Friday, December 31, 2010

The Summer Night Final Sketch

This is the pencil sketch for The Summer Night chapter painting. Finished painting on the way!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shigeru Miyamoto New Yorker Article

There is a new article about Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto in The New Yorker magazine here. Miyamoto created and continues to create my favorite games. It's been awkward working in the games industry and getting interview questions for adult or teen oriented games where they asked what my favorite games are and I say, "Mario, Zelda..." Miyamoto's games are to me the purest form of game that I've ever experienced and clearly art in and of themselves. The article reports that Mario and Zelda were created based on childhood experiences Miyamoto had running through the countryside catching fish or peeking in caves in the woods.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Summer Night: Martian Home Ideations

Here are some initial designs for Martian homes. I want them to look very organic since the Martians are supposed to be the antithesis of man (I'm thinking of using brutalist architecture for design cues on humans to contrast the loose organic forms of the Martians...hopefully it makes for good visual contrast.) Some of these homes hang on cliff sides, some appear to grow like plants, and some sit on the ground in the traditional fashion.

I've found that I only have time for some quick doodles in my sketchbook at lunch once in a while and weekends. That should still be enough time to eek out a chapter illustration periodically, but they will probably come at an even slower pace. No matter what though, I love working on this stuff!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Lunch Sketch 12.02.10

My free time has evaporated! Here is a sketch I did during a lunch break. Ballpoint pen in my sketchbook with digital tone.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Society of Illustrators and A New Job

I recently received word that my work entitled "Pursuit" for the unpublished category will be included in the Society of Illustrators Annual 53 next year. The piece was originally inspired by my love of the novel 1984 and early '70s sci-fi (posted here earlier.)

Today was also my first day as a Concept Designer at Lucasfilm Animation. They play things close to the chest there, so there won't be many(any?) posts relating to work there, but I'm very excited about my new gig.

*The image above is the official poster for Society of Illustrators 53...I didn't do it, but I sure like it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Summer Night Color Thumbnail

This is a postage stamp sized color thumbnail for "The Summer Night" chapter of The Martian Chronicles.  I found some reference based on this with better color, so after I do a revised version, I will work on some Martian home designs and get to the final drawing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Ylla Final Painting

This is the final painting for the Martian Chronicles story "Ylla." It's about 4"h x 71/4w" painted in acrylic in my sketchbook. I think this is a good format for keeping on track to finish all the chapters in a timely fashion. On to the next one!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Ylla Sketch and Color Thumbnail

Here's a sketch in my sketchbook based on the thumbnail for this story and a small color study. In the study I added the arm crossing the body. I think I'm going to do something like that in the finished piece. I'm going to pick up the pace on these, so who knows what will happen? I'm just going to start painting them directly into my sketchbook pages over the sketches to expedite things. Too many ideas, never enough time!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I recently took a trip to Detroit and Pittsburgh for a weekend with my best friend. A lot of people asked me what the point was. Without trying to sound overly sappy I've told people we were looking for some signs of hope in Detroit, and I'm a Steelers fan from birth, so Pittsburgh was sort of a pilgrimage.

But back to Detroit. Yes there were crumbling buildings, and yes there were some areas that felt dangerous, but to be honest I've felt more threatened in parts of the Bay Area. Mostly the city seems empty. At least during the night the place comes alive with friendly folks, party people, and great eats. The city has an old school charm that I've never seen before.

We met lots of different types, but the most memorable was a designer for Ford. We met him in a cigar bar downtown and struck up a conversation since we spent most of the day touring the Ford factory and Henry Ford museum. The designer was very optimistic, yet realistic. His most memorable quote was, "When the country has a cold, Detroit has pneumonia." The man was born and raised there and determined to make it better. We left inspired.

We also left on a mission. Everyone at the bar insisted that we have a "coney" at either Lafayette or American Coneys. They were the most popular hot dog joints in town and they literally shared a wall. Naturally the only fair thing to do was try one from each.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sym-Bionic Titan

I love the work of Genndy Tartakovsky. I have watched his shows since Dexter's Lab. Samurai Jack was the first show since Batman the Animated Series that I watched religiously. Needless to say, I was super excited to hear that Tartakovsky has a new show called Sym-Bionic Titan. I found the initial episodes to be fun, but not as masterful as Samurai Jack and was mildly disappointed. BUT! I stuck with the show and found every episode improved. The episode "Phantom Ninja" really set the bar high. The latest episode, "Shaman of Fear" brought the awesome I was hoping for. Check it out on Cartoon Network or download it on iTunes! I hope the show does well. I don't want it to get cancelled since it's starting to really kick ass.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rift: Planes of Telara Lunch with the Art Director

