Starting February 2014 this blog will be out of action.

But DO NOT DESPAIR. We've just moved, and you can still find the same riveting and informative posts that you have come to expect on our new blog:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Layout Tricks

Here is a a new piece I am working on and some layout tricks I use when designing a scene:

Thumbnails and a digital comp

At the beginning I just draw really sloppy.  Sloppiness helps you because.... ok, it's not really helpful.  But nothing is perfect at first.  You always have to refine, refine, refine.  

What goes here?

After I have drawn up a comp based on my initial thumbnails I will sometimes draw a background separately from my character.  Sometimes I will draw the background behind the character, which allows me to move the character around a bit after dropping them in.  This can allow you to experiment with different layout options.  In this case I was too cool to experiment with different layout options and left a boar-shaped hole in my scene.

 A dwarf riding a boar

I then draw my character separately.  This is especially helpful in scenes with multiple detail figures.  Here I have done the drawing on toned paper to also start to get a better feel for how I want to treat the lighting.  

Combined layout

Then, using devilish trickery, I combine everything into a workable layout.  Now the layout is ready to be transferred to my final painting surface.  

Next Post: Color Comp

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Story

Happy Valentine's Day all!

I have no art to share today. Instead I have a short story I contributed for a painting done by Annie Stegg.
Check it out here!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 TLC Workshop

Hey Guys! I am doing another TLC Workshop in Seattle this year, August 16-18.  Only this time I am teaming up with superfriend Cory Godbey to offer double the excitement, double the fun.

If you are unfamiliar with Cory's work, check it out at http://lightnightrains.blogspot.com.

Last year's course was a lot of fun. Seriously, it was a blast. And people learned things.  Great Things:

We are looking forward to the same this time around and hope you will join us there.
For sign-ups and more info check out: www.tlcworkshops.com/p/illustration-workshops-2013.html

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Silmarillion: Glaurung Final

For a long while I have been wanting to go back to several pieces from the Silmarillion and monkey with them digitally. This image of the battle against the dragon Glaurung in particular was one that really kept coming back to mind.

Most of the time I am really against this sort of thing.  When it's done it's done, and should probably just be left alone.  But other times, I just don't feel like I ever truly caught what I was originally shooting for and it bothers me.

For this one, I had always wanted to hit something a little closer to the digital color comp.

Digital Color Comp

Photoshop over Watercolor on Bristol

I still really like the original watercolor for it's old manuscript feel.  But here again I can't help but tinker with the colors and values digitally to push them into a higher range. I'm not sure which version I like more, but the digital one is always the one that is closest to what was in my head when I originally set out to create the image.