Space Nicks: From concept to ‘Out of this World’!

April 29, 2015 / no comments

Space Nicks Book Cover

Space Nicks Book Cover

When I first got together with writer, Richard C. Mears to develop Saint Nick and the Space Nicks into a children’s book my concept art was much different for the main character of ‘Venick’ than what the final version ended up being. The secondary characters remained the same for the most part. The only major difference was I ’rounded’ the aliens off. I removed claws or beady/cold looking eyes and fattened them up.

The original Venick was skinny with a little pot belly. His hair was long and basically stringy and his face was a bit too narrow with a goatee with no mustache. Oh… and kind of claw-ish hands. How could it miss?

When no publishers picked Space Nicks up I put it to bed as a learning experience and moved on to other projects. After a few years, Richard contacted me about possibly self-publishing, but I wasn’t interested because at that time the quality of self published books just wasn’t that good and I wasn’t interested in creating a vanity project. You know, just so I could point to some book and say, ‘I’m published’! Still even though I did shoot down multiple attempts by Richard to restart the Space Nicks project, I did revisit the idea of recreating the world of the Space Nicks.

Everybody can change their mind…

Space Nicks HD Chip

When the quality of self publishing companies began to rise, I took revisiting Space Nicks more seriously. After researching and finding a company I liked I decided to jump back in.

The first step was to redesign the characters. Venick would get a complete overhaul. While the other characters would be ‘softened’. Fatter, rounder hands; no claws! Livelier eyes and inviting faces. Plus setting the scenes with more dramatic angles. After speaking with Richard C. Mears and agreeing to give this project another go-round. I took a year and a full sketchbook to develop all these characters and illustrations.

Here are a selection of original sketches. Some made it to the book as final illustrations. Others didn’t.

illustration 1 version Aillustration 1 version Billustration 1 version C


The USS Eagle

In Richard Mears original poem, the USS Eagle played a much bigger part. The spaceship observed all the events and the poem was told through the astronauts eyes. The poem actually opens with the crew of the eagle watching Santa deliver his toys on Christmas Eve. These sketches reflect this version.illustration 2 version A

Perspective! Perspective! Perspective! 

It was very important with this sketchbook to explore possible illustrations with extreme perspectives. The sketch above was an idea for the beginning when Santa is delivering his toys in Cork.illustration 2 version B

The County Cork

The sketch up above is of Santa seeing a Pink Pie sky by and crash nearby. I liked it and did a finished gouache painting of it, but in the end I had to go in a different direction and didn’t use it for the book. I did use it though for the animation and later it was used for the Storybook App version.

illustration 3 version C

The sketch above did make it as a finished illustration. The only real difference was when I designed where the text placement, I had to adjust where Venicks’s legs actually went.

illustration 3 version Billustration 3 version Aillustration 4 version C

The three sketches above were other ideas for the Cork crash/meeting Venick section. Check out Venick’s sleigh. My original sketches of his sleigh were drawn to literally look like a slice of pie. I liked it, but unfortunately the general consensus was at certain angles it looked too much like a shark’s face. The final design was made to have it look literally like a full baked pie.

illustration 4 version B

Nice to meet you!

I used this sketch for the book. The biggest difference was I flipped it and made it a vignette.

illustration 6 version A

It turned a knob that was next to its ear and the words that came out were perfectly clear.

Not only did I use this sketch and create a gouache illustration almost exactly like it. It turned out to be the very first illustration completed for the book. I spent about one year developing the concepts in the sketchbook. From this first illustration it took another six months to complete the other illustrations.

illustration 6 version C

This sketch  never made it to being a finished gouache painting for the book, but it was completed later as a digital painting for the animation and also the Space Nicks HD storybook App.

illustration 6 version D

This sketch of Venick creating a hologram of his home planet to show Santa never made the book, but was digitally created and used (only) in the animation.

illustration 6 version B

I tripped on a star and traveled near to afar!

