Monday, January 30, 2012

Hiatus? Explain this!

You may have noticed that last week I missed out on a couple of posts, or then again maybe you didn't! Either way, I totally missed out on a couple of posts. This was due to a combination of being away from home for a while and me getting some important emails which needed immediate addressing. I woke up one day to find 2 emails in my inbox that made me VERY happy. The first was from an art director at Fantasy Flight Games who offered me some work to do illustration for one of their games. I happily accepted as FFG is on my career goals "to work for" list and I consider it to be potentially a huge career-changer. Can't really post much more about that now, but as soon as stuff gets published I will be sure to share, though that might be a while.

The other email I got I can totally talk about but I'd rather keep it somewhat to myself until the end of the process. What I will say is that I applied for an in-house illustration job in NYC and I was contacted back asking me to complete an art test because they liked what they saw in my application. If you poke around on this blog you can find out who it's for but I'd rather announce it at the end. I have a really good feeling about the in-house job as I busted my butt working on the art test and I'm really hoping to get an interview.

Anyways, that's my excuse for not updating, I've had a lot on my plate. But things have cooled down enough to where I can start posting regularly again. Even though I totally never officially announced I was going to post 3 times a week. Here's a random character I've played around with recently...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Copies of my Children's Book

Last week I received a few copies of the children's book I did over the summer with Capstone, "Your Life as a Cabin Boy on a Pirate Ship".
 It's a pretty nice feeling to finally have the final hard copy in my hands. It's been so long since I worked on it that pretty much forgot about it, so it was a nice surprise. Here are a couple shots of the cover.

If you want to see what's on the inside you can pick up a copy from the Capstone website or from Amazon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Digital Doodles

I'm hit a lull in projects so I've been doing a lot of sketching lately. Below, the top 3 are different thumbs for an underwater Beholder that I came up with. The bottom 3 are various random sketches, except the one on the right, that's a werewolf...don't give me that look, Dark Ascension is coming out soon!
Here are a couple more in-depth sketches. They all need a lot of work but I'd like to take 1 or 2 of them to final at some point.
Here's a sketch I came up with one night on a whim. It has a pen and ink feel to it but it's entirely digital. This was a really fun sketch and I'd like to do more work similar to this in the future.
That's all for now, I'll keep fleshing out the ones I like and maybe you'll see a new portfolio piece coming from me soon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From the Molskine #5 / Daily Study Update

Here's some new sketches from my Moleskine notebook. Some fun stuff in here, might try and work these into illustrations at some point.


As for the daily studies I was posting, the holidays REALLY bogged me down and I've also been working a lot so I haven't had a lot of chances to keep up with the studies, however I have been making sure to do some form of artwork everyday and I've been keeping up with that. The studies were a big help in getting my confidence back up and getting me pumped to create. I'll get back to studies soon but right now I've been focusing a lot on work. It stinks I haven't been able to keep up with the studies, but I'm still producing a lot of work.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #19: Jason Chan

Ok, I wasn't sure what to write about for the spotlight this week so I'm just going to gush a little over my favorite illustrator... JASON CHAN!!
 I've been following Jason's work for a few years now and he continues to be one of my biggest sources of inspiration in art. He's got some awesome ideas for illustrations (see above and below images). And they're topped off by being gorgeously rendered. There are TONS more illustrations out there by JChan that you should see and my folder of his work is currently at 183 (if only he posted stuff online more often!).
 Another reason I love Jason Chan is because I've learned a lot from looking at his work and watching his tutorial videos. I also came across a section on his website called "The Junk Drawer" where he had archived tons of old pieces from back when he wasn't quite as good. I was in awe after going through all the sections and actually seeing his growth happen with each new year of work. Seeing his less matured work alongside his now ridiculously-awesome work made me realize that he started off right where I did and so there's really no reason I can't improve to his level as well. His website seems to be down right now and "The Junk Drawer" section was closed off well before that, but here's a blog post I came across that gives an example of what I'm talking about as far as his growth as an artist.
 Lastly here is some of his most recent work for the new Magic: The Gathering expansion Dark Ascension (above and below images). He does a lot of great work in various genre's and I'm always excited to see new work from him. Please check out his stuff if you aren't familiar!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I've been altering more Magical cards

