The Flaming Carrot & The Mystery Men Smash Up

We had a contest in our artist corner for humorous indie characters and I saw it as an opportunity to explore some characters I've really been getting to know a lot lately.

Bob Burden's Flaming Carrot and The Mystery Men.

These are some really fun characters to play with, and they push the imagination both visually and in story potential. Here is a collection of what I've put together so far.

The history of comics is forever changed!
Mysterious B&W Photo taken by the Olsen twins
Blue Raja
Bondo Man
Captain Attack
Disc Man
Dynamite Girl
The Flaming Carrot
Jumpin' Jehosaphat
Mr Furious
Red Rover
The Bowler
The Shoveler
The Spleen
The Strangler

DragonCon 2011 - My adventures into the mysterious unknown

Thanks to the influence of Roxanne Starr and some work I've been doing with Bob Burden I got the chance to hit up DragonCon this year on it's 25th anniversay with a pro pass. I'd never been to a major convention and had NO IDEA what to expect from a Sci-Fi & Fantasy con but I knew I was gonna like it.

The trip started off pretty crazy even before I headed to Atlanta. Hurricane Irene trounced right through my town and I was sitting without power or water for 3 days before jumping on my flight. I did manage to get down there though and was lucky enough to get a free day on Wednesday to hangout at Oxford Comic for the new Justice League. That was a fun event meeting some great comic fans in a store that does unbelivably well for business.

The rest of the week was mostly about work and helping Bob cover his table but there were some cool moments and really cool people that I got to meet.


Basically all we had to worry about was setting up the tables so it was the easiest day. I got my first real exposure to the cosplay world and I gotta say I'm hooked. After setting up the table, Bob hooked up with David Spurlock, Jim Sterenko, and Dean Motter and we decided to go try out a Greek diner a few blocks from the hotel. We ate and then hit up the VIP room where guests of the convention could hang and get free food and drinks.


This is when the party really kicked in. There wasn't anyplace within 5 blocks of the hotels that you weren't surrounded by a swarm of cosplayers in really fantastic outfits. I kick myself in the ass now for only having a crappy iPhone to snap pictures with, next time I'll know better. We finished off the day and got some dinner with the same crew as the night before and again enjoyed some free drinks at the VIP room. Then we headed over to the late night art exhibit where you got to meet some of the talented fantasy artists from the show.


This day started off the craziest. There was a parade from 8am to 11am and because of that there was EVEN MORE people out there. Trying to find a parking spot anywhere near the hotel was damn near impossible. When we did finally manage to find a spot I unpacked and Bob went up to the parking machine to pay. In Atlanta the parking lots have machines where you put your money in and there's a huge sign right above it that says to NEVER pay an attendent and to only use the machine, Well before Bob could pay for his spot a guy runs up to him with a parking shirt on and says to pay him, not the machine. Bob, not being a sucker, told him he was going to put it in the machine and if he wanted it he could take it from there. The guy then responded with 'Get out of this parking lot', and Bob then took out his video camera and asked him to say that again. Then things got REALLY crazy.

The guy grabbed the camera out of Bob's hand and next thing I knew they were in a bear hug. I jumped inbetween them and tried reminding Bob we were late and needed to get to business. Then a second guy with a parking shirt showed up and they tried tag teaming him. I shoved the guy who had his camera off to the side and told him to give me back the camera and I would get him back to the car and we were done here. He refused and started trying to turn it on to erase what Bob had recorded. I was done playing around at that point and snatched it out of his hands and told him to back off unless he really wanted to make trouble. Finally I got Bob back to the car and it wasn't a coincedence as we left to get another spot that those two took off and stopped scamming those parking lots.

I went to open Bob's table while he went and filed a police report and the rest of the day was so crazy busy that we didn't have time to dwell on how it started. Afterwards I partied in the VIP room for a few hours before we headed out to a bar called the 'The New American Shakespeare Tavern' to watch some of the convention artists, like Bill Sienkiewicz perform body painting on some beautiful models.


We partied hard Saturday, and I had some data that needed to be offloaded before we could go into Sunday. I barely blinked after I layed down before I heard Bob typing away and then about an hour later the printer started ripping away. I laughed to myself wondering what he was up to.

When I finally did get up, he handed me a 'Wanted' sign with a picture of the dude he'd scuffled with the day before. It was mixed with all sorts of crazy rythmatic poetry and you couldn't help but look at it and just crack up. To make it even funnier, when we got into the city he stopped at the lot where it all went down and posted a bunch of them up on all the trees. He also handed them out throughout the day and during his panels session with his fans, joking to watch out for this guy.

