Monday, December 2, 2013

Usagi Yojimbo

This painting is my contribution to the Comic Art Professional Society's fundraising efforts to help out Stan Sakai's and his family. Stan Sakai is the creator, writer and artist of the one and only comic I read, Usagi Yojimbo.
I cannot overemphasize how much Stan Sakai's creation has affected my life. I proudly own every single UY graphic novel. Despite the fact that my style and subject matter is quite different from his, I strive to follow his example.

Stan Sakai is an exemplar of what we all strive to be: a creative artist and professional who has fed his family, bought his own home, sent his own kids to college, all through his own creations. He is legendary for never having missed a deadline, despite being responsible for EVERY part of the UY comic (right down to the lettering!) since 1986. 1986!!!!! His stories are still fresh and original even after 27 years. Usagi Yojimbo derives its quite power through well developed characters, great plots with tons of twists, lots of funny points and Stan Sakai's untiring enthusiasm and iron discipline.

Right now the Sakai family is going through a grave medical crisis that is not covered under their insurance. The expenses are considerable. This watercolor painting will be donated to a CAPS auction to raise money for the Sakai family. I am very proud of this piece, but I will gladly give it up, for it is a poor thank you compared to how much Stan Sakai's work has moved me.

If you are a creator who has even once read UY, I ask, I implore, demand and beg you to please consider helping out.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

ArtOrder Inspiration

My submission to Jon Schindehette's awesome challenge, the Inspiration Challenge.

I've always tried to infuse my work with some good storytelling and your stories don't get much better than the classics. Enter Hades and his less than enthused bride, Persephone.

It's great to get back to ArtOrder challenges. This one WAS A CHALLENGE. I think I overdid it with the detail and spent a lot more time on it than I had planned, but I learned a lot and am a lot wiser for it. Hope you like it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Painting Video

Hi everyone! Just got done with a ton of freelance work that I will be showing off shortly. In the meantime, I just wanted to show off my latest project, my first painting video!

You'll be able to see how I painted a pivotal scene in Lord of the Rings, Gandalf confronting the Balrog from start to finish. I describe how I set up the file, use reference, etc. It's a good 20 minutes long and I hope, informative and helpful. 

Here's the finished painting from that scene!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Deathwing Knight Master

A character painting today. I present to you a Dark Angels Deathwing Knight Master with his trusty (and creepy) cyber cherub. Enjoy!
He's so cool he wears a church on his head.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Dragon Whisperer

Well folks, an exciting post today! A game I contributed to, the Dragon Whisperer, is on sale! This is a milestone for me; my first commissioned dragon paintings! Thanks to Erik and Shane of Albino Dragon for having me contribute to this game. The boxed set is looking sweet. Here's the paintings!

 Reef  Dragon
Sand Dragon

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blue Dragon

Quick painting to experiment further with this new style of painting.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zombie Dragon, Twice the Awesome

Dragons are awesome and zombies are awesome,
so zombie dragons must be TWICE the awesome!

Hello there, long time no see! Lots of changes afoot in my career, so this blog was a little neglected.

Speaking of changes, I thought I'd throw my old style out the door and try for a looser, more expressive style. Now that I think of it, my drawing style has always been more expressive than my painting style (you can't help but draw loose when you're around animators), so I figured this is just bringing things a bit more together.

I always knew I wanted to cut loose a bit more, but wasn't sure how. But they do say when the student is ready, the master appears. Actually, reappears, in my case. I was lucky enough to learn a bit from Scott Fischer, but at the time, I didn't give his methods much credence. Not that I though he couldn't paint, but I just didn't think he was for me. Then I ran into this old blog post by him, and suddenly, it was like a door opened for me.

I've always had a huge pile of brushes sitting in my computer and no idea what to do with them. Now Scott's post teaches me: just 'one click' them! As in, select your brush, and click with a mouse! So simple and yet, produces such interesting results!

So anyway, you'll be seeing me use this style more, with probably more elegant subjects.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live Recap!

