I'm still pretty happy with this...

Hey fam,

It's Throwback Thursday again, so it's time to look at one of my old pieces.  This week I want to reflect on an illustration I made around 2007 called Buffalo Soul.

Buffalo Soul is about the Buffalo Soldiers, the black division in the U.S. military before it was integrated.

It was originally conceived for a commission for a dude who wanted to make a teeshirt celebrating the Buffalo Soldiers. Since I didn't know much about them, I did some research and did sketches to flesh out what I wanted them to look like

There are two aspects to the sketches.  I was concerned about the details of the characters' uniforms and stuff to be as accurate as I could make them, while also being fun and not stiff and boring.

So some of the sketches lean into that pretty heavily. 

Again, I wanted to have fun with it, so I thought a lot about how I thought some of my favorite comics artists would approach this if they were me.

I have lots of influences, but I can tell you that I was consciously thinking about Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, Eduardo Risso, and Chris Bachalo a lot during this process, because they make people in street clothes or regular uniforms look incredibly fun to draw.

So here is the pencil rough.  I was SUPER HAPPY with this!  I think it incorporated the mythological scope and attitude I was looking for with the piece, and it had the basic requirement for accuracy in my mind.

This brings in elements of period/historical/western, fantasy/sword & sorcery, as well as superhero comics.


There was only one problem.  I sent this rough sketch to the client, and never (to date) heard back from him.

But I loved the piece so much that I finished it anyway.

Buffalo Soul
©2007-2020 Samax Amen

So again, this is the final piece.

Since the client didn't finish paying for the piece, the rights still belong to me (there were no original characters, and I came up with the concept).

Once this piece was done, I put it on the print on demand site Cafe Press, and it has been making me passive money pretty consistently ever since.

People bought it a lot on teeshirts at first, but I see more sales on stickers and prints on Cafe Press these days.

I also make prints that I sell when I do shows, and sometimes people ask me to do commissions specifically based on this image (so showing it to you is not an accident).

So what started out as a failed teeshirt project became a modest passive income stream.

I made lemonade from the lemons, or whatever.
Buy printed stuff with this image.

I could obviously talk about Buffalo Soul all day, but you probably have stuff to do.  But feel free to ask questions if you have 'em.

Have a great day, fam!
The weekend is almost upon us!
-Samax ("some AX")

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner