Thursday, December 24, 2009


Angels we have heard on high,
singing sweetly o'er the plains,
and the mountains in reply,
echoing their joyous strain.

Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria! In excelsis Deo!
Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria! In excelsis Deo!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

ArtOrder Krampus

After a hiatus from ArtOrder, here's my submission for its latest challenge. Think of this guy as the anti-Santa Claus.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Finished my Christmas card! Hope you like it! Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Something for the nephew. Yeah, I know, Pikachu's pretty old news these days, but still, give some respect to the rodent who can blow s%*t up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ninjas and Knights

Just wanted to drop a quick post and let you know that I'm on Ninja Mountain this week. For those who are unfamiliar, Ninja Mountain Scrolls is a weekly podcast for artists by artists, especially those working in the fields of science fiction and fantasy.

This week's podcast is nearly two hours long, covering IlluxCon. It's a great listen for any artist. Here it is.

And because I don't like posting without putting some art up, here's some silhouette studies I did a while back.

These studies are based around an old school character from Games Workshop's Warhammer Chaos Army (really old school).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Takhisis and Paladine

It's done...for now.

This painting depicts two characters from the Dragonlance novels, Takhisis, the goddess of evil (she's the big 5 headed dragon) and her brother, Paladine, the god of justice, taking the guise of a wizard. I just love the contrasting approaches to godhood that these two beings take in the novels: Takhisis always appears in a mighty and overwhelming form, demanding all to worship her, while Paladine takes an almost Christlike approach, shedding his godly form for an Alzheimer's-inflicted wizard leading many to underestimate him.

By the way, I just got back from IlluxCon 3 days ago. I got swamped immediately with work, so sorry about the delay in posting. By the way, as far as conventions go, IlluxCon is probably one of the best for artists in our genre. It's small and focused exclusively on the art, and allows artists to learn a lot, be exposed to a lot of art, and not be overwhelmed at the same time. I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Last night at my portrait painting class, our model was a no-show. So while we waited for her replacement, our instructor, Andrew Lattimore stepped in to pose. Here's a 10-ish minute sketch I did with a Japanese brush pen.

I've been trying to explore inks a lot more after reading David Apatoff's article, 'Ink and Commitment'.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bringing Nerdy Back

Don't even think for a moment that I've gone all plein air!!!

Here's my work in progress. I'm really thinking about doing the final in oils. Hopefully, it'll be done in time for IlluxCon...Oh and a prize for you if you can tell me the name of the wizard in the painting.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plein Air Part 2

Here are some more plein airs. The coming fall is starting to add a bit of variety. More to come!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hurakan Silhouettes

I've been doing some more silhouettes for the ArtOrder Hurakan challenge (which I am officially way behind on...sigh....). Amazing what you can get done while riding New York City's subways on a Friday night.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plein Air Part 1

Here are two plein air paintings I've done in the past few weeks. I worked a lot in oil painting while I was in art school, but plein aire is new for me. Much like oil painting in the studio, except you have to lug everything with you, the Earth has to do this annoying thing known as ROTATING, which wreaks havoc on your lighting and you get eaten alive by mosquitoes. The plus side is you really get out of the house and truly get to appreciate God's green Earth.

This first painting is a view of the Hudson River from the Montgomery Place Estate near Barrytown in Upstate New York.

This photo illustrates very clearly why it's a good idea to paint on site versus painting from a photo. Note how drained the color is in the photo. Also, while the foliage is defined, the sky is a complete white wash. The camera could not catch the true color or the subtle value changes my eyes were able to see.

This is my backyard. You can see my mom's hydrangeas and Godzilla sized rose bushes.

PS: FYI, plein air is short for 'en plein air', French for 'in the open air'. Plein air painting has been around since the dawn of painting, but the invention of tubed oil paints and French box easels in the 1870s truly helped it to take off.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Earthquake Dragon

big (adj): large or great in dimensions, bulk or extent
titanic (adj): having great magnitude, force or power
gigantic (adj): exceeding the usual or expected (as in size, force or prominence)

I'm revisiting an older ArtOrder challenge. I was focusing on sheer scale, plain and simple. Hope you like it!

Definitions from

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ArtOrder Hurakan Silhouettes

'Yon mortal enemies of Asgard! The scion of Odin himself doth stand before thee!! Tremble in fear, for the wrath of...'

...whoops, wrong god of thunder!!! Here's the right one! HURAKAN, the Mayan God of storms, fire and lightning!!!

And he's so cool, he can pull a Maleficent!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Halloween Scene Setters

Okay, Halloween is still a while from now, but this is a special occasion, so I'll talk about it now. These two illustrations are the two scene setters I created for my employer, Amscan. They were my first two projects, and they're available now for purchase at Party City. The direct links to these products are here and here.

They're not going to give Frank Frazetta any sleepless nights, but they're a milestone for me. When I graduated from art school, I told myself I was going to get a full time job doing what I love to do. Those who are in this field know that's a tall order. A lot of my peers in this field go freelance, but I personally need the reassurance of a regular paycheck and health insurance. It took me three years, but I did it, and on June 30, 2008, I was hired full time as a designer at Amscan.

