Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chad Smash!

Here is a Hulk that I whipped up for my nephew for his birthday present. It's pretty rushed but I thought it turned out pretty good. The pencils and inks took me a couple of hours and the coloring took me about an hour and a half.

In the final piece he's crushing my nephew's name spelled out in rock. Hope you guys dig it. Drop a comment, let me know what you think


Monday, May 29, 2006

Beer Review: Dogfishhead's Golden Shower

Dogfish Head's Golden Shower
Imperial Pilsner
9% ABV

Presentation: Wine-like bomber

This toungue-in-cheekly named brew is the first Imperial Pilsner was purchased on my birthday trip to Madison WI from Barriques...a great bottle shop just down the way from our hotel.

Appearance: 4 (out of 5) Pours a crisp golden yellow, very pale white head...looking beautiful on this unseasonably hot Memorial Day in my Jeckyll and Hyde club pilsner glass

Smell: 4.5 (out of 5) Very powerful hop aroma. Floral and unexpected but a real treat. Citrus is there...grass but with a good malt backbone. A little bread to balance out the fruit

Flavor:4 (out of 5) Much hoppier than what I expected from a beer this style. But I must keep in mind that it is an American Imperial version. The hops provide a good bitterness but the sweetness wins out. The most noticeable things upon the initial taste are the citrus, orange, grapefruit, perhaps a hint of lemon. Nice slight alcohol taste and warmth. Tingling carbonation that gives way to juicy sweetness. Very impressive.

Mouthfeel: 4.5 (out of 5) Very full for the Pilsner style. The malt and hops combine for a sticky coating bitterness and the full sweetness stays on the palate long after the beer is gone.

Drinkability: 4 (out of 5) Very good. Tho it's up there in the ABV department, I could see enjoying a couple of bombers on a warm summer evening but I think it's best shared with friends.

As far as a comic pairing... something that you don't think you'll like but end up loving it by the end. Ex Machina by Brian K Vaughan and Tony Harris, perhaps.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Beer Review Friday - Two Brothers Monarch White Beer

Picked this guy up on Thursday. Looked good to me. I enjoy the Sam Adams White Ale so maybe Two Brothers came up with something similar. $6.99 a six pack? Not too shabby... Things seem to be in order here so I thought I would give it a try. Sometimes, despite all the efforts to the contrary, your courage does not pay off. This was one of those times...

Well, the smell right off the bat: coriander. I like coriander. I like it a lot. I put it on fajitas. I put it on roasts. But with beer? Ehhhhh... can't say it was my favorite. That is the first thing that hits you, even more than the citrus flavors the beer promises, and though this was an immediate turn off, nevertheless, I persevered. For the good of Geekenweizen. As to the flavor, it was lighter than I thought it would be. Very clean. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of clean and much prefer smooth but this beer didn't get that far. Very simple. I look for a depth of flavor in beer, much like I do in wine. A first, second, and in the rare case, third tier. This didn't have that. The little to no carbonation is also not something I am a fan off. It is a decent beer, but there are better out there and it just wasn't my cup of tea. Approriate for summer weather, but I would hardly say great.

I would NEVER turn down a beer, but I wouldn't recommend this one for purchasing. It was good but not worth the price. You are better off picking up a good trade with the money you would save off of it. I would suggest House of M. Whether you like the story or not, the art is fantastic.

For more on the beer, check out the link to the Beer Advocate. Thanks for stopping by. You stay classy... PLANET EARTH...

Walk with me... Part 3

Behold! the finished product!

Gonna have to take a vacation from the smudge tool after this one. So, the coloring stage. Well, I started off "flatting" it. I use the quotation marks because, though it is done in a similar fashion, I wouldn't necessarily call it flatting. I created a new layer and lassoed in sections and colored them but I DID NOT seperate the line art. Instead, I set the layer to "color." This colors the line work, and not the white parts. Instant gradients! I then duplicated this layer, set the new layer to "multiply" at a 50% opacity. A little dodge here, a generic background there and viola, instant Batman!

Naturally I can't give away ALL of my secrets but I hope you found this interesting, or at the very least, enjoyed the art. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Also, look out for this week's beer review tonight. Thanks for checking this out!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Birthday and Brewery Tours Part 1

Well, for better or worse my birthday was last Saturday. I'm not really big on birthdays. Getting old is one of the few things that genuinely scares me. But my wife and my daughter always make my "special day" great and this year was no exception.

Last year, for my big 3 0 my wife planned a surprise party for me at the Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee Wisconsin and it was a blast. Good friends, good food and lots of great beer. As John will recall, I had a little too much fun. But that was when my love of craft beer really sank in.

I've always been a fan of non-mainstream beer but I never really examined why and I never really investigated the industry. But after that tour it really hit home that was just what I wanted to do. And that's when I started down the road to hardcore beer geekdom.

I also decided that I was going to make that a birthday tradition, visit a different craft brewery or brew pub every year. Last year Sprecher, this year New Glarus, the Grumpy Troll, Capitol and The Great Dane.

We got started on Friday later than we'd planned, so that made the trip up feel a little rushed. Combine that with the fact that the main road into New Glarus was closed for construction. So we had to take this 20 mile detour to get to the brewery. But, we finally made it, and when we did there was a tour bus full of seniors piled into the 'tasting room'. It made what was an already small tasting room even smaller. Awful and they were more than rude (the old people, not the brewery employees).

Since there wasn't much room, we pretty much just glanced around the brewery, grabbed a pick-a-six of stuff that I haven't tried (Fat Squirrel, Spotted Cow, Totally Naked, then 2 bottles of Road Slush and an Uff-da, which I had the opportunity to try the week before and really enjoyed) and a bottle of the Belgian Red and got the hell out of there. Which bummed me out but there were just too many people and we didn't have time to go bum around somewhere else until they left.

