retreads. The "House Brand" or the "Stable" of characters like Batman, Spiderman, etc.. and well known and loved. Give a little attention ,developmental money and Advertising dollars to something fresh. Remeber, Comics is maybe the ONLY part of the entertainment Industry that focuses almost SOLELY on ONE GENRE: Super Heroes.

But then, this is just MY OPINION.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

HEROES CON 2012- 30TH ANNIVERSARY!

!!UPDATE!!
HERE ARE THE BOOTH #ERS FOR HEROES CON 2012!
#ERS--201-204 AND #216

SEE YOU THERE.




HOOOOOOOO-WEEEEEEEEE! I can't believe it's almost here. My favorite show of this, or any year.
and guess what? This will be my 22nd year attending Shelton Drums show.....wow. Just wow. When I sit and ponder it, its staggering. But the thing I love most about this show, is the guy who owns and runs it: SHELTON DRUM. I feel fortunate not only to be invited as a guest of the show year, after year. I feel blessed that my fans are always there in seemingly larger numbers each year. But its honor that feel to be able to call Shelton my friend. I know and have known many show promoters over the years. Some good, and some not so much. And some......geez, but Shelton is the one example of myself become "Friends" with a show promoter. He and his family have welcomed us ( me and my family) into theirs with open arms, and treat us like royalty when we attend every year. But beyond all that sappy crap, there is the Con itself. A supremely well run organization, with knowledgeable staff, ready and willing volunteers and a great and convenient venue. I call it, "MY HOME SHOW". Thats what it feels like to me, and to most fans who start going. It rapidly becomes one of, if not your favorite show of the year. As frustration continues to mount among a lot of Fans (and an equally fast growing number of Pros) concerning larger Cons overcrowding and increased focus on multimedia, I invite you personally to come to "MY HOME" on June 22nd. You will be welcomed with open arms to one of the few Cons left that has almost a TOTAL focus on Comic Books. Oh, and my home address? Click the link up top. Hope to see you there.


SHOW SCHEDULE:

THURS~ IRON MAIDEN CONCERT

FRI~  JOLLY ROGER STUDIO BOOTH( ILL UPDATE WHEN I HAVE THE BOOTH # )
TAKING OPEN SKETCH LIST ( NOTE: I NO LONGER SKETCH COMPANY OWNED OR COPYRIGHTED CHARACTERS, JUST MY OWN AND PUBLIC DOMAIN )~ WITH A SIGNING FROM 1:00-3:00  FROM 3:00-CLOSE ILL BE DOING A "LIVE" PAINTING TO DONATE TO THE ART AUCTION

SAT~ JOLLY ROGER STUDIO BOOTH( ILL UPDATE WHEN I HAVE THE BOOTH # )
TAKING OPEN SKETCH LIST ( NOTE: I NO LONGER SKETCH COMPANY OWNED OR COPYRIGHTED CHARACTERS, JUST MY OWN AND PUBLIC DOMAIN )~ WITH A SIGNING FROM 1:00-3:00

SUN~ JOLLY ROGER STUDIO BOOTH( ILL UPDATE WHEN I HAVE THE BOOTH # )
TAKING OPEN SKETCH LIST ( NOTE: I NO LONGER SKETCH COMPANY OWNED OR COPYRIGHTED CHARACTERS, JUST MY OWN AND PUBLIC DOMAIN )~ WITH A SIGNING FROM 1:00-3:00

FINALLY, FOR THE FIRST TIME AT HEROES-CON, I WILL HAVE A LARGE STOCK OF MY BOOKS FOR SALE, INCLUDING; TONY HARRIS: ART AND SKULDUGGERY, VARIOUS HARDCOVER EDITIONS OF EX MACHINA AND HARDCOVER STARMAN OMNIBUS, ALL UNDER COVER PRICE.