Monday, December 28, 2009


Just in the nick of time. I put on the varnish, and it's just about dry. Tomorrow is setup for the show...phew! Happy New Year to everyone! A reminder to anybody out there thinking of coming to the show--the opening night is New Year's eve, and the show will run for the month of January.

*This painting is now SOLD.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Future Brush Whatzidoodle

Another brush experiment. I might actually finish this one (maybe the train one too, thanks for the feedback guys!) . It seems I'm on a futuristic city kick.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Distant Sounds of the Mind

I have a project I work on when I'm  not overwhelmed with other things, and it is leaking slowly from my mind to the computer/sketchbook/wastebasket. I'm making progress, but it is slow progress. I can't show what it looks like (mostly because it's unfinished) but it will look like this sounds:

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians II. Section I
Aphex Twin - Meltphace 6
Queens of the Stone Age - Medication
Radiohead - All I Need

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Quick Fun with New Brushes

These started out as experiments with a new set of brushes, and ended up as crystal cave thingy and a pedestrian overpass whatchamacallit.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Inspiration in Music, Bo Diddley

If I'm feeling like I need a pick-me up creatively, sometimes I watch this video. It's one of the most amazing  things I have ever seen. Everyone is out of control from Bo Diddley to his dancers, to the crazy screaming girls. If I could draw like he plays guitar, I would be a happy man indeed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tonal Comp for Toymaker Piece

Boy, this was a tough piece for me. It took more than half a year to squeeze this idea out of my head and onto paper in a way that didn't make me cringe. There is still plenty of room for disaster, but with the tonal study done and color comps on the way, I feel much better. Now, there's the mad dash to the finish line!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Toys for the New Year

The project 218 art collective that I am a part of is putting on another show in conjunction with D-Structure in San Francisco for the New Year! This year's show is centered around toys.

The mystery character below is a study for a mischievous little craftsman who shows up in my pieces. 


Who is this, and how did he manage to steal all my time? He seems to have a healthy disregard for the establishment. I've got to keep my eye on least until Christmas.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Try Try Again

These are quick painting studies I did recently. They come after one of the worst art moments I have had since I failed my first charcoal rendering exercise waaaaay back in school. With this, I was red with anger, ready to throw my sketchbook down, kick my paints and snap my brush. Luckily, I simply tore out the page, and started again. Those moments are actually very great for me. They come when I am tackling something I don't understand. In the end, painting is always fun, and I love it!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Iran So Far Away

So, this guy has been all over the headlines, pretty much all the time. He's just your run of the mill Holocaust-denying, unfairly elected, America hating, open-collar-shirt-wearing guy...unless...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Sleep Till...

So, I'm having a bout of insomnia which happens from time to time. I figure this is as good a time as any to rock some old Clash tunes and draw my (least) favorite blowhard, Glenn Beck. Death or Glory!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Final Digital Waterhouse Study

This was the last study I did while searching for secrets I can apply from Waterhouse's painting technique to my digital work. This was done in Photoshop, not Painter, and I saved it for last because it was the most complicated of the selections. It was a beast! There is so much to learn, it's staggering.

Next up is more for the Decrepit Power Station. I am going to do this one mostly traditional, so I will post up work for that soon.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Night Painting

I tried my hand at painting at night with Jesse in Downtown RWC last night. It was significantly more difficult than painting during the day. The biggest challenge was getting colors right because the lighting we were painting under was of a yellowish color-cast. I felt colorblind. Ultramarine blue looked just like burnt sienna and paynes grey under the night lights. Still, it was a lot of fun, and a homeless man came and told us stories about Vietnam and motorcycle gangs as we painted.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Decrepid Power Station HQ

This is a small thumbnail sketch I did in photoshop as I played around with the idea of an old power collection station way out in space. I read that Mercury has wild magnetic tornados that sweep across the planet, and I wondered if that could be the basis for something on a mercury-esque planet somewhere. I have a loose idea for a story that takes place here. I'm going to develop this particular piece in stages. I will post my progress as it comes together.

