Thursday, December 15, 2011

Watts Atelier 2012 Winter Schedule

The NEW Winter 2012 class schedule for the Watts Atelier is available. The Fall term is about to end and we recommend early registration to secure a seat. Classes will sometimes fill up quick. The new session starts January 9th. Here are the classes I will be teaching:

Tuesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm

Tuesdays 7:00pm-10:00pm

Click on a class above to be directed to the class page. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spectrum Miss-Credit

There was a miss-credit in Spectrum 19 this year. I was credited for a piece Chris Rahn did. I'd be more than willing to take credit for anything Chris painted,(man this guy can paint!)but I can't in good nature sit back to enjoy this one. He deserves to be rightfully acknowledged. Congrats on getting a full page in Spectrum Chris!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fantasy Art Magazine China Article

Fantasy Art Magazine China did an article on me about 4 years ago. I was recently contacted again by the editor for a follow up article. Once again the magazine is in Chinese and I can't read a word, but the article looks nice. You can view the PDF of the article HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Innistrad Magic Cards

Here are a couple of new Magic card that were released in the Innistrad set. The zombie one is 16x12 oil on masonite and the siege machine one is 8x10 oil on masonite.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drogo, Viserion, Rhaegal

Just got back from IlluXCon and it was another amazing trip. That show is so awesome! I met a lot of new people, some of which whos work I've been following for a while now. I got to catch up with a some old friends as well. There are a lot of changes happening with that show in the next 2yrs that I'm really looking forward to. New location, bigger exposure, and much more. Make sure to head on over to the IlluXCon offical site to get all of the latest.

Above is a tryptic painting from one of my favorite book series. I've been wanting to do a painting from "A Song of Ice and Fire" for a while now. I finally found some time to work on this personal piece. They are 3 seperate 8x10 paintings in a 36" custome frame. The painting is available for purchase. Contact me for more info.

Friday, October 7, 2011

IlluXCon 2011 Tease and Info

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. My wife and I had our first kiddo on Sept 18th and as you can imagine, that keeps us very busy. With IlluXCon less than a month away I wanted to give a tease at one of the paintings I'll be bringing. Yes, yes, more dragons. :) I also wanted to mention that I will be doing a live critique panel at IlluXCon this year along side fellow artists Dan Dos Santos, Lars Grant-West, and RK Post. If you're at IlluXCon make sure to stop by and say hi. I'll have several new works along with new prints.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Watts Atelier 2011 Fall Schedule

The NEW Fall 2011 class schedule for the Watts Atelier is available. The Spring term is about to end and we recommend early registration to secure a seat. Classes fill up quick. The new session starts October 10th. Here are the classes I will be teaching:

Tuesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm

Tuesdays 7:00pm-10:00pm

Click on a class above to be directed to the class page. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New WoW Card

Here is a WoW card I did a while back, I'm not sure exactly when it was released, so this might be old news. The original is 11x14 oil on masonite and will be available for purchase at IlluXCon this Nov.

Friday, August 19, 2011

2011 Chesley Award!!!

I got some good news today! Amorphous Drake has won me a Chesley Award for the Gaming Related category. Amorphous Drake was done for Sony Online's Legends of Norrath card game. There was some amazing work nominated this year. I feel very honored to be represented amongst such amazing talent. Congrats to everyone who was nominated and to everyone who won their category. Irene Gallo has put a post on her Tor Blog that announces the nominees and winners.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On The Shelves: "The Chinese Contemporary Distinguished Oil Painter: Zhang Hongnian"

Sorry for the lack of my new work showing up on the blog. I've been doing a lot of new work. A ton of Magic cards, and I did my first cover for a Forgotten Realms book. I'll show the work when I can! But in the mean time, here is a "On The Shelves" post for you.

