Monday, December 13, 2010

Blast from the Past! Really old Olympians sketches found!

I was going through some old watercolor pads the other day and came across this page of really old, proto-Olympian sketches-- I think these actually predate my current concept of the series and date back to an earlier idea that thankfully never got past my drawing board. Some of the characters look pretty close to their eventual Olympians, some do not, and almost all are kind of embarrassing in their crumminess. Can you figure out who's who?

Progress Report: Some almost sorta kinda finished color pages of Hades

So I've been working on coloring the finished black and white artwork for Olympians Book 4, Hades: The I-don't-remember-the-new-subtitle the past few weeks. Last Friday I took a break from that to make an appearance at the Little Red Schoolhouse in NYC; as part of my presentation, I showed the students there a bunch of the almost-finished colored pages from Hades. And since I showed it to them, I figured I should also show them to you, the dedicated readers of this blog.

The above pages are not finished-- there are a lot of subtle gradients, details and color tweaks still to be added-- but there's enough there to give you an idea of what to expect from the final book. How do you like 'em so far?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Colosseum

Along with a bunch of other comics artists I know, every Monday thru Friday we choose a topic (for example, "dinosaurs" or "Harry Potter" and then we draw a warm-up picture on that topic. I don't normally post these drawings to the Olympiansrule blog because they normally have nothing to do with Olympians, but today the topic was "Civilization" and I drew the famous Colosseum of Ancient Rome. I admit it still doesn't have much to do with Olympians, but I thought you all might still like to see it.

Fan Art Forum! Persephone in living color, with update

It's been awhile since I ran one of these, but that's because it's been awhile since somebody sent me something ;)

Jakob Dailes has previously been featured on this site in a mythophile profile, and runs his own site the Classical Club. Recently, on the BRAND SPANKING NEW OLYMPIANS RULE FORUM Jakob posted the below image of Persephone, drawn by yours truly for Olympians Book 4, Hades, that he had colored in.

So what do you think? To the best of my knowledge, I haven't posted any color versions of what Persephone will look like yet (with the exception of the cover, which has changed A LOT). UPDATED: Here's a link to my finished colors So how close did he come to my version? Some things are the same, a few things are different, but all in all-- pretty darn cool.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Take a look at the top of this page, right under the header and you will notice a new feature. That's right, a forum! Go and click it and take a look!

Outlined in shocking pink so as to make it easier to see

I get a lot of questions and mail in the comments section of this blog; unfortunately, it's been located all over the place, on posts from all different times, and as a result sometimes I don't even get to see it when someone makes a new comment. With the new forum, now there will be an easy way to ask me any question you might desire, and it will all be in one handy location. Please keep posting your comments about a specific post to the comments section of that post, but if you have a general question about, say, who's stronger, Poseidon or Hades, post it in the forum. So stop on by and introduce yourself. I'm looking forward to talking with you all there!

Zeus and Athena made the New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading And Sharing

Like the title says, the New York Public Library chose both Zeus: King of the Gods and Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess for its 100 Titles for Reading And Sharing. Give it a look-- I'm honored to be on the same list as the rest of these wonderful creators.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Athena on SLJ's Best Books List!

The staff at the School Library Journal just released their list of the best fiction books of 2010 and my book about everyone's favorite Grey-Eyed Goddess was on it! Check out the rest of the list here!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hades: Persephone in the Land of the Dead

Another sneak peek of a page from the upcoming Olympians Book 4, Hades. The Lord of the Dead is giving his bride-to-be a tour of what will be her kingdom. They're wandering through the Fields of Asphodel, where the anonymous shades dwell, when Persephone encounters the Fates (in their aspect as the Furies). They deliver a warning unto her" Whoever eats the food of the dead must remain in the Land of the Dead."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All the cool kids will be at the King Con this weekend. Like me.

Come by the Brooklyn Lyceum and check out the King Con! It's a great comic show with tons of great guests! Just check out that poster! Heck, even I'm on it!

I'll be manning the Drawbridge table from 11 to 1 on Saturday, and from 3 to 5 on Sunday. I'll even be taking commissions, so if you want an O'Connor original, LIKE THE TYPE YOU OCCASIONALLY SEE ON THIS VERY PAGE, stop on by!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fan Mail of the Gods: A question about Hera

I just received this lovely piece of fan mail from Jazmin, and, since she asked, I'm sharing it with all of you. I reproduced the original coloring because, well, green is one of my two favorite colors. Unfortunately, the letter had some very nice emoticons that I am unable to reproduce here.



