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

Friday, June 10, 2011


The image just flashed in my head. Likely I'm going to use it for a personal project I've been working on.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Abbott Thayer Study

Above is a study I did of an Abbott Thayer painting that Kim Kincaid had posted on her blog. On a purely visual level there is much to love of Abbott's piece: the wonderful edge work, subtle gradation of values across the cheek to socket and nose (due to occlusion) and the warmth of the over all piece. As well, I believe it has a lot of story to it. It is idealized some but still has an everydayness to it. Great model and gesture. I think she conveys a duality. First is that of insecurity, with the tilt down of her head and eyes peeking up, almost as if she's having a private meeting under her hat while watching what is happening, preparing herself for whatever she's about to do. Second there is a resolution and quiet determination to her. She's facing forward. She's going to do it.

I think duality--or inner conflict--is the essence of interesting character in any media. At least it's a powerful tool.

I didn't do the color, but instead focused on values and edges.

Friday, February 18, 2011

color sketch

Just experiments in technique. Did this in Photoshop.

When working from my imagination, I usually start in black and white and then work into color. This time I got brave and I went straight for the color. I started off by drawing the profile with the lasso tool(a mask would be better, I was being a bit lazy.) I used the round soft brush to block in the colors focusing on making the form turn and thinking about how the color temperature and value would be shifting as the form turned, just as if I were drawing a fleshy sphere. I stuck with just the skin color, and I kept the brush as large as I could for as long as I could. This had two benefits. The first is that the edges and colors blended automatically, and second, I didn't get lost in details as soon as I might otherwise, which helped to keep the value masses simple.

After that, I used a rake-like brush and captured oil strokes to define the plains of the face and get sharp edges and a traditional feel.