We made our way out of there and up to Mt. Horeb. And just as we were approaching the off ramp what do we see? It was closed!!! No kidding. I was beginning to think this was a sign. But we went to the next exit and found our way there. The Grumpy Troll.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Walk with me... Part 2

I come to you with Mackeson in hand. You might remember Mackeson from such beer reviews as last weeks. Well here is the next step in my drawing of Batman.

As you can see, this has a bit more of a finished feel to it. I used a lot of the smudge tool and gaussian blur (as mentioned last time) to achieve this effect. Finished off the rest of the pic with my Wacom tablet, a great investment for any aspiring artist.

Come back Friday to see the finished product. Hope you enjoy it thus far. Feel free to leave a comment. Now, back to the beer...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Flight of the Falcon

Here are 2 recently finished pieces. The covers for Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon issues #1 and #2.

I wanted the cover to issue one to be reminiscent of a Drew Struzan movie poster. Steve Bryant (the artist) likes to do this sort of montage a lot, and each one creates it's own opportunity to try new things but they each have their own challenges.

With this one, I knew the map was going to be featured, and keeping in mind that I want all 4 covers to stand out on the shelves and from each other, I went with the tan/golden color scheme.

Usually, I'm inclined to have the bright rim-lighting just hit the main figure (in this case Athena's figure) but with this one I thought I would do the opposite. I hit all of the background elements with the light from that sun and left her in her normal colors. Hoping that will make her stand out. Still not sure if the approached worked or not but I'm pleased with the final image.

The only thing I knew going into the cover to #2 was that I wanted it to be predominately green. And there you have it.

Be sure to drop John and I comments, let us know what you think.


Walk with me... Part 1

Recently I think I came across an epiphany of sorts with my art style. While I will always be a big fan of the traditional ink and colors, I was never able to figure out how to do it myself. So I asked myself, "Self, what CAN you do?" I knew that I was good at black and white pencil drawings, so why not make that work for me? I looked into some artists, Adi Granov in particular, and learned how he produces work in a similar fashion. So walk with me as I take this picture from sketch to finished work, ALL through the magic of Photoshop.

I did this sketch of Batman yesterday inbetween extensive yardwork and beer drinking. After scanning it in, I've added a black border ala Adam Hughes. Though, realistically, that line shouldn't be there, I think it gives it a good comic feel and makes the character pop more. I have also started to smooth out my sketch lines in the neck and torso via the smudge tool in addition to darkening some shadow areas. Once they are smooth, I like to do a gaussian blur just to make them REALLY smooth. The reason for this will become apparent when I start adding color.

More to come... So STAY TUNED!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Beer Review Friday - Mackeson XXX Milk Stout

Ahhhh.... Mackeson... what a beer.

I thought that I would start off this blog feature with a staple of my beer fridge. When you think stout, naturally, the first thought is Guinness, the smooth, creamy beer with the fantastic ad campaign. Now, don't get me wrong, Guinness is a great beer. I especially enjoy it in a relaxing atmosphere. But if you speak to ANY beer enthusiast, they will tell you that Guinness is only TRULY acceptable from the tap. It doesn't cater to the at home with a drawing pad crowd as much.

Enter Mackeson.

Now, the first, distinct difference between the two is that Mackeson is a Milk Stout, while Guinness is an Irish Dry Stout. Milk stouts have more unfermented sugars in them, most of the time lactose is added, and thereby, have a much sweeter taste. It pours a bit thicker than most stouts and its head has almost a reddish hue to it. Its got the usual chocolates and coffees in it, but what is the kicker for me is the solid flavor you get from it. No water here. Furthermore, Mackeson is far less expensive than most stouts. I get mine for $9.99 a twelve pack.

As far as pairings, I recommend Mackeson with a fine issue of Runaways, or possibly Young Avengers. Anything that you are getting more than your money's worth. My thanks go out to Chad for introducing me to this beer.

For more information on this, or any beer, check out the link to the Beer Advocate Website.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In which Chad rambles on about sketches...

Hey everyone,

Let's start this thing. My name is Chad Fidler, I've been a computer colorist for comics for the last 8 years and an aspiring artist all my life. Recently, at the insistence of John, my partner in crime here and my wife, I'm trying to pick the pencil/paintbrush back up again and start creating for myself.

So here are a couple of pages out of my sketchbook. It's all pretty random. The bear and the guy with the patch on the first page were inspired by Carnivalé... the kid staring at the deep sea fish was actually inspired by a kid sitting next to us at a restaurant that couldn't stop playing his gameboy, even for dinner. And it had this creepy light on it, so it looked like he was staring at one of those Angler fish.

Anyway, have a look and drop some comments to tell me how much I suck and should stick to coloring other people's art.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It Begins....

Welcome to Geekenweizen!

Welcome to what we believe to be a first of its kind.

We know you're out there. We've seen you at the cons. Drinking in Knuckles with Erik Larsen or chugging beers in the Marvel Suite. For every continuity tight assed, unable to suspend disbelief, fanboy out there, there are the regular Joes like us that read comics for the fun of it. And what do regular Joes like more than anything? That's right. Beer.

We aren't talking crap beer either. If you are looking for a celebration of PBR or Red Dog, you have come to the wrong site. Though we acknowledge the importance of watery beer in the sport of binge drinking, we choose to celebrate the art of fine brewing.

But can beer and comics truly co-exist? Hell yeah they can! We even created a holiday to celebrate our love for both: Comictoberfest! Our goal is to create awareness for Comictoberfest through the celebration of great beer and good comics. This blog is just the beginning...

Check back regularly for our weekly reviews of the latest craft beers, comic issues, and we will even be sharing our own artwork. This is only the beginning...

Viva Comictoberfest!