Monday, February 27, 2012

Magic: The Alterations Update

4 more magic alters added to the list! I'm pretty happy with the new ones. I even tried something new with Essence Scatter. I was using too much water and went to rub off some of it and some of the paint came off. I was pretty upset at this at first because I thought it would be a huge pain to fix. But then I thought about the art already on the card and decided to embrace the mistake and do the same thing to other areas on purpose. I think it turned out pretty nicely, maybe I'll try something similar in the future. Happy accidents can be really fun sometimes.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
Darkthicket Wolf - Wayne England
Crossway Vampire - Mark Evans
Nightbird's Clutches - Jason A Engle
Curse of Stalked Prey - Christopher Moeller

Chandra Nalaar - Aleksi Briclot
Chandra's Outrage (2) - Christopher Moelller
Volcanic Dragon - Chris Rahn
Lurking Crocodile - Donato Giancola

Overrun - Carl Critchlow
Lumberknot - Jason A. Engle
Blightning - Thomas M. Baxa
Phyrexian Obliterater - Todd Lockwood
Sprout Swarm - Chippy

Fume Spitter - Nils Ham
Lightning Bolt - Christopher Moeller
Stromkirk Noble - James Ryman
Vapor Snag - Raymond Swanland
Ember Hauler - Steve Prescott

Essence Scatter - Jon Foster

Friday, February 24, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #23: Syfy's Face Off

I recently discovered a fairly new series on Syfy called Face Off. The premise of the show is that a group of make-ep effects artists compete in a last-man-standing kind of competition to be the number one artist and they win a nice prize packet at the end. They participate in a variety of different challenges that emphasize different aspects of doing make-up for film and TV including, body paint, prosthetics, hair sculpting, and team work to name a few.
I really fell in love with this show pretty quickly. As a fantasy artist, I was really excited to see a different form of conceptualizing creating fictional characters and creatures. There were actually a lot of challenges that fell into the fantasy realm and it got my creative juices flowing.
One of the things I loved the most was that you got to hear the artists all talk about their work and their thought process behind each piece. I was really impressed to see the level of detail they could achieve in their effect but also the level of detail in storytelling you can achieve with a single figure and some make-up. It made me rethink how important little tiny details can be in order to sell your concept and I plan on taking those ideas into my own work.
They are on their 2nd season right now. The first season was fairly short with only 8 episodes but it was jam packed with awesome work from the contestants. If you're an artist (especially a fantasy artist) I think you could get a lot out of watching this show, and it's a really entertaining show whether you're an artist of any kind or not.

Monday, February 20, 2012

From the Sketchbook #5: Shining Force

Here are some sketches I've done recently of some characters from Shining Force.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #22: Shining Force

For some reason, I've had Shining Force on my mind a lot lately. When I was a little kid playing on the Sega Genesis when it first came out, it was one of my favorite games and I still hold a lot of fond memories of the game. Shining Force is a series but I've only ever played the first 2 and I've only ever owned the 1st game (Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention) so that's the one I remember the most so that's the one I'm going to focus on in this post.
Shining Force is a tactical RPG that takes place in a fantasy realm where there is some bad stuff happening in the world. There's some ancient evil or something and someone tries to do something with it or something like that. Basic fantasy stuff, nothing super special in that department. But overall it's a really fun and interesting game. It's one of those games I could pick up whenever and play start to finish without any hesitation.
 There's a deeper reason why I've always enjoyed Shining Force and I've just recently figured it out (or maybe this is the first time I'm caring enough to think about it) and that's because the game is full of some really awesome looking characters and monsters and also some pretty sweet environments. While the game does have it's fair share of cookie cutter fantasy creatures (goblins, centaurs, dwarfs) it also has a lot of really unique species and characters. There's this knight that flies around in a airplane/helicopter contraption, an armored rhino-looking dude, this adorable squid-like creature who flies around looking like the scrubbing bubbles mascot, an awesome looking samurai dude, robot dude, and a wolf-man dude along with lots of others. Also, I have to say it's got some of the most memorable boss fights and villains that made a real lasting impression on me.
Not the most complicated game, there are definitely a lot more tactical RPGs to come out since Shining Force and I'm sure lots of them are better, but this game is a true classic in my book and I'm sure I'll be remembering this game for a long time still. I've actually been playing through again recently and I've done some sketches of some of the characters in the game. Expect to see them on Monday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My adventure with

 Over a month ago I applied for an in-house assistant illustrator position in New York City that opened up at I'm very familiar with their work and I was really excited to get a chance at a position like that. I spent hours carefully writing up a cover letter and selecting pieces for my portfolio and then I submitted. Weeks went by and I had pretty much forgotten about the job entirely when I received an email from someone at the company congratulating me on being selected to do an art test as the next step in the application. I was caught way off guard but I was extremely excited about it! However it was going to be a little tricky because I was already in the middle of some freelance work, on top of being away from home for a week, and when I got back home the art test was due the next day.

I had a lot of work ahead of me but I really wanted the position so I dove in head first and started generating ideas for the 3 pieces they wanted to see. I decided I would get all of my ideas fleshed out in their entirety and then complete all of the finals when I got home where I could really focus in my studio. I pulled an all-nighter and finished the pieces within a couple hours of the due date and I was feeling pretty satisfied. I waited for almost 3 weeks after that to hear any response.

