Category Archives: Artwork

Calgary Expo 2017 Pin-Up: Puss In Boots

Each year the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo puts together an art book with pin-ups done by artists who will be exhibiting at the show. Proceeds from the art book sales and original art auction go to charity. This year the charity of choice is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Alberta.

The theme of this year’s art book was ‘Fairy Tales and Classic Monsters’, so I decided to illustrate my version of Puss In Boots. Here’s how it progressed from concept to final:

STEP 1-Sloppy Gesture: This is where I’m just playing around with shapes, trying to find a really basic pose and silhouette that will work for my initial idea – Puss swinging in with a swashbuckling flare. It’s sloppy and loose and doesn’t look like much, but that’s how it starts.

STEP 2-Initial Sketch: From there I sketch right over top, building in the form and attitude of the character, trying to keep a sense of energy while also adding a bit of volume and consistency. Still pretty rough, but at least now we can tell what it is and see some potential.

STEP 3- Refinement: Fading back my previous digital layers, I take another attack on it, refining my choices and adding details. I wanted to add a bit more of a sense of ‘drag’ on his clothing and pushed the expression a bit more.

STEP 4- Final Lines: With the gesture and structure defined, I’m ready to finalize the line work with a tight digital ink layer. While I’m working away on this I try to balance the structure and gesture and add thick to thin lines or gaps to help visually separate areas and add a bit of extra weight to the final look.

STEP 5- Flat Colors: This is where I work out the base palette of colors for the piece. These flats also become easy to select areas when I’m rendering the illustration. I also added a simple pattern behind Puss to give the background a bit of texture.

STEP 6- Final: Shadows, highlights, and all around rendering is added along with my signature to finish it off. Our courageous swashbuckling feline is ready for adventure!

If you’re heading to the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo you’ll be able to pick up your own copy of the 2017 Artbook and I’ll be thrilled to sign a copy for you.

Zub Calgary Expo Pin-Up 2016 – Step By Step

As part of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo each year there’s a special artbook that includes pin-up illustrations from many of their guests. This is the show’s 11th anniversary and I’m proud to say I’ve attended each and every show and have a pin-up in every artbook they’ve produced so far.

Thankfully, this year is no exception.

The theme for 2016 was “Fairy Tales & Classic Monsters”, so I put together a piece using a Jack and the Beanstalk as my inspiration. Here’s a walkthrough of the process for my piece. Click on each one to see a larger version:


STEP 1: Thumbnail – Sometimes it can be helpful to start really small and think only in terms of broad shapes and forms to create a strong composition. I thumbnailed out this quick sketch with a Col-Erase blue pencil and liked the possibilities it presented.


STEP 2: Rough – Scanning the thumbnail and working over top of it digitally in Photoshop, I added structure and gesture to the base shapes and it’s starting to come together.


STEP 3: Work Up – Fading back the other layers, I digitally draw over top of it again and add in character expression and details while trying to keep the energy from the earlier steps intact.


STEP 4: Final Lines – Opening up the work up version in Manga Studio, I digitally ink the final lines bit by bit, clarifying some of the looser forms and using thicker or thinner lines to help visually separate major areas and indicate depth.


STEP 5: Final – Bringing the lines back into Photoshop, I add color to give the whole thing mood and texture. I keep the rendering pretty simple to give it an animated appearance.


Close Up – Here’s a zoom in of Jack happily climbing the beanstalk. I’m pretty happy with how his gleeful expression turned out.

TMNT 100 For the Hero Initiative


It was a pleasure to be invited to do a sketch cover for the Hero Initiative TMNT 100!

Once the Hero Initiative has the piece they’ll be putting it up on ebay to help support creators in need. Keep an eye out for the auction in the weeks ahead.

Zub’s Capcom Fighting Tribute Pin-Up

I’m thrilled to have a new pin-up piece included in UDON’s upcoming Capcom Fighting Tribute book. Going off the beaten path a bit, I did three characters from Warzard (also called ‘Red Earth‘ here in North America) and went for a more cartoony approach. It was tons of fun putting this together.

Here’s a step-by-step on my process. You can click on each one for a larger version:


STEP 1: This one started as a series of really loose lines and shapes, trying to find an appealing composition and flow to the overall drawing. Once I was happy with how that first pass looked I could move on to a more structured drawing.


STEP 2: I try to keep some of the energy of the initial gesture while building structure into the figures.


STEP 3: Looking more carefully at the character reference, I make adjustments to the proportion and costume details.


STEP 4: I do a quick shadow pass to get a sense of the mood and make sure that the direction of light is clear and accentuates the character volumes properly.


STEP 5: I carefully digitally ‘ink’ each character to create the final line art, using different colors so I can more easily keep track of each one.


STEP 6: I drop in flat colors for a base palette.


STEP 7: Here’s the base palette with shadows added.


STEP 8: And the final step – highlights, reflected light, effects, and color correction to finish it off.

Capcom Fighting Tribute will premiere with a limited-run convention edition hardcover at San Diego Comic-Con, July 9-12!

