Saturday, December 29, 2007

Look at All Da Pretty Colors!

So I thought I'd try a new spin on thumbnails, just to make it a bit more interesting. In the end, they're still just silhouette studies, but hey, I hope they're more fun.

I'm trying to come up with some sort of demonic knight characters. Let me know if you have any favorites!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Like My Women Just a Little On the Trashy Side

Thought I'd try a character design. I find something cool in a woman in armor. Hope you like it!

I'm offering a prize to whoever can tell me the name of the song that the title comes from! And I want the name of the song AND the artist!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Death on Black Wings....

Here's my latest painting based on Margaret Weis's and Tracy Hickman's classic fantasy tale, Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I know it's been forever since I last posted, and I hope this piece makes up for the delay.

Believe it or not, I only started reading those fantasy novels about a month ago. Given my work, most people would expect me to have practically my own library of this stuff. Problem is, I know most of it isn't very good. I only want to read the best stuff, and I heard the Weis/Hickman books were good (and not much else) so I took a chance. Well, it turned out well! If anyone knows of any books they'd like to recommend to me, please let me know. I'm really looking for the good stuff; books that have everything needed to be a good book: a good and believable plot, compelling and dynamic characters and a sense of discipline and restraint in storytelling.

Of course, I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on my latest piece. Don't be shy! I'm always trying to get better, and honest opinions are necessary! Thanks all!!

Update: 12/10/07

I've retouched the painting a bit per suggestions from some very helpful artists. Thanks everyone!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

(Lots of) Heads Will Roll

I finally finished this painting. This has probably been one of the most challenging paintings I've ever done. Tons of detail and texture. I painted it for probably over 20 hours, including a few redos and false starts. Hope you like it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It's Fall!

Went pumpkin picking with the family today. Got this photo of my nephew and I'm rather proud of it. What d'ya think?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Website Updated

Yes, good ole is updated. Yes, again. At least 5 updates in 3 years; that's nearly once every 6 months. And I mean COMPLETE OVERHAUL. So go check it out! Make all my hard work worth it!!

Oh and the obligatory sketch that comes with each posting.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

One More Candle and a Trip Around the Sun

Today, August 19th, 2007, I am 28 years old. You know you're getting old when your birthday cake does double duty as a fire hazard.

A birthday's always a good time to look back and see where I've done well, where I was blessed, and where I could've done better.

What I've done well:
-More than 2 years since graduating art school, I'm still growing as an artist
-I started this blog
-My digital painting has taken off (thanks Bobby!!!)
-I've learned I'm an illustrator, not an animator
-I moved home and worked at two animation studios.

How I've been blessed:
-The Good Lord's love has brought me where I am today
-My family has supported me and put up with my constant bs
-I've got great friends (who I probably call WAY to often; thanks guys)
-I've got the love of a good woman.

What I could've done better:
-I've been a bit less than practical with some of my decisions (partly because I'm an artist)
-I kept going after animation, even though I knew deep in my heart it wasn't for me-I just thought it would get me a full time job (this AFTER an art teacher from LA sternly told me 'don't chase money')
-I'm still lazier than I should be.

Well, here's to another year.

Now a bit of trivia.

August 19th is the 231st day in the Gregorian calender, with 134 days left.

On August 19 in
  • 14 AD, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus dies, his final words being 'Did you like the performance?', referring to his reign as Caesar,
  • 1782, The Battle of Blue Licks, the final major battle of the Revolutionary War, is fought,
  • 1812, the USS Constitution defeats British frigate HMS Guerriere, earning the American frigate the nickname 'Old Ironsides',
  • 1848, the New York Herald publishes news of gold in California, prompting the California Gold Rush 4 months later,
  • 1895, John Wesley Hardin, legendary Wild West outlaw and gunfighter, is gunned down by El Paso lawman John Selman,
  • 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts its first race,
  • 1919, Afghanistan gains independence from Great Britain,
  • 1927, production of Ford's Model T ends,
  • 1944, Paris is liberated from Nazi rule,
  • 1960, Pilot Francis Gary Powers is sentenced by the Soviet Union to 10 years in prison for espionage after his Lockheed U-2 was downed by Soviet missiles on May 1, 1960 (however, he was returned to the US on February 10, 1962 in a prisoner exchange),
  • 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic collapses,
  • 1999, Serbians demand the resignation of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic
  • 2004, Google goes public.

Born on this day are:
  • Orville Wright, aviator (1871)
  • Gabrielle Bonheur 'Coco' Chanel, founder of the Chanel fashion empire (1883)
  • Ogden Nash, American poet (1902)
  • Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek (1921)
  • William Jefferson 'Bill' Clinton, 42th president of the United States (1946-age 61)
  • Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson 'Tipper' Gore, Second Lady of the United States (1948-age 59)
  • Jonathan Frakes, actor (1952-age 55)
  • Lee Ann Womack, country singer (1966-age 41)
  • Me! (1979-age 28)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My entry for this week's Blue Sky Challenge, David and Goliath.

