(circa 2011)

The idea for HERO came to me when I laid down to sleep one night back in 2011.  Earlier that day, my dog Charlie and I had seen a raccoon by the dumpsters of our apartment and I had this idea brewing in my brain the whole day.  After I drew the first image with HERO being surrounded by a giant snake, the kids and I started to create the story of how HERO got into that particular situation.  A few years went by without anything else being done on HERO.  Nothing by an idea.  

Then, in June of 2014, my son Michael and I attended the first New York Comic Con Special Edition and setup a table in Artist Alley.  After that two day show and selling nothing but sketches, I realized... I really need a book to sell.  When we got home, we began work on HERO Book One.

The first sketch

Back in 2011, I had the initial idea for the first HERO sketch.

A small Hero with a sword who was unsuspectedly surrounded by a giant snake.

I grabbed a pencil and some paper and drew this sketch.

The Pencil Stage

The next day, I started the illustration by doing a pencil version.  I used the layout from the initial sketch and added the snake and some additional detail.

Even though it's standard for me now, this pencil drawing was done on a 14x17 piece of Bristol Paper (a little larger than the standard 11x17 comic book paper I usually use).

The Inked Stage

The next step was to ink the drawing.  I spent several hours adding the detail to the snake and HERO.  After filling in the background in all black, I cut a template of the snake out using a separate piece of Bristol.  I added the night sky by simply splattering white acrylic paint with a toothbrush (this was a technique my friends and I have been doing since high school).

This was about the time I realized I forgot something...

A Few Digital Fixes

HERO's Tail!!

Somehow I completely forgot to draw HERO's tail and added it digitally.

I also added a few digital highlights under the snake and around the sword.

For some reason, I thought the sword would magical and glowed so that it would create the light source for the image.

The FINAL Illustration

The last thing I did was add a rune-like design on the rock and to digitally add HERO's shadow.

This is one of my all-time favorite HERO images. HERO has come a long way since 2011.