Thursday, December 22, 2011

Covering Up

I recently completed the promo cover of a fantasy novel. The book's sort of a mix between Narnia and Harry Potter with super powers. Recently (as of May '12) the book was picked up by a publisher, and I've been asked to take down the artwork while the publisher considers what they want to do with the cover.

I also took a class from Anthony Jones about creature design at Red Engine. During which I came up with these:

I also put together this set of portraits as a personal project. They are based on the RGB color system.

I'm also proud to announce my new position as Illustrator and Designer for a company called Puzzled Inc. I've been working there for a few months now, illustrating Christmas ornaments, designing plush dolls, and photocompositing packaging for 3d wooden puzzles. Their products are sold all over the world in gift shops and amusement parks.

Also, I will have a bunch of pieces up at WWA gallery in Culver City in a few months, more on that as it develops.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Not Losing

Last night I went to Red Engine's anniversary party and was awarded a scholarship for a free class! I entered the contest with this little guy:

I also checked out Andrew Hem's show at LeBasse in Culver City, which I highly recommend for anyone in the area to go see and be amazed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

And Now, Here's Some More Stuff

First off, here's a book cover I worked on for a non-existent author. He was pretty quiet, but I could tell that he really liked the illustration I came up with for his non-existent story:

Here's an oil painting I did for a show with The Upper 600s, a great creative collective that puts together some awesome art shows. Unfortunately this piece didn't sell, so if anyone is interested, shoot me an email:

And finally, here's some character design stuff from my Red Engine class:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lotus Falling

A recent trip to the Raminfard School of Arts inspired me to get back into oil painting, and when I found out that jujitsu legend Wally Jay died on Sunday, I knew I had my subject. Wally Jay studied the same style of jujitsu that I do, Dan Zan Ryu, under it's founder H. Seishiro Okazaki. Afterward he went on to pioneer small circle jujitsu, and work with many martial arts masters, including the ever-popular Bruce lee. Wally Jay will undoubtedly live on in his teachings and stories of his upstanding character. As Professor Okazaki put it in a message to all the students of Dan Zan Ryu: "when the lotus flower falls, it rises to the surface".

So I begin my painting with photo reference, using a very dry brush with very little paint to lay in the light shapes, and make sure my proportions aren't too off. You may notice that even though I'm painting in color, the reference is in black and white, but this is because a) tone is way more important than color, and b) my printer is low on ink:

Next, I begin blocking in some light color and mid-tones, making sure they don't get too extreme so I can slowly build up. I also stick to large brushes so I can get through this stage more quickly, and so there is more variety in brush strokes by the time I get to later stages:

At this next stage, things are getting very close to where I want them, and I wind up doing a lot of adjusting to make sure the likeness reads true and the brighter highlights, vibrant colors, and deeper shadows work in harmony:

And by now, I'm pretty much done. There may be a few minor things here or there to adjust; edges to sharpen, features to change, highlights to pop. But everything, for the most part, is where it needs to be:

And of course, it doesn't hurt to throw a couple of adjustment layers in photoshop to get rid of the way cameras see differently than human eyes:

So there we have it, my tribute to a martial arts bad ass, and six hours well spent.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sukechi Sketch

Here are some character development sketches I've been working on for the Red Engine class:

And here are a couple of the environment thumbnail sketches from last week taken to the next stage of development:

And finally, here's a portrait study I did today. I gave myself one hour to finish:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Concept Sketches

Here's some more stuff I'm working on for the entertainment portfolio class I'm taking:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All Aboard!

Today I had my second week in a course I'm taking at Red Engine. The class is geared around creating a portfolio worth presenting to entertainment concept design studios. This is my first week's homework, creating ideation sketches for some monsters and and their slayers. I definitely recommend taking a class at Red Engine. The instructors can give each student an ample amount of time each week, they give awesome, direct, brutal (if need be) feedback, and their talent oozes out of the sides of the building like a scene from Ghostbusters II.

Eowyn and the Nazgul Step-byStep

So I recently participated in another contest on ArtOrder, the challenge was to create an illo based on the battle between Eowyn and the Witch King from Lord of the Rings. If you're not familiar with the story, I suggest you go out and take in a movie or book once in a while.