Here’s a better view of the original design of Venick’s Sleigh in the above sketch. See the shark fins? Anyway, I only used this concept design for the animation. I created a digital illustration with the ‘full‘ pie sleigh.

illustration 12 version BSanta told Venick about his good girls and boys

I liked this sketch of Santa reading his ‘good’ list while sitting on a tool so much it barely changed at all as a finished gouache painting. I did take out the boy’s waving hand.


illustration 13 version B

illustration 12 version ASaint Nick offered candy that Venick could chew, And showed him the cities, the old and the new

These two sketches didn’t make the book, but were digitally created. Both were used in the animation. Only the one on the left was used in the Storybook app.

illustration 14 version A

More rapid than light, they sped through the night

This sketch above remained almost the same as a final illustration except it because a text page. I lost Santa’s sleigh and pushed the remaining elements to the corners. In the final version of Richard’s poem this page ended up having the only mention of the USS Eagle. Although the poem was better for the changes, I was disappointed because I spent quite a few pages in my sketchbook developing this spaceship and I loved the design I created. Oh well…

illustration 15 version A

Above is the original sketch, below is the original gouache painting of Santa and Venick over Venus

Christmas Over Venus

Christmas Over Venus

Then in a twinkle of the great Northern Star, All the Space Nicks came from near and far.

This finished illustration of Santa Over Venus (above) might be my favorite of all the gouache paintings. The colors are vibrant and the characters are playful and cute. Surprisingly close to the original sketch.


illustration 16version A

Above is the original sketch, below is the original gouache painting of Santa and Venick on Venus meeting all the Space Nicks

Distant Relatives

Distant Relatives

Saint Nicholas was amazed and astonished to see, So many creatures dressed exactly as he

During the first go-round with Space Nicks I did another version of this illustration. Fairly soon after it was done and I put the project on the shelf I grew to really dislike that version. I knew I could do better. Once I restarted the project and finished this 2nd version I was so much more satisfied with it I ceremoniously cut the original into small pieces. True story. I still have most of them in my flat files.

illustration 18version A

The Space Nicks worked quickly in Venus’s short night, And Christmas shined wondrously before morning’s bright light

In the sketchbook I spent a lot of time developing Space Nick ‘toys’. Aside from a vignette illustration of a ‘Moondoll, Boondoll and a Hopo from Space’ the finished gouache painting based on the sketch above was the only place I had the toys. Wait… I used the toy vignette on the TITLE PAGE for the book too.


illustration 19 version Aillustration 19 version B

And when they departed and said their goodbyes, There were hugs of goodness and tears in their eyes

The sketch on the left never got used, but the one on the right with the waving hands did. It was a vignette gouache painting on a text page with the toy vignette.

illustration 20version A

A part of space fell through our ozone fence

I created a gouache painting based on the ozone hole sketch, but scrapped it in the end. After completing the elf holding on to the north pole gouache painting I scrapped that too and then combined the two and created a Elf Holding on to the pole double page spread painting with the moon poking its head through an ozone hole in the corner. Much better

illustration 21 version B

Above is the original sketch, below is the original gouache painting of the big storm on the North Pole

Elf at the North Pole

‘Hang On!’

The wind and the sea blew all that night, The raging storm was a terrible fright.

The finished gouache painting above is the right panel. The left panel was designed as a text page. I did two versions of this in gouache.


illustration 23 ALTERNATES

I had fun with these sketches. How do you depict the destruction of Santa’s workshop?illustration 23 version B

Getting closer…illustration 23 version C

Everything was ruined or blown out of sight, Nothing good happened and nothing was right

The finished illustration of the destroyed workshop was almost completely taken from the sketch above. I only had to change one thing…illustration 23 version D

That’s better. Get rid of the stuffed leather chair (I have the same one at home) and put Santa in a broken sleigh. Of course….illustration 25 version D

Look to the sky, to the heavens above, there are billions of stars hat sparkle with love!

The above sketch was unused. Mainly because there just not enough pages in the children’s book for all these illustrations. illustration 25 version E

Then from out of the heavens and into the night, came thousands of Space Nicks via space flight

The sketch above is loose and was quickly done, but it was the inspiration for the finished gouache illustration. All I had to do was make room for the text.

illustration 27 version B

Above is an unused sketch idea of the Space Nicks helping Santa deliver his toys after the devastating storm that destroyed his workshopillustration 27 version A

They brought all their toys and candies delight, And delivered the joys of Christmas that night

Here’s the original sketch of the finished gouache painting I did go with. I fought for this one. Richard Mears thought the tentacle of the alien Space Nick coming from the chimney and trimming the tree was ‘too scary’ for kids. My argument was ‘It’s trimming a Christmas Tree not strangling a puppy!’ – (technically that was my point, not my literal argument).

illustration 29 version B


It was Venick from Venus in a whirl of ‘Go’ light, And the Space Nicks together who lit up the night.

