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:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sketchbook 2012 Shipping Out!

Sketchbook 2012: Ents & Orcs ships out today!  
 The first 50 are individually numbered and have a personal drawing in them.  

#1 this year went to Dave from Kalamazoo, who managed to order in the first 15 seconds of it being live somehow. I believe that aliens were somehow involved. Dave isn't saying anything.  Either way, he will be getting a dragon. 

The sketches this year feature a lot of wizards, dragons, vikings, elves and as you might expect, a lot of Ents...

 ...and orcs. 

But there are also dwarves,

 And others of a less than savory nature...

As well as some old friends, 

And the Were-rabbit makes his return for #40:

If you haven't gotten one and are interested, there are still a few left on the Store.
And I will of course be selling them at DragonCon this weekend in Atlanta.  

Thanks again for all the orders and support! You guys are awesome. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sketchbook 2012: Ents & Orcs

Sketchbook 2012
9 x 6, 44 Pages, Full Color

Each year for the past few years I have been doing a new sketchbook based around one of my personal projects that I am engaged in at the time. Some previous examples are The Silver Age in 2010, and The St. George and Other Works in 2011, both of which were a a lot of fun for me.

This year, I am delving back into Tolkien. Specifically, I have been working on the struggle between the Ents and the Orcs from The Two Towers.  Apart from being some of Tolkien's most interesting characters, there is a dynamic that exists between Ents and Orcs that has always fascinated for me.

It is a curiously human relationship that seems to exist between these two distinctly non-human characters.  While they are constructions of fantasy, they offer a reflection of our own struggle to both master nature and at the same time care for it.

The Sketchbooks are going live today at 12 Noon EST and I will be selling them on my store HERE.  

All are signed, but as with last year, I will be doing drawings in the first 50 orders.
Click HERE to see how some of last year's first 50 turned out.

I will also be selling these at DragonCon in Atlanta later this month. Stop by and say hi if you happen to be out that way!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dragon Watercolor and Final

Color Comp

Last time I posted a color comp and a few studies for a recent personal piece.  This is how the watercolor turned out:

 12" x 18" Watercolor on Bristol

As you can see, the watercolor is not nearly as intense as the color comp.  This is something I run into a lot when I do really saturated color comps.  I would like to say that it is a "feature" of my work, rather than a deficiency in my own ability, but I never plan for it.  Somewhere along the way I get taken in by the subtleties and then can't quite bring myself to take it further traditionally.  
Which is where the digital comes in:

Digital work over Watercolor 

The digital allows me to get a lot closer to that initial comp, while at the same time leaving the watercolor alone.  But this, like invading Russia before a winter, leads to its own set of problems. For one, things become more tedious.  In the initial color comp, you are pulled along by the joy of exploration.  There are still mysteries and borders never crossed in the world. But with our comp, we have already been there.  Now we are going back with magnifying lenses and little shovels and rock sampling kits.  It takes a different mindset for exploration. And while I usually love it, it's generally not as exciting as the initial comp for me.

I find that often the only time I ever get excited about a piece again, is after it is printed. Only then can I really judge wether a digitally modified piece has been a success or not.  The digital format can tell awful lies. Sometimes you need to get a piece into the light of physical reality before you can really know. 
Until then, like others whose armies got bogged down in Russia in the dead of winter, I am usually left second-guessing myself and wishing the final was a little closer to the original comp.   


In other news: I have been working on Sketchbook 2012.  Preview next week!