Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One of a kind! Act now!!! BUY THIS SHIRT!!!

Mike Dooney asked me to put up a blog notice about this cool t-shirt which
he is offering on eBay RIGHT NOW!!! (Until Saturday.)


what Mike put in the listing description.

" One of a kind Ninja Turtle shirt! Up for auction is a new unworn Large (it's oversized so I'd say it's more like an XL) long sleeve tee shirt hand signed and drawn on by the TMNT Mirage Studios crew of artists. The studio gang and myself thought that it would be fun to draw on this shirt and then go out for a beer with whatever we get for selling it here....so thanks in advance ;)

Artists who signed the shirt are; Peter Laird (TMNT Co-creator), Jim Lawson, Dan Berger,Steve Murphy, Eric Talbot, Steve Lavigne and Michael Dooney."

Here's the photo of the shirt Mike sent me:

Act now, and it could be yours! -- PL

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blast from the Past #171: another sketch for the cover of TMNT #4, Volume 1

This is an oddity I found in a drawer with some other stuff -- it's yet another preliminary sketch for my cover for issue #4 of the original Volume 1 TMNT comics. I have already posted one of these preliminary drawings (Friday, February 13, 2009: Blast from the Past #150).

This one is kind of strange in that I drew it on illustration board instead of the Bristol board I typically used. I'm not sure why. -- PL

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BLast from the Past #169: Fugitoid pinup

I can't recall if this drawing I did back in 1985 of the Fugitoid running through a robot junkyard was ever printed anywhere. It's possible we used it as a pinup in one of the comics.

I do remember having fun incorporating junked versions of various famous robots into this drawing. -- PL

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blast from the Past #90 repost: roughs for Leonardo and Usagi story "The Crossing"

Going through some old files a few years ago, I found this interesting artifact -- eight sheets of what looked like scratch paper clipped together, with my loosely-scrawled rough layouts and dialogue for my Usagi Yojimbo and Leonardo crossover short. It's been a while since I last read the finished piece, but I think it pretty closely followed these roughs.

According to the folks at the very cool Usagi Yojimbo fan site (http://www.usagiyojimbo.com/), the issue of UY with this story is still available from Fantagraphics.

One thing I'd like to mention relates to a comment I read somewhere -- an UY fan was miffed that, in this story, I had Usagi behaving in an arrogant, obnoxiously aggressive manner... something the real Usagi would not do. That is true -- but what Usagi is doing in this little tale is using himself as the basis for an object lesson, a kind of parable to help the youngster understand concepts of honor and respect. To help get the message across, Usagi shades the truth and makes himself look less honorable than he really is. Looked at this way, it's very doubtful the Leonardo/Usagi meeting ever happened quite like this. (But it's still a fun story!)


Well, that's it -- I've finished reposting all of the old "Blast from the Past" posts I had originally put up on the "Planet Racers" website. It was fun doing it, as it allowed me to see your thoughts on those items. Going forward, "BftP" will now feature only new old stuff (and maybe a few new new things as well)! -- PL

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blast from the Past repost #89: front cover of special PBBZ Limited Edition reprint of TMNT Volume 1, #1

This is the front cover to a special limited edition (3000 copies) of the first issue of TMNT which was available for the first time at the Portsmouth, NH comic con on May 22 of 2004. What was new about this reprint was that I had retoned and relettered it, as part of a long-term effort to "remaster" all of the old issues of TMNT. There was also an essay by Ralph DiBernardo, who -- 21 years ago -- produced the Portsmouth Minicon at which Kevin and I premiered the first issue of the TMNT.

And for this twenty-fifth anniversary year, on "Free Comic Book Day", Dan Berger, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne, Jim Lawson, Steve Murphy, Eric Talbot and I will be doing a signing at Jetpack Comics (Ralph's store) in Rochester, NH from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 2. A nice kind of almost perfect symmetry -- Kevin and I attended Ralph's Portsmouth Minicon to premiere the first issue of TMNT on May 5, 1984. -- PL

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blast from the Past #88 repost: Raphael wth TCRI alien gun

Raphael wields one of the TCRI aliens' (otherwise known as the Utroms) blasters in one of my pin-ups from 1986. -- PL

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blast from the Past #167: unfinished drawing of Savanti Romero and Renet

This is kind of an odd piece. I found it in the same place as that unfinished pencil piece by Kevin Eastman (BftP #166), and for the life of me I cannot remember what I did this drawing for.

