“Tribes of Kai” by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue Kickstarter Pre-Order Event Now Live!

TOK-cover-webYou can always count on us being deep into a new project. This time around it’s the fully painted new graphic novel Tribes of Kai by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue. We are using Kickstarter to take pre-orders for Tribes of Kai. On offer are some sweet bonus items for ordering in advance. For instance, there will be a limited number of copies available that Daren will be doing drawings in.

Here’s the live link: Click here to visit the Tribes of Kai Kickstarter pre-order event website.

About Tribes of Kai

The Mantakai prepare for a ritualistic rite of passage in which a new lord is to be chosen to rule over their five united tribes. The Tribes of Kai is a multi-layered graphic novel about honor, integrity and the trappings of war in which extreme circumstances call for unbridled decisions and finding the strength to cope with them. This is a barbaric and primitive world where the survival of the fittest is put to the test.

Artist Daren Bader and writer Lance HaunRogue bring this world to life with lush detail and an incredible sense of pace, color and lighting. They introduce the Mantakai (Man of Kai), a race of six-limbed, feline/humanoid, anthropomorphic creatures. The dominance of the five individual tribes of Mantakai are threatened by a highly evolved race of reptilian creatures called the Tobognai.

Tribes of Kai is an oversized, full-color hardbound book boasting sixty exciting pages of story and pinups by top creators.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Flesk and Spectrum February 2015 New Titles Update

“Do people still buy books?”

“That’s got to be a tough business to be in.”

These are variations on the type of responses that I receive when I tell people that I am art book publisher. My usual reply is that this is the best time ever to be a publisher. I believe this to be true. We are here in this moment, making books that we are passionate about and eager to share. We get to celebrate individuals and the community. We are fortunate indeed.

Here’s a list of future Flesk books with the latest update on each.

BOG-cover

1. The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija: This book is at the printer and moving along well. As soon as we have a shipping schedule I’ll announce the estimated arrival date.

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

2. Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz: The trade edition is with the printer. We are awaiting the proofs to review and approve prior to going on the press. The deluxe edition will be sent to the printer soon. This limited edition will come in a larger deluxe format. More details on the special version coming soon.

Mark-Schultz-Portfolio-Complete3. Portfolio: The Complete Various Drawings by Mark Schultz: Schultz is writing many new captions and a new introduction. The book is designed, with the exception of the text needing to be placed. It will go to the printer next month sometime.

TOK-cover-web4. The Tribes of Kai by Lance Haunrogue and Daren Bader: Daren has finished the artwork and Lance has finalized the story. We are in the design stages now and plan on sending this to the printer on April 1st. A Kickstarter campaign for pre-orders with bonus items is planned for a March 9th launch date.

5. Harvey Dunn: Where Your Heart Is…: A modern reprint of the definitive biography on Dunn. I am packaging this book for the South Dakota Art Museum. It features all new scanned art and photographs for a premier collection. This has turned into a huge task, however the book will be amazing once complete.

6. Bruce Timm: New! We are working on a new Bruce Timm collection for this summer! You’ll have to wait until next month for more news on this one. I can assure you that you’ll love it.

Nexus-Chronicles-cover-web7. The Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude: Steve Rude visited us last week for three days as we wrapped up the book design. We have a few pages of writing to finish and we are looking for a few missing pieces of art. Once these final elements are in place we can send it to the printer. We hand-picked our favorite Nexus stories which are reproduced from the original pencils or inks, or both!

Art-of-Elfquest-web8. The Art of Elfquest with text by Richard and Wendy Pini: We had a wonderful time having Richard and Wendy here with us for two days recently as we reviewed and expanded the book. I can’t wait to get this book out this fall.

carman-cover-web9. Imagery from the Bird’s Home: The Art of Bill Carman. Bill is designing the book using his typical flair and unique approach. The designed spreads so far have been gorgeous. Another book I’m proud to publish this fall.

10. Spectrum 22: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art: The judging event is this Saturday! Soon after we will tally the votes and present the list of those artists who have been selected for inclusion into this year’s “best of the best” collection. We will also be announcing the five nominees for consideration for a silver and gold award. The winners will be announced at the Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City, MO on May 23, 2015.

Watch for new videos and pictures this Saturday relating the Spectrum 22 judging event!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photographs copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Wendy and Richard Pini Visit Flesk! The Art of Elfquest Coming This Fall!

Flesk-wendy-richard-piniI had a great time with Wendy and Richard Pini for two days last week! They honored us by visiting our Flesk offices in Santa Cruz where we enjoyed a series of extended working sessions reviewing The Art of Elfquest together. This picture shows myself talking with Wendy and Richard about some book ideas. After a few years of research and planning the book is on track for a fall 2015 release! I’ll post the cover soon!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

New Frank Cho Drawing Video!

