Friday, February 29, 2008

New, Old Pin-ups

I've finally gotten around to updating the pin-ups section of my web-site. It's mostly stuff that's been featured on this blog before, but there are a few brand new ones (that I did back in November). This part of my site is always under construction, so I just use iPhoto's web gallery presets to create the pages. It may not match the rest of the site, but it nice and simple (and oh so easy to use). Check it!

In other news, I'm on page 9 of Mythos: Captain America. You may be asking yourself, "Doesn't that come out next month?" Or possibly, "Isn't 9 less than one half of 22?" If I am truly reading your mind, then your second assumption is correct. I should be making an official announcement next week.

Monday, February 25, 2008


A special thanks goes out to Heroes, Villains, and Artists for this wonderful piece they did about me and my work. They actually made me look like a real professional! Thanks, guys!

P.S. For those who are curious, the painting that I'm working on in the video is for Mythos: Captain America. Steve Rogers is just about to be injected with the "super soldier serum."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Twelve Covers

Well, maybe not quite twelve covers. If you saw May's comic book solicitations, you might have noticed a cover with my name on it for the new series, The Twelve. I got the word from my editors that they needed a cover for the next book and I graciously accepted. If all goes well, I'll be painting the covers for the rest of the series, eight in all. Pictured above is #5.

Also coming in May is issue #6 of The Iliad. I'm currently working on the penultimate cover, which I should be able to show in about a month.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Gray Hulk

This continues a look back at my switch from oils to Acryla Gouache, back at the beginning of 2006. Pictured above is the splashpage from Mythos: Hulk that introduces the major characters. I went ahead and lettered the piece for fun, but these were taken out in the published version. 

All of the works featured today are painted in grayscale, but were scanned in full color to show the subtle color shifts between opaque and transparent painting. In some cases I used the premixed grays, which are formulated to achieve color neutrality at full opacity. This means that they contain an additional colorant to counteract the "coldness" of a straight black and white mixture. The result is a very warm gray (nearly brown) when used thinly. An example of this would be Bruce Banner's shirt, above.

If I remember correctly, this is the first Acryla Gouache painting I did. I must admit that I was very happy with it when I was done. I found it much easier to use than oils since the paper is much more absorbent than either masonite or canvas. The only drawback was a discrepancy between the initial painted color and the fully dried paint. The grayscale at the bottom of the page illustrates this perfectly: the darker values at the left do not change at the same rate as the lighter values. This is because they appeared much darker to my eye when they were still wet. You can account for this in oils (or even acrylics) by varnishing at the end, but the whole point of my medium switch was to find a glare-free alternative that scanned easily.

And to wrap up, here are some more examples of my grayscale studies, painted over 4" x 6" prints of my finished pencils. If the page isn't legible at this stage, I had better rethink the composition.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Anatomy

Just a quick Friday update. This is yet another warm-up sketch from the ecorché model that stands guard over my desk. I simply can't get enough practice when it comes to anatomy, so I have this, along with a wall chart, to always remind me of what I still don't know.

Hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hulk Process

After finishing Mythos: X-men in late 2005, I began Mythos: Hulk, the next in the series. I painted the cover and the first page in oil, but I came to the decision that something had to change. The process just took way too long. I tried digital painting for a bit, but I didn't care for the results. Then I tried a hybrid: grayscale paintings that were colored in Photoshop. It seemed to work well enough and was quite a bit faster. What follows here is every stage of the process from finished art to layout sketch.

This is the stage just prior to digital coloring. It's painted in black and white Acryla Gouache that I mixed into a grayscale of 10 steps. This is page 18, so I had gotten pretty used to the process, but for subsequent pages I began to use Holbein's set of 4 premixed grays in addition to black and white. Also of note was the difference in scale. I had painted X-Men on 16" x 24" masonite panels, whereas Hulk was done on 8" x 12" Strathmore Series 500 bristol board, 3-ply. Not only did this mean less area to cover, but it also meant I could light box my layouts and pencil directly on the paper as opposed to projecting the finished pencils onto the board.

But before I got to that stage, I would paint fairly detailed value studies on 4" x 6" printouts of the finished pencils. This was a great help, but it's something I no longer do because of time constraints. However, these are usually my favorite pieces since they are done with less caution.

My "finished" pencils tend to be pretty loose. This allows for more freedom while painting but also keeps my mind engaged throughout the entire process, as opposed to simply coloring in between the lines. In this case, I actually forgot to draw in the Hulk's hand before I scanned it, but I had general idea of where I wanted it to be. You can see that I tighten up on certain objects like faces and vehicles that are the focus of the composition.

The digital color study is where I really begin to pull things together into a complete composition. I paint over my original layout on a separate layer that is set to "Multiply."

And finally, the 4" x 6" layout is generally where I begin every illustration. This is where I hammer out all the storytelling and composition. It's nothing fancy, but you've gotta start somewhere. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a 4" x 6" layout.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rodin Museum

I seem to find myself in Philadelphia every summer for the Wizard World Convention that's held there. This past year, I made the best of it and went to the Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. I enjoy drawing the human figure from sculpture because they never move, so it's a great way to study anatomy. Furthermore, it's the figure through the filter and vision of another artist who's done most of the hard work for you. This year, I hope to take a decidedly morbid turn and go to the Mutter Museum.

Also, you may not recognize the Écorché figure on the right as being a Rodin. In fact, it's a model sculpted by Andrew Cawrse that keeps vigilant watch over my drafting table. Sometimes I will draw from it in the morning to "loosen up" before a day of the art-making.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Degas Figures

Whenever I find the time, I like to go to the Met and sketch. This doesn't happen often, but when it does, I often find myself in the small room filled with Degas' sculptures. I've heard that he never intended for these to be seen, but I like looking at them nonetheless. I know I'm not alone in this sentiment, but I usually have the whole room to myself whenever I'm there.

Friday, February 1, 2008


This is a little blast from the past. If you were ever a freshmen at the Rhode Island School of Design, then you probably heard of Garreth Jones and the chess set project. It was an infamous assignment because of the amount of work that was supposed to go into it. The basic idea was to find an artist you liked or admired and make, at the very least, the six kinds of chess pieces, all based on the artist's work. I, of course, chose H.R. Giger, famed designer of the creature from Alien.

The project lasted all semester and that's where I learned mold-making and casting, mostly from tutorials at Smooth-On. I used Super Sculpey for all of the original figures except the ones with tails, for which I used Elasticlay, leaving them flexible. A friend took these pictures the on the final day of class. I had literally been up for days in order to finish and did not have the presence of mind to document.