Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Over the years Doug has submitted thousands of gag roughs to Playboy. Of course, not all can be selected for final art and ultimate publication in the magazine.

However, we've selected a few favorite unpublished roughs to share with you this holiday season - enjoy!

(blog post by Heidi Hutson)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Creating 11 x 17 Blond in Jungle Print

Although Doug's first 2012 convention - WonderCon March 16-18 in Anaheim, California - is months away, he's started working on watercolor 11 x 17 artwork. Originals, like Blond in Jungle Print, will be posted for sale on his Premium Gallery on comicartfans; 11 x 17 limited edition prints (1-25) will debut at WonderCon.
I thought you might find the creative process interesting - starting with a pencil sketch on 100% cotton 140 Lb. cold pressed Arches of France watercolor board.

For years, Doug has used Dr. Ph. Martin's aniline dyes, which give a nice translucent effect.

Typically, the last thing he works on is his signature.

***Please note: Our Epson scanning bed is smaller than 11 x 17 so the artwork was xeroxed and reduced before being scanned; therefore, some of the colors are not as pronounced and details are not as sharp as in the original.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

The Art of Doug Sneyd - A Great Holiday Gift Suggestion

The 248-page The Art of Doug Sneyd, launched mid-July by Dark Horse Comics and already in a second printing, would make a great Christmas gift for those who enjoy Playboy's distinctive brand of humor.

It's available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. or can be ordered through local bookstores; the standard-edition hardcover features nearly 270 of Doug's full-page color Playboy cartoons. He also wrote eleven chapter introductions featuring anecdotes and personal reflections.

Doug will be happy to personalize copies of The Art of Doug Sneyd if fans plan to attend one of the following 2012 comic-cartoon conventions:

Wonder-Con (Anaheim, California) - March 16-18

Pittsburgh Comicon April 20-22

San Diego Comic-Con - July 11-15

Fan Expo Canada (Toronto) - August 23-26

Montreal Comic Con September 14-16

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

On the Road: Moscow

Doug and I arrived in Moscow around 6 p.m. and had just enough time to unpack our suitcases before starting an escorted evening tour of the city. It's a vibrant huge city, especially beautiful at night.

The GUM department store on Red Square was lovely. Before the 1917 Revolution, it contained 1,200 stores. In 1928 Stalin closed GUM and converted it into office space; it reopened in 1953 as a department store. Today, tourists make it a "destination" - much like Harrods in London or Saks in New York.

Doug's in front of Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square; there is no longer any ceremonial changing of the guard in front of the mausoleum. It's estimated that more than 10 million people visited his tomb between 1924-1972.

Stalin's embalmed body shared a spot next to Lenin from 1953-1961.

Inside the Kremlin, we visited the Cathedral of the Domition; in 1547 the coronation of the first Russian czar, Ivan the Terrible, took place there. The last coronation service was held May 26, 1896 for Nicholas II.

While touring the Kremlin complex, we stopped to see the czar's bell - 22' wide and 20' tall. Made of bronze, the bell was broken during casting and has never been rung; the broken piece weighs nearly 25,000 lbs.

The czar's cannon, cast in bronze in 1586, is also located in the Kremlin complex. It has never been fired in war.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.

Moscow celebrated the 450-year anniversary of St. Basil's Cathedral this year. The onion-domed landmark was built to honor Ivan the Terrible's victory over Russia's former Tatar conquerors.

A lovely fountain inside the main central entrance to the GUM department store is a popular meeting spot; it's also a photo stop for newlyweds.

Natural light from the skylights make shopping and sightseeing at the GUM's 200-plus stores a pleasure.

Moscow's rapid transit system is the second largest in the world (Tokyo is first) with the most beautiful stations on the Ring and dark blue lines. Each is like a palace/museum - whether decorated with bronze statues, mosaic tiles, stained glass or ornate chandeliers.

It opened in 1935 with one line and 13 stations; today it has 182 stations carrying nearly 9 million people each weekday.

Not all stations are beautiful, but Doug and I found our 3-hour escorted tour very interesting. We were also impressed that there was no graffiti!

Moscow has 2 circuses, but friends who had visited there previously, told us we "had to see" the Old Moscow Circus, founded in 1880. It was a lot of fun; our favorite act showcased the antics of several adorable dachshunds.

A bronze statue outside the entrance to the circus pays tribute to the Russian clown Karandash.

We spent our last night in Moscow attending the finals of the 15th annual International Singing Competition of Italian Opera at the lovely Bolshoi Theatre.

Twelve finalists performed that evening, representing "the best" from more than 600 singers from over 28 nations competing in the annual contest of young opera talents.