Yesterday was the day I heard back from them. I was disappointed to see I didn't get the job and they explained that while they valued my work and complimented me on it, they decided to go with someone else. I was confused and disappointed at first because the message sounded like they really liked what I showed them. I was pretty bummed on not getting the position and I replied with a thank you message, and I got the idea to offer my skills as a freelancer. I got a very pleasing reply back excited telling me I would be added to their list of freelancers.

This was a pretty crazy experience and it drove me crazy to have to wait so long to hear something back from them. While disappointed in not getting the position I was really happy to hear I'll be on their list of freelancers. I'm marking this one down as a win. May not have been the win I was looking for, but still a win. As a freelancer I've been let down a lot, and it's going to keep happening throughout my entire career. But if you keep pushing through the failures and always keep your eyes peeled for opportunities you'll eventually be rewarded with success.

Below are the 3 pieces I did for the CollegeHumor art test and the description for each can find the initial portfolio at this link but I'll probably be taking it down at some point in the future. Enjoy!

 1. Draw two characters at a bar enjoying a drink together. They can be any two characters, familiar or original, in any bar you want.
 2. Re-envision one of your favorite websites as a breakfast cereal (i.e. CollegeHumor Crunch) Use a mixture of Photoshop and drawing to render your project. Don’t forget to include a mascot!
3. Create a fun, infographic map of your room / apartment / house. Use labels and a key! (P.S. this is not even slightly accurate to my actual room)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Art Order Evolution Challenge

I've been piling on the work lately but I really wanted to participate in the Art Order Evolution Challenge. It seemed pretty simple enough that I'd be able to squeeze a little something into my work schedule. The challenge required an illustration of a character called Lyssa who can be described as "a young female human wizard with black hair who always wears white trimmed in gold". I was really excited about this because for a while I've been trying to find the perfect piece to use my girlfriend as the model, and for this challenge she fit the description perfectly!
Above is my final piece submitted for the challenge (plus shameless self-promotion) featuring the extremely lovely, and amazingly awesome Amabel.

Thanks again sweetie, I had such a blast making this piece and I hope I get to use you as my model again! <3

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #21: Steve Jobs

Ok, I know I'm throwing a curve-ball with this one. To clarify, up until about a year ago, I didn't know who Steve Jobs was, I didn't recognize his name, and I didn't have any opinion of him when I found out he was the founder of Apple. However, a couple days I listened to his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address and I really liked a lot of what he had to say. I thought it would be nice to add something like this because while it's not art related a lot of what he said resonated with me and I thought his speech was really inspiring. Aside from any of his achievements in his career, I think Steve Jobs definitely deserves some appreciate for this speech...
P.S. I learned how to add videos to my blog today!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm up to 27 altered Magic cards

It feels like it's been a while since I've done some alters. Plus since opening the Phyrexian Obliterator, I really wanted to alter it. It's such a gorgeous card already. After looking at these for a while, I think I might go back and paint out the names. I like having the information visible, but in some cases I think it holds back the potential of the alter (like Phyrexian Obliterator and Lightning Bolt). Lightning Bolt would be an awesome one to do full card art on. I'll repost after I tweak them.
I've been keeping a jpeg on file, full of all the card alters I've done so far and they're at the original scan resolution in case anyone's interested. I'll try and get into the habit of posting the updated version along with each new Magic alter post. Which ones are you're favorites??

Monday, February 6, 2012

Phyrexian Obliterator Sketch

I've got a couple freelance jobs going on right now so I can't post the work I've been doing lately. I just finished up 2 illustrations for Pinnacle Games though and I have to say I'm really happy with how they turned out. The Super Sculpey has been helping me out a LOT. I highly recommend trying it out! I bought some Magic cards and opened up a Phyrexian Obliterator. Awesome card, even awesomer artwork by Todd Lockwood. I loved the art so much I decided to do a quick portrait sketch of the creature. That's all for today, and to my fellow Magic: the Gatherers, Happy Dark Ascension!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Inspiration Spotlight #20: Anthony Briglia

Ok, those of you who know me personally know that Anthony Briglia is my best bud and I know this isn't the first time I've promoted his work on my blog, but he definitely deserves a spot in the spotlight section.

I've been a fan of Anthony's work for about 8 years now and it's been a real joy watch his work grow in both skill level and concept since we were both mediocre artists (at best) going to high school together. He's got some great ideas and a wonderfully grotesque sense of aesthetic which really gives his work just the right flavor to sell his ideas. And if you're someone who really enjoys good ink work you should definitely take a closer look at his work because he really knows how to lay down a nice line in ink.

Anthony has recently started his own blog where he's making a habit of posting an exaggerated portrait every week. There's currently 2 of them up right now and they are both really awesome. You should go check out his work and show him some love. There's sure to be plenty of more goodies in store.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Headless Hydra: Weapons

My latest batch of work for Headless Hydra Games has been released and you can purchase it HERE. I illustrated a bunch of weapons which can be seen below this sentence.