Obviously, it features two of the main characters from TMNT Volume 1 #8 -- Savanti Romero (looking somewhat different from how he appeared in the comic) and Renet -- but why did I draw it? The layout of the drawing makes me think this might have been intended either for an ad or a pin-up.

I guess, like Savanti Romero himself, the true origins of this piece are lost in the dim mists of time. -- PL

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blast from the Past #87 repost: Leo fights a monster

(Note: I have this sneaking suspicion I may have already used this piece in one of my palblog posts, so if I have, please excuse my somewhat imperfect memory. -- PL)

Here's one of my TMNT pinups from 1987, featuring Leo battling a creepy monster. I'm pretty sure I started drawing this for fun at a convention and finished it later. -- PL

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A "Team Mirage" souvenir

This is an artifact from the days when I sponsored a motorcycle racing team that we called "Team Mirage". All the racers rode TMNT-themed bikes, and Dale Quarterley was our road racer, competing in the AMA superbike class.

Dale gave me this side panel from the fairing of his Team Mirage Kawasaki race bike. It bears the scars from a crash he had in 1992 at the Mid-Ohio race course. I attended that race, having ridden out to Ohio with some motorcycling friends, including Gary Richardson (who also ran Team Mirage for me, and did a great job of it), Ed Smith and Jim Lawson. I can't remember if it was oil or water on the track that made Dale hit the deck, but he did, and the bike slid across the pavement for quite a ways. You can see the gouges where the pavement abraded the pant and plastic of the fairing panel.

Dale actually won the race on a Team Mirage bike the following year... a pretty amazing thing for a privateer competing against factory teams. Unfortunately, I was not in attendance, but Gary was, and got to take part in the victory celebrations. -- PL

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blast from the Past #166: sketch for unused cover by Kevin Eastman

This is kind of an oddball piece. I found it while going through some old comic book art files this past week. It's a loose pencil drawing, obviously by Kevin Eastman, drawn on illustration board.

At first, I thought it might be an alternate cover idea for issue #8 of TMNT Volume 1, but I'm not sure. It's possible that it might be an idea for a cover for one of the First Comics reprintings of those early issues in color. -- PL

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blast from the Past #165: Kevin Eastman's original plot for Raphael "Micro-Series"

I don't have Kevin Eastman's "Artobiography" close at hand to check, but it is possible he may have printed this document in it. Regardless, I thought it was interesting enough to post.

I found this while going through my folder of stuff from the Raphael "One Issue Micro-Series". This is the typed page which I got from Kevin when he was plotting out that issue, the one which introduced the character of "Casey Jones". There's no date on it, but it's probably from some time in late 1984 or 1985. -- PL

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blast from the Past #164: Sketchbook part 4

Here's the rest of the stuff from that sketchbook.

Most of these are a little hard to see, given that they were lightly drawn in photo blue pencil. The first one is Leonardo wielding the "Sword of Tengu".

Here's a Turtle with a three-sectioned staff...

... and Leonardo with a kusari-gama.

I'm not sure why I did this one, other than the fact that it was fun. I like this wacky one-wheeled vehicle -- looks like something Donatello might cook up in his spare time.

Last up is the drawing I did as the basis for Mike Dooney's painted cover to TMNT #28. -- PL

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blast from the Past #163: Sketchbook part 3

Here are a few more pages from that sketchbook. A few years ago, I did some art specifically with the aim of having it used on some licensed products. It may seem odd, but most of the art that has been used on the huge number of licensed TMNT products has been done by other artists, and I wanted to get a few things with some of my art on them.

So I started to put together a bunch of drawings which we were calling the "Peter Laird Signature Series", and added a small section in our official "Style Guide" with this art, in case any licensees wanted to use it. You'll note that while I drew these Turtles in my own style, I omitted the tails to keep them consistent with the other licensing art.

