As a kid i played video games in arcades and one of my all time favorites was Street Fighter, a game designed by Takasahi Nishiyama in the1980s for the Japanese based company Capcom. Originally it hit arcades in the states around 87. Shit really hit the fan when they released Street Fighter 2, which is when I found it. To date there are many characters, some from the original two games and many additions. Chun-Li was always one of my favorites.
I must admit i didn't know who Blade was until I saw the film. I didn't grow up reading comics because no one I knew read them or hipped me to them. But as a father I have the joy of rediscovering them and sharing them with my son. We bound monthly over the latest or older comic. Can't wait to show him this character, then later the film.
Original drawing here.
Heres a wrinkly page from my sketch book of artist Mode 2, born in Mauritius, brought up in London, and spent much time in Paris. The first time I saw his work was on the cover of "Spraycan Art" my mom bought me when I was just a little kid doodling. Always been a HUGE fan of his work. If you look closely at some of my paintings of figures and characters you can see where his influence snuck in. Its not intentional, but I have always looked at his work both on walls and on canvas or paper. While checking out Refa 1's "Aerosoul" art show in Oakland I actually got to meet him very briefly. Hope to work with him some day. If you haven't seen his wall paintings of characters or his erotic art, look him up!
This is Mike Dream, one of the pioneers of Bay Area Graffiti Art and Bombing from Oakland California via The Philippines. I met Mike when I was just ten years old in Richmond California at Hill top mall, and the last time I talked to him I was 19 on my way to work in Berkeley California. If you ever see me at an event or out and about, ask me about him. If you are unfamiliar with his name or his work, please look him up. He is one of the huge reasons why I was inspired to be an artist, and my life (like soooo many in the bay and across the world) wouldn't be the same without his art, messages, advice, and example as a human being. Shout out to Spie, Vogue, Bam, Meut, Krash, his whole crew and all the folks who've ever painted/written his name. Shout to his lil brother, Akil, and the whole TDK family. RIP. If you are ever in Oakland California, you should visit "Dream Day" in August.
Hey, this man right here is Buddy Esquire, one of the illest artists to ever do artwork that both illustrated and supported a culture he was living in called "Hip Hop". He was a writer first and then applied those skills to design. Him, Phase 2, and Eddie Ed were some of the best artists to have designer your show flyer back in the day in the BX and NYC. I've always gravitated to his work before I even knew who he was. It has impacted me in how I see design, style, and contrast. Any kind of artist can appreciate the work he put in for the culture, I just wish he got more love while he was a live and that I sought him out while living in NYC. Much love to his family, may he rest in peace.
My son and I watched this documentary called "Boys of Summer" that we picked up from the library. He liked it so much he wanted to check it out twice. Since my son had just finished playing little league baseball for the first time this past spring he was excited to see a documentary about baseball. And I picked it out because it features boys of color playing the game. We didn't know anything about the island of Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela, but the boys look like they could be from Harlem, Oakland, South Africa, or Ecuador. If you haven't seen the film by Keith Aumont, go see it!
This is Glenn from The Walking Dead, one of my favorite characters from the show. I wasn't that into it at first. In fact I didn't start watching it until last year. I have to say this, you never get to see characters like Glenn. I mean, most of US Tv watchers think of Asian Americans as intelligent but docile or weak unless they are doing some form of martial arts. So over the course of the show you not only get to see his humanity along with others, but you get to see him knock a guy out. I'm not for smacking people for no reason, but this guy had it coming. Go Glenn!
Dead Prez. Here are lyrics from two songs, one verse from M-1 and one from Stic Man.
