Sunday, October 28, 2007

Europe! PARIS - London - Rome

This summer we went to Europe for 2 weeks.

Rainy night in Paris

Paris was quite an adventure. We arrived at 10pm from a 14 hour flight. The airline lost our luggage, so we didn't have any of our tour books with us. At baggage claim they asked what hotel we'd be staying at, but we were staying at a friend's apartment and we didn't know the phone number! So we were in doubt if we'd see our luggage even if the airline found it.

The Louvre is freaking huge!!!

We caught a taxi (that wasn't really a taxi - be careful in Paris!) and got a ride to the apartment. He dropped us off and we wandered around the street until we found the address. We had the key and got into the foyer, but it turned out there were dozens of apartments there and we didn't have the actual apartment number. So we wandered the streets of Paris until we found a 24 hour internet cafe. With hope we looked up our email to see if our friend had sent us the apartment number. He gave us tons of great info, but no apartment number! We found out he was currently in Sweden and left a phone number.

Sketches of statues in the Louvre

The Louvre is an endless collection of amazing classical art

Our phone card was in the luggage and we had no luck using the phones to call Sweden. By chance we contacted a friend in the US through instant messenger who was able to call Sweden for us - just in the nick of time. We got the apartment number and promised our US benefactor some fine European chocolates when we returned to the States.

Sketch inside the d'Orsay

When we arrived back at the apartments, tired, cold and wet (it had been raining all night) we were looking forward to a hot shower and some rest. The apartments had no numbers on the doors! Molly had the clever idea of ringing the buzzer of the apartment number while one of us ran up and down the halls listening for which door the buzzer rang behind. Well, that worked and we finally made it in. We found out the next day that all of Paris is basically closed on Sunday so we couldn't get even buy any decent clothes or toiletries.

The d'Orsay had some incredible paintings

We were in a great location in Paris and did enjoy the rest of our time there, but that first night, in addition to some fierce jet lag, took its toll. When we went to the Louvre, and later to the d'Orsay we were so tired that we ended up taking naps on the benches there. I'm disappointed at how little drawing we got done there. In addition we were paranoid about missing our luggage call, and didn't stray far from the apartment.

I was most impressed with the architecture in Paris
We stayed only a few blocks from Notre Dame

At the last hour on our last day in Paris the airline delivered our luggage! It was so nice to change into comfy clothes and have our toiletries.

Mass in Notre Dame was beautiful

Early the next morning we rushed to Charles de Gaul airport to catch our plane to London. Even though we allowed for 2 hours at the airport we just barely caught our plane, they almost didn't let us on!

More on our Europe saga later...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

More Gathering Magic

A couple more Magic: the Gathering cards have been revealed by Wizards of the Coast. Kinsbaile Skirmisher and the ridiculously-fun-to-illustrate Boggart Mob. Did these in acrylics, it felt good to have real paint under the fingernails. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Demon Swarm

She's in a whole lotta trouble, or maybe its the demons that are really in trouble. Another simulated pen & ink sketch. I was trying to create a lot of movement with vertical space, using all diagonals trying to avoid any horizontal shapes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gathering some Magic

I've had the good fortune to work on the latest Magic: the Gathering card set with the astounding Jeremy Jarvis, who in addition to being the art director is a terrifyingly talented watercolor illustrator in his own right. The set is called Lorwyn. Wizards recently posted online some of the cards I did here. So I guess its safe now to post them on my blog. These were done in photoshop at a resolution of 3000 x 2400 pixels (that's 8x10 at 300 rez)

Update: Nath's Buffoon was featured in Magic Arcana on October 16, 2007.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another similated pen & ink sketch

I found it pretty fun last week to experiment with getting a pen & ink look in photoshop. Here is another one. I enjoy how it feels like the whites are scratched out as if on scratchboard. This one is some sort of swamp dragon fighting a sorceress.

Monday, September 17, 2007

yeah, of course I'm a Frazetta fanboy

I've been horrible about posting regularly on this blog! Unfortunately the career I have chosen, as most artists will tell you, is incredibly time consuming. Lame excuses aside, here is some new sketches.

The first time I saw a Frazetta book was in 1984 when I stayed over at a friend's house. His dad owned one of those "Fantastic art of Frazetta" books, and I totally geeked out on it. I didn't see another Frazetta book for many years after that, which is unfortunate because it probably would have been useful for my artistic development in high school.

Recently I was thumbing through my Frazetta books (I've since collected every Frazetta art book I could find) and really admiring his powerful pen and ink drawings. His compositions are phenomenal and his figures always have a power and movement and life that I'd give my left foot to be able to do (just need to keep my arms for drawing!).

I was wondering if I could take the inspiration of his drawings and do some sketches on the computer simulating ink.

