Friday, December 29, 2006

Ruff Stuff...

This is a rough drawing of my buddy Johnny's character "Dr. Monster". I occassionally draw Doc's strip in "Silver Comics", with loose layouts supplied by John. It's a great way of experimenting with different storytelling techniques, and a taste of what it might have been like working with Harvey Kurtzman. Although Johnny isn't as neurotic about following his roughs as Harvey was.

If you'd like to see some of my work in this genre, along with stellar artwork by Scott Seeto, Bryan Mon, Dan Beltran, Ruben Procopio, Mark Prudeaux and, of course Johnny Ortiz - pay a visit to: And hit the Silver Comics link to order a few copies.
You won't be dissappointed.

'Nuff Said!

(Dr. Monster is TM & (C) 2007 by Juan Ortiz)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dwight meets Bjorn...

Another post containing an image of my friend Dwight. I did warn you that it was going to be a "Dwight Christmas", so here I am, keeping my word. This time out I've included my little buddy Bjorn. I don't remember how it happened, but my original concept for Bjorn was that he'd be a buddy of Dwight's. I remember asking Dwight if he'd mind and he said "Oh, not at all. I'd be tickled to death!" That's how Dwight talks. Anyway the idea was "Bjorn and the Big Guy". For whatever reason, I decided to change gears. But I thought you guys who have been following this nonsense might get a kick out of seeing this visual.

I really feel like I "nailed" Dwight in this one...

So, my friends, please enjoy "Bjorn meets the Big Guy".

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A "Dwight" Christmas!

Ralph Kramden had: "Bang Zoom!", little Arnold asked:"Whut'chu talkin' bout, Willis?", Fonzie exclaimed:"Ayyyyyyy!" and JJ bellowed:"Dy-no-mite!"

For Dwight it's always been: "Hello There!", barked enthusiastically to everyone he meets.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


This is my buddy Dwight. This big mazuma stands about six foot four in his climbing shoes, but appears to be much taller. I rarely do caricatures, but Dwight has always been one of my favorite models. When producing art a few years ago for "Scooby-Doo" children's books Dwight was my right hand man, handling all production and working side-by-side with me on color rendering. He's one of the best collaborators I've ever had the pleasure to have worked with. And he's a great friend.

We met ten years ago, when Dwight was hired as a Sr. Illustrator at the WB Stores. This sketch is from the time we were located in the Dalt's Building in Burbank.

Nowadays Dwight is an Illustrator at The Disney Stores, in their Pasadena offices.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Golden Book that didn't pan out...

These cover roughs were created for a "Lift-a-Flap" Activity Book that was cancelled when Golden Books was sold a few years ago. I was in the process of creating two books for them at the time they closed their doors. The other one was a Coloring Book, and I'm still hoping they publish it some day.

I always try to create clean, easy to read layouts for covers and story art so my contact can present them without a lot of explainations and misinterpretation. It also gives their digital colorists & designers the chance to start laying in colors and type. I'll work looser if I'm doing the pitch in person, but this client was 3,000 miles away.

Working a little tighter on layouts saves me plenty of hours when I'm creating the final approved art.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Light & Dark

These days I like warming up by sketching the little guy, it's very relaxing.

I don't remember what inspired me to make this ink sketch of "Terror" in '93, but it spooks me a little.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jack Davis!

Jack Davis is the "World's Greatest Cartoonist", and I'm one out of millions of his fans who feel this way. First time I saw his art was on Topps Bubble Gum Cards. The theme was monsters and I was hooked at first glance. He is now, and will always be my favorite artist.