For this scene, I wanted to concentrate on contrasts. Contrast in color, size, shape, etc. So David, while small, spindly and meek, shines brightly with the Good Lord's blessing. The light shines on Goliath too, but he has turned his back on it. He is a giant blot of darkness in this scene, but even his shadow cannot snuff out the light from David's faith in God.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Website Revamp Underway

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be working on revamping my website. This is the fourth complete overhaul I've done to it in the three years I've had it. I'm really trying to take my time with it; in the past, I was so into getting it done as soon as possible, I skimped a little on quality. The reason is I wanted to get my work available to the public as soon as possible (because we all need these annoying and necessary things called jobs). Thanks to this blog, however, I can afford to take my time a bit more. So check out, in all it's imperfectly perfect glory! It won't be here forever! Oh, and a preview of my new site:

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Want To Be Kei!!

Recently, I was looking up Imaginism Studios's blog recently and found this piece done by Kei Acedera:

So I decided to rip it off!! Hehe, I'm such a thief!

Okay, so it's not up to her quality, but hey, it's inspired from a pro, so it's got to be something!
This work is also part of my entry for the CG Challenge (the topic this time is 'Strange Behavior'). I was originally going to steer away from dragons this time, but after seeing Kei's work, I decided, ah, what the heck. So it's back to dragons.

Ha, yes, I know, I'm a geek.

So I've got a double negative working against me: geek and thief. :-) And believe it or not, I do have a good woman in my life...God bless you Marnie...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And Now, Something Completely Unexpected

A quick sample for a client. As you can probably guess, he's a basketball coach. Thanks a ton to Bobby Chiu for teaching how to use the pen tool.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dawn on the Battlefield

This latest painting is based on a photo of a band of Oglala Sioux Native Americans taken by Edward Curtis during the late 19th century, just as Native American culture sadly passed on. I've reinterpreted into a scene of late Medieval Japan. I hope Mr. Curtis forgives me.

As far as my paintings go, it's okay. I was hoping it would turn out better, but you can't win every time.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oooh, Scary

Well, finished this one. Appropriate for showcasing on Friday the 13th don't you think? :-) I'm going to submit this to a little art contest that McFarlane Toys is holding so wish me luck!

Monday, July 9, 2007

This is the Big One

So I've finished the 'Winter Dragon' painting today, and it's a milestone for me.

It's the first painting I've done where I could completely ditch the drawing. I know that might seem trivial, but I've been working to get to that point for the past THREE years. Now I can say it's really a painting, as opposed to a drawing that has been colored. I definitely have room to improve from here, but little celebrations here and there are nice whenever something new is achieved.

I hope you like it!

Edit 7/16/2007: I've renamed the piece 'Winter Bunny'. That wascally wabbit completely stole the spotlight on this piece!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Well At Least I'm Getting Better

The first image is a rough digital paint treatment I did a few months ago. I ended up getting distracted with other projects and left it in the back burner for a while. Now that my Schoolism course with Bobby Chiu's almost up, I thought it'd be fun to do a compare and contrast. So the second image is my new color treatment, done this week, at roughly the same stage of completion. What do you think? I'm pretty sure I'm getting my money's worth.

If you're interested, check out And no, Bobby is NOT paying me anything to say this.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007

Work in Progress

Still chugging along...and with Comic Con coming up, rightly so!!! So here's some new works of mine, roughly 60% done. Hopefully, I'll be able to post the finished pieces by next week. Till then, hope you like it, and let me know what you think!

PS: You don't think I have an unhealthy obsession with dragons do you? Naw, I didn't think so either!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kyoto by Night

No witty comments or interesting trivia facts today. So just check out the painting.

By the way, can anyone spot my homage to Stan Sakai, one of my most favorite comic book artists?

Monday, June 18, 2007

You Widdle Bad Puddy Tat!!!

He kinda looks like Sylvester doesn't he?
This is an old layout of mine that I took out last night and painted. If you're wondering the monster is called a Nue, which is a kind of Japanese Chimera (with a snake tail too!).

Sunday, June 17, 2007


This particular piece I've redone for the third time now (the other two are somewhere earlier in this blog). I can never seem to be happy with it, and I will make it work if it kills me! (I should probably be more careful about saying things like that). So what do you think?

And yes, I've been on a black and white kick lately. Don't know why, but there's something about it that makes it so nice and moody to me.
This is a fake screenshot that I did for a game for a potential client. I usually don't like showing stuff done professionally on my blog so I can avoid legal drama, but this one got axed anyway so I don't think it'll be a problem. It's done in Flash, by the way.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I Am No Man!