The standard edition of Capcom Fighting Tribute will be released September 2015. Links to pre-order the book at a variety of online retailers can be found here:

Zub’s Atomic Robo Postcard

Atomic Robo is in the midst of an incredible Kickstarter to fund reprinting their comic collections in new spiffy hardcovers. As a huge Robo fan (if you haven’t read the series you really should, especially now that it’s FREE online) I was already on board with supporting Brian and Scott, but after they asked me if I’d like to contribute a piece of postcard art to go with the fundraiser, I was even more ecstatic.

They asked me to do up a piece based on Atomic Robo Vol. 2: The Dogs of War, and here’s the step-by-step process of my illustration. You can click on each one for a larger version:


Step 1: After gathering ref material and noodling around with some sketches I came up with a composition I was excited about showing Robo hiding from a Laufpanzer mech.


Step 2: I tighten up the sketch with proper proportion and perspective.


Step 3: Before I move ahead to final line art I gave the work-up version a quick light and shadow pass to make sure it would work.


Step 4: Once I’m happy with the work-up I carefully digitally ink the final line art.


Step 5: Flat color areas are blocked out.


Step 6: Initial shadows are added.


Step 7: Highlights, lighting effects, and color correction are added and the line art is lightened to give it a sepia tone/1940’s look.


Step 8: The piece is finalized with a postcard-appropriate slogan.

Zub Calgary Expo Pin-Up 2015 – Step by Step

As part of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo each year there’s a special artbook that includes pin-up illustrations from many of their guests. This is the show’s 10th anniversary and I’m proud to say I’ve attended each and every show and have a pin-up in every artbook they’ve produced so far.

Thankfully, this year is no exception.

The theme for 2015 was “Time”, as appropriate for an anniversary celebration, so I put together a piece using a time traveller with a nod to the H.G. Wells classic story “The Time Machine”. Here’s a walkthrough of the digital process for my piece:


STEP 1: Rough – After trying a few different thumbnail compositions I settled on this gesture drawing. It’s pretty loose but set up the key staging of the characters and the proportion of the dinosaur versus our happy time travelling protagonist.


STEP 2: Work-Up – Working digitally, it was easy to separate each part onto its own layer so I could focus on construction and expression, tightening up details while trying to keep the energy of the original gesture.


STEP 3: Line Art – A third pass nails down the line art, including fine details on the time machine and thick to thin lines to help visually separate forms.


STEP 4: Color – I wanted to keep the rendering animated-looking and simple across the board so I stuck with mostly flat colors and a simple light source. Some of the line art was also colored/lightened to help blend it in more with the rest of the scene.


Here’s a close-up of the time traveller and his machine. I had a lot of fun getting his expression down and building the golden-tubed time machine at the proper angle. I can’t wait to see the piece in print.

Here’s a series of links to all my previous pin-ups for the Calgary Expo artbooks. Collect ’em all 🙂


I Designed the Animex UK 2014 Mascot!


Animex is a week-long festival and lecture series about animation, video games, special effects, and comics run at the University of Teesside in northern England. I first attended as a speaker back in 2009 and it’s become one of my favourite work-related trips each year since then. The depth and breadth of knowledge covered by the speakers mixed with great networking opportunities and a friendly social atmosphere is top notch.

When Gabrielle Kent, the head of Animex, asked me if I’d be interested in designing the mascot for the 2014 festival, I leapt at the chance.

Given my love of fantasy and the fact this event takes place in England, it seemed appropriate to create a noble knight. I wanted something cute and iconic, and the concept of a Kitten Knight took hold in these initial rough sketches.


Gabby really liked the concept. We bounced a few of the elements back and forth, trying out different poses and bits of armour until I had two line art versions to choose from:


Gabby picked the fully armoured one and I coloured it up with a pallet meant to work well with the festival’s black, white, and red colour scheme. From there I created a vector version so it could be scaled to any size the festival needs.


And, there he is! Kitten Knight is ready for Animex 2014. 🙂

To Be Or Not To Be Artwork


I was thrilled to contribute a piece of artwork to Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be book. It’s available now and you should check it out. Slate really liked it and so will you.

Here’s the text that goes with my illo:

You look around and see Hamlet’s friend Horatio nearby. He looks like he’s freaking out.

“Hey,” you say. “Listen – Horatio, right? Listen, don’t freak out.”

He seems to freak out a little less. That’s good.

Calgary Expo 2013 Pin-Up


This weekend I’ll once again be exhibiting at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. If you’re heading to the show, you’ll be able to find me at Table X-23!

I’m proud to say that I’ve been at every Calgary Expo since the show launched back in 2006 and have had a pin-up in every art book. Here’s a run through of the older pin-ups. The early books were western themed, but later ones branched out into sci-fi and fantasy:

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

They Bleed Pixels Wallpaper

This wallpaper image was put together as unlockable guest art for the amazing gory platform game called They Bleed Pixels, created by Miguel Sternberg.

If you haven’t had a chance to play TBP yet, check it out on Steam! It’s a really fun title with tight controls and over the top pixelated combat.