Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Tyrant King

Well, the painting's finished.

It's been a long time since I've done a piece of dinosaur art.That's very strange and surprising to me, since it was dinosaurs that got me to start drawing, and sent me down the path that led to my life as an illustrator today. I feel like I owe the field of vertebrate paleontology a huge debt.

It's very hard to talk about the Tyrannosaurus Rex without resorting to superlatives. Its name alone translates to 'Tyrant Reptile King.' At over 40 feet long, roughly 18 feet tall and weighing about 8 metric tons, it is one the largest land predators to ever walk the Earth. Its teeth were 6 to 12 inches long, round, thick and serrated, and were capable of crushing bone. Its head was massive, a full 5 feet long. The arms were tiny, with only two fingers. That being said, they were well muscled and powerful. The legs of Tyrannosaurus were long in proportion to the body. There is still much debate in the scientific community as to the top running speed achievable by Tyrannosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus's tail was long, thick and heavy, required to counterbalance the rest of the animal's bulk. Finally, many of the bones were hollow, reducing weight without loss of strength.

Tyrannosaurus appeared on Earth about 68 million years ago (MYA), at the height of the Cretaceous Period, the final period of the Mesozoic. Its range was Western North America, which during the Cretaceous, was part of the continent of Laurentia. The The Tyrannosaurus's prey included the duckbilled hadrosaurs and the horned ceratopsians. In this illustration, our Tyrannosaurus has taken down an Edmontosaurus annectens, one of the largest of the hadrosaurs (in fact, it nearly matches the T. Rex in length).

The Tyrannosaurus perished, along with 75% of all life on Earth 65 MYA during the KT Cataclysm. However its impact on the modern world is substantial (in my personal opinion, no other extinct animal has had such an impact on popular culture as the Tyrannosaurus). It has appeared in movies such as Jurassic Park, the Toy Story Series and King Kong. The largest Tyrannosaurus exhibit in the world, Sue, is a popular attraction at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. Childrens' books, toys, and games revolving around Tyrannosaurus remain popular to this day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Website Updated!!!!! (and Giant Dinocidal Apex Predator Therapods)

My website is updated. Check it out.


Let me know if you like it (enthusiastically). Let me know if you don't (tactfully). Let me know about all the broken links you find (expeditiously). Much obliged (honestly).

Oh, and here's a Tyrannosaurus sketch. The dead dino on the wrong end of the prey-predator relationship is the Edmontosaurus (guess where in Canada this guy was found). Final to come.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saw Whet Owl

A big side dream of mine has always been to somehow contribute my art to the field of biology. Despite being an artist, science has always been a big love of mine. In fact, I used to be a biology major in college before switching to art. (I probably would've finished my Bachelor's in biology if organic chemistry didn't have its way with me. ) My hopes of becoming a scientist has long since been packed away, but my passion for nature has never really disappeared.

I've decided it's time to put my money where my mouth is and try more science based artwork. I was looking for an animal that I've never really done too much of and I happened to find a photo of a Northern Saw Whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus). So I thought, ah, why not? So right here, ladies and gentlemen is my very first professional level biological illustration!

Aegolius acadicus is a small American owl (about 7 inches long with a wingspan around 18 inches), living throughout the US and Canada. It's a very plentiful species, occurring mostly in coniferous forests feeding on rodents and insects. Those living on the American West Coast are also known to feed on crustaceans. Its common name, the Saw Whet Owl comes from the sound of the animal's cry, said to resemble a saw being sharpened against a whetstone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chaos Knight

I decided I needed some more practice with quick paintings. So here's a three-ish hour painting, depicting a Warhammer Chaos Knight. I've been a Games Workshop fan for about 12 years, but I only played for about 3.

This painting started out as a rough paint spatter using textured custom brushes. From there, I tried to sculpt the painting out. Hopefully it's fairly successful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back to the Cute Stuff

We're back to my little dragon guy and his girl. Since we're artists, my first piece is of him painting.

