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  • SAIL Magazine

    My first illustration for the magazine just came out. It's for the monthly article "Voice Of Experience". Had a lot of fun doing this one (except for the all nighter and a half I had to pull to get it finished on time). I love the water, boats - everything that would make this a dream assignment. It's photoshop, start to finish.
    Anywho, here's some process shots, ending with the published piece.


















    posted from Bloggeroid

  • The Trusty UH-60

    Can't really share much of what I'm working on at the moment, but i figure a few ambiguous panels with no real context should be okay.



    I wanted to share this one because of how much i love drawing UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Nostalgia to be sure. I spent an awful lot of time in these when i was in the army. I've jumped out of them at least 900 times or so (and other aircraft another couple hundred times), conducted sling load operations with them (where a buddy of mine damn near got crushed between a Hemmit - truck - and a Chinook - helicopter - ok, not a black hawk, but still), and been a part of massive air assault operations.

    I've seen them do some amazing things - things you wouldn't think them capable of doing. I've been on board them for several of these. I've actually experienced zero gravity in them. Truth! They can perform parabolic curves just like the vomit comet (the plane NASA uses to train astronauts on zero gravity effects). The Black Hawk's curves aren't as big, so the zero gravity effect lasts for a shorter time period, but i feel comfortable saying we could get twenty to thirty seconds worth. Enough time to tumble around in the back, doing flips, or watching a pal's coffee come out of his cup and float across the cabin in a giant blob (Dave Keres, I'm looking at you, buddy)!

    Even though zero g sounds like the coolest thing ever, i think the most amazing thing I've ever seen with Black Hawks is Air Assault operations. Being crammed in the back with two squads worth of infantry buddies and all our gear, looking out the windows and seeing twenty or thirty other Black Hawks flying in close proximity, with more infantry guys crammed in the backs, is a truly amazing sight. They're all bobbing up and down a little as they try to maintain their flight positions, heading en masse to a drop zone where they will all land, dump their cargo (us), and be off again inside of a minute, is awesome. It doesn't look as glamorous as seeing paratroopers jumping out the back of C-130s, but believe me, it's just as awesome.

    It takes a lot of skill for these pilots to fly in such closer proximity to each other - in the back, our lives are literally in their steady hands.

    The third coolest thing I've ever seen with Black Hawks (last one, I promise) is when they come in to land at night during combat (or simulated combat) conditions. They come in with no lights. I mean nothing. With the naked eye they might as well be invisible. What's so cool, however, is when you're wearing your night vision goggles. They suddenly look like something out of TRON. They've usually got one or two infrared strobes going and the rotor blades, which generate an incredible amount of static electricity, create a glowing ring around themselves. It's so science fiction looking.

    Maybe I'll have to recreate some of these as illustrations at some point. Sounds like fun. :-)

    posted from Bloggeroid

  • MERMAIDS!

    Got hired to do the line art for a beer logo - the Coronado Brewing Company. Great job; loved doing it. Luckily they liked the results and I got to do a second one. Hopefully more will follow. Here's the first one, isolated from the rest of the beer label:



    In the process of working up potential poses on the first one i decided it would be fun to do a series of them in more of an Alphonse Mucha type design. These are a few of the works in progress. I snapped pictures with my phone of the inks, pre-scanning, then added silly effects to them so they wouldn't be just black and white for posting on Facebook and Twitter.







    I'll share the second beer logo once I know it's out on the shelves for everyone to see.

    posted from Bloggeroid

  • Graphic Novel frames

    Here's a few panels (pencils and/or inks) from a creator-owned graphic novel I'm pecking away at in between paying jobs. Written by my good friend and writing partner Dean, adapted and illustrated by me.






    Much more on this to come in the future.

    posted from Bloggeroid

  • Something new!

    It's been too long since i updated the ol' blog, but I've moved into the 21st century (smartphone) so I'm trying something new. If this works then I'll be able to update things with much more ease, and not have it cut into work time.

    So one of the things I'm trying to do this year (and moving forward - however long it takes) is to finish all the unfinished pieces I've got lying around. There are a LOT of them. I was making some decent progress until i started getting busy, but no complaints - i like being busy.

    Anyway, these are a few shots i took with the camera on my phone. They're inks, pre scanning, that are a part of one of those unfinished projects.











    By the way, if i posted these on the blog before, i apologize. It gets hard to remember, what with all the different social media outlets. This is the only set of images that might be a repeat though, so if it IS a repeat, this should be the only one. Happy drawing!

    posted from Bloggeroid

  • This Happened Just the Other Day

    My wife and I were talking, so Siena wasn't getting what she wanted fast enough and started looking to get at it on her own.


    I used Art and Abby from Business As UnUsual since they're more or less my conduit for chronicling my life. I guess this is a preview of the day when they actually have a kid of their own. For the record, there's no real effort at composition or anything going on here; I threw some quick color onto a scan from my sketchbook. Were I to finish it off I'd have the rest of their legs and chair at the very least.

    Still, I thought it was funny enough to share. I'm finding parenting to be even more rewarding than I imagined it to be so far. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

  • Hanna-Barbera does STAR WARS

    More pieces for this month's theme - Hanna-Barbera - over on Planet Pulp. Once I started doing some sketches of Star Wars characters in the Hanna-Barbera style I couldn't stop my brain from writing up little bits for each one. My brain proceeded to come up with more and more ideas until I finally had to force it to stop. I love Star Wars, I really do, but there are so many things about the franchise that just beg to be toyed with. As I type this, I suddenly realize that these remind me of the Robot Chicken Star Wars bits, which I love (obviously?). Anywho, here are the first two. More to come...



