Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Magic Alterations

I've been hard at work on doing more Magic: The Gathering Alterations. I've been trying some different methods of doing the alters. If anyone reading this is interested in having some of their own please let me know and maybe I can do some for you! Now onto the cards!!!....

Cards and their original artists:

Demystify - Christopher Rush
Thallid Germinator - Tom Wänerstrand
Chandra's Spitfire - Justin Sweet
Grim Poppet - Kev Walker
Kessig Wolf - Wayne England
Child of the Night - Ash Wood
Utopia Mycon - Anthony S. Waters
Doom Blade - Chippy
Sudden Death - Dave Allsop
Full Moon's Rise - Terese Nielsen
Cone of Flame - Chippy

Monday, November 28, 2011

3rd week of studies

I'm really happy with a lot of the stuff in this batch, particularly 15, 16, and 17. These studies are turning out to be a lot of fun and I feel like my work is already improving from them. I'm going to give a warning ahead of time, the start of the next batch was a little rough due to the holidays and some traveling, and some aren't so much studies as much as me staying productive. I'm still making the effort though so that's the most important thing to me. Anyways, enjoy the new batch!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #12: Ninja Mountain Podcast

Ninja Mountain is a collective of Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Horror illustrators. They regularly make a podcast appropriately called Ninja Mountain Podcast. I found out about the podcast last summer and I started listening to a few episodes a day as I worked on art projects. They are jam packed with fun and interesting conversations about the art world, they talk a lot about the business involved with being a freelance artist, and they are more than happy to answer any questions from their audience and from time to time they have special guests like art directors and other awesome artists.

Ninja Mountain has been a great influence on me because they really opened my eyes up to exactly how the illustration world works, and they kept me company during my long days working. There are currently 107 episodes, most are around an hour and a half (sometimes more) so if you're looking for something fun and inspirational to listen to while you work, here's another one to add to your list!

You can find all of the episodes on the Ninja Mountain Scrolls Blog, and you can subscribe to the podcast on itunes HERE.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From the Moleskine #4

Lots of dragons this time around. I think I'll wind up using the first image as a sketch for a finish sometime.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2nd week of studies

Here's my 2nd week of studies for the Crimson Daggers Deathline Challenge!
William O Connor dragon
Todd Lockwood dragon

Friday, November 18, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight # 11: Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is my favorite video game. It is the only Final Fantasy game I've been able to reach the end of, and I've done so many many times. For me, I can easily pickup this game whenever and run all the way through it without getting sick of it.
This game had a huge impact on me when I played it as a kid. My first Final Fantasy game was VIII and it was just too complex and had too much teen angst for me, I could only get past the 1st disc. But everything about FFIX I loved! It was more sword & sorcery / steampunk (which I prefer) than other Final Fantasy games are; most usually leaning towards the sci-fi realm. It has a very whimsical art style to it, and the overall feel of the game is a lot more lighthearted than most Final Fantasy games as well.  
 FFIX knows just how to balance the happy-fun-times with the dramatic-extreme-epicness. It's not a non-stop depression-fest, it's a mix of all the right emotions. FFIX is my favorite game because I will never be able to forget when I finally beat the game and I watched the end credits and I found myself asking "It's over? NO! I want more!" I'm yet to play any other game, read any book, or see any movie that made me feel the same way about it.
The art (like any Final Fantasy) is absolutely gorgeous and all the designs are brilliant. The monsters, the characters, the cities, the vehicles, EVERYTHING! For anyone who loves FFIX as much as me or just appreciates the artwork that goes into creating such games, I highly recommend The Art of Final Fantasy IX. It's full of gorgeous development artwork for a variety of characters, monsters, and environments. And of course, it has a bunch of Amano pieces in it as well. Overall, you can tell there was tons more that they left out and so it's a little upsetting to see they didn't add more into the final product, but it's still one of my most treasured art books.
If you haven't played FFIX yet, you're missing out. You should get a hold of this game somehow and love it forever. If you have played and you've been nodding your head with excitement as you read this post, then high five!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mor Aldenn Illustrations for Headless Hydra Games

I've been working for Headless Hydra Games and I recently got approval to share my work. The 6 black and white pieces below were done for the Mor Aldenn setting guide. It's a setting that strongly focuses around magic and magic users. Check em out!
 Magic powered lampposts light the town.
You can find some mages partaking in summon fights.
Necromancers must abide by the 2nd Law.
A Spellshield stands reviews some of his notes on magic in preparation for his patrol.
A Spellwarden, standing proud and noble.
 Asmorah Vildrae relaxes with her pig familiar.

I'll try to make another post when the setting guide is released, until next time!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First batch of studies for the Crimson Daggers Deathline Challenge!

