A Rat...

Finally revealed!
Transformers Generations Rattrap pic has finally been revealed!
This is the Fourth transformers Generation figure I designed... but not the last one ;)

Once I get the okay from Hasbro, I'll post the original sketch.


Farewell Lou

I was looking for pictures of Lou yesterday, to find one that felt right for remembering him.
And I came across this one, taken at the BCI booth at the San Diego Comic Con in 2006. It was the second time I met Lou and this photo really says what I felt this man was: a wonderful, funny and sweet person, that has been part of my life for many years, even if I didn't get to meet him until I was a grown man.
I'm leaving to people much more closer to him and much more expert than me to remember his amazing life and achievement. James, Andy, Tom have written wonderful words about him yesterday, after we all have been saddened by the news of his passing away.

I can probably talk better about how Lou effected my life. See, to me He-Man had a few dads. Mark, Ted, Lou. All of them brought something to the world of Eternia. Lou brought the heart.
I was already a fan of He-Man when the MOTU cartoon by Filmation was released, and it took me some time to accept it. Over the years, I realized though how fondly I always remembered that show, and how much it had actually contributed to my beloved characters. But only until I got to really study it and understand the cartoon and Filmation, also thanks to my friends James, Alessandra and Andy, during the years of the work on the BCI DVD, that I fully realized the full impact of Lou's studio not only on the franchise, but also on me.

I'm not going to exaggerate things. Lou didn't do everything by himself. But that was one of his great merits. By what I can read in his friends and former employees' words, he was a great leader. He was able to surrounds himself with great creative people that he treated like family and made feel at home at Filmation.
And he had a vision. And through that vision, and the talents that worked with him, he contributed to shape magical worlds, awesome characters and wonderful stories.

My family was great, they gave me so much in terms of education and morality. But I know, I know, that deep down, the good heart of the Filmation Masters of the Universe touched me and thought me so much. And I know it must have been the same for many people around the world. Lou was a very open minded individual, and through his cartoons, he was able to transmit that and show kids how to embrace and accept diversity, how to be stand up people, how to sympathize for and take care of others. Filmation cartoons may seem a bit naive now, but if anybody take the time to look past the stock system, the slapstick humor, the simple stories, it will become apparent not only the amazing amount of talent the people at Filmation had, but the heart that everybody poured into the company and its productions. He touched all of our lives and also taught something to each of us at the same time.

I think that is an amazing accomplishment for a man.
Lou to me is one of the giants of animation, I will never forget the time spent with him. He was sweet, gentle, and kind. And made us laugh, which is something that should never be underestimated.

Lou was the voice of Orko.
I now like to imagine how Orko looks under the hat, and imagine he is actually looking like Lou.
Maybe Orko was just Lou all the time, fooling us all, because he could go out there and play the part of little kid, and be the kids' pal that invited us in his magical world.

Without Lou, I feel like there are less colors on the painting palette today.
Even if I'm not religious at all, I like to think he rejoined his beloved Jay, just in time to celebrate his birthday with her.

Addio Lou, grazie ancora di tutto.

Transformers Generations Waspinator

Following the previous post about the Generation figures I designed (also visible here), here comes Waspinator!
I could almost do copy and paste from the Rhinox's post:
I worked on these with Joe Kyde. The process was pretty straight forward, so there aren't other sketches of alternate versions.
Both bot and alt mode translated wonderfully to toy form, I'm so proud!


Bludgeon tech specs art

An unusual job for me at Hasbro: boxart!
The team needed a new illustration to complete the Tech Specs on the back of the box for the 2013 Transformers San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives Bludgeon and I was privileged to provide it!
The requirement was to make the illustration looking like the vintage Transformers box art as much as possible.
To achieve that, working digitally, I used realistic airbrushes in Painter and added noise in Photoshop.
Then I also tried to "age" the colors a bit, so there would be a hint of green in some grays and a hint of yellow in thew withes.
Despite the actual figure being a G.I.Joe repaint, I was asked to reference more the original toy and the old Marvel comics.
This is the result!


Atlantic Galaxy's Sky Man

The Original Sky Man figure 
Screw it, last post provoked such mess that sucked all the joy of sharing the bible after all these years.

So, let's move on something else, possibly funnier
Does anybody remember the Atlantic Galaxy line? I bet most of you don't, they were cheap popular toys in Italy and France... But they were really interesting!
You can educate yourself about them on AtlanticGalaxy.com, the site is in Italian but the pics are not.

I never had them but I was always fascinated by them. Chatting about them with my friend Marco Failla  made me want to try to illustrate them. Not really an update, but trying give them some modern concept art flavor.

