23 December 2011

Desert (study 8)

This one went faster and I had it done in just under and hour.

I added a noise filter to give it some grit and turned it way down, then used a rock texture and turned that way down as well.

22 December 2011

castle in the trees

I've been slacking!  well sorta.  I've been busy with Christmas stuff.

I was going to do a study with a treetop scene, and as I looked for references of say, jungle canopies, I started to imagine if a tree grew up really fast under a castle and broke it up into pieces and while growing around it, contained some of the structures as it grew upward and twisted.    So this piece took an hour.  but I had distractions!

I obviously didn't finish this, but it may be an idea I revisit at some point.  I made the canvas size 2xs bigger than the actual picture I was painting so that I could place 3 point perspective lines, using the line tool as I went.  I just discovered how to use this in the lagoon piece that I still haven't revisited :S  It could be a great tool, but it causes me to be too tight, and Im going to have to watch that.  I think that this could have a lot more character If I were to loosen up a bit more and then worry about finer lines later.

If I were to complete this I would break the structures more and make them look crumbly, and add vine rope ladders and bridges, more branches/buildings/etc.

I originally started doing rounded spires, but I thought the blocky rooftops and buildings were a nice contrast to the trees.

11 December 2011

swamp (study 7)

tried a swamp.  This time I used a bunch of references not just one.  it took just over an hour.

the far back ground was more saturated like the bright greens in the water and I desaturated the area and some others by about 50%.  I think it looks much better.  This one was fun because of the shape of the trees.  there is only greens and browns in this but I think it turned out well.  I guess the fireflies have yellows in there as well.

09 December 2011

Landscape study 6

I'm back to trying to do a 1 hour landscape study at least 5 days of the week.  this is on top of my figure drawing studies (which I don't know if I'm going to post yet)  

I almost put a fortress in this one but i ran out of time.  I didn't even get this one close to being 
finished as it is.  

illustration project 3

ok so I finished the hidden cave painting I was working on.  I had some tangents that were noticed by Bill. If i could have that man sit and show me what I was doing wrong all the time and how to fix things it would be wonderful.  That kind of correction is invaluable!

I think it turned out pretty well over all.  I added a shadow of a t-rex or a dragon in the warm light.  yikes!

03 December 2011


I wanted to do some kind of landscape study, but didn't really know what to do.  I started searching for references and came up with this:  (it is a free wallpaper from somewhere)  I liked the composition and the rocks were great!

ohh also I discovered an amazing 19th century painter by the name of Thomas Moran, who painted absolutely beautiful landscapes.  anyway:

reference -->

after spending a long time trying to just get a basic black and white value base down I got to this point:

Obviously I wasn't painting it to be exact.  I really enjoy finding out where the process takes me.

like this!  I thought that the rock coming up out of the water looked like a skull of a dragon or a dinosaur.  so I added more jagged rocks protruding from the water below.  The rocks are feeling pretty bland at this point. I have't built up the technique of rendering rocks quite yet, although I have some basic blocky values that I like.

one of the things that has helped me the most (as I've mentioned in previous posts)  Is watching Feng Zhu render paintings.  he will always "push"  back the background to lower values and make the foreground elements pop more.  I think it gave my painting a really cool feel there in the back so far.

Because the rocks were feeling dull i placed an AWESOME  rock texture over the whole piece and then masked out the areas i didn't want masked out.  and then for the back ground i masked it out a little bit more so it showed up less.  I'm excited to see where this one takes me in the next couple of days.  I should be done pretty quickly.  there is something missing and I'm not sure what it is.  I'll figure it out seen enough.

29 November 2011

Landscape - Fields of Gold

This one took me longer than 1 hour.  maybe about 1 hr 20min.  I struggled with how to render the field.  I had done a long grass brush, but it felt too textured, and I felt like I wasn't painting it so mush as the brush was.  It wasn't working anyway.  So I decided to try and make it more like a flowing block.  I have seen fields rendered that way before.  I think parts of the study were successful, but still not to the point where it is successful as an illustration or painting goes.

Anyway, This one was probably one of my more challenging ones, so I think I will try another field scene soon, and look up some ideas on how to make it work better.