Playing with ideas for the final page of the book.

illustration 29 version A

They sang in the heavens in voices of gold, As star dust settled in words to behold.

In the end the final finished gouache illustration was very similar to the above sketch. Of course this version still had the ‘slice of pie’ sleigh for Venick. The final version became a two page illustration with the text reserved for the left hand page.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these concept sketches of my children’s book ‘Saint Nick and the Space Nicks’. If you’re looking for an ‘Out of this World’ spin on a Christmas adventure check out Space Nicks.

Follow this link for the book and all its colorful illustrations:

or Check Out the Storybook App version I created for iPad, iPhone and Kindle Fire

iPad – Saint Nick and the Space Nicks HD


iPhone – Saint Nick and the Space Nicks – An Intergalactic Christmas Tale


Kindle Fire – Saint Nick and the Space Nicks HD





John Lennon ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 27, 2015 / no comments

John Lennon 'LickedinPop Series'

John Lennon ‘LickedinPop Series’

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination – John Lennon

John Lennon was the man. And the Beatles were the band. Fuck the Rolling Stones. I loved them from the start and John was always our favorite. As little kids we would pretend to be the Beatles and we would have to take turns on who would be John. Serious. Check out this pen and ink drawing I did. It’s from 1966 in our house in Avenel, New Jersey. 350 Ella Avenue to be exact.

I'm Paul, but I wanted to be John

Avenel Kitchen

That’s me, third from the left with the ears. In order it’s my sister Lisa, Donald Mason, me and finally Donna McCullough from next door.  Anyway check out Donald and me playing one of the earliest sightings of ‘Air Guitar’! Mason had won and was officially pretending to be John for the photo while I was officially pretending to be Paul. When in fact, I was only pretending to pretend to be Paul. All the while I was really, seriously, pretending to be John the whole time. I mean, look at Mason slouching like that!! Lennon never slouched! His back was always straight as a board….. like mine. Lol.

The original pen and ink of John from the Sargent Pepper era was drawn in my 3rd sketchbook. All my sketchbooks are littered with drawings of Lennon, but this is the first to make it into my ‘LickedinPop Series’.

Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.

John 3

1) He was a choir boy and a boy scout: Yes, John Lennon, the great rock ‘n roll rebel and iconoclast, started his singing career as a choir boy at St. Peter’s church and was a member of the 3rd Allerton Boy Scout troop.

2) He was the last Beatle to learn how to drive: John got his driver’s license at the age of 24 (Feb. 15, 1965). This late attempt at driving seems to be for good reason- he was a terrible driver. He finally gave up driving after he totaled his Aston-Martin in 1969 on a trip to Scotland with his wife, Yoko Ono, his son, Julian, and Kyoko, Ono’s daughter. Lennon needed 17 stitches after the accident. He and Yoko mounted the wrecked car on a pillar at their home in England. He always used a chauffeur or driver after this incident.

3) He was the only Beatle who didn’t become a full-time vegetarian.  George Harrison was the first Beatle vegetarian; according to most sources, he became an official vegetarian in 1965.  Paul McCartney joined the “veggie” ranks a few years later. Ringo became a vegetarian not so much for spiritual reasons, like Paul and George, but because of health problems. John had toyed with vegetarianism in the sixties, but he always ended up eating meat, one way or another.

4) John Lennon once almost beat a man to death: Rumors that John Lennon was gay were swirling when things came to a head with a disc jockey the Beatles knew named Bob Wooler.  Wooler was a very close friend of the Beatles and had introduced them on stage some 300 times.  This incident happened at Paul’s 21st birthday party, on June 18, 1963.  At the party, Wooler was joking around with John and said (with heavy gay intimations): “Come on John, what really happened with you and Brian? Everybody knows anyway, so tell us.”  John had been heavily drinking that night and Lennon was a notorious “bad drunk”.  In a blind rage, John proceeded to beat the stuffing out of a very surprised Bob Wooler, literally kicking him repeatedly in the ribs as he lay on the ground in a bloody heap.  According to John, the only reason he actually stopped the savage beating was because, “I realized I was actually going to kill him…  I just saw it like a screen. If I hit him once more, that’s really going to be it. I really got shocked and for the first time thought: ‘I can kill this guy.’”  Wooler was rushed to the hospital and given treatment for a variety of things, including broken ribs.  Luckily for John Lennon- and the Beatles’ future amazing run- Wooler survived the ordeal.

