Drawings, paintings, works by David Grilla email me at

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pen and Ink Masters...Al Williamson

 Al Williamson (1931 - 2010) is a true legend in the comic book world and perhaps my favorite comic artist. His career spanned six decades and he was a contemporary of and collaborator with Frank Frazetta and Roy Krenkel among others.

Al Williamson

Williamson's career was so long that it's difficult for me to pin down what he was most famous for. There was his work for EC in the 1950's:

Feldstein (writer) Williamson (art)

His work on the Flash Gordon daily (see top) as well as his work for Warren publishers Eerie and Creepy magazines:

And, my personal favorite, Star Wars in the 80's:

The above art is from his work on the Star Wars daily comic strip. This work was collected and reprinted in a three volume hardcover set by publisher Russ Cochran. It is printed in its original format with all bumper art included. It's more than amazing and a must have if you are a Williamson or Star Wars fan. What a happy accident that I'm both. There are a few up on Ebay ranging in price from $300 to $1950. Good luck and happy hunting!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pen and Ink a Day...sort of

Another of the drawings I did for Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu 7th ed. The original is roughly 5" x 9" done on Canson 300 series Bristol board. I used Pitt pens for this rather than a traditional pen and nib. Chaosium funded the project via Kickstarter and I was delaying posting these until publication but it's taken them a bit longer than expected to release the book. They've put it out as a PDF so I figured that's good enough for me.

I know the title of the blog is a portrait a day and this isn't technically a portrait, nor do I post these every day but what the hell, I needed to give the post a title. If your interested in my portrait a day posts check out my tumblr blog. It's not a daily either but I do post just my drawings there and I put up a portrait every few days. I've got maybe 50 or so up there. You can also check out my work at Deviantart. Its a great site, basically facebook for illustrators. You spend a whole lot of time browsing that site.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mondo Monday ... " I could have anything down my trousers"

Still haven't been able to watch this all the way through, it's just too damn long (and boring). I lose interest at the barrel scene every time, it's too long and despite Peter Jacksons fascination with these effects heavy wild chase scenes (see that other snorefest King Kong, particularly the brontosaur stampede) they are just silly. So onto to the poster, another hit for Mondo and another great scratch board by Nico Delort.

Nico Delort 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pen and Ink Masters... Nico Delort

I may have posted work by this guy before but in case I haven't I'm gonna go ahead and put up some of his work here. If I have it's still okay because Delort is that good. Delort works out of Paris, France and has only been working professionally for about 3 or 4 years. There aren't many commercial artists still using this technique and fewer still actually making a career out of it.

The End of the Road | Solaris Books
Cover for 'The End of the Road', a horror anthology edited by Jonathan Oliver. Client: Solaris

and another,

A Woman's Courage | Gallery Nucleus
Eowyn battles the Witch King of Angmar in this Lord of the Rings inspired piece for a group show at Gallery Nucleus

and just one more,

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug | MondoArtwork for a limited edition print of 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' for Mondo

this last has just been added to my Mondo must haves.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Comic Awesomeness Conan Covers... Mike Mignola

Alright, so apparently I live in Lego Land where everything is awesome but I can't help liking certain things and being passionate about those interests. In the world of literature my two favorite fictional characters are Conan and Sherlock Holmes, in the world of art I'm drawn to pop culture such as comics and book covers so its only natural that most of my favorite artists come from those two arenas.

I recently discovered that Mike Mignola had done a couple of Conan Covers for Marvel in the 90's and am now on the hunt for any other Mignola Conan work, including the covers he did for Dark horse. I'm thrilled by everything Mignola does so to find that he did some Conan work has me bouncing off the walls. I recall seeing his work on DC's Cosmic Odyssey in the 80's and was struck by the way he depicted characters in flight. They weren't always streamlined like a diver striking the water. Mignola occasionally had the characters just sort of floating, arms and legs hanging down while their head and torso remained horizontal. It's a strange thing to take note of and remember all these years later but it made the characters appear to actually be fighting gravity.

Back to Conan...

The Dark Horse covers are amazing. Mignola is a great draughtsman, similar to Kirby in the strength of his designs. Most impressive is the fact that Mignola keeps getting better. Compare the above covers from 2006 with those from the 1990's below.

The Marvel covers from the 90's offer a nod to Barry Windsor-Smith and his iconic run in th early 70's but retain the strong design that is a Mignola hallmark. Mignola has stated that his current work is about less detail and stronger design. The less is more philosophy isn't always about stronger work and a change in direction, occasionally it's about loss of creativity and the desire to do the work, think Joey Kramer, the drummer for Aerosmith. Early 70's Joey was a dynamic powerhouse, early 80's Joey became a jazz minimalist without the jazz. This is most definitely not the case with Mignola, whose work has simply gotten more beautiful as he ages.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mondo Monday ... "The Adventures of Johnny Quest"

A beautifully designed poster for what was and still remains the absolute coolest animated series ever. Johnny Quest was created by Doug Wildey and ran during the 1964/65 season on prime time. The show chronicled the adventures of Dr. and Johnny Quest, their bodyguard Roger "Race" Bannon, Johnny's friend Hadji and their dog Bandit.

by Mathew Woodson
The show ran in re-runs on saturday mornings for years and was a particular favorite of mine (alongside Loony Tunes and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?) because it was an action show played straight. The shows leads were always involved in something dangerous, characters both good and bad died horrible deaths and Bandit was along to provide some comic relief. Also notable is that the two adult male leads were portrayed as normal, capable men in all respects. Dr. Quest wasn't a bumbling fool with a big brain, nor was Race Bannon a muscle bound freak consumed with blood lust. Both were professionals with complimentary skill sets.

from the original series 1964/65
According to legendary comic artist Alex Toth, the shows designer, Hanna-Barbera pulled the plug after the first season because of its cost. Toth also believed that there was too small a talent pool of artists that could accurately draw realistic and naturalistic people to maintain the shows distinctive look. The series has been updated in the 80's and 90's and, for all I know, more recently but it seems Doug Wildey captured lightning in a bottle in his pre counter culture adventure series.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Head Explosively Awesome

I've seen quite a few movies this past year and enjoyed most of them. A couple that come to mind are Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-men Days of Future Past, and Gone Girl. I'll probably see a great many more this coming year on cable and Netflix but I prefer to see big budget pictures on a movie screen and am willing to play catch up on those smaller pictures where the actual story is more important than the visual and special effects. One of the big budget pictures I missed at the theatre this year and wanted to see was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I got the blu ray for Christmas, watched it and found it to be pretty terrific.

Guardians of the Galaxy got most of the buzz, and rightly so, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is maybe a better movie. I say maybe because I haven't really made up my mind. The title sequence from Guardians locked me into the picture and kept me there for the whole ride but Apes got me with the poster for Christ's sake! In fact, the poster leads to me point out what may be the greatest single scene I've ever seen in a movie. Think Neo and Trinity climbing the walls and slow motion spinning in a massive gunfight, think Mac and his compadres flipping out as The Thing opens its chest/maw and rips Docs arms off. I'm talking about scenes that are so unbelievable, so incredible that your almost not sure your actually seeing what it is you are seeing. This is how I felt when watching Koba attack the humans compound. There's this battle scarred badass gleefully charging the walls alone, mounted on a horse, while blazing away with a machine gun in each hand. I was so out of my mind watching this that I thought my head was going to explode!

Damn, I wish I had seen this in the theatre. I realize Koba was the villain but this was just so cool. All hail Ceasar but Long Live Koba.

P.S. I'm adding that poster to the long list of Mondos I have to have.