Saturday, December 26, 2015


Hope your Christmas was merry! This is a drawing I did as part of a Christmas drawing exchange. I used a little bit of black gouache, white colored pencil, and black colored pencil on toned paper.

I have plans to develop this into digital piece as well. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Weekly Sketch: New Mantis Species

The prompt for this week's sketch was "something that you want to do on your bucket list". I realized that I didn't have a bucket list, but if I had one, this would be the first on the list. I have decided to discover a new species of insect--preferably of the order Mantodea.

This is Hymenopus sumptuosus--mimic-type mantis that lives on iris flowers. It is well-known for its large ruffly crest and thorax.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Vampires and Wyrms

This week's sketch features a familiar vampire, Count Dracula, as portrayed by Béla Lugosi...

While watching a few clips of the 1931 Dracula for the first time, I was very impressed with the actor's ominous presence. I have concluded that Béla Lugosi has several cases of double-jointedness in his fingers.

A little side-project includes a new 3D model I am developing from one of my existing character designs:

I thoroughly enjoy making these, so I decided to start developing this area in my portfolio. Here is the existing 2D art I made, for comparison. Since the details are fully realized, the sculpting process is swift. I will be taking the model into Blender to pose it more like what you see in the illustration and then import it back into Sculptris for some final tweaking. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jabberwocky Work-In-Progress

I made some noticeable changes with the foreground, doing away with the bread-and-butterflies. Their scale made them too dominant, so I exchanged them with some daintier flowers. I'm working with two different rendering techniques: a graphic one that's akin to cell shading as well as a smoother, more realistic rendering.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Jabberwock Reimagined

Copic Markers is putting on a contest for re-imagining the Jabberwock from Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky". There are just a few days left, but I put together some solid reference material, which should make the painting process move swiftly.

The poem leaves the creature wide open to interpretation, but we do know that it has "claws that catch", "jaws that bite", and "eyes of flame". The traditional route is a dragon-like creature, but when I think of claws, I think of crustaceans and when I think of biting jaws, I think of snapping turtles and alligators.
This turtle-crab-beast is my version of the Jabberwock. Like usual, I sculpted it in Sculptris and exported the model into blender for lighting.

I finally learned the basics of rigging so I could pose my Jabberwock. The dude is a model imported from Daz and the butterflies are Sketchup freebies. This rendering has most of the elements that will be in the final illustration, including the "protagonist" (who will most likely not be bald and ghostly), vorpal sword, Tumtum tree, and some dainty Bread-and-Butterflies for good measure. Time to paint!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Week 7 Sketch: The Meaning of Your Name

I have a couple weeks to catch up to, but here is the most recent weekly sketch based on the meaning of my name. I combined the original Nubian title ("Candice/Candace" was equivalent to the word "Queen") with the Greek meaning. The Greek meaning is a reinterpretation of the original title, ascribing it the meaning "sparkling" or "fire-white". So here is a majestic fire queen!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Illuxcon Tidbits

I'm on my way home from Allentown, Pennsylvania and almost need another suitcase for the business cards and postcards I picked up while at Illuxcon. It was incredible to become more involved with the fantasy illustration community and can now call many of my artist role models friends.
Lehigh River in Allentown, PA  

I received portfolio reviews from a number of people including artists, art directors, and art collectors. What was especially beneficial about the constant feedback was having the chance to take a general consensus on what work people responded to the most and what weak points were commonly discussed. Here are some tidbits I gathered from reviews and lectures about my work.

1. Be "edge-y".

The edges around my figures tend to be very cookie-cutter-like. If I'm going to use crisp edges in a graphic sense, I need to be more deliberate about it. If not, I need to soften those edges so a given surface can recede in space and be more cohesive with background elements.

2. Get out there.

It's time to exhibit at conventions and send out more postcards. I have a better sense of direction about what markets to pursue with my current body of work, thanks to some valuable feedback from art directors at Illuxcon. In terms of online exposure, I have a pretty decent coverage, but there are still other venues that I would benefit from. Instagram is a leader for visual content. My activity on Instagram is almost non-existent, but it would be worth a few minutes every week. Platforms like Patreon and Kickstarter are also potential venues for building an audience.

An Allentown grasshopper clearly on his way to Illuxcon.
3. Embrace the inner child.

I overthink when I draw and consequently don't do it very often. There was a time when that I drew at every waking moment... I need to get back to leisurely, imaginative drawing. This also carries over to my composition sketches and leads me to structure them predictably and mechanically. Seeing the process of artists like Rick Berry and Vanessa Lemen has encouraged me to be more experimental with compositions--in particular, not having a plan and seeing how I can place my figures into a random arrangement of values and textures.