5) He hated his own voice:  Incredibly, one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, John Lennon hated his own voice and loved to double-track his records. He would often ask the Beatles producer, George Martin, to cover the sound of his voice: “Can’t you smother it with tomato ketchup or something?”

6) He was dissatisfied with all the Beatles’ records: Dining with his former producer, George Martin, one night years after the band had split up, John revealed to Martin that he’d like to re-record every Beatles song. Completely amazed, Martin asked him, “Even ‘Strawberry fields’?”  His response, “Especially ‘Strawberry Fields’”.

7) He loved to play “Monopoly”: During his Beatle days, John was a devout Monopoly player. He had his own Monopoly set he’d bring with him and often played in his hotel room or on planes. He was crazy about the properties “Boardwalk” and “Park Place”.  He reportedly didn’t generally care too much if he lost the game, as long as he had “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” in his possession.

8) He sometimes slept in a coffin: According to Allan Williams, an early manager for the Beatles, John liked to sleep in an old coffin. Williams had the old coffin on the premises of his coffee bar “The Jacaranda”. As a gag, John would frequently nap in it.

9) The best lyric Lennon ever wrote: A friend once asked John the best lyric he ever wrote.  “That’s easy”, replied Lennon, “All you need is love”.


10) The last photograph of John Lennon: In this last photo of John Lennon while he was alive, he was signing an album to the person who was to assassinate him a few hours later. John obligingly signed a copy of his latest album “Double Fantasy” on the morning of his death for his killer. Later that same day, John returned from the recording studio and was gunned down by Mark David Chapman. Morbidly, a photographer later sneaked into the morgue containing John’s body and snapped a photo of it before it was cremated. John’s body was cremated the day after his assassination. Yoko Ono has never revealed the whereabouts of the ashes or what she did with them.

11) John was originally supposed to sing lead on the Beatles’ first record “Love Me Do” (1962): John sang lead on a great majority of the early Beatle records, but Paul took the lead on their very first record. The lead was originally supposed to be John’s, but because John had to play the harmonica, it was instead given to Paul.

12) The last time he saw Paul was April 24, 1976: Paul was visiting him at John’s New York apartment. They were watching “Saturday Night Live” together when producer Lorne Michaels, as a gag, offered the Beatles $3,000 to come on the show. John and Paul almost took a cab to the show, but finally decided against it. (It would have been one of the great moments in television history. Too bad!)

 As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.

John 2

Famed singer-songwriter John Lennon founded the Beatles, a band that impacted the popular music scene like no other before, or since.

Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. He met Paul McCartney in 1957 and invited McCartney to join his music group. They eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history. Lennon left the Beatles in 1969 and later released albums with his wife, Yoko Ono, among others. On December 8, 1980, he was killed by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman.


All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of  ‘John Lennon’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!


John poster

The Phantom ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 24, 2015 / no comments

The Phantom 'LickedinPop Series'

The Phantom ‘LickedinPop Series’

The Ghost Who Walks 

My illustration is based off of The Phantom from the is a 1943 classic Columbia Pictures cliffhanger serial starringTom Tyler in the title role. The serial is based on Lee Falk’s comic strip The Phantom. The illustration also features Ace the Wonder Dog as the Phantom’s trusty German shepherd Devil (who is a wolf in the original comic).

The original pen and ink illustration is from my 8th sketchbook. Since the Phantom already is a comic book super hero, it truly was a perfect fit for my LickedinPop Series. My exploration of Roy Lichtenstein inspired illustrations.

Phantom Comic 2

Phantom Movie Serial 2The Phantom is believed to have lived for more than 400 years. But in reality, this is just a myth. The Phantom is an ordinary human being. Almost every Phantom has married a woman of Royal Blood. They have had sons, most of whom have shared the name, Kit Walker. When a father Phantom retires from his work as Phantom, his son takes his place, swears the oath and becomes the new Phantom. Then the father is buried inside a secret burial chamber inside the Skull Cave.  – Pretty cool, huh? (Kind of like growing up in New Jersey)

The other cool fact is when The Phantom comic strip was created in 1936 the character was the very first to wear the skin tight body suit that became the staple for all future super heroes!