Hi, all,

Here is a pair of new videos. As a reminder, we get a new video posted every Tuesday on our Spectrum Fantastic Art website.

The first video is a time-lapse of Frank Cho working on a section of a large battle drawing that was used as a gatefold in Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. I filmed this while visiting Frank in his studio in June of 2015. We were wrapping up the book at the time. While Frank was drawing I was scanning art and designing portions of the book for Frank to review. It was a fun week. (Order the book here.)

This second video is our online promotional video for The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija. Petar spent a year writing and drawing this book. It came out amazing. We’re working with the printer now to get this book printed. (Pre-order it here.)


Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Bill Carman Painting Video and Candid Interview!

In July 2011 I took a stroll around our neighbors booths at Comic-Con International in San Diego, CA and came across Bill Carman painting at his booth. I had my camera with me, and started filming over Bill’s shoulder while asking him some questions. This video and candid interview is the result. Enjoy!

Bill:  One of the hardest things to do is get food while you’re at the convention y’know?

Flesk:  I do know.

Bill: I can’t go for too long because I don’t want to leave you watching my painting forever.

Flesk: I’ve not quite seen someone use their hand that way before.

B: One of the reasons I stopped using oil paint as much as I used to is because I would start to do the same thing to oil paint and that’s a bad thing.

F: What are you using there?

B: Acrylic.

F: I see.

B: I picked up this habit from James Christensen.

F: Oh, alright.

B: Do you know his work?

F: Yes.

B: He was my teacher. Teacher, mentor, now friend. He would tap it with his finger. I do it a lot with my hand like this because my fingerprints tend to show up too much. But he got me into that habit. I love this part of finding the texture. It’s like a game, finding and building up texture in the right places, dancing around. It’s very fun for me. I do very random things and then get focused in areas.

F: What are you painting on?

B: This is alder.

F: Do you buy those and cut them yourself?

B: I usually work pretty small so I can find a lot of it for free. Alder is a really nice wood. It’s soft enough and pliable with a tight enough grain so there’s really not a problem with excessive grain texture.

F: You really move around when you’re painting

B: Yeah, I do. There are a couple reasons for it: One, it’s just a habit I’ve gotten into. The other is the balance; seeing value so I can sort of step back, see what I’ve done then balance value out in other areas. For me it’s more exciting that way. There are people who can just focus on one thing for so long. Donato seems to have a very systematic approach when he paints. It’s really hard for me to work that way. He’s adapted over the years though. Early on his demos were different, the things that he would show on his site, the steps and stuff. It almost seemed that he would start in one corner and work all the way out methodically. Now he seems to move around a little more.

F: Do you use rough sketches and work things up, or is it all in your head?

B: It depends. This one, I sketched for the composition, finding where the shapes would go.

It started as a very rough sketch and changed tremendously from start to finish. It’s one of the things I enjoy talking to Rick Berry about. He works in a very similar way, just sort of responds, makes marks, responds and builds. I relate to that. For me it’s just more exciting working that way than having to plan it and sketch it out. Of course I plan and sketch for illustration and specific projects, working with an art director, but this way can be more exciting, the unknown. There is a fear that things can go wrong and I’ll never be able to dig myself out of the hole. Exciting.

F: Do you ever think about how different a piece would look, say if you were drawing now, and if you stopped for ten minutes and you talk to someone and you start it up again. Could that change the whole look of a certain area of a piece?

B: Oh yeah, I could certainly focus in a different way. It would be great to have several different realities working, changing as they progress. Distracting myself then seeing what happens when I return. These are still the stages where I’m building and responding to texture. And I love these stages, but once I’ve sort of established what the look will be, the texture and everything, then I … I’ve got to show you the brush I work with. [bends down to search for brush. It’s not as small as you’d think but it’s pretty small.] So when I get to a point like this I start to do the massaging. It’s this wonderful hypnotic process of building up mark, marks that start to blend together because of so many layers. I smooth things according to my dialog with the piece.. but I make the smallest marks with this, so I can fill in and get it perfectly smooth or I can leave textured areas. I go in to these darker spots between the white I wipe them out if I want an area really smooth. I’ve developed to the point where I can feel those, and get a perfectly smooth area if I want to. I guess I’ve done it enough that I can work pretty fast at it too.

F: You’re obviously comfortable working around people and with noise.

B: I’ve got a house full of people at home. I’m used to hearing somebody yell “Dad!”,
“Bill!” Breaking up the fighting dogs or any number of other things [laughs].

F: Do you think it helps in some way? If it was perfectly quiet do you think it would change things?

