Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #17: Ben Templesmith & Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse

Speaking of artists who've inspired me early on (last week's post), Ben Templesmith is one of the first illustrators to ever really start influencing my work and this was long before I even really knew what illustration was. Ben is an very accomplished comic book creator...I say creator because he has been know to draw, ink, color and even write for the comics he produces. I've been enjoying Ben's work ever since I first picked up the Silent Hill comics he worked on for a little bit, way back whe nI was in high school.
 My favorite of Ben's works is one he created entirely on his own titled "Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse". The story takes place in a universe inhabited by corpse's that act as meat suits for an inter-dimensional traveling worm, demons, leprechauns and a whole mess of other crazy species.
Wormwood is super funny and enjoyable! Ben has created a really fun and interesting world with some really delightful characters with some great personalities. His style has a lot of character and grittiness to it too, and his color choices really drive home the perfect mood for the setting.
 I've been following Ben's work for a long time now and he always manages to keep me wanting more. He's done his own interpretations of superheroes and other famous Jesus! (see below) I really enjoy Ben's work a lot and he's got a pretty large fan base, so it's definitely not just me. If you like what you see check it out and maybe buy a comic or two of his!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A tooth for a painting

Well not really, she never actually took any of my teeth and it's more like a painting for money...what I'm trying to say is that I recently did a couple of mixed media (ink, watercolor, colored pencil) pieces for my dentist. I came in for an appointment, told her about what I did and she asked me if I could work up some pieces for her son and daughter for Christmas.

It was a lot of fun working on some children's illustrations and it felt good to be working traditionally again as well. I'm really looking forward to hearing how her kids liked them. I'd love to do something like this again in the future so if you'd like your own piece, let me know.

P.S. I have been really busy lately working on jobs and stuff that I haven't really had much time to do studies. I have however been making sure to do some kind of artwork every single day. I missed out on only one day so far though, really rough day. Anyways, I hope to get back into the habit of doing the studies after the holidays.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #16: Sean Murray

On Wednesday, I briefly mentioned that I got to meet artist Sean Murray a few years ago. He came to speak to the illustration class at Syracuse University. During his visit we got a chance to hear about his successes as an illustrator, ask questions, and we even got to watch him do a digital painting demo to get a feel for how he works.
Sean Murray is currently the lead concept artist over at Big Huge Games and he was part of the team that's been working on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. He does some really ridiculous drawings. His characters and architecture are completely saturated with ornaments and detail. His sketchbooks are a real joy to look through.
At the time of his visit, I had never met a professional illustrator aside from my professors. When I saw the kind of work Sean was doing I immediately thought to myself "that's exactly what I want to do!" That was the day it finally clicked that working as an artist was absolutely possible, because here was a guy who was doing exactly what I've always wanted to do. Not only that, but we graduated from the same college so there's no reason I couldn't wind up doing the same right?
This is the mindset that I've been using to propel myself forward and it's what got me to start being serious about my work. The Kraken Wizard piece from Wednesday (the one in the middle) was the first piece I did (not for classwork either, only for myself) and it was the best piece I had ever done at the time. It was the spark that helped ignite the still-burning fiery passion I have to make it as an illustrator. Sean Murray continues to inspire me with his new work. You can see plenty more work on his website and you can stay up to date with his latest work on his blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kraken Wizard 3.0

Finished a new portfolio piece recently. I drew this guy in my sketchbook a little while back and I finally got a chance to paint him up. I'm pretty happy with how he turned out.
This actually isn't the first time I've painted this character. I first doodled this guy and painted him up back in 2007. I had just recently bought my first tablet and hadn't really been pushing myself at the time. Then in 2008, I got to meet an artist by the name of Sean Murray (I'll talk about him and his work more on Friday). and after seeing his work and hearing him talk about it, I decided to redraw the character and repaint him too. At the time I had blown myself away, I was so shocked that I was able to push myself to do a piece like the one in the middle below. A couple years later, and still pushing myself really hard, I've completed the piece you see above and below on the right.
I have no intention on slowing down anytime soon though, I've still got a long long way to go to really start reaching level I want, and even then I've got to keep pushing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Imagine FX FXPose feature in issue #77

A few months back I submitted my work to the FXPose submissions and I got word that I would be featured! Recently, the issue I'm in went on sale, #77, and I got my copy in the mail. It's a pretty good feeling to see my work featured alongside artists I love in a publication I've been reading for a couple years now.
Lots more to accomplish still though, until next time!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #15: Dr. Seuss

