Friday, October 31, 2008

Blast from the Past #35 repost: TMNT Volume 1 #2 cover/inks and tones

Back in the early days of the TMNT comic book, Kevin Eastman and I would alternate cover duties. He did the artwork for the cover to the first issue (although, if memory serves, I did the mechanical color separation overlay for the red color on that cover), I did the second, he did the third, and so on.

This is my cover drawing for TMNT #2, done on the duo shade board we used for the interior art. I’ve reproduced this black and white art in color to show the sepia tones created by the aging toning chemicals in the paper.

I think this was the first time I tried using the toning chemicals in my airbrush -- boy, did that dark tone chemical stink! It was truly vile. -- PL

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blast from the Past #34 repost: "Who is this? Fugitoid" iron-on

This is another piece of art from 1983 (pre-TMNT) done to be used to make iron-on t-shirt transfers -- this one was penciled by Kevin and inked and colored by me.

We did a few of these at the local Portsmouth, NH copy center, the only place in the area with a color laser copier (actually, now that I think of it, those devices were nearly as rare as hen's teeth back in 1983). These iron-ons were created to promote the "Fugitoid" comic story we had done, which at that time we actually planned to publish in the form of "poster comics" -- four 8.5 by 11 inch pages which then unfolded into a huge 17 by 22 inch fifth "poster" page. (This is why, if you have the original "Fugitoid" comic book, you may have noticed that nearly every fifth page is a full page spread.)

The original art was done in reverse, so the iron-on appeared in the right orientation when applied to a shirt. For this "Blast", I flipped the art so it would read easier. Now that I think of it, this may be the first color image of the Fugitoid that we ever did. -- PL

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blast from the Past #109: unifinished Donatello sketch

I found this one while going through a pile of old, partially-used pads of drawing paper the other day. This drawing had gotten stuck into one of these pads and forgotten.

There's no date on it that I can see, but from the look of it -- especially the fact that I was using a real brush and ink to ink it -- I'd say it was from the early 1980's. It's funny... I have several of this type of unfinished drawing in my files, and sometimes (as in this case), for the life of me, I can't remember WHY I didn't complete them. -- PL

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blast from the Past #33 repost: Donatello with radio-controlled motorcycle

This drawing, penciled and inked by me in 1987, was inspired by a period when we were living in Connecticut during which Kevin Eastman, Steve Lavigne, and I got into radio-controlled (RC) racing cars. Those babies were awesome! The first time we saw them was behind an ice cream parlor in Amenia, NY -- there was a hobby store on the second floor, and they had a little dirt racetrack for the RC cars out in back of the building. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw these cars flying around the track, banging into each other, jumping over berms, and throwing (relatively) huge roostertails of dirt behind them. We bought several kits (another fun aspect -- you had to build these things, and you could buy all kinds of trick speed parts for them). I still have the first one I bought, and it still goes like a rocket! One of my favorite things to do with this car was to take it out onto the lake near our house in Connecticut, in the winter when it was frozen over and there was a light, one or two inch dusting of snow on the ice. The car would make cool tracks in the snow as it skidded and slid around, throwing up sprays of snow.

Eventually, I did find an RC motorcycle, a lovely Tamiya model of a Honda RC-30 superbike racer... but it was never quite as much fun as the car (due to the inevitable balance problems of a two-wheeled radio-controlled vehicle). Of more recent vintage is the seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath-branded RC motocross bike from Tyco Toys, which is not only cheaper and more durable than the Tamiya kit, but comes fully assembled, has working front and rear suspension, does great wheelies, and can actually be driven on dirt... plus it has an uncanny ability to (most times) right itself when it had fallen over.

A curious thing about this drawing that I just noticed is the strap arrangement I gave Don for carrying his bo staff. I don't think I've ever used that configuration in the comics or elsewhere -- just in this pinup. -- PL

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mirage Universe cover pencils

We're planning a "Mirage Universe" book, which --- as I understand it -- will be a kind of reference work for all of the characters which have appeared in the Mirage Turtles comics. I volunteered to draw the cover, which I decided to do as a "flip cover". Here's my drawing, which I did in "photo blue" pencil.

