Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Day 2664 - Cappy
Comic-Con starts tomorrow! I'll be at booth E-8 (towards the back wall near the end of aisles 600 & 700). Hope to see you there!

Here's a quickie done the other night as I took a break from Con-prep.

Lucca 2012 Recap: Pt 2

Here are more photos from last fall's trip to Lucca for The Ayers Zoo exhibition and Lucca Comics & Games. If you missed it, you can check out Part 1 of the recap here.

Over the four days of the festival, I had a great time meeting folks, signing books, and sketching their favorite animals. (My very limited Italian vocabulary consists mainly of food and animals.) 

I know it's cliche, but when signing copies of The Daily Zoo Goes to Paris a beret usually makes an appearance.


Another "French-themed" sketch for crewmember's copy 
of DZ Goes to Paris.

Sometimes I will get some rather unusual requests. This woman wanted a dolphin-elephant hybrid.

Each year, the festival has a Live Performance Area where artists are invited to draw and paint in front of anyone who cares to watch. On the last day of the festival, all of the works are auctioned off to benefit the local children's hospital. Here, the amazing Lucio Parillo makes it look so easy.

Michael Monte Moore at work on another of his fierce creations.

And, alas, I picked up some brushes too. It had been quite a while since I had used acrylics, but I gave it a go.

Here's the finished Croc-Ninja.

The live auction to find good homes for all of the Live Performance Area works created during the festival (and to benefit the local children's hospital of course!). Here, MCs Cosimo and Emanuele lead the bidding on a stunning Batman piece created by Greg Staples. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting the talented Paolo Barbieri.

My publisher, Design Studio Press, had two booths at the show this year, one each in the Comics and the Games areas. Fellow DSP artist/author Luca Zampriolo (a.k.a. Kallimity, creator of ABAKAN 2288) oversaw the booth in the Comics Pavilion.

Anthinea from Sicily; without her help the DSP booth would simply not function. Her competency is only exceeded by her charming nature.

Posing with fan Anna. 

Lucca crew member Gabriele does his best Moby Dick impersonation.

I also did a short workshop and demonstration with a group of kids in the Lucca Junior area of the show.


Even though art is a pretty universal language, I was still grateful that Anna volunteered her translation services. It's always fun to see kids get excited about drawing.

And that's a wrap!

From Lucca, I went on to do a few workshops with students in the mountain-top town of Zug, Switzerland, but that's for another time...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lucca 2012 Recap: Pt 1

Last fall I had the honor of being a Guest Artist at the annual Lucca Comics & Games convention. Lucca is a small, medieval-walled city north of Pisa in beautiful northern Italy. An exhibition of my work, titled The Ayers Zoo, was on display at the historical Palazzo Ducale from October 20 - November 4, 2012. The show featured over 70 pieces comprising of mostly original Daily Zoo works, many of which had not been displayed or published before. Additionally, there was a video montage and some prints featuring some of my professional work done for the film industry over the past twelve years.

As one might imagine, my time spent in Lucca was magical. The warm hospitality of the fans as well as the Lucca Comic & Games crew made a lasting impact. As did the food!

Here are some photos from the trip.
(Many were taken by me, but some have been gathered from various places on the Internet. If you seen one of yours, I would be happy to give you a Photo Credit if you just drop me a note.)

Buon appetito!

The small, quaint medieval town of Lucca...or New York City?!!!

Hangin' out at the DSP booth (publisher of The Daily Zoo books) with Lucca crew member and booth assistant Anthinea.

The Ayers Zoo exhibit in the Palazzo Ducale.

The exhibit's curator & designers, Antonio Rama & Pierpaolo Putignano, found an authentic (i.e. heavy) wrought iron gate for the exhibit's entrance...

...and they even laid it out like a real zoo!

The curator's statement.

Day 2102 - Cass
Year Six
18x24" water color and colored pencil

Various pages from a Daily Zoo Year Three sketchbook.

True to many zoos, they even put some of the inhabitants behind bars. :(
Day 2365 - Bison 
Year Seven
9x12" pen and watercolor

The aquatic species were, of course, in "tanks."

Giving an interview to Italian TV.

The preliminary pencil sketch for Day 508 - Her Majesty from Year Two. 

Day 922 - Snow Leopard
Year Three
6x6" pen and marker

Day 2331 - Awkward Adolescence
Year Seven
9x12" pen and marker

I designed this guy for the cover of The Daily Zoo Goes to Paris, but the extremely talented Angela Smaldone digitally sculpted him and then had it output as a resin maquette for the show.

Day 2338 - Putty Pachyderm
Year Seven
9x12" marker

Day 1726 - Munchasaurus Rex
Year Five
28x36" digital print

Imagine FX and Wyrd Media Publishing produced a very nice catalog which includes nearly all of the pieces in the show. (I've got a limited number of signed copies available through the ZooMart webstore; $10 while supplies last!)

This piece, titled Fire!!!, was done in 2010 for the annual charity auction that is a part of Lucca Comics & Games. (I attended LCG that year as an emergency booth operator for my publisher.) More on the auction in Part II...

I'm joined by exhibit designer Pierpaolo Putignano and the hard-workin' crew that made The Ayers Zoo a reality. Grazie mille!

Part of the medieval wall and moat that surrounds the city center of Lucca. The festival is spread both inside and outside of the wall (and even a bit on top of it!).

It seems that even small towns in Tuscany are not immune to Imperial occupation.

Lucca crew member Laura Epifani mimics the show's Octomime.

In addition to volunteering her time to help make LCG run smoothly, Laura is a fine sculptor in her own right. She surprised me with a miniature rendition of Day 011's Drop of Cardinal from the first Daily Zoo book and asked that I sign it.

At least two of us seem to be enjoying ourselves! At the Design Studio Press booth with assistants (and much-needed translators!) Anthinea and Walter.

The Octomime sculpture (by Angela Smaldone) had a ghostly presence outside of The Ayers Zoo exhibition as well.  We partnered with Dreamoc Technology and had the digital maquette on display as a rotating hologram in a Lucca clothing store.

In addition to Daily Zoo works, part of the exhibition consisted of prints and a video montage of some of my character design work for the film industry.

"Who me?" A proposed alien design for Men in Black II, done while working at Rick Baker's Cinovation.

An early concept for the peanut-sized (obviously) aliens that inhabited the train station locker in Men in Black II.

Concept sketch for the "Old Man Cupid" character in The Santa Clause 2, done while working at Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (ADI).

Several make-up effects companies bid on turning Mike Meyers into the title role of Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. While we did not end up getting the gig in the end, it was still a fun challenge to explore, even if only briefly.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for Part Two of the Lucca recap - coming soon!