Tuesday, December 31, 2013


It's a little bit of late news, but I should mention that a piece I made for James Gurney's "Lionfish Shampoo" art contest was printed in Issue 102 of ImagineFX Magazine. What started as a fun dabble in Art Nouveau design (and a good excuse to draw noodle hair) ended up as an incredibly rewarding experience. The contest got me into contact with one of the greatest living illustrators/educators, introduced me to some awesome contestants, and got me my first piece of published work!

You can see a picture of the article on James Gurney's blog here.

So how do you find those elusive art contests?

- Follow art blogs. The ones with daily entries are more likely to mention contesty things, like Muddy Colors and Gurney Journey.

 - Some of the more well known call-for-entry contests have been compiled on Google Drive

 - Check out several of the websites under the Communities section at Illustration Age. Many of them hold fun "challenges" that will get your artwork scene by a large audience. These include CG hub, ConceptArt.Org, deviantArt, Doodlers Anonymous, Illustration Friday.

- Listen to art-related podcasts. You can hear some of the latest buzz about the art world. Again, some links at Illustration Age under Podcasts

- Read the news on Art Organization websites, such as those at Illustration Age under Organizations

- Be a part of social-network Illustration groups like Illustration Networking Party on Facebook

- Subscribe to art magazines. Magazines like ImagineFX hold their own contests and publish the winner's artwork in featured articles. Oh look! The front page has news about a creature design contest being held by Helpful Bear Productions.

 Entering art contests can be a gamble because you never really know what the judges are looking for, but if you look for contests that inspire you, you will end up with a piece of artwork that you're proud of even if you don't place. 

Odd Animals

Some odd creatures in gouache with exaggerated features:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snapshot of "Out of the Shire" Exhibition, Gallery Nucleus

Last night I attended the opening reception for "Out of the Shire: A Tribute Exhibition" at the Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California.

Front of the exhibition flier.

List of exhibiting artists.
After passing through the shop portion of Gallery Nucleus, you are greeted warmly by Lord Sauron:

An excellent piece by Gentle Giant Studios.

He was a popular attraction that evening as fans posed nonchalantly to take their selfies. But really, we know they were just trying to get close to the ring of power.

As far as free food went, I had in mind a Dwarven feast, but alas I made do with a seven-course hobbit spread. The lembas bread, at least, I could save for later. 

Activities included a build-a-beard workshop, Elvish deciphering, and a caricature artist that transformed you into a hobbit, elf, or orc. Every hour, there were prizes raffled and a riddle to solve.

And let's not forget the artwork:

Justin Gerard's Gandalf
Jeff Victor's The Evolution of Gollum
Christian Alzmann's Galadriel's Mirror
Me being a nerd in front of Justin Gerard's Ents and Orcs.
Donato Giancola's Aragorn at Helm's Deep, Eowyn of Rohan, and Eorl the Young
Laurel D. Austin's Smaug: King Under the Mountain
The entire selection of work (with much better pictures than mine) can be viewed at the Gallery Nucleus website. Congratulations to all involved behind the scenes for a successful opening! The exhibition runs until January 12th, so make sure to check it out if you are in the area!

My sister, kelsey, and her betrothed.

My friend, Nathan, admiring the craftsmanship.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sleeping Puppies

Some sketches from life of a sleeping puppy with a couple failed attempts visible as ghost lines. The compositional "Z" was unintentional, but very cool as it turns out. Black and white gouache on toned paper.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

You Can Never Have Too Much Leyendecker

I checked out a relatively recent publication on the work of Leyendecker from my SCAD library and brought it home with me to read from, but mostly look at. The book is J.C. Leyendecker, American Imagist and it's definitely a keeper.

I did a some little studies in graphite and transparent white gouache:

I haven't worked like this before (for my opaque studies, see my Sloths and Statues), but I've enjoyed it enough to plan for a future piece using this method. You can water the gouache down to a very thin consistency and still get even washes (this may not be so easy on a larger scale). It's also easy to go back and lift the gouache to get some soft edges. The paper I'm working on is a recycled paper version of the manila folder available at most office supply stores.

