Monday, October 31, 2011

Dragon Hunters

Wooo, new piece! There are a lot of things that I like about this one. I have a tenancy of doing a lot of solo character, no environment type of pieces. But for once I decided to focus on going all out and painting an actual fantasy environment rather than the typical fantasy monster or character.
 It's nice to do a piece that has some depth and story behind it. Who are these hunters? Are they from that town in the distance? Are they hunting out of sport or out of protection? Is this dragon a pest or was he minding his own business? Being able to ask these kinds of questions at the end of a piece makes it way more interesting I think. Anyways, I'll stop rambling about it now. I'm pretty happy with it though. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #8: Vsauce

Vsauce is turning into one of my favorite channels on Youtube. I like to describe it as a sort of filter for finding cool things on the internet. If you want to see awesome and hilarious images they have a segment called IMG, for games and other fun things to do on the internet they have another segment called DONG (Do Online Now Guys). But in general you can learn a lot of really awesome things depending on what you're interested in seeing.

They also have a second channel, appropriately called Vsauce2. It basically is has the same feel as Vsauce, but they also cover more things like riddles, and some mind-blowingly cool things under their segment Mind Blow as well as FAK (Facts and Knowledge).

One of the coolest parts to Vsauce is that they link back to just about everything they reference in their videos so if you see something you like you can look into it further.

Here are a couple of my favorite episodes from Vsauce and Vsauce2...


FIRST Photo on the INTERNET ... and other things too.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Magic: The Gathering Alterations

I recently found a place to buy and play Magic where I live! I was starting to think I was the only person in Philly who played. So I bought some cards to pump up all my decks a little bit, and while there I played against a guy who had an altered Magic card. I've seen alterations people have made to Magic cards online, but I'd never seen any in real life though. They definitely call attention to themselves and have the potential to look pretty cool if you do it right. Some people extend the art outside the original borders (check out Daarken's alterations) and others change the art into something humorous (check out Steve Argyle's alterations).

I decided to take shot at these myself. Check out my first batch of card alterations:

Nothing too crazy yet, just trying to get a feel for what painting on a card is like. So far it's been pretty fun! If you have any requests or suggestions for card alterations let me know and I'll see if I have the card and maybe I'll give it a try.

(Original artists from left to right: Christopher Rush, Tom Wänerstrand, Justin Sweet)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Crabby Dentist and Tumblrs

Here's one of the sketches that I reclaimed from before. I haven't done anything children oriented in a while, so it was fun to mix things up a bit and revisit an old idea that I was still fond of. I feel like this piece would make for a great poster to hang up in dentist offices in order to get their patients to brush their teeth.
And here's the sketch again in case you forgot...


 In other news, I've recently created a Tumblr page and have been posting up all my work, hoping that people start sending my work around the web for me so I can essentially have other people marketing my work. It seems to be getting some good results so far, especially anything fan-art related (no surprise there). So if you're the kind of person that Tumbls, why not head over to my page and reblog a piece or two. If you don't, I'll just tell my crab dentist buddy that you haven't been brushing your teeth!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #7: Breaking Bad

The finale season 4 of Breaking Bad aired recently and well...let me explain.
I started watching the show last year when a friend of mine recommended it to me and our other friends. My friend had all the seasons so we started watching from the start of season one. The first night we watched four 45-minute episodes in a row. Needless to say we were pretty hooked.
According to AMC's website:

"Breaking Bad follows protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife (Anna Gunn) and teenage son (RJ Mitte) who has cerebral palsy. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness based on his medical prognosis, and a desire to secure his family's financial security, White chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as White's releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild family man to a kingpin of the drug trade."
Now what might this have to do with what I do? Not much material-wise. But honestly this show is constantly amazing me with how great the writing is, the outstanding performances by the actors and the overall fun and intrigue I get out of watching. It really challenges myself to take a look at my own work and think "Am I working as hard as I can to make sure my own work is this well-done and interesting?" Seeing other artists (of all kinds) creating amazing works makes me want to be able to do the same with my work. Gotta keep climbing to reach the next level.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2/2 Birthday Zombie

Here's a piece I did as a gift for my good friend Anthony Briglia. It was his birthday yesterday so I worked up this fake (and over-sized) Zombie token for Magic: The Gathering. I recently split a box of the new Magic set, Innistrad, with him and he really took a liking to how the zombies worked so I decided to make him his very own personalized zombie token featuring him and...himself.
Last month was my own birthday and Anthony made a couple of custom Magic cards for me along with some original artwork featuring myself and my old dog Chester...
The piece I did was drawn in pencil then inked with Microns and Sharpie, painted in water color and acrylic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

From the Sketchbook #3

Been so busy working on finals lately that I haven't done any sketching in a while. I really need to get back in the habit of doing so. Can't lose sight of the fact I still have to practice. Here are some recent sketches I managed to make time to do...
I've got a lot of ideas for what pieces I want to do in the future but I'm having a little bit of difficulty deciding which ones to stick with at the moment. I may be leaning towards a specific idea, but you'll find out what I've got in store in soon enough.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Inspirtation Spotlight #6: Perry Bible Fellowship

