•March 7, 2012 • 2 Comments

Well, it’s been a while since posting on the ol’ blog.  That’s because I have been working like crazy on my thesis project, which I am keeping separate from my blog for the moment.  This is partially to make sure that my entire creative being is not devoured by thesis, and partially entirely arbitrary.

At this point the work is rolling pretty well, lots of sketching followed by lots of digital speed painting over the scanned sketches.  This is a departure from my regular working method, which is largely traditional.  That’s for a couple of reasons- one, digital is much quicker and frankly more forgiving in many ways than traditional painting.  My mentor and I decided that it would be much more reasonable to finish the work this way, and thank goodness because she was right!  I’m knocking out around five to seven pieces a week, and that’s pretty killer.  I’m focusing on gestural pieces and trying to not be too fussy about them, which is liberating.  It’s easy to psyche yourself out and freeze up because you’re fixated on getting things just right, and this helps to free me up.

The other reason is that in the field of concept work it tends to be pretty standard these days to work digitally because you skip a lot of the pain in the butt parts of color correction, scanning challenges, file conversion, and so on.

Oh, the heck with it- here’s a slight variation of a monster I’m working on (along with some other mythical American beasties)- the Hodag.  Yup, it’s an albino.


Tom Waits Minus Tom Waits Final.

•February 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Here you go, kids.  My final for the Tom Waits Minus Tom Waits project.  It was well received.  This is the result of sort of mashing the angles of the first two drawings together, which was a pain in the butt but paid off.  I then painted around twenty layers of color with a tablet in Photoshop, mostly multiply layers and some messing about with opacities. I’m pretty happy with it, definitely nails the subject.


•February 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Well, thesis has gobbled up quite a bit of the last week or two so there’s not much to show quite yet (but probably later today) as far as new sketches go.  However, yesterday was a day of being really excited and sketching for thesis a LOT.  I then went on into digitally painting like mad.

One thing I can share today is my discovery of a new favorite concept artist, none other than Iain McCaig.  His phenomenal pencils are matched only by, well, his skill at all the rest of it.  Here’s a sample of some of his gorgeous pencils.  He actually uses one of those giant graphite pencils I think.  I’m going to give them a shot.



McCaig is one of those people I suspect was always really talented but then combined the raw ability with insane amounts of practice and dedication.  This is what happens when you love what you do and do your best to develop your skills.

One thing I thought about in leafing through his book, Shadowline, was his use of models.  When he draws a figure for long-term projects he tends to find a model and stick with them through the design process.  I had to laugh because I do this backward- I tend to design a character out of my head and then struggle to find a similar human model either in real life or by image search.  I would probably have a lot fewer headaches if I did things like, well, not an idiot.

Published Work

•February 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In my first year at PNCA I found some illustration work through a friend for the Wayfarers RPG, through Ye Olde Gaming Companye (see the links to check them out). It was a lot of work to do during a school semester, and I was a bit late on a deadline for one of the last projects, but they were a pleasure to work with.

I worked on the original rulebook, was rehired for a full page piece on the deluxe edition, and did the cover for Adventure Journal 2 and some work in the Characters book.  The style of the illustrations throughout is along the lines of the old Dungeons and Dragons first edition books (the game manages to capture that feel quite well from what I have seen).

If you are of the nerdy sort, there are some cool free downloads and you can support indie gamers by purchasing the books.  I hope when I am through school I can work with them again.

Tom Waits, Minus Tom Waits.

•February 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This week’s assignment for class is to do a portrait of a person (classmate, or famous figure) without actually portraying their face or body.  I had a few ideas, including Tori Amos and Mike Patton, either of which would be challenging and fun, but I settled quickly on Tom Waits.

His music’s not for everyone, but I love the guy.  His songs are really great at invoking mood and narrative; half of it’s heartbroken crooning from another time, the rest feels like cartoon carnival music written for an unreleased Tim Burton film.

This first picture is a little overcrowded I think, but has some common narrative elements scattered through the image to invoke the lyrics from some of the more (in)famous songs  in Waits’ repertoire.  Cigarettes, a pistol, spilled wine, the ubiquitous beaten up hat.  I listened to a bunch of his music (largely Blood Money, Alice and Rain Dogs) and watched some old video from Letterman and other live shows on Youtube, which was nice to help set the mood of the piece.

And then we have take 2, which in my opinion is a better drawing (I was warming up a bit), but I think the dramatic angle inherent in the first was probably more the sort of mood I’d like.  The spotlight will probably be light blue with the rest of the piece in black and white, maybe a little other spot color.  The second piece includes confetti (from Tango ‘Til They’re Sore) and the spot is heart-shaped (Blue Valentine).

We’ll see what the class has to say shortly.

Finished Cow and Alien.

•February 3, 2012 • 2 Comments

This has to be the most inept alien abductor ever.  I knocked this out in just a couple of hours, wanted to keep it loose anyway.  I’m pretty happy with it, it’s the level of goofy I was shooting for.  It has the sort of kids’ book quality I like to play around with.

I drew the line work in pencil, then went in with a wash of blue and proceeded to work very quickly in gouache, followed by picking out some of the line work in Micron (which is not my favorite, but it works in a pinch).

•January 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This one got the vote for the illustration to move forward on.  I think it’s all about the cow.  The class liked all the ideas, so I felt pretty good about the thumbs.  One of my classmates looked at me and said something to the effect of “Hey man, you’ve been holding out on us.  Where’d all these creatures come from?  have you always been able to do this stuff and just don’t?”

Well, kinda, yeah.  So much for ‘grown-up art’, I better draw more monsters…