Oh well, maybe if I keep practicing...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Complete Champion

It's been quite a while since blogging here, sorry! I've taken a new job at Planet Moon as an art lead working on a very cool un-announced game. But I continue to do illustration work, most recently for Wizards of the Coast fulfilling a childhood dream of illustrating a Dungeons and Dragons book: Complete Champion. And also some other work for them, but you'll have to wait until Wizards publishes those before you can see them. ;)

Here are 3 they've recently released that I can now show:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Charcoal Figure Drawing

This is one of the few old figure drawings I kept from school, it is an 18"x24" charcoal drawing down in 1 sitting (about 2 hours).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Figure sketches with brush pen

Figures from life drawn with a brush pen. Most of these were 2 minutes or less. The middle right one was 5 min.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Samurai Blast

This samurai is slamming his katana into the ground so hard it is blasting the other samurai away. That's the idea of this sketch from my sketchbook anyway.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Another Digital Sketch

Here is another digital sketch from life. Some chiaroscuro action. 20 minutes.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Digital figure sketches

So a while back I took our laptop into a figure drawing workshop with a Wacom tablet and sketched from life onto the computer in PhotoShop. It was an interesting experiment, but too much stuff to lug around and set-up.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Green vase

A little watercolor still life. The idea was predominantly cools with the one warm pitcher in the middle to be the focal point, but the green vase with the pattern ended up being much more interesting as I was working on it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Digital tree sketch

I recently got a hold of several brushes for Photoshop, and I was playing around seeing what I could do with them. Some very interesting effects.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oil landscape sketch

Its been a cold winter, hey I thought this was California! What's up with that? I'm hoping it warms up soon so I can go out plein air painting. This is an oil sketch, about 8" x 10". This is a basic composition of 3 horizontal lines: foreground, middle ground, background. A focal point that has the most contrast and form, with a counter point: that little church. The sky is probably too saturated, but it was really cyan that day. I like how all the color variation occupies a thin strip across the center while the top is essentially monochromatic blue and the bottom is almost monochromatic neutrals. Imagine all of that thought in such a simple little composition.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Clothed figure drawings

Figure drawing workshops are generally unclothed, which is great for studying the figure, but I enjoy studying folds and fabric on the figure too. Inventing convincing folds from the imagination is very difficult, and even harder if an artist doesn't study real folds.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Watercolor Head Sketches in the Key of Melancholy

Some watercolor sketches where I used warm tones as the foundation to create an emotional response with the viewer. I like trying to capture melancholy, it is one of my favorite emotions in music and art. Something about that feeling strikes a deep chord that is both pleasant and just the slightest bit sad. It makes me think of lost childhood memories and forgotten places and people on the fringes of memory.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Teeny sketchbook

For a while I carried around this really tiny sketchbook, I think it was like 2.5" across. It was great for when I was at the airport waiting. It turns out the airport is a fantastic place to draw people since they are sitting around for extended periods of time and you get to see all types of interesting people.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hi-key still life

I was exploring a composition with white on white, and put a darker object in for an accent. This was done in acrylics, the original is about 12" x 16". I did this at a time that I began using masonite as a painting surface.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Digital sketch

Most of my professional work is done in Photoshop, but I do dabble with Painter. I love how organic Painter looks but I get frustrated with the interface. I wish they'd adopt more Photoshop-like interface, or that Photoshop would adopt more of the way Painter mixes color. Ideally Photoshop would just add a "smudge" effect to their brush controls, where you could introduce an amount of smudge to the brush from 0% to 100%. Currently the only way to do it is to use the smudge tool, but it is very limited and it doesn't add color when smudging, it only smears around existing pixels. Anyway, I try to practice everyday, sometimes it is in my sketchbook and sometimes it will be something digital. This is a quick little portrait I did in Painter, but I confess I ended up in Photoshop with it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Redwood Marina

This was a little watercolor study done near Redwood Shores, near the PDI studio. I recall struggling with the color of the shadows to keep them from getting too muddy, it was getting later in the day and the shadows were getting dark and hard to read the color. Generally the perspective is working and the composition is okay though the focal point could be better and the color isn't as pleasing as I was hoping for. The main point I was going for, capturing the light, works well enough that I'm posting it here. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Figure sketches in gold and sepia

Since art school I have generally attended weekly figure drawing workshops to at least maintain or hopefully improve my figure drawing skills. As an experiment I did these sessions with a gold colored marker and a sepia ink pen just to get a different look. Sometimes just using unique mediums or colors can add some pizazz to routine drawings.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Watercolor Sketches

John Singer Sargent said he carried watercolors "in case of emergencies". I have a love/hate relationship with watercolors. On one hand they are immediate, portable, and make beautiful marks on the paper. On the other hand I find them unforgiving and nearly uncontrollable! I often carry watercolors for "emergencies" and they can be fun until they become frustrating. I've long since given up the notion I'll ever master this medium, but I do enjoy sketching outdoors with them occasionally.

Acrylic Quick Studies

While I love oils, I work naturally in acrylics. The reason I take to acrylics is that it forces me to avoid some bad habits: over blending and noodling. These were done at a figure painting workshop, each of these is 20 minutes! I used techniques I learned from Craig Nelson's quick studies class. Craig is a great teacher, he has a way of teaching artists to overcome their fears and just going for it. His book and video on quick studies are good lessons for anyone interested in painting in oils or acrylics.

This was another acrylic quick study done on location in Sausalito.

Friday, January 12, 2007

San Francisco Wharf sketches

These are some pen & ink sketches I did in my sketchbook near and around the San Francisco wharf. I don't do nearly as much of this kind of sketching as I like, never seems to be enough time.