The Artist Speaks – Part 1

Hello readers. It is I, the artist for The Object.

A metal cast block showing a Cthulhu like squid figure.

In late June 2012, a relic was found in modern-day Iraq, dated to roughly 20,000 BC, depicting a strange, squid-like creature. Tests are being conducted at Boston University to ascertain the origin of this artifact.

I’ve remained voiceless for the entirety of the Object’s youth. Why?

Because I’m the art guy, not the writer.

But now that The Object has matured and blossomed from its humble beginnings, it may be time for my presence to be known.

And after all, haven’t we all got a story to tell?

What I’d like to share in this first part of my introduction is just a foray into my process and patterns of thought when making art.

On an average day, it goes a little something like this:

Text Message Received.

Winston: Hey I’d really like to see a picture of the small squid creature.

Justin: Ok, what’s it doing?

Winston: It’s outside the window of Lillia’s house, on the roof.

Justin: Neat. Ok, let me see what I can come up with.

And that’s basically it. Winston takes his thoughts, loads them into the double-barreled shotgun and fires them in my direction. I must then catch each of the mind-bullets and translate the world that Winston sees into a visual language.

Take the picture below for instance.

A small glowing squid Cthulhu type creature floats.

Cute little thing, right?

The difficulty with creating the above image was this: How can I portray that this creature is on a roof, outside a window, and still get a detailed close-up? The only way to show the window on the roof is to be far away; if I only made a close-up of the squiddy, the window might not be noticeable as that particular window.

So I split the middle, and drew both. The top panel gives the necessary sense of scale and luminosity for the little guy, and the bottom panel gets you up close and personal with our orange cutie.

We hope to one day see plushies of our glowing little guy in Barnes and Noble.

The giant object over Louisville hides the sun.

Half the time painting this, the piece was upside down.

Speaking of colors, that tends to be another theme in The Object; the deep oranges and reds, colors of rust and dirt and fire, colors of sand and lonely sunsets.

I envision Louisville under the Object as a land of perpetual dusk, where the sun’s light struggles to edge around the massive sphere and climb through alleyways and abandoned roads until the once radiant sunlight crawls as a mere cinderous glow.

The image to the left is one of my personal favorites. It is also the longest, top to bottom, of any image I’ve made so far. This encourages the viewer to “read” the image.

You start at the top, noticing details of some unusual landscape. You continue, slowly realizing that you are looking at the bottom of something, and that the bottom of the image is actually a skyline.

Beyond the flat facts of a picture, though, is something much more important. It’s my opinion that a piece of art should try to evoke some emotion or mood. The best kind of artworks tell a story, raise some questions, and most of all, make you feel something.

A blind homeless man holds a sign that reads The End is Nigh.

This originally began as a quick portrait to test a few new painting techniques, but I got carried away.

The above painting is one of my favorites, for two reasons.

1. It is one of my best works, in terms of technical ability, message and mood.

2. I really love the television trope of “the blind homeless man that somehow knows too much“.

With this piece, I really stressed the feeling of desolation. When looking at this image, I want the viewer to be uneasy. I want them to feel the stillness of mad certainty. I want them to be haunted.

What originally started as a way to play around with some new Photoshop brushes turned into a fully fledged painting, and Winston liked it enough to include it in the story.

When your art can inspire the writing, you know it’s damn good.

That, or you’re working with a truly great writer.

Stay tuned for more awesome posts, and the second part to my introduction, which will show you, step by step, how I create a piece of art for The Object.

If you’d like to see more of my work, click here.

Take care, my friends.

~ Justin ~

Bittersweet Comics by Justin Comley

Bittersweet Comics Volume 1

Bittersweet Comics


Justin Comley


man beating wife comic, art by justin comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.


depressed man driving off cliff comic, art by Justin Comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.


cat and buttered toast challenge comic, art by Justin Comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.


brick wall around my heart comic, art by Justin Comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.


jerk spoiling movie endings comic, art by Justin Comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.

Introducing “Bittersweet Comics”, a New Series at The Object

Bittersweet Comics by Justin Comley

Bittersweet Comics coming soon to The Object

Introducing Bittersweet Comics by Justin Comley

In 2009, The Object’s illustrator, Justin Comley, began working on a hand-drawn comic series called Bittersweet Comics.  Dark, disturbing, often hilarious, Justin would appear now and again with a few new frames to show his friends.  We all loved them, but with no idea how to make them available to more people, he moved on to other projects.

Luckily, his good friend and second cousin–yours truly–has devised a way to bring Justin some much-deserved exposure, so I’m happy to announce that we’ve got something new for you guys while you await Book Two: Bittersweet Comics, which we plan to post every Monday, indefinitely.

Bittersweet Comics are short, hand-sketched comic strips similar to those in the Sunday paper, only the content is intended for an adult audience.  The stories or images depict heartbreak, anger, frustration, and injustice, but not without a sprinkle of humor and hope.

We must warn you in advance that the subject matter can be pretty grim.  If you keep your reading and viewing content to a PG-13 level or lower, you might want to skip these posts.  Otherwise, we hope you enjoy them.  Stay tuned for the first ever Bittersweet Comics posting, coming up today!

A little about Justin:

Justin and I met as students of Western Kentucky University, both living in Pearce Ford Tower, the tallest dorm in Kentucky at 27 floors.  Eventually we got an apartment together, along with our horticulturist friend Rick Heavrin, who is now the head gardener at a famous author’s house.  (I actually went to visit him over the weekend.  Didn’t get to meet the famous author, tough.)  After living together for several months, Justin and I found out we’re actually second cousins.

His artwork ranges from landscapes to monsters of his creation to commissioned illustrations to the human form.

Justin featured in the Bowling Green Daily News

Justin’s blog: Trevor Inkwell

self-portrait using cardboard by Justin Comley

Copyright Justin Comley, 2012.


All images Copyright Justin Comley, 2008-2012.

"Homo Devoro" skull art by Justin Comley

“Homo Devoro”

"Ballerina" art by Justin Comley


waterfall art by Justin Comley


Behemoth underwater creature art by Justin Comley


skull and crawdad, book photo for A Circle in the Woods, Justin Comley

“Grave and Refuge”

plague doctor art by Justin Comley

“Plague Doctor”