And here are the pieces I worked from for the studies:

 The Garden Walk. Success. June 1904

Men with Golf Clubs. Arrow Collar Advertisement. 1914

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Photo Booth Outtakes

Fall quarter at SCAD is over and the holiday festivities are nigh. In reflection of the good times, I bring you some photo reference that didn't quite make the cut. They were just too awesome.

Posing as a maestro for a superhero project.
Posing as a distressed civilian for the same project.
Posing as a chameleon for a chimera self-portrait project.
Another chameleon pose.
And one more chameleon pose.

The Photo Booth program is a great way to collect reference on the fly because you can see yourself as you take a timed photo. The quality isn't so hot, but the photos are great to use when in the conceptual stage for an illustration. In the end, the best person to model the pose you have in mind is yourself.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More Sketches for Drawing for Illustrators

There are less than two weeks left of the quarter at SCAD! I've been doing my best to catch up on my sketchbook assignments for my Drawing for Illustrators class. Here are the latest:

Some lovely houses in the city.


Some copies of work from contemporary masters Jacob Collins and Thomas Reis. I used both mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen for these--a new combination, which I like very much.

A self-portrait foreboding the insanity of finals week. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Little Tour of Haymans

I have my two classes in Haymans Hall, a brand new Illustration building at SCAD, Savannah that opened up at the start of this quarter. From what I hear, it is a major improvement on classroom space and work area for students.

I don't have a picture of the outside yet, but I have several of the inside and you can see why. It's a mixture of Pee-Wee's Playhouse meets contemporary art installation.

One of two walls of denim clothing.

Luscious lip paintings.

A mural of the first chair of the department whom the building is named after.

Last Friday, there was a Haymans open house where the public were welcome to see the building and attend live demonstrations by Illustration faculty.

Epic doodle wall.

Live model in Victorian attire.

Lots of children's books created by SCAD students on display.

A little panda family. One of several 3-d pieces made by students for children's books.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Drawing Assignment 1: Still Life- Travel

Let's go back in time for a moment to my first assignment for my Drawing for Illustrators class. The theme for the assignment is "travel" and my mission is to create a still life drawing with that theme...

One step before my thumbnails included a little brain storming sheet where I wrote down a a list of different travel items as well as traditional still life items. I combined those two to discover several possible concepts for my image. I go with the items at my disposal: my clothing, purse, bedroom furniture. Limited to those items, I narrowed down my options and started making thumbnails:


In my thumbnails, I arranged my belongings in different ways to represent different narratives and/or symbols. My professor makes a couple notes on some of my drawings, but we both agree that the last three thumbnails are the strongest compositions.

I go with the middle concept for its dynamic "drop":

Next, I replicated my thumbnail as best as possible with my photo reference:

The photo above is one of about 4 different photos I used for my final drawing:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sexual Assault Awareness Poster Process

I'm entering a sexual assault awareness poster contest with a piece that has a heroic spin on it.

The line drawing was a little hard to see in the photo I took, so I give you first the color comps for my painting. I decided blue and red would best read as "hero", so I experimented with cooler and warmer versions. The bottom right seemed the best fit. Having the colors closer to primary red and blue seemed the most appropriate.

I'm working with gouache and start with a light wash over the figure. The wash puts a layer between you and the pencil lines so that they are less likely to rub off. Also, It benefits seeing the edges of the figure more clearly. I don't worry about the wash being uneven and having little blooms here and there since I have many more layers to go. Also, gouache lifts off the paper with water much more easily that watercolor, so I don't have to worry about areas being too dark in the areas of the figure receiving the most light.

With both the hair and the skin I work transparently. There are just a few highlights where I use opaque white paint.

I had the shirt "finished", but a wise classmate of mine pointed out the monotony and formlessness of the folds. I took new reference photos and started over. The shirt is the only place that I worked opaquely, which started out as a transparent painting might, but I used more paint and less water as I proceed with each layer. Once I got to a thick level of opaqueness, it was really tricky to add just the right amount of water that allowed me to blend in the new layer. Too much water and you remove all of the hard work you've done in previous layers, which I encountered frequently. I don't know how Harry Anderson did it.

Almost there! I just need to clean up the scan and add text.