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:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Forest Troll Part I: Thumbnails

One of the great things about the worlds that Tolkien creates are the half-mentioned places and events that are going on in the background of Middle Earth. By hinting at them and leaving them a bit mysterious, Tolkien gives the reader a chance to use their imagination and place themselves inside the world and explore it for themselves.

 Many of us, when we read stories like these, like to imagine ourselves there in the background as clever, dangerous warriors, or as powerful wizards and the like. We don't ever just place ourselves in there as hapless serfs who get ordered around a lot and eventually eaten. Or as complete bunglers for that matter.

 Which led me to an idea for a painting that I plan to share with you over the next few weeks as it develops. Here's an initial thumbnail:

 Makes sense right?

 Let me explain: A few months ago, I went mountain biking with a few of my friends. At the beginning of the trail ride my friend Asher listed off the names of the trails we would be on which would lead to which, and I sort of heard, but mostly didn't. We started riding and things were going well until I got myself into a spectacular wreck that involved several roots, 2 large trees, a stream and possibly a rabid squirrel.
 I had been in the rear of our caravan, and my friends hadn't witnessed my mishap (thankfully). While I was glad to be spared the embarrassment of having them see me wipe-out and then ask me if I needed training wheels or a squirrel-proof suit, I was dismayed to realize that I had lost them completely. I put myself back together and kept biking in hopes of eventually catching up with them, but it was no good. They were all experienced master Jedi mountain bikers and I was but a padawan learner. After a while I came to a fork in the trail, but the trail names were unfamiliar. Was it Firetower or Pipsissewa? I know he had said it was one of these trails, but I couldn't remember which one. So I took one at random and got myself randomly lost. 

It occurred to me, while I was out there bewildered and lost, that if this were war, I would probably have just gotten us all killed. Had I gone to war, I would probably have fought very hard, and then died very fast because of something really stupid, like mishearing the coordinates on a map, and getting myself caught by friendly mortar fire.

This image was a result of that. If I were wandering around in the background of Tolkien's world, I'd probably have been a dwarf. Not a legendary warrior, or a powerful orc chieftain or a wizard, but A dwarf whose helmet hadn't been tied quite right, and who got himself and his band into a lot of trouble.

 When I got back from the trail ride, I scribbled this thumbnail down:

This is often what my thumbnails look like, with little notes pointing out important narrative details.

 Over the next few weeks I will be posting up the progress and development of the rest of the piece.  And we'll see if our dwarf can make it out of the mess he has gotten himself into.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Draw Warthogs

I have an upcoming illustration project that has warthogs in it. Before I begin, I am taking some time to familiarize myself a little better with these ugdorable creatures.

"I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror, and I ask myself; just how did you get so good looking?"

I often do this before starting on a drawing that has animals or costumes I am unfamiliar with. (The drawings, not wondering how I got so good looking.) I like to do studies from life when I can, or photos when no models are available. 
As I draw from my reference, I try to commit everything I can to memory.  Most of this will happen automatically as you draw. Your brain beings to see certain things as correct and others as incorrect.  

Studies from photos

After you have worked from the photo it is amazing how much information your memory retains. Details you didn't realize you were taking in come back to you as you draw.  

From Memory

The next drawings, done from memory with no reference around, will lack the sharpness and realism of the ones worked from the reference, but they will have a little more personality to them and I usually find them more interesting. 

 Once I feel like I have a decent understanding of my subject I start on the final drawings for my illustration. 

 Warthog Tracker #1

Warthog Tracker #2 

Later on, when I am into the final illustration I will bring out my reference again to fact-check, and make sure I haven't put an extra leg in there somewhere.  My brain is good, but it has been known to trip over itself from time to time.  

Most of this method of handling reference with illustration I blatantly stole from the Disney artists.  On some films, like the Lion King, they would have workshops where they would bring in an actual lion and do life drawings of it before they began work on the film.  It was a very good way of both keeping the personality in the character, while at the same time making sure it is anatomically coherent and believable. 

To see this process clearly outlined and executed, check out Ian McCaig's Visual Storytelling Tutorial from the Gnomon Workshop. It is a really excellent demonstration and has been very influential for me in my approach to using reference.

This article is a re-post from an article on MuddyColors.blogspot.com.  To check out the original article and comments, click here.  

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Christmas Is Coming

So I am selling prints again. I currently have 4 up on my store, including 2 from the St. George Series and one from the AWOL Series.  Check them out here.  

All the prints are giclee on fine art paper and have been individually signed and numbered.

Holiday Bear Delivers Your Packages Safely. 

The sketchbooks however... have sold out. We sold through 200 in 2 weeks. 

And now that I have told that to the world, my family will be expecting absurdly lavish gifts for Christmas.  Like the 14k gold kitten collar and the diamond-encrusted yacht that have recently appeared on their wish lists. 

I am working on getting a second print run together and hopefully will have some in time for Christmas. Until then though, check out the new prints!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sketchbook 2011 Shipping Out

Today I am shipping out the first batch of sketchbook orders! 
The response has been amazing. We sold through the first 50 in 3 hours! Of the original 250, we are down to about 45 left. 

The first 50 drawings are individually numbered (using fancy roman numerals) and I will be shipping them out in the order received.  So Fernando from Spain, (who somehow managed to order before the blog link was even up), you will be getting numeral I. Congratulations!