As Creative Director of The Honeymooners Comic Book in the late '80s I had the opportunity to work with Mr. Davis when he illustrated the wrap-around cover art for our Coney Island issue. It was a simple collaboration, the only direction he was given was: The Honeymooners cast in Coney Island, and try to work Nathan's Famous Restaurant into the visual. When the art arrived it was Golden Age in size, a massive ink and watercolor masterpiece that I stared at for hours, amazed at every detail in the piece.
I actually got to make a minor revision on it. Jack the consummate professional was protecting us from copyright infringement by changing the logo to read: "Nathon's" instead of "Nathan's". We had an aggreement with the restaurant to use their logo, so I got the opportunity, with Jack's permission to change the "o" to an "a".
I can still remember how nervous I was as I laid down the first few strokes of red gouache paint.
Speaking of copyright infringements, none are implied in this post, so every jpeg has been labeled to its respective holder. with the exception of the "Get Smart" artwork, which I'm assuming is (c) NBC.

I'm not aware of any current books dedicated to Jack's art, but Fantagraphics just released "The Comics Journal Library of Harvey Kurtzman" and it's chock full of Jack Davis art and interviews. Only $19.99 Cheap! Run out and get a copy today!

Mr. Jack Davis is 82 years young today, and hopefully playing Golf right now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006


Enjoying a few days off and catching up on reading and drawing. Read Jordi Bernet's new "Clara", Fantagraphics' latest "Dennis the Menace" collection and their first volume of Segar's "Popeye". Then I pulled the complete EC "Panic" collection out and pored through the work of Davis, Elder & Wood. I got jazzed and had to take out the Winsor & Newton #2 brush and a bottle of Higgins Ink and have some fun.

For the last ten years I've mainly worked in pencil. Or felt tip pens. Sometimes Black Prismacolor pencils. Lately I've been trying to re-develop my traditional skills, so I've been doing a lot of sketching in pencil, instead of using the non-photo blue pencil as a crutch.
Now I'm trying to get a handle on brush inking.

Hopefully, continued practice will bring better results.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Do I

to all
of you

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Hey... nice dog!"


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Coney Island

I like the idea
of sending
"the little guy"
to places
I can't visit
right now.

After talking with
my friend Hope
about Coney Island
at work today,
I've been thinking of
"Nathan's" Hot Dogs
& French Fries.

Hence the sketch.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Devil in a Blue Dress


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

"Bjorn" again...

I thought it might be time to post some more artwork created during this century, so here it is. I've been drawing this "little guy" for years, so he'll keep popping up from time to time. He's my little mascot.

I figured he needed a bit of excercise.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

sketchbook 1968

In '68 I never slept. I'd be up all night, obsessively sketching away. One of my obsessions was my band, so I'd constantly be searching for the perfect logo design to paint on my bass drum. Another obsession of mine was a band you may be familiar with.

They had a great logo.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby

I've been a fan of these two giants ever since I saw a re-print of their early Captain America in '66. Imagine reading their comics and seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan at the same time and you'll get a pretty good idea of what it was like back then. "The Modern Marvel Age" of comics was in full swing by then, but these crude-looking stories being published in "Fantasy Masterpieces" looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Heroes fighting for freedom during World War II, instead of Bank Robbers and Evil Scientists or Radiated Evil Bank-Robbing Scientists. No Cosmic Rays or Radiated Spider Bites here, just clear lines of "them against us", written and drawn with an energy and a sense of purpose. The creators were as committed as their comics creations; Joe Simon stayed stateside, assigned to Combat Art Corps at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C., while Jack Kirby was a Combat Infantryman and saw action in Germany.

Last winter Marvel published "All Winners" Comics Volume 1 in their hardcover Masterworks series. One of the stories was Simon & Kirby's "The Hollow Men", their next-to-last Captain America yarn produced for Marvel. I'd never seen this one before, it was never re-printed. Earlier in the day I bought a new Brush Pen and a tiny sketch book, and began copying S & K panels at the kitchen table; like I did over forty years ago.

It was nice to go home again.

Here are the results...

( I'm including one of S & K's Splash Pages for the uninitiated, and a color scan below of one of the panels that I've "re-mixed", for comparison.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

For my wife Roz...

She's really missing our family today. Especially our grandchildren: Kayla & Ashley. They live in New York.