I just finished inking it today -- I'll put up those finished images soon. -- PL

Girl Turtles

My daughter sent me these two photos of her and three friends -- Sara, Colleen and Ellen -- at a Hallowe'en party this past weekend.

They decided to costume themselves as the four Turtles (although I think they went more for comfort and practicality rather than authenticity). -- PL

Donatello marker sketch

This sketch of Donatello represents something I rarely do, which is to draw a full figure Turtle without first at least roughly penciling in the basic shapes.

I did this one at some comic show in 2000. It's kind of funny to see what cheap paper I was working on -- as you can see from the photo, the yellow of the cover of the sketch pad I was using as a drawing surface shows right through the paper I'm drawing on.

This drawing was done with a Sharpie marker, a great tool but very unforgiving, especially on cheap paper, as Sharpies tend to bleed if not handled with lightness and precision. Drawing like this makes me nervous -- it's far too easy to make a mistake, and then the whole thing is ruined. This one came out okay, I think. -- PL

Blast from the Past #32 repost: Voices For Children TMNT poster (?)

I am embarrassed to say that I can’t remember what I penciled and inked this drawing for, though I think it had something to do with a charity called Voices For Children. Anyone ever seen this art before? I do like the way the thorny branches came out. -- PL

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blast from the Past #108: Donatello sparring with robot Donatello

This is another "done for fun" drawing, from 1987. I always felt that Donatello would at some point consider building robotic sparring gizmos to help in the Turtles' training, so that they could go "all-out" without fear of hurting their opponent (which would ordinarily be one of the other Turtles). -- PL

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blast from the Past #31 repost: TMNT with dimensional gateway

This is kind of fun -- another drawing whose purpose I can’t recall, though I was clearly having a good time drawing it. I think I drew this one sometime in the early 1990's. I like the "homage" to one of Jack Kirby's many concepts from his "Fourth World" series at DC -- the "Boom Tube".

Curiously, the day after I scanned the pencils, I found hanging on the wall of my ofice at Mirage Studios this cool inked version. Jim Lawson inked Leo, Eric Talbot inked Don, Mike Dooney inked Mike, and Dan Berger inked Raph. -- PL

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Blast from the Past #30 repost: Laird/Dooney barbarian turtle

This is a fun drawing of a barbarian turtle from 1986, penciled by me and beautifully inked by the wizard of brushwork, Michael Dooney -- probably when we were both bored at some comic book convention. -- PL

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blast from the Past #107: Mirage Studios Triceraton iron-on

This drawing was done by me in 1983, and was used as the basis for an iron-on t-shirt transfer. Kevin and I had found this great copy shop in Portsmouth, NH, which had one of the first color copiers. This machine could copy your color artwork onto iron-on transfer material. Of course, we had to try it, and made several different designs.

Successfully getting these transfers to, well, transfer was hit-or-miss. I think we ruined a number of t-shirts. But occasionally they came out well. I think I still have one or two from those days, somewhat worse for wear (literally).

This design was probably done with the thought that it might serve as some kind of advertising for our fledgling business, Mirage Studios. Just how many jobs we thought we might get as the result of one or both of us walking around Dover wearing these t-shirts, I don't know.

Curiously, although this is obviously an ad for Mirage Studios, there is a "© 1983 Peter Laird" line on it. It makes me wonder if this is actually a drawing I had done prior to the forming of Mirage Studios. Or it could just be a mistake. -- PL

Blast from the Past #29 repost: "Who is the Uknown Ninja?"

A fun little drawing done by Kevin and me in 1984, this features our robot character the Fugitoid dressed up as a ninja. Kevin pencilled this one, and I inked it. I don't think it was ever used for anything -- just another drawing done for the heck of it.

Looking at this again makes me think it could have been a lot of fun to do something like this in the comics. -- PL

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blast from the Past #28 repost: Archie TMNT movie one adaptation covers

When the first TMNT movie came out in 1990, we did a comic book adaption of it which was published in two versions by Archie Comics. Above is my pencil art for the “deluxe” edition...

... and below is my pencil art for the cover of the regular newsstand edition. I'm pretty sure Kevin inked both of these. -- PL

Blast from the Past #106: Redrawn two-page spread from TMNT #1

I really can't remember why I did this piece. It's a recreation of the first two-page spread (pages 2 and 3) from the first issue of TMNT. I penciled and inked this back in 1986.