Hey everyone sorry about the late post. Last weekend we made a grand road trip from New York to Kansas City for Spectrum Art Live!
We had the good fortune to see so many incredible talents in the fantasy art field: Donato Giancola, Justin Gerard, Greg Manchess, both Anthony and David Palumbo, Scott Murphy, Arkady Roytman, Michael Manomivibul, Brynn Metheney, Tiffany Turrill, Tara McPherson, Garrett Johnson...on and on and on. And let's not forget the art directors without whom we could not have this industry: Zoe Robinson, Andrew Navaro, Andrew Vallas, Irene Gallo and many more!
Since we had a 19 hour drive, this was the scene for me for a lot of it. Not that I'm arguing.

Here's a sweet high school couple I had the privilege of meeting.

A detail of the Cheshire Cat Sketch I did for them.

Of course, I couldn't leave SFAL without being inspired to try something new. So here's a new sketch using toned paper, lots of dark pencils and white charcoal.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spectrum Live, Here We Come!

 I'm excited to announce that we will be at Spectrum Live this weekend! Look for us at Booth...either 616 or 618. Due to these plans being last minute, things will be a the seat of our pants. But we're super excited and we look forward to seeing all of our friends there!
Oh and a teaser of what I'm working on. :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Smaug the Magnificent

Ah, yes, Smaug the Mighty. Smaug the Tremendous. Smaug the Golden. How did I take so long to finally depict you in your grandeur?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chaos Mutilator and Eldar Howling Banshee

This painting was started a few months ago. I wanted to try a piece that really emphasized contrasts between two characters: contrasts in size, shape, texture, color, etc. The latest Chaos Space Marines Codex had just been released and the Chaos Mutilator that was introduced got my attention. I looked for a suitably polar opposite character to face up against the Mutilator and lo and behold, I found the Howling Banshee. Where the Mutilator was male, heavy, warped, clumsy and with exposed flesh, here was a female, lithe, armored and futuristic.
This painting is actually the second go around. I had originally finished an earlier version which, to be honest, I wasn't too crazy about. I painted my hardest for this image, but it just wasn't firing on all cylinders. Finally I decided to post it to this blog, but then disaster struck. I accidentally saved the 72 dpi flattened web version over my final copy. I no longer had a hi res file. I got rather bummed about that and put the image away and forgot about it for a few months.

About a month ago, I pulled the image back up, brought it back to 300 dpi and started painting over it. Eventually, I came to the painting you see above. It's still not a masterpiece in my opinion, but I definitely feel better about it now. Perhaps it was a blessing that I accidentally lost my hi res file.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dark Winter Dragon Part Final

Edit: On 3/8, the winners were announced. This piece won second place! Awesome!!!
The winter dragon art entries are up, so I'm posting my entry up. Here she is in all her dark glory!

By the way, if you're wondering why I called her the DARK winter dragon, that's because she's my second winter dragon. Here's my first one from 6 years ago!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Winter Dragon Part 3

The challenge deadline has passed and I've submitted my entry, but I won't show it just yet. Here's a sketch of my dragon in the meantime!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Dark Winter Dragon Part 2

So as mentioned in the previous post, I had done a bunch of sketches in my sketchbook and felt I was getting somewhere, until I decided my idea was too sweet and not me. Back to the sketchbook! Now for my sketchbook, I tend to use no nonsense pencil, but I have found in the past that sticking to one medium for too long tends to dry me out and that was the case here. Suffice it to say, the drawings I did were uninspired and not worth showing here. It was time for a change. I decided that to start fresh, I would go digital for the sketch and use a brush I hadn't used very much before. The main brush I believe I acquired from Kekai Kotaki's collection which he donated to Imagine FX magazine. I grabbed a texture off my texture library and went at it. After about 40 minutes here's what came out.

