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