A few licensees used the art, which was cool, but I wish more had, especially on products like t-shirts and stuff that I could actually use. In any event, it was fun to do the artwork.

I started on a second series of drawings which I would have finished if there had been more interest in this stuff. Given that I had already produced a number of drawings of the different Turtles with their signature weapons, I thought it might be cool to do some with the Turtles wielding different weapons. The following are some that I finished inking, and some that are still in the (blue) pencil stage. Maybe I'll get around to inking them one of these days.

Here's Don with a Triceraton blaster...

... and Don with a Federation rifle.

In this one, Raph is using a bladed staff (this weapon has a specific name, which of course I can't remember right now).

And here's Raph with an Utrom weapon. -- PL

Blast from the Past #86 repost: Donatello on rooftop pin-up

Way back when Kevin and I first started going to comic conventions and store signings, we quickly learned that quite a few people wanted more than our quickie Turtle head sketches -- they wanted full TMNT sketches (more people, in fact, than we usually had time to accommodate). So for a few years we started doing sketches before going to shows so we would have some ready for those fans. We each did quite a few of these, and made copies of a lot of them. They were usually portraits of one of the Turtles, though occasionally we did group shots. Sometimes we even collaborated on these sketches, one of us penciling and the other inking.

Here's one of mine from 1986, a shot of Donatello on a rooftop, with what I suppose is the moon behind him.

These days, I rarely do drawings like this at shows, simply because I have learned through experience that doing so almost invariably leads to a complete logjam, with most people wanting a drawing leaving the show with nothing. So I have compromised by doing slightly more elaborate head sketches, which I am able to do just fast enough to keep up with demand. I also charge significantly less for them than I would for full-figure sketches. -- PL

Blast from the Past #162: Sketchbook part 2

Here are a few more things from that small sketchbook.

These first two are concept sketches for the "stone Generals" from the 2007 TMNT movie. I really like the pose in the second one.

This next drawing is my design idea for the "enviropacks" the Turtles wore in the "Fast Forward" season of the 4Kids TV show. They ended up being a lot sleeker and better integrated into the costumes in the actual show. -- PL

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blast from the Past #161: Sketchbook part 1

I ran across this small sketchbook while cleaning up yesterday, and discovered that it contained a few interesting things from a few years ago. Looking through it took me back to when I used to draw like this in sketchbooks all the time, filling them with all kids of disparate things. These days, I rarely do this.

In no particular order, here's some of the stuff from this sketchbook...

This first page kind of epitomizes for me what a sketchbook should be -- a place to work out ideas. Here I have a few notes for the 4Kids TMNT show, concepts for a "Peter Laird" signature to be used on some licensed products, and one wacky-looking mouser variant.

On this next page, I was trying out different layouts for the "TMNT Universe" book. I think I went with a variant of the one in the lower left-hand corner for the finished art.

And this page is kind of fun -- my ideas for the piece I did for Stan Sakai's awesome "Art of Usagi" book. -- PL

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blast from the Past #160: TMNT birthday card...?

I found this piece recently, and for the life of me could not remember why I drew it. Given the content, it appears I drew it in 1997 as a birthday card for someone... but I can't recall for whom! -- PL

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blast from the Past #85 repost: TMNT fight a robot

This is a group shot penciled by me and inked by Kevin -- twenty-five years ago! I like the "Magnus: Robot Fighter"-style eyes on the robot. (I was -- and still am -- a HUGE fan of Russ Manning's work on "Magnus". I mean, just take a look at the design of the Fugitoid!) -- PL

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blast from the Past #84 repost: TMNT Vol. 1 #15 "clean" cover

Years ago, when I did issue 15 of the original TMNT comic book series, I wanted to tweak the cover to make it look like an old comic book which had "been through the war", as they say. I penciled the art, created a new logo, and designed the cover in the style (or at least my approximation of it) of the classic "Golden Age" superhero comics. Ryan Brown did a fabulous job inking it, incorporating a lot of that "Golden Age" flavor.

