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When I was 11 years old I received the Best Actor award for a church-sponsored road show festival.  I was bit and from that point on I believe I’ve had a not-so-secret wish to be on the big screen!  Comics allow me to be not only the writer, director, cinematographer, and costume designer of my own movies but I also get to play all the roles.  In the story below the likeness to yours truly is only thinly veiled.   Thanks to the art collective 3-Armed Squid who commissioned this for their latest anthology!

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Recently I was thrilled to be approached by the comics collective 3-Armed Squid to contribute to their latest zine!  The theme for the book is mythic elementals.  I jumped at the chance to take the slot for Undine- the water elemental because it would give me the opportunity to draw lots of sea monsters.

The zine will be premiering at MOCCAFEST this April.  Until then here is a little taste to wet your buds.

I’ve been working recently for Charitotes a great company that makes products that teach kids the power of giving while entertaining their unique, creative voices. Specifically I’ve been working with their art director Scott Kim to redesign the look of their website.  Here are some of the backgrounds and characters you will see there in the near future by yours truly.  The octopus with the sock puppets is a personal favorite of mine!

will varner art, charitoteswill varner art charitotespuppet_theater-instadesign_a_cap_insta

Geeks Out Dreamweaver: A Tribute to Sigourney Weaver

This week I had the great opportunity to participate in an original art auction to benefit Geeks Out NYC an organization that promotes LGBT comics and provides events for LGBT comic fans. The theme for contributing artists was the amazing actress Sigourney Weaver! Since I was raised on Ghostbusters and the Alien movies (at least the first two!) I was sooo in!

The actual event was a lot of fun and to get such a great response from many of the “geeks” was really invigorating! It was also a blast to see the works of the other artists and to participate with my good friends Devon Hong and Anthony Kieren. Great work guys!

In this photo I’m hanging out with the guy that won the original ink drawing and an inkjet print of the digitally-colored version of my piece. I’m a dork (and probably had too much Amstel Light) and can’t remember his name but he was super cool and very enthusiastic about the piece.

I can’t wait for next year’s show. The rumor is: Sir Ian McKellen!

gay singer broadway 30 Rock Glee XanaduI did this portrait of the adorable Cheyenne Jackson (who was gearing up for a 60′s themed performance with the New York Pops) a couple weeks ago for Charlie Piazza at Next Magazine.  He was a pleasure to work with and I got to watch the actual performance at Carnegie Hall last Friday thanks to my quick thinking friend John Mok.  It is a new more vector-based look for me.  I hope you LUV it!

Gee Whiz, this is one nerdy summer at the box office!  With at least four big budget super hero movies vying for space between now and the Fall I feel like I’m twelve again!  (Crap! Is that a pimple?)  There’s nothing I like more than a great big summer blockbuster, especially if its a great big superhero summer blockbuster!  Since I loved the comic book as a kid I was especially excited to see the Green Lantern movie.

While it didn’t live up to all my expectations I did love getting back to some of the great characters that helped me imagine my way through the deathmarch that was junior high P.E.  With so many other geek-worthy summer movies out and soon to be released I’ll be doing some more movie portraits soon!

A sketch that helped me work out some of color and line decisions:

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…and the final, complete with lots of summer-appropriate special effects:

Will Varner illustrator green lantern art hal jordan ryan reynolds DC Comics stel ch'p kilowog corps

So it is time to clean out the old school studio and move out into the BIG BAD REAL WORLD!!!  As I fight back the icy hand of terror that clutches at my gullet I’ve been going through my old files and I found this really random and kinda terrifying ode to spring!  I drew it in Adobe Flash for Matthew Richmond’s digital media class in our first year at SVA and well ..it’s weird.

spring elderly art Flash breathe beard color tooth

Recycling is better for the earth right?  Recently I wanted to make a new piece for my portfolio that had 1) A lot of different figures.  A good ol’fashion crowd scene. 2) Humor.  My editorial portfolio was starting to feel a little too serious.  I am the FUN illustrator! 3) Lots of solid drawing and less special effects.  So as I was determining how to do that I remembered that early on at SVA I made this for a class assignment:

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I liked this one because it made me laugh and had some personality but the drawing was a little hmmm..insecure.  I knew I could definitely do a more dynamic version that would accomplish what I wanted to do for my portfolio.

So I recycled the old art and ran it through my brain and brush to make the NEW BATTLE FOR BREAKFAST!!!  The DEADLIEST meal of the day!!!

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This is the drawing I made for the Dear Japan Show.  I was honored to be invited by Aya Kakeda  to participate in this heartfelt effort.  Over 170 renowned and emerging artists from around the world are donating one piece of their art and writing  messages of hope on the back. This artwork will be on sale at the one night benefit party held at Art Connects New York (ACNY) in the SOHO gallery on June 4th, 2011. All the proceeds from this benefit event will go to help the people of Japan who were most effected by the March 11th earthquake and ensuing disasters.

My drawing comes from my love for the great works of Japanese imagination that were a part of my childhood through toys, cartoons, and comics.  I spent so many daydreams wishing I was friends with a giant robot that could easily defeat any bad thing that real life could send my way.

If you are in the NYC area on June 4th please come out and support what will be an inspiring evening of great art reflecting the human bonds that unite us all.

I’m thrilled to be included in Communication Arts 52nd Illustration Annual.  My self promotional piece Surveillance 2010 was selected for this year’s book and is printed right below a great piece by the amazing Chris Buzelli!  I grew up looking at CA and hoping that someday I’d get in. it feels great!  I guess I’ll keep drawing stuff..

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