Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Been a While

I've been deep into my current projects, but took a quick break today to go through old sketches. I'd forgotten all about this one, but liked it, so thought I'd share. Thank you for sticking with me. I'm hoping  that come end of summer I'll have something neat to show :).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sketch Club for iPhone

My favorite sketching software for iphone/pad is Sketch Club, by far. Sketch Club has a ton of layers, layer modes (multiply, screen, overlay etc), a brush feature called On (acts like a mask for the layer you are on), smear (works better than Photoshop's smudge tool, in my opinion), customizable brushes, mirror tool, and many more awesome features. For $3 bucks you can't go wrong with Sketch Club.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cover for The Beast of Dublin, by Judson Roberts

I just finished this up last night. The novel isn't fully written yet, but a novella length preview is up for purchase in the kindle store.

Judson Roberts is an excellent writer. His series Strongbow Saga was published by Harper Collins a while back. Orson Scott Card reviewed the series here. The beast of Dublin is a story set in the same Viking universe.

Week 6

Friday, February 24, 2012

Week 5

This week's assignment was to do color thumbnails using photos. The photos were less helpful than I would have thought. Mostly they aided in helping get color and shapes on the canvas to spur ideas rather than helping to shortcut the drawing. The only thumbnail in which photos really sped things up is the glowing trees thumbnail.

I think over all I did a better job of mid-grounds than I did last week.  I'm happy about that.

From here I'm to choose one and take it to completion during the remaining three weeks of the course. I'd like to get your opinion, which one should I finish?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Week 4

Uploading these assignments I realize more than ever just how much I love foregrounds, like backgrounds, and utterly refuse to pay any attention to mid-grounds. This has got to stop. I'm throwing down the gauntlet. For week 5, I vow that I will have at least one (if not more) pieces with a strong focal point firmly placed in the mid-ground. And while I'm throwing around gauntlets, I also vow that it will be somewhat more intricate than I have done thus far.

What I learned from this assignment (or if previously learned then hopefully better applied)

1. The abstract design of the piece is just as, if not more, important than the actual subject. So zoom waaaaaay out in the initial phase to make sure you have a nice range of shapes. I find it also makes it easier to get strong line to your shapes as well.

2.Color is easier if you keep most of them way toned down and slowly sneak up on the saturation. If you go 100 percent from the beginning you have nothing to contrast it with. How can one part of the scene seem more brilliant than another if all the colors are screaming? Obviously, it can't.

3. Find an example from a reference of how light and matter react. I used reference to one degree or another with all but the war scene. That said, none of my pieces look just like the references. Below are the references I had up for the giant climbing the ridge picture. The guns and jeeps didn't show up in the painting so please don't go looking for them, I don't want to see you disappointed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

James Paick class assignments 2nd week

This assignment was to do three finished pieces using either two or three point perspective and adding some direct lighting elements using a curves mask (you make a curves layer, up the brightness then inverse it with "command I"then using white paint in the patches of light you want. It keeps your structure which is nice.)  I think the top and parts of the bottom one worked out alright but the middle needs more work. I need to work on detailing things out a bit more. I think it will become easier as my visual vocabulary for environments increases.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Assignments for James Paick's CGMA Master Class

I've been wanting to get better at environment design, so when I saw James Paick's online class offered by CGMW master classes, I signed up. Here's the first assignment. We were asked to do five rough thumbnails in black and white. Other than the first one, I feel like I made them all too illustrative rather than designs. Sigh. Not that that's always a bad thing, but in this case I want the environment to carry the emotion, not the character interaction in a environment--which is what usually interests me. I'm going to try and stretch myself.

I hope to see some improvement by the end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Family Skulls Cover

Family Skulls is a novel by Luc Reid about a family that lives under a curse and the boy who is determined to break it. It's a fun story with realistic characters. The book with this cover should be going up for sell sometime this week or next on Amazon.