Steve Bissette told me about a copy shop in Wilmington, VT which could print color art on slick paper. I had them make a couple of copies from my hand-painted art, then left one of them on the floor of my car for several weeks to begin the "distressing" process. Later I enhanced it with judicious tearing and application of "coffee" stains (actually brown ink), scotch tape, and so forth.

Here's the cover as printed:

And here is the "clean" art, as it looked originally. I don't think this has ever been printed anywhere. -- PL

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blast from the Past #83 repost: Pete in old studio

Steve Murphy found this old photo of me while going through some files. I think it was taken by our photographer friend, the late Fred Moore, but I'm not completely sure. It was shot in the old factory building in Northampton where Mirage rented, for a few years, a big art studio space -- one large open room -- in which all of the artists worked, before we centralized both art and business spaces in one location in downtown Northampton. (Kevin Eastman would later buy part of this same building to house his Tundra publishing venture.)

I'm not sure when exactly this was taken, but I suspect it was sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's. This was my workspace in the northwest corner of the studio -- note the cork board with all of the COMMANDOSAURS art in the background, and the classic homemade drawing table constructed from a hollow-core door mounted on a frame made with two-by-fours (and maybe a few two-by-sixes). If I'm remembering the layout of the room correctly, looking straight ahead from my spot I would see Jim Lawson, then further down Kevin Eastman and Eric Talbot. To my left, Ryan Brown and Steve Lavigne had their work spaces. I know Mike Dooney had a space here, but I can't remember where it was. (I think it was next to Jim's... I'll have to ask them.) I think Steve Murphy may have also had a desk here, but I could be mistaken.

I just noticed one of my daughter's baby toys -- a rattle -- hanging from one of my desk lamps. I occasionally brought her in with me, and she'd have fun rolling around in her little rolling seat thing. (I have a distinct memory of one time watching Mike Dooney welcome her by yelling "EmmyEmmyEmmy!" as she was rolling around.)

I like the lighting in this photo. -- PL

UPDATE 03-03-09 3:45PM: Just had coffee with Dan, Mike and Jim and asked them about the layout of the old studio. Turns out I got almost everything right -- Murph had a desk between Jim's and Kevin's, and Mike's space was over near Ryan's, close to the basketball hoop. Dan didn't have an official space, but he says because Ryan wasn't there a lot, he used Ryan's table often. -- PL

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blast from the Past #157: Layouts for TMNT Volume 1, #12

I ran across these yesterday while looking for (and not finding) my layouts for the Donatello One Issue Micro-Series, and decided to post these instead. (I'll find those Donatello layouts one of these days.) Although I originally thought I would spread these out over a week or so of postings, I changed my mind a few minutes ago and decided to do them all at once.

The following are my penciled layouts for issue #12 of the original TMNT comic book series. This was -- and still is, I think -- the only full-length TMNT comic book on which I handled all of the art and story chores (the lettering was done, I believe, by Steve Lavigne).

This issue is somewhat significant because it marked the end -- or, perhaps more accurately, the beginning of the end -- of my creative partnership with Kevin Eastman. With the burgeoning success and accompanying stresses of the TMNT licensing program, then (in 1987) kicking into high gear, Kevin and I had gotten kind of sick of working with each other. It had become very difficult to produce an issue of the TMNT comic book without a lot of unpleasantness and disagreements. It got to the point where we both realized that something had to change.

I remember we had a short meeting in Pulaski Park in downtown Northampton, wherein we decided that we should take a break from each other, and alternate issues of the comic -- I'd do one, he'd do the next, and so on. It fell to me to produce the next issue -- I can't remember exactly how we came to that conclusion... perhaps I already had a story, perhaps Kevin was too busy with something else. I don't know. But the long and short of it was that, for the first time, I wrote, penciled, inked and toned an entire issue of the TMNT book, by myself.

It was fun, but a lot of work, and although it was a relief not to have to deal with Kevin on it, I did still miss his input. We did get back together some time later to work on "Return to New York" and "City at War", but it was never quite the same. -- PL