Friday, December 13, 2013

Zbrush Thug Experiment 3

Here is the final experiment for now with the "thug" character that I was working with. I decided to do a full body painting, but this time I used a rough sketch as a base, then rendered out a lit zbrush head in the same position as the drawing, and placed it on the body. The head was not drag and drop though; the colors needed a lot of work, the facial expression was non existent, and lots of other little tweaks. I'm interested in seeing where future exercises like this can go from here.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Zbrush Thug Experiment 2

Here is a quick composite of several materials, some color work, and some paintover work on top of the previous post's model. As a test, it was pretty remarkable how fast it is to get lighting, color, etc, blocked in. I still have to play with finding the right balance of painted verus sculpted so that the piece does not feel like a painted over model and more like a well lit painting.

Thug Zbrush Experiment

I decided to dig deeper into zbrush this weekend and try something that is not an alien. Normally, I figure I can draw or paint something faster than bothering with a sculpt, but I wanted to challenge myself to create a human-based sculpt related to a story I'm working on. I did some ideations of busts from imagination, then chose a few to take further using reference. I then chose a final head and tried my hand at a sculpt. It was fun and I learned a lot, but obviously I have a whole lot to learn. I definitely could continue with the sculpt to make it feel more like the drawing.

I am going to continue playing with this and try a few other experiments. Hopefully they will yield interesting results.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last of the Speeds

Here are a few more of the 30 minute speeds. They will probably be my last for a while as I turn towards personal work and sketching. It's been a crazy year with lots of ups and downs. Now it is time to refocus on what I set out to do at the beginning: to work on the 52 stories project. Any progress is good progress!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 min Spitpaint "Red Thunder"

There is an artist's facebook group called Spitpaint that has 30 minute paint challenges. The group supplies new words or phrases for each day and artists are not allowed to use any photos in their work. This painting was for the phrase Red Thunder. I tried out some new brushes here that I am still getting used to, but I like some of the effects.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Living Planet Overtime

This was a failed 30 minute speedpaint that was nowhere near completion in the time limit. I took it further because I wanted to understand the way the flesh in the organs work. I don't really do gooey guts very often, so this seemed like as good a time as any to practice.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Late Night Root Study

This is a ballpoint pen study from a tree I saw on a recent hike.

Friday, November 08, 2013

New Orleans Man

Here is a watercolor I finally did based on a guy I saw in New Orleans on Royal Street. He was jamming out to the excellent jazz that filled the streets.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Deep V (Midlife Modern)

A warmup based on a quick demo I did for my vis dev class.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guardians of Middle Earth

Here are two pieces that I did through Concept Art House for the Guardians of Middle Earth game. The Hobbit is my favorite fantasy book (sorry LoTR!) and Elrond was always one of my favorite characters in the Tolkien universe, so it was a real treat to work on these character illustrations.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

3rd Eye Blind

A quick and funky jam.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Comic Con and Design Studio Press

Comic Con is almost upon us. The book I am a part of, Punch Drunk Moustache, will debut at the Design Studio Press booth on Saturday the 20th from 12:00-2:00. Many of the PDM artists will be there to chat and sign books. If you plan on attending, pop on over to the book's facebook page here and sign up for our event! We will also have some silly swag to hand out while the gettin's good.

See you there!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Caravaggio Study 02

Another Caravaggio study. This was a demo of sorts, showing my brother some stuff. Mainly I was trying to go as fast as I possibly could, using as few brushes as possible in as little time as possible. Gotta practice when I can! Hopefully my schedule will free up a little bit soon and I can get some new illos on here. There are some new things in the works. Being busy is no bad thing though!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Caravaggio 01

This is a master study of the great "Shadowist" Caravaggio. There were some things I noticed I needed to add to my painting technique lately, and I figured I would go to the source for such things: pooled light, great lost edges, and a lot more. Obviously, one could work on a Caravaggio study for a month or two and not discover everything, but this will have to do!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


This is a re-work of a post I did a while back. This will be the last post for a bit as I tackle some freelance that needs attention. I hope to get back to making more stuff and posting it here soon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Here is a design that has been in the back of my mind for a while. I wanted to evoke the horror that the Japanese are so well known for.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Show the Way

