There are certain things that make all your hard work and love for creating art worth it, and one of those is meeting people who love your work! I met Jenny and Zach at Comikaze 2014, and I was able to be a part of creating a memorable Christmas for these two newly-weds. This is a longer post, but I can’t help but share what a great experience it was to meet and work with these two. The following is a story told by Jenny and Zach about how we met and the great opportunity that I had to create TMNT art for them.
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into as I attended Comikaze in Los Angeles with my husband. Last April, when we got married, he started getting into the comic world. Since then, he has jumped all in….collecting, selling, attending conventions, reaching out to various artists and even starting his own sketch book. We first met Lee Wiley at the 2014 Comikaze last October. He was probably the most real, down to earth person we met that day. His booth grabbed my husband’s attention because my husband is a HUGE Ninja Turtle fan. Lee had a printed sketch poster that consisted of The Ninja Turtles but altered to be in the “steampunk” style. My husband thought this sketch was literally amazing! He ended up having Lee sketch in his sketchbook and was thoroughly impressed by his work.
For Christmas, I knew I wanted to get my husband something that was comic related but something that he never saw coming. It’s really hard to surprise the guy. He loves to guess or snoop to figure out what his gifts are. I remembered how much he LOVED Lee’s printed poster so I ended up searching for Lee Wiley on the web to get in contact with him. I was directed towards his website and emailed him through his “contact me” tab. I sent him an email inquiring about the possibility of him re-creating the Ninja Turtle sketch for my husband. I didn’t think I would hear from him for a couple days or so… literally within 30 minutes Lee emailed me back! He was extremely excited to complete this project. He emailed me promptly and was super easy to work with. Lee seemed thrilled to be a part of this Christmas gift.
Lee sketched the original printed poster and then water colored it for me. He was also nice enough to include the printed poster with the gift. He mailed the finished product to my house and even came up with the idea of changing the name on the shipping package so that my husband wouldn’t recognize his name. It was seriously “ninja”-status! (I sent it under the name Kenneth Bradley, my oldest son’s First and Middle name!) I got the finished product within 3 weeks of ordering it and I was able to frame it, wrap it and have it under the Christmas tree by early December. Lee was awesome in this whole process and I am truly grateful for the gift he made for my husband but also the gift he gave me — the look on my husband’s face on our first Christmas together was truly the greatest gift this Christmas season. My husband never looked so excited or impressed. Watching him open up my gift was priceless. He was excited, thankful and in true amazement of the TMNT piece done by Lee. I enjoyed working with Lee very much and I would highly recommend him to any collectors (or collectors wives, lol) that are looking for a creative, fun, unique, and priceless piece. He’s literally the bomb!
So my wife and I are relatively new to comics. Well, I am and have dragged her along with me for the ride. A little while before Christmas she had graciously agreed to come with me to Comikaze in Los Angeles. It’s a big con put on by comic legend Stan Lee. We walked around for most of the day and there we came across Lee Wiley. Lee had his own booth with an awesome Steampunk TMNT print on display so instantly I knew I was in good company (I am sure that he has the print for sale so check it out its sweet!). We started to talk and he obliged my request for a turtle for my first, and only, sketchbook. When we returned to his booth to pick up the sketch he again was so kind and easy to talk to. My wife and I were both impressed and he really helped make the whole experience a good one for both of us. Fast forward to Christmas….
My wife and I are newlyweds so this was kind of a big deal for us spending our first Christmas in a new home. We both wanted to do something thoughtful for the other person, something that they wouldn’t expect. My wife loves giving gifts and I knew she had something up her sleeve but wouldn’t have ever guessed what was coming. Christmas came and we exchanged gifts in the living room of our home for the first time in what will be a long run of traditions to come. I unwrapped what I could tell was a large picture frame but had no idea what was inside. Since I played sports throughout my life I thought, maybe she framed one of my old jerseys? I tore the paper off and there, taped to the glass of the frame, was the Steampunk TMNT Lee Wiley piece we had seen at the convention. I expressed to her that I had almost purchased the print online a few days earlier (again go check it out I’m sure he’s got more copies) but wanted to wait until after Christmas. She laughed, looked over at me and said “your gift is behind the print”. I pulled the print off the frame and there it was…a true Lee Wiley TMNT original piece. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I couldn’t believe it. The amount of detail and care in the piece was/is something that I truly cherish. It is a one-of-a-kind gift that will forever remind me of our first Christmas.
I am so glad that I got to meet these two, and I am immensely grateful for their support of my art, it’s people like them that keep me going. Thank you, Jenny and Zach. If you would like to get your own copy of the Steampunk TMNT print, go here to the Prints section—> BUY NOW!
Here is a look at the Art that was created!
A Side by Side of the Digital Version and The Watercolor Version created for Zach.
Zach with the framed final product.
The Leonardo TMNT sketch that I did for Zach at Comikaze 2014.