I first heard of this artist from a student at the school I teach at. Zhang Honginian had done work for National Geographic in the early 2000's. I remember seeing it and being amazed. Now I was introduced to his work again last year and found that he had a book. He paints a variety of subject matter, but the work I'm most impressed with is his epic Chinese narratives. This is a very nice book! It's 15 x 10.5 in size which makes for some great full size images and lots of close detail shots. Just under 200pgs, the book is full of the artist's best work. It comes in a hard book sleeve, the quality of the book is one of the best I've seen. With a price tag of $180, you might think twice before buying the book. If you're a fan of his work and good books, this is a must have for your collection. You can find more about the book and the artist at his website here: Zhang Hongnian

Here are some samples of his work, most if not all are in the book:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Painting From The Masters - Student Work

I'd like to share some paintings from my Painting From the Masters class last term. The class is designed to give the students a chance to learn a painting technique from a master painter who's work they are inspired by. The class is designed for a beginner or advanced painter. The beginner will learn about mixing color, paint application, what materials best suit a situation, and how to see color for value. The advanced student learns the more subtle techniques- shape design, edge manipulation, and other various painting techniques. I think painting from the masters is one of the greatest ways for a student to learn about painting. In the end each student comes out with an awesome painting to hang on their wall! Here are some paintings done by my students during the course:

Cynthia Mahlberg after Morgan Weistling

Jim Woodhead after Norman Rockwell

Tom Sabourin after Joaquin Sorolla

Tom Sabourin after N.C. Wyeth

Ju Oshiro after Daniel Gerhartz

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Goblin Corps Illustration -Step by Step

It's been a while since I've done any kind of tutorial and since The Goblin Corp book was just released I thought it might make a good one.

First let me talk about how I got the assignment. It was my first trip to IlluXCon in 2009 and my first time anywhere showcasing my work. When Pat Wilshire invited me to the event I have to admit I had many reservations, mainly because I thought I wasn't ready. I would have to travel across country, ship all of my work and supplies out, set up a booth, show my work with lots of amazing artists some of whom I've been admiring since I was a kid. I swallowed my fears and agreed to do the show. It was the best thing I could have done for my career to this date.

Pat set my booth up right in the thick of it. I had Brom to my right, Don Maitz to my left, and Dan Dos Santos and Larry Elmore right across from me. The pond I was swimming in suddenly felt a lot bigger. As I was getting set up, I was already getting positive responses on my work. This helped put my nerves at ease. To make a long story short: I made lots of new friends, sold some work, and made some very valuable contacts, including Lou Andres who commissioned me to do The Goblin Corps cover. I guess my point is, make yourself accessible and self-promote professionally. Networking is one of the best ways to get noticed.

Step 1- Thumbnails
My first step after receiving and reading the manuscript is to do thumbnails. I want to get out as many ideas as possible so, I fill sketchbook pages with little composition ideas. All the while I'm thinking about the book cover template I will have to stick within. For example- 1/4" bleed around the image, title of the book, authors name, etc. I try to stay in the thumbnail phase as long as possible. The longer I'm in this phase the more interesting(not always good)the sketches get. It forces me to try the unconventional. Now I may end up going with one of my first few sketches in the end, but I still like to see my options. No one sees these except me.

Step 2-Rough Comps/Sketches
After I narrow down a few that I like, I'll do little qouache comps or rough sketches to show my art director my thoughts. I keep these crude and simple, no need to spend a lot of time making these pretty, these are just to get basic ideas out. Once the AD has had time to look them over we discuss what we like and don't like. I then get a better idea of what the AD likes and either continue the sketches or move onto the next phase depending if the AD likes one in particular.

Step 3- Detailed Sketch
Once the AD is happy with the compositon I do a sketch showing a bit more detail and my ideas for the smaller designs. I will now reference books, images on the internet, other artist's work, and movies for as much reference and inspiration as possible. In this phase is where the AD will get to make changes to the overall designs like porportions, specific costume or environment details, etc.

Step 4-Shooting Ref
In this part of the illustration process, I either borrow or buy costumes and props, and either hire a model or use friends to get my reference. Most of the time I use myself or my wife, it's the cheapest and most accessible way to go. I try and shoot all of my photos from one vantage point that's as close to my horizon line in my sketch as possible. Sometimes a reference shot I shoot works better than what's in a sketch, use it! If you hire a good model, let them give you ideas, sometimes it's for the best. You also have to be a good director, knowing when and how to push your models.

