Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cat # 16 (illustrated by Steve Rolston)

This morning I would like to welcome a new Steve Rolston to the Sandman Portraits team!!!

I first met Steve in 2003 at the Emerald City Comic Con and I have been commissioning art from him at every opportunity.

Steve has worked on some great comics including Emiko Superstar, House Of Mystery, Queen And Country and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

You can find him and more of his work at and and you can follow him on twitter at @steverolston. If you have the opportunity to see him at a convention visit his booth and buy one of his books or commission him for an original piece of art and tell him how much you’ve enjoyed his Sandman portraits.

First up is one of the many cats from Dream Of A Thousand Cats...

One evening, a group of cats meet in a cemetery to listen to the tale of a wise storyteller cat who recounts here visit with the King Of Dreams.

This is one of the cats that listens to the storyteller cat’s tale.

He appears in Sandman # 18, on page 4.

This is a fantastic portrait from Steve. I love how he drew the cat and how he appears to be watching something out of the corner of his eyes. I also like that Steve drew ivy framing this portrait. This is particularly awesome because of the ivy that is present in this cemetery in the published comic. This is a great portrait!!!

Here is Cat # 16…

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Granny Goodness’ Minion # 7 (illustrated by John Carmine)

When Dream visits the Justice League tower searching for his stolen ruby, he visits the dreams of Scott Free who is having a nightmare of his time on Apokolips. In this nightmare, Scott is being put into the Murder Machine by the minions of Granny Goodness.

This Minion appears in Sandman # 5, on pate 5, in panel 4.

John did a great job with this portrait. He approached this character as a more brutal minion than portrayed in the comic. He seems like a hardened minion who serves Granny Goodness loyally and with vicious efficiency.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Granny Goodness’ Minion # 2 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

Here is another one of Granny Goodness’ minions.

This is one of the minions attempting to put Scott Free in the Murder Machine in his nightmare.

The Minion appears in Sandman # 5, on page 5, in panel 4.

Max did a great job with this character. I love the look of determination and malice on this characters face. He certainly looks more menacing than I imagine him being in the published comic.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Granny Goodness’ Minion # 1 (illustrated by Lars Brown)

In the fifth issue of Sandman, Dream visits the Justice League in order to find his missing ruby.

When he arrives at the Justice League Tower, Scott Free is in the middle of having a nightmare where he is back on Apokolips. In his nightmare, Scott has been a “Bad Little Boy” and is being put in to the Murder Machine with the help of the Minions.

The Minion appears in Sandman # 5, on page 5, in panel 4.

Lars has done another exceptional job with this character. I love the action and movement of this portrait. I love the Kirby crackle!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Undercut Patron # 35 (illustrated by Ron Chan)

In Death: The High Cost Of Living, Death and Sexton spend the afternoon wandering around New York and end up that evening at a club called The Undercut, prior to a concert. This concert is the first concert Foxglove performed, before becoming an international success.

This woman is one of the people attending the concert, waiting in line to get in. She is visible as Death and Sexton walk past.

She appears in Death: The High Cost Of Living # 2, on page 8, in panel 2.

This is a wonderful portrait from Ron. I really like how Ron draws women and so I, of course, think this portrait is perfect. I love the expression on her face. She seems absolutely happy and there is an innocence to this portrait that I find very appealing. This is probably one of my favorite portraits from Ron so far.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dream (as Lord L’Zoril) (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In Sandman, Dream can appear in many different aspects, depending on who he is appearing to. He is most notably seen as a large black cat, but he does have various other aspects as well.

To date, none of the Endless have appeared on this site. I struggled with the idea of whether or not each aspect of Dream (or any of the Endless) should be showcased in their various forms since they are, in essence, the same character, but I decided that although these are the same character it was still worth approaching these incarnations as I would a new character. There are so many different aspects of Dream I thought it would be interesting to have artists interpret them and instead of giving an over-arching description of the character I am going to focus on the moment they appear in the comic in this aspect.

Here is one aspect of Dream, making his Sandman Portraits Blog debut...

In Preludes And Nocturnes, Dream visits the JLA headquarters, through the dreams of Scott Free, in hopes of finding his missing ruby.

When Scott was unable to find the location of the ruby he thought that he should ask a member of the JLA who would have battled Doctor Destiny and may have knowledge of the tool of power. The only person Scott could think of, currently at the JLA headquarters, was J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

J’onn immediately recognized Dream as Lord L’Zoril, the Martian god of Dreams.