As I said earlier, I've been inspired by various tunes lately. The music creates loose images in my head, and some of my posts have emerged from the doodles I create from those moments. Currently on the plate is MSTRKRFT, The Dead Weather/The Kills, New Thom Yorke, Portishead, and Autolux.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Neighbor

More from the same batch of ideas that formed the space station and the captain plus a little random mess-making in photoshop with new brushes. An otherworldly behemoth examines an energy collection compound in the middle of nowhere (somewhere...)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I've been listening to a lot of new music lately, and I was in the mood to revisit an old idea that a song reminded me of. This is based on a blurb I wrote once several years ago in one of my journals. The premise was that at some point in the future television would be so ingrained in human behavior that even after the airwaves go dead, the hypnotic glow of the tube provides comfort.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Here is the ArtOrder challenge final painting for the Owlbear Reimagined. I picture this imposing beast gliding (not flying) down on hapless prey as night falls.

Monday, August 24, 2009


There is a great art challenge blog for people interested in fantasy art called ArtOrder.This particular challenge I am working on is the "Owlbear Reimagined." The owlbear is both a loved and hated creature from the D&D universe, and the idea is to reinterpret the creature as something more than just a bear with an owl's head stuck on. These are the sketches I settled on as my idea for the challenge. I'll take the concept to finish with a male, female and infant version.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Awww Dammit.

You ever have a thing where you have an idea, then you see someone else also had the same idea, but better? Well, for some reason I FAILED to see the blatant similarities between my sketch and the new film District 9. I just saw it, and it was SOOOOO good! Everytime I saw the mothership floating over Johannesburg I thought, "aww dammit." They did such a good job. I don't know if I subconsciously pilfered it, or what, but that idea is a no go. All I can say is, I hope there's a District 10.

I'm still going to work on the story, but the visuals will need a major overhaul. Back to work!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bit New, and a Bit Not

Here is a sketch for a piece I'm working on. You may recognize a few of the elements. One is the space station I posted earlier, and the waterfront city is based on the random sketch I did in photoshop a while back working with brushes mixed with some of my painting studies of the port of Redwood City during lunch breaks. It all comes together for an illustration that goes along with some short stories I'm writing that are space/sci-fi related. I'll post more progress on this as it moves along.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waterhouse Master Studies II

This is the second installment of my digital Waterhouse studies. (not thrilled about the extra compression and subsequent color and resolution mishaps blogger imposed on my file, blech!) I noticed that I'm learning the most in 2 hour studies instead of the quick "speedpaint" technique I've used in the past when studying master paintings. A teacher once said not to spend less than an hour and not more than three on a study, and I think that rings true, at least for these. My goal is not to copy, but to unlock some of Waterhouse's secrets by retracing his steps. One more painting to go!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waterhouse Master Studies

I'm working on some new things with my painting technique, and this is one of three studies I am doing based on John William Waterhouse's paintings. This one was done in the program Painter, but I will mostly also use Photoshop on one of the studies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reunion Trees

This is a little study I did while taking a break in the shade at Toro Park near Salinas, CA. Kristel and her family had a reunion last weekend. After a little basketball in the heat, I sat down to do a painting and cool off. Kristel's mom mentioned that she didn't see anything particularly inspirational. She was right, but I felt like painting. Thankfully this little bit of grass between two trees presented itself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Il Communication

So, I've wanted to do this portrait for a while. He pops in and out of the news often, but considering recent events I finally did a quick one. Part Jabba, part Max Headroom, and part Elvis?? One of my co-workers who spent time around the DMZ told me North Korea is the strangest place on earth, bar none. If their leader is any indicator, that may be true indeed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Roof is on Fire

This is how my brain felt this week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Half Dome Trip

Two weekends ago, I took a trip to Yosemite to hike to the top of Half Dome from Glacier Point. It was a long and wonderful hike, with moments of peace, beauty, and even some potentially serious danger. It was a great experience, one that I hope I can repeat in the future.

I planned to do some painting up at the top, but the weather decided otherwise. Sometimes I find that it is better to simply observe and enjoy than to feel compelled to record my surroundings. The next time I go to Yosemite I will be sure to bring my paints again.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Heroes of Telara

It's E3 week this week, and my company, Trion, is showing its first game off. I have worked on Heroes of Telara for a little over a year creating concept art for armor, character designs, props and environments.

There's a ton of awesome stuff in the works that I look forward to showing in the future. Here's a little bit of art that my manager graciously allowed me to put up on my blog for public viewing.