Change of pace for the Spotlight this week. By now a lot of you know how big on the fantasy genre I am, and sometimes this leads to people overlooking my love for other genres, like humor. I take a more humorous route with my Youth work and my Comic Strip, and I think it's time to give a tip of the hat to one of my favorite comic strips, The Perry Bible Fellowship.
The Perry Bible Fellowship was created by Nicholas Gurewitch and a small group of his friends who give their ideas and input. The comic first appeared in Syracuse University's Daily Orange Newspaper, which is the same newapaper that I worked for and ran my own comic in during my own time at college. Turns out Nick and I share the same alma mater, the same page in the comics section of the Daily Orange, and we even had the same teacher for a class.
It was a huge surprise my freshman year in my Narrative Drawing class when my professor Yvonne Buchanan laid out a bunch of books for the class to draw inspiration from, and one of them was a book of Perry Bible comics. I remember telling Yvonne how much I loved the comic strip and was surprised to hear her say "Oh, I know him! He was in my class." It was really exciting to talk to her about it, as I was already a huge fan of the comic at the time.
An even bigger surprise came when I became Art Director for the Daily Orange newspaper. The D.O. had their own house off campus where they made the paper. I had a small room to myself to work in and the walls were covered in drawings and writing from art director's past. There were tons of drawings scattered all over the room and piles more lying in drawers, filled to the brim with archived comics and illustrations. One day I decided to go rooting through all the drawers when I came across a drawing that looked very familiar. I immediately recognized it as the original New Specs for Ken drawing/inks. Happily surprised, I rooted through every other piece of paper in the room (which was a LOT, trust me) and found about 2 or 3 more PBF drawings. Apparently Nick had been trying to get the drawings back from a previous Art Director, so he sent an email asking for an update on the comics. He used to work as the Art Director for the D.O. as well and I guess he left some of the comics there a long time ago while working there. I told him that I had found a bunch of them and sent them to him in the mail.
As a sign of gratitude, Nick kindly offered to send me a signed print of whichever comic I wanted. I'm now the happy owner of a signed print of Scorpy the Forest Friend (above). Nicks comics continue to inspire my humor and keep making me laugh, despite the comic not been produced regularly anymore.

If you enjoy the PBF, you should purchase the Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack. It's 256 pages of beautifully printed comics, included never-before released comics and an interview. It's one of my favorite books in my collection.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mousey Dies: The Comic

I present to you my short comic, "Mousey Dies". A year ago I was given an assignment to create a 2 page comic with no dialogue, illustrating a character's death, becoming resurrected in the afterlife, then they have to go to heaven or hell. In addition to the 2 pages, we had to do a cover image as well. The pages had to be done in pencil or ink and the cover image had to be fully rendered in color. A year later and I decide to revisit the project, tweaking the color scheme of the color to fit what I wanted to do with the pages, and I fully colored the 2 pages. Below are the results of my reworking.

I hope you enjoy what I did with the assignment!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rita Repulsa from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

When I was looking into doing my Madame Woe piece, I saw a lot of images of Rita Repulsa and I couldn't resist giving her a go as well.
Rita always stuck out in the show, of course that has a lot to so with her being the main villain, but she was also completely insane, and her costume design was even more insane. I mean just look at that hair!
I'm planning at least one more piece in the Power Ranger series, but I think I'm going to give the Rangers a break for a little while so I can focus on some other projects I've got lined up like what I mentioned in the previous post on old sketches. Hint as to the next character I'll paint...he's depicted in one of the images posted in the original Power Rangers post I made.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #5: The Legend of Zelda

Now here's a game series that I know a lot of people have played. The original Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the first video games I can remember playing and the series as a whole has left a lasting impression on me. The Zelda series takes place in it's own unique fantasy setting and it's always a fun adventure with every game.
When it comes to fantasy settings, I get a bit tired of dwarfs (short, tough people) and elves (tall, environmentalist people). What I love about the Zelda series is it's full of it's own special species like the Deku Scrubs (seen below). Sure they're humanoid, and they're not the first species to be tied into nature, but I think they're a lot more creative than the concept of say an elf.
Oh yeah and the monsters and just as awesome!
The Zelda universe has been expanding for over 25 years now and it's gotten pretty complex, and it's still growing. There are a lot of die-hard fans who have cooked up some pretty crazy theories, a lot of them concentrating on how each game fits into the universes time-line. This guy, Dan Merill, wrote out this really awesome article on Majora's Mask, talking about important themes and the overall story. It's a really great read that's got me wanting to replay Majora's Mask...and there may be some fan-art in the future ;)
If you're interested in checking out the article I mentioned you can find it here.

(all above images created and owned by Nintendo)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reviving old ideas...FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!

Sometimes I get really pumped up to make some new artwork, only to find that once I sit down to create, I have no inspiration. No cool ideas. Nothing. It's sad but it's true that sometimes I can't think of anything good to draw, and this can interfere with the quality my sketching. Thankfully, over the years I've built up a nice storage of ideas in my sketchbooks that I can play around with and tweak to make even better. When I look through my old sketchbooks I always get surprised. I get surprised at how bad I used to draw and how much better I am now in comparison. And I also get surprised at how much I still love some of my past ideas that I never got around to fleshing out. I've decided that in effort to build up my portfolios a bit more I'm going to dig up some old ideas from my sketchbooks and try to pump some life into them. Here are a couple of sketches I'm considering working out:

So next time you're looking for something to draw, take a look at some of your old sketches. You might remember a great idea that you forgot about :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Madame Woe from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

I wasn't lying when I said I wanted to paint some Mighty Morphin Monsters. I specifically remember Madame Woe from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers video game for the Sega Genesis. She had a very annoying laugh but I always thought she looked pretty cool, and in the show's version she even looks kinda creepy. Here's my take on Madame Woe below...
  ...and here's a shot from the TV show featuring Madame Woe...
You can read the original Mighty Morphin Post HERE.