Well, I never get tired of hearing that people like my books!

As it stands right now, Hera: The Goddess and her Glory does not come out until July of next year, which is, I know, a very long time off. We're trying to move it up to April, but no promises yet. The good news is that after Hera, we will be speeding up the releases. Book 4, Hades: The Wealthy One should be out soon after that, followed closely by Books 5 and 6, on Poseidon and Aphrodite.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Hades Page: The Wrath of Demeter

Way back in June, I shared some doodles from my sketchbook of an enraged Demeter and now I thought I'd show you the finished page they ended up inspiring. This is the final black and white, though I have not yet added panel borders or such. Enjoy!

My favorite bit is the last panel, where the assembled Olympians react in surprise to Demeter's attack on Zeus. Specifically, Hera's expression, as another one of Zeus's machinations has turned on him. Her dialogue in that bubble is a simple resigned "Oh, Zeus..."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Poseidon

For your viewing pleasure, another Poseidon. I must be getting warmer, because I like this one quite a bit more than yesterday's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

warm up: Poseidon

Don't know if I've actually announced this anywhere officially, but volume 5 of the Olympians of going to be dedicated to the god of the sea himself, Poseidon. As a result, I've been spending a lot of time in  my sketchbook getting used to drawing the old Earth Shaker. I'll be posting a lot more sketchbooky goodness so check back often.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Cartooning Classes at the Park Slope Y are filling up fast!

I teach two courses on Tuesdays at the Park Slope YMCA Armory, Cartooning (for 8-10 year olds) and Graphic Novels (for 11-17 year olds). A new session starts up in a couple of weeks, sign up now!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Atlas and the Pleiades

I share a studio with a bunch of other comics artists in Brooklyn, and we have a daily sketch blog where we post warm-up sketches on a certain topic, like "monkey" or "Wonder Woman". Today's topic was "Pleiades", the constellation named after the daughters of Atlas, so I drew this.

In Greek Myth, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas, the Titan who held aloft the sky, and Pleione, a daughter of Oceanus, the Titan of the ocean. They have always been associated with the constellation, and for the most part play very little role in mythology. The exception is Maia, who is the mother of Hermes and the namesake of the month of May. The other six daughters are Taygete, Elektra, Alkyone, Sterope, Kelaino, and Merope. The seven daughters (and their two parents) give their names to the stars that make up the constellation. There are many stories of the seventh Pleiad becoming hidden or invisible-- out of shame for having married a mortal, or in grief over the loss of a child. There is not a consensus on which Pleiad it was that went into hiding, but I pay a nod to that story by having poor Merope partially concealed by her father's arm.

I'm staying at my family's place for a week with no ink and only remedial imaging software, so I banged this out with a sharpie. I'm pleasantly surprised at the result, but man, I got a headache from wicked sharpie fumes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm teaching a comics class at the Pratt Institute!

Hey! Live in the NYC area, and got a hankering to spend your Sundays learning how to make comics with yours truly? As part of the Pratt Institute's Center for Continuing and Professional Studies I am teaching an eleven week comics course (for real college credit) for high school sophomores and up. registration is due very soon, so don't delay. I'll see you there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Trying out Hair, Brushes

These are a few drawings of Persephone that were hanging around my drawing table. Me trying out different hairstyles for her, while breaking in some new pen nibs and brushes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Hades Page: Meanwhile, Back on Earth...

New page from Olympians Book 4, Hades: The Wealthy One. Demeter's daughter has been abducted, and now Demeter's sad. Bad news for everything that grows.

A lot of time I show off a high drama or action page on this blog, but I really liked the atmosphere of this page. Hope you do too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Found Art-- Alternate Athena Cover Designs

I was poking around my studio computer yesterday and found these sketches for the cover to Olympians Book 2, Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess that I simply did not recall drawing. I suppose I self-rejected them pretty early on in the cover design process. I decided I'd share them with you, my adoring public. So what do you think? Anything you like here? Did I make the right decision?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No horses were harmed in the drawing of this picture

Hey, it's another page from the upcoming Olympians Book 4, Hades: The Wealthy One!