"The cops stop you just cause you black THAT'S WAR run your prints through the system THAT'S WAR when they call my hood a drug zone THAT'S WAR slum lords charge me for the rent THAT'S WAR why they so rich and we poor THAT'S WAR if you young and black you sell crack THAT'S WAR the White House is the rock house THAT'S WAR George Bush coming out his mouth THAT'S WAR chillen on the corner with your gang THAT'S WAR popo do the same damn thing THAT SWAR when they murdered Amado Dialo THAT'S WAR marching through the streets is a strategy of WAR knowing self defense is a strategy of WAR soldiers try to link with other soldiers THAT'S WAR Revolutionaries gotta know the art of WAR What about hip hop use that fuck a rap battle what about a gat battle lets take it to the beast and see which cat tattle Is it 'Kiss vs. Beans or P vs. Hov' What about the real niggaz vs. the 5-0 This is M-1, DP, don't you forget Cause you can talk talk talk but it don't mean shit I ain't gotta pop your top to see where your brains went This rap shit is bigger then entertainment It's the people vs. the pigs when it all boils down It ain't 'Pac vs. Big it;s whos getting the power And power ain't money dog its self determination Like taking Hot and making this the real People's Station THAT'S WAR" -M1"That's War"a play on Black Rob's song "That's Whoa"
"You're my brother and I love you and I wrote this for ya
If I could change anything, it's what that dope did to ya
Coming up, I looked up to being just like you
Same crease in my khakis tried to dress like you You getting swole lifting weights, stocking caps with waves I'm trying to see the world how you see it, wearing you shades You and pops never really got along, who was right or wrong 15 years old kicked out all alone in this cold world And I can only imagine what you was going throughCause I was so young when it happened Mama cried like a baby that dayShe never blamed you, it was painful Cause she knew the streets was waiting to claim you Over time, we could see the hardness in your face Wanted to help, but couldn't find the words to say I guess I went into denial hoping for the very best Stopped believing in they God cause what God would allow this? Not in my wildest nightmares, nothing compares To see my brother be a crack fiend for all these years Tried to send you inspiration when you was locked in the pen But soon as you came home you right back on that shit again And mama say she don't feel safe with you home She got to hide money and lock her room door when she gone We still love you but until you find strength in yourself And the will power to open up and accept our help What can we do? I can't let you terrorize mom dukes We feeling like we just gone have to turn you loose They say in war there's no victory without causalities But when it hits your family that's when you really see " -Stic Man on "Window to my Soul"
I cannot stress the value and importance of telling ones own story. If you still have not seen "Rhymes for Young Ghouls" do yourself a favor and watch this period piece bydirector Jeff Barnaby, starring Devery Kawennáhere Jacobs.
I saw an exhibition at MOAD (Museum of the African Diaspora) with Elizabeth Catlett's artwork. Wow, I loved her work so much. She used sculpture, printmaking, and illustration. She was born in 1915, grow up in Washington DC later ging to Mexico to study artwork there at the Taller de Grafica. I love her work because it depicts black folks with so much pride and strength. More than that she also illustrated a connection with Mexicans and Black folks. Go check out her work!
Can't remember the first time I saw Hung Liu's work, but I thought it was beautiful. She paints in oil and uses drips, streaks, and strokes to paint with. Her paintings are of a mixture of imagination and old photographs from China. She was introduced to me by my wife who was a student of hers. Went to see her artwork in person at OMCA and was extremely inspired. She was born in 1948 in China where she studied painting. She came to the us in 1984 and her work speaks about the contrast between life here and there. Watch this video of her.
So blessed to be featured here on this new creative endeavor of long time homie and fellow creative Halline "Haylow" Overby who does amazing work as a DJ, videographer, and photographer. In this new series he is working to highlight the work of other artists much the same way he did with the TV show Distortion 2 Static back in the day. Please follow the progress of this series and interact with it by giving props, constructive criticism, or suggestions for other artists.
Love this character that I learned about through author Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew. Its based off a much older character from the 30s I believe which is the first Chinese American Superhero in comics. Their book called "The Shadow Hero " is an awesome read and perfect for any school aged child that can read on their own. I met both guys and they were really nice, very down to earth. Listen to them speak about it.