Here is the website for HoT showcasing a first peek trailer, screenshots, and some cool art from the artists at Carbon Canyon Studios.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

School Daze

I just concluded a semester teaching advanced illustration at San Jose State University. The students were a great hard working bunch, and you can see much of their work here:

Good luck in BFA next year guys!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Windy Hill

It was a breezy day on Windy Hill, which may seem redundant, but it was particularly breezy this weekend. This was painted partly on location and partly worked on "at the studio" (aka my desk in my room).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Godfather II Concepts

These are some of the concepts I did for the Godfather II game that was released this month. It's recieved pretty bad reviews, but it was great to create characters for a living and research the great Godfather Movies in depth. Mostly the designs were period costume designs, but every once in a while, we got to really give a character some attitude.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

View from Eagle Rock at Alum Rock Park

This is a one hour painting from the top of a trail in East San Jose. It was a very nice day and the weather was fine. I just introduced a few new colors to my gouache palette to get a bit more saturation in. California colors are predominantly brown and green right now in the natural areas and normal lighting conditions. I've really admired some of the artists that use colors that "feel right" instead of literally translating the colors of what is really there. I pushed the color in the shadows a lot and the greens in the hill are more saturated. This is just a first attempt, and I'm sure I will find a balance between saturation and subtlety.

Friday, April 03, 2009


This is one of the quick hour-long lunch gouache sketches me and my friend and co-worker Jesse Lee do when we can during the work week. Today a teacher brought a class by while they were out on a walk. The teacher told the children "shhhh! There are real artists working over there, so we have to use quiet voices." The kids were cute and they liked that we were painting the view from their school. We also had a visit from what appeared to be James Hetfield's dog...but it wasn't.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

More of the Same

More random sketching

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


This is a little test I did after building a custom brush set in Painter. It was sort of double test, partly for brushes and partly to just screw around with the caterpillar idea from my taskmaster post. I found that, just like Photoshop, the majority of brushes in the program were just not right for what I needed. There are some default things that are pretty awesome, but mostly I use the brushes I made. I love what's possible in Painter, but it's sort of buggy and a bit too slow. I'm sure as time goes on I will incorporate the two programs into some sort of happy workflow.

I'm working on the Captain and the Taskmaster simultaneously. I will try and have some stuff up, but teaching and work require my full attention currently.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Taskmaster

This is a small sketch for a character in the universe of the Space Captain project I am working on. It took a bit to find him, but I think I am happy with how he feels. Now it's a matter of gathering the appropriate reference to give his design some authenticity and I have to run him through the paces of facial expressions and some poses. I may have to do a small sculpt too.

He is a character that basically keeps the Captain on task. When the captain is not piloting the ship, he often must deal with intergalactic diplomatic relations. Most of the time the problems are menial petty squabbles. This new character is the type who enjoys schedules and order. All things must be addressed and resolved in their designated way. His motto might be, "The ship must run on time!" In short, he's not much fun.

I want him to read a couple of ways at once. I want him to be large and intimidating, while still retaining a sense of "squishiness." I also want there to be a tidbit of elegance and a tinge of danger. Hopefully it all works.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I worked at EA for my first job out of school as a character designer for Godfather II, set for release next month. I couldn't have started at a better place for where I was at artistically. The proximity to artists much more skilled than myself and the leeway the team gave me to push myself and my art took me to another level, and I will never forget it.

This was a quick sketch just to have a little fun with color and likeness from a Soprano's photo (don't sue me!) as I reminisced.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fire Brothers Final

Here is the final version of the Fire Brothers piece, originally titled, "The Conflagration." Wow. It took a while to get this thing done! I think this piece was particularly tricky for me because there isn't any real substance to these characters to work with, just whipping flames. It was a delicate balance of trying to make them feel like they were made of fire while not staying locked into how actual fire works or even light for that matter. I think digital was the appropriate medium to finish with because when you are painting in photoshop or painter, you are literally painting with light. There are some snazzy light-mixing techniques that might have eluded me in traditional media. I think the fire brothers emerged with their personalities intact - luminous, intense, and mischievous.

Now that they are safely trapped in their frame, I can pursue the other interests I have been developing!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fire Brothers Photoshop Layin

Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I took this piece into photoshop after it mocked me from the closet for months. I wanted to do it in oil, but, let's be honest, it wasn't going to happen. There are other oil pieces that WILL happen, but not this one. The next step is to take it into Painter and do some refining and rendering. If all goes according to my master plan, it will be finished soon.

Once this guy is in the bag, I am going back to my Space Captain and his story. I was looking back on some old posts, and it seems I used to post a lot more story based work. That is what I gravitate towards instead of one-offs, but for some reason my recent posts have mostly been studies and random sketches. I want to get back to developing projects--that's the goal for '09.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Kristel, 150cc

This is a quick painting of Kristel while she's playing Mariokart on the DS.