Posted on 15 Apr 2015
11x17" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper
THE KING OF SPADES, whose once-prosperous kingdom has gone to seed. In his age, he has become an ascetic -- forsaking all worldly pursuits with the exceptions of botany and gravedigging.
The battlefields of four kingdoms have disappeared beneath his encroaching gardens; it is said that the cabbages that grow in unusual abundance from those dark plots of earth sometimes have the faces of men, and are eaten only in times of great famine.
I'm generally a bit directionless with my personal work, but at last my wandering compass needle has found North: I'm undertaking a series of illustrated playing cards called Wicked Kingdom. In my excitement I've set up an official website over at www.wickedkingdomdeck.com
, where I'll be gathering the finished card illustrations all in one place. It's sparsely populated at the moment, but I've got a ton of art in the works for this deck, so keep an eye out.
And YES - this is all leading up to the release of an actual playable deck down the line. That will probably happen later this year (or early next), so if you want to be kept in the loop, I highly recommend joining the mailing list.
The finished pencil art, 11x17"
I'll be painting all of these cards traditionally and, because I'm always getting questions about my traditional technique, I'll be documenting the process for each card in a series of process tutorials, which I'll be making available via Patreon.
I've already assembled the first tutorial - a write-up of my process for the King of Spades - and I'm making it available for everyone for free (link here
) as a sample of the content I'll be offering my Patreon supporters alongside each finished painting. I'm expecting my process to evolve over the course of these illustrations (I'm already figuring out a few tweaks and shortcuts), which should help keep things exciting if you're following along.
A preview of my mixed-media working process... check out the tutorial for more.
I'm also planning some more in-depth tutorials on some of the aspects of my process (stretching paper, spray matte medium, etc) that people tend to get curious about. So! If you've ever been confounded my the mysteries of my techniques and wish to see more, a few bucks on Patreon will buy you all my secrets and, of course, a firm handshake when next we meet (non-supporters receive clammy, limp handshakes almost exclusively).
In case you can't tell, I'm insanely excited for this thing. More to come...
New Work: Fairy Brew
Posted on 06 Mar 2015
Fairy Brew - 18x24" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper
The fairy drink is composed of equal parts mushrooms, moonshine, and madness. It is drunk the world over in humble barrows and grand fairy halls, but it is a bitter brew not suited to the palates of mortals, and wise men avoid it.
This painting was created for Krab Jab Studio's
upcoming Faerie III show. If you're in Seattle this month, make sure to check it out in person! If you aren't in Seattle this month, you can just gaze sadly at the list of artists and wish you were (that's what I've been doing).
The underdrawing - 11x17 pencil on Bristol paper
While I intended to do my usual exhaustive process write-up for this piece, the process on this one was particularly harrowing and involved starting over from scratch after my first attempt at the oil painting stage went terribly, terribly wrong. I learned a few important lessons (chief among them not to wait until a week before the shipping deadline to start worrying about finishing a painting) along with a lot of new swear words. All in all, though, it was definitely worth starting over - as it almost always is.
My unwillingness to dig through my documentation from this last grueling week has ensured that the origin story of this painting will remain shrouded in mystery; here's a snapshot of the (second) underpainting in progress, just to prove that it is, in fact, something I painted and not merely a fortuitous flea market find.
The watercolor/white charcoal underpainting in progress.
Month of Love: Forbidden Fruit
Posted on 01 Mar 2015
Forbidden Orchard - 5X7" oil, acrylic, and watercolor on paper
It's the final, bittersweet week of Month of Love
before we all return to our usual loveless programming... But on the bright side - it's only 6 months until Month of Fear.
The pencil underdrawing (left) and ink/watercolor underpainting (right).
The theme this week was Forbidden Fruit; I thought non-monogamy fit the bill. Our peculiar societal conventions dictate that when one finds oneself in the midst of a vast orchard, one must take only one apple...
The oil painting in progress.
Month of Love: Love is All Around
Posted on 19 Feb 2015
It's Week 3 over at Month of Love! This week's theme is "Love is All Around" - we were encouraged to get out into the world and find a real life love story to illustrate, but since a) it's cooooold and b) there is no love in Maine, I stayed inside and drew a portrait of my dog and her lost love, Pato.
For a long time, my dog Tiki was completely inseparable from her stuffed yellow duck (the one she was allowed to pick out herself from the rack at the pet store). I haven't seen them hanging out much in recent months, though... I often wonder what it is that drove a wedge between them, and whether either of them misses the closeness they once shared.
Month of Love: Diamonds
Posted on 09 Feb 2015
Now that February is here again, it's time for Month of Love (the weekly art challenge masterminded by Kristina Carroll). This week's theme is "diamonds."
Casting around for inspiration on the theme, I came across an article on the Koh-I-Noor diamond; once the largest diamond in the world, it was gradually chiseled down to an eighth of its original size by various owners who wished to improve upon it.
Thumbnail concept (left) and 8x10" pencil underdrawing (right).
I originally wanted to make a piece that showed a flaw as a source of power - a crack in the surface allowing access to a well of glowing light. As I started sketching, though, my character's expression turned less tranquil, and the theme shifted. I think now it's a piece about inspiration - the frustration of digging through dirt and rubble in search of the hidden idea that will be a diamond.
Be sure to check out the new Month of Love
blog for more art - there's an insane roster of artists participating in the challenges this time around, and new pieces are appearing daily.