Sunday, December 19, 2010

Some other stuff

Some random stuff nobody has seen. I've been experimenting with video the last few months. Video is just awesome. I'm not very good at it yet, but I'm surprised how generally easy it is to pick up, if you are already familiar with other creative programs. The main problem is how long it takes! Hours and hours of rendering. These videos need a lot of work, mostly on the animation which is not so fluid. I made them just to learn, so I'm not concerned with a high level of finish. The Victorian with the lit sign was going to be part of a new website layout, but I ultimately decided to go another direction. Kinda sad because I put a lot of work into it, but I remember thinking when it was done "Man, I really wish this was a drawing!"

The character sketches were developed for Sunken Castles, and since now they will never be used for anything I guess I can post them. I recolored a couple of them when I was learning to paint digitally.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

5 years

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my last day of college. That doesn't mean much to most people, but it's a milestone for me. It's said if you don't go anywhere, whether in music, art, acting, or whatever, within 5 years, you need to move on. This is to keep you from needlessly working towards an impossible goal while other opportunities pass you by, especially if you don't have "it." You never know, you might be right next to thing you're meant to do. I had written a long and sad blog about how I was done with illustration because I don't make nearly enough to conceivably make a living from it. And really, I am done with illustration, as a career, but not as an personal activity. I've demoted it from career aspiration, to slightly profitable hobby. It will be something I do for myself from now on, unless there's a monumental shift in demand for illustration someday. Doesn't look likely though. It's sad to have to let go of a lifelong dream.

I'm looking to start a new career. I don't want to be the type of guy who works as a waiter part time, hoping in vain that his dream of being an artist/musician/actor will come true. I know it won't, and to be honest, I'm not sure I would like it anyway. I need health insurance, retirement, stability, vacation,, money. All that good stuff. I'm hoping to find a job as an entry level art director, or creative intern. I think I would be good at it because of the diverse subjects I've studied, specifically if I could be an interactive art director, that would be amazing.

So yeah, I know I'm not posting a lot these days, but it's because I'm looking for a new job, and working on a portfolio that can help me find one. Sadly, my artwork isn't a desired skill.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010 V6 live

You might have noticed some changes around here. For a while now I've been working on a new look for my site, and today I applied it across my websites.  I started to feel that the old site had gone TOO far in the direction of minimal design and light weight file sizes. I stripped out everything that was unnecessary, and that left very little. Technically it was good, but it felt cold and detached. I wanted to add some more personality into my website, and make it friendlier. The new site is bigger in file size than the old one, but still small as far as websites go. I added some older work that I still like, and tried to add more content in general. I did not expect to settle on Garamond and gold, but I'm happy with the way it came out. To me, the time I spent studying graphic design recently is apparent, but I don't know if other people can tell.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

That’s Witchcraf’!

Just looking at these gives me chills! My mom has this book about witches that I had only looked at once or twice as a child. The Illustrations by Jos A. Smith literally gave me nightmares! They are as excellent as they are powerfully creepy. I snapped some pictures on my iPhone. The book is full of amazing illustrations, so I recommend picking up a copy if you can find one. It was published in 1981. Jos. A. Smith is a professor of Fine Art at Pratt, according to his website. I felt these needed to be shared.

The title of this post comes from a story a friend of mine tells. He was at a video store of some kind, and this African American family is there. One of the little boys yells across the store "MAMA,  CAN WE GET HARRY POTTER?" and the mom says "NAW, THAT'S WITCHCRAF’!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview on

Hey Folks! I did an interview for By far my most in-depth interview yet. Secrets revealed! Thanks to Abby Wilcox for the opportunity.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Today I wrapped up some sketches for a record cover I picked up, and finished an interview for (NSFW-ish). It's by far my most in-depth interview. I'd like to thank Abby Wilcox for the opportunity.

