Sunday, May 24, 2015

Wear For Art Now, Tuff-Girl?

From the first time Merrill and I set up a booth at Heroes Convention in 2010 to begin promoting the first printed issue of Unstoppable Tuff-Girl comic book, the tables of stuff for sale were supplemented with printed tee-shirts. Up until now, monotonae (this blog) had not featured any of those designs. But a few weeks ago popped up the Facebook query asking about them.

Here’s what I have in stock, and with which we will be returning to Heroes:

TUFF-GIRL Red/ black cap sleeve raglan
This is a follow-up version of the first cap sleeve I designed for the time Silver Comics shared booth space. That first design only had the logo on the front but printed in black. The selection of the shirt design had everything to do with the paring of its two colors with the bonus of it not being a traditional tee-shirt cut. At the time of this second order/run, American Apparel was going to discontinue the style. Who knows if or when I’ll make another run.

TUFF-GIRL Pink tee-shirt
This is a pink shirt! Unfortunately the color doesn’t pop well under the lighting a lot of convention halls have, but I think it looks good in the sun.

 TUFF-GIRL Black hoody
Often you will find some convention halls are chilly or have cold spots thanks to high volume air coolers. Perhaps those conditions are enough to nudge a sale or two of a stylish, warm piece of Tuff-Girl apparel? In the areas of transport and display there are difficulties the bulk of a black, long-sleeve hoody presents from an exhibitor’s perspective. I frequently have to decide to only take one or two of each size to a con if I can take any at all. And folded up in a corner on a 6-foot table top doesn’t show the long sleeves or the hood.

TUFF-GIRL Red character shirt for girls
Yes, this currently is a kids-exclusive design. However, probably of all the shirts I have, it probably has gotten the most fans to stop at the table. I’m going to make adult sizes soon, because I’ve been disappointing too many fans who don’t want a tiny shirt. Sorry, but I won’t have adult sizes of this one soon enough for Heroes Con.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Heroes and There-O

Monster Enterprises presents
Bryan Mon (me) and
Merrill Hagan
as they return to

June 19-21, 2015
Charlotte Convention Center
501 S. College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

I’m really looking forward to returning to Heroes this year. For previous comic convention appearances, I’ve accepted advanced commissions, however this year I won’t be able to do so for Heroes. I’m just too busy, in part preparing for the con itself.
I apologize if this inconveniences any one, but I’m certain I’ll be able to take on plenty of commissions at the con. You’ll just want to get on my list as early as you possibly can.

L B C N U!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

120 [m ] - Season Three-tings

Here is the third of Cartoon Network’s complete season home video compilations. As I had done on the second, I provided necessary illustration and served as a sort of associate art director.

Following the character feature conceit with Finn for season one, and Ice King for two, with number three, we treated fans with favorite Beemo, a.k.a. B.M.O. Beemo’s characteristic rectangular face made him a natural fit for a DVD and Blu-ray case. Nickelodeon’s Spongebob works the same way.

For the design, we were fortunate that a few episodes by then had shown some of what Beemo’s innards looked like. Still the images of memory chips and hard drive discs we used for the disc art are rather boring, and probably why the internet doesn’t have fan pics of them. However, this led us to trying to re-think the printed contents insert page. Beemo conceptually doesn’t/ wouldn’t have a muscular structure reveal like that of what we did for season one and season two, certainly not one to be distinctive from the circuit board front and battery tray back we wanted on the case wrap. 

I then presented a proof-of-concept of the slip case with Beemo’s arms and legs attached. His arms and legs I had figured would fit on the top half of the printed insert, in fact I needed to make sure they’d fit, thus the proof-of-concept. I try to avoid the “would it be great if.., oh, that won’t work,” high-low scenario. With the proof-of-concept, art director, Candice and everyone pretty much said, “Yes, of course that’s what we should to do.” 

Now, I have no idea how many folks are willing to cut up their printed inserts to paste relatively flimsy arms and legs on to card board slip cases, but a few must have, and maybe the others got tickled by the thought that they hold a sort of kit to build Beemo.

And because I didn’t think that I could top “Build your own Beemo” for a DVD case, I left Cartoon Network.

Just kidding. That’s not why.

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season
Art direction: Candice H.

All images found.

120 [m ] - Adventure Two Timer

With the no-surprise success of the first season DVD compilation, Cartoon Network had the no-surprise eagerness to follow it with the second season DVD compilation, also to be available on Blu-ray disc.

With this and the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien DVD’s I became involved with DVD packaging and menu production to a deeper level than the illustrations I had contributed with most previous projects be it DVDs, posters and all sorts of marketing and advertising materials.