Dream is surprised by the existence of J’onn J’onzz, which seems odd since I would assume that he would dream and therefore Morpheus would know there was at least one Martian still alive.

J’onn tells the king of dreams that the ruby may be located in a warehouse in upstate Gotham, in a little town called Mayhew.

Dream thanks the Martian and offers him a dream of the City Of Focative Mirrors.

Dream, in this incarnation, appears in Sandman # 5, on page 14 and 15.

I wanted Max to interpret this fascinating aspect of Dream. I felt he would do something unique and worthy of the Martian god of dreams. Max did a fantastic job with this character. I like the blackness that surrounds the flaming visage of Lord L’Zoril and I enjoy the contrast between the backgrounds and the portrait of the character. This is a fantastic portrait!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wycziezbsky (illustrated by Anna Hybsier)

Wycziezbsky is one of Merv Pumpkinhead’s bat helpers.

He, and the other bat helpers appear primarily in The Kindly Ones. He first appears when Merv is working and Matthew stops to talk to him about previous ravens. Merv, of course, complains about cleaning up the raven poop all the time. The bat helpers can be seen flying around Merv, probably being more of a distraction than a help.

The bat helpers appear again when Merv and Abudah are moving a volcano.

The bat helpers appear a third time, this time when Merv is about to launch an assault on The Kindly Ones. The little bat helpers are now carrying tiny machine guns.

Wycziezbsky appears in Sandman # 57, 60, and 66.

This is one of my favorite portraits from Anna. In The Kindly Ones, the bat helpers are tiny and without many features. Anna took this character and gave him definitive features. She turned him into a cute little bat wearing a cute little hat. I love it!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Witch # 1 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

After talking with Janet, Todd Faber dreams of climbing a tall rock face and upon reaching the top discovers that Dream is at the top waiting for him. Todd, realizing that he is in a dream, recounts a nightmare he had when he was five or six. He tells Morpheus that in his dream he was trapped in a house full of witches and to escape he climbed onto the roof of the house. The roof then tilted and he fell off. He knew that if he hit the ground he would die and he pulled himself out of the dream because he didn’t know how to wake himself up.

This Witch is one of the witches from Todd’s nightmare.

This Witch appears in The Castle (originally published in Vertigo Preview # 1) on page 5.

I love this portrait from Max. While this witch doesn't seem scary, there is something a little off-putting about her. I think it's her elongated face and the "cracked" appearance of her clothing, which works well for a nightmare. I also really like the colors and the contrast between the red and the stark whiteness of the background. This is a fantastic portrait!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Black Guard # 3 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

The Black Guard is an elite army who serves the Cuckoo and this is one the members.

The Black Guard were sent out in search of Barbie and her friends and bring them to the palace of The Cuckoo. At one point the Black Guard came close to finding them, but Barbie, Primando, Luz and Wilkinson hid under a snow drift and were able to avoid detection.

Eventually the Black Guard captured Barbie who was then delivered to the Cuckoo.

The Black Guard appears in several parts of the A Game of You Storyline.

Max did a great job with this character. He managed to capture the menacing appearance of the Black Guard member perfectly.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Emissary # 11 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In Season Of Mists, Lucifer leaves his dominion in Hell and gives the key to Dream as he locks he doors behind him.

Once word gets out that Dream has the key to Hell, emissaries from various groups come to ask for the right to rule Hell.

This character is one of the emissaries that’s waiting for Dream to allow these guests to enter his palace. This emissary appears in Sandman # 24, on page 23, in panel 4.

One thing that I love about this particular portrait is that Max took a completely unique approach to this character. In the published comic we can see only the silhouette of the emissary. I imagined this character to be a man with bed hair, probably because his hair looked similar to the Sleepy Boy Lego mini figure. Max saw this character as being a woman and he drew an exceptional portrait of this character. I have no idea what she is an emissary of (but that is the case with a lot of the background emissaries who visit The Dreaming). I think Max’s approach is significantly better than anything I had in my head.

This is an absolutely outstanding portrait.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Wolf (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In The Doll’s House, while at a hotel filled with serial killers, Gilbert tells Rose the story of Little Red Riding Hood…the original version, which is not nearly as nice as the version most people are familiar with.

