Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cover and painting

Wow the new system for uploading pictures is so much better now. With that and a scanner, I now have no excuse for not updating this more.

First image is a cover I just completed for Dark Skull Studios' New Gods of Mankind. I'm happy with the background and sort of the colors although they are a bit middle of the road. While I do think it probably deserves to be in my top 18 pieces, I have to admit that there's no way I could imagine WotC using it. Kind of heartbreaking and usually that makes me try to beat the piece into submission but in this case I've decided to move on. Part of the problem may have been the nature of the assignment where I felt the client wanted a somewhat conservative straight forward image. Frank Frazetta rocked those sorts of images though so I still don't have an excuse.

Next up is an oil painting of a dragonborn. I wanted to try out some water miscible oils and I really loved them! It made the rough in much quicker by just doing a wash of burnt umber and rubbing out the light areas and slightly darkening the dark areas. If I were to try to use the the same oils on top of that wash I would have gotten some color bleed like with watercolors but I was able to just work on top immediately with regular oils that just ignored the water. While I was doing the same thing with watercolors, the areas of the initial lay in can be left as is for the final since they have the same oil look of the more rendered sections. Since I was adding water to increase fluidity, this also dried much quicker than expected! So I'm really hoping this might be a viable option now with the simpler briefs and the briefs that pay more money. This painting was a bit rushed because it was for myself and I was paying a babysitter while working on it. I plan to fix it up a little bit digitally so that it fits the style guide for the dragonborn more. In the D&D world they have a bit more of a rounded bump of a nose and have more spines in their frill. I kind of detest the style guide's nose though and I figured I'll likely be stuck with this in my house forever so I might as well make it more pleasing for me. I'd hoped to keep this painting looser but kind of lost my way.

I submitted to Spectrum for the first time this year. I think it may have been the first time I've submitted to be in any book. I figured if I wait to submit a piece that I'm super proud of, I may never submit an entry. Two friends who have been in it said it didn't lead to any additional work though and most of the people in there, I imagine have more job offers than they know what to do with prior to submitting. So it feels like a bit of vanity submitting.

I've finally completed all of my work for Abberrant. I think I've been working on their Warlands stuff for a year and a half now? Glad to finally be able to move on. So I've completely cleared my plate now and haven't submitted the old portfolio to anybody in a while. Now I just plan on sitting down and trying to knock out this children's book as quickly as possible, draw from the nude once a week and maybe do some paintings for occasional contests. Ofcourse if some work came along for any CCG's,Paizo or WotC, I could see myself doing that instead.

I'll be signing up for a booth at GenCon again this year. Last year I sold enough to pay for the booth and that's satisfactory for me. Still lose money after hotel stay and prints are factored in. If I do as well as last year, I'll be fine with the investment. I have so many prints left over from last year that I won't have that much as far as booth expenses. I'll still be printing up some new prints but there will be much less and I also hope to have more originals this year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Couple of recent life drawings.Bit rusty. Had't gone to sketch group in a while . Just got a scanner that works with my work computer!! Not only that but it can scan an 11x17 area! woot! All of these are no taller than 7inches hah hah. I also just got some oil paints that I had been wanting. Haven't been able to work a lot lately. Completed a couple of pieces for Aberrant and am working on the last image for them. I've decided how many illos I'm going to do for the childrens book so I've got 9 of 25 of those done. As soon as I finish the Aberrant stuff and a cover gig, I'll be focusing on that mostly along with learning ZBrush.

The wife is questioning her job and considering changing to something riskier. May be an opportunity for me to look outside of Covington, KY for an hourly art gig because then I could dictate where we live maybe. I've got some time before that window of opportunity and I'm hoping that learning Zbrush will open up some job opportunities for me. So far I've just been watching the training vids a lot and have only done a little bit of playing. Elorgo's face from the previous post was made in zbrush and the staff in the Mage image was made in zbrush. As soon as one of the inheritances comes in I'll be able to afford the actual program rather than just playing with the demo version.

So there hasn't been a lot to be cheery about lately but there has been a good experience lately that I want to mention. The owner of DSS, Richard Leon, is a great guy to work for. The business has slowed down so I haven't really been art directing anymore except for putting together the occasional ad or giving feedback on various ideas. He came to me looking to have a cover done and I knew I'd be outside of the budget for the particular project and offered to find somebody or point him to some people. He insisted that it be me so he went with my rate. That alone makes him super awesome in my book. The other thing that makes him awesome is that I talked to him about tweaking the illustration brief a bit and he loved it. It was the first time I've talked to a client about changing the content of the brief and now I wish I'd ventured into it before. I think I can develope some creative concepts that clients will like but if a client's brief is very straight forward, I have always stuck to the brief religiously. I think it's lead to some generic components and I believe that's held me back from getting work with the big companies. For instance, Richard asked for a warrior goddess with a shield and sword. Had I not said anything, I would have made a rather plain greek woman with a typical sword and shield with maybe some inlay. The only thing conveying divinity being her flight and perhaps a glow. That's a pretty weak concept that doesn't really have any "wow" factor. Anyways, it looks like both me and the client are going to be happier with the end result.