B:  Oh, I don’t know. I can work when it’s quiet too. I think it can help. But I think we have to learn to focus and adapt to our environment. I love being able to work at home, even with the distractions.

F: What tools do you use?

B: A bristle or watercolor brush like this to make texture and mix color. I have to add just the right amount of water to it and it’s sort of this bubbling affect, you see that?

F: Oh, yeah.

B: So I can just sort of scrub like that and it’ll leave, depending on what I do with the brush, different kinds of texture.

F: With my not being and artist, I look at that and it looks like you just messed it up. It looks scary. You painted right over your fish!

B: Oh yeah, risk is a big key. No discovery without it. See, all this stuff here will be painted over again with color.

F: Ah, ok.

B: That’s how I get color, by glazing the color into the value work. And yeah, people are horrified because I’ll work hours and hours to get all this built up with value and I’ll take one color and I’ll just wash over the whole thing. My students go ‘Ahhh!’ when I do that, and it just sort of freaks them out. But it ties things together and makes sense when I work on it more and start pulling things out again. It’s a pretty amazing process.

Maybe it’s less a painting process. There were a lot of true painters throughout history but there are also contemporary artists who are true painters. Guys like Phil Hale, Greg Manchess, they’re real painters. They have a feel for paint, a relationship with it. They put down a mark, they mix color, put colors next to each other. And for me this is all about… It’s almost like I draw with paint. It’s all about exploration with color and I never know quite what I’ll get. I can control it to the point of getting exactly what I want, but that can be really boring to me. So I push things, I wreck things and I bring them back out again. That’s exciting to me, I love that! I’ve never considered myself a true painter. Guys like Petar Meseldzija, he’s just a true painter, just has this, this mystical, almost, relationship with paint. His brush strokes and the way he puts paint down. I’m telling you, he’s got a spiritual relationship, built up from experience, with paint. I’m looking forward to meeting him. I feel like we’ve got this kindred spirit thing going. We work very differently but I think he’s a great painter. So I draw with paint, he paints with paint. That’s fine with me. I love drawing.
[He leans back to view his piece.]

F: I want to see what you’re going to do with this!

B: You see, at different stages, I can let this dry and the dark areas will stay dark or when it’s almost dry I can do this watch. [presses palm to surface]

F: Oh yeah!

B: See how it lifts it out and it causes a different kind of texture? The bubbling thing? And then comes the stage where I refine texture. I’ll show people techniques to make textures and they leave it at that. It usually looks a mess. But here is where I’ll come in and start to dance around the texture. Give it a peak like this and edge like that, so it looks like the light is coming from the top. When I don’t like some of it I cover it up. If it’s too much texture I’ll paint over it, but it’ll still show through you see? So there are all these decisions I’m making on the fly without really thinking about it. This is what I call “The Dance”, the discovering texture dance. It’s one of the most satisfying parts of what I do. Acrylic is so much about getting the right consistency of paint. If there’s too much water it gets watery like this and puddles around. Too little water it’s too thick. So getting it to the right consistency for the right stage is really important. This is where many people won’t have the patience. They say, “That’s what you do? Ok, I’ll work another way.”

F: So you’re doing this building effect, when there’s a perception that you’re doing it all in one layer.

B: Right, it’s layer after layer giving me the edges and sort of a deep quality to the flatness. I’ve had people call it ‘flatround.’ Not sure how many people are working this way.

F: I’ve never seen anything like it. James Christensen, he taught you the approach of using the hand, was it also the layering that he taught you?

B: Yeah. I mean this is sort of a bastardization of the old masters’ way of working, artists like Van Eyck. Northern renaissance artists would build up a grisaille, a value painting, monochromatic or grey. Colors would then be glazed over the value study. So technically it’s manipulation of the old masters’ way of working. James learned that from the old masters while combining it with Robert Vickery’s egg tempera techniques. He taught it to me and I’ve gone my own way with it. The funny thing is I learned how to paint with acrylic paints to a certain degree, and then for years I never used them. I went to oil paint. Then I discovered these Golden fluid paints. The pigment content is high, making colors vibrant and rich. I can do a lot more immediate textural things with acrylics too.

See, in my warped mind I see a really great little section of texture there that I’m going to build on. Then I do some “sculpting”, digging in with whites causing an area to pop out like that you see? Oh man I love that stuff.

F: And when you use your hand to blot, are you also feeling that too, does the touch of it help you?

B: It helps me feel how wet it is. I make contact with my board, or whatever I work on, a lot. I love doing this kind of a thing and experiencing it tactilely too. That’s another reason I love working with acrylics. I couldn’t do that with oil. Sometimes when I work with oil paint I forget and pat with my hand. “Oh god, I worked on that for an hour and just smeared it!”