27 November 2011

hidden cave

I struggled with this one.  originally I wanted to just do a wide open cave that was jagged and had a bright light pouring into the mouth of it, and had an additional idea (as I imagined the scene) that there would be some kind of expedition team just inside, with a monster peaking in on them from outside the cave.

As I started to paint in the scene I wasn't paying much attention to my reference and ended up scattered with my values as well as perspectives.  turns out there is still plenty of perspective to be had in a cave.

this took me 2xs as long as my other landscape paintings because of that.  anyway, I ended up making this out of the mess instead.  There is a lot I like about it, minus the issues stated above.
This reminded me of a scene in a book that I read, and started painting it to represent that scene.  Since I was having issues with my final illustration project this one will be my final.

Also I missed yesterday's daily landscape.  :(  is there any excuse for that on a Saturday?!

25 November 2011

a landscape

this one didn't turn out as well as I imagined.  my fault, however, because I didn't look at any reference.

I should probably do something other than forests and green thick foliage.  Im sure there are other things out there.  I just really like the textures and shapes that it creates.

24 November 2011


todays landscape took longer than one hour because I was at my folk's house with siblings.  it took longer for me to figure out where I was going with this one.  This isn't totally what I had in mind, but kind of.

it also looks good in black and white i think

23 November 2011

bridge landscape

todays Landscape again 1 hour.
I didn't get to finish it all because It took me too long to render the rocks so that part is sloppy on the foreground side.  I would have liked to add twigs and branches as well.  Ultimately, I envisioned a traveler of some kind on a horse but that would have taken me 5x the time.  

22 November 2011

studies in landscape

I've never been real interested in landscapes.  It has hindered my artwork so I've made an effort to try and do a 1 hour painting every day from reference.  I don't copy them perfectly, but I try to get the basic idea.  These 3 were done pretty far apart, so obviously I haven't done one a day :P
they are fun to do tho, and I am learning a lot, which is the whole point.

and my latest that I did today.  much better :)

oh and these are 1 hour studies.

21 November 2011

broken tower - loosening up

My Illustration professor had me look at a great digital painter and concept artist named Feng Zhu.  He has a ton of great tutorials and he talks about the industry, digital painting, and a lot of other really interesting and helpful things.  I wish I could afford to go to his school!  Oh you can see his site here!

anyway, after watching some of his videos, I felt like i needed to loosen up and be more expressive, and not work so much on details right away.  I did a 1 hour painting here, using a photo reference only for some inspiration.  I like the feel of this for the most part.  I spent some time getting to know some new brushes that I made and making some new ones.  Im really liking this and wonder how this will work when I do a character or something.  I always want to do hard edges, and I'm trying hard to find a middle ground where my edges aren't so boring.  also trying to come up with a  cool sig.  meh.


07 November 2011

illustration project 2 for this semester

Updated 14 Nov
DONEZO!  huzzah.  I think it turned out great!  Thanks to Bill for some awesome suggestions

Updated 12 Nov
added some ground and monsters in the back ground, worked on the leg armor.  not super happy with the leg armor, but the other new stuff is interesting!  I just noticed I need some sky colors in my ground!!! All that is left so far is the smelly hand, something on the belt, and the hammer/arm.  oops and the hand holding the skull.  /sigh now that I'm counting it seems like a ton!
it's fun tho, and I'm learning lots.

updated 11 Nov 2011

Updated 8 november 2011
trying some effects and I think I like this blue color for the atmosphere better
also some random changes to the armor

So I'm running out of time for all my projects.  I'm not completely happy with my initial drawing, and neither is my instructor, but I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure it all out.  I'm just going to move forward with what I had.  I guess I'll learn from this experience and make the best of it.

My dad talked some sense in to me, and he told me something is better than nothing, and I needed to just go to work on what I had.

so I sat down and used puppet warp on my line art and then went to town painting on it.  I'm learning a lot in the process so that is exciting.  there are a lot of other issues that I will paint over and correct as I go, but here is a process shot.

It isn't as eerie as I want it, but I think that will come.  Im happy with the direction it's going. this has been a difficult project for me to get started on

31 October 2011

second illustration under way

Ok so I have been beating my head against every surface available to comprehend the figure in new ways, and also armor and how it wraps around the body.  Of course I couldn't do simple medieval armor.  I had to do layers and layers of cool armor.  here are some of my pics working through some of the issues

This one below was a variation of a similar drawing done by my life drawing teacher for me as he tried to explain to me how to draw my figure in a better pose.  (my other is not shown here)  His is still much better, but until I am as good as he is this is what we get for now.