I finally felt like I was getting somewhere.....I felt like there's still a mother/child connection. What could be more basic and at the core of parenting than providing food for one's child? I had to make sure the dragon was dark, scary and a little demonic too; I like this juxtapose of an evil looking creature being a caring mother. I've kept the colors desaturated so the blood stands out more as well.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dark Winter Dragon Part 1

Hello! Sorry about the lack of posts. A few weeks ago this showed up at the Dracopedia Project Blog....
William, you're a good man! The rules are simple enough; interpret 'winter dragon', any media, style, etc. Just make it cool...pun sort of intended. Off to the sketchbook!
This is one page of several I drew trying in trying to come up with a painting. As an artist, my thing is story. Narrative. I've never been a money shot kind of guy (you know, the scene where the hero is standing there looking heroic, but not really doing anything). There has to be something...going on. I played with a few ideas. At one point, I was going to have Santa Claus riding on my winter dragon! Why, not, Christmas is only 10 months away!
Finally, I stopped to think about what the term 'winter' means to me. Some people think snowmen and snowball fights, school days cancelled and hot chocolate by the roaring fire, but I think of winter in terms of cold environments, such as the Arctic. Terms that come to mind are white, cold, beautiful, unforgiving, harsh, survivors. Winter is a time of deadly beauty. So how do I tell a story around a lovely but brutal background? Well, I stumbled upon the idea of a mother and child struggling to survive. And here's a color rough of such an idea.
This is a mother winter dragon watching over her sleeping young in a cold, harsh mountain morning. I felt this had a lot of opportunities, artistically speaking. Most obvious is the unusual horizontal composition. I could also play with color, lighting and extreme atmospheric perspective. It has story, a sense of the epic, it's original and....sweet. Not me. I realized I would probably hate doing this painting. There's no action, nothing. And this contest should be about a dragon, I felt this composition was more about a scene that just happened to have a dragon in it. Also, these characters didn't have to be dragons; I could've put goats in their place and it would've worked. I did like the original idea of a mother and her young, and  I wanted to carry that, but I had to lose the saccharine sweetness.

Check in again on Monday to see where this goes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheshire Cats

This past weekend was one of those weekends when inspiration hits from out of nowhere. Christina and I somehow landed on the topic of Cheshire Cats, so I thought it'd be fun if we sketched out our own versions of a Cheshire Cat.
Guess who did what....

And I figured I'd quickly paint up mine!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Battle For Macragge

For my 200th post, I present to you the Battle for Macragge! I really wanted to get across the idea of a noble sacrifice and an honorable death.

I definitely had the movie Gladiator in my mind while working on this piece.
This piece was a long time coming. This sketch was done sometime last spring, when I was suddenly hit with a lot of freelance work/ I chipped at it until about 2 months ago when my schedule freed up a little and I was able to get back to it.

The original pencils with an overload of details. It's a very busy pencil drawing, but I knew I'd rather put in too much detail and just make some disappear instead of making a simple drawing and trying to resolve the details while painting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wild Wargs

2013 is already looking pretty exciting! My first CCG card has been released, the Wild Wargs card. It is part of the Hobbit Over and Under the Hill expansion set.
And here's the original art. I have to say, Fantasy Flight Games does a very nice job with their printing and colors.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, Happy 2013 everyone!

I've never been much into writing, as those of you who've followed this blog for these past years might have noticed. My sentences never sound as eloquent as I would hope, so I tend to keep the yip yap to a minimum. All I can really say is every year, I do everything I can to move forward from the year before. Just a little bit. Not epic leaps but small baby steps. I just trust that the small consistent steps will add up over time.

I will say 2012 was a pretty big year for me. I've done some freelance work that is finally coming to light now, and I hope to share as much of it as possible in the next couple of months. I also know that my blogging was pretty weak throughout 2012, and I hope to change that this year. I'm not say the R-word. I'm just saying I will do my honest best to make it better.

So, without further ado, Fantasy Flight has released their latest Warhammer 40000 Deathwatch supplement, The Outer Reach.

I was honored to contribute a piece to this book, and a Space Marine at that!And a Librarian! I really really liked that!

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