But I love being able to feel it as part of my whole process. The tactile quality. And these are still really the beginning stages. I’ll shape this with value so it’s darker at the bottom and has areas of highlight. So as I massage some of the texture will be lost but some remains. Then when I glaze in warm and cool colors, edges turn more and more. That whole combination of things hopefully creates some magic.

 

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Interview copyright © 2015 Bill Carman and John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2015 Bill Carman. All Rights reserved.

The Flesk January 2015 Update–New Books and More!

Up until a few years ago we used to have short periods of downtime that I used to catch up on personal projects. Those slower times became briefer, while the distance between them became more distant. Mid-January to mid-February was one of those slower times. Now–especially since taking on Spectrum–January through March are just as busy as the summer months. Now it’s all out action all year round. You won’t hear any complaints from me about this.

As we enter this bright and fresh new year, I would like to thank all of our supporters and the artists who have helped with our continual growth that we have been so very fortunate to have.

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz!

It is my pleasure to bring you up to speed on some of our projects.

1. The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija. We are putting the final touches on this book. The interiors are done. At the moment we are added some binding and material upgrades to make the deluxe edition extra special. This book will go to the printer in one or two weeks.

2. Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz. The art and story is complete. We are wrapping up the interior design now. I expect to send it to the printer by the end of January.

3. Portfolio:  The Complete Various Drawings by Mark Schultz. This oversized version is going to be amazing. We’ve put a lot of work into overhauling the design and format. Mark is writing new captions which should be done and placed in the book by the end of the month. I expect to have it ready for the printer in early February.

4. The Tribes of Kai by Lance Haunrogue and Daren Bader. Lance is putting the final touches on the story and Daren is working on painting the last few pages. The design stage will start very soon. This will be ready in the summer.

5. Harvey Dunn: Where Your Heart Is…: A modern reprint of the definitive biography on Dunn. I am packaging this book for the South Dakota Art Museum. It features all new scanned art and photographs for a premier collection.

6. Spectrum 22: The Call for Entries deadline is January 26th. Then we will prepare the art for the jury who will convene on February 28th. I’ll post an individual blog about this soon.

7. The Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude: The design is nearly complete. This book will include some of your favorite Nexus stories shown in the original art and/or pencil form with a sampling of sketches from Rude’s sketchbooks. This is on schedule for a fall release date.

8. The Art of Elfquest with text by Richard and Wendy Pini: This has been a massive and rewarding project that has been in the works for a few years. It will be a big collection showing a complete visual overview of Elfquest. This has been a lot of fun. We will have this wrapped up by summer for a fall release.

9. Imagery from the Bird’s Home: The Art of Bill Carman: Bill’s art is some of the most weird, intriguing and genuine art that I’ve ever seen. Purely extracted from his brain without outside influences he embodies what being an artist is. Surreal and like nothing else you have ever seen. This collection will have a batch of sketches, drawings and a large section on his paintings. It is coming this fall.

10. The Spectrum 22 Awards Ceremony. We are having new Spectrum awards made by Colin and Kristine Poole! We’re not ready to show the early designs yet, but they will be stunning. We will unveil them during the awards ceremony on May 23rd at the Folly Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.

11. Spectrum Fantastic Art Live will run on May 22-24th. I will be bringing in a group of Flesk guests to the show again this year. I’ll have a separate post on this topic coming soon, too.

There’s more going on here, but this should tide you all over for the moment.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Storms at Sea Artwork © 2014 Mark Schultz. All Rights reserved.

The Book of Giants Final Day for Bonus Goodies

BookofGiants-promo-graphicHi, all,

Today is the last day to receive an assortment of bonus goodies when pre-ordering The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija through our Kickstarter campaign! Here’s the link for you to learn more!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

New Video: Career-Spanning Interview with Petar Meseldzija!



In October, 2013 I was visiting The Netherlands while exhibiting as Flesk at the Strip Festival in Breda. The day after the show I visited Petar Meseldzja in his studio where we discussed a series of topics that spanned his entire career. In celebration of Petar’s The Book of Giants being available for pre-order we spent the last few weeks reviewing the footage and producing a two-part feature. I have posted the first part today which covers his career from his earliest days up till how he became the artist that he is today. The running time is 19 minutes. Next week I will post the second part where Petar offers his thoughts on “technique.”

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Announcing “Portfolio: The Complete Various Drawings” by Mark Schultz

Mark-Schultz-Portfolio-CompleteMark Schultz and I worked together this week to create a rough layout for the interiors and to finalize the cover design for Portfolio: The Complete Various Drawings. This will be coming out in August 2015.