Then I set out to try and comprehend armor and how it would lay on and wrap around the boxes.  for many this may be very simple but for some reason I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around this.  I was even using references from a video game, but the textures are flat and so the form around a flat-ish box.
This was an initial sketch that I did before the above, and I quickly found out that the pose could bring problems in the shoulder area with the armor covering the face.  either I need to reduce the size of the armor (lame)  or move the head.  I have to say on a side note, that my hammer on the right side is pretty dang cool.

Then I set out trying to understand the shoulder armor.  this is the piece that eludes me more than any other.  I'm still trying to get it right...

And below we have a sketch after agonizing I just decided to go for it to see what I could get.  I think it turned out much better than I had hoped that it would.  there are still a lot of issues

the left hand needs moved and reworked, for example.  and some of the armor is messy.  the shoulder armor is smaller than I would like, but as you can see making it any bigger will defeat the purpose of what I want to do with the face.   
So anyway, the final will be a paladin channeling light through his hammer into the skull of a skeleton or otherwise undead creature.  the paladin will have his eyes lit up and the skelly will also have light bursting from the orifices in his skull.  

Im super excited to get painting this.  I will need to completely redraw it however, which I am OK with because I learn a lot every time.

All thanks to my Life Drawing instructor, Dan Scott by the way, because he sat down with me outside of class and tried his darndest to help me understand things.  I'm still trying!!!!!

27 October 2011

holy hotcakes, Batman!

Im so STOKED!!!!!  the Muddy Colors blog (by far one of the best blogs out there)  had a virtual cake decorating contest.  They chose 11 contestants to give away prizes and I was one of the lucky ones!!!
Im so grateful that they chose my cake.  There were so many good ones.

here is the one that I did

It was made from a virtual cake decorator (they provided the link)

and here is a link to the original call out for submissions, along with the list of prizes.  Not sure which I won yet!  doesn't matter IM SO EXCITED!

25 October 2011

The consumed

This is a painting that I did in my oil painting class last semester.  It was our last project and I got good reactions from it.  I need to get some of my other paintings posted, but this is the best one I have as far as oils go.  It was fun to learn oils, but i think I'm more comfortable with Acrylics.  I hear a lot of people say that it is the other way around for them.

24 October 2011

but it aint no use

Im doing an illustration for a poem that has been passed down in my family for generations.  I chose to do acrylic because I think it would be a great challenge.  I'm trying to learn to paint similarly to Bill Carman.  It has made me appreciate his work so much more.  It is certainly challenging to me, anyway.

this is a process shot, so it isn't done yet.

just for fun (isn't it always?)

My friend is building another company and he needed a logo, of course.  So he came to me and another mutual friend and asked us to come up with something.  My first design mockup was too dark.  it would have made a cool illustration, but I guess it wouldn't have been real family friendly.  So I began to brainstorm and then got carried away and came up with this.  I actually didn't finish it, because I realized that I got carried away and needed to quit and work on the other numerous projects that I had.

This was fun however because I did a series of very interesting and dynamic poses for paper.

so here we have a paper gun fight old west style.  no guns in it yet, didn't plan on putting any in.  just kept it plain and simple.  If i were to finish it i would put in a back ground and add some textures and such.

good times.


I'm finally buckling down now that I lost my job.  Im doing more drawing from life.  I have to say there are a few hurdles that I have found.  1- I don't see really well, so things are a bit blurry.  2- sometimes I sit there and think to myself, "gosh, none of this stuff is interesting enough to sit and draw" (i hate still life)  3- interesting things don't sit still, and I have a hard time remembering just how that person looked as they in ____ pose.  oh and 4- my excuse for never doing life drawing is that I hate carrying my big sketchbook around.  so I got a small journal and now Im going to be using that wherever I go.

anyway, these are just some sketches I did of a cowboy hat.  I have always been terrible at drawing them so I found some reference and went at it.  I think some of them have quite good character!  It was fun anyway.

27 July 2011

Death Knight character Gingg

Updated 25 Sept.  