The second floor lobby was as lovely and impressive as the theatre itself; we had a wonderful last evening in Moscow!

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Raquel and Angel Have Doug Personalize Copies of Unpublished Sneyd

Raquel (from Montreal) asked Doug to personalize Unpublished Sneyd to her husband Mitch.

Angel and her husband Patrick (from Sudbury, Ontario) decided to celebrate their first wedding anniversary attending Fan Expo Canada; Doug's sketch of Angel in Unpublished Sneyd was a great souvenir of their weekend in Toronto.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Imaginism Studios: Artists and Friends

Doug and I met Bobby Chiu, president of Imaginism Studios in Toronto, in July of 2007 on an Air Canada flight from Toronto to San Diego, California to exhibit at the San Diego Comic-Con, the largest comics-cartoon convention in North America.

We've stayed in touch with Bobby, Kei Acedera (art director) and Imaginism Studios' artists and staff; Fan Expo Canada is always a great time to get together - our tables in Artist Alley are across the aisle from one another and we always go out to dinner one evening after the convention closes.

Bobby is always busy during Fan Expo - talking with fans, offering suggestions concerning animation projects or answering questions about Schoolism online art classes.

Doug and I didn't see Kei (left) a lot during the 4-day convention this year because of project deadlines, but she did stop in one day to say "hello."

Lillian, Peter and Jason were across the aisle from us in Artist Alley during Fan Expo Canada; we had a chance to catch up with our lives when we all went for dinner at Dazzling, 291 King Street West. Peter had been to the restaurant before and made the dinner reservation. Great choice, Peter!

Meeting for dinner after a long convention day is a great idea - thanks, Bobby, Kei and Peter for including us!!!

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

Costumes Made 2011 Fan Expo Canada Interesting and FUN!!!

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

On the Road: St. Petersburg

Four days in St. Petersburg gave Doug and me time for a good overview of, according to travel specialist Rick Steves, "a showpiece of vanished aristocratic opulence shot through with the grimy ruins of socialism . . . Russia's most accessible and most tourist-worthy city."

His assessment was correct! Our tour started with a stop at the cruiser Aurora, which has been a museum since 1956. Its importance to the city's history began at 9:40 p.m. on October 25, 1917: a single blank round was fired from its bow to signal the storming of the czars' Winter Palace and the start of the Russian Revolution.

The Peter and Paul Fortress was a unique stop. We walked into bleak solitary-confinement prison cells - symbols of the city's grim history; enjoyed lovely, quiet parks; marvelled at the gold steeple and opulence of the cathedral housing the tombs of the Romanovs.

Another significant site in St. Petersburg is the Church on Spilled Blood, built on the spot where Czar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. Although it was a grey, rainy morning, the five domes were lovely - jewellers' enamel was used to cover the 10,760 sq. foot surface.

A canal cruise is a great way to see the city, frequently called, along with Amsterdam, "Venice of the North." During an early evening cruise, Doug enjoyed dancing with one of the entertainers.

The Hermitage consists of several buildings, but the most impressive is the Winter Palace, official residence of the Imperial family until the Revolution.

Catherine the Great amassed one of Western Europe's best collections, including 2,500 paintings, 10,000 carved gems and 10,000 drawings. The floor-to-ceiling opulence in the hundreds of rooms in the complex is a visual feast!

We also visited St. Isaac's Russian Orthodox cathedral, which took 40 years (1818-1858) to construct. During WWII, the gilded dome was painted over in grey to avoid attracting attention from enemy aircraft. Under the Soviet government, the building was stripped of religious trappings, but with the fall of Communism, regular worship was resumed but only in the left-hand side chapel. The main body of the cathedral (nearly 43,000 sq. feet) is used for services on feast days only.

During our stay in St. Petersburg, we attended a ballet performance of Swan Lake at the 582-seat theatre built by Catherine the Great in the Hermitage complex.

Our 4-day visit to St. Petersburg ended with a full-day's visit to the lavish imperial palace, parks and gardens at Tsarskoye Selo. The jewel of the 1,400-acre site is the Catherine Palace; the 980-foot long Baroque facade is adorned with atlantes, columns and ornamental window framings.

Mirrors, gilded carvings and the vast ceiling painting make The Great Hall an unforgettable experience.

Exquisite stucco bas-reliefs in the Green Dining Room were said to be based on motifs from frescoes discovered in Pompeii.

The parks and gardens are popular with couples getting married.

As Doug and I were leaving the summer residence of the Russian czars, we stopped at the sculpture honoring Alexander Pushkin, considered by many to be the greatest of Russian poets and founder of modern Russian literature.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)