Sunday, December 31, 2023

STRIKE While the Fist is Hot


Angela Mao returns to the silver screen with 1973's WHEN TAEKWONDO STRIKES. My art for this package takes it's cue from the visual theme I established for a previous double feature of her films. Whereas the main characters were rendered in gray tones for the cover and in-color for the interior booklet of that release, this time I reversed that approach and put more color on the cover. 

The layering of characters, splattering of paint, and the angled, dimensional title text gives it some depth, without implying the film is presented in 3D. 

For the booklet the focus is shifted to Jhoon Rhee. I grew up near his dojo in Washington D.C., so his television commercials with that famous music and "NOBODY BAHDAHS ME, EDAH" slogan was ingrained in my impressionable brain from childhood. It's unfortunate he didn't do more films. But at least this one is getting an HD re-release.  

And for fun, to close out the year, here's some Chrismas card art I did for martial artists Karen Campbell and Cynthia Rothrock. HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody. May your blessings continue.

Catch you on the flip side.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Welcome to the Cult

I did this art for the Blu-ray packaging of Wong Jong's 1993 wuxia flick, KUNG FU CULT MASTER, starring Jet Li perhaps at the peak of his popularity. The first or a proposed two-parter, it's filled with fast-paced, high-flying wire-fu action and the requisite amount of double crosses. Who's on who's side? Well, the cover gives you a hint if you get confused. Heroes on top, villians down below. 

There was some marketing at the time of this release that accidently, and hilariously, mis-titled the film KUNG FU COLT MASTER. I remember the Hong Kong VCD was notrious in this regard. Now THAT'S a movie I'd like to see. The story of a horse who practices martial arts. Somebody get Roger Corman on the phone.

The film is jam-packed with characters, and quite a few big stars, so I felt the cover should reflect that element. Jet needed to loam large in his typical, stoic, offensive/defensive (come at me bro) pose. His name large across the top. While the art style and font choice coveyed the period, fantasy-action aspect of the film, so popular with local audiences at the time. Add some saturated colors to make it pop off a neutral background and bake for 20 minutes to a light orange.

Mao strikes back. Next time.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Urban Action Showcase

I designed this piece for the cover of a publication which showcased black actors/martial artists who flourished in the kung fu/martial arts action film craze that Bruce Lee helped kick off in the early 1970s. In fact, three of them (Jim Kelly, Donnie Williams and Steve Muhammad) appeared in ENTER THE DRAGON which celebrated it's 50th anniversary this year. 

Sammo Hung's protégé, Robert Samuels (DON'T GIVE A DAMN), and Taimak (THE LAST DARGON) round out the composition, along with the 'Little Dragon' himself watching over them.

For fun, I gave it a slight 1970s feel, with "racetrack" borders in green and orange. And I further aged it with some distressing as it was to be used for a limited edition t-shirt as well.

Next time, we send in the clones. Or maybe not. We shall see.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Deadly Strike!

Here's an illustration I did for a cover of a publication featuring Taiwanese actor/director Lu Feng, star of the 1978 Shaw Brothers film FIVE DEADLY VENOMS. (It might be fun to do a full series of these sometime.)

Lu is the deadly centipede coiled and ready to strike. Do centipedes actually coil? And are they even deadly? Well, I'm not going to find out. His blade looks pretty sharp to me.

And this is piece I did for a friend. Karen Campbell and Cynthia Rothrock getting their kicks. (The Welsh and Chinese dragons approve.)

The butt kicking continues... nex ttime. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Female Fighting Frenzy


This is a piece I illustrated a while ago for the cover of a new publication. It's now finally coming out so I can share it here. The lighting design and color palette help to tie the elements together while giving it a unique look. I enjoyed the subect matter so this was a fun piece to do. 

Not a whole lot to say about it other than... for those fools who underestimate Sally's knuckle guns, she also has a absurdly large rocket launcher concealed in her arm. Like all good robot women should.

After the art was done, a few new interviews were conducted so a second cover was created to reflect the additional content. This is that version below.

Next time... the Centipede STRIKES!

Friday, October 13, 2023

Feeling a Scary Shiver

Considering October is when the spooks come out, (and today is Friday the Thirteenth) I thought I'd share some art I did for a fun series of children's "horror" novels. Think Scooby Doo Mysteries except that the monsters... are real. Maybe the Goosebumps series is a better comparison.

I've been illustrating the SCARY SHIVERS series for a while and have enjoyed comin up with vaguely spooky dream-like imagery. All the while staying this side of good taste, considering the intended audience. (The world's full of weird jobs. Sometimes I get paid to draw an attacking hoard of hundreds of ferocious cave-dwelling roach-like creatures with glowing eyes and dripping fangs. Just another Wednesday afternoon at my place.)

The interior art is rendered in gory grayscale, while the covers are presenting in full creepy color. The first three books in the series are THE CURSE OF SHADOW PARK, THE LEGEND OF THE SERPENT WITCH and THE WEEPING HOUSE.   

The author requested I refrain from illustrating the three tweenage protagonists thus allowing for the reader to better imprint themselves into the story. All the artwork is therefore rendered as POVs (point of views) further helping with the immersion. Here's a splattering of interior art examples featuring a couple creepy-crawlies. If you want more, well then you'll just have to buy the books.

That is... if you DARE!

Well that's all for now. Next time. Sci-fi action babes get the spotlight they deserve.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Royal Treatment

In the early 1990s Cantonese comedian Stephen Chow burst to super stardom in Hong Kong. His films often outgrossed even Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat movies at home. In fact, the top five highest grossing HK films of 1992 were all Stephen Chow films. (Hey dude, howzabout leave something for the rest of us!) It is from that very furtile period that these two films arose. Well, it's more like one 3 hour film chopped into two 90 minutes halves. With bottom-denominator Wong Jing at the helm, you know what to expect and yep, it delivers. Lots of nipple twisting. Philistines rejoice. 

For the outer packaging of the Blu-ray collection of both ROYAL TRAMP films, I briefly considered going with a super-deformed big-head caricatured cartoony style synominous with Hong Kong action-comedies of the time. But although that goes over well with HK audiences, I think my client's European audiences associate that more with straight comedies, and although this film is quite silly, I think the bigger draw to this market is the over-the-top martial arts action and not the Cantonese wordplay Chow is known for. So instead I played up the bright colors, the large recognizable cast, the fanciful costumes and of course Chow's goofiness... all wrapped in an ornate, slightly formal, Chinese framework.  

October is coming and that when the spooks come out. Next time.