I have a feeling it was done to be used for an ad or some kind of promotion. However, I can't recall if it actually WAS used in such a fashion. It's possible that it was used to promote the First Comics color graphic novel-style reprints of the early TMNT issues.

Looking at this drawing, I am once again reminded of Kevin Eastman's talent for layouts, as this composition is directly lifted from issue #1, which followed Kevin's layouts quite closely. If I had had the task of laying out this two-page spread, I don't think I would have come up with these imaginative poses for the four Turtles. -- PL

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blast from the Past #105: Turtle with megablaster

This is a fun drawing, something I penciled and Jim inked back in 1986. It was probably one of the first pieces we ever worked on together. It's interesting to note how Jim's inking style has changed. -- PL

Blast from the Past #26 repost: Leonardo at "Fandom Directree"

I remember having a whole lot of fun with this drawing, which I submitted as my entry in one of the Fandom Directory’s art contests. It was penciled and inked by me. (The Fandom Directory was an excellent reference work for genre fan information. It had thousands of very useful names and addresses and other information. There is a Fandom Directory website at

-- Peter Laird

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blast from the Past repost #25: "City at War" battle / pencils

This is a huge pencil piece (I think about 20" by 14") that I did from a rough sketch by Kevin, showing a battle scene representing events in the “City At War” story arc in the Mirage Volume 1 TMNT comics. I don’t think it was ever used for anything. It may have been intended for a wraparound cover to a collected reprint of the "City at War" stories, which never happened. -- PL

Blast from the Past repost #24: TMNT #2 character sketches

This is kind of embarrassing. I had completely forgotten that I had used this stuff for the twenty-fourth installment of my original "Blast from the Past" archive on the Planet Racers website, and thus repeated myself by posting the same stuff as my "palblog" entry for Tuesday, September 16, 2008. D'oh!

I obviously don't need to re-post what I've already posted twice, but just to keep these "Blast from the Past" reposts consistent, I will do so here. I will try in the future to not do this... but I gotta tell ya, sometimes it's hard keeping all this stuff straight!

Here's the original "Blast from the Past" post:

Continuing on from last week, here are a few other things I found in that folder of art from the original TMNT #2. First is this sheet of character sketches which I drew when we were working out the details of TMNT#2. At the top are two versions of Baxter Stockman... he ended up looking a little bit different in the finished comic. Below them, on the left is an early Mouser sketch. And on the right is perhaps the first ever drawing of April, who at that time was just an unnamed assistant to Baxter.

-- Peter Laird

Below are two costume design sketches for April and Baxter...

... and the drawing below somehow got slipped into my TMNT #2 folder by accident -- it's my first rough layout sketch for the drawing which I would do for the cover to TMNT #4. -- PL

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blast from the Past #23 repost: TMNT Volume 1 #2 unfinished inks

It's funny what you can find completely by accident. Back in 2001, I needed to check some old original artwork from the first TMNT comic book series to make sure that the tone patterns in the paper I was planning to use for the Vol. 4 TMNT book matched the old pages, so I looked in my folder of originals from TMNT #2. In that folder were some things I had completely forgotten about, including the two examples below.

These are copies I made of pages from TMNT #2 which Kevin and I had both penciled on and I had partially inked, prior to passing the pages back to Kevin for him to do his part of the inking (and, obviously, prior to doing the grey Duo-Shade tones). I must have made these copies for some reason, though I can't recall exactly why -- perhaps because at the time we were working on that issue, Kevin was living in Maine and I was living in Connecticut, and if I was mailing originals back to him I might have wanted to have some kind of record of what inking I'd done in case the pages got lost in the mail.

Back in the early days, when we were doing comic shows together, one of the most common questions was "How do you guys work together?" and it never ceased to amaze me that so many people just couldn't quite comprehend that both of us worked on penciling, inking and toning each and every page of the artwork. (In fact, a lot of people couldn't quite get the fact the one of us wasn't "the writer" and the other one "the artist".) I wish I had remembered that I had these copies when we were asked those questions.