More than just a diver, more than just fisherwomen, haenyeo are fearless super heroes of Korean culture. Off the island of Jeju in Korea women have for ages been diving into the depths of the sea to get seafood like crabs, octopus, and others to feed their families and to sell in local markets. Some of them did it for ages without equipment! Its a handed down tradition that I read about in Lucky Peach and various other sources.
Here is a collection of character designs from this past year. Although the year is not yet finished, it has been one year since last years collage, and the year before that. I started to practice character design to improve my ability four years ago and it is now an integral part of my practice when attempting to tell a story. To date my work has benefited my skills and has lead to work in children's books, game design, animation, and more.
One thing I focus on greatly is freedom of expression and diversity. The representation of children who are mixed like me or come from some of the various backgrounds in my family is getting better, but we still have along way to go. That is why the characters you see are diverse in their race, size, and gender. I attempted to create a character that is transgender, do you see him/her?
If you would like to purchase this collage as a poster, please visit my store: LINK
If you would like to see some of these characters and others in more detail, please click here for more examples on my blog and my site. Thank you for your support and for visiting, commenting, or sharing. Blessings to you!
Here is a quick one of "Mojo" and "Lucy" from Everett Downing's story "The Book of Mojo". I contributed to this campaign via Indiegogo and can't wait to see what the animated story finally looks like. Please check out the team behind the story too!
One of the most incredible things about this series is that I get to share art and other peoples art with you. I'm having fun drawing Inktober drawings and I wanted to draw Gina who is a phenomenal filmmaker. She has been working in the industry for well over two decades as a writer on TV shows such as "A Different World" and as a writer/director. One of the ongoing themes of her films has been perseverance and love. In her films the characters go through trials and tribulations but come out stronger on the other side. Some of my favorite films by her are Love and Basketball, Disappearing Acts, and now Beyond the Lights. If you have seen her work, please go check her work out.
Listen to her interview w/ Array on "The Call In"
This is an Inktober drawing of film maker Ava DuVernay using brush, ink, a little bit of water color, and some white pastel. The reason I'm drawing Ava is because she has been a tremendous creative influence on me. Both her work in creating and promoting films has been humble, tough, creative, and incredible. And although I only became aware of her once she did the Hip Hop documentary "This is the Life" about The Good Life Cafe in Leimert Park, I feel like I've watched watched her grow so much. I'm not going to give you her whole story, you can google that for yourself, but I will say her contributions to the medium of storytelling through film have been amazing. If you are not familiar with her film work, google her. If you are not familiar with Array/ Affirm distribution model for independent Black films, look that up too. I promise you will be inspired. Middle of Nowhere, The Door, , Vermont is for Lovers too, Venus Vs, and Selma are my favorite pieces of hers so far. Can't wait to see what she does next whether it is quiet or loud.
"My sort of mantra in life and in films is if we don't tell our own stories, no one else will tell them"
Mira Nair is one of my biggest inspirations for storytelling. She has been working as a film director since the late 80s and has made countless narrative films from the perspective of a person of color. Why is that important? Because very often when films about people of color are made they are often made by white directors who either leave things out of the story, misinterpret, or completely ignore the poc story and put themselves at the heart of the narrative. Ever heard of "Dances with Wolves, The Last Samurai, The story of Steve Biko, even hip hop films like Electric Boogaloo? These films are often set in a community inhabited by Black and Brown folks but their story is not told.
Films like Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Salaam Bombay, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist made by Mira tell stories from inside the lives of people of color that we as movie lovers rarely see, by a person of color.
One of the other reasons I am inspired by her is her work to share knowledge, her refusal to compromise her art, and her ability to move within and outside of Hollywood. Not only has she worked on films that focus on POC but she's also worked with Hollywood to tell stories like Amelia Earnhart, which to me shows an openness to try all angles. And since the time of Salaam Bombay she has dedicated time, expertise, and money to teaching the craft of film making to people of color or helping to fund their education in someway. A good example is her film company Maisha Film Labs based in Uganda. If you havent seen her work, go check her out!