Doing some more sketching on the record cover art now. Working on the type. I'm really excited about this one, I think it's going to come out awesome! Kinda slow today overall though, I've not been feeling 100%.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago for a wedding and I saw a woman that looked something like this. I was just so captivated by how perfectly Las Vegas she looked, as well as the stories I imaged she would have. She was in the casino, smoking with a broken arm, huge gnarly scar on her calf, haggard looking, tacky dress, big fake breasts, and a tattoo she must have gotten a couple hours ago because she was still wearing the plastic wrap. Amazing. One of those things where nobody noticed her except me. This image has just been sitting in my head since then. I finally got a chance to sketch it out. The tattoo was just little lines, looked like a bar graph.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

John Hersey lecture

Last night I went to CCA for John Hersey's lecture. The photo is of some wrapping paper he was nice enough to give out to people after the lecture. I like the little cube faces. I have to admit that, even though I respect him as an illustrator and designer, his work is not really my cup of tea. I'm sure he would say the same about me, we have very different styles. Still, I think it's important to participate in illustration-centric events when you can find them, and it's always good to listen to lectures and interviews from illustrators. You never know what you might learn, and sometimes you can find a new respect for their work. John's presentation was light-hearted and very funny at times. I do like his isometric work quite a bit. When I saw it I wondered if e-boy had draw some influence from John's work, as he was doing digital isometric illustrations as far back as the 80's. I was especially interested when he was talking about an economic recession in 1993 that almost wiped him out. He took the time to make a book of his work and mail it to people. Not sure if that helped, but either way he made it through the economic downturn.

I talked to Barron Storey after the lecture about how I've been having trouble finding work, and my concerns about it being due to the quality of my illustrations, since I know many art directors have seen my work, and not hired me for one reason or another. He didn't think it was because my work was bad at all, and told me a story about how he had done some illustrations of Despair and sent it to Neil Gaiman. He heard nothing about for 7 YEARS then Neil started writing about it on his blog out of the blue. I suppose that the connections you make can sometimes take years to bear fruit. Doesn't really help my situation now, but it does put my mind at ease a bit. Robert Hunt weighed in on how he thinks that mass mailing is plainly not effective. I'm inclined to agree with him. Bob knows his stuff, and is excellent both as an illustrator, and a businessman. I'd like to know more of his thoughts.

I went out to drinks/dinner with everyone afterwords. Hanging out with a bunch of other illustrators is THE BEST, so I was happy to be there. I was glad to see Chris Koehler, Alexis Lopez, Caitlin Kuhwald, Randy Chavez, of course Bob and Barron, as well finally meeting John Hersey and Owen Smith. I saw Alexis Mahrus and Mark Eanes as well, but didn't get to talk to them much. Randy told me about figure drawing on Wednesday nights at CCA. It's free, 7-10. I think I'm going to start going after Thanksgiving. I heard about it, but didn't think much about going since drawing figures is not what I'm focused on at this point. I'm more interested in ideas, composition, storytelling, and color. I don't feel that technical skills like chiaroscuro, line work, and anatomy are really low points in my skill set right now, but still I'd like to go for community reasons. Hang out with some other artists, do some drawings, talk shop, etc. These things are fun to me, and productive, so it seems like a good idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Client Shopping

Today I'm not drawing (as much) because I'm client shopping. Essentially what that means is I'm looking for potential clients, and taking down their contact information so I can try to solicit my services to them later on. It's a necessary task for all illustrators at one point or another. In my case, I haven't been marketing myself, and I haven't been getting work, so I badly need to address the situation. One reason I don't market myself more is that it can be very expensive, and it's a gamble. My past experience hasn't been so good. For a year I had subscribed to a pricey contact list that gave me essentially any email or postal address I could want in the publishing, advertising, or music industry. I sent out lots of email blasts, and one postcard mailer, and after all was said and done I only got one job, which was nice, but the payment for that gig was not nearly enough to cover the costs. Most people would say that I need to do many more mailers, but they cost about $200 every time, mostly because of the postage. Email blasts only have a small percentage of success. If you have a service for mass emails, you actually get some analytics back about how many people opened the email, who they are, and how many clicked through, meaning that they clicked a link to your website. I noticed a spike in visitors to my site every time I sent one out, but still no work. I'm also on Altpick and, both of which have not brought me work personally, in spite of other illustrators I know swearing my them. What to make of all of this? Well, I'm doing something wrong, but I don't know what it is. Thousands of people see my work every day through the various websites I'm on, and still nothing. The only thing I can think of at this point is that my work must not be very good, and that seems hard to believe considering a lot of other encouraging things that have happened over the course of my career. When I was doing my senior thesis portfolio revue, I remember Shawn Barber told me "All you have to do is get this in front of people." Sadly, that didn't work out, and it's left me pondering what I'm doing that is not appealing to potential clients.