  • Back on the radar!

    So, yeah, I've been away for a bit. I wanted to avoid posting non-Troy art until the Troy poster was finished, but unfortunately I've been unable to get to it for quite awhile. I've either been working on paying gigs, finding paying gigs, or helping to raise my baby girl (who just turned 1 last week).

    As much as I love realistic illustration, the market for it is small. I will continue to do realistic stuff for myself, but when it comes to getting paid for work I've turned towards a more energetic, cartoony style. Or styles, really. I love working this way but basically sucked at it for most of my life. It's taken a lot of practice and growth of my drawing ability to get moderately decent at it. Something finally clicked a few months ago though, and I've been sketching/drawing cartoony stuff every day for the last few months.

    To that end, 2013 will be filled with those sketches/drawings/portfolio pieces. Hopefully I'll be able to finish the Troy piece this year, but making a living is my first priority, so I'll get to it when I have the time. Meanwhile, hopefully everyone likes this new stuff as well.

    For anyone who likes my comic strip, Business As UnUsual, I'll be doing a lot more of those this year since it fits in perfectly with the cartoony style.

    To start things off, here's a submission I just did for the current Planet-Pulp theme: Hanna-Barbera. There are several different styles that can be associated with Hanna-Barbera, but the Flintstones / Jetsons look is the one I most associate with the brand, so that's what I went with. It also happens to make for the best contrast between the live action subject matter and their cartoon equivalent.


    There are some things I like about the Hanna-Barbera style, and I've learned some from working in the style, but there are a lot of things I would never do with my own work. The way they do/did male feet, for example. Ugh. Still, I had a blast doing this piece and I've got several Star Wars pieces to follow this one up, so keep an eye out for those.

    Cheers!!
  • Helen of Troy, part 2

    I don't think I thought enough about how much work the battle scene was going to be when I was laying this piece out, but you gotta do what you gotta do. You can't chicken out of doing the right thing just because it's hard, right?

    So here's the first bit of progress on said battle scene.


    First thing you'll notice is that I've finished up Achilles's shield. I happen to have a letter opener that's Achilles's sword and shield, so I took pictures of it to use for the background bit. That was handy. Once I started working on the actual battle scene, which features Achilles's shield, I started to notice subtle differences between the full sized version used in the movie and my miniature. I'm not about to go back and make changes at this point though; those differences are pretty hard to notice unless you're up in its face and obsessing over details like I am when working on it.


    When I'm drawing something I have to decide, as I go, how much I want to do with my "pencil" brushes and what I want to leave for other "texture" brushes. In some cases I get carried away and do the textures as I go, like on Achilles's helmet and vest. For most things, though, I usually wait and do the textures once the "drawing" part of it is done. Achilles's shield looks awkward here because of this. Most of it is blank because I'll be coming back to it later.


    This is another screen shot showing the image zoomed in to 100%. I think I mentioned this before: I usually work at 100%. I'll work at 50% sometimes, but nothing else really. Well, not entirely true. Every once in a blue moon I'll zoom in to 200 or 300 percent, but that's rare. I'm already crazy for working at 100%. It's just that the line quality suffers when you work zoomed out too far and my anal attentive nature won't let me do it. Hopefully you don't have this problem.  :-)

    I feel like there should be some kind of time lapse here because there were a LOT of hours between the previous image and the next one. For some reason I didn't save any process jpegs between that and this. Oh well. My master file was getting pretty big and unruly as I progressed on this part so I cropped my image, got rid of as many layers as I could, and saved the file as a different photoshop document. I save all the time, so when a file gets big and I have to wait while it saves the time lost adds up. Breaking off bits of an image to work on makes things flow much more easily. I'll combine all the bits and pieces later, once all the line work is done.


    So, yeah. After a LOT of work - did I stress the LOT bit enough? I doubt it - a LOT of work, the battle scene is done. Holy Moses I mush have some screws loose in my head. 

    As it stands the two major figures don't stand out as much as they should, but that's where color will become king. If I were only going to have this as a black and white piece I would have done some things differently, like having more blacks surrounding the main figures to help the pop, but since this is for color it's fine the way it is. It's good to know where you're going with a piece - to have a vision - because it helps you make the best decisions along the way. 

    Of course things never turn out exactly as you imagine, so even with the best pre-planning you end up having to make adjustments. That's part of what makes the journey of creating artwork so much fun.


    You'll notice a lot of "splatter" here. There will be a lot in the final image, not limited to the battle scene, but it's always kept on its own layer so I can manage it as needed. Sometimes you have to get rid of it in faces because it can become too distracting. Hector's sword is a perfect example of a place where I cleaned it up. There's no splatter there at all. I want that sword to really pop. It's surrounded by textures and grey tones, so having it perfectly clean makes for a nice contrast. Once it gets blood on it, it should REALLY pop.

    Anyway, the splatter draws a lot of attention to itself right now but, by the time it's done, it should blend in and just exist as a part of the overall texture. To end this segment of progress, here's another shot zoomed in to 100%. You can really ge a sense for some of the textures and the detail, or lack of details, in the background figures. 


    Now to finish up the remaining portraits and move on to color. Hope you're enjoying the sharing of process as much as I'm enjoying creating the piece! Cheers.