My Art Director for Rift responded to questions posed by the community in the rift forums. There were a few pictures to go along with his answers. One of them was a grey zbrush model of a creepy monster I designed. I never saw the hi-res model until now. The people responsible for the model did a pretty good job staying faithful to the concept. It looks pretty spot on even if it's a bit stiff in that t-pose. Monsters are tons of fun to design!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Twins

I was driving down El Camino Real on the way to the store the other day and I saw a man walking on the side of the road. I said to my wife, "hey, look at that guy! He looks straight out of 1992!" And he did. I had visions of Point Break and Vanilla Ice. My mind started to wander and I thought about a future world with a 90's flair. These two guys are color studies for two characters I'm working on who are assassin brothers. One is a surfer who had to rebuild his arm after an accident and the other drives a very fast car. Both of them do hits for powerful tech companies looking to silence whistleblowers. More on this later...on to the Martian Chronicles piece lingering in my sketchbook.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ylla Thumbnail

The second story in The Martian Chronicles is "Ylla." The story is a mix of optimistic dreaming, loneliness, and heartbroken sadness. This is a little thumbnail sketch where I jotted down the idea for an illustration that could show Ylla's longing and at the same time hint at the darkness that is her husband.

The last illustration took way too long...I have many more to go, so I'm searching for a speedier result. Perhaps I'll set a strict time limit and let the chips fall where they may. I still have to properly design the look of the Martians...busy busy busy :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rocket Summer Final

This is the final version for the Rocket Summer chapter. This was a tough one to finish. The first one is done, and I'm excited to get going on the next story!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Master Study: Velasquez

A recent Photoshop study. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Progress, Not Done...

Stiiiiiilll painting on the Martian Chronicles piece. Man, I forgot how long it takes to ACTUALLY paint something detailed at the size I'm painting it. I may have to re-evaluate my approach for the next pieces, otherwise I will finish them all in a few years...not cool! I'm having a lot of fun though.


Trion revealed the Kelari race for the Defiant faction of Rift. I was tasked with helping to define the look of the race, their motifs, colors, etc. This is a concept I did for one of them. They are island dwelling elves and have an independent spirit, for better or worse.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Still Paintin'

I need music to launch a rocket I have these. Almost done with Rocket Summer...getting close now...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rocket Summer Rough Layin

Slow and steady...some pencil work over a rough base color pass. Still a lot of work to be done.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rift At GamesCom

Rift is at the Gamescom convention in Germany where we have our first publicly facing playable game. We're nearing the beta stage and the people who have played it out there seem to like it! The above image was recently posted on the official Rift website and is a quick concept I did.

The Rift forum user Reckoner shot some in-game video of him running through the Guardian stronghold of Sanctum...after he finishes dancing here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Town Called Panic

This is the trailer to the Belgian animated film A Town Called Panic. It's pretty screwball, but I like that sort of stuff. If you like stop motion, particularly of the Gumby variety, and you like wacky humor, check it out! I really liked it. On the Martian Chronicles front, I'm getting to work on the painting...more when I have it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deviant Art's Muro

This may be old news, but Deviant Art has an in-browser drawing app called Muro. It's HTML5 so there's no use of flash...just go to the site and start drawing. Not bad for free! Here's a test run doodle. I wish there were some square brushes, I'm addicted to those suckers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rocket Summer: Snow Kids Ideas (Rough)

These are some quick ideas for the kids in the Rocket Summer piece. I was aiming mostly for feel here, and will do another pass to give them some more believability (they're too naive right now since I was working from imagination) with some reference. I'm wrestling with giving them a nostaligic 50's sledding vibe, giving them a futuristic vibe and still making their design read as not too strange. I still have to figure that out. They look pretty contemporary, which may not be a bad thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fascism, Immigration, and Videogames?

There is a lot debate raging about immigration right now. One idea is to change the Constitution and revise the 14th amendment to remove the ability of anyone born on US soil to become citizens automatically. My favorite take on the subject comes from the Colbert Report (around the 7:20 mark the whole arguement is summed up nicely) Pair this with some recent trailer from Irrational Games' anticipated Bioshock Infinite and the issue seems pervasive across not only the political landscape but even in the entertainment industry and the gaming industry particularly.