Even if I like the aliens and the robots more, the first once I did was Sky Man, and I loved to reproduce that really old sci-fi look while updating it with textures and extra details. If people like this one, I will do more. And maybe also try to do a more extreme update of them. What do you think?

Sky Man - Click on the image to enlarge


The 2002 Comic Bible

After a long wait, I finally decided to make the 2002 comic bible public for all fans to read.

A few words about this bible and its history:
The original document was written by me with revisions by Val Staples and James Eatock in January 2008.
That means it's a document written outside the license, there is nothing official about it and it was never submitted to Mattel for approval. By all means, it's an unofficial collection of informations and ideas that was typed outside any kind of relationship with Mattel.

But although it was written years after the MVC license was expired, it collected mostly ideas and concepts I had developed for the MVC MOTU Comic book. Despite none of those ideas being put on paper or ever submitted to Mattel, almost all the plans for the comic presented in this document are indeed what we wanted to tell on the book at that time, they had all been developed by me (some even before my involvement with the 2002 comic) and it was established that we would have continued the comic with my story, giving me almost full freedom to write it. There was no pitching, no official approval process on MVC part. Just the regular back and forth on what to do next and how between me and Val. This is confirmed by this interview where Val Staples himself states this were indeed the official plans for the comic.
What happens in Vol 3 of the comic is also based on these concepts.

The document was printed and sent to the MOTU brand manager in good faith, to offer an idea of what at-the-time-in-developement new MOTU line (which eventually become MOTU Classics) could have been.
 I know for a fact there is no ground to prevent me from publishing my ideas.

The bible is a very bare bones document, nothing fancy and with images reused from other sources. It was never intended to be an engaging fiction, but just a collection of informations presented under a unifying concept that could have been used to create a spin-off/reboot of the MOTU brand.
It must be also noticed this was specifically written around the 2002 canon. Meaning that it isn't necessary my ultimate take on MOTU, just what we planned and would have done in that continuity.

I hope you enjoy it! To read the bible, click on the link below:

(if you're on a mobile device, I suggest to use your browser to read it and not the Blogspot app or Facebook app.)

If you can't access the document on Google Docs, also try this: ALTERNATE LINK

Also, He-Man fan Telkan2 compiled a list of info we leaked over the course of several years. It contains extra tidbits not present in the bible. You can check out his list here


Transformers Generations Rhinox

Directly from the Botcon reveals, here is the first design from the Generation figures I helped designing.
I worked on these with Joe Kyde. The process was pretty straight forward, so there aren't other sketches of alternate versions.
The kind of rhinoceros was changed for the final alt mode, but I think it was the right choice as it now looks a lot more intimidating than mine!
I loved doing Rhinox, especially trying to capture the right attitude, silhouette and the details form the cartoon, and i'm so happy to see it translated so faithful to a toy!


Divertessement 2

A more modern sci-fy take, but not changing silhouette much.



In those rare occasions where I have time between jobs, but it's too little to go on vacation, and too long to not get bored at the same time, I sometime try to get to draw stuff on my own.
I admit, I'm one of those guys.. for me drawing is always a painful process- I'd like to do more MOTU designs, in completely different styles to show the endless possibilites, but I find myself lost in trying to do too much in the little time I have.
So, sometime a more compelling approach I take is to focus on details.
This morning, I was playing with an old idea: what if a MOTU movie was designed like a big classical fantasy movie? I mean something elegant and magical like The Lord of the Rings.
What He-Man harness could look like? And then I doodled this :D


Waspinator, Rhinox and Cosmos!

What's better than waking up, checking news from Botcon and finding out Hasbro has just presented 3 figures you have designed?!

Today, for the first time, I saw pics of some new toys I helped designing. More than one year ago, I worked with Joe Kyde to create new designs for a few Transformers Generations figures and among those there were Rhinox, Waspinator, Cosmos and his little sidekick Sky-High
Especially with the Beast Wars figures, the goal was to make them as close as possible to their cartoon counterpart.
I will be checking with Hasbro the possibility of showing the original sketches, stay tuned!


Transformers 3 - Movie concept exploration 3

Third and fourth image from Dark of the Moon concept exploration job for Hasbro.

This one really made to the movie, even if the glider was turned into a jetpack for Optimus Prime.
Aaron Archer asked me to visualize Optimus flying using part of is trailer transformed into a glider
I used the experience from the the previous images and I used both fully painted elements (Prime and the glider) with photo elements for the background.