If you came in just after 50 don't give up hope. Thanks to my somewhat curious numbering system (pictured above), there are a number of extras who numerals aren't *exactly* standard that will be shipped out as well.

The sketches feature a lot of dragons, dwarves, elves and vikings.  Why?  Partially because all of these characters are interesting to draw. But also because I was watching Day[9] livestream Skyrim while I was drawing these.  You heard it right, the future is now; I don't even have to play video games anymore.  I can just watch other kids playing video games while I work.

Along with the fantasy creatures, there were also a fair number of monsters that managed to creep in as well.  

Like the were-rabbit.  
Note: XXXX is not a real roman numeral. Someone will be getting this as a bonus...

 And some old friends from previous Quickhidehere posts.

Thanks again for all the orders and support! You guys are all awesome. I look forward to getting the books in the mail and I hope you enjoy them as much as I've enjoyed making them. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sketchbook 2011

9 x 6, 32 pages, color

For those of you who missed Illuxcon, I am selling a new sketchbook! I am really excited about how this one turned out (This year it's in color!)

The sketchbook contains a lot of work from St. George and other projects finished in 2011. 

I am selling the sketchbooks HERE. All are signed, but I am doing drawings in the first 50 orders!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UVU Demo

Last post I showed a few studies for a demo I was scheduled to do at Utah Valley University. I am back and today I will show how the painting progressed and eventually turned out. 


Digital Color Comp 

Drawing on paper
9 x 15 



Detail and Final Adjustments

I didn't get to the Detail and Final Adjustment stage in the demo because I am slow.  This piece is relatively simple, but even still it ends up taking a little over 30 hours for me to finish. (Which was too long for the students because they apparently have other, non-art-related classes they are forced to go to.)  

I will repeat Lesson #2 from the lecture: Draw all of the time.  Especially in your non-art-related classes. 

The lecture itself went well and only once did technology stab me in the back. (I'll get you Bill Gates if it's the last thi..)  
No, really it was great. Nobody got shot or mauled or anything. I wish that every time I go speak in public it could go as smoothly.  

It was a ton of fun and I hope to get the chance to visit again in the future.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

AWOL No. 4 Studies

I am currently on the road so today's post will be a quickie of some studies done for an upcoming digital painting demo in Utah.

This article is a re-post from a previous MuddyColors post.  To see the original post and comments please visit Muddycolors.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flying Monkeys

This is a digital, 1-hour speed-painting I put together recently to demo the brush sets I have been shamelessly plugging. It is Photoshop CS5 over traditional pencil.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm Selling Brush Sets Again!

So I am selling Brush Sets again for Photoshop.  And to kick things off, I am releasing the undead.  

Er, I mean the undead brushes.  When I started working on Resistance 3 I knew that I needed to create a completely new set of brushes to tackle this kind of work.  As you all know, most of my previous work had to do with pastel bunnies frolicking in magical fields of clover. I hadn't done as much of this super gritty work before, and this called for something new.  Something serious, something that could handle brains-on-the-wall mayhem and carnage.  

So I created the Zombie Brush Set.  It solved all my problems with how to deal with the undead, leaving me free to tend to my cactus garden and get back to painting adorable kittens.    

To see these brushes in action, check out the demo:

How To Paint a Zombie

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Resistance 3: My Year with Zombies

Some of you may recall this little post I put up a little while back:

I mentioned then that its purpose was to reclaim some balance in my life. I had been spending a lot of time in zombieland, and I needed some fresh air. The project (that I couldn't speak of or Sony would burn my farm) was Resistance 3, which was released September 6 for the PS3.

I'm excited to see it is doing really well so far and getting really good reviews. It was a fun project. I don't usually go in for zombies or slashers in general, and this was a complete departure from my usual style and manner of work. But it was fun to switch things up and jump into something really gritty for a while. It was also a great learning experience and I got to work with some super talented guys from Edgeworx.

My primary job on this project was to provide art for the opening cinematic sequence for the story.  This explained in brief how things got to be such a mess and why you were about to go out into that mess and shoot everything in site.

I was really excited to finally get to see the work in motion and with sound.  The guys we worked with at Edgeworx did some really amazing stuff with it.  However, there was one thing that did strike me as odd when I saw the first videos after it hit youtube.

Resistance 3: Opening Sequence

At 1:25 in the video my friends Zach and Alissa get married.

Zach helped me out on this project, getting reference together and setting everything up for me. And when there was no reference, he would improvise. So in much of my reference, I find Zach being both the hero and the villain, and occasionally even the innocent bystander who gets eaten by zombies.

Here Zach posed for the priest and for the groom and Alissa posed for the bride. Strangely enough, Zach and Alissa actually did get married in real life shortly after this scene.
I was actually in the wedding too and so all of this kind of blends together.

When I watch this video, what I see is Zach and Alissa taking their vows, walking down the aisle together, and then Zach running out into the parking lot with a machine gun and mowing down the wedding guests who have inexplicably turned into mutant zombies.

Like I said, it all gets kind of fuzzy now that I'm thinking back to it...

Also, for those of you who have picked up my brushes in the past, check back in later this week.  I will be selling the brushes I used for this project.  They are zombie killing machines!

Note: This post is a re-post from Muddy Colors. To check out the original post and comments visit:Muddycolors.blogspot.com.