And my friend Joni really wanted me to do this super mushy piece. I hope you like it Joni! I painted this while fighting a cold!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Now you didn't think my art was getting too soft and sappy, did ya?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Even More Pretty Colors!

Round two. My little dragon guy's got a nice pretty lady now. Hope you guys like it! I appreciate everyone's comments on the last one!! Thanks again!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pretty Colors!!!

Well, here's the next step in my little dragon character. Color schemes!

Enjoy! If you like any of them in particular, please let me know. I will be in your debt. I'll be working on colors for his female companion soon. Stay tuned! Thanks!!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

29 Dragons

I couple of weeks ago, I came up with this little guy.

I thought he was kinda cute, and his design is a new direction for me. For the longest time, my character designs were aimed more towards the young reader/teen market. This dragon was more of a children's book design.

So I gave myself a job. Do 29 sketches of him by the time I turned, well, 29. That's today. Yikes!!!

So here's the fruits of my labor. I wanted to paint them too, but that's going to have to wait another day.

Yes, I hear you scream "Piya, do something besides dragons!!" And I say "Well, I just came up with this design, and I loved it, and it would be stupid of me to not use it just because it's another dragon! When I'm inspired to do something else I will!"

PS: You'll note that there's really more than 29 dragons. A lot more. I just counted the male dragon I initially created. I came up with his female companion pretty much on the fly (hence the lame bow ribbon on her head, which I blatantly ripped off Webby from Duck Tales-remember that show everyone???). Also, I haven't come up with names for these characters. Anyone got any ideas?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Life of an Illustrator

Phew!! Man have I neglected this blog!

In all fairness, I'm readjusting to my new job as an illustrator at Amscan. I'm doing party decorations, mostly for Halloween. Sorry, can't show you any now.

In the meantime, here's a little cartoon I did for a Graphic Artists Guild Newsletter. The topic is what the life of an illustrator is. I've shown this to tons of friends also in the field, and they all say 'yep, that's my life too', so I'm really happy that so many have found this relatable. I'm not a cartoonist by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm glad with how this strip turned out. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Been doing a lot of Halloween stuff for work, so I just thought I'd do my own spin on it. So here's a vampire. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Will....

...Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons, I Will Draw Something Besides Dragons.........


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thai Anyone?

A couple of weeks ago I got a small gig for a new Thai Restaurant in upstate New York. It was simple but a lot of fun. Here it is.

Here's the menu.

The website can be found here.

So if you're around the Carmel, New York area, and in the mood for Thai, be sure to stop by!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Subway Digital Paintings

A while ago, I got the parts needed to use Colors! on my Nintendo DS. So here's some paintings done on my way to and from work using Colors! What a simple and fantastic program! The first truly portable (and very surreptitious) digital painting platform.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Clockwork Army

Phew! I started this for Illustration Friday's theme of 'Multiple' for last week, but I finally finished it. It was a rather ambitious piece, and I'm not 100% happy about it, but for now, I'm going to call it done.

It was inspired by a video game I played over 10 years ago (makes me feel old). Most RPG fans will remember Final Fantasy VI (although it was called Final Fantasy III at the time). It was probably one of the best Final Fantasy games storywise in the series, and one could argue it was in fact the best. Anywho, there was a little enemy called the Pipsqueak, which was basically a really cute little robot knight.

It was an insignificant enemy, just meant to be another evil little guy to run over on your way to saving the world, but somehow, the concept stuck with me. Even back then, I knew I'd do something inspired by the image of the Pipsqueak. So, 13 years later, I finally did!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

His Everything

As much as I love the fantasy genre, I'm getting sick of all the end-of-the-world battles. Seems that every fantasy series, even great ones like Lord of the Rings, is about the End Times, the Great Battle of Our Time, the World Will End if the Good Guys Lose, you get it. Come on guys, Armageddon can't happen every other day!!