The trend for games in the last several years has pushed "moral" choices on players. There are always the light escapist games out there to play, but I've noticed a rise in games making political statements and critiques of society, often masked in a veneer of action, make-believe and violence.

As I work on the Martian Chronicles project and consider Mr. Bradbury's take on the world when he wrote the stories (heavy stuff in there...allusions to our destruction of native peoples, racial tension, imperialism, nuclear war, etc) it seems that these things inevitably make their way into the art of the day. 1984 was a reaction to the political landscape of post-war Western society wrapped in dystopian sci-fi.

At the Bioshock Infinite unveil event the crowd was also shown faux-propaganda posters depicting a fictional 1912 American society gone off the deep end into protectionist racist imperialism with a steampunk twist. I'm not really pitching the game, especially since I don't really play shooter games, but it seemed interesting that such a thing would be considered "fun" 25 years after a plumber who jumps, eats mushrooms and saves princesses from lava-filled castles was the industry standard.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocket Summer: Color Study

This is a small color study (1"x3") in acrylic for the "Rocket Summer" short story scanned from my sketchbook. I tried a few other color studies that went off the rails. I fussed and fought them, and just before the last of my acrylics were left on the palette, I dashed this out in anger with a #8 square tip brush. Age old painting advice states that you should use the biggest brush you can get away with, and with nothing left to lose I think I did better than the other studies that took much longer. This is not really anything but a loose guide for me to base my palette on and group my values. I'm going to move to the final sketch soon, but I still have some kids to design. I may go off and do some full blown designs for them because I keep seeing their faces when I think of them even though the viewer only gets to see their backs.

Oh, and I'm waaaaaaaaaay out of practice with the olde acrylics! Yikes. This will be a challenge, but if it was easy what's the point?!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Rocket Summer: Exploratory Sketches

Here are a few quick initial drawings I did for the short story Rocket Summer. I'm still trying to decide what I really want the look of the rockets to be. These are completely out of my head (my preferred method in the very initial stages, bad drawing/limited ideas and all). Once I get a few ideas I'm interested in, I will begin to look for supporting reference images. The composition sketch is basically the composition I'm going to do. Now that I know there will be some characters in there, I can start designing them and finding appropriate reference. It still seems a bit static...I think that rocket HAS to blast off more!

Next up is more designing and some color studies. I think I'm going to do all the paintings in acrylic.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Lo-Fi Gems

I love old quality recordings done well with passion. I posted a Bo Diddley video that gets me in a mood to make some art, so here are a few more. Weird close-ups, weird crowds, uncontrolled rocking...they're just pure kick-ass awesome.

The Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash in '68

Chuck Berry - Live 1958

Howlin' Wolf - Don't Laugh at Me (Yes, that IS the same riff Jimmy Page used years later)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Martian Chronicles: The Beginning/Cobwebs

Every project has to start somewhere. This is where this one begins. I re-read The Martian Chronicles and I didn't really take notes. I just let the images come and let the stories wash over me. I was surprised to find how bleak and sad the stories were. I don't know what my mind did to the old memories I had from reading it years and years ago, but it felt different this time (still awesome!!) Perhaps I am different since the story remains the constant here...

After letting it stew for a bit, I did this quick little sketch on a whim. I wanted to see if I could remember what the Martians were like without going to the source material. I remember words like "gold coin eyes" and that the Martians were thin. I wanted the character to have a curious but strong demeanor. I think I had the second story in mind when I did this drawing, the Martian anticipating the first rocket's arrival.

Going back to the story, there are some things I need to revisit, and the drawing itself leaves something to be desired. Still, it's a start! The first story is called "Rocket Summer." I'll post more on that soon along with other exploratory drawings of Martians, rockets, etc.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rift: Planes of Telara at Comic Con

Trion partnered with Wildstorm Comics to make a #0 issue comic to present at Comic-Con for Rift. It's weird to see my designs drawn by someone else, but cool at the same time! In the back of the comic there are some lore pages and a bestiary that happen to contain some designs I did. One of them is this Defiant guard.

You can see a peek of the comic here, or if you were at the con, maybe you picked one up for free?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

For Friends

This is a quick little watercolor study I did for a painting I'm working on for some friends. It's "based on" a combination of waterfalls and imagination, but mostly Multnomah falls near Portland, OR. Martian Chronicles stuff will be up soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010


This is how it's done. Bravo to Mr. Nolan & Co. I have rare moments in the theater where a movie does what Inception did to me. I may have to revisit/rethink some things...