The second image was supposed to be the glider by itself in a creepy, Chernobyl-like environment. the easiest thing to do was to actually use a pic of Chernobyl!
I don't know how that second image was supposed to fit in the story, but looks to me like the idea it never made to final script.


Etna Comics 2013

 Etna Comics è passata da quasi 3 giorni, ma è difficile scrollarsi di dosso l'eccitazione, la tensione, la carica di questo terza fiera a Catania. O forse non voglio, o non vogliamo, farlo.
E' stata una faticata tremenda, eppure mi è iniziata a mancare nel momento stesso in cui si è chiusa. E sarei pronto a rifarlo questa settimana stessa. Soprattutto e prima di tutto, per le persone con cui sono stato a contatto in quei tre giorni frenetici

Per due anni consecutivi sono stato ospite di Etnacomics. Coccolato e apprezzato come non lo sono stato in nessun altra manifestazione. E, cosa importantissima, a casa mia. In Sicilia, sotto lo stesso sole che vedo ogni giorno. Quest'anno era il momento di ricambiare. Vuoi perché la maggior parte dello staff della sezione comics è di Palermo, vuoi perché i rapporti nei due anni precedenti si sono stretti con tutta l'organizzazione, quest'anno ho vissuto la fiera come parte dello staff. E ne sono felice.
Negli anni precedenti l'abbiamo condivisa con amici che vedo tutti i giorni, ed essere sempre più coinvolto è stato naturale.

Così eccomi qui, maglietta di ordinanza, anche se sbagliata, a correre avanti e indietro per Le Ciminiere.
Ci siamo trovati davanti mille difficoltà quest'anno, ma invece che scoraggiarmi ho preso tutto come una sfida a cercare di far funzionare tutto al meglio, nel nostro piccolo e con il sorriso sulle labbra. Così come i miei compagni di viaggio. E sono convinto che, nonostante i tanti ostacoli, ci siamo in gran parte riusciti. Ci sono già tanti articoli in giro che commentano pregi e difetti della manifestazione, e altri se ne aggiungeranno. A me preme esprimere quello che per me ha significato il lato umano dell'esperienza.
In fiera ho fatto un po' di tutto, dal traduttore alle conferenze all'intrattenere gli ospiti a cena, e un pochino, persino il compito originariamente assegnatomi: le responsabilità in Area Live insieme al fedele Vincenzo Salvo, che è stato indispensabile e attento, e sempre presente, resistendo stoicamente a tutte le mie defezioni dovute alle altre necessità. Grazie Vincenzo, è stato divertentissimo!

Come al solito non ho potuto conoscere tutti gli ospiti, ma i pochi con cui sono stato in contatto sono stati tutti fantastici e se sono riuscito a farli sentire sempre a loro agio e benvenuti, per me è la soddisfazione più grande.
Dal ritrovare l'imbattibile Fabio Celoni ai gentilissimi Mary e Bryan Talbot, (Talbot per me è un mostro sacro, e non gliel'ho neanche detto...) e poi Daw, Pierz, Dan Frazier, Stefano Vietti, Luca Enoch, Vanna Vinci, James O'Barr, Renee Wittersteatter, Paolo Cellamare, i ragazzi di RadioAnimati!

Ma i veri eroi della fiera, insieme al sopracitato Vincenzo, sono tutti i membri dello staff che mi hanno fatto sentire a casa a benvoluto esattamente come gli altri anni.
Sergio Algozzino, che ha messo in piedi l'area Talent Scout, uno spazio come non ne ho visti mai in altre fiere, che ha avuto un enorme successo e che spero possa dare l'esempio. Un area in cui aspiranti artisti e professionisti si incontrano e si confrontano, ma non in una stanza chiusa e separata, ma nel mezzo della fiera, gomito a gomito gli uni con gli altri. Sono sicuro che Sergio è molto fiero del risultato, e ne ha tutte le ragioni, Era un esperimento, e secondo me è già uno dei punti di forza della Fiera. E senza dimenticare Sabrina Di Vita, il cui aiuto è stato essenziale!

La banda palermitana al completo è sempre la stessa, e sono i miei più cari amici, che si sono dati da fare come non mai, saltando i pasti, dimenticando di andare in bagno, resistendo ai tanti intoppi. Fabio Butera, Maurizio Clausi e Anna Zito. Siamo stati grandi ragazzi!

E con loro, Giovanna Uttilla, Gabriella, Nadia Davì che sono stati i rinforzi insieme a me con le quali ci siamo divertiti tanto tanto.

E Pippo Burruano, che merita un rigo a parte, perché è Pippo e perché se non c'era lui magari ci distraevamo di meno, ma Le Ciminiere crollavano.

