Archive for May, 2010

Down to the Wire

May 22nd, 2010


Alright folks, getting down to the wire on the portfolio pieces portion of the challenge. (Even if I have fallen slightly behind) This one was done for two fold reasons. The first being to have a concept styled drawing that is finished enough it could also be used as a spot illustration. The other was to design a prop for the sixth and final piece.

I need a ray gun for my last illustration, and thought spending the time to design it before I had to place it in the composition would allow for a more interesting prop. (At least that was the intention)

As far as this being a more concept oriented illustration, that’s certainly true, but it would be worth noting that since this is for a one off image I only designed the view that would be visible in the piece it is for. So while it works for its’ exact purpose for me. If this were for an ongoing project I would have designed multiple views of the gun, but in trade off probably wouldn’t have taken all of the views all the way to a finish.

Anyway less words more pictures. Again these are taken with a camera, real scans forthcoming, as I plan to do a wrap up post when all six pieces are completed.


This was the initial pass of inks on this one. At this point I took a picture and showed it off to a few sets of fresh eyes. It was pretty universal that the grip was at far too much of a right angle to the rest of the gun.


This shows off a couple things. I’d already started building up some of the whites in the piece when the feedback got back to me, so it not only shows how I changed the shape of the grip, but also gives a glimpse at how the whites are built up.


And this is what I ended up with after a handful of passes on it. At about 3/4 of the way through I tend to go back in with more black ink and try to push the shapes a little harder. On this one the biggest lesson I learned was that it is perfectly okay to razorblade inks on stained paper. Thankfully the water color paper is absorbent enough that the neutral tone is all the way through. This technique was used for modeling the grip to the gun if you’re interested in where I did this.

Done in black and white inks, and a bit of white colored pencil to the grip on coffee stained water colored paper.

So to recap 5 of six pieces complete. And Laser pistols are awesome.

Thanks for looking.


ETA: After sharing a link here to the 12 Week Challenge Clubhouse, I received yet more useful advice. One of my concerns was punched home to me that the main body of the gun blended too much with the paper. So I went back in and beefed up the darks and lights there. My intention is to still let the tone come through, but add enough to it for it to seem finished. Hopefully that point is coming across. If not let me know.

12wkch, Process Work

Within Striking Distance

May 18th, 2010


I did this with the idea of it being potentially a black and white interior style image. This was very much a getting back to basics kind of drawing for me. It felt good just to do some line art for a change. And to top it off it’s a picture of a MIND FLAYER. The thing is born as a tentacled tadpole that is injected into another creatures brain where it turns it into a Mind Flayer. Oh and they eat brains through their squid heads. Oddly their are surprisingly few images to be found of them in the act of eating brains. This is me trying to shift the balance by one. Brace yourselves for another cellphone picture taken at a slightly crooked angle. (I’ll get decent scans when I can slow down a bit, promise.


With this one, I’m not a 100% sure I think it *feels* finished. But I’m going to give it a bit to rest, as I’m keen on not over working it if I can help it. It’s done on watercolor paper so if I feel a pressing need I can add some washes to it at a later date. Or possibly scan and color it if I’m feeling ambitious.

Thoughts as always are more than welcome.


The Challenge Continues

May 16th, 2010


This is the beginnings of my Week 5 posts. Coming in at the end of Week 6. There is a make up week coming for this week, so I’ll be drawing furiously to catch back up. Hopefully posts will follow at a quicker clip. This past week saw a day trip up to D.C. to the National Zoo, as well as numerous Mother Day plans. All well worth it for the mothers in my life (My mom, my wife, and her mother) So needless to say drawing time was at a premium. Although I’d like to think I made the most of the time at the table.

In my haste to do so unfortunately my WiP photo is from pretty far into the process of finishing this one. At this point I’d felt my eyes had gone a bit fatigued to the composition so I posted it to the challenge clubhouse to get some fresh eyes on it.

As always I got some valuable insight into it, and with that took this one to a finish. Which I think came out pretty well. This one was done with black ink and white ink using a brush on toned paper. I’ve really become comfortable working in this matter over the last couple months.


12wkch, Process Work

Week 4 – New Direction

May 6th, 2010


Okay, so currently I’m a full half week behind. However I believe I’ve learned a lot of things in my failures over the last ten or so days. The first being I’m not nearly fast enough to work a traditional painting at a commercial pace. Also I may need to hit the old drawing board to revisit my color work. I tend to work with limited color palettes, because for me it’s an easy way to balance tones. I always feel like my full color stuff is a little too technicolor processed. I should have paid more attention in painting classes I guess. More practice needed there I believe. So watch out folks UGLY paintings in the future.

Anyway here’s my latest challenge piece. I did this up yesterday. It’s in response to a story excerpt in the current The Strand Magazine titled SMILES by Alexander McCall Smith.

Smiles-WiP Inks only.

Smiles Finish

Once I’ve collected the six pieces to be done I’ll get them all properly scanned. But for now these are some nearly functional digital photos.

12wkch, Process Work

Week 4 pt1 – Hectic Days and Sleep Deprevation

May 1st, 2010


This week begins the creation phase of the 12 week challenge. In the next three weeks each participant is to set out to produce 6 new illustrations based on the list made in the previous week.

This week got off to a bit of a slow start for me, as I had a couple images I had to produce before I could get started on the six planned images. So actual drawing on the first piece didn’t begin until Wednesday. Because of the short turn around needed I chose to go with two of the three planned editorial pieces.

The first image is a visual done for an article found on the Utne Reader website about Buddhist Monks in Thailand arming themselves due to repeated attacks. For this one I can say there wasn’t a lot of thumbnailing done. I kind of had the image I wanted right away. Here’s an in progress pencils image. This was just taken with my cell phone and cropped/reduced in dpi, so the image quality may be just a bit shoddy. However I think it shows how I pencil well enough. I try to get all the information I need without tightening up too much. Doesn’t always work according to plan but I can certainly try. Below is a series of photos taken at various stages.

*Prewarning, the production of this image devolved into absolute chaos. This is by no means a typical representation of how I work.

buddhist-with-gun wipPencils

buddhist-with-gun-wip2Painting in progress


buddhist-with-gun-wip4Masked off and ready for blood spatter.

And then speaking of not going according to plan, it turns out the masking doesn’t help when the paints bleeds through it. I’ve done similar techniques before. But never on Illustration board. Not only did *that* not work, it pulled the drawing up! So needless to say I was a bit put off by what happened. I went ahead and took the image toward a final anyway, just did so in a way I may not have gone had the mask not failed so completely.

buddhist-with-gun-epic fail wip Exhibit A of the failure of my initial plan.

buddhist-with-gun Just added new glazes and a whole lot of ink.

I’ve let it sit for most of the day now so I could get some fresh eyes on it. Scarily the finish isn’t terribly different on the figure than it was before I destroyed it other than the black line I added to find the image again.

In the end I can’t honestly claim image 1 of the 6 I planned to do was wholly successful. But I definitely learned a thing or two on the way to where I ended up. First lesson, I probably shouldn’t break out techniques I haven’t really field tested when you are under a deadline gun. For the remaining images I believe I’m going to go with things I’m a bit more comfortable with. In the production schedule laid out there reall isn’t the luxury of a “do over”

Back soon with more.