By golly, DVDs can require a load of bits and pieces all needing design work:
1) the cover art;
2) maybe a slipcase;
3) maybe a two-sided printed insert;
4) the disc(s);
5) maybe a sticker calling out features;
6) and every menu screen.

Then you repeat all of that for the Blu-ray version which has a smaller case, but bigger, higher resolution menus. I had kind of forgotten that since my days in art school. You know, where an assignment might be to conceive and design all of that by yourself.

With the idea of using Jake (the dog) as all-over packaging used on a different DVD compilation, Candice opted to use the villainous Ice King for Season 2. The layers of reveals motif was applied again. Removal of the skip case reveals Simon, the Ice King’s shaven “normal” pre-Ice King appearance.

Then again like for “One” there is muscle structure King for the contents insert page, his skull for one disc, and brain for the other which has been encased in ice for that bit of distinctiveness.

I did the bulk of the illustration work necessary. I also up took additional responsibilities of intermediary between Candice and hired designer who did the so-called grunt work.

In this new operational structure, I constructed sample of the slipcase as a “proof of concept” to test its structural integrity. This was greeted with pleasure and unexpected surprise. Folks weren’t making proof-of-concept prototypes. As it had seemed to me, people were doing less of that kind of exploration and trying to jump projects from thumbnails to finished layouts. Maybe its lack of time. Maybe it’s “the process” and there are parts which can’t reliably be planned for its time and expense. Well, I like to have things planned, so that’s something I brought to these projects.

Adventure Time: The Complete Second Season
Art direction: Candice H.

All images found.

120 [m ] - One Upon an Adventure Time

I had worked on a number of Cartoon Network’s DVD packages up until I parted ways for other things. I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve worked on the arguably repetitious Ben 10 DVD package designs, extending from the original series through it’s Ultimate Alien installments. I also worked on the first three “Complete Season” compilations for Adventure Time.

With the first season, the conception owes to Candice ’s art direction. As a simplified telling of it’s evolution, as the first and expectedly popular (should sell a lot of ’em) DVD compilation, it was thought that it should be special. “Let’s give it a slip case.” “Let’s leverage lead character Finn’s iconic hat silhouette.” “Yeah! THAT’s the slip case! You remove that slip case to reveal... uh, hat-less Finn and his luscious, blond hair!” Then everything else with the printed insert and disc art played on deeper revelations.

As the illustrator, I came up with muscle-structure (skinless) Finn, and Finn’s skull and finally Finn’s brain.

I’d say that my most important creative contribution was to assuage fears of showing Finn’s blonde hair between the slip cover’s die-cut hat ears. It was a small discussion, to be sure, but seeing what’s Finn’s hair outside his hat make no logical sense. However, as an area of flat yellow, it takes on a different function as that of non-character field color.

Adventure Time: The Complete First Season
Art direction: Candice H.

All images found.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

120 [m ] - Things You Macy*s Above New York Thanksgiving Morning

One of the truly big projects I had a hand in which I worked, during what turned out to be my last year at Cartoon Network as a Senior Character Art Manager, was designing the Finn and Jake balloon for the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day parade.

For the parade, Macy*s selects properties and characters with “staying power” to license for their floats and balloons. Macy*s has a division devoted to the design and construction and care of the floats and balloons.

For show, “Adventure Time with Finn and Jake,” the balloon could have been Finn (the human boy), or Jake (the dog) or some how be both characters. The Macy*s folks had ideas, and we at Cartoon (Jake, Candice and me) had ideas. With the concept of Finn riding on the back of Jake selected, I then  iterated multiple versions of what that combination might be. Thankfully, Jake is a shape and size changer, so we stretched his typically stout body making him large enough to carry Finn. I drew the balloon in a couple of key views from which the sculptor could work.

Macy*s’ sculptor created a clay maquette about 24-inches long. On may sole work trip to the Macy*s shop, I gave my typical creative notes, “Make this bigger, move that there, etc.” and since the maquette was as big as it was, I got hands on and reworked parts of it while the sculptor worked on another part. Above is an image I found on the internet of the final painted version. Sharp-eyed folks might have caught sight of a snail that caught a ride with in Finn’s back pack.

The final one-of-a-kind balloon is comprised of many panels, whose measurements and positions are translated from the approved maquette. The process is slightly more complex version of the dress maker’s art. In the above image, also found on the internet, you may suss out what an art from it is to start with something that’s 24-inches long and recreate it as an inflated fabric shell nearly half the length of a American football field.