Lastly, here is that resonated with me and I'm sure many others who visited Donato's lecture:

"You are hired for what you show, not what you are capable of." -- Donato Giancola

It is a sobering bit of wisdom, but very helpful to understanding the big picture when it comes to "branding" your work. Time to get back to work and bring my capabilities to the fore!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Original Artwork at Illuxcon 2015

Next week from Oct 21st-25th I will enter the visual frenzy that is Illuxcon for the first time. It's a relatively new convention focusing on fantastic illustration and one that I have been dreaming about for a couple years. I have no excuse not to go, so I'm going! Aside from being able to meet all of my favorite illustrators in one place, going to Illuxcon is an important step to developing my freelance business and will no doubt fuel the fire of creativity.

A significant part of the convention is the buying and selling of original artwork. It's a unique intersection of commercial art and fine art where many illustrators can sell the originals of work they produced commercially along with their own personal artwork. I won't be having a booth, but I have prepared some tiny 2 x 3 artworks that I will carry along:

These drawings are done in graphite and gouache on matt board. Each is individually signed, framed, and for sale! Illuxcon attendees have first dibs on them, but if you are interested in buying one, you can get on the wait list by emailing me at

I will make sure to have a follow-up post about my experience at Illuxcon as long as I don't slip into an art-induced coma.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Week 6 Sketch: Birth Flower

I bring you a flower-child for this week's sketch. The flower is a Lily of the Valley, which is my birth flower:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Character Portrait: Eisheth

I finished a character portrait based on a character by the name of Eisheth belonging to illustrator and concept artist extraordinaire, Hunter Bonyun.

It's a fun process combining 3D with 2D coloring! If you missed my previous post with details about character portrait commissions, you can find it here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dragons and Time

I will be doing my live demo tomorrow, Sunday. Before that, here is a new sketch for my weekly sketch challenge and a sculpt of a dragon:

Week 4: Time

This rough sculpt is for an illustration that I plan on doing with a wingless Eastern dragon, which has some dino-like aspects as well. I defined the musculature for clearer reference when it comes to posing him.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Edward-Dean Museum Art Show: Live Demo

In one week I will be attending the Edward-Dean Museum Art Show! If you live in Southern California and want to enjoy a laid-back show featuring fine arts, crafts, and a scenic location, I would love to see you there! The show is Sunday, September 27 from 10am-4pm at the Edward-Dean Museum & Gardens in Cherry Valley, CA.

At my booth you will be able to find some bookmarks and signed prints for sale. I will also be doing a live digital painting demonstration from 1-4pm where I will be introducing my set-up, talk about my process, and do some painting!

Here are some other little sketches I completed this past week. These ones are part of a 52-week drawing challenge. Week 2: A hobby rather than drawing: 

And that hobby would be gardening...Week 3: A fairy character:

He is a friendly succulent fairy who helps your succulents please don't spray them with harmful pesticides.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

3D Character Commissions

I fashioned a commission guide based on the model from my previous post. Let them come!
-Terms & Conditions
-Free Hipster Fox 3D model!
(Terms & Conditions apply)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hipster Fox

I had this idea of starting commissions for 3D sculpted versions of people's characters. So to provide an example of the process, I created a sketch and final sculpt of a character I've named Hipster Fox...

I will be providing a commission guide for those interested in their very own sculpt they can use for reference, for lighting/rendering, or just for fun!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tiny Hands of Doom

Recently, I have acquired a haircut and tiny hands. I will now commence with world domination, if you don't mind...

Made with black gouache, white casein, white charcoal, and voodoo. The drawing is part of a 52 week drawing challenge. Challenge accepted!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Draw Something Riverside

I had a great time last night meeting some other fellow humans who like to draw!

The group is called Draw Something Riverside, which meets weekly to draw, chat, and chill. It's a super friendly group of people, so if you live in the vicinity, it is definitely worth your time!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Horse Sketches

Some horse sketches. I did my best to exaggerate different features while understanding their underlying anatomy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Little Leia

Here is a portrait commission I made of a client's daughter. I think the force is strong in his family...

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Movie Still Study: Amadeus

A study of a still from Amadeus:

It was interesting to find what a limited color palette was involved in this shot. The bright magenta of the candle glow struck me as a color that would be outside the color palette, but nevertheless blends harmoniously.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rock Studies

Rocks are underrated as drawing subjects. They provide a wealth of information in texture, form, and lighting. This study was particularly useful for me in practicing brush sizing. I have this knee-jerk reaction to resize my digital brushes constantly, so I tried to work with one brush as far as I could before making it smaller.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Prudence the Wizard

I am very excited to begin a new series of illustrations embodying the four cardinal virtues in different fantasy characters. Up first is prudence.

I created this rough sculpt based on my initial sketch for the character.  Everything was built from scratch except for the body, which was posed and modified in Daz3D from one of the basic models.

