Through this, I met a guy named Derek Fridolfs, a professional artist who has worked on projects for Marvel and DC, among others. He offered to do a sketch for a book or two, so I took him up on it. I had him draw Spider-Man and sign it to my son, Parker. He also sent an autographed comic that he had worked on.
Here's the sketch:
Over the next year or so, I did a couple of more trades with him, and even commissioned a few sketches from him for $25 each. Really not a bad deal at all.
Here are the sketches:
Starman #4 (Prince Gavvyn)
James Robinson's Starman series is the best comic book series I have ever read. It's amazing how hard Robinson works to coallesce all of the past Starmen into a grand legacy. My goal, once the family gets some disposable income, is to have the Starman lineage completed (only missing three (Starman of 1951, Starman #5 [David Knight], and Starman #8/Starboy (Thom Kallor/Danny Blaine). I then want to move onto the major villains (Mist/Mist #2, Solomon Grundy, Ragdoll, etc.) and the side characters (Shade, the O'Dares, Charity, etc.).
While I'm not too big into comic books that are done in the animated/Paul Dini style, I have to say that Derek's sketches are phenomenal. I don't know how much he knew about the characters before he drew them, but I made sure to send him plenty of reference shots from various comics. He captured all of the characters perfectly.
The guy is also a relatively quick artist. I know these are just sketches, but they're also inked and shaded. And the backs of all of the sketches, if I'm not mistaken, has rough sketches in blue pencil. So I'm able to see what designs or poses he considered before going with his final choice. Turn-around time was usually a week or so, but last time I checked I think his website said to give him a month.
These sketches are my pride and joy (obviously after my wife and kids). They're one-of-a-kind, done for me and me alone. These are not items I will ever part with easily. I've got each one framed, and they're hanging in my office.
If you've got a comic book fan in your life and if you ever want to give them a meaningful and unique gift, I can't think of a better one than an original sketch of their favorite character by a professional artist. Check out his deviantART page or his Comic Art Fans page to take a gander at his work. You can email him to get rates on sketches, which he would do between regular jobs.
So go on, give him some business. Maybe it he gets enough referrals from me he'll send me a free sketch to help finish off my Starman cast. Eh? Eh? Ah, it's worth a shot.
Listening to: Howard Shore - Parth Galen