Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Life and Times of a Tree Person, Part 3: Acrylic

This is where I'm jumping in trying something new and hoping that it doesn't backfire horribly. Ordinarily when I work on an oil painting, I jump straight from a somewhat loose tonal underpainting into modeling with oils. For some time I'd been looking for a way to preserve more of my original drawing in my oil work. At the IMC I started experimenting with a new technique using alternating layers of acrylic wash and colored pencil to build up form and color while still maintaining the drawing underneath (many many thanks to Dan Dos Santos for recommending and demonstrating the technique!). It took some getting used to and I'm still working out bits of the process, but I have to say so far I love it.

Stay tuned for more. Next up: the oils!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Life and Times of a Tree Person, Part 2: Drawing

 The Elder Druid returns! Lately I've been focusing on different methods that will allow me to let the initial drawing (as opposed to the paint) do more of the work for me. So the first thing I did after gathering reference was put together a fairly detailed tonal drawing, which will take care of most of the structure for the rest of the painting. I was working on toned paper mounted to masonite, with my usual prismacolor pencils. I gathered reference, shooting my own images for the lighting on the figure and assembling a few reference sheets of various images of trees and bark that I found interesting. I used these along with my initial sketch and thumbnail when putting together the initial drawing, trying to bring the detail and lighting of the reference together with the energy and gesture of the prep work.

After that it was on to the tonal underpainting! No matter what medium I work in, I usually like to foolproof the values before I do anything with color. I set about creating a tonal underpainting with acrylic ink after sealing the original drawing in fixative and acrylic matte medium.

More process work to come! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Life and Times of a Tree Person, Part 1: Prep Work

Greetings everyone! It's been a while!

Things have kept pretty busy here. I recently returned from my second amazing year at the Illustration Master Class, and before that Spectrum Live 4. One month to catch up on work and get everything ready to show at Gen Con in Indianapolis at the end of July!

Jumping right into it then. One reason for my less than frequent blog posts of late is that most of my gaming work falls under non-disclosure agreements. Recently, however, I began working on an illustration for Alderac Entertainment Group and was pleasantly surprised to receive my art director's blessing to post process images! I don't often post WIPs of full illustrations, mostly because I'm not really sure about the level of interest (also I always seem to forget to take pictures when I'm in the zone). So let me know what you think of this series! So I thought I'd take this opportunity to show a little bit of my working process over the next few days, even as I try out a new, less-than-familiar method I started exploring at the IMC.

The assignment was a fairly simple one: a druid-type character who also happens to be a tree person. The original description was a bit more eloquently-worded than that, but that's enough to be going on with.

As usual, I start off with thumbnails! Just focusing on shape, value, and gesture at this point, all the while jotting down any ideas that occur to me along the way.

At this point, I select my favorite or favorites and work them up into a detailed value comp. This is usually what I send to the client for approval (the sketch above is the one that was chosen by the client). I also use this as a guide throughout the rest of the image to make sure my values don't get away from me when I start slinging paint and color around.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monster of the Week #29


Standing on average twelve to fifteen feet tall, he Horned Giant, more commonly known as the Oni, makes its home deep in remote old-growth forests. Few in number and highly aggressive and territorial, contact with these beings has been both infrequent and violent, resulting in a relative lack of reliable information on their behavior and culture. It is known that Oni communities are organized into an incredibly complex form of social hierarchy, the exact structure of which has never been adequately mapped by arcanozoologists.

Unlike many others of Giantkind, Oni seem to possess a certain facility in the magical arts, albeit a limited one, which seems to show itself most readily in the creations of their smiths and artisans. Oni communities expend great time and effort on the mining of iron and other metals, which smiths then fashion into weapons of remarkable strength and durability, despite their crude craftsmanship.


It's been a while since I broke out normal graphite, so I thought I'd try something different this week. So much fun! Although I do miss my white charcoal.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Monster of the Week #???

Elder Dragon, Burninator

Instantly recognizable by the distinctive 'consummate v' pattern of its scales, the Burninator is a terrible creature, feared the world over. The Burninator is a solitary breed, and only one such beast has ever been recorded, spoken of in the songs of a great bard.
Bane of countryside, peasants, and thatched-roof cottages, this primarily nocturnal hunter strikes terror into the hearts of all those who behold his majesty.

(Meant to put this up for April Fools, but ah well, better late than never.)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Monster of the Week #28


[The write up is on its way as soon as I have time to think again~]

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Work: The Carnival of Phantoms

"The Carnival of Phantoms"
12"x16", Oil on paper on panel

"Come one, come all!" the Ringmaster cried
"To the Carnival of Phantoms!
We've thrills, we've frights, we've strange delights,
At the Carnival of Phantoms!"

"We've jokes, we've tricks, we've wondrous shows
Wild beasts that none can tame
We've ghostly creatures dancing wild
With eyes of spectral flame"

"Come one, come all, and see the sights
the show's about to start
we've but one rule, before we begin,
which you must take to heart"

"Keep your ticket, hold it fast
don't let it slip or fall
for the Living and the world of Wraiths
weren't meant to mix at all"

"This simple thing will keep you safe
Its aegis keeps you from them
Lest you join us, evermore
In the Carnival of Phantoms."

This piece, oddly enough, was started months and months ago. Back in October I was invited to take part in a Halloween art show, the theme for which was "Haunted Carnival." Other commitments ended up getting in the way and preventing me from participating, but not before I had an idea for an image, a story, and the beginnings of a painting. So it ended up sitting around as an underpainting for the better part of four months until the chance finally rolled around to finish it. My questionable poetry skills aside, I enjoyed the idea enough to think a bit more about the story and the world that it might occupy. Who knows? I might come back to it some day.