As I said last week, I'm partaking in the Crimson Daggers Deathline Challenge and to get myself started off I'm just trying to make sure that I take some time to do some sort of study every single day. Some may take more time than others, some are inevitably going to better / worse than others, but as long as I'm doing some sort of study everyday then I'm good, at least for the first month. Next month I'm going to kick it up to the next gear...not sure how yet. I've got a bunch of stuff to deal with right now so I'm going to finish up all that stuff and then focus more on studies and stuff. Without out further delay, my studies...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #10: Dave Rapoza, Dan Warren, & Crimson Daggers

Lately I've been listening to / watching illustrator Dave Rapoza's livestream. You've probably seen his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, but in case you didn't here's a mash-up Dave made of all the finished portraits.
Dave's been really influencing me for a while now. The above series is one of the big reasons I decided to do the couple Power Rangers pieces I did. But now that I'm been watching his livestream I'm getting some really great advice, I can ask him questions and from time to time he'll give feedback on people's work along with his also illustrator friend Dan Warren. Dan's been doing a 2 hour study everyday in order to better his skills for when he goes to do new portfolio pieces. An example of one of his studies can be seen below...
Dave and Dan run a study group called Crimson Daggers. There are no real rules or anything, a basic outline is in place that everyone can work from in order to become better artists, and every month on Dan's livestream they host the Golden Boy awards, where they name one of the participants the Golden Boy for really improving their work through studies. Dan also hosts his study sessions on his livestream and encourages others to work alongside him.
 The Crimson Daggers just announced a challenge called the Crimson Daggers Deathline Challenge. Basically you set up a couple big seemingly unachievable goals to accomplish over the course of the next year to better yourself and your artwork by setting miniature goals to achieve every month and you have to do something every single day to work towards your goal. Every month they are going to have up meet-up on the livestream to talk about everyone's progress. If you wanna learn more click the link and join in yourself! I'm partaking, and I've already started the process. I'm starting off by making sure I do some sort of study every single day no matter what. I'll post the studies up on the blog next week, I've already done a bunch. I think I forgot to link to Dave's website...BAM Dave Rapoza!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

International Self-Portrait Day 11/1/2011

For the past few years, the ConceptArt.Org community has been doing an International Self-Portrait Day held on the first of November, and despite my distaste for doing self portraits I came up with something.
I originally spent a couple hours trying to get something I liked out of a realistic style painting, but that was not working out and I looked way too serious. I much prefer to do self-portraits as far from serious as possible. See the rest of the self-portraits HERE.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm in ImagineFX!

Some of you may remember way back when I was featured on the front page on ImagineFX's website. Well short after that happened I got contacted by the people over at ImagineFX to be included in an upcoming magazine! A few months later (now) I found I was finally featured in the magazine.
I should clarify, I'm not really printed in the magazine anywhere, but I am included on the free dvd that comes with the issue.
On the disc you'll finds lots of tools and resources great for any aspiring artist, as well as a lineup of featured artists. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I got to share the disc with Christopher Burdett. I've been following Chris's work for some time now (super-awesome-fun-time-monsters!!) and it's a really nice feeling to be included next to someone else whose artwork I admire.
I was pretty sure I was going to be also featured in the printed magazine's FXPose section in another issue, but I've never heard anything back on it. I sent them all the files and the bio and everything but I don't really know what happened. If anyone comes across my work that's printed in another issue please let me know! I would really like to get my hands on a copy, but I have no way of figuring out which one I'm in. If anyone sees me int the printed pages please let me know!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #9: Egoraptor

Online personality Egoraptor (Arin Hanson) is an animator / voice actor who has achieved much success on websites like Newgrounds and Youtube. I remember watching Egoraptor animations way back in high school. He is the creator of and voice actor in his "Awesome" series, where he takes popular video games and turns them into hilarious Flash parody animations.
Here's his first animation uploaded way back in 2006: Metal Gear Awesome
He also has another series called Girlchan in Paradise which is a parody on anime and it pokes fun of the tendencies that come up a lot in anime.
Last but definitely not least (it's what sparked the idea to feature Egoraptor this week) he just started this new series called Sequelitis and he describes it as, "a funny and slightly educational look at sequels and the relationship they have with their predecessors". If you enjoy watching reviews on movies / video games, you'll most definitely enjoy this series (after I wrote this the second video just came out!). The first episode is on Castlevania and Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest.

It's cool coming across this stuff when you're a naive little high school student and then all of a sudden you realize how much work goes into this kind of stuff and you can appreciate the growth of his work over time, just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From the Sketchbook #4

It feels like it's been a while since I've drawn anything on paper. I didn't know what to work on so I decided to dig up an old piece I did of this same character of mine and give it a make-over.
I'm going to fully paint this guy and I hope to post him up sometime in the near-future. Along with it I'm going to show the past image I was referencing from to show the difference, and I'm even going to show the very first time I drew the character, about 4 years ago. It should be a fun post so keep an eye out for it. Until next time!