We have been talking over the last year about collecting all of the Various Drawings collections into a single large format book. This 272 page, 11.5 x 12 inch collection will gather all of the material from the five volumes. We are also going through and readjusting all of the scans. This is going to be stunning!

Here is the official book description.

A compelling showcase spanning seven transformative years.

During an impressive period—2005 through  2012—Mark Schultz turned his attention to producing a body of personal works and private commissions. The results, collected in the five Various Drawings volumes, focused on subjects about which Schultz feels most passionate. Among them are characters and tableaux pulled from mythology, science-fantasy and pulp adventure, featuring steely warriors and  femme fatales—his popular pulpette women included. Schultz’s Xenozoic world is profusely explored through a series of dynamic compositions with his protagonists, Jack and Hannah, placed in a variety of impossibly dangerous situations. In addition to his self-generated pieces, there are many examples of Schultz’s commercial works done for comics, film and books, as well as renderings of newly discovered dinosaurs and more.

Portfolio: The Complete Various Drawings compiles the 275 drawings found in the original five volumes as well as the cover illustrations and special bookplates. Reformatted into this oversized version, the scan for each image has been reviewed and meticulously adjusted.  All images originally reproduced in black-and-white are now presented in full color.

Found within are fully rendered drawings executed in brush-and-ink, carbon or graphite pencil. In addition, Schultz shows his process with a wealth of preliminary sketches done for a range of projects, including his upcoming Storms at Sea illustrated novella. Add to this rare sketchbook material  and Schultz’s increasing exploration of color-tinted imagery , and you have one fascinating and diverse portfolio!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes

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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

New Videos! Steve Rude Sketching at Rose City Comic Con

Hi, all,

We have such a blast producing these new videos for every Tuesday!

We went through our footage compiled during our visit to Portland, Oregon in September 2014 when we exhibited at the Rose City Comic Con.

Steve Rude sketching at our Flesk booth!

Brom, Terry Dodson and Steve Rude signing and sketching for fans at our Flesk/Spectrum booth. Thanks to everyone who visited us!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

The Book of Giants Stretch Goals Announced! Pre-Order and Get Special Bonus Items!

BOG-cover

Hi, all,

Both Petar Meseldzija and I are thrilled to have met our initial goal with The Book of Giants Kickstarter campaign through the generosity of our supporters. We will be sending the book to the printer immediately after this campaign ends in early January. Here is a summary of bonus items that people will receive if pre-ordered through Kickstarter.

1. Both the trade hardcover and deluxe edition are $10.00 off the cover price when ordered through Kickstarter!
2. Free USPS Media Mail shipping in the U.S.
3. Free exclusive print!
4. Free Book of Giants journal!

I would like to announce two stretch goals in the hope that we can offer you more bonus items.

The first is a 30 minute online streaming video of Petar creating the giant portrait that you see in the Kickstarter promotional video. I filmed Petar over the course of two days as he worked on this piece. He discusses and shows how he prepares his palette, then continues with the pencil underdrawing, followed by the underpainting, then the application of the oils.

The second stretch goal that we are adding is a full upgrade to the deluxe edition binding and slipcase. This would include quarter-binding, an inset plate on the front boards and a premium cloth on the slipcase. This would enhance the deluxe book with a much improved package. As with our previous Kickstarter campaigns we will be using all of the raised funds toward improving the production values.

These new features will come at no additional cost to those who order through Kickstarter if we meet our stretch goals.

Please note that the deluxe edition will be limited to only 500 copies and not 1000 copies as previously advertised.

Thanks again for your support!

Here’s the link to the campaign.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/448120746/the-book-of-giants

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

Pre-Order The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija and Get Free Rewards!

BookofGiants-promo-graphicHi, all,

Today we have launched a new Kickstarter campaign to take pre-orders for The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija. The art, text and designs are done for the book. We plan on sending it to the printer immediately after the campaign ends in early January.

Please visit this link here for the full details, to watch our promotional video, to view sample pages and to see the original art options and free rewards that are available when pledging through our campaign.

If we reach our goal we are making available some fun gifts to thank our supporters with. We also have a number of stretch goals in mind. Should we be fortunate enough, we will continue to add value and more gifts along the way.

One of the reasons why we like using Kickstarter is that it helps us to fine tune the final production components of the book. For instance, with our Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method Kickstarter campaign, its success allowed us to add all the bells and whistles and editions that we had hoped for, and let us reward our early supporters with a lot of bonus free goodies. This new Kickstarter campaign for The Book of Giants will determine if we can produce the deluxe edition and finalize the binding and extras that we can include in the book. The more advance orders we receive, the more upgrades we can include.