I also wish I had done this kind of copying on all of the pages we worked on together -- it would have been cool to be able to see what each of us had done on each page. Right now, looking back over all those years, it's difficult to say for sure who inked what, although there are some things that stand out. -- PL

Blast from the Past #104: Motocross Turtle

Of all the "Turtles on motorcycles" drawings Jim Lawson did for us during the "Team Mirage" years, this one is my favorite. It's a great example of Jim's amazing cartooning skills, and really captures the essence of motocross.

One of the cool things about this drawing is that if you don't know anything about motorcycles, it's just a really neat, exciting drawing. And if you DO know something about motorcycles, then you can very much appreciate the level of detail in everything from the gloves to the boots to the tires to the engine, and on and on. I would love to be able to draw machinery like this. -- PL

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blast from the Past #103: TMNT color series #2 cover pencils

Here's aother of my penciled covers from the Mirage color TMNT series, also known as "Volume 2".

This was one of a series of Vol. 2 covers I did wherein I incorporated a large, looming background head or face image with a foreground action scene -- in this case, the head in question is the menacing cranium of the Baxter Stockman robot. -- PL

Blast from the Past repost #22: proposed portfolio cover pencils

Sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's, I penciled this for the cover for a TMNT portfolio (for which I was planning to draw all the art) which never happened. Bummer... I kind of like those letter forms. (As you might guess, I was trying to go for a Will Eisner "Spirit"-type effect with this "architectural" lettering.)

I think I still have some of the unfiinished artwork which was to have been in this portfolio -- I'll try to find it for a future "Blast From The Past". -- PL

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blast from the Past repost #21: "How To Draw Turtles" cover pencils

One of the several TMNT-related comics that Solson Comics put out in the 1980's was “How To Draw the TMNT”. I penciled this goofy drawing for the cover, and Kevin inked it. (Actually, I like this drawing a lot.) -- PL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lloyd Goldfine on Mt. Greylock

This is a nice photo from the summer of 2004. My pal Lloyd Goldfine, head writer on the 4Kids TMNT show, had come up for a visit to talk about the show. We decided to do a "drive and talk" and headed up Mt. Greylock.

Mt. Greylock is the tallest mountain in Massachusetts, located in the northwest corner of the state, about sixty miles from Northampton. The road to the top is about eight miles long (unfortunately, it's closed this year for repairs), and has lots of great views.

This photo was taken at the top of the mountain -- Lloyd is standing before the war memorial which was built up there in the 1930's. I especially like how the clouds look in this image. -- PL

Blast from the Past #20 repost: Original Turtle Action Figure Prototypes

When, back in January of 1987, Kevin and I made our first trip out to Playmates Toys' offices in California to discuss plans for the proposed animated show and the toy line, we were shown two Turtle figure sculpts, illustrating two possible directions Playmates was considering for the look of the action figures. The first one we saw was this "chunky style" Turtle (below), very much in the style of the original "Masters of the Universe" action figures.

It was a nice sculpture (although the goofy cloth headband with the eyes drawn on it was kind of lame), but when we saw the second version (below, on the right) we were sold.

It was much closer to the way our Turtles looked in the comics, and as you can tell from the image, very close to the way the TMNT action figures eventually appeared. It's kind of scary to think of what the line would have been like if we had gone with the first version...! (These images are frame grabs from a VHS-C video recorded on a primitive lunchbox-sized video camera in the conference room at Playmates' offices. Trivia note: that's Kevin's hand in the images.) -- PL

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dan at the "twig castle"

I found this photo (actually, it's a combination of two photos) in my files, and I find it hard to believe it's been seven years since I took it (or them). Dan Berger is seen here posing with what I liked to call the "twig castle" on the grounds of Smith College in Northampton. This "castle" was a fantastical structure built, I believe, as a kind of art installation. It was wrought entirely of bent and twisted branches, and you could walk in and out of its various sections. Unfortunately, it was only there for part of the year -- I would have liked to have seen what would have happened to it if left for a long time. In the short time that it was there, other plants had already started growing on it. -- PL

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RUMOR CONTROL re: the TMNT/4Kids "animated movie"

Given some of the unfounded rumors that have popped up in various places on the Web about the upcoming "animated movie" from 4Kids that Lloyd Goldfine made mention of in a recent interview, I feel compelled to clarify this one important point -- this "movie" is NOT just three more episodes added to the end of this current "Back to the Sewer" season. It is a completely separate project, intended from its conception as part of the 25th anniversary celebration. The reason it is being produced in three episode-length pieces is that doing so gives us more flexibility in how we show it. But it is all one story -- you can think of the three pieces as the three chapters in a three-chapter story.

