New Work: The Nutcracker
Posted on 18 Nov 2014
Ye gods, is it that time of year again??
Here's one of my latest commissioned pieces: a poster illustration for Kansas Ballet Company's 2014 production of The Nutcracker. This assignment has been percolating since May, when the company's art director (and reigning Mouse King) stumbled across my booth at Spectrum Live.
The client originally envisioned a poster featuring Clara and a shadowy Mouse King; this was eventually discarded as too menacing for the target audience (composed primarily of little ballerinas) and so we settled on a composition centered around a portrait of the nutcracker doll.
Like most of my recent digital work, the piece started out as a 16x20-ish pencil drawing on bristol. While the larger pencil drawings can be a little unwieldy to work on (and store), I like how working larger allows for an additional level of intricate detail and, when reduced, a more polished final image.
The final illustration, prior to the type treatment.
New Work: The Journey
Posted on 05 Nov 2014
The journey is marked by false turns, road outages, and distractions of all kinds waiting to lure the unwary traveller into peril. Which way to go? Fortunately, those who go before us occasionally leave signposts, bridges, and messages of warning. One foot in front of the other...
It's been a busy couple of months and, as usual, I can't yet share any of the exciting work things I've been up to (but they exist, honest!) Rather than allowing myself to fade into complete obscurity while I hammer away at my latest round of ever-looming deadlines, I've been spending my scanty downtime prepping surfaces for some new traditional media work, idly planning a few personal projects for next year, and of course jumping on the occasional art contest.
This piece was prompted by the Artistic Journey contest
over at DeviantArt - who could resist the lure of those deceptively bland, coloring-book-style templates?
It was a bit of a challenge to force a sense of three-dimensionality onto an incredibly flat and squiggly road, but I did manage to create enough depth to fit a troll underneath; sadly, all laws of perspective and reason were cast by the wayside in the process.
I fell back on toned paper for the underdrawing - it was a nice break from the more painstaking pencil drawings I've been doing for commissioned & traditional work lately; while it isn't ideal for my current coloring process, toned paper (used with a combo of pencil and white charcoal) seems to make for more polished stand-alone drawings.
The underdrawing, 11x17" on toned paper
The final image is colored digitally (process tutorial to come soon, time and energy permitting); my color choices on this one (Brown! Yellow-brown! Greenish yellow-brown!) will, presumably, surprise no one.
The ArtOrder Artists Series launch
Posted on 20 Oct 2014
Huge, awesome news - today marks the launch of the ArtOrder Artists Series! If you haven't heard of this project already, it's an ongoing series of limited-edition prints, curated by art director Jon Schindehette and featuring the artwork of a whole roster of awesome artists.
I'm honored to be the featured artist for the launch - limited edition prints of my painting Colder Wind are now available in the ArtOrder store, and are being offered for pre-sale at 20% off this week only.
If you were at Illuxcon this year, you may have already seen a few of the early-stage poster proofs that Jon was toting around. These are some really nice large-scale limited editions - signed, numbered, nice paper, the whole deal. The image is one of my current favorites - painted straight out of an intensely inspiring week at Illustration Master Class, it's the first piece in which I finally got the hang of my traditional media process (documented in more depth HERE).
I can't say enough good things about this project; Jon's really gone out of his way to secure some great artists and wring amazing work out of them - and with good reason. The ArtOrder Artists Series is different from any other opportunity for fantasy artists out there today - it's based around, in Jon's words, "support of the arts...and the artists." Artwork is commissioned for AOAS on the basis of a profit sharing program - where the artist gets to reap the majority of the profits, and retain all rights to their work.
In an industry that is often the subject of finger-wagging for its draconian treatment of artists, a project like this one - designed with the artists in mind - is a breath if fresh air, and I'm hoping that its commercial success will be a step towards redefining the terms and hiring practices our market considers "standard."
If you've been admiring Colder Wind from afar, please consider checking out this print series! You can find the product page over at the ArtOrder store, and more background information on the Artists Series here.
And, if you're an artist and love the idea behind this program as much as I do, please consider helping to spread the word.
Month of Fear - Demons Within
Posted on 16 Oct 2014
Another challenge for Month of Fear: "Demons Within." It's acrylic ink over pencil & white charcoal on toned paper (below), finished out with some slapdash digital color (above). Adding it to the pile of Things That Need Oil Paint.
...and what's that you ask? Are prints available? Oh yes they are.
I've been posting some progress shots of my Month of Fear pieces (along with whatever other non-NDA projects I'm working on) to my Instagram
feed. You ARE following me on Instagram... aren't you?
Month of Fear - Banshee
Posted on 02 Oct 2014
Month of Fear is on! Artist Kristina Carroll has once again rounded up a herd of illustrators for a series of weekly art challenges all October long.
My piece for this week's challenge ("Things That Go Bump") is a banshee; it's a 16 x 21.5" pencil drawing with some perfunctory digital tinting added. I'm thinking of revisiting this one as an oil painting (or at very least a more finished-out digital version), but at the moment my drawing board is thoroughly buried in commissioned work and so it will have to wait.
The pencil art in progress.