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Monday, December 27, 2010

Silly Me....Verne Con Is Coming

So the year is coming to an end and I have one last convention to attend..or is that one premier convention for next year? In either case I will have fun I think. 

So I made a new player card as you can see above. 

And decided to reuse it as a GM warning to my players. 

And just what the heck is this!?! A t-shirt....
Oh, for what? A special event that Jynx plans on holding at our next big shin dig....will you need armor? No. But you will probably need some soap. 

Here's looking to a happy new year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Star Wars GM Screen: Round 3 WIP

So as the year is soon to be over with...what a better way to end it than with something epic? What kind of epic? The Sta Wars kind of epic.

Earlier in the year I was asked by member of SparkForce 7 to undergo this project of creating a game master's screen for the campaign. And after two disasters with traditional media I have moved on to round three of this massive project. 

Pencil Layout With Place Holder Figures

Above is the clean sketch based off the original pencil concept. Originally I came up with six design lay outs, and this piece has evolved in time to get where it is. I made some changes to the composition, and included type placement and our guild logo (which I also designed) in the layout. This is currently drawn to size in Photoshop and is 11x34 inches horizontal.

Finished Pencil

And the best part.....finishing up the penciled in characters tonight after working for two weeks on the pencil. I will be doing a grey tone study of this and also exploring some color studies this time around. Color studies aren't something that I have been doing a lot of lately since I like to use certain pallets but for this piece it will be necessary for me to do. 

Why? Because it's a large piece and there is a lot going on. I have to consider the light of the sabers as well as the overall color flow of the piece, and what might be an issue....the white of the stormtroopers on the right and  the lack of white on the the left might make it too weighed down on one side. 

I am using a lot of reference images gathered from the 501st website, as well as from some other Star Wars picture references I have gathered (mostly for the troopers and the hallway), as well as some old character designs that have been sitting around in my sketch book for the past few years. 

Looking forward to rendering this piece in the new year! It is very much inspired by a hero of mine, Mr. Tommy Lee Edwards and some of his artwork and layouts. Check his work out at

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Challenge Collaboration: WIP

So the AO Holiday Challenge is due on the 20th of the month, only a few days away. Originally I was doing an elf pin-up but after awhile I kinda lost steam on it. So one of the other members offered to do a collaboration. We'd both do pencils and swap. 

Lake Hurwitz sent me this fantastic pencil he did for me to render up. You can check out his work here

I was looking at this piece and was really thinking about how much I wanted to paint it in watercolor because there are some excellent effects you can do with salt and alcohol. The only issue with that was not having a scanner to scan and submit a final in time. 

What to do....what to do? be honest I didn't know. But then I came up with the idea of sampling areas of art I already had scanned and adjusting those areas in Photoshop. The end result can be seen above. All together I used about a dozen pieces of other art I already had scanned in )by that I mean like, square inch samples). 

Once that was done I started in on the figure. Lake sent me some ref to use but aside from that I also pulled some of my own ref such as what a winter lake would look like, snow, and even a creepy photo of a little drowned girl (which thankfully was not real). The picture of the drowned girl actually set the pallet for me. I was afraid of it being too blue. 

So I kept on going. One of the hard things was figuring out how to work with traditional scanned media and digital as they have totally different looks and feels. Another is keeping in mind that the largest size according to the spec in the challenge is no larger than 7 inches. Which means this piece is gonna be small in the end. 

I've been working a lot digitally lately which is both nice and kinda sucky. It's nice because I can keep looking at my piece in grey tone to see where I need to work, and also because I can use the histogram to the same end (thanks for that tip Lake). But it's not the same as spreading paint around on paper....especially with salt and alcohol. 

And here's a bit of a close up of the figure himself that was rendered. I've still got some time left to work on this as it's not due until the 20th and I am hoping for some constructive feedback. Right now I am afraid that the figure might be a bit lost in the overall picture. 

Anyways...gonna take a break for now and see what some folks have to say. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another Self Portrait And Other Things

Cleaned up sketch of me as Little Red

So, with the delve turned in I am not in any rush to get anything else done, though I do still have some projects to work on. For one, the other Self Portrait I did and now possibly the one above. No idea what I would do with either piece, now that I think about it. 

Also the Faithless cover I started to render which needs finishing and a Holiday Challenge piece on AO due in on the 20th of this month. I won't be working on my own pencil for that one anymore (the elf girl pin-up) since I wasn't feeling it anymore. Besides, a friend opted to do a collaborative so we swapped our art. 

Modification needs to be done to the Knights of the Dragon easy fix to make the mitre the cleric is wearing taller. I also started out a new digital version of the Star Wars game screen since the first two traditional ones got ruined. One would think I would know how to draw stormtroopers by now, but it's been nothing but trouble this time around though I think the composition is a lot better. The background certainly is! I'll be sure to post that process soon.

Umm...still looking for some work, but working on art and improving myself. I started to do studies again, mainly in my sketchbook of tonal value studies and anatomy, but some have been in PS.

Working on the Dungeon Delve and getting feedback from some people pointed out I need to work on some areas like lighting, structure, composition, and the like. So I have to start really pushing myself on those things. And picking up ye olde paintbrush and watercolors once again (if only to play with salt).

So ermm....that's about it for now I suppose?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dungeon Delve

OMG! It's turned in! (I think....I think that means I is done, no?)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Faithless Cover: WIP

Working on other projects between my dungeon delve piece and the pin-up piece (which I am considering redoing in a less comic fashion). A couple days ago my friend Jim Vargas asked me if I wouldn't mind being his booth babe at an upcoming convention. I have to dress up as his main comic book character Alish, who is an angel hybrid bounty hunter (what a mouth full!). 

So I took a look at his work and thought his character was pretty cool. And then....he asked if I wouldn't mind doing my own spin of her. 

Which lead to a late night doodle (or early morning) of a steampunk version of Alish which had really no purpose in life other than  being a neat doodlie. But I liked my sketch so much and wanted to do do something more with it, perhaps a portfolio piece. So....I decided to design a cover with her (as seen above). 

I used a copy of a cover that Jim did for the layout and tweaked it around a bit to fit my art a bit better. 

When that was done I focused on the actual artwork in laying in some grey tones. I like to use a slightly warm tinted grey in my work. This is working in favor of my plans to use violets as my darks in the color version. 

On a side note, I'm only just now learning through trial and error how to paint over my greytones. It's hard to do without the colors being so saturated but a friend suggested going slow into the colors like I would do traditional washes. So I am taking that bit of advice. 

I am a huge fan of pallets with violet, sienna, and yellow. I am still aware of Alish's character concept and the colors of her clothing: red corset, blue skirt. Since I am making this slightly steampunk I am planing on the metal bits to be brass and copper as opposed to the gold and silver scheme that Jim uses for her. 

Something I am hoping to convey in this as I go along is some atmosphere with the lighting. Working on the delve piece it's a struggle to use atmosphere for me, and I am thankful that someone has been helping me out with that piece. (Cough cough Diego cough)

Right now the image as stands is just the first color wash and I still have a ways to go on this, and then some with the treatment of the actual cover layout and type. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dungeon Delve: WIP Am I There Yet?

Here's my delve piece for the AO Challenge. Working digitally has been more of a struggle I think than learning watercolor. It's nice to work with grey tones more easily but it was a challenge to paint on top of that. There are some things about this I really like and some things I don't really care for.

Not certain yet if I will turn this in  just yet. The due date is next weekend.

Added a few highlights.....

I think....I am almost done... I lied. I needed to do something with those pure blacks and the lack of atmosphere so....a buddy of mine is kinda helping me figure this out. Sigh.....I just want it to be done and look nice. Why does it have to be so har!?!

Getting schooled by my friend Diego in atmosphere. He did a paint over of this that I have been looking at and using as a tool to help me figure some things out. His is super bright though....a little too much so for my taste, and very blue and yellow. While it's cool and a great tool for me to work with it's just not my cup of tea. 

I like my lighting and the the head in the foreground. He thinks this is too dark but I like how it has darkness to it. I still need to work on the background. And fix her got super big somehow in my rendering. 

As for flipping it...I like it better this way. 

Holiday Challenge

Jon posted a short challenge over on AO due in on the 20th of December. It's a play off one of the previous challenges with a holiday twist. I really liked my elf girl pin-up I did for his D&D Pin-Up Challenge and thought about taking the time to revisit that concept for this challenge. 

It's nice to work on alongside the Dungeon Delve piece which I am still coloring in, and it should be done soon. 

All done to color it in (I should make a coloring book, no?)

Ok, at this point I think I need to start pauing more attention to my Dungeon Delve piece.....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reon's Reflections

Log Entry 0745:

Barab I. It's not Kalandis, but at times it reminds me very much of my home world with it's pagoda like structures and rustic atmosphere. Really the big difference, Barabels aside, is that life here is underground in high ceilinged caverns instead of out in the open sweeping vistas tucked away between mountains and the sea. And much like my home world Barab's culture is steeped in tradition, and the denizens carry themselves with honor.

It's good to have a place here, a second home. I was hoping that ChiChi would be here as well with me, our apartments aren't the same when he is still away on mission...or causing mischief on his own.

Xakon's gardens are a good distraction. The peace and solitude here are a nice change from being in field or under fire. I'm glad for the tea house pagoda, the fish pond, the imported vegetation...the Kalandian Blood Lillies. The mix of herbal Barab teas have a subtle aroma that mix in with all the other scents, a relaxing therapeutic remedy good for the body, mind, and soul.

It's already time for a new year. At home they will be celebrating the Festival of Lights. I can imagine it in my mind. The colored lanterns hovering in lines along the streets, the smell of spiced meats and fresh fruits. The resonating hum of gongs lightly struck and the rising sound of prayer chants rising into the night sky. A time of year for reflection before starting out fresh. Of prayers and thoughts of all we have lost and left behind.


*I started this piece out much larger than it turned out, but as I was working on it I realized I was focusing a lot more on Reon (aka Jynx, my grenade wielding woman)and the line work bleeding out from around her. I'm pleased with this piece even if it doesn't necessarily reflect the Star Wars universe.

Illustrated in photoshop

Sunday, November 28, 2010

traeH yM ekorB uoY: WIP

Started a self portrait today in photoshop. I have an old ref I used and tweeked a little bit, then added the moon jellies in (I like jelllies). 

Droped a grey layer onto and worked directly on it to start getting some values down. Using a watercolor brush in photoshop. 

 Just about done for now, keep going later on.

Starting to add some color to this piece. I like it and I don't. Still using a watercolor brush. I like some of the strokes that show through cause it reminds me a little of actual traditional work (like when you dry brush in watercolors) but at the same time I don't like it. 

I might do two versions of this, one a continuation of the process I've already started, and one just flat colors over my line work. We'll see what happens. 

Sketching With Raven: Study 1

So, I ought to have posted this sooner. The sketch I was doing as a man study of that beef cake picture for Raven is now up. I guess for a study it's ok. Drawing men is out of my comfort zone as well as rendering on the computer but some things I have to get over. 

So, here's one of what is going to be a line of studies. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Did You Think I meant!?! WIP

So, I was going to enter into a Pokemon challenge over at and I even did a sketch and posted one BUT then I saw that there was a pin-up challenge going on as well and....well....pokemon vs won.

Step 1 Pencil

Since the pin-up challenge is due on the 28th of this month and I am working on other projects I decided to recycle and image I already had. Remember the one I did for the t-shirt challenge last month? I took that image and revamped it, doing a light pencil in photoshop. 

Step 2 Ink
When that was done I started to digitally ink the piece in. Let me say here and now that I don't like how inking on the computer turns out for me, but it's something I need to practice on more. Anyways...I did the above piece which reminded me a lot of a coloring book page....a naughty one. 

Step 3 Colors
And then I started to color it, starting with the skin tone and the colors I normally use when I am doodling and black. I use flat colors and a round brush set at a light opacity, as well as one of the watercolor brushes set to a light opacity as well. 


And the finished piece. I started this at....oh...2p.m. today and finished it at 11p.m. A quick turn around piece. It feels good just to get a piece out even if I don't think it's as great as it could be. Sometimes just getting it done is the reward. Anyways...ta da! Nothing else to say about it really....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Day Jitters: A Process

It occurs to me at odd hours of the night how much I enjoy process work and how I find it to be relaxing. Don't ask me why, it just does. 

I need to think about something that is not related to my Dungeon Delve piece or my Knights of The Dragon, so I was looking through my work and found this process piece that hasn't been explored yet. So I will post it here now to show you how I think and how I recycle my art.

Stage 1 Thumbnails
First of all....this piece was done in my Editorial Illustration class and was assigned by one of my favorite instructors Rich Kryczka. We were given a few ideas to work with (I can't recall since this was a while ago) and I did a couple of thumbnails in my sketchbook. Obviously I stuck with the one at the top left (I hate it when I pick the first thumbnail I did, which happens a lot more than you would think).

Stage 2 Pencil Rough
Stage two was to clarify that idea a bit. I drew this kinda freaky looking pencil to be approved by Rich before moving onto the final pencil stage. We are given 2 weeks to finish a piece from start to finish in class. 

Stage 3 Pencil Final
I sat down with Rich and was ready to go! One stage that is missing (thought I couldn't count huh?) is the color composition stage. Normally I don't do these as often as I should anymore unless a client request seeing a sample pallet, or I am having issues thinking in terms of color. I xeroxed the pencil above at 20% and did 3-4 color combinations. 

Stage 5 Finished Illustration
Moving along to the finished illustration. During the color stage