My big challenge to all you would be Tolkeins , Weiss and Hickmans or whoever else is write a story in a fantasy world where it's just the day to day. In the fantasy world, elves live for hundreds, if not thousands of years. What is their day to day life compared to our real world of rush rush rush? Give me a story like that.

I don't believe fantasy only speaks to geeky kids who can't get girls. It should speak to all of us.

So here's my latest painting. I chose an Orc, the big warmongering monster in fantasy and tried to place him in human circumstances. What parent can't relate to the pride, love and hope that they have in their children? Their children are their whole worlds, and I tried to capture a bit of that very human experience in a monster.

Here's the color rough.

Here's the original drawing. Obviously, I decided to flip the piece halfway through. I believe this flows a bit better (Well, for us English speakers anyway. The Japanese probably think it's nuts.) This is the first one I've ever done in Sketchbook Pro. Very nice and easy program; I recommend it if you want to draw digitally without killing your computer's hard drive with memory hogging Adobe Photoshop.

And my reference. Yep. There's no dignity when it comes to photo reference. The scary elf is a leftover from my Fortunoff gig.

PS: I you want to leave a post saying I painted Shrek, DON'T.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Frank Frazetta

Today, February 9, 2008 is Frank Frazetta's 80th birthday. Happy birthday Frank!
I was lucky enough to be invited by Imagine FX magazine (check them out here) to do a piece of work inspired by Mr. Frazetta. I thought a lot about what made Frank who he is: his amazing knowledge of human anatomy, his storytelling and his sense of design and composition. I decided I wanted my piece to emulate that final quality most, because that's the one everyone forgets, but Frank uses very well. I hope I can do some justice to his legacy. Here's to you, Mr. Frazetta!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

PJ Lynch

Anyone interested in childrens books and/or watercolor should check out PJ Lynch.


I've been a huge fan of his work since 2001 (before I even went to art school!!) and I still collect his stuff now. (In fact, I got two copies of his Christmas Carol book for Christmas from two very special ladies in my life:-)...yes, I know I'm so damn lucky!!) His credits include Ignis, When Jessie Came From Across the Sea, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Grandad's Prayers fo the Earth, The Bee-Man of Orn, and the aforementioned Christmas Carol.

Oh yes, and artwork. A preview of what I'm working on.

Cute huh?

And just for the heck of it, some sketchbook pages. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Thought I'd try a night scene. I can hear you gasp: 'Piya didn't paint a dragon!!???? The end of the world is nigh!!' Yes, I know I've done a ton of them, but believe it or not, I like a break once in a while! And yes, I know, painting a griffin isn't too different, but what can I say?

Anywho, I've had a bee in my bonnet about griffins being depicted only with an eagle head and lion rear. Yes, I know, that's what it says in mythology, but for heaven's sake, there's such a rich diversity of raptors and cats out there in the world; how can we not try something different??!! I'm starting to work on redefining other mythological and fantasy creatures, and I'll certainly post them here. New ideas are always welcome of course!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Old Farts

Here's my latest painting. Yes, more dragons. Hopefully this will make you chuckle a little though.

Here's the color rough. Yes, I know I barely did much on the rough stage, but I was on time crunch!!! (By the way, I usually do a full rendered pencil sketch here, but I simply didn't have that time. So I went from rough sketch straight to Photoshop. It was a bit of a roller coaster but hopefully the results speak for themselves).

And the rough sketch I did while sitting on the subway a while back. Funny thing is, it seems my best brainstorming for new pieces is done while I've got a pocket sized sketchbook. On the 11'x17' sketchbook, I can come up with character designs, but never full compositions. It seems I do better with less room. Curious.

Some New Sketches

So I did a few character design sketches based on those silhouette studies. What do you think?

I've already done a painting based on these, but you'll have to wait a few weeks to see them. I'll explain everything in due time....
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