Tutto questo non vuol dire che il cazzeggio non abbia fatto da padrone anche quest'anno, senza nulla togliere al lavoro, le risate non sono state certo di qualità inferiore! Abbiamo fatto più danni possibile come sempre, e ne siamo fieri!
Dal concerto dei Superobots (momentone storico per me), dove si cantava a squarciagola con Fabrizio Mazzotta e il resto della banda e Maurizio Merluzzo si esaltava di più ad ogni brano, alla serata a ricantare in coro le canzoni dei cartoni accompagnati dall'ukulele di Sergio (questa volta glielo abbiamo graziato) a cui si sono uniti Alessio Puccio (doppiatore di Anakin Skywalker e Harry Potter) e sua moglie, che sono stati adorabili.
I due laboratori di doppiaggio che mi hanno ammazzato, e la meritatissima standing ovation per Fabrizio!
E poi la nottata a cercare la polpetta di carne di cavallo per il Merluzzo, a piedi per una Catania inspiegabilmente semideserta, conclusasi sui gradini di una chiesa ad ascoltare le barzellette di Maurizio che ormai andava in automatico (per due ore!!), mentre Monia letteralmente grugniva dalle risate. Ragazzi, io a Etnacomics ci vengo soprattutto per questi momenti da passare con voi!

E infine le nostre spine dorsali, Dario Cherubino e Monia Barbagallo. E' stato un onore e un piacere lavorare con voi, e spero di essere stato all'altezza. Ma adesso per me siete uno dei motivi per venire a Catania, vi voglio bene!  Si continua l'anno prossimo, è una promessa, ma spero di rivedere tutti, nessuno escluso, molto prima!

Transformers 3 - Movie concept exploration 2

Second image from Dark of the Moon concept exploration job for Hasbro.
This time, we were exploring the concept of the Space Bridge. The idea make it to the movie, but it was executed in a completely different way.

What is really interesting about this piece is that there is very little painted stuff in it. It was executed mostly as a collage. It was another learning experience, because mixing photos, real life elements and art is absolutely a common thing in movie concept work.
I went on looking for various NASA bases and installations, I created the bridge out of temples churches and lot of other stuff, and finally, I used style guide pieces from the previous movies to create the millions of Decepticons crossing the bridge and attacking Earth.
As usual, below you can see also the preliminary sketches that lead to the final piece.


Transformers 3 - Movie concept exploration 1

We're just starting to see the first glimpses of the new Autobots alt modes in TF 4, and the great folks at Hasbro just gave me permission to post some of the work I was lucky to do for Transformers 3 - Dark of the Moon.

One of the most awesome thing that happened working with Hasbro design and IP team was that I was asked to create concepts for the movies. These are all preliminary stages images, when the company was still bouncing around ideas with the studio. I only did a few things, which, even if completely changed, ended up in the movie one way or another. I felt incredibly lucky at doing these as a toy design job suddenly become a movie previz job, something I could only dream about at that point.
Thanks the good people that believed in me, especially Aaron Archer, I got to do a lot more art for movies in the past few years and I will never thank them enough for such opportunity.
Looking at them now, they are pretty crude, but I learned a lot doing these.

This first image is meant to represent a new Autobot team engaging in a fire fight. No specific characters were defined at that time, we just wanted them to be new and cool. 
Below, you can also see the preliminary sketch that evolved in the final piece.


MOTUC Instagram full resolution part 2

ON a lighter note, here are more full resolution version of my Instagram MOTU pics!
Click on them to see the full rez, much better then those on Instagram or Facebook!
If you want to follow me, my Instagram name is santalux75.
(Part 1)


Some Instagram MOTUC pics - Full resolution

Weather in Palermo is pretty warm, I just spent an awesome week with a good friend from Germany, and I have tons of Transformers work. So what is best time to get flu?
Oh well.
Since I got the iPhone, against all my friends's advises, I started taking some pics and quickly rework them with Instagram and now Pixlr. I think the challenge is to pick the best composition and take the best out of the limited tools. The limits of a phone app are not necessarily a bad thing. What cool stuff can be done with those? How to use them in clever ways, without just putting a silver on each pic? I don't know if I succeded at all in that, but surely I had lot of fun doing that.
The only I don't like is that both on Instagram and Facebook the pics are heavily shrunked down and compressed. So I thought to repost the full size files generated on the phone here (just click on them to enalrge)
Of course one of my favurite subjects are MOTUC figures. Here is a first bunch of them! Most are the first I did, and are pretty rough and uninteresting, but I think I started to get better with Castle Grayskull Man and Granamyr.
(Part 2)