You know what's hard to draw? A team of four horses falling down a giant crack in the Earth. Try finding some reference for that.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Progress Report Hades: Finished Page

I'm about a third of the way done with the finished black and white art for Olympians Book 4, Hades the Wealthy One as I write this. For your viewing pleasure I've posted the page wherein the Wealthy One himself makes off with poor unsuspecting Kore (Persephone), picking flowers in a field.

For those interested you can check out the pencil sketches and thumbnails for this same page by clicking the provided links. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Artist Gallery: Kat Roberts

It's that time again, for another installment of the Guest Artist Gallery of the Gods. Up to bat this week: Kat Roberts, and her wonderfully whimsical (yet seriously kick-butt)depiction of the Goddess of the Harvest, Demeter!

Here's what the talented Ms. Roberts has to say about her choice:

"I think this is the second or third time I've drawn Demeter in the past few years, and each time it comes out like some kind of nutritional propaganda. Weirdly, there always seem to be doughnuts involved. Probably because of their deliciousness." And look! She even gave Demeter her golden blade! Awesome.

The divine Kat Roberts divides her time between working in the fashion industry and creating comix. She teaches accessories courses at FIT and 3rd Ward, and has recently launched her own accessories company, Whitehaus. Her partially autobiographic, partially whoa-that-crazy comic "Fever Dream" can be seen at and her upcoming contribution for "Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies" will be out in December.

In addition to her fashion and comics work, Kat runs the blog "I See Heads People", capturing the hidden faces that surround us in everyday life. Here's a favorite of mine:

Ms. Roberts has seen "Purple Rain" more times than any other two people combined on the whole planet, with the possible exception of her daughter. Kat is also without a doubt the most stylish member of Studio XOXO/ Hypothetical Island, which is faint praise to say the least. Zing!

Can you draw, paint, operate a camera, sculpt, etc.? Have a desire to capture the essence of your favorite figure from Greek myth and see it pictured here on this site? Send me a scan of your work, a few words about yourself and the piece, and I'll put it up!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mega Post part 2! Classics and Comics cover final artwork

So last week I told you all about a cover I recently drew for an upcoming book from Oxford University Press called Classic and Comics. The idea was that I drew several pastiches of famous superhero covers with the superheroes replaced by Olympian deities. I showed several such sketches, as well as their inspirations, but we finally went with Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman.

And below here we have my quickie sharpie marker sketch for my take on the cover, with Supes replaced by his inspiration, Heracles, and the various assorted random thugs replaced by various assorted random superfolk.

After we all decide that this sketch was the way to go, I penciled the image on a piece of Bristol paper. It's now a bit tighter than the sketch, and a few elements of the composition, like Herc being bigger, have been tweaked.

From there I went into the inks. This was inked with pen nibs and brush. I work from pretty loose pencils, as I like to do most of the actual drawing in ink-- keeps it fresher for me. Once again, there are a few changes at this stage-- like, where did that loose tire go? Folks thought that tire was confusing, as the car being smashed by Herc still seems to have all its wheels. I will point out, however, that is a detail from the original cover. Maybe Superman had a sidekick from Krypton who was a tire and got cut from the final story?

Finally, after I inked it, wonder-intern Evan Petersen did some color flatfills (basically tracing out shapes) for the piece in Photoshop, and then I went in and did the final color. And we're done!

Notice that the final piece has a lot of extra color space around the edges-- that's bleed room for when they print it up. I also left plenty of room for type elements, which the good folks at Oxford University Press will be handling. Hope you all enjoyed this exhaustive look at how I work!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comics classes by yours truly, at the Park Slope Brooklyn Y

That's right! Want to learn cartooning and comics from your truly? Starting September 7th, I will be teaching two classes at the Park Slope Armory YMCA (which has to be seen to be believed-- it's awesome sauce), cartooning ( for little kids) and Making a Graphic Novel (for tweens and teens). Check out here for more info, and how to sign up. Each session will run for eight weeks, and classes will be held on Tuesdays. I hope to see you there!

Mega Post! Classics and Comics cover tryouts!