Dig that underwear. It’s always fun to see old 40s and 50s movie actors dressed as super heroes. The suits or muscles just don’t measure up to today’s standards. The publicity photos for these movie serials are such a blast. They seem so awkward that I loved drawing them.

I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice! And my sons, and their sons, shall follow me!

Phantom Comic 3All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of ‘The Phantom’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!


Groucho Marx ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 20, 2015 / no comments

Groucho Marx 'LickedinPop Series'

Groucho Marx ‘LickedinPop Series’

Go and Never Darken My Towels Again! – Groucho Marx

groucho posterMy pen and ink of Groucho Marx comes from my 7th sketchbook. The bold portrait with Groucho’s lazy eye has been used by other artists for their own illustrations for good reason. I had to draw it too.  And once the LickedinPop Series was under way I knew immediately that my drawing of Groucho would be a part of it.

It’s crazy to think that Groucho was born 125 years ago, but even when I was a kid I was seeing him on the Million Dollar Movie. That’s where you went to see the ooooooolddddd movies. I thought I was watching something from another lifetime! That feeling was probably intensified by the fact that 99% of the movies from the 30s and 40s were filmed in black and white. But funny is funny no matter how it’s filmed and Groucho and his brothers had funny in spades. Well… maybe not Zeppo.

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.

Marx 3

Julius Henry “Groucho” Marx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian and film and television star. He was known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators.

He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.

Marx 2

His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as an exaggerated stooped posture, glasses, cigar, and a thick greasepaint mustache and eyebrows. These exaggerated features resulted in the creation of one of the world’s most ubiquitous and recognizable novelty disguises, known as “Groucho glasses”: a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and mustache.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

Groucho Marx made 26 movies, 13 of them with his brothers Chico and Harpo. Marx developed a routine as a wisecracking hustler with a distinctive chicken-walking lope, an exaggerated greasepaint mustache and eyebrows, and an ever-present cigar, improvising insults to stuffy dowagers (often played by Margaret Dumont) and anyone else who stood in his way. As the Marx Brothers, he and his brothers starred in a series of popular stage shows and movies.

Their first movie was a silent film made in 1921 that was never released, and is believed to have been destroyed at the time. A decade later, the team made some of their Broadway hits into movies, including The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers.[8] Other successful films were Monkey BusinessHorse FeathersDuck Soup, and A Night at the Opera. One quip from Marx concerned his response to Sam Wood, the director of A Night at the Opera. Furious with the Marx Brothers’ ad-libs and antics on the set, Wood yelled in disgust: “You can’t make an actor out of clay.” Groucho responded, “Nor a director out of Wood.”

Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.

Marx 4Marx also worked as a radio comedian and show host. One of his earliest stints was a short-lived series in 1932, Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, costarring Chico. Though most of the scripts and discs were thought to have been destroyed, all but one of the scripts were found in 1988 in the Library of Congress. In 1947 Marx was chosen to host a radio quiz program, You Bet Your Life, broadcast by ABC and then CBS, before moving over to NBC radio and television in 1950. Filmed before a live audience, the television show consisted of Marx interviewing the contestants and ad libbing jokes, before playing a brief quiz. The show was responsible for the phrases “Say the secret woid [word] and divide $100” (that is, each contestant would get $50); and “Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?” or “What color is the White House?” (asked when Marx felt sorry for a contestant who had not won anything). It ran for eleven years on television.

Throughout his career he introduced a number of memorable songs in films, including “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” and “Hello, I Must Be Going”, in Animal Crackers, “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It”, “Everyone Says I Love You” and “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”. Frank Sinatra, who once quipped that the only thing he could do better than Marx was sing, made a film with Marx and Jane Russell in 1951 entitled Double Dynamite.

I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.

Marx 1

All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of  ‘Groucho Marx’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!

Clint Eastwood Josey Wales ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 17, 2015 / no comments

Clint Eastwood Josey Wales 'LickedinPop Series'

Clint Eastwood Josey Wales ‘LickedinPop Series’

Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy. – Josey Wales

Clint 2

I had an old art school friend at DuCret School of the Arts in Plainfield N.J. that always drew Clint Eastwood and his Josey Wales character. I remember a particularly good pencil drawing he did. Clint’s coolness got me drawing him too. In fact, my first ‘good’ airbrush painting was a portrait of Eastwood which has been in my friend Tony’s collection for years now.