So what's next? Cold calls. The last thing I ever wanted to do, and who would? It's basically focused telemarketing, and I'm not a good salesman. On top of cold calls, I need to try to meet more people in person and show them my work. I might not get any jobs this way, but maybe I can find an art director who will be honest enough to tell me why I'm not getting hired more often.

On that note, I'm available for work of all kinds, and will be happy to talk to anyone who would like to purchase my services. I'm specifically looking for book cover work, posters, and editorial, but I'm open to record covers, tattoos, dog portraits, covering your dish-washing shift, whatever! No graphic novels though, sorry. Send me an email or give me a call if you've got a project for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This time on my comic book series, Wildcats! There wasn't a single person who wanted to see this one, but I had to do it. I fell in love with Wildcats because of the work Travis Charest did on V2. If you haven't seen them, he did the first 6 and a half (ish) issues if I remember correctly, as well as Wildcats/X-men: The Golden Age, which is the best drawn comic books of all time in my opinion. I also love Ladytron as a character. I'm a huge fan of the cyberpunk genre, and she's definitively got that appeal. 80's future is the best future! I was having so much fun working on this that I pulled an all nighter! I've never done that without the impetus of a deadline.

I've been wanting to make covers that directly illustrate specific issues, but in this case I read the last couple issues, and it seems to be in the middle of a multifaceted story arch that I just felt out of tune with. So I made up a story for this illustration, something along the lines of Ladytron fighting against the team in a good robot being turned bad scenario. In this case, the piece evolved instead of being spelled out completely in a sketch. There was a time where Ladytron was the only thing in the page, and it looked fine. A little background work and it could have been a cover on it's own. There's no shortage of covers with just a posed character (or 2, or 20), but I honestly believe that all illustrations should tell a story! Otherwise they are just portraits, and that's not very interesting. Even Gil Elvgren would tell a story with his pin-ups, like her dress is being pulled up by a lobster or whatever, and that's enough story to make the piece work, campy as it is. He also painted "girl laying there provocatively" as well, but I don't think those are as interesting. With that being said, I give cover artists a lot of slack, because often they are on a tight deadline, or not even privy to the contents of the book, so sometimes a character pin-up is the best solution.

The process I used for this was unnerving, and I couldn't get over how weird is was during the drawing phase. It's a pencil drawing. Like a fucking #2 HB pencil with shading and everything. I usually only use pencils for sketches, and drawings that will be inked or painted over later. I haven't done a polished pencil drawing since high school, and I couldn't get over the feeling that I was going backward. There's nothing inherently wrong with working in pencil, it's forgiving and versatile, but I associate it with amateur artists and the very worse kinds of art you can find, like that guy at the rib cook-off who sells photo-realistic pencil drawings from celebrity head shots. Somehow people who don't know anything about art think he's the next Michelangelo. When I was drawing, I felt like any minute I would have to draw a heavily referenced wolf with a dream catcher behind it. In the end, though, I got a result that I couldn't be happier with. The pencil give the drawing a nice texture that helps balance out the slickness of working digitally, and it was a fairly fast way to work. All the values were set up in the drawing, so once I got it into Photoshop, it was more like tinting it with watercolor than opaque painting.

I should also point out that these characters are not mine, they are property DC/Wildstorm comics, and I made this purely for fun and portfolio purposes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ladytron wip

This is what I'm working on today. So fucking weird to draw in pencil. More later.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


(see full image) this Grendel is 100x cooler than the one in that recent 3D film. Right? Alan Lee, 1984. 

Vampire love

Wrapped this one up today. I still think the idea is funny, but I'm not sure if I did the best job of getting it across. My idea was a vampire is attacking a girl, but instead of being terrified, she throws her bra at him. Did you get that? Let me know if you have an idea about how it could be more clear. I think something to note is that even though I wanted to only spend a couple hours on this illustration, I still went through the whole thumbnail process. When I was a student I hated doing thumbnails, but these days I fill pages with thumbs without even noticing. It's extremely important to work out your compositions, and I genuinely enjoy it now!

One reason why I want to do illustrations like this, besides it being a good exercise, is that I've been unhappy when I look at my portfolio lately. I feel that one reason I haven't gotten an illustration call in a long time is that I don't have any illustrations! I've been doing personal paintings for galleries, and they've taken up my site. I'm taking steps to make more illustrations. Telling a story is fun and important. I wish I hadn't lost sight of that.