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Guest Blogger Tommy Castillo on the Modbook Pro

Tin Man in The Darkside of Oz, drawn on the
Modbook Pro.
© 2013 Tommy Castillo

Illustrator and comic book creator Tommy Castillo, whose work includes Legends of the Dark Knight, Batman Detective and The Darkside of Oz, discusses his art, a certain magic sword and hitting the road with the Modbook Pro.


For twenty-five years, I have been selling my art in one way or another — the dream come true. I have been able to work for the companies that many aspire to work for or with. I have been privileged, and have worked my fingers to the bone.

My name is Tommy Castillo and I am a veteran of the art world, an archer and a knife thrower. I’d like to consider myself a modern-day renaissance man. I am equally at home creating a slimy corpse reaching for you in the dark or the gentle glance of a mighty dragon. I am most known for my dark humor, attention to detail and love for the pure creation of art.

Over the years, I have put paint and pencil to Batman Detective, Legends of the Dark Knight, Tales from the Crypt, Toetags (with horror legend George Romero), Alice in Wonderland, King Kong, Coloring Book of the Dead and The Darkside of Oz to name just a few. Also, I have had the honor of working with many great companies: Strathmore, DC Comics, Wizards of the Coast, Rolling Stone, Fangoria, Paramount Pictures. And even though I render some really scary books, I still get as giddy as a schoolboy on Sunday at the sight of a Muppet.

“ It feels like you can take over the world with this baby. ”

I have, yet again, a rare privilege. I will be taking my Modbook Pro along on the road with me over the next year and sharing with you the creations it helps bring to life. Most of my life is spent on the road with my wife and partner Samantha. As I have done for many years, I have a crazy lineup of events, conventions and lectures to do this year. But at the same time, I have to create my art, meet deadlines and get that rough idea to the guy in Hollywood who needs it yesterday — before he even knew he needed it! Fun, right?

Well, not always… at times it’s a bit of a nightmare. I have done the sketch in my book, taken a shot of it with my phone and sent it out, only to hear an editor say “I can’t make it out” or something else that puts a stone in the works. So like many artists looking to have that connection to the internet and their home system from the road, I searched high and low for the right way to do it. I tried other solutions like the iPad to sketch on and get the art out to the companies waiting for my work, but I found nothing that could keep up with me.

Cover art for a Scare Tactix zombie book, drawn on the Modbook Pro while on a 16-hour car ride.
© 2013 Tommy Castillo

I needed something with true power, not something that bogged down whenever my art took too much space. What I needed was my Excalibur in the art world! Funny thing is, aside from digital work a lot of my work is done completely traditional: oils on canvas or ink on paper.

But no matter how I create the art, it always winds up on a computer. And it always gets a touch here or an adjustment there. And if I don’t have my Excalibur… I am toast.

So with all this in mind, I came across these great guys making my Excalibur in the form of a Modbook Pro. I looked it over and saw the truth of it: it’s the perfect tool for the road, a MacBook Pro merged with a Cintiq.

After wiping away the drool, I set out to pre-order one. Like a kid ready for Santa to come down the chimney, I waited for my Modbook Pro. When it arrived, I was first surprised that it was a bit heavier than I expected, but I soon found out it was an added benefit. It’s not a slim, easy-to-break thingy.

It’s tough and substantial. It feels like something.

It feels like you can take over the world with this baby.

The more I work with the Modbook Pro, the more I enjoy using it as my sketchbook. It really has become my digital sketchbook and my gateway to the internet on the road. But I can also use it like it’s a Cintiq since it has the full capabilities and power I need to drive it.

“ It really has become my digital sketchbook and my gateway to the internet on the road. ”

I have taken my Modbook Pro across the country twice so far. It has taken all that I have dished out, and I plan on putting it to the test some more. This year, please come and see what can be done on it. See what you could have at your side in this War of Art. My approach to this is from a classically trained artist using what I see as the newest tool in the arsenal of the modern artist.

Thanks, and remember don’t fear your imagination… it always wins in the end.

Tommy Castillo


Tommy Castillo
About Tommy Castillo
Veteran artist, writer, illustrator and comic book creator Tommy Castillo has worked on an eclectic array of projects, including Legends of the Dark Knight, Batman Detective and Dragons, Myths and Mayhem. His latest, The Darkside of Oz, is a dark reimagining of L. Frank Baum’s fantasy world. Learn more about Tommy here.
Want to talk about your experiences using the Modbook Pro? Let us know and we’ll post it here!

Modbook Pro Resources:

The Modbook Pro is an enclosure conversion kit that transforms an original Apple MacBook Pro notebook-style computer into a tablet-style computer. Apple Inc.’s warranty on the MacBook Pro base system is voided by the conversion and replaced with the Modbook Pro Protection Plan, which covers the entire hardware solution, including the base system.
Modbook and the Modbook logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Modbook Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Apple, MacBook and iPad are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Wacom and Cintiq are trademarks or registered trademarks of Wacom Co., Ltd. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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