So a few months back I was approached by the editors of a new book coming out from Oxford University Press called Classics and Comics about doing the cover. Classics and Comics will be an exploration of the influences, both subtle and less subtle, that classical literature and myth have had on comics, something that is pretty much the whole point of a series like Olympians.

We talked about a few cover design ideas, and I came up with the idea of paying homage to some classic comic book cover designs, but replacing the modern superheroes with their Olympian forebears. Here's a gallery of some of my sketches, as well as the images that inspired them. All of the original covers are, of course, trademark and copyright their respective owners.

First up we have the cover of Superman #1, which I was pretty excited for, as I'm both a huge Superman fan and the cover itself already has a fair amount of Grecian styling (the frame surrounding Supes, for instance).

I replaced Superman with Zeus for my cover idea, and Greeked up the city a bit beneath him. Looks like the oval frame surrounding Zeus is deflating, though-- must be all that electricity.

Up next, the immortal Jack Kirby's classic cover to Avengers # 4, the reintroduction of Captain America.

Here I replaced Cap and the Avengers with Athena leading an Olympian charge. If you look closely, you can see the pencil lines indicating where other cover elements would go. I'm kind of surprised looking at this now that I didn't put Poseidon in the little box that Namor the Sub-Mariner is in on the original cover. Lost opportunity.

Giant Size X-Men number one-- the issue that replaced the old order of X-Men with the new superstar team of Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler (and , sniff! Poor Thunderbird). I actually have attempted to use this cover as a base before, for my kids book Ker-Splash!, though after the publisher's sales dept. were done with it, it doesn't resemble its inspiration all that much anymore..

In my version, the old guard X-Men have been replaced by pre-Olympian deities like Kronos, a Cyclops and a Hekatonchieres (note that X-Men leader Cyclops is in the same spot as the mythological Cyclops. I'm a geek!). The all-New X-Men have been replaced by the Olympians.

I threw this one in as a lark, because I wasn't entirely sure this cover was iconic enough. It's been "homaged" like, a zillion times in comics, but I'm not sure it's old enough, has had the time to permeate the non-comics world as much as the other, much older comics have. A couple of my studiomates suggested doing this cover though, so I gave it a shot.

That being said, Justice League was one of my favorite books of all time, and it was seriously fun to draw this shot. My first feedback from the editors seemed to favor this one as well, so I was pretty pumped to try it. Ultimately, we went with a different design, one that was undoubtedly the best for the project, so I can't complain. I may do a finish of this one day just for my own amusement. Like with the X-Men cover, I tried to match some of the superheroes personalities with the god's who replaced them in my sketches-- that's why gloomy Hades become Batman, and trickster Hermes replaces the jokester Blue Beetle.

Which brings us to Action Comics # 1, the comic that started the whole superhero shebang. Probably the most iconic image of them all, and the first appearance of Superman.

My take replaces Supes with Heracles, on of Siegel and Shuster's inspirations for their character. The running thugs have become generic superpeople, scattering before the awesome might of the Glory of Hera.

This was the cover that won. Tune back later for a step-by-step look at the creation of the final piece.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finished page from Hades: The Wealthy One!

For your viewing pleasure, a finished (well, black and white, not colored) page from Olympians Book 4, Hades: The Wealthy One. The book opens with a tour of the Grecian afterlife,and here comes ferryman Charon to take you across the Styx. Hope you have a coin for him.

Carousel Slideshow at the NYPL! Wednesday, September 1st!

Come see me and a host of other talented cartoonists (Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Aaron Renier, Susan Kim, and Laurence Klavan) as we perform dramatic, multi-media readings of our work at the Chatham Square Library. Cartoonist Bob Sikoryak's ongoing Carousel Slideshows have been entertaining the cool kids for years, and now you get to see it for free! I know that the flyer art shows my book Journey into Mohawk Country, but rest assured, mythophiles, I'll be reading from Olympians. Come on down, the fun begins at 4pm-- you won't be disappointed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Persephone Pin-Up

Work has begun in earnest on the finished artwork for Book 4 of Olympians, Hades: The Wealthy One. In a few days I hope to have finished inks for the pages I've been slowly revealing from thummbnails through rough draft, but until then, I hope you enjoy this pin up page of the Dread Queen herself, as she'll appear in the back of the book and in the online family tree.