Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monster PSA: Orson Welles

I've been in a real Orson Welles mood lately, and I decided at the last minute that I didn't want to let Halloween pass without a "message" from Mr. Welles, who of course pulled off one of the greatest tricks in American history--his Halloween broadcast of "War of the Worlds" which panicked a nation into believing it was being invaded by Martians.

This poster is less of a public service message, and more just a statement about the man in question--I thought Welles, being a magician (in a number of ways), would indeed rather perform a trick for any kids that might have rang his doorbell, rather than give them some candy.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 30, 2009

From The Vault: The Stranger - 1994

This is one of my earliest attempts at the then-new "cut paper" style, a portrait of Orson Welles as he appeared in the 1946 film The Stranger.

For some reason(s) I can't quite put my finger on, this piece was--and in some ways, still is--my all-time favorite piece I've done in this style. I love the balance of colors, the slightly German expressionist feel to the shapes (Welles plays a German in the film--coincidence?), and the fact that in some ways, its probably the closest I'm ever going to come in this commercial style to something approaching "art."

At the time, I was so happy with this piece that it gave me a huge boost of confidence, that I could pull off almost anything I wanted to with this style. It remained in my portfolio years, long after all the other pieces from around this time were gone. In many ways, I don't think I've done much--even fifteen odd years later--to match this.

But I keep trying!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Time Out New York: Bill Thompson

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is NYC mayoral candidate Bill Thompson!

I knew I wanted something very rah-rah patriotic for this, since New York City really is the capital of the United States (sure, sure, its officially Washington...), and I also wanted it slightly old-timey, so I thought it'd be cool to use a vintage shot of the city (from around 1940 or so) as the background.

With the benefit of hindsight, I'm not sure I pulled it off entirely to my satisfaction, but overall I thought it came out pretty well.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exhibition at the Miami Beach Cinematheque Part 2

Just to keep everyone up to date--the exhibition of my Universal Monster posters that's happening at the Miami Beach Cinematheque starting on Halloween night will be kicked off with a live webchat between myself and the MBC, starting around 830pm!

Anyone in the area interested in attending, please check out MBC's site for more details!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monster PSA: Dwight Frye

This week's "Monster PSA" poster is Dwight Frye, definitely one of the most instantly recognizable of the 1930s horror icons.

For this one, I decided to forgo any real connection of tagline with the subject. Instead, having read that Frye was generally pretty unhappy (feeling as though he was typecast playing only Fritz/Renfield-type roles) during the last few years of his life, I wanted something sweet and reassuring.

If Dwight Frye had lived to be an old man, he would've seen how beloved he is to horror/monster movie fans--like Lugosi, who also died relatively young--he'd be treated as a king now. And maybe, if he could've known that, it would've helped him feel better about his career and how it played out.

So I liked the idea of Dwight Frye, somehow still alive in 2009, being happy and content, so much so that he'd want nothing more than to hang out, be your friend, and...who knows? Maybe even sit down with you and watch Frankenstein together.

Dwight Frye t-shirt
Dwight Frye mug

Friday, October 23, 2009

From The Vault: Namtab in Entertainment Weekly

...sort of. Even though I have never done any official work for Entertainment Weekly, my work has appeared in the magazine! In this 2003 article on Margaret Cho, you can see the portrait I did for her in the background. It was a quite a surprise, seeing that when I leafed through the issue.

So far, I've had my picture in the magazine, some of my letters printed, and this--but no actual original illustration. I hope to change that, eventually...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time Out New York: Tegan Quinn

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is musician Tegan Quinn!

I didn't know much (read: anything) about Ms. Quinn, other than having heard of her as part of the duo Tegan & Sara. Since she's promoting an upcoming solo tour, I thought I'd go with an "action" shot--the subject in a real place, instead of the usual poster-ish approach I go for.