You know, for an illustration blog, the so called "inspiration" section could use a couple more illustrators huh? Might as well get this started off with someone good right? How about the most successful illustrator who ever lived!? Some of you may think I'm talking about Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, or Frank Frazetta, quite. While they are all FANTASTIC illustrators who have truly made their mark in the illustration world, truth is the average person doesn't even know their names. But there is one illustrator that everyone knows about no matter your age or interests...and that's good ole Dr. Seuss.
It's hard to deny that Dr. Seuss is the most successful illustrator when lots of illustrators I talk to these days complain about no one even understands what it is they do let alone can they appreciate it. Illustrators used to be celebrities, but now even the most talented illustrators these days aren't recognized or appreciated at the level their talents deserve, at least by the general population. I'm not including within the realm of illustrators, we know who the celebrities of the illustration world are today.
Dr. Seuss is known for (like you don't already know why he rocks) his crazy imaginative worlds and characters and his super delightful writing (yeah he illustrated AND wrote his own books). He wrote a lot of best sellers and his books pretty much make up their own genre now. Spell-check doesn't even yell at me when I type his name!
He's just awesome. I don't really need to explain, his work speaks for itself. I'm writing this mostly so people understand the magnitude at which his awesomeness reigns. I would suggest you do yourself a favor and pick up some of his books and love them forever, but it seems like most people are already doing that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

0 A.D.

I recently did an illustration for the game 0 A.D. by Wildfire Games. This illustration was done as a background image for their main menu.

Monday, December 12, 2011

5th week of studies

It gets tough doing studies every single day. Sometimes I don't have the energy to really polish them enough to sparkle, sometimes I'm busy, other times I restart a couple of times in order to get something I like and sometimes I wind up copping out after 3 or 4 tries *cough* (like the sword) *cough*. So if you see any images that stand out as "Really? That's it?" just remember we all have rough days. I'm not really doing this for anyone but myself anyways so it's not like I'm hurting anyone else if I do become lazy. I just feel like I should explain what I'm trying to accomplish since I've decided to share the progress. I always try to find some way to make up the work no matter what the situation is. My main goal is to do something art related EVERY SINGLE DAY and that's exactly what I've been doing no matter how much or how or little. One day I didn't do a study because I wound up spending 10+ hours finishing an illustration and I just did not have the energy to do a study (and I doubt it would've been all that great either) but you can't really feel bad for not painting because you were busy painting you know? Makes sense to me. Anyways if I ever do fall behind I'll be sure to bear the shame and fall on my badly painted sword. Maybe the humility will push me to try even harder. No more delay, here's the goods...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #14: All my friends are dead.

I heard about this book a while back, and it sounded hilarious. Then, one day I'm just waiting in line at a bookstore, and BAM... All my friends are dead., staring at me in the face. I picked it up and flipped a few pages and it was an instant buy!
 Here's an excerpt from the book...
 WASN'T THAT GREAT!? How about this one??...
Ok, it's hard to get the full effect of the book from just the first 2 pages, but it keeps going, it picks up momentum, getting better and better. The drawings are amusingly simplistic and the expressions on all the faces are pretty priceless, especially with the super awesome punchlines and perfect comedic timing. If you're interested in picking up the book (if you have a sense of humor then you should!) then you can check it out HERE.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Work for Savage Mojo

Here's a couple of black and white illustrations I did a little while ago for Savage Mojo.
Stone Hound

Fire Wizard
Mutant Rat Attack

Monday, December 5, 2011

4th Week of Studies

The holiday made things tough, and I have a good feeling the same thing will happen for the next holidays coming up soon. I couldn't always do a study each day so I at least made sure to do some sort of practice drawing like #24. There were also some days I was just not feeling good enough to do the studies so I decided to relax and do some Magic card alters. I'm still learning from the Magic alters are though, I'm getting really confident with my color mixing and matching, and it's nice to be able to use the traditional materials every now and then. Anyways that's all for now, check back for more later.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Inspiration Spotlight #13: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Ok, this one might be a little obscure, but I remember reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz all the time when I was little.
Me and my friends were really into them and one of the things that stood out the most were the pencil illustrations that accompanied each story.
This was probably one of my first real encounters of illustrations that really impacted me, at least since I my children's books.
To this day, when I make drawings more along the lines of the horror, you can often see similarities between my drawings and the drawings inside Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, done by illustrator Stephen Gammell.
The stories are a lot of fun, and some of them are really creepy for a kid to read. I still enjoy looking through these books from time to time, though I have no idea what happened to my copies.