Here are the last 2 batches of Magic: The Gathering alterations.
I can definitely tell I'm improving with these and I've been really happy with the progress. If you have any suggestions for cards you would like to see altered please let me know and I'll see what I can do. Enjoy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Illustrating the Art Order Dragon

Jon Schindehette asked the Art Order community to take a swing at illustrating the beloved Art Order Dragon to use on business cards and T-shirts. I saw his post about it only minutes after posting it and I was really interested in giving it a try myself. Here's a walk-through of how I created my piece...
I had just recently gotten my hands on a base to use for my Sculpey maquettes so I was raring to give it a try. I quickly sketched my idea and made a sculpt and lit it.
I then started blocking in the shadows with ease due to having my Sculpey reference.
Next I carved out the silhouette and added some fun design elements to the image.
Here I start rendering the dragon, and it looks to be coming together nicely.
More detail...
Final detailing and added a bunch more dots and inserted the Art Order text.
I did another version where I edited out the background for Jon's use, but this was the final piece I came to for myself and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The Sculpey is turning out to be very useful and just as much fun. I hope you've enjoyed this step-by-step. I want to try and post more in the future.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #18: IlluXcon

That's right, IlluXcon gets it's own line in this post, it doesn't even need any period or anything either. IlluXcon is a fairly young convention that celebrates the Fantastic Arts and it is THE place to be for people who are looking to break into the Sci-Fi / Fantasy art industry, or if you're already comfortably nested in the industry you can enjoy the pleasure of hanging out with your friends and selling some goodies. There are tons of connections to be made, plenty of people more than happy to look at your work and talk about it, and lots of lectures and demos put on by the industry's leading talents.
On Wednesday, I mentioned I'm really trying to beef up my portfolio, and IlluXcon is the whole reason why. I have attended IlluXcon once before (the 3rd one) but I wandered around as some nobody just taking in the artwork and being terrified by and in awe because of all the talent surrounding me. I got a lot out of it but I didn't have a whole lot of direction. I just knew I wanted to go.
But this year for IlluXcon 5 I'm attending again and I'm trying to plan things out a little more. The first thing I did was buy a ticket along with a table in the Showcase room! Here I'll get to set up my own work for others to walk around to and see for themselves rather than having me walk up to everyone and make the puppy-dog eyes and ask "would you pwease wook at my powfowio?" I'm definitely going to take advantage of having a Showcase table.

(Another photo from IlluXcon 3 would be here if I were better about taking photos)

To give you an idea of what a big deal IlluXcon is for me, I've been in falling in and out of a slump with my work lately, but after simply paying for admission and a Showcase table, I'm already feeling super recharged and pumped up to do some awesome work in preparation. If you want to learn more about the convention there are a lot of other people who have done a great job of documenting it, I also talked about my experience briefly in this post. Really, nothing speaks for IlluXcon like the con itself so if you're interested at all, do yourself a favor and go!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sculpey, of Super Proportions

I recently bought myself a new toy! Tools can be toys so I don't want to hear it. I picked up some Super Sculpey so I can start making maquettes for me to use as a source of reference for future illustrations. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out how light would fall against an object you made up out of your head, so it can help out a lot to sculpt some simple shapes just to figure out how the light reacts and where the shadows fall. Ideally, in the end you get a more realistic and believable final image from it.

Here are a couple of first attempts with the Super Sculpey. Not trying to get too extravagant, just trying to get a feel for the stuff since I've never touched it before.

And here's my study based on the bottom-left photo. It definitely helps me move along more quickly because I don't have to try and figure out how it would work, I just follow the information I can gather from the photo.
This is all a part of me trying to get more serious about using reference. I'm really looking to beef up my portfolio in preparation for something very important and exciting. Some of you may already know, but if not you'll find out about it on Friday so make sure to stop back!

Monday, January 2, 2012

More Headless Hydra work

I recently finished up a new batch of work for Headless Hydra Games. The pieces below are for the Death in Spindlewood Marsh adventure. If you follow this link you can download the adventure for FREE. I'm really proud of this batch of work. I got to choose whatever I wanted to illustrate and it allowed me to have some extra fun with them. Enjoy!
 Hydra Skull
 Hydra Tapestry
Zanthike, the Green Hag