So I started out with some sketches to establish the feel of each character. I wanted to push the idea of a powerful and oppressive evil facing off against an unlikely and underestimated force of good (kind of like Star Wars... or every other movie for that matter.

Most of the approaches I've seen for the Nazgul make them pretty lanky. I'm not sure if it's a result of Tolkien's descriptions or if skinny guys are just creepier, but I thought I'd go with a more robust, sitting on a throne and nom nom-ing a giant leg of ham, kingly form:

I had already wanted to frame Eowyn's light complexion and features against the dark tones of the Witch King, so I tried to work out some thrusting action poses as seen from behind (coincidentally, "Some Thrusting Action Poses as Seen from Behind" can now be found at your local adult movie rental establishment) :

Once I had more of a feel for how to pose the characters, I worked out a few rough compositions, trying to keep my values towards the extremes of light and dark to help me group them and create focal points:

The comps had some nice things going on, but they were still too static, even if they were a moment of stillness amongst the action, and I wanted to create a piece that portrayed more of the endless tide of battle, so I kept playing with the composition until I came up with this:

Added details, rounded out forms, played with textures... :

Some of the nice people on the ArtOrder WIP thread helped me with a few adjustments, and I opened up the bottom of the composition to help spread out some of what was jumbled in there:

More details, textures, adjustments, etc. and added color:

Adjusted colors to create a more limited palette, and then sent it off to Jon Schindehette for the contest:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Beast with One Back and a Buncha Heads

So I was out walking near Pasadena the other day and it started snowing. I was in a nice place to hike and I had my coat with me so I figured I'd just keep on walking. I was making my way down this steep hill and I must've hit a patch of ice or something and I slipped and started rolling through the bushes and sticks and rabbit turds. When I stopped I got up and realized I was in a clearing with a bunch of dead trees. Then I heard a scream. Not just any scream, but a blood-roiling cry of rage! I turned and saw some dude in armor swinging two swords hopping around on a giant hundred foot long snake monster with five heads and nasty sharp pointy teeth! Luckily I had my camera with me, so I snapped off a couple of shots and got one that made really good photo reference for this next painting:

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I just finished a piece for ArtOrder's latest contest: The Ultimate Fighter Challenge. The prompt was to create a human fighter in the world of D&D, with bonus points for giving it a unique spin. I thought I'd go with an older fighter, battle-worn, who's lost his hand and replaced it with weaponry. At first I wanted to go with a more active pose, but in the end liked the quiet menace of stillness and dramatic lighting. I imagine this guy being able to tell war stories and drink all night, but still snap into battle mode when the tavern brawl inevitably explodes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Titanic Struggle

I've finished a couple of new pieces recently. The first is a slugfest between some kind of centipede based giant worm and a huge golem... or maybe just aliens fighting over a can of beans. I mostly wanted to add some action scenes to my portfolio and play around with designing creatures. The other is a landscape, which I think my portfolio needs. I started it without much planning behind the narrative, mostly thinking about the use of silhouette and creating a composition based on the extremes of dark and light.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March Madness

Although a lot of my time has been devoted to smaller illustrations for the web, I have had a break in that work recently, and was able to work on a couple of larger pieces.

First is a piece inspired by the old Atari game Joust. I used to play it when I was little, on my NES. I remember continually dying because of that damn pterodactyl.

If you're not familiar with the game, you can play an online version of it here.

The next piece isn't really based on anything, other than the idea of making a pretty girl look sinister and trying to use soft light.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Monster Mash

I recently had a blast illustrating some classic movie monsters for a recent job. Now that I feel a bit more comfortable with my sense of tone, I've been concentrating on consistently getting my brush strokes to follow the form. I've been looking at Leyendecker paintings and Zorn etchings for guidance. Following the form makes a huge difference, and I'm hoping that eventually it will be something I do without having to think so much about it.

The Wolfman:
The Fly:
The Blob:

King Kong:
Frankenstein's Monster:
Dr. Zaius:
Count Orlock:
The Creature from the Black Lagoon: