Contact: Wylie Beckert
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ImagineFX Rising Stars 2013 Posted on 06 Dec 2013
Awesome news I can finally share: I'm one of the winners in ImagineFX's Rising Stars 2013! The yearly competition honors up-and-coming artists in the sci-fi & fantasy genre, and I'm surprised and honored to have been featured among a bunch of really awesome artists. The recognition is hugely encouraging, and a definite motivator to step up my work!
Glowing, largely undeserved praise! (The cat is actually deceased. I should really update my official artist bio.)
New Work: Hunt for the Black Lotus Posted on 17 Nov 2013
Here's the latest: my entry for the Inspiration Challenge over at Jon Schindehette's ArtOrder blog. I'd fully intended to finish this out as a traditional painting, but the deadline snuck up on me and so the final piece is, as usual, digital color over a pencil drawing.
I had a pretty simple concept in mind: a character climbing through the illustration window of a Magic: the Gathering card into a world inhabited by [copyright-free genericized reinterpretations of] MTG creatures and objects. Getting this all on paper they way I wanted it to look turned out to be harder than I thought it would be - I wasn't sure exactly what creatures I wanted to include, or how they would be arranged, so my thumbnail process (usually so reliable) resulted in a lot of uninspiring arrangements of nebulous blobs.
I eventually mocked up the scene in Sculpey and cardboard, which served to remind me that sculpture is really, really not my forte - but also gave me a specific spatial configuration to build the scene around. I was finally able to get an awkward sketch and a color rough; some pointers from Levon Jihanian helped me retool the composition into something I was more confident moving forward with.
Something about the composition continued to bother me a little; halfway through the final pencil drawing I decided that the relatively empty upper third of the image was to blame and, for lack of any more suitable inspiration, I added in the zombified tree to fill things out.
I'd been concerned about cluttering up what was, admittedly, already a pretty busy image - after all, someone might say to me "Sure, the octopus, the imp, the angel with TWO swords and the adorable owls are all well and good, but a tree? You've gone too far!" and tear up my illustration permit. But as soon as I added the tree the composition resolved itself into the nice balanced S-shape that I'd been struggling to create with the original elements.
Painting (Now With Real Paint!) Posted on 26 Oct 2013
Digital artists have a hard time of it. We're used to accusations of "digital trickery," and have to answer questions like "isn't it amazing that a computer does this all for you?" To top it all off, traditional artists like to kick sand in our faces at the beach and "accidentally" spill turpentine down our laptops in art class.
I never really learned to paint properly. Most of my "paintings" in art school were Sharpie and paint-pen monstrosities on Masonite, and if I ever picked up a brush seriously while I was there, I certainly haven't done so since. Lately I've been wanting to get back into traditional media for a few reasons:
The finished watercolor underpainting.
The first pass with oil paint.
Finished out with thin glazes to tweak the color.
Hours of painstaking labor cavalierly reduced to a few seconds.
New Work: Annick Press Posted on 16 Oct 2013
I'm not, in fact, dead (although I can see where the absolute silence of my blog - punctuated only by the ominous buzzing of flies and the screams of scavenger birds - might give a different impression). I've been working! On multiple projects at the same time! So many that I had to write out a schedule for myself, on paper! A number of the illustrations I've been working on will be under the cloak of secrecy that is NDA for a few months/years, but happily I can share at least one of them - a YA book cover (above) for Canadian publisher Annick Press.
My initial thumbnail concepts.
Illustrious Interview Posted on 18 Sep 2013
No pictures today - I'm still adjusting to my everyday life after an awesome weekend at Illuxcon, which I'll dedicate a blog post to in the near future. Until then, an informal but heartfelt thank you to all the artists, art directors, and friends who went out of their way to make the convention such a great experience to me.
I've been inundated with new and exciting projects this week, so blog posts will be sporadic and/or completely nonexistent. Rest assured, I am holed up in my studio producing new art for the future edification of my loyal followers. To tide you over until I surface, here's an interview about my art courtesy of writer/editor Alex Hurst's "Illustrious" interview series. She had some great questions that 1) Made it clear that she knows more about my work than I do, and 2) Gave me the opportunity to try to think intelligently about the nature of my own work for a change.
Check it out here.