Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stripped Uncensored Signing

At the signing of the Bruno Gmunder published book Stripped Uncensored is Peter Skirrow and myself. We're posing for this photo with the book opened on a double page spread of Peter's artwork. We had a great time meeting the art fans that came to buy the book, some of whom either knew us or knew of our works that have been published locally and had wanted to meet us. The book is available for sale at The Bookshop Darlinghurst in Sydney.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tintin–Inspiration to Australian Sportstar

Came across a lovely quote in The Fitz Files column of the Sydney Morning Herald (29-30 November 2008 edition) concerning Australian cycling great  and dual Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans who nominates the graphic novel character Tintin as his greatest inspiration:
I first came across Tintin in my school library, and I got right into it... They're the best books for kids. Tintin is the best role model; he's brave, he's good, he helps the weak, he's perfect. There are so many countries I want to go to just because he went there.
Outside of his racing, Evans is turning his attention to a Free Tibet campaign. If you want to read more about his exploits and his relationship to the fictional comics literary character who has influenced him, check out The Age article "From Asterix and Tintin to Championing the Rights of Tibet". More power to him.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Comic Strip Superstar has announced a new competition for comic/cartoon strip creators. The winner will receive a publishing contract with Andrews McMeel Publishing and a $5000 advance from Universal Uclick, as well as a monthly stipend for the development of 20 comic strips that will be considered for syndication. Closing date: 12 September 2009. For competition criteria and guidelines go to the Comic Strip Superstar page on

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Uncensored Art – Guest Blog by Barry Lowe

There’s so much to like ... in Bruno Gmünder’s Stripped Uncensored, a homage to erotic gay art from around the world – Joe Phillips, Patrick Fillion, Wes Hempel, Todd Yeager, fifty-seven artists in all – that it seems churlish to regret the omissions (Josman, for example). But what is a source of pride is ... the work of three Aussie artists: Peter Skirrow (aka Petros), Ross Watson and Jozef Szekeres.

This volume presents, ‘The world’s most accomplished and genuinely brilliant talent on the gay erotic art scene today." “Nice to know that three such people are Australians,” Jozef says. “It's recognition given to Australian artists by internationals. Hopefully this will bring local attention to the fact that we have Australian based international players in the erotic arts.”

Jozef has been doing homoerotic artwork since 2006. “Having my artwork as the event party poster for Mardi Gras '07, and creating support artwork for the Villains Lair Sleaze Ball '08 must have lifted my profile internationally, as I was invited to present ten artworks for consideration to
Stripped Uncensored. I sent images that varied in style and execution; however, they decided to print the four that looked the most similar in style.”

Inclusion showcases that Aussie artists are equal (if not better) to anything else in the world which Jozef hopes will lead to more opportunities for the artists to make a living from their work. He is particularly critical of the lack of local opportunity provided by some major gay social organisations.

“The last three Sleaze Ball Mardi Gras events, for example, were illustrated by Canadian American artist Glen Hanson. He’s very talented and very successful, and I don't begrudge him the work, but surely an Australian could have done this as successfully. Three Sleaze posters in a row by a non-Australian talent is criminally insulting to the Australian pool of artistic talent.” He also regrets that more local artists weren’t included in the book given the international quality being produced here.

With his experience as an animator, Jozef works from the blank page. “Homoerotic artworks are born from a combination of what's in my head directed by my loins,” he says. “I've noted that both Ross Watson and Peter Skirrow use photo reference from their own personal photo shoots for their artworks. I've started exploring that as well. It allows access to details that my mind on its own cannot remember or even conceive. Even when creating work based on photo referencing, I still work from an original sketch to base the photographic model's pose. The added fun in the photo shoots comes from the extra photos beyond a designed pose. All my models so far have been friends, so there has been no limit to the intimacies I can capture.”