Aaaaaand DONE.  phew!  I think it's a success!  Certainly took me long enough!
I flipped it because the sword was in the wrong hand.  is that cheating?!
nah! :P

My Buddy plays a DK.  well sorta.  Every month or so we log in to see what is new.  I hadn't seen his character in months as I too haven't been playing either.  So this is his character Gingg.

A couple of process shots, and then the final will come at some point in the future.

I decided to try b/w and then apply color over the top.  So far im not really super pleased with the lack of vibrant colors when I do a color overlay, but maybe im doing it wrong?

Also not a lot of process shots because I didn't think about it when i started...

<--Minion RAWR!

 one of the things that vexes me greatly is how to properly draw/paint shoulder armor.  It never looks right and I can't seem to wrap my head around it.  or the armor around the shoulder/body ;)

updated 7 aug 2011
small changes.  Im putting off doing the sword and back ground because I'm scared!  
There I said it!

updated 15 aug 2011
Playing around with blurring the hand in the front.
I added the sword (finally) and then made the arm and sword lighter so that it appeared to be more behind him.  We will see how the end result...ends.  im dreading tackling the back ground.  that is such a bad attitude!

updated 26 Aug 2011
Well this is getting drawn out huh?!  sooo many process shots.
I broke down and tackled the back ground.  I really like the gritty feel
which I accomplished by using a slab of concrete on an overlay layer over the top.  
Still agonizing over getting the character colors right!  I like how the back ground turned out tho.

updated 17 sept.
Colored version (so far)  once I get it all done I'll put a greenish overlay so it pulls it all together.
yay.  Haven't worked on it forever because of school and trying to do other stuff.  plus I got stuck on the colors.

14 June 2011

Practice painting in progress

So the above is the finished one (updated 27 june from the image below)  I had fun with the light rays, and then wanted to make the image all around darker.  always something more to do, but Im going to move on methinks.

I am taking a self taught class from Andrew Hou from Schoolism.com

I haven't tried his methods, so this was a fun process.  I usually draw on paper then scan, then color, etc.  This way was completely from the tablet.

Lots of things that need to be fixed and worked over, obviously, but this is a start.  Just realizing some of my textures are backwards...oops.

It'll be fun to do the gold reflecting on the scales.  Im going to try to actually finish this one.  

21 April 2011

One eye, Two eyes, Three eyes

Well, here is the finished piece!  Im really please with it.  It was a really darn fun process to work out.  working on wood, at least the way i did it, was challenging, especially not prepping it.

it is acrylic on an oak plywood and graphite.  I think I will play around with this technique some more.

07 April 2011

1, 2, 3 eyes character sketches

This is a character "sketch"  for the aforementioned "dark fairy tales"  project.  I chose a story called "one eye, two eyes, three eyes".  Im not completely happy with the characters still, but this was more a practice of acrylic / watercolor / pencil /pen on a piece of board.  It's pretty crappy wood, but it served its purpose!

I think they turned out nicely.  hopefully better board will look even better!

01 April 2011

House on a hill

I'm starting to play around more with watercolor.  This time I mixed in a bit of acrylic with some of the colors.   Two of my illustration professors, Bill Carmen and Ben Wilson, both water their acrylics down quite a bit, so I thought I might try it out.

I can't leave my zebra ball point pen alone, so I sketched on top of the painting again after putting the paint down.  I rather like much of the things that happened in the painting process.  

This is a practice for our next project dealing with "dark fairytales".  I bought the Marvel Comics version of "wonderful world of Oz"  graphic novel, and really enjoyed the style.  Some of it is similar to my own, but much more confident.  This painting is greatly inspired by that book.  

nope, not doing wizard of oz for my dark fairy tale tho!  Im going to find a much more obscure title!

30 March 2011

Baby photo touchup


Original (scanned)

Mother in law wanted me to see if I could fix this photo of her when she was a wee baby.  
It was fun!  I think it turned out well considering the crazy underexposed portion in the lower half.  There are probably ways to make this perfect, but I don't know them, hehe.  I learned a lot in the process of playing around tho.  

once I had the values correct I adjusted the exposure, and then used the dodge and multiply tools to touch it up.  The wall was fixed using the stamp tool, and the dust and scratches were taken out using the healing brush.  then sharpened the image in the final step.