Personally, The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of my top three Eastwood movies. Others rise and fall with time (High Plains DrifterThe Good the Bad and the Ugly and Dirty Harry), but Josey never ever slips below third. This movie and Unforgiven are that good. Think the complete opposite of Eastwood’s Jersey Boys!


When I get to likin’ someone, they ain’t around long.


Josey Wales is a fictional character created by author Forrest Carter, for his novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (republished in 1975 as Gone to Texas). Clint Eastwood cites Josey as his personal favorite of all the movies he’s made.

Philip Kaufman started to direct the film but was replaced by Clint Eastwood, a controversial move which prompted the DGA to institute a ban on any current cast or crew member replacing the director on a film – a rule which has ever since been titled the “Eastwood rule.” According to Eastwood biographer Marc Eliot part of the acrimony between the two married men was a result of both asking female lead Sondra Locke out to dinner on the same night.

The movie received mixed reviews on its release, but it wasn’t until a few years later that aficionado Orson Welles, during a guest appearance on The Merv Griffin Show (1962), declared: “When I saw that picture for the fourth time, I realized that it belongs with the great Westerns. You know, the great Westerns of Ford and Hawks and people like that.”


Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?


Clint 1

All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of  ‘Clint Eastwood – Josey Wales’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!

Bride of Frankenstein ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 14, 2015 / no comments

Bride of Frankenstein 'LickedinPop Series'

Bride of Frankenstein ‘LickedinPop Series’


To a new world of gods and monsters!


Universal considered making a sequel to Frankenstein as early as its 1931 preview screenings, following which the film’s original ending was changed to allow for Henry Frankenstein’s survival. Director James Whale believed the sequel would not top the original, so he decided instead to make it a memorable “hoot”.  According to a studio publicist, Whale and Universal’s studio psychiatrist decided “the Monster would have the mental age of a ten-year old boy and the emotional age of a lad of fifteen”.

Screenwriter Robert Florey wrote a treatment entitled The New Adventures of Frankenstein — The Monster Lives!, but it was rejected without comment early in 1932. Universal staff writer Tom Reed wrote a treatment under the title The Return of Frankenstein, a title retained until filming began. Following its acceptance in 1933, Reed wrote a full script that was submitted to the Hays office for review. The script passed its review, but Whale, who by then had been contracted to direct, complained that “it stinks to heaven”. L. G. Blochman and Philip MacDonald were the next writers assigned, but Whale also found their work unsatisfactory. In 1934, Whale set John L. Balderston to work on yet another version, and it was he who returned to an incident from the novel in which the creature demands a mate. In the novel Frankenstein creates a mate, but destroys it without bringing it to life. Balderston also created the Mary Shelley prologue. After several months Whale was still not satisfied with Balderston’s work and handed the project to playwright William J. Hurlbut and Edmund Pearson. The final script, combining elements of a number of these versions, was submitted for Hays office review in November 1934. 


It’s a perfect night for mystery and horror. The air itself is filled with monsters.

Sources report that Bela Lugosi and Claude Rains were considered, with varying degrees of seriousness, for the role of Frankenstein’s mentor, Pretorius; others report that the role was created specifically for Ernest Thesiger. Because of Mae Clarke’s ill health, Valerie Hobson replaced her as Henry Frankenstein’s love interest, Elizabeth. Early in production, Whale decided that the same actress cast to play the Bride should also play Mary Shelley in the film’s prologue, to represent how the story — and horror in general — springs from the dark side of the imagination. He considered Brigitte Helm and Phyllis Brooks before deciding on Elsa Lanchester. Lanchester, who had accompanied husband Charles Laughton to Hollywood, had met with only moderate success while Laughton had made a strong impact with several films including The Private Life of Henry VIII (for which he had won an Oscar) and Whale’s own The Old Dark House. Lanchester had returned alone to London when Whale contacted her to offer her the dual role. Lanchester modeled the Bride’s hissing on the hissing of swans. She gave herself a sore throat while filming the hissing sequence, which Whale shot from multiple angles.



We belong dead!