Peter Skirrow, on the other hand, has drawn and painted family, countryside, animals and farm scenes since he was a young boy growing up on a farm in England and then in West Australia. He refined his skill at life drawing classes before training in Graphic Art at WAIT/Curtin in Perth. He freelanced in Perth and London before settling in Sydney in 1988 and producing a series of gay greeting cards which were “mostly black and white pencil drawings of hirsute guys. I wanted to use images which portrayed affection and emotion between men rather than showing just the body perfect in tasteful or raunchy positions, not that I object to that at all.”

Although he doesn’t eschew the term homoerotic, Peter prefers homosensual which he defines as work which details “the relation and interaction between two males, emotional and psychological.” He also paints portraits, landscapes and architecture although, “it is my passion for the male form that inspires me to concentrate on that subject”.

Peter admires many homoerotic artists such as Tom of Finland, Stephen, Julius and Palanka, for example, but he has developed his own style. “It’s a synthesis of my art experience, life drawing and the best I see in art. I can’t say I’m a disciple of any one particular artist or school.”

His inclusion in
Stripped Uncensored came from a fortuitous meeting with Bruno Gmünder himself at the recent Sydney Mardi Gras. A few months later he was contacted to submit to the book.

“When I’m working with models,” he says, “after a brief discussion, I tend to allow them to follow a natural course of events with each other. The simultaneously sexy and aesthetic material I capture on film I turn into a drawing or a watercolour which I hope will inspire, turn on and hopefully move my audience.”

Peter regularly accepts commissions and renders the client’s requirements realistically in black and white with graphite, painted in watercolours, or drawn as a stylized cartoon.

Jozef Szekeres and Peter Skirrow will be signing copies of
Stripped Uncensored at The Bookshop Darlinghurst, Thursday 27 August from 6pm.

An edited version of this article is published in

Tim Tam Beauties

These lovely posters were released around 2001 to advertise limited edition Tim Tams (famous Aussie chocolate biscuit). I remember seeing these beautiful images when going to work, and have been trying to find printed versions in magazines or online. Till now, I haven't been successful except for the actual full sized posters in the bus-stop when they were first released. They were created by ElectricArt, a company that focusses on "enhanced" photographs for advertising. I happened across their website and found these beauties there. The body of work is very impressive. The poses are just lovely, they remind me of the quality pin-up art of Vagas and Elvgren, but of course with a modern twist.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Five Creepiest Sex Scenes in Comics posted an article with the title "Five Creepiest Sex Scenes in Comics" and we can attest to the fact that the selection was spot on. When we read the summaries and looked at the accompanying pics we just winced. It left us wondering what kind of expansive library Juan Arteaga the author of the article has access to and how long it took to trowel through the collection to come up with the shortlist. Here are the Top 5:

#5: Superman's Sex Tape
#4: The Only Way to Save the Dinosaurs is Rape
#3: Astro Boy's Anal Fixation
#2: The Avengers are Totally Okay with Incest Rape
#1: Giant Vaginas Everywhere

As the writer of the article puts it:
Comic book artists have been smuggling giant vaginas into comics for quite a long time. Usually by drawing things that are not vaginas but have the shape of vaginas. 
It made us think of what artists have hidden penises in their artwork and we remembered the case of the "Penis in the Underwater Castle Spire" picture on the original video release of Disney's The Little Mermaid (Jozef actually has a copy of this at home in his collection). You can read about the "Palace with the Phallus" here and gawk a the pics. 

By the way, the giant vagina above in the shape of an interdimensional gate comes from the pages of Hawkgirl. More hidden comics vaginas at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just Another Face in the Crowd?

My artwork of "The Queen of Sheba" stands amongst a group of Aristocrat characters advertising its Graduate Program: "A WORLD OF ENTERTAINING CAREER OPTIONS!". I also assisted on the skin toning and face of the merman in the same image.