For instance, with the Frank Cho Kickstarter campaign funds that we received earlier this year, Frank and I poured all of the money, and more, into the book. Our goal is to have a beautiful book–something that we can be proud of. And that is the same philosophy that I have for each new project that I work on. I won’t work with people whose focus is the money. To me, that is the wrong focus and one that will blind and doom the project. Instead we focus on the work, the art, the designs, the book, the process and on our supporters. That is our definition of success and reward.

We invite you to take a look at The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

 

 

Flesk Update. New Books and Titles in Development

book-of-giants-ks

Petar Meseldzija’s “Book of Giants” coming from Flesk in early 2015.

Greetings, everyone,

This year has been one of great transition. While it is still not over, it will remain a year that has resulted in a series of significant changes that I felt were necessary to take if Flesk Publications, Spectrum Fantastic Art and myself were to continue to grow in a robust fashion.

In the summer of 2013, while everyone was congratulating me on taking over the reins of Spectrum and on the recent Flesk books successes–most notably with The Art of Brom–I knew how quickly success could become something of the past when it should instead be viewed as a stepping stone. I’m not a pessimist by any means, but instead one who can fully grasp reality and situations for what they are at the moment. I playfully told people that summer that in 2014 I would either be bankrupt or three times stronger. I was actually being serious. I’ve seen many companies reach a certain point of growth, achieve a series of successes and then make a series of detrimental decisions and disintegrate in a matter of months as they have no idea how to handle their new found growth. It was the end of that summer of 2013 that I began to focus heavily on revisiting the infrastructure of the business. It’s always best to be in a position to take this step when things are going well, rather than when they are going poorly.

The first thing that I did was to set aside all Flesk titles for nearly a year. I instead poured much of my energies into upgrading every process revolving around Spectrum. I then critically reviewed every process in the Flesk offices. I did both by asking myself the question, “How would I run these two brands if I just walked in the door today.” I treated each as if I had never been involved with them. I made a series of big decisions and took action to rebuild every function. I then took the time needed to enact each change. The result is a robust new Flesk and Spectrum. I feel confident that I am far better equipped for success than ever before.

One of the most significant changes for 2014 was the move to Publisher’s Group West (PGW) for our book trade distribution. PGW is one of the largest distributors in the country and their reach goes worldwide. PGW has a massive sales team and superior fulfilment facility. The result is greater penetration into the marketplace which means we will be reaching more stores and new audiences.

Another big change was moving into a new space in Santa Cruz, California. We now have a proper facility for handling a far wider assortment of opportunities. For instance, even when receiving twenty-two pallets of books and having six people working on fulfillment at the same time we had plenty of elbow room.

Additional changes involved gathering a hardworking, friendly and dedicated crew to help with the increased workload. I am very fortunate to have a great team.

Now, as we are primed for 2015 I have been gearing back up on Flesk books.

The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldzija is almost complete. We will be taking pre-orders through Kickstarter beginning on December 1st and sending the book to the printer in early January.

The artwork and writing is complete for Storms at Sea by Mark Schultz. We are designing the book now.

The Nexus Chronicles by Steve Rude is well into the designing phase. This book will be wrapped up in a matter of a few months.

The Art of Elfquest by Wendy Pini is roughly laid out and will be another title coming out in 2015.

Harvey Dunn: Where Your Heart Is… by Robert Karolevitz, a revised and expanded edition of the 1970 definitive biography on Dunn is slated for the printer on February 1st. This book I am honored to be packaging for the South Dakota Art Museum.

The Tribes of Kai by Daren Bader and Lance HaunRogue, a stunning new graphic novel will also be available in 2015 as it is now nearing completion with the designs starting shortly.

The World of Payne by Frank Cho and Tom Sniegoski is written with Frank working on the artwork now.

Spectrum 22: The Best on Contemporary Fantastic Art will round out the year!

These are just some of the examples of the over thirty titles that we have in development!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text and photograph copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

New Video: Shelly Wan Interview!

Hi, all,

This week’s new video features an interview with Spectrum 21 jury member and Sketch Artist at Pixar Animation Studios, Shelly Wan. Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art will be available this month!

Enjoy,

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

New Video: J. Anthony Kosar Interview!

Hi, everyone,

This week we have an interview with J. Anthony Kosar which was filmed during the Spectrum 21 judging event.

We are currently packing all of the Spectrum 21 orders, complimentary copies for the artists and the Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method books. We are shipping hundreds of packages each day and will not stop working around the clock until all of the packages have been sent!

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Flesk Book Sale Going On Until October 24! Early-Bird Price on Spectrum 21

Spectrum-21-cover

Hi, all,

We’ve got a generous book sale going on at the Flesk website. Limited quantities of the discounted titles are available at these greatly reduced prices. These prices are good until October 24th!