The version Gilbert tells begins in the same manner as the popular version. Little Red Riding Hood is taking some food to her grandmother’s house when she encounters a wolf. The wolf asked where she was going and the girl replied, “To Grandmother’s house.” Well, the wolf decided to take advantage of this situation and so he ran ahead and arrived at the grandmother’s house before Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf killed the grandmother. He poured her blood into a bottle and cut her flesh and put it on a plate. He then dressed in the grandmother’s clothes and got into her bed.

When the girl arrived the wolf offered her meat and wine, which the girl ate and drank. After she was finished the wolf suggested that she take off her clothes and get in bed with him. As Little Red Riding Hood undressed she threw her clothes in the fireplace, as instructed by the wolf.

“Grandmother, how hairy you are.”

“It keeps me warm, my dear.”

“Oh Grandmother, what long nails you have.”

“They are for scratching myself, my dear.”

“Oh Grandmother, what big teeth you have.”

“They are for eating you, my dear.”

And the wolf at the girl.

In this version of the story there were no concequences for the wolf and no happy endings for the innocent young girl.

Gilbert recounts this story in Sandman # 14 on pages 7 and 8.

Max did a great job with this wolf. I always think it’s difficult to do portraits of animals, but that’s probably just my perception since everyone has done amazing jobs with them so far. I love the quiet thoughtfulness of this portrait and the purples in the back really highlight the starkness of the wolf. This is another wonderful portrait from Max.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Scarecrow # 3 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In The Kindly Ones, Dream met with five small children searching for their lost mother. He entertained them with scarecrows “who whispered among themselves in the voices of the stars of the silent screen.”

This is one of those Scarecrows.

He appears in Sandman # 64, page 1, panel 1.

I really like Max’s portrait for this character. It’s definitely not cutesy, but it’s not scary either. It’s pretty much what I would expect a dream scarecrow to look like. I also really like how the colors really compliment the character.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dreamer # 3 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In the short story, “The Castle” a Dreamer gets a personal tour of The Dreaming and is introduced to many of the residents.

This man is that Dreamer.

He appears on the first and last page of “The Castle,” which was originally published in Vertigo Jam # 1, but has been collected in The Kindly Ones.

In the published comic we never see the Dreamers face and so Max had to interpret the character and he did a fantastic job. I really like the textures he used and the use of ripped paper and newspaper. It adds a really neat effect to the portrait.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bishop (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In “15 Portraits of Despair,” from Endless Nights, one of the stories features a priest named Dermont Byrne who is accused of inappropriate behavior with a young girl. He was told by the Bishop that they were giving the girl three quarters of a million dollars and that Dermont Byrne was forced to leave the church.

This is the Bishop.

He appears in Endless Nights, in “15 Portraits of Despair” on the third page.

This is an interesting portrait from Max. I definitely like his interpretation of The Bishop, but it’s definitely not a straight forward vision of what I imagine a Bishop would look like. His approach seems to be honoring the style of Barron Storey who drew the Despair story in Endless Nights. I really like this portrait. It feels intensely dark and very haunting.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Worlds’ End Patron # 18 (illustrated by Russel Roehling)

Here is another person who was trapped in Worlds’ End.

How did he get there? Where is he from? What is his story? These questions were never answered. He is just another interesting looking character sitting in the inn waiting for the storm to pass.

This character can be seen in Sandman # 52, on page 2, in the first panel. He is sitting near a Viking and one of those weird miner looking guys we later see harassing the lobster people. He is in the lower right corner.

Russel did a great job with this character. I really like how he interpreted this character. The colors really stand out in this portrait and the details he put into this character give him more personality and makes him seem more important than a background character with no apparent back story. This is a wonderful portrait from Russel.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Woman # 167 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In Death: The High Cost of Living, Sexton and Didi spend the day walking around New York City.

They take a taxi ride to The Undercut where they hear Foxglove perform her first concert.

When Didi and Sexton get out of the taxi, Sexton pays the tip.

This woman is one of the women in the background.

She appears in Death: The High Cost Of Living # 2, on page 7, panel 7. She is in the far background. This is an amazing portrait by Max. I love the overall design of this portrait and I like the overwhelming red of the background, which really contrasts the black used for the character. This is an absolutely vibrant portrait and is one of my favorites.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

White Grub Thing # 10 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

While trying to avoid The Black Guard and the Cuckoo’s minions, Barbie and her friends discover the body of Tantoblin.

She recalls when she first met the Tantoblin.