I imported my Sculptris model into Blender to use its lighting and rendering systems. I used a relatively low resolution render, which results in some grainyness in the lighter mid-values. Lucky for me I don't need to have a flawless render, which can take hours to process. With this reference, I have almost all of my information about form and anatomy in one place. It also seems like a natural extension of my drawing process. The same challenges I find in painting or drawing to mimic 3-dimensions are still applicable to the 3-dimensional sculpt, except my results are more accurate.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

There and Back Again: Digital vs. Traditional

Here is a recently completed illustration hot off the easel:

If you saw my earlier post on this piece, a few things might surprise you. For one, the colors have changed dramatically and secondly, this is no longer a digital painting...sort of.

Lets look at the progression...

Above is the illustration as far as I took it digitally. I went through a couple different color schemes emphasizing the color blue, which was the theme color for the competition I submitted it to. As I was getting into detailed rendering, I ran into some challenges because of the file size. My computer wasn't handling the pixel load well, so I used a tiny brush and proceeded to render in a cross-hatch fashion. It went pretty well, but started to get laborious, especially since I was going in with a mixer brush afterwards to smooth out rough areas. I had enough and decided to render everything in pencil instead...

I printed out a lighter version of my digital painting and traced the outlines onto a piece of matt board. Along the way, I made some slight changes and added highlights with white gouache. I used 4b mechanical pencil lead, which worked incredibly well since I didn't have to continuously sharpen my pencil. However, a 6b or 8b pencil lead would be ideal to get some higher contrast. If anyone knows where to find 6b mechanical pencil lead at 0.5 mm....

The first image in this second set of progress shots is the raw scan. The second is touch-ups and  contrast adjustments using levels. The third is the final illustration with color added on a gradient map for the base colors. I added color mode layers on top of that for specific areas. I went with a more naturalistic approach to the colors, which helps with readability.

Digital vs Traditional

I've been there and back again when it comes to mediums. After working primarily digitally for the past 2 years (before then was mostly traditional), I made some new observations with this re-visitation. In the end, I still enjoy both digital and traditional mediums, but they have their strengths and weaknesses that for me makes each better for different purposes.


The beauty of digital tools is the ability to make quick manipulations and zoom out to view the "big picture", or the composition in its entirety. I can scale parts of the my composition, cut and paste, and mirror my image for a fresh take more quickly than with a traditional sketch. After I'm happy with my composition, I can work directly on top of the sketch with the final drawing so that I can retain the same visual flow and freshness of the initial composition.


In Photoshop, accurate values are just a dropper away. With a traditional painting or drawing, it's a matter of eye-balling to check that your values are consistent if, for example, you have the same object in another part of the composition with the same lighting. In Photoshop, I can use the dropper to pick the exact value from one area and replicate it to another. Other challenges with traditional mediums include achieving a studio space that gives you adequate lighting while working and getting a good photograph or scan of your artwork. Both can effect your value contrast.


 Drawing the details can be fun. It can also be painful. Lately, my challenge has been to find an ergonomically-sound digital set-up. Surprisingly, my drawing arm doesn't run into problems with tension. However, I can say after going back and drawing the same illustration over again that I have much more control with rendering details traditionally. Here is a comparison of my finished quasi-traditional illustration with a relatively finished area of my digital painting:

I personally like the look of the traditional version, which is more uniform in texture and detail. It's not significantly more detailed, but I like the idea that you can zoom in even further to see the grain of the pencil instead of pixelation. There's something about the control I get with traditional drawing that even my misplaced lines look more graceful and subtle than if I made the same mistake digitally.

Now, the real culprit for my digital hurdles is a combination of my "hotkeys" hand and the limitations of my current digital tools. I use two keys to toggle the brush size, which I operate with two fingers. This is a pretty rapid and persistent movement, which ends in crazy shoulder pain after a few hours. To prevent having to put my arm in a sling (it has happened), I used this hatching method with a tiny brush combined with a mixer brush for smoothing. This freed me from having to change brush size and prevented the delay in each brush stroke that I had with a larger brush that was a result of the large file size. Even with those changes, traditional drawing was more painless. I can say with great satisfaction that my hotkeys hand played no major role in the final illustration.


Color is tricky regardless of medium. I usually approach it by experimenting until I find something that looks good. It's not the most reliable approach, I will admit. For now, I like the control I have with a separate greyscale illustration and color layer. In the future, I think I will branch out and find methods to apply color directly to my traditional illustrations.

More mixed-medium illustrations to come in the future!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More Sculptris Dabbling: Cloud Prince

I'm jumping into a more detailed sculpt based off of my cloud prince character.

When you're made of ice crystals, your hair can defy gravity.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jackalope Part 2

This week, I finished my Jackalope sculpt in Sculptris and figured out how to light and render in Blender. I finished off my render by adding color and touch-ups in Photoshop.

The finished sculpt.

A rough color test in Photoshop.

The imported sculpt in Blender and with Cycles for sweet lighting.

The finished image, colored in Photoshop. Next on the to-do list: rigging.

Sunday, June 21, 2015