The thumb for this one seemed to be a big hit, so here's the final. What do you think?Women in feudal Japan enjoyed remarkable rights and privileges, considering the time period. During the Kamakura period (12th-14th century by Western reckoning), they could inherit lands, file lawsuits against grievances and were expected to defend their homelands from invasion should the men be on military campaign. However, once Japan inherited Confucian beliefs, women became regulated to the subserivent gender.

In the history of Japan, there were a few 'women samurai', although the term would be incorrect, since the name samurai was gender specific to men. A more proper term would be onna bugei-sha, meaning literally 'woman trained in the buke (fighting) arts'.

Probably the most famous of the onna bugei-sha was Tomoe Gozen. Very little is known about Tomoe. She fought during the Gempei wars (1180-1185), and was either wife, concubine or female attendant to Minamoto no Yoshinaka. While most women of the time were skilled in sojutsu (the art of the spear), Tomoe was legendary for her skills in riding, archery and kenjutsu (the art of the sword). She was fiercely loyal to her lord, and was one of his most successful and respected senior Captains.

Minamoto no Yoshinaka successfully defeated the Heike clan at the Battle of Kurikawa (which turned the tide of the war in favor of the Minamoto), but tragically was betrayed by his own cousin, Minamoto no Yoritomo (who would eventually rise to be the final victor of the Gempei wars). Yoritomo sent his brothers, the legendary Minamoto no Yoshitsune and Minamoto no Noriyori to crush Yoshinaka at the Battle of Awazu on February 21, 1184.

Yonshinaka and his clan were defeated, but what became of Tomoe Gozen is unknown. Some say she died alongside her lord, but only at the cost of many of the enemy. Others say she fled from the battle with the head of her lord to deny the enemy their trophy. Some say she threw herself into the sea or became a nun. The mystery and intrigue surrounding her life only added to her legend.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Office

An old (and a bit dramatized) sketch of my office. Can you spot (a) a literary reference, (b) a movie reference and (c) a Cold War history reference?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Stuff done at the office. Enjoy!

First attempt. Still getting used to painting in Flash.
Second attempt. Got some inspiration from Finding Nemo.
Third attempt. Hopefully the strongest of the three.
Me trying some dramatic lighting.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Some New Thumbs

I've started my online class digital painting class with the talented Bobby Chiu. It's probably going to take up the lion's share of my time, so I doubt I'll be able to post a whole lot in the way of new digital paintings until I'm done. This is because for the most part, our class paintings are based off of Bobby's drawings, so they're his property, and if I post them as mine, it's not just illegal, it's plain low. To learn more about his work and class, check out and

In the meantime, I'll be doing thumbs for new ideas that I plan on taking to finish once I'm done with Bobby's class (and hopefully, my digital painting skills will be improved). Here are some right now.

Now for fun (and to find out how good-or bad- my design skills are), leave me a comment and tell me what you think is going on in each thumb (Knowledge of Japanese samurai culture and Games Workshop games is recommended.). The first one to get all three right will get some sort of prize. Maybe a sketch or something. Just please get it right quickly, or I'll be depressed.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Thought I should bring up the awwww factor on my blog and how can you go wrong with Jack-Jack from The Incredibles?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

From the Sketchbook

Below are some subway sketches I did on the way home from work. I am happy to announce I haven't been caught or confronted by any angry commuters since that last incident.

And here's some sketches from a day at Tibbetts Brook Park here in Yonkers, NY. I grew up going to summer camp here.

I figured it's a good place to draw children from life (probably the ultimate challenge in life drawing since you feel like you're trying to draw the wind). I think one woman caught on that I was drawing her baby niece, but she only smiled. I guess she was happy to see that someone was capturing this everyday but precious moment on paper and preserving it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yes, I'm Still Here

Been very busy taking animation design tests. Lots of drawing and whatnot, but I can't post it here because of confidentiality and all that jazz. I have been able to steal away some time for my own work, so here's the roughs for my contribution to Illustration Friday for this week. The word this week is 'polar'.

I'll explain more about the subject matter later. For now, just check out the roughs, let me know if you like it, if you hate it, whatever. Thanks!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

If You're Not Making Mistakes, You're Not Making ANYTHING

Thank you Grant! His comment on my last post was exactly what I needed to hear! He reminded me of Tony Christov's 1-2-3 principle. Quite simply, it's the idea of first read-second read-third read. In a good illustration, you want three main elements, each with distinct levels of importance. My problem with my previous post is you couldn't tell what was most important. So with that in mind, here's the original.

And here it is again after I was reminded of the 1-2-3 rule.

See the difference? On the first attempt, you couldn't clearly see the rider's silhouette, thus destroying the readability. The main culprit was the combination of the dragon's body being far too dark and contrasting considering how far away it was and the ambient darkness. By reducing the amount of darks everywhere except the dragon's head, the samurai and the dragon's neck (the 1-2-3 elements), suddenly everything makes more sense.