Barbie and Martin Tenbones were on their way to the Arch Of The Porpentine when they were attacked by these White Grub Things. Barbie described them as Fat Children.

These White Grub Things appear in Sandman # 35, on page 5, in panel 1.

I like this portrait from Max. He did a great job with this character. I like the texture that this portrait has. It works well with this pretty blobby character. This portrait also has a lot of texture built up around the character. It creates a pretty awesome effect, that I don’t really think is obvious in the scan.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Village Soldier # 1 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

This Village Soldier appears in “What I’ve Tasted Of Desire” from Endless Nights.

This Village Soldier speaks to Kara after the Folk From Across The River who maliciously enter the village are killed. He asks Kara if she was afraid.

He appears in “What I’ve Tasted Of Desire” page 19, panel 2.

I really like the details that Max put into the character…it’s the details that make all the difference. Simple things like the rivets in the helmet are a nice touch and I really like the line work in the soldier’s beard. This is a great portrait.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dignitary # 131 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

“The Heart Of The Star” from Endless Nights is one of my favorite Sandman stories.

Dream and Killala visit Mizar during an unprecedented gathering of dignitaries from various dimensions, planets and star systems.

This dignitary is one of the many beings at the parliament.

He can be seen in “The Heart Of The Star” on page 18 in panels 4 and 6.

One of the things I really like about this story is the number of diverse characters and Max really captured the weirdness of this particular Dignitary. I also really like the realistic nature of this portrait. This character doesn't look cartoony, but looks like an actual goat headed alien. Finally, Max's use of colors also really make this portrait "pop," particularly the blues and the contrast between the two blues he used for this portrait. It's very vibrant and stands out!!! This is a fantastic portrait from Max!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

German Sailor (illustrated by Ron Chan)

When Jim turned thirteen, he ran away from home to begin his life on the sea.

Shortly after abandoning the Pyramus, he joined the crew of The Sea Witch.

This German sailor was one of the crew of The Sea Witch and Jim described him as being from Hamburg and was very reserved and quiet, but when drunk he would become vocal and talk of politics, often telling everyone that the Kaiser would soon put everyone in their places.

He is introduced in Sandman # 53, on page 6, in panel 2 and appears periodically throughout Jim’s story.

Ron did a fantastic job with this portrait. I love the shape of his face and the way that his hair hangs in front of his forehead. Little things like that may seem insignificant as a glance, but I really like those aspects of art….how the lines flow. Ron also added the bottle in this portrait, which was a nice touch for this character.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Runaway Girl (illustrated by Max Rugers)

In Brief Lives, Delirium is living on the streets of London with Mary Canby, who has been homeless since her son died in some type of industrial accident.

While Mary is sitting on the street asking for money, this young woman walks by. Mary asks if she is a runaway and suggests that she goes home to her family. She says that her family will forgive her for whatever she’s done, because that’s what parents do.

She appears in Sandman # 41 on page 7, in panel 4.

Max did an exceptional job with this portrait. I love the colors he chose and the whole design. She also had a fantastic expression on her face. You can almost feel the loneliness she must be feeling. I think Max really captured the feeling of isolation with this portrait. This is one of my favorite portraits from Max!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Concubine # 13 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

During the time of Haroun al Raschid, Baghdad was a flourishing, spectacular kingdom, but al Raschid felt a sense of melancholy about what the future held for his kingdom and his people.

Haroun al Raschid devised a plan to sell the kingdom to Dream of The Endless in order to preserve the memory and splendor of Baghdad.

To gain an audience with the Dream King, al Raschid went into the depths of his palace, moving through the many levels, including the dungeon and the harem, and a room filled with eggs.

This concubine is one of the women who lives in the palace.

She can be seen in Sandman # 50, on page 11 in panel 3.

This is a fantastic portrait from Max. I really like his approach to this character. It’s not overly complex, but he was able to capture a sexiness with this character. I really like this character!!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Faery # 69 (illustrated by Max Rugers)

On June 23rd, 1593, a group of Faeries crossed over to Wilmington, England with Titania and Auberon to see the first performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream written by William Shakespeare at the request of Morpheus.

This Faery appears in Sandman # 19, on page 8, in panel 2.

As always, Max did an amazing job with this Faery. I love the mischievous expression on the Faery’s face. The colors and detail on this portrait are awesome and perfect!!! There are bits of tape placed around this portrait and painted over. It adds a fantastic texture to the portrait.

Here is Faery # 69…