When I was a kid my favorite show was Creature Features. Every Saturday night on channel 5 at 8:30pm I would slip into a world of monsters. When I got a little older and allowed to stay up later, I added Chiller Theater on channel 11 to my list of must shows. Man, I loved the old horror movies! I still have old copies of Famous Monsters magazine locked away. And, I had all the Aurora Monster model kits too. The hunchback kind of sucked because it was kneeling down on a wooden wheel, but the others… AWESOME!


Elsa 1

My sketchbooks are filled with cartoons of Frankenstein and different versions of the Wolfman. Unfortunately I only have a few drawings as detailed as the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ pen and ink that I used for the this ‘LickedinPop Series’ illustration. I do have one though of Karloff’s monster from the original movie which I’m using for my next installment! I hope you like it.

All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture. Beautiful reproductions of  ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!

George Reeves Superman ‘LickedinPop Series’

April 10, 2015 / no comments

George Reeves Superman 'LickedinPop Series'

Knock the ‘t’ off of can’t – George Reeves


Superman 2George Reeves Superman ‘LickedinPop Series’ was the first completed in this group. Reeves’ career as Superman had begun with Superman and the Mole Men, a film intended both as a B-picture and as the pilot for the TV series.

superman 1Reeves was born on January 5, 1914, in Woolstock, Iowa. In 1935, he joined the Pasadena Community Playhouse. His first film role was a minor part in Gone with the Wind. Reeves acted in movies and army training films. In 1951, he took the title role on the popular television series The Adventures of Superman. His mysterious 1959 death was considered a suicide, but some speculate murder.

As a little kid I loved watching ‘The Adventures of Superman’ over and over again. My mom even made me a complete ass kicking Superman costume. I mainly wore the cape and would run around the neighborhood with it tied around my neck. I do have to admit that I did turn that cape into Batman’s having my mom cut a serrated edge along the bottom. It didn’t bother me that the cape was still red. Check out the pen and ink drawing below. I’m the one on the right wearing my cape.

The Corvair

The Corvair


All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture.

Beautiful reproductions of ‘George Reeves Superman’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!

Marlene Dietrich LickedinPop Series Illustration

April 8, 2015 / no comments

'Marlene' LickediinPop Series

‘Marlene’ LickediinPop Series

“In America, sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it’s a fact.” – Marlene Dietrich


The latest entry in my ‘LickedinPop’ series is the wonderful Hollywood legend, Marlene Dietrich. Known for her sultry, sex appeal, she was a major leading lady in the 1930s and 1940s. She explored notions of feminism with her femme fatale roles in films, such as in the film Morocco. Continuing to play the femme fatale, Dietrich challenged accepted notions of femininity. She often wore pants and more masculine fashions on- and off-screen, which added to her unique allure and created new trends.

All work in the LickedinPop Series begins as an original pen and Ink illustration. Rich and colorful, it is my homage to the work of Roy Lichtenstein tuned to my favorites in pop culture.

Beautiful reproductions of ‘Marlene Dietrich’ and all my work in the LickedinPop Series are available for sale at my Etsy Store. Please come visit!Framed 'Marlene' LickedinPop Series Illustration’s ‘Autism Acceptance Month’

April 6, 2015 / no comments

Autism Acceptance Month

Autism Acceptance Month

Stubborn Pixel is participating in Smartappsforkids ‘Autism Acceptance Month’. For the entire month our Christmas storybook app, ‘Saint Nick and the Space Nicks’ will be 67% off. Written by Richard Chase Mears, Space Nicks is a clever twist on the traditional Christmas tale. Santa discovers that Christmas is not bound to earth alone. He meets Venick, a Space Nick from Venus that has lost his way and in danger of not completing his own Christmas deliveries. When Santa decides to help they meet all the Space Nicks from all the planets in the galaxy!

iPad _iPhone2

 Saint Nick and the Space Nicks HD

Only .99¢ 

Space Nicks Hd is available for iPad at the iTunes Store and also for Kindle Fire HD at Amazon’s Appstore.

Wonderfully narrated by NPR’s Robert Krulwich.

Written by Richard Chase Mears.

32 pages of whimsically detailed illustrations by Bill Westerfield with hundreds of interactive buttons, visible and hidden, that trigger animations, draggle objects and silly sound effects that kids will love!.

Space Nicks HD also includes ‘Paint Nicks’! 5 coloring pages, now with even more colors to choose from! Children can spend hours coloring their favorite Space Nicks.