Sure it's not Pixar, but for me, it was a huge step forward in my career. And these illustrations, as tacky, commercial and artistically questionable as they may be, represent a very proud moment of my life.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ArtOrder Owlbear

A redesign of the Owlbear. I took inspiration from an owl, a bear, a bison, a Nile crocodile and an ankylosaurus. Yeah I know: random.

Some rough design sketches. You can see I originally planned a more traditional owl face.

And the obligatory sihlouette studies.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

B-17 Fighting Fortress

I went to an air show this past weekend where vintage WWII aircraft were on display. Here's a watercolor sketch done on site of the B-17. The light rain certainly made things a bit more interesting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Well, today I say goodbye to my twenties and hello to 30. I thought it'd be fun to do a illustration of something very old. Well, me being me, it had to be a dragon. So here's my latest, an old, old dragon, who I named Methuselah. Methuselah is mentioned in the Bible as the grandfather of Noah. Having lived to 969 years old, his name is synonymous with anything of old age.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

ArOrder Flaming Coward

The latest ArtOrder Challenge. I love creature design. Especially creatures that can eat you alive and set everything on fire!

Here are the original silhouettes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Post 100

It seems somehow serendipitous that on my 100th blog post, I should display my recent foray back into more traditional media (or analog media, for the nerds in the audience). Here's an oil portrait I did recently (after have not painted in oil for about 4 years). It was done in three hours.

Do I have a lot of work ahead of me? Of course. That's why artists do what they do for their entire lives. Am I satisfied with this painting? Yes and no. Yes, because I wasn't sure how much I've lost over the years of not painting in oil. I'm pleased to say I didn't lose too much and I'm almost ready to say that I'm exactly where I left off. And at the same time, I know things can be better.

Well, I've got the rest of my life to learn more and produce better work. Not nearly enough time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Part of the reference I'm using for my next piece. This was sculpted with Super Sculpey over a wire armature bulked up with scrap paper and tin foil. Isn't it cute?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Old Farts Redux

Remember this guy? I did this painting wwwaaaayyy back in January 2008.

Well, I spent some time reworking the piece. And here it is! Ta Da!!

As you can see, I've worked on a more definite light scheme, added more value contrast, added a lot more variety to the leaves and a lot more color overall. And of course, there are the cute, Bobby Chiu-ish creatures on the tree branches on the left. Whaddya think???

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ArtOrder Earthquake Dragon

This week's ArtOrder challenge: a dragon! Sweet!!

The premise was to create a Catastrophic Dragon. This particular one has power over earthquakes. Now I could've easily done some heavy dragon made out of rock, but I wanted to add some story to it. I took inspiration from the game Final Fantasy X, which had a creature called the Anima and an old Norse myth about the punishment of Loki, and combined them to create this creature. He's bound under the Earth for some trangression or act of hubris, and whenever he struggles, the Earth above shakes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

This land is your land, this land is my land,
from California, to the New York Island,
from the redwood forests, to the gulf stream waters,
this land was made for you and me...

Woody Guthrie

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Work in Progress

Here's a not-so-quick rough of my next piece. Watch this space.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IMC 2009

I was lucky enough to take part in the 2nd annual Illustration Masterclass in Amherst, MA. The class was taught by a who's who in the illustration industry: Greg Manchess, Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Scott Fischer, Charles Vess, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, art director Irene Gallo and the founder of the IMC, Rebecca Guay. It was a week of illustration madness: 12-16 hour days, 2-3 lectures a day, constant painting, way too much screwing around...what a fine vacation!

The assignment I took was for an interior illustration for a Norse-ish novel called 'Berzerker Lord'. The assignment was to depict three characters, a giant warrior, Aath, and a tiny, idealistic dreamer, Draaken, taking on a polar bear.

Here are my early thumbs.

From that, I picked the third thumb, blew it up, and made a few changes. I was lucky enough to have Joe Weatherly's help with the polar bear. It still looked a bit crowded though....Anywho, here's what I brought with me to the first day of class.

From the critiques of Dan Dos Santos and Charles Vess, I made a new rough. Changes include cropping the bear from only two sides of the frame instead of three, allowing me to move Draaken to the right and behind Aath. Also, Aath has a much more dramatic pose.

From that, I took some reference photos, using my fellow classmates. Thanks to Hasani and Noni for posing. The polar bear was made with Play Doh. I'm not sure why I didn't start doing this earlier; 4 tubs of clay for $1.99 at Target-what a bargain!!!!

Upon reviewing the photos, I realized I practically broke Aath's arm in the new rough.

Now here's the pencil rough. Note the note I wrote to myself because I made Aath's torso way too short-I would correct that digitally before I started painting. Note also, the change in perspective, made by lowering the horizon line-that idea came from the ingenious Greg Manchess. One simple change, and the drama just went up 200%!

And finally, here's the finished piece. I did change Draaken half way through. I wasn't too happy with how tiny he was.

Thanks very much to Rebecca Guay for putting this whole thing together. Thanks of course to Greg, Donato, Dan, Scott, Boris, Julie, Irene, Rebecca and Charles for being our teachers and staying with us up to midnight or later. And finally, thanks to all my classmates and new good friends in the IMC 2009.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

ArtOrder Exchange

For this week's challenge, I've fleshed out a silhouette design created by Ricardo Guimaraes of Brazil. Check out his work here.

Here's the original silhouette. Ricardo, thanks for putting together such an excellent and inspiring design!
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