So I put her on a darkened stage with real moody lighting. I added the little pop of red color just to have some nice contrast, and I think overall it came out pretty well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pop Project

I've got a new piece up on The Pop Project, where this month's subject is "The Twilight Zone." Click on over there and check it out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monster PSA: Lt. Col. Glenn Manning

This week's "Monster PSA" poster is a bit of a change of pace, in that I have the title character (from 1957's The Amazing Colossal Man) doing the speaking, not the actor.

But when I was putting this poster together, using the actor's name just didn't work (sorry, Mr. Glenn Langan!). There was something about the very-important sounding "Lt. Col. Glenn Manning" that worked a lot better in this context. The public service message seemed obvious, considering who was delivering it.

The Amazing Colossal Man was one of those cheapie "B" sci-fi films of the 1950s that was run on my local UHF station seemingly every other Saturday, so I became very familiar with it. Its not a great movie or anything, but it has an endearing goofiness that holds up better than a lot of other movies from that era.

(This Monster PSA poster is available at my Zazzle store as a t-shirt and mug)

Friday, October 16, 2009

From The Vault: Confessions of A Park Avenue Playgirl - 2005

This is an alternate version of a faux-vintage paperback cover I did back in 2005--the delightfully titled Confessions of a Park Avenue Playgirl.

With that kind of title, I knew the cover had to be playful and silly, and that's how the final piece (which you can see on my site here) ended up--but before I wrapped it up, I tried this version, using a completely opposite color scheme. I think it works pretty well on its own terms!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time Out New York: Michael Palin

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is Michael Palin!

Of course, I am a huuuuge admirer of Mr. Palin, having grown up on Monty Python, but also A Fish Called Wanda, American Friends, and his other various efforts--as actor, host, and author--over the years.

Palin was promoting a new documentary on Monty Python, to commemorate the group's 40th anniversary. So I decided to keep it simple, and drop in an iconic shot of the group behind him, and then fade it a bit to give it that feel of an old photograph that you're fondly looking back on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monster PSA: Gloria Holden

This week's "Monster PSA" poster is the first (and hopefully only) one that I completely redid between the time I worked on it and the time I posted it here.

Originally, I had a close up shot of actress Gloria Holden (playing the title character in 1936's Dracula's Daughter) and the message was something along the lines of being able to run your life as you see it, sort of a reference to the idea that she, as Dracula's daughter, would maybe want to lead her own life and not be limited by her famous parentage.

But as I moved on to other Monster PSA posters, this one kept nagging at me, like it didn't quite work--conceptually, it was too dull. Plus, Holden, by herself, didn't have the visual punch of Bela Lugosi as Dracula, so it didn't really work in any respect.

So last week I started all over, and went for this shot of Holden, in her spooky black robe, which I thought was much more visually arresting.

Then I redid the message. Since Dracula's Daughter, as a film, has some lesbian overtones (she feasts on women as well as men, somewhat seducing them, just as Lugosi did) I thought I'd go for a modern day message, this time about marriage rights for everyone.

But since I don't like any of these to be too strident or serious, I thought I'd add the "or suck the blood of" bit to lighten things up a bit, since equal rights for vampires would obviously be paramount in the mind of Dracula's daughter.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Exhibition at the Miami Beach Cinematheque

This is exciting!

There will be an exhibition of my Universal Monster posters at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, kicking off Halloween night, on the event of their Frankenstein/Invisible Man double-feature, and continuing on into November.

This will be the first time my Universal Monster posters will be seen outside my website, and the first time any of my poster work will be seen at the size it was meant to be seen: 22x30" big!

You can find out more about the screenings and the exhibition here: Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Future updates about the exhibition will appear here!

Friday, October 9, 2009

From The Vault: Sterling Hayden - 2003

I guess the reason actor Sterling Hayden is on my mind this week is because I just sold a copy of my faux-movie poster Two Bullets in the Chamber, which "starred" Hayden.

