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!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Today's post is my (late) entry for the Blue Sky Challenge...dragons! Dragons and samurai...two topics I'll never get tired of. Come to think of it, I haven't yet combined the two into one piece. (sigh) Add another one to the ever growing list of ideas in the back of my head. Anywho, here they are!

The first one is more my style, done in marker, to pass the time while I was flying home last Christmas. The second is a collaborative piece I'm doing with my friend Joni Stringfield (check out her blog and site on my links list). I did the drawing now she'll add her characters and paint the piece; can't wait to see the result! (no pressure Joni!)

I do have a few more dragons than this, but I'm not too sure if they're of my highest standard yet, and when it comes to depicting the dragon, I really do want to give a really high level of quality. Yes, another entry to the list of things to draw!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drawing Can Be Dangerous!!!

So I was coming home from work today on the 1 Train, with my trusty sketchbook to pass the time. Here I was just trying to be a diligent (and covert) artist, and finally it happened.

I was caught, and confronted.

The subject was a skinny, tall guy who caught my attention because of his crazy hat. I just had to get the hat, and I guess he was sharp eyed enough to catch me. The funny thing was the only thing I got from him was his hat and body frame. The clothes and face were from other commuters.
So once he caught me the swearing began. I never knew someone could spew so many threatening words without stopping to breath! He tried to take my book, etc., but in the end, contented himself to continue to hound me verbally. Thankfully, we were only about a minute from my stop when it happened.

Wow, quite a story. But I tell this just to entertain. What I don't want to have happen is my fellow artists stop sketching from life just because of this! Yes, it's a risk, but the rewards worth the risk. Drawing from life is what makes us better artists; like many artists, if I could get away with just drawing from my head, I would. But I know that what I have in my head does not even begin to comprehend what exists in this world. Only by observing the world the way an artist does (ie draw from life) does the artist grow in wisdom and in talent.

If I've still scared you with this story, consider this. We go a drive our cars every day. Why do we drive a car? To get from here to there. What are the risks? Property damage, personal injury, lawsuits, DEATH, etc etc. By comparison, why does an artist sketch? To grow in wisdom and understanding as to the ways of the world through a visual media. What's the risk? A few paranoid individuals get mad. Oh well. Tough on them.

Well, that's my entertaining story of the day!

PS: Yes, I'm thankful I was just caught by the skinny guy with the hat as opposed to the half-ogre I drew on the left page. His coat was just too cool not to get down, but if I was caught...well, let's just say I probably won't be posting anymore. Or drawing. Or painting. Or breathing.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Ooooh, and you thought you had problems when you got sent to the principal's office!! This piece was an exploration in depicting power and submission. The damiyo I created to be a very large person with superhero type portions. His kabuto (helmet) and horo (cape) makes his presence only greater. I used red (a color of power) for his armor, and blue (a color for peace and submission) for his underling's armor. His face is darkened, but you know it's probably not very pretty! His silhouette cast shadow is the device that makes or breaks this piece. Hope you like it; let me know if you think it works! Also, I hope I kept the final a lot closer to the original thumbnail (for once!!).

By the way, the kuwagata (horns) on the damiyo's helmet is no exaggeration; Japanese armorers had absolutely no concept of restraint. One can only imagine what would happen when this guy walked through a door while wearing this helmet.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tea or Death

My latest piece based on 'Here There Be Dragons'. It's a lot darker of a scene than I'm used to working with. I hope I've struck a balance between depicting a dark cave and still being instantly readable. Thoughts, anyone?

The composition was inspired by Armand Serrano's Nativity scene. Check it out:

Sunday, February 11, 2007


My latest painting. I don't think I'll ever get tired of samurai. If you're wondering, 'sashimono' is Japanese for 'banner' as in the banners worn on the back of the ashigaru (foot solider).

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Character Design of Sam Jo Siu

No new paintings of mine today, but I do want to direct people's attention to my friend, Samantha Siu's blog, For her January 28, 2007 post, she put up her latest watercolor character design that I believe just has to be seen.

This design for a donkey has to be one of the funniest, simplest yet most effective designs I've seen in a long time. I just couldn't stop chuckling to myself for about 10 minutes straight once I saw it. I think that alone says something about this piece. Sam, I give you credit, this piece is just great! Let's see some more of it huh?

Friday, February 2, 2007

'...a sight such as you have never seen in your lives...'

Another piece from 'Here There Be Dragons'...I feel like I'm Mr. Owen's press agent.

When the Lights Go Down....

A few weeks ago I had a really weird dream, and in it, I was in this city. It seemed to be a mix between San Francisco (where I lived for 4 years) and New York (where I grew up near and am still living now). Next day, I broke out the markers to record what I could remember. Here's the result. Don't ask where the Native American sculpture came from. Only in dreams....

Free the Shadow-Born

Another painting from 'Here There Be Dragons' by James Owen. If you want to know what's going on and what the heck the Shadow-Born are, go read the book.

This one's a first for me, since it was painted completely in Flash. For a web design/animation program, its painting program is remarkable easy and quick to use. I hope to be able to show more soon.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Charge of the 300

Here are two pieces I did based on the book 'Gates of Fire' by Steve Pressfield. It's a historical fiction novel based on the three day stand of 300 Spartans against half a million Persians in 480 BC. Yes, there's also Frank Miller's 300, which is coming out on film in about 2 months. I'm glad I did these before the movie gets released.

I'm sure that most of the public's going to love the movie and Mr. Miller's masterpiece, but I hope some people reading this will decided to try to pick up this novel too. It's a great read in its own right, detailing many more characters besides King Leonidas, including the Spartan Peer Dienekes, Polynikes (lit. 'many victories), a Spartan who lives up to his namesake, Xeones, a Spartan slave and narrator of the book, and many more besides. The novel also gives the reader a better idea of who the Persians are. But enough of that. Stop reading this blog and go to the bookstore and pick it up! Thank me later!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...