Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Daily Sketch

At the risk of posting too much, and exposing myself to ridicule, here is a recent sketch I did.

I really want to start doing a drawing every day. To improve my overall drawing ability, especially in the area of figures, faces & hands. Of course, my lazy human self would rather gaze into an unending Twitter feed, or go eat junk food. But if I can manage to pull myself away from all the dreadful distractions of this modern era we live in, I sometimes manage to do something half decent in my sketchbook.

It had been far too long (shamefully) since I drew a portrait from photo reference. So I felt pretty rusty and (full disclosure) I stretched this one out over a couple of days. I would come back and adjust things here and there. Overall I liked it. Still not sure about that left eye though...

And if you're wondering why this thing isn't COMPLETELY RENDERED, then I'll refer you to my friend and colleague the great Mr. Gregory Manchess: "On Knowing When to Stop"

Hope to post more Daily Drawings in the future!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pecos Bill: Comic Book Cover Process

Right after Christmas I was invited to contribute a variant cover to the Pecos Bill kid's comic book series created by Brian DuPont. Brian's Pecos Bill series explores the possibility that the legendary Pecos Bill lived throughout the centuries, and still has tall-tale adventures in the modern era. Throw in a steam-powered jet-pack named Widowmaker (created by inventor Nikola Tesla), and you have a pretty exciting adventure series.

The idea really appealed to me, so I went to work on a cover for Issue #3. The style I ended up with was a lot different than the work I usually do, but I was pleased with the finished product. I painted it from start to finish entirely in Photoshop.

Here are some progress shots to give you a small taste of the way this thing was put together:

I started out with a really tiny thumbnail sketch or two, and a digital color comp (that's pretty important in any color work I do. Really serves as a guide when I go into the painting stage).

The linework, completed digitally. This was a new step for me, but digital comic art linework is actually pretty great, especially if you have a brush that has a bit of variance and texture in it to simulate a real pen. I used one from this set by Shaun Bryant: 

This is a pretty big jump from the last image, but hopefully you sort of get the idea. I start out with painting large areas of flat color. Then I use those areas as selections in order to paint details, more color, and texture over the flat color. The background is made up of some gradients, spatter brushes (for stars) and hand-painted comets! (soft brush+texture brush for tail). Nothing fancy!

So there you have it! I had to complete the entire piece in about 3 weeks in order to meet the deadline, so that was a challenge. I look forward to exploring comics further in the future. 

In the meantime, consider contributing to Brian's Kickstarter campaign - you can receive a print copy of my cover if you donate a little more! Check out the campaign here: 

And you can learn more about Brian and his comics here: 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fisherman's Song

As you may recall, last year I completed a new series of four new drawings to add to my portfolio. These were also included in the sketchbook "Drawing the Sword" which I also released last year. As part of that effort, I began coloring these pieces digitally. This was the only one I completed, but I really enjoyed the process, and I love the way the colors came out on it. I also submitted this piece, along with my Winter Dragon piece to the Spectrum Annual this year. It was my first submission to the publication.

Above is a bit of the progress that took it from basic idea to finished drawing. Unfortunately I don't have any WIP shots of the coloring process, but basically it involved large areas of flat color, then working my way up to the highlights and details with some various color adjustment layers over the finished color.

I wanted to convey sort of a carefree summer feeling with this piece. My brothers and I spent countless summer days exploring creeks and woods together when I was a kid. It's good to get out and explore your world. It makes you feel truly alive. That's what this Fisherman is up to with his turtle friend. They're just out there to enjoy the fresh air and to have a good time with each other!

Hope you like it!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sketch Dailies: Sherlock

Hi everyone! It's been too long since my last blog post, so I apologize. Here is a quick thirty minute sketch I did today for "Sketch Dailies", a sketch challenge over on Twitter. Sherlock Holmes has long been a favorite of mine. I love A. Conan Doyle's stories, and I have several different volumes of Holmes' adventures. I will occasionally break them out and dive into the London Fog along with the sleuth and the ever faithful Dr. Watson (preferably on rainy, windy nights like tonight!) Anyway, this was just a super fast drawing in my sketchbook with some Photoshop icing on top. Also, you'd be surprised how much contrast and mood you can get using only 3 colors...

In other news, I've been working on projects that I haven't had time to post about (more soon maybe?). I just completed a variant comic book cover for an indie comic artist, which was a lot of fun. I'm in negotiations to begin illustrating a collection of short stories for a local author. I'll be doing some interior illustrations along with a full-color cover. It's going to be a bit time-consuming, and the deadline is in April, so I'm eager to get started soon. 

And finally, I submitted to Spectrum for the first time! It's doubtful that I'll be accepted into the annual book, but the act of submitting was a big deal for me. I submitted two pieces that I did last year. I'll keep you posted on any news about that.

Okay! Well, glad you stopped by! Hope to have more art up soon. Now, back to painting!