Hayden almost always played a tough guy--on either side of the law--maybe most famously as the corrupt, racist cop in The Godfather. I'm not sure where I got the idea for the big black box on the right--its not really a look I've dabbled with much, before or since--but I kinda like it, in some weird way.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Time Out New York: The Rza

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is musician, and now author, The Rza!

This piece is a perfect example to me of the main reason why I enjoy doing these weekly Hot Seat portraits--the freedom to experiment.

After I was told who the subject was, I went looking for reference shots of Rza, and there was one where he had his hands in front of the camera, making a sort of "W" sign.

I liked that look, but wanted to do something different with the colors--for whatever reason, I got the idea in my head to make the hands that right in front your face solid white, to make them abstract. Then I would color the shirt with just one or two colors, then go for full-color on the face.

I'm not sure why I got so attached to that idea, but I wanted to try it. Now that I have, I can look at it with some distance and see whether the idea works or not, and whether I should bother to try it again.

But that's one of the nicest things about doing these portraits ever week for over four years(!)--Time Out New York allows me to try different things, which is an extraordinary amount of freedom. And even after 200+ portraits, I still look forward to doing these pieces, week after week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Pop Project

Starting this month, I'm participating in The Pop Project, an art blog which is the brain child of my pal Charles Howell.

Each month we run a poll asking visitors to pick a subject, and whichever topic gets the most votes will be the subject we all attempt to visualize. The (so far) four participants are me, Charles aka Chunky B, Eric Stettmeier aka "Bubba Shelby", and A. Pants.

Since we needed a topic to start off with, we settled on an early childhood artistic influence. My choice, the Gorn from Star Trek, can be seen there now, so go check it out for those of you who need more of me in their lives!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monster PSAs: Ben Chapman and Ricou Browning

This week's "Monster PSA" poster is a little different this time, in that I'm having the message delivered by two actors instead of one--but since the role of the Creature From The Black Lagoon was played by both Chapman and Browning, I couldn't possibly leave either one of them out!

The idea for the message--which is an established cliche--partly came from the time I met both men at a Monster Con a few years ago. I was so excited to meet the actual guys who played my all-time favorite monster!

I first introduced myself to Ben, and asked him if he would sign my custom Creature poster. He cheerfully agreed, and we talked a minute or two--he was incredibly friendly and I was trying to make sure I just didn't say something stupid.

Finally, I thanked Ben, and then moved to the next table over, which was Ricou Browning's. I then asked him to sign the poster, and like Ben he readily agreed. Ricou blew me away when he asked me where I got the poster.

I told him I had made it, and he said that it was so sharp looking he assumed it was something that came from Universal! My head was spinning over that compliment, and as I thanked him and walked away, my main goal was to make sure my poster--now with both signatures--didn't somehow get damaged on my way out of the show.

This is my long-winded way of saying how cool I thought it was that these two guys "teamed up" when they did shows like this. Sure, seeing either one of them would've been great all its own, but having both guys there, together, made it so much more special.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Namtab Store at

I have opened a store over at, where several of my illustrations are now for sale on t-shirts, mugs, and more!

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Friday, October 2, 2009

Namtab on the Web!

I was going to run my typical "From The Vault" segment this Friday, but there's another appearance of my work on the web I want to talk about!

The super-cool blog When Is Evil Cool? has a piece up all about my Monster PSA stickers, in glowing terms I'm not sure I deserve, but I'll accept! Be sure to go over there and check it out, along with all the other cool stuff you can find on WIEC!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Time Out New York: Pink

This week's "Hot Seat" portrait for Time Out New York is Pink, or, as she's sometimes called, P!nk!

I was really excited for this one, mainly because Pink's look and vibe is so high energy and fun, and I thought it was going to be a fun challenge conveying that.

But when I actually sat down to work on it, I found this portrait really tough to pull off--not the likeness so much, but the aforementioned sense of energy and fun. I originally went with a lot of blacks and hard lines, but that didn't look right, so I ditched all that and went the other way--very little black, instead going with all kinds of crazy color.