1. The Prince Valiant Page by Gary Gianni only $9.95 (cover price $29.95)

2. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea adapted by Gary Gianni only $9.95 (cover price is $24.95)

3. Flesk Prime with art by Elliott, Gianni, Meseldzija, Schultz and Stout, only $9.95 (cover price $24.95)

4. James Bama: American Realist only $14.95 (cover price $34.95)

5. James Bama Sketchbook only $9.95 (cover price $24.95)

6. James Bama: Personal Works $14.95 (cover price $45.00)

Plus, take advantage of the new Spectrum 21 book that is arriving with us at the same time as the Frank Cho book. For a limited time, order direct from us for a special early bird price.

7. Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art paperback only $29.95 (cover price $34.95)

8. Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art hardcover only $36.95 (cover price $44.95)

Plus, there many more books on our Flesk site that you can add to your pledge.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork © 2014 its respective artist(s). All Rights reserved.

Frank Cho Video: Storytelling

 

Here’s a new video of Frank Cho working on one of his sequential pages included in the storytelling chapter of Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. The book is shipping from the printer and will be here soon!

And remember, we post a new video every Tuesday. All of them can be found here: Spectrum Fantastic Art website video area.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

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Craig Elliott Painting Demonstration Video


It’s Tuesday! That means we have a new video to share. This new video is a 9 minute time lapse of Craig Elliott painting a portrait from the live model. This was done in 2013 at our Flesk booth during the Alternate Press Expo. Craig will be joining us again on October 4-5 at our booth at APE to do painting demos both days. We hope you can join us!

And remember, we post a new video every Tuesday. All of them can be found here: Spectrum Fantastic Art website video area.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

World of Payne by Frank Cho and Thomas Sniegoski Coming Spring 2015 From Flesk!

ghost-dog-world-of-payneWith Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method printed and now shipping to our warehouse we can turn our attention to our next project with Frank Cho and with the addition of Thomas Sniegoski!

Frank Cho and Thomas Sniegoski are happy to announce their next creator owned project, World of Payne.

World of Payne is an urban fantasy graphic novel hybrid told in a unique narrative prose and sequential art style; part novel and part comic book. It’s a story of psychic private investigator, Lockwood Payne, who is actually a modern day sorcerer from an ancient society of witches and wizards and his strange misadventures in the world of the occult and unrealities. Along the way, he’s helped by his ever-loyal and unflappable friend, Doctor Hurt, an urgent care doctor in the strip mall next door to Payne’s office, and the beautiful Michelle, a witch-in-training.

The introductory book, World of Payne: Book 0 – Ghost Dog, will be published by Flesk Publications in spring 2015. It will introduce all the major characters of this world and set up the upcoming horror adventure book series.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork © 2014 Frank Cho. All Rights reserved.

New Video! Frank Cho’s “Drawing Beautiful Women.”


 

This week’s video features Frank Cho in his studio working on a piece that is featured in his new book, Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method. This title will be coming out this fall from Flesk Publications. You can learn more and pre-order the book here.

And remember, we post a new video every Tuesday. All of them can be found here: Spectrum Fantastic Art website video area.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Flashback! New Videos from SFAL1 and the Strip Festival in Breda, The Netherlands

Hi, all,

We’re busy digging through the archives and putting together videos of our trips and events and time spent with the artists for you to watch for free! Watch our Spectrum Fantastic Art website for a new video posted each week. Here are the latest two!

Flashback to Saturday May 16, 2012 from 2:30-4:00. Flesk hosted the first Spectrum Fantastic Art Live commemorative art book signing with the five special guests of the show. Shown in this video from left to right, is Mike Mignola, Iain McCaig, Brom, Phil Hale and Android Jones!

 

Flesk artist group signing at the Strip Festival show in Breda, The Netherlands on October 26 and 27, 2013. Terry Dodson, Petar Meseldzija, Mark Schultz, Jim Silke and Thomas Yeates joined us for signings during the duration of the weekend. I would like to express a special thanks to our hosts, Mark Thelosen and Guido de Bue, plus sponsorship from De Stripspecialist. And to the Strip Festival Breda organization and volunteers, plus all of those at Eppo for their help and support and for making our visit a pleasant one. We had a wonderful time!

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Videos © 2014 Flesk Publications. Artwork © 2014 its respective artists. All Rights reserved.

