Category Archives: Special Projects

Raven Bear Painting

Since we have the Full Sail Game Art and Computer Animation Art Show coming up in less than a week, I felt compelled to take a quick break from my large animal painting (that I knew I wouldn’t finish in time) in order to complete one or two pieces for the show.  I’ve been sitting on my Raven Bear for a very long time and decided it was time to pull the trigger on it and wrap it up.  The whole of the painting was a little dark in the background so I decided to pop a little light on the brick wall in the back so the values weren’t so uniformly dark.


Treasure Map to Ghost Gold

In planning my daughter’s 7th birthday party, a ghost hunter themed celebration, I was called upon to create a treasure map to ghost gold that was apparently buried in our back yard.  I constructed the map from memory, sketching it first and then inking it with my micron pens on bristol board.  Once I was done, I scanned it, laid out coordinates in Photoshop and embellished it with a few ornaments.  After printing out 16 copies, one for each kid, I soaked and then spattered them with coffee and tossed them in the oven for 10 minutes at fairly high heat to weather them.  I think the effect worked pretty well.  I really enjoyed the process and think I might enjoy making more treasure maps in the future.  Props to any of you who figure out the clue at the bottom.  It was a little challenging for the seven-year-olds but once I helped them a bit, they were off and running!


One Year of Lunchbox Drawings

Last year my wife and I drew a picture for our daughter’s lunchbox every day (mine are the ones on the right.)  Just speaking for myself, it turned into quite an undertaking.  I would wake up an hour early every morning and use it as an opportunity to work on my craft.  Near the end it started to get a little difficult coming up with ideas, though we did draw on sight words and things that Ruby was learning in school at the time.  It was a great exercise and while Ruby seldom mentioned them, I think she appreciated them.

Thanks to my wife, Dolly, for also taking the pictures every day and putting together the awesome video.

Raven Bear Charcoal Illustration

It has been a terrible long time since my last post.  I’m prepared to blame it on being hacked and having to reconstruct my site from the ground up (the hacker that got into my site had some serious coding skills and really did a good job of hiding what he did.)  So now I’ve installed some security which I hope will do the trick of keeping the wolves at bay.  Now, onto the post at hand.

I’ve been splitting my time between a lot of different things lately, not the least of which is a RPG I’ve been working on for some time.  The rules are getting pretty solid with what meager play-testing I’ve been able to accomplish and so now I am talking to a group of really talented artists who are planning to help me out with supplemental art.  Each artist is exceptional in their style and bring some really great work to the table.  One of the things I’m trying to do, in addition to painting a pretty clear, vivid picture of the setting, is to have a variety of styles represented in the game.  I always enjoyed seeing a bunch of artist’s interpretations and styles in previous games which seems to be something that has gone away in some part.  I hope to bring that back for my game.

I did this value pass for this little painting of a bear with a raven’s head and have intentions to finish the painting sometime soon.  I will, of course, be bringing my painting technique to add to the mix.  I bounced around the idea of learning more digital technique for the game illustrations but I have re-thought that since my original idea was to have a wide variety of styles and I think my work would be a nice addition.


Mr Turtle’s Big Finish

So once again here I am offering up excuses why I didn’t post last week (shame on me) but I was deep in the process of finishing up another children’s book, “Mr Turtle’s Big Finish” written by Robin Hoffman and illustrated by some bone head who can’t seem to get a post out every week.  Guess that would be me.  This book I’ve been working in acrylic washes so it is a little different from my charcoal and heavy gel technique.  Naturally it is lighter on the texture but I like the way it came out.  Here are a few of the images…

mrTurtle_final_page01_noT_2014_10_17 mrTurtle_final_page04_noT_2014_10_17 mrTurtle_final_page06_noT_2014_10_17 mrTurtle_final_page09_noT_2014_10_17

Mr Turtle’s Big Finish Concepts and Canons

I decided it was time I stop dallying and start posting again.  I’ve actually been super hard at work on the Ruby June book (two more paintings to punch up) but have neglected to scan any work for a while.  In the meantime, I’ve begun concepting work on a new book that I am collaborating on with Robin Hofmann.  The book is called Mr Turtle’s Big Finish.  For some reason turtles pose a difficult issue for me in that they tend to have that static torso which can limit the poses you can achieve, or at least poses that can really benefit from a strong action line.  I worked up some varied styles, playing around with the orientation of the form in the run and with the overall proportions.


I also sketched up some preliminary canon changes to the head and features, trying to really give a lot of options that we can choose from to get the proper feel for Mr Turtle.  I’m not sure why but Mr. Turtle sounded pretty formal to me so I always envisioned him with glasses.


Betsy the Angel page 1

I started illustrating a new children’s book for a colleague of mine and had a little trouble finding a style that would both match the feel of the written work and make me happy aesthetically.  It took two days of sketching and looking through my inspiration folder to finally come up with a look.  I decided on a loose pen and ink style with acrylic washes.  It was nice to take a step away from the heavier textural technique I’ve been using of late and play with washes a little again.  I’m also working on opening up my compositions.  I usually have a tighter compositional arrangement but I have found that for books, you want much more open space.  That is also proving a challenge, fighting against my instinct to push in.  In any case, I feel the first page turned out well enough for me to put it in your collective faces for a look-see.


Print and Calligraphy for First Chapter of Book Project

Finally got around to getting one of the lino cut prints done.  If it weren’t for art shows forcing me away from that huge Ruby June book project, I probably wouldn’t be posting nearly as often (which still isn’t nearly enough.)  It took some tries with different applications of ink, different pressures, and different paper types to get the print to look the way I wanted it to.  And then I had to hand letter the calligraphy.  It made me really appreciate what it was to make books before the printing press came along.  I would have liked the ink to match the color of the print better but the darkness is growing on me.

Funny note, after I had worked on the lettering for 4 straight hours a colleague came up to me and inquired if I had an editor because “there are grammatical errors in it.”  After resisting the urge to smash the thing over his head, I pulled myself together and showed it anyway.  I’ve always written by sound and know there are probably many mysteries of grammar that are eluding me but it would have been nice to preface the information with a “hey, that is looking nice… but…”  People skills, people!  Anyway, I’ll probably have someone smarter than I have a look over it before it gets attention again.


Birthday Monsters

Had to take another break to put together some large birthday monsters for my daughter’s birthday.  They are versions of monsters I designed for a book series I have worked on and shall probably revisit at some point again.  Fun stuff.  I had to do these super quick so I rendered them with the brush pen, scanned them, brought them into Photoshop and layered in the colors.  Hopefully she will like  them.



Vector Image of Chapter 3 Lino Cut for New Book

In this print our heroine is treated cruelly both by her adoptive parents and three passing travelers who, later, turn out to be brigands.  She knows a bad guy when she sees one!  One of men has a huge, wild dog.  The group, expecting to see some sport, are sorely disappointed by how it treats the girl.

I’m still working this one out a bit.  I’m thinking I need to apply some more texture to the dog or the floor to balance out the texture around the men.  Probably the floor as I don’t want to make the dog unrecognizable.  In any case, it is getting there.