I'm trying out some stuff here to expedite things...quick and dirty.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

06 - Snow Day

April and May were twin thirteen year-old girls who lived on a remote data farm on the coldest quadrant of the planet Inshi. Their father was a technician who moved the family to pursue research only possible in the constant cold the planet afforded. The only way to or from the farm was to take the airlift, and workers and family members were strictly forbidden from venturing beyond the therm-wall.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Egg Sack Crawler Rough Sculptris

I'm playing around with sculptris, so I took the latest creature designs as an opportunity to learn. I am a super-noob at this 3d sculpt stuff, but I like it! I can definitely see the benefits. These will serve as a base for more detailed photoshop paintings. More to come...

Rejected Story Comp

This was supposed to be a comp for the next story, but I ditched it for another composition I am working on that has more movement and centers on the story better. Something nagged me about the piece while I was doing it. I started to get frustrated. I briefly considered doing a different piece, but I just kept working (classic art sin--don't succumb to the sunk-cost fallacy!)

I thought, "Hmm, the shapes are okay...but something is not right..."

I fussed and fussed...but the thing that bothered me was skillfully made clear by my wife, who said, "You know, you might want to get in there at eye level with the characters, since the story is about them."

Right on the money. As they used to say at work:


I am really glad I got to the root of the issue instead of fooling myself into thinking this was appropriate. In any case, I still like it as a comp, so here it is. A bit too Star Wars...old habits die hard ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Creature Feature

I'm in the middle of a portfolio revamp, and I'm doing some new designs. Here are some ideas for three new creatures. They don't have interesting names yet, only descriptive names that serve as jump-off points like:

Hairy Deer Lizard
Alien Mega Vulture
Egg Sack Crawler

I still have to take these further before they are ready to finish. This is just the first exploratory ideation phase. If some of these turn out, I might incorporate them into some of my stories in the future. Sometimes it's good to let the visuals inspire a story instead of the other way around.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Gator Head Study

I went on a trip to New Orleans recently, and I brought back a gator head. I was feeling pretty uninspired today, so I set the head up on my Wacom tablet and did a little study in blue pencil.

I'm pretty well behind in the 52 stories project, but I'm still trucking. I was playing with the idea of doing some traditional work for the story illustration, and by the end of the gator head study, I decided to give it a try. I'm going to go watercolor on the next one. We'll see how it goes. I'm determined to get all 52 done, no matter how long it takes!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Punch Drunk Moustache Update

The final files for the book were sent off to the publisher today. It is a great relief to wrap up work on the book. Many thanks are due to our designer Wilfred, and a big thanks to the pros who gave us endorsements. Another great round of thanks is due for Alice Carter who gave us a wonderful foreward, and Colin Fix, who gave us a wonderful afterward.

I can't wait to see the book in hand!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Desert/Joshua Trees

Here are some images from a trip I recently took to the desert. I have never spent much time in the desert, and I found it to be a very peaceful place. I know that Bill Watterson and Mobius found a lot of inspiration there, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for anyone.

I ultimately found time to gather my thoughts, refocus, and get inspired again. More illustrations, stories and sketches are on the way.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Clone Wars, Adieu

There was this announcement from Lucasfilm today. That means the end of the regular seasons of Clone Wars, but they mentioned that they have plans to release more material. There was a video they featured that contained two characters I worked on, a yellow and red Jedi pair with otherworldly hair. They were really fun to work on, and I'm glad they will be seen, somehow, somewhere. The yellow Jedi was directly taken from one of Iain McCaig's drawings for Episode II (as seen in the art-of book I pored over when I was in college!) It was really fun to play with the design and make it "Clone Wars."

I post this stuff up periodically to show what I had a hand in, but honestly, as I've said before, I am just a small part of the larger clockwork that is Clone Wars. The Clone Wars team, all the people I worked with and learned from over the last couple years, you are all amazing. I am lucky and humbled to have been a part of it.

I don't know exactly what the future has in store for me, but I will count my time with the Lucasfilm Animation people as one of the high-points.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Starlighter Ideas

Here are some of the ideas that helped me visualize the starlighter creatures. I initially wanted spider-like creatures, but veered into strange territory thinking about starlight collection. I imagined the body parts that would allow for efficient starlight collection, and I thought of the deep sea. These were very fun to do since I have not done as much pencil-and-paper drawing as I should.