Peace, if this is your first time hearing or seeing "I Am Sausal Creek" let me present you the cover and some process shots from the creation of the book. Here is a link to purchase.
So me and author Melissa Reyes began work together on this book last year , but she has been working on the words for much longer which are beautiful, to the point, and poetic. And I would say they are equally matched by Cinthya Muñoz who translated the book.
Basically I start off every project (whether is on a book, for an organization, game company, whatever) with thumbnails. 1. Thumbnails: these are like quick jotted down ideas of what I see when I read text from the project or look at my notes. 2. Rough Sketches: Basically I ask my client or art director on the project to choose half or less of the thumbnails they liked, then I do a slightly larger sketch of those thumbnails. 3. Refined Sketches: Here, we decide on one image to express the idea/ story. This one image may need elements from the other sketches or revisions to refine it. Illustration tells a huge amount of the story with image.
Whether it is used in storytelling or character design, you see images that communicate the story/idea beyond the words, or you see that there are things missing that the project is trying to say. Sometimes, both. This is truly collaboration because the art must serve the story. And sometimes the story must change to fit the art. In this case, the text evolved very slightly, while the images went through changes until they were just right. 4. Color: Depending on the project, i include very rough color sketches to show where i will place color. The watercolor comes out quite different that my digital color though.
5. Final painting: This is what it looks like once its all done. All elements have been painted or drawn in. Take a look at some more sketches with the final paintings.
The final has a few edits as you can see.
If you are a student or first time working on a picture book, feel free to email me questions. I'll try to answer them best I can. To get a copy of the book, please go to
Although I never had a little brother, I love this scene from the movie because it shows how much the little brother looks up to his big brother. They both rock in their individual skills in the movie. If you have a little one show them the film!
I'm not sure if you are aware of Inktober. It was started by a dude named Jake Parker, who I found via the Flight Anthology by Kazu Kibuishi. I started participating in Inktober in 2013 and its a great way to improve my skills as an artist. You could easily just use paint, spray paint, whatever. It is basically committing to practice like folks who meditate daily.
Now, these characters "Richie and Bob" are my versions of two actors from the film La Bamba played by Esai Morales and Lou Diamond Phillips in the 80's. The film is still one of my favorites and I hope you watch it if you haven't seen it. It is about the life of Rock and Roll musician Ricardo Valenzuela or Ricky Valens (name change is a whole other story)
Wow, it was more than ten years ago that I started on the path of becoming an illustrator of picture books for children and adults. I was reading a story to my son and thought, I could do a story that he would like. I had been sending postcards, emails, and artwork to publishers like Arte Publico for years before I got a message returned. I would say that it is important not to wait for publishers now because I am also self publishing Furqan's First Flat Top, but it was nice to know that persistence with Arte Publico paid off.
I want to give a huge thank you and shout out to Adelaida over at Arte Publico/ Piñata Books for trusting me with this task of illustrating such a beautiful story by writer Diane Gonzalez Bertrand. Please look out for the book in your local store or library and request it if they do not have it. This is my second children's book in print! So blessed. Check out some of the photos of me opening the box and some original sketches/paintings from the book. This is the first children's book I ever illustrated , before Furqan's First and I am Sausal Creek, so it is very special to me. It symbolizes my entry into the field as an official children's book illustrator.
About the story: The story is about two brothers Dario (big brother) and Ariel (little brother). It's Ariel's birthday and he wants a simple birthday party. But his big brother wants to convince Ariel to ask for more, but all Ariel really wants is to play, hang out, and eat bean and cheese tacos at the park. The birthday gets better as the day progresses and Dario finds out that a taco and bean cheese birthday is not so bad after all.
Yo! Hi my name is Rob. You can call me Robert or Roberto. I also go by "Tres". I write and illustrate stories. I design characters for children's books and animation, and I paint murals occasionally too. Parenthood,Ethnic Studies,Storytelling, Food, Music, Social Justice, Science Fiction,Design, & Publishing are regular thoughts. To contact me for commissioned art, freelance, or collaboration. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org