While I am still not going to give a lot away at this point, I can say that this project may make a lot of fans quite happy, as it finally brings together the old and the new. And without being specific, I can also say that this project will also show fans the Turtles as they have never before been seen in animation. -- PL

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another "Scat" cover: John Wayne's ghost rides Skylab

Here's another cover I did for the old "Scat" free comics magazine that I co-founded back in the 1970's. This one depicts John Wayne's ghost riding Skylab, the old NASA space station which fell to Earth (mostly in small pieces) on July 11, 1979.

It's a pretty odd concept, and I don't think I can take credit for it. At least, I don't remember coming up with this idea. I think it might have been one of the other founding fathers of "Scat" who conceptualized this, and I somehow got the job of drawing it. I believe the John Wayne connection came partly from the fact that "The Duke" had passed away a month earlier, on June 11, 1979. -- PL

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blast from the Past #102: Leo with shuriken slingshot

This is another one of those drawings done to sell at conventions, this one drawn in 1987. I'm not sure how or even if a "shuriken slingshot" would work, but if it did it might offer some advantages over simply throwing the shuriken... but then you'd have to carry the slingshot around with you... and figure out a way to keep the shuriken from slicing up the slingshot's cup...

Okay, never mind... like they say, it seemed like a good idea at the time. -- PL

Blast from the Past #101: Raph fighting a Foot ninja (unfinished)

I'm not sure why I never finished this drawing, begun sometime around 1984 or 1985. This was very likely something I had started as a drawing I could take to a comic convention or store signing to sell. -- PL

Blast from the Past #19 repost: "Ninja Alligator"

This one was done for fun back in 1988, turning the Leatherhead character (created by Ryan Brown) into a ninja (temporarily). I did pencils, inks and tones (and the bad lettering) on this drawing. -- PL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Blast from the Past #99: Achie TMNT miniseries #1 cover

Here's yet another look back at the Archie TMNT experience. This is the cover to issue #1 of the first minieries we did with Archie. First up is Kevin's penciled cover...

... which I then inked. The weird part about this one is that Kevin apparently didn't like the way I'd inked April's face, and took it upon himself to redraw that face on a separate piece of paper, and then cut and paste it onto the inked cover, as shown here.

As you might imagine, I wasn't too thrilled by that move, so I removed the pasted-up face (as seen below).

And finally, here's the printed version in color. Curiously, on close examination of this final version, it appears that some further minor alterations were made to my original inked April face, by whom I can't recall. Strange... -- PL

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Blast from the Past #98: Archie TMNT Adventures #44 cover, pencils and inks

Here's another cover from the Archie TMNT days, this one from issue 44 of "TMNT Adventures". It features everyone's favorite shark mutant, Armaggon. The first image is of my penciled cover...

... followed by Ryan Brown's beautifully inked version. -- PL

Blast from the Past #97: TMNT Vol. 2 #5 cover pencils

This is one of the covers that I penciled for the short-lived color TMNT series that Mirage published.

I'm pretty sure Kevin Eastman inked all of these, and I colored them (with varying degrees of success) in Photoshop. -- PL

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blast from the Past #96: Eastman/Dooney Barbarian Turtle

Here's a fun joint effort from back in 1986. This is something that Kevin Eastman penciled and Michael Dooney inked. It's similar to the drawing I posted as "Blast from the Past" #30 some years ago -- that one was a barbarian Turtle that I penciled and Mike inked. -- PL

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day in L.A., 1993

I stumbled upon this curious artifact while going through some stuff in my office at Mirage yesterday. It's an official-looking proclamation for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Day" in Los Angeles, California, in 1993 -- March 19, to be precise. It's even signed by then-mayor Tom Bradley.

I don't really remember much about this, but from reading the proclamation I gather that it was something done in connection with a special world premiere screening on March 6, 1993 of the third live-action Turtles movie, the proceeds from which were to benefit several different charities. -- PL