Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 327

2016. Gouache & Acryla Gouache on paper, 11 × 17″.

This cover came out last month, but I'm only now getting a chance to post. (There's also a variant version that's a work-in-progress, pictured below). The trick with portraiture of any kind is to have good reference. For this piece, that meant screenshots I took of The Force Awakens as well as products and promo images I found online.

I like screenshots both because I have control over the exact gesture or expression and because it keep me from using the same photo that everyone else is using. The downside? The quality is never as good as a film still. But if the composition and lighting is strong, details can be bolstered through additional reference.

Screen shots and "moichendise"

The background is just a pic I swiped from the official poster, then repainted. I wouldn't recommend that in general, but I figure it's okay if the client is the same one that made said poster. Soon, Disney will own everything anyway, so this will no longer a be a problem no matter the property.

I cheated on the background!

In order to speed things up, I tried doing a more detailed gouache underpainting in black (like Alex Ross typically does). Of course, whenever I try new techniques to speed up the process, it usually takes longer. Still, it's a good strategy with portraits on a deadline — it's always easier to lock in features before worrying about color.

digital color study

digital pencils

digital layouts

raw scan detail

Monday, December 12, 2016


REY. 2016. Gouache on paper, 9 × 12″.

raw scan, 600 ppi

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 326

MYTHOS: X-MEN. 2004. Oil on masonite, 16 × 24″.

Way back in November 2004, my friend and fellow illustrator, Katherine Roy, was visiting NYC and stopped by my Brooklyn apartment. I hadn't even started working on Mythos: X-Men, but I knew roughly what the cover was going to look like.

I asked her to strike a number of different poses so that I'd have some options once I started painting. The final doesn't quite follow the reference (and it pains me now to look at my drawing skills) but it got the job done.

Be sure to check out Katherine's work at her website.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jubilee (SFCC Pre-Commission)

JUBILEE. 2016. Watercolor & Acryla Gouache on paper, 9 × 12″.