Elf~Fin Leaks & Peeks 9

Here's a pic of Kraygon (the Elder) with Hyfus from the upcoming Elf~Fin: Hyfus and Tilaweed

Elf~Fin Leaks & Peeks 8

Here are some more tantalising glimpses from Issue #1 of Elf~Fin: Hyfus and Tilaweed. The characters in the pics are Razbi and Jayshu, plus a whole bunch of Tiny~Fin.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Arts Law Centre of Australia Legal Information and Sample Letters

The Arts Law Centre is the national community legal centre for the arts in Australia and has a veritable treasure trove of legal information and legal letter templates for creative people working in the Arts. As a starting point check out the Legal Information Page where you can access a Copyright Infringement Letter of Demand, Moral Rights Infringement Letter of Demand, Sample Confidentiality Agreement (also known as Non-Disclosure Agreements), and a whole list of other material from Defamation, Indigenous Legal Issues, Contracts, Wills, and Legal Issues for Bloggers. You can become a subscriber and get access to advice and information on law and the arts, receive the quarterly newsletter Art+law which examines creator issues, get discounts on publications and seminars, obtain ongoing legal advice and assistance, as well as access to legal resources such as mediation services – all for $99 for individual artists/students. 

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Art and Craft of Comics Lettering

Came across a great online interview this morning with comics letterer Thomas Mauer who resides in Germany but who works predominantly on American comics. We have a love of fonts and a great respect for the art of lettering and this article reveals Mauer's process and gives advice and tips to professionals and non-professionals alike. Mauer says (and we know this to be true because we've been distracted by bad lettering on books):
Lettering is supposed to be like the musical score in a film, guiding the reader across the page, but being invisible in the grand scheme of things. If you don’t notice the lettering, the job is well done. This means that the style has to fit in with the artwork.
Check out: Christian Beranek's Life of High Adventure #11: Interview with Lettering Samurai Thomas Mauer. The artwork is from "The Bounty Killers" story in the Outlaw Territory Volume 1 anthology (story by by Steve Grant and art by Shannon Eric Denton and John Cboins published by Image).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"That's Good Enough!" – The Sloppy Side of Convention Sketches

While attending Supanova Melbourne this year, I met an Australian artist in Artists' Alley who focused on fantasy art. This artist was selling self-published items like A4 prints and bookmarks at her table. I would describe the artwork as the work of a "talented amateur". When I looked through them I was (quite naturally!) attracted to three mermaid illustrations. I decided to be supportive and purchase an A4 print of the one I liked the best (reasonably priced at AUS$10). As I also collect original mermaid sketches and get the artists to sketch them directly into my sketchbook, I asked this particular artist if she could do the same. There was no convention sketch pricing listed on the table, but she responded by saying that the price was $25 for a sketch. A little steep for a non-professional, I thought, but nevertheless I was enthused and so I agreed to the price. 

The artist then began sketching and before I knew it she proclaimed, "That's good enough!" and then handed the sketchbook with some distain back to me with a piece of unfinished artwork. I was quite surprised and taken aback at the dismissive attitude she had to the actual drawing – or should I say – lack of drawing. As she was asking a rather inflated price, I expected some element of professionalism and effort extended towards me and in the quality of creative care endowed into the sketch. This did not happen.

I had better experiences with other artists for the remainder of the convention, and was happy to purchase other mermaid sketches from locally- and internationally-published professionals – none of whom charged me more than AUS$10 when the pieces were quite obviously worth considerably more. I even received a few gifted/free sketches (from artist friends) at the convention. Each of these artists took pride in their work, and you could see that they were never dismissive about the quality of their work.

As an artist who has done convention sketches in the past (free up to now), I understand that the experience of doing a live sketch with the "purchaser" watching you is a keenly intimate shared moment. "You" (the artist) are doing this for "them" (the purchaser), and  as the artwork is born with every sketched line, the purchaser takes on some ownership and pride that this artwork is being created specially and specifically for them (which it is), especially when a crowd is watching the work being realised. A sloppy attitude and sloppy artwork creates a very negative experience for the purchaser, especially when money is involved.

I guess I should have been forewarned seeing that this artist was a "talented amateur", and that "amateur" was inclusive of all aspects of the work and how the artist interacted with her customers.