 

Reviewing the “Drawing Beautiful Women” Proofs With Frank Cho at Comic-Con

In an effort to keep the Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method book on schedule I had the oversized Studio Edition book proofs shipped direct to my hotel in San Diego during Comic-Con. The other bonus to this was that Frank and I could review them together. I brought the proofs to my Flesk booth on the Sunday of the show. Soon after Frank showed up our friends Jim Reid and Jim Silke stopped by to join in. After carefully inspecting the proofs, Frank, both Jim’s and myself gave the proofs our stamp of approval. Here’s a few pictures taken during our meeting.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-01

Frank Cho inspecting the layouts and fine details on his way to approving the book proofs.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-02

Frank continues to peruse the Studio Edition proofs which is shown in these pictures at actual size.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-03

Frank opens one of the gatefold proofs while John Fleskes looks on.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-04

Jim Silke, who knows a thing or two about drawing beautiful women, inspects one of the proof pages and offers his praise.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-05

Here, we are discussing the tonal areas of the pictures. Since the Studio Edition is so much larger than the trade edition we were able to add more pictures of Frank in his studio to this edition.

Frank-Cho-Flesk-Proofs-SDCC-06

Flesk booth-man James Walker walks over to give his input, while Jim Silke and Jim Reid look on.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork copyright Terry Dodson © 2014. All Rights reserved.

“Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004″ Hardcover Exhibit Catalog

Wayne-Thiebaud-Works-on-Paper-coverHi, everyone,

In the fall of 2013 I had the honor of working again with Michael Zakian who is the director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art. Our first experience working together was when we packaged the “Illustrating Modern Life” book for the museum.

It was a joy to design and package their latest exhibit catalog for the Wayne Thiebaud show held at the Weisman under Michael’s direction. Michael is among one of the most professional and inspiring individuals I have worked with. His kindness is exemplary, which brings out the best in others around him.

Designing the Wayne Thiebaud book was a thrill. Thiebaud’s colors and shapes intertwine in a beautiful unifying fashion that is deceptively simple, yet incredibly difficult to achieve.

Here is a brief description about the book followed by a link to read more and purchase a copy through our Flesk online store if you wish.

Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004” is an exhibition hardcover catalog of eighty-five prints and drawings that explores his rich dialogue with the visual language of graphic art. Drawn from the holdings of the artist’s work in the collection of the University Library Gallery at California State University, Sacramento, it provides a survey of the various printmaking media he has explored through his long career and includes examples of his woodcuts, serigraphs, etchings, lithographs and monotypes. It also offers insight into his favorite subjects—everyday American food, the urban landscape of San Francisco, the majestic mountain scenery of Yosemite and the lyric, arcadian, agricultural fields of the Sacramento River Valley.

Learn more about the Wayne Thiebaud: Works on Paper, 1948-2004 book at the Flesk Publications website.

Enjoy,

John

John Fleskes
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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork copyright © their respective owners. All Rights reserved.

 

Masquerade by Terry Dodson: 2014 Sketchbook

Masquerade-Terry-Dodson-cover

Terry Dodson debuted his latest sketchbook collection, Masquerade at Comic-Con last week. This latest sketchbook features an assortment of material including pencil sketches, ink and marker preliminaries, convention sketches, character designs and a show print drawing with the process shown in a step-by-step format.

We have copies available on our Flesk online store if you are interested. Each copy comes initialed “TD” by Terry and is only available direct from him at shows or from us.

Visit here to pick up a copy.

You can also visit Terry’s blog here to see some of the sketches that he made during Comic-Con.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork copyright Terry Dodson © 2014. All Rights reserved.

Frank Cho’s “Drawing Beautiful Women Studio Edition” at the Printer!

Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method Studio Edition front and back cover and spine.

Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method Studio Edition front and back cover, and spine.

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Hi, everyone,

Frank Cho and I wrapped up the Studio Edition of his new book Drawing Beautiful Women: The Frank Cho Method late last night. It’s been turned into the printer!

Since this version is huge (12 inches wide x 17 inches tall) we were left with some extra space when we “upsized” the regular 9 x 12 inch edition template. Frank wanted to make sure that people will get their money’s worth and so he painting a double page spread new watercolor and two new basic anatomy pages to fill in four new pages. We also added an extra 1600 words to the interview (that comes with the Publisher’s and Limited edition with slipcase edition) in the back that is a bonus for this edition only. And I was able to fit in a few more pictures of Frank in his studio, plus one of his personal landscape paintings. All of this is exclusive to this Studio Edition. It’s an amazing look edition! At 140 pages for $150, or 142 pages for the signed $200 version, it’s one cool looking book.

If you are wondering why we are now calling this the Studio Edition and not the previously advertised Gallery Edition, it turns out that Dark Horse and DC also liked the Gallery Edition name and recently advertised new lines of books using the same title. To avoid confusion, and to be unique, Frank and I decided to switch the name to Studio Edition.

Please visit our website if you would like to pre-order the book for November 1st shipping.

Enjoy,

John

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Text copyright © 2014 John Fleskes. Artwork copyright © their respective owners. All Rights reserved.