Step 5- Final Drawing
After filtering and printing out all of my reference, I do one last drawing. I usually blow up my rough sketch and drop the opacity on it so you can barely see it. I then print out the rough onto archival bristol paper and do a final drawing. I do this because it saves time, and I can help carry over that "fresh" feeling the initial sketch had. Using my reference photos I can now put that extra layer of reality into the drawing. I figure out all of the nuts and bolts, the last details and designs.

Step 6- The Painting
I then use a projector to transfer the sketch onto a surface. Most of the time I paint on heat tempered gessoed Masonite. I don't have any pics of the process of my painting, but I'll briefly describe my main process. I usually wash in my colors and values with a thinned layer of oils. I'm mainly looking for the overall mood of the piece. If I can capture this early on, I have a better idea of what the final will look like. Once the white of the surface is covered I pick an area and start to render. I usually start in a focal area and bring this close to finish, this will help dictate the finished look for the rest of the painting. From here on out, it just takes time. I render bit by bit and I'm constantly taking breaks to get away from the painting. It's important to look at it through "fresh eyes". It's very easy to get tunnel vision which can keep you from looking at the painting as a whole. After I'm finished I send it over to the AD for approval. If there are revisions, I'll usually do them in Photoshop to save time. Once approved I send the client a high res image which I shoot of the painting myself. Invoice and wait for payment. While you wait, go pick up The Goblin Corps and read it. =)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

CG Hub Feature

I've been featured on CG Hub's main page along with some very talented artists. Here is a link- CG Hub.

Panama Laugh Cover

Here is a cover I did for Night Shade's new zombie apocalypse book, Panama Laugh. It was written by Thomas S. Roche. It's not released yet, but you can find more info on the book here: Panama Laugh. The final is 16x20 oil on masonite.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Watts Atelier 2011 Summer Schedule

The NEW Summer 2011 class schedule for the Watts Atelier is available. The Spring term has just ended and we recommend early registration for the next term. Classes fill up quick. The new session starts July 11th. Here are the classes I will be teaching:

Tuesdays 2:30pm-5:30pm

Tuesdays 7:00pm-10:00pm

Click on a class above to be directed to the class page. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Into The Pixel - Updated With A Chesley Nom!

Update: Amorphous Drake is nominated for a Chesley Award for Best Gaming catagory. I feel very honored to be nominated amongst such amazing artists! Congrats and good luck to all who were nominated.
Amorphous Drake was one of 17 winners in this years Into The Pixel gallery. Into the Pixel is a collection of art designed for video games. It will be on display at E3 on June 7-9th. Congrats to all the other winners!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Master of Devils Cover

Here is a cover I did for Paizo's Pathfinder Tales novel. You can find more information on the book at Paizo's main site.

Here is the full image-

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rest in Peace Jeffrey Jones

One of the most influential aritsts of our time has passed away today. His work has been a big inspiration on me. RIP Jeffrey Jones.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NEW Pathfinder Cover

The Paizo site has released a second cover I did for them.

Here is the original. It's 24x18 oil on masonite.

You can find more information on the book at the Paizo site here - Faiths of Balance

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pathfinder Cover

Here is a cover I did for Paizo's Pathfinder. The original is 24x18 oil on masonite.

Here is the full image-

You can find more out about the book here- Pathfinder

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Magic Card - Grave Titan + Spectrum 18!

It was just pointed out to me that a Magic the Gathering card I just finished has already been spoiled. Original is 16x20 oil on hardboard. Here is the link with the spoiler cards-
Magic Spoiler

The Spectrum winners list was also announced and my name is on it! Congrats to everyone who got in!
Spectrum 18

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Watts Atelier 2011 Spring Schedule

The NEW Spring 2011 class schedule for the Watts Atelier is available. The Winter term is about to end and we recommend early registration for the next term. Classes fill up quick. The new session starts April 11th. Here is a list of classes I will be teaching:

Wednesdays 2:30-5:30pm

Wednesdays 7:00pm-10:00pm

Thursdays 10:00am-1:00pm

Thursdays 2:30pm-5:30pm

Click on a class above to be directed to the class page. Feel free to contact me with any questions.