I just finished the cover a few moments ago. I had a blast doing this. It's a departure from my normal style. I think I'm going to do more of this type of style. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Cave

This is an older sketch for one of my Sci-fi graphic novels which I'm writing. I'll talk about it a bit more down the road. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creation of Hunger from "Servant of a Dark God," a Wonderful Fantasy Novel by John Brown

Below are the steps it took to get to the above image. 
 This whole thing began with an experiment. I had sat down to work and flipped open an art book with paintings by Richard Schmid.  I recalled that he normally started his oil paintings with a wash of light color which served both to give him a harmony of color and a pulsation of color right from the get go. So I thought I'd give it a try digitally.
Next using a number of different brushes, using color burn, multiply, screen,and color doge, modes, I painted away, simply enjoying the fun shapes. At this point I had no idea what I wanted to paint. I let the abstract shapes "speak" to me, as I focus on design. I wanted something interesting on an abstract level. As I did so, that dark wedge shape caught my eye.. It looked lik a good candidate for a subject. I sifted around in that area, like a gold miner in a stream, wondering what I would find. A fairy on a rock? A troll?
 And then I had a shape. Fairly ominous.

I believe it was about here that I decided to make it the character Hunger from a "Servant of a Dark God," by John Brown. Hunger is an interesting character. Essentially Hunger, just as its name suggests, has a insatiable hunger. Hunger moves through the ground and nature. When he finds a victim he forms up out from  the ground using rocks, mud, grass and roots to make a body. Notice the branch like shapes on the left. Initially I focused on geting dark muddy feel and ambiguousness. 
Then I went more strong in pose. I like this stage and might use the design for something else, but it wasn't my idea of what Hunger would look like--looked too wolfish. So I continued on.
And then we jump to here. I refined areas and left much of it dark. I think it works for a concept piece. But I wanted to explore Hunger a bit more.
A ton of work went on between the last image and this one.
I added a figure for interest and scale and got in there and defined the branches and muscles. I thought a lot more about the arms and mouth areas. 

Doing this is a trade off. If you compare the earlier phases of Hunger you get more mystery/horror because of the unknown areas lost in the darkness. This phase you get detail and thus lose that edginess, but the detail does give the viewer more to look at, and slides the image more firmly into the "Fantasy" genre were wonder and awe are the main emotions people go to the genre for.
And nigh near complete. This stage I spent forever messing around with elements, trying to clarify shapes and relationships as well correct everything possible. For example I've added atmosphere( Hunger is"contre-jour" which means his figure is silhouetted against a light background--the light bleeds around his edges). I tweaked hungers expression to be a bit more crazy, defined the right arm (his left) and basically fussed like a mother rabbit would getting her litter ready for church.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Carlos Huante Workshop

Last March I took another workshop through Anatomy Tools which I haven't blogged about yet. This was a workshop from the monster mistro himself, Carlos Huante. I had met him at last year's workshop when Andrew brought him in to visit us. I was impressed by his instructing, so I signed up for the workshop.

Question: did I get my money's worth? Heck yes.

The class was simple. Before the class started Carlos had done three sketches of abstract human forms from which we could choose to sculpt--the idea being to teach us about the qualities of skin, fat muscle and bone without it being tied specifically to a real object.

It was difficult, but rewarding. I learned so much about how to design form and how to show muscle tension from this class.

As well Carlos, Andrew and crew went to extra lengths to make it educational, including bringing in some amazing original sculptures which Carlos had just completed--very kind of Carlos. As well, at the end Carlos gave us a challenge to finish the sculpt at home and the best one would get a six month mentorship with Carlos . I didn't win--there were far better sculptors there than myself--but I'm glad I gave it a try, because I learned a lot about Carlos's thought process and about forms and muscles. Sculpting is a great way to learn form.

Here are a couple of photo's of my final sculpture which Carlos designed and helped move along, occasionally tooling it himself when I got far afield.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coming Home After A Hard Day's Work

This was a quick sketch. I'm happy about how it turned out. I've been scanning in watercolor dry brush textures I've made and charcoal textures as well. One of the most useful was made by getting paper with tooth to it and a square piece of charcoal, I lay the charcoal sideways on the page and make a single mark. This makes a rectangle that I then scanned in and captured as a brush. I set the flip x and y jitter on(not to be confused with the angle jitter). This tones down a bit of the repetition in the stroke pattern. Same can be done with dry brushing with paint.


The Crossing