See it!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mars Fever

The Seasons project is officially on hold. I have my idea, I'm ready to go, just. not. excited. The thing about personal work is that it's done late in the night or in spare moments, so if it becomes a chore that tends to show up in the work. I want to do the project, but as readers of this blog have probably figured out,  I often mash ideas into one another or just let them sit and get dusty. Sometime I miss them, sometimes not. I have wanted to do something with seasons for years. I also wanted to do something with 1984 for years, and that just popped up one day, so who can tell?

I can say that I'm pretty fired up about another idea I have wanted to do for years: do one illustration per story for every story in Ray Bradbury's masterful The Martian Chronicles. It will probably take a while, especially since I'm going to do it in strictly traditional media (watercolor and acrylic). No timetables, but that will be my focus for a while.

While I'm getting all nostalgic about my 90's childhood impressions of 1950's impressions of Mars, here are some tunes that have inspired my art recently:

Against Me! - White Crosses (Album)
Brandon Flowers - Crossfire (Single)
MGMT - Congratulations (Album)
Van Halen - Van Halen (Album)
The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards (Album)
The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs/Month of May 12" Single

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Final Thought Police (Maybe)

I think I'm done for now. At the very least, time to put in on a shelf and let it marinate.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best of E3

Rift Planes of Telara is featured by the New York Times as one of the Best Games of E3. Very cool! The show went pretty well for Trion with Rift and End of Nations getting some great attention. Also featured is Dead Space 2 which several of my friends over at EA are working on. Awesome guys, keep up the hard work! (I have so say as a side note that the Deus Ex trailer is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while...)

Here are some concepts that appear in the character "Calling" section of the website. The bird woman is an illustration I did using a very similar loose concept that Justin Sweet did for Trion as reference and the two males are original concepts for NPCs.

The screenshot is of the Defiant faction leader Asha Catari who I did the concept for. She was realized in reality at E3 as a booth babe.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Final Thought Policeman Portrait

Here's my final treatment on the thought policeman portrait. I'm making some headway with my projects now (I finally FINALLY wrote a first draft of one of the stories I'm working on!) It's great to be productive!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It's slooooow going, but I'm making a bit of headway on the seasons project. I'm into my reference now and I'm finally getting re-inspired. Here's a study of a twisted root tree on the path up to Vernal Falls in Yosemite.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More iPhone Painting, Reference Gathering

I just went on a trip with my wife and my in-laws to Yosemite last weekend. I love the regenerative power of the place, and by the end of two days there I was refreshed, inspired and ready to get cracking on some work. My Spring season painting stalled out because thematically it seemed sort of like a tired idea to me. Not that I don't want to do the seasonal paintings! I just find that since I do fantasy at work all day, I would like to do something a bit different for myself. I just dove into the Ken Burns documentaries about America's national parks, and that rekindled some old ideas. I'm going to merge them into the season idea, and I think I will have something a bit more interesting.

While in Yosemite I attempted to do an iphone painting on the top of Vernal Falls, one of my favorite places. I could barely see the colors right, even in the shade of a tree...come on Apple, make a strongly contrasting screen with good color that works in the sun! I beat myself up a bit for not just doing a quick watercolor but unfortunately there was only about 10-15 minutes to spare up there so I tried to really quickly knock it out.

The result was poor, but it pushed me to work more in the small format. I actually found that after several more paintings with a few different programs, the Sketchbook Mobile program is actually the best for the super quick mobile phone paintings. The interface seemed slow and unresponsive at first (hence my use of the Brushes app) but it grew on me and now I really like what it can do. Definitely a handy tool on the go. This is a quick one of my wife and my cat Charlie.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Playing Around

I really tried to resist the temptation to use my iphone as a painting tool because I figured, hey, if I'm going to paint from life, why not paint with traditional materials? After all, I use digital tools all day at work and the chance to use the traditional mediums I love is something I try to always take advantage of.

I broke down today though and downloaded the "Brushes" app made famous by the New Yorker Magazine cover illustrations. I thought of using the Skechbook Pro tool, but I found Brushes to be the most intuitive and most painting-like. This is a mundane shot of one of my bookshelves, my acrylic tray, and an old water container done with my finger. I think a stylus is a must. I'm still getting the hang of the thing, but it's fun (maybe too fun...)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Promises Promises

I'm still working on the Spring's getting a bit late now, but I figure later is better than never! I've been stewing the pieces for a while, and I think I have some other ideas as well that are a tangent. First things first though! Spring will be the next pieces I post. For now here are more costumed figure drawings from sessions at Trion.