On to the next story!

VFX Industry Woes

There is a great debate happening regarding the present state of affairs in the VFX and animation industry. One article on the situation I found interesting can be found here.

This much is clear: something needs to happen to make American visual effects a viable industry going into the future—one that delivers quality products at fair prices and treats its workers (artists!) with the respect they are due. I don't know what the solution is, but I'm glad the conversation is getting more attention.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Finale Arc

The season 5 finale arc of Clone Wars is airing. I was very very lucky to be a part of these episodes; they are, in my opinion, the best of the show to date. The whole team did top notch work and really pushed the bar higher.

My contribution was character design work on Letta Turmond and the male human Jedi temple workers. I also did some underworld paintings, but the really interesting thing for me was how my designs for the underworld portal and pipe network outside the Republic military base was taken to another level by modeler Jono Farmer and the story team. They took my okay design and made it awesome. It also didn't hurt that the pipe network followed the absolutely stunning Republic Military Base design by my friend Will Nichols.

I have to say again, my work was only a very small part of a larger team effort. Any design work I did was brought to life with amazing animation, camera work, lighting, modeling, textures, voice work, sound design, music and direction.

The season's final episode airs next Saturday. Check it out! You can also see the first three episodes of the arc at

Thursday, February 21, 2013

05 - Starlighters

In the stillness of eternal night on the dark side of the moon Aegis 3, a herd of starlighters fed. They were called starlighters by men, but men only knew Aegis 3 for a short time. The starlighters were far older.

Monday, February 11, 2013

04 Memory Loss

Benjamin Cook talked to his dead wife as he did every night, but this night was special. Benjamin, or Benji, as his wife Connie called him, was very excited about a new device he was about to complete. He loved talking to his wife with the earpiece and microphone, but he desperately wanted to see her again. He wanted her to see him. It was nearly the second anniversary of her death, and Benjamin wanted his surprise to be ready.

"Honey, I have something pretty great to show you tomorrow night," he said.

"What do you mean show me Benji? I can't see anything," Connie replied.

"I know, I know. You have to wait just a bit longer. Tomorrow will be special, I promise…I just need one thing," he said.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


Three stories in, and I'm pausing from the 52 stories for a short time while I crush out the last of a big project I'm working on. There are only so many hours in the day, unfortunately. I'll be back next week with a new story and drawing!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

03 Jump

Tyler stood of the edge of the spillway and looked down. He was sure he would have the courage to jump, but now he had second thoughts.

"C'mon Boss, piss or get off the pot," one of the jumpers jeered.

Tyler took a deep breath and tried to remember why he was there; what he had to do. It all started when Mateo crashed yesterday.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

02 Sleepover

Sarina was in big trouble, but she couldn't resist giggling at her handiwork. Her pranks did not amuse the camp administrator.

"I am sure this is hilarious to you miss Tindall, but you are the only one laughing. Now, go back to your cabin and report to your troop. You will remain there for the duration of the expedition until we liftoff tomorrow morning. No more shenanigans or it will be the last night you spend with these scouts." He opened his logbook and began typing. Sarina gathered her pack and walked back down the dirt path towards the camp quarters. When she returned to her bunk and set her things down, her troop leader was not there.

"Where is Elise?" Sarina asked. Her friend Lori rolled over and looked at her.

"She's cleaning up for the night at the showers," Lori said. "She should be back anytime. What did the boss want?"

"Yeah, did you get in trouble? Spill the beans Rina!" the other scouts woke up and pressed her for details. 

"Are you kicked out of scouts?"

Sunday, January 06, 2013

01 Glory Days

 "Welcome to Bargain Oasis, have a great day." Stanley and Norman half-heartedly recited greetings with equally half-hearted smiles whenever the rare citizen wandered in. Most of Stan and Norm's time was spent reminiscing about their glory days. Stanley reminded Norman of the time they narrowly escaped capture when they drove through the Eastern Archibald Pass. Norman tried to best Stanley with his recollection of the time they fought off seven men in a bar after someone called them the "dickless duo."

Stanley and Norman's brawling days were long passed.