After Bob's panel Jim Steranko's panel was next in the same room and I had to stick around for that because he's the reason I dug Nick Fury and after partying with him the past few nights I was totally inspired by his charisma. He's got to be one of the slickest dudes in the universe because no matter where we went the ladies had to introduce themselves and say hi. He's just that smooth. :)

After Jim's panel, Roxanne and I helped him get his stuff up to his room and they started talking about going to Peter David's BBQ party. Roxy already knew how huge a fan I was of Peter's work and pateiently put up with my fandom as we trucked across hotels. Unfortunately Peter was hosting a costume contest when we got there but I did get to meet his talented wife Kathleen O'Shea David (who worked at Oxford & Roxy helped introduce to Peter) and thier adorable daughter Caroline. (who I managed to snap up a few art originals the next day from)


Monday went slow, being the last day along with the rain coming in from hurricane Lee (yea two hurricanes in two weeks in two states for me), it was an adventure just to make it to the hotel and stay dry. It was only a half day for Bob so I pretty much roamed the comic room with Roxy. I FINALLY got to meet Peter David and to top it off after telling him about Bob's tussle with the parking guy Roxy handed him a copy of the wanted poster which he started banging on the table like a beatnik with bongos and reciting perfectly. I laughed so hard I damn near choked, again wishing I had the right camera for the moment.

Overall I had the time of my life and without a doubt I'm hooked on the convention scene. I learned more in a week about the comic industry getting to talk with Roxanne than I've learned from 30 years of collecting. I also found an incredibly creative outlet and inspiration working with Bob. For sure I'll be visiting Atlanta some more in the future :)

Unfortunately I only had my crappy ass iPhone for pics so they're blurry and suck but this is some of what I ran across



As I was working on the models for the lil HEROES Portrait Studio, I started thinking of some pretty wacky adventures for these guys. I got my hands on a great playschool room model and here you'll see the further adventures of the lil HEROES in PLAY'S COOL

you can also view the full-screen frame gallery on DEVIANT HERE

PLAYS COOL frame 1
PLAYS COOL frame 2
PLAYS COOL frame 3

The lil HEROES Portrait Studio

It's funny how the inspiration and ideas bounce around in our artists corner like molecules reacting to each other.

Raven0207 & M.S. Feather started a weekly quest thread last week and for their first theme they went with the X-Babies. It was so adorable that I couldn't help but wanna try making some lil versions of characters.

I used to be a portrait photographer and my absolute favorite shoots were always baby portraits. Contrary to what most people think, they are actually the easiest models to work with and it's not hard to make beautiful pictures with them. So I thought...

How cool would it be to run a photo studio that specialized in baby comic book characters?

So I decided to create the

Where super babies go to get their portraits done


Those are the models I've made so far that I'll be using to create shoots with.

Stay tuned, same baby time, same baby channel :)


You can also see their further adventures OVER HERE

where lil HEROES go to play

2010 - My contest year in review

Reflecting on the brain cells popped this year I found the most interesting things coming from the vine.  

I lurked the artist forum for like 6 months itching to try something but didn't feel ready till Tom Pinchuk threw a contest challenging all to portray the vine staff. That got me going again creatively and while I was trying to figure out how to approach it I finally got involved in the artist show downs here to make creative excuses to practice.  
Best thing I ever did to actually get better :) 
Here's my first 30 contests, covering a crazy diversity of subjects that our artists keep coming up with for choices. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! (music by Lifehouse)   


Video Gallery - Painted With Light (Tonis)

These were images I did from 2000 - 2003. Where I started shifting creatively as technology started catching up with my needs. Mentally I was going through love, and loss, and all the things in-between that make you grow. By the time I was done I learned what the middle pieces in the puzzle are for. Music is a 'Synthesis' recording I made titled 'She'


Video Gallery - Heroes v1 (Tonis)

If you LOVE comics and do any kind of art it's inevitable that you make something 'hero related'. From the first image I made in photoshop onward I looked for any excuse to practice on a character. These are late 90's pieces so they're a little more basic, but they helped me to learn so many useful imaging tricks back then. The music is a piece I wrote titled 'Marching Forward'. 

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Donate to the Whiskey shirt fund

Riezner has put a call out to all viners getting shirts from their subscriptions. After getting mine I wanted to show it off in a cool way and decided to model it in a 3d program. Using these two images taken from my iphone I made the following image. I then thought 'How cool would it be to show all the Whiskey shirts out there?'. If you have one and can provide a good front on shot of the front and back designs I'll be sure to include your donations to the cause in the credits.


Video Gallery - Pieces of Tonis v2

more of my early works crunched into a codec... 
After you find the corners pieces in a puzzle you search for the rest of the border. That's what the following works were in my timeline. Exploring the interaction between objects and the meaning of things. 


Video Gallery - Pieces of Tonis v1

These images were the earliest of my digital endeavors, Back in the late 90's when photoshop was still a baby and 3D offered small teases of realism I explored whenever I could with what I had. I was in the middle of a photography career at that point and much of what I did was playing with forms of figures and how colors/lights played with the emotion of the scene. 
This would be the corner pieces around my imaging puzzle. Music is a pianoworx recording I made way back when titled 'With Faith Alone'.  

If your experimenting with art and going through any of these journeys, I'd love to see your steps. I see so much promise from the artists forums here and can't help but wonder what's on the horizon, and what tomorrows minds are thinking?
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