Saturday, September 25, 2010

What I've Been Up To Lately

Hey, everybody. Long time no see. To those of you have may have missed the announcement, I started grad school at the Guildhall at SMU this August. I'm learning to make art for video games. It's been busy, busy times, so I haven't had much to show you, art-wise.

Anyway, I'm nearing the end of my first Module (we have some sort of bizarro quadramester system here) and I'm starting to get stuff put together enough to show you.

Early concept art for the first Team Game Project, which starts next Module. Each student pitched a single concept and eight of the 41 were chosen. Lucky me, mine made the cut, and as a bonus perk, I'm automatically assigned as Lead Artist for my team.

99.95% of all video games contain crates and barrels regardless of how insane it is to actually find a crate or a barrel in many of the locations in which they are found. (Seriously? Why is there a stack of barrels on the wing of this jet fighter?) The simple reason for this is that they're dang easy to make. This is a render from my very first 3ds Max Lab. The crates and barrels where modeled and textured after actual examples here in Plano.

The minor course of the art track is essentially designed to get students unfamiliar with Photoshop up to speed before 2d games start next semester. Most days involve a 30 min to an hour speed painting (as seen above). In addition, there are two larger projects, an animation cycle and an assignment to copy a portrait photograph down to the pixel level. Though not totally done, I'm a little ahead on both of those.

Also, if you're a fellow student and first time visitor, please, have a look around. Oh, and you can click on anything to see a larger size.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Victor (Plus Process)

I know I swore I wouldn't be producing finished illustrations for a little while, but it somehow turned out to be unavoidable. So, as long as I'm making paintings, I may as well be sharing them. Since I had the good sense to use Photoshop's iterative save for once, you can get a look at the process in addition to the final.


The beginning sketch isn't much more than an idea. Normally I'd generate a lot of thumbnails and pare down, but this piece really began as an experiment in perspective around the foreground figure.

I begin by refining the forms and layout. Photoshop makes it easy to nudge, shift, scale, build and rebuild. I also begin to detail the foreground character. I'm not great at line work in Photoshop (okay, I'm terrible), but adding details gives me a better sense of where I'm heading. If I'm uncomfortable with the forms, I occasionally make a light print out and draw over it in pencil.

Refining the scene. Earlier versions of the soldier character seemed diffuse–I refined the overall look using reference from Roman and Japanese armors. I also straightened the stairs to clarify the figure's upward direction and removed the small plateau in the background.

First color pass. A lot of Photoshop users begin with grayscale washes; I like to start with color. It takes more work to place the values, but tends to give a more brush-like impression when color and value are applied with the same stroke.

Refining the colors. I use a lot of cloning and layer effects to get the right feel. At this point, all that's left is detailing. A lot of the piece is painted over to help separate the planes and control the focal points.

The final piece. It's possible to go on refining a piece forever, but for personal work, I usually call it quits when it seems less educational to continue than to move on.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


One: It's been a long time in the making, but I've finally opened an online store over at Have a look around, perhaps there's something to enliven that blank patch of wall, to gift to a friend, or to terrorize an enemy.

Two: A new painting, or another fairly inaccurate depiction of a mythological specimen: Alecto, of the Furies.

Three: I'm putting a halt to finished illustration work for a little while–I know this is disappointing, but have faith, something much bigger is coming. Archetype is getting my full and undivided attention for a little while.

Don't worry, I won't leave you in the dark–I'll post process and progress on a (somewhat) regular basis.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Forgive me for waxing regressive for a moment. See, I can't say that this painting deals in any significant aspect with any of the new ways I'm working. But it has a centaur in it, and that centaur is a robot, and that centaur robot has wings. And sometimes that's alright.

*My coworker named this one. The current plan is to appease him and hope he quietly forgets. Honestly, 'Nicholas' is a person name. It's for people. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Archetype: Book I, seen pinned to the wall of my studio. (Technically my kitchen/laundry/dining room as well, but I forgot that distinction a long time ago.) Current build stands at about 140 pages, but I'm aiming for the final product to be closer to 100. While the whole of Archetype is pretty massive, I want to keep the individual segments relatively breezy and compact, lest it collapse from self seriousness.

The book finally earned itself a subtitle. It's called 'Redshift', although you'll have to solve a cipher to actually find the name inside. That's right, folks, Relativistic Doppler Effects and cryptography! In case I've been too coy about this, let me state it plainly: Archetype is a war on your mind.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I find it helps me remember something if a fictional person says it.

Smoking is a terrible habit. I haven't drawn his lungs, but, believe me, they're just awful.

Which Lich is which?

This took about a half an hour, which it turns out is way too long to hold a mirror stationary in one arm.

I've been drawing these string things lately. The round, concentric ones I've taken to calling 'barnacles.' The system is heavily involved in representing Archetype's 'mana.'

Weird coincidences make for some cool effects when you overlap drawings.

I draw this hand a lot.

Random girl, tenuously attributed to an airport queuing line.

A full page. They're mostly like this.

A family pet reclines.

A family pet thinks of Socrates in grids.

I mean, seriously. Also from an airport.

I don't know either.

Tarentino does the American Revolution.

I think I may have stabbed this guy with an 8-bit sword a couple thousand times.

From Archetype. Stating and restating the scenes now as refine the for the final build. As in all design, grids seem to accelerate the process. Also, trying to get by with as little text as possible.

Alien feller.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Re: 2010

i. Thanks to everyone who ordered a Christmas Card. I hope you like them; I'm out of them.

ii. In 2009, I set out to produce a piece a week. I produced 32 pieces, reaching 61.5% of that goal. D-. Oddly enough, in 2008, I produced 50 pieces. A. It sort of counter-indicates the whole idea. Obviously, there are a number of variables to consider, but, surprisingly, they more or less neatly cancel out. I'll be dropping the strict production schedule in 2010 and continue to point out updates on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else the cool kids 'hang.'

iii. I will be offering prints. Soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010


The year sounds massive and I aim to make it so.