I hope this post clearly demonstrates the importance of design and composition. All the draftsmanship and detailing in the world can mean nothing if your painting is a big muddy mess.

The other thing it teaches me is that I've been doing too much in a vacuum. I will cut myself some slack since I've moved away from San Francisco (and my community of artists) and returning to New York (where I have yet to reestablish a community). Doing all my work on my own with practically no feedback until after I've finished results in frustration and needless work. From this point on, I'll be sure to start posting thumbnails, etc. more often.

The image of the artist as a lonely, tragic (and mentally questionable) recluse is romantic and all, but for our purposes, useless and self-defeating. Art is not just a profession, it's community.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Proper Way to Kill the Dragon, Save the Princess and Still Come Out Alive

Yay, finally something to post! I've been so busy with animation tests along with my website. The annoying thing about animation tests is that you work so hard for no compensation, and on top of that, you can't even post the work you did because said work is now property of the studio you're applying to. The really kicker is that the company said thanks but no thanks. Well, back to square one.

Anyway, this was a piece I started a while ago, but finally just finished.

I think it came out okay. I'm worried it has issues of readability. I'll probably continue to touch up on it, but I really wanted to just post it already. Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My Web Site

If you're wondering why it's been a while since my last post, here's my answer: my website is finally updated. It needed a complete overhaul, and that included switching from Dreamweaver to Flash to make it. Updating a website takes long enough; having to learn Flash as you do it doesn't make it any easier. Let me know what you think.

The home page probably needs some further decorating, but I'm just not sure what to do with it yet. Writing one of those 'Welcome to my site, look around' messages seems so silly. So if anyone has any ideas, I'm in your debt.

Friday, March 16, 2007

My New Card!

Well, my new business card came in yesterday. What do you think? It was done by PS Print in Oakland, CA. ( This is my third card with them, and I've always been pleased. Thanks to everyone for their help and opinions in designing the card!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Yet Another Dragon

So I spent the good part of today trying to figure out a new design for my business card. The trick is, when you're still a young artist without an identity, anything you come up with for a design can be good today, outdated tomorrow. Sure Frank Frazetta's the barbarian fantasy guy and Peter DeSeve is the NY Times Magazine cover guy and Adam Hughes is the comic book good girl guy, but who the hell is Piya????

So for now, I'm just sticking with a dragon. It's pretty much all I've drawn since oh, high school, so it's as much my identity as I'm going to get right now. Now I didn't want to go a do the biggest, scariest most badass monster I could make, but I just wanted something with sensible character design.

I noticed that the collaborative dragon design I came up with for Joni to paint was pretty well received, but I didn't want to go paint that if she's already doing it, so I just took it, made some changes to it, and here it is! Basically I just made the wings and antlers a bit bigger but it's pretty much the same thing. I usually don't like chubby dragons, but the very voluminousness (yes that's a word) gives the creature such character. The face I made slightly pig like because 2007 is the Chinese year of the pig. It has the body of a European type wyrm, but the face of an Asian dragon because I find they're more expressive. Finally, I gave it classic dragon colors. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why NYC is So Great for Illustrators

Well, I had a (gasp) productive day today. I first hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or Met to us locals) with markers and Bristol Board in hand. I usually don't do color sketching, but having seen Alina Chau's sketches, I felt I should try. I would've tried watercolor, but it's banned at the Met (but oil paint isn't-go figure). So below are some of the fruits of my labor.
Obviously, this came out of the Armory Room.

This is the Met plaza. My light markers managed to die on my right on time, leaving me stuck with only the 60%, 70% and 90% darkness. So I was pretty much forced to use very dark cast shadows, making the scene look very sunny, when it was actually overcast. Another artist saw it and actually liked it better than my other sketches. Kind of interesting what happens when you're working under less than ideal circumstances.

After the museum closed and I got booted out (the hard way), I picked myself off the street and headed to the Society of Illustrators Gallery. I heard there was some sort of drawing workshop. First off, here's some drawings from it.

The 2 on 2 Jazz Sketch is one of those things that can only happen in New York. For $20, we had two models for 3 hours of life drawing.

In addition to the fact that the sketch area was covered with orginal paintings from the likes of Rockwell, Cornwell and Leyendecker they even had a live jazz band to entertain us (hence the name). Pretty good value for the money if you ask me. I know I'll be making the Jazz sketch as often as I can from now on. I know I haven't done enough life drawing, but in addition to that, the Jazz sketch is just one of those experiences that very few with ever really have the privilege of knowing. And to all my friends and fellow artists living on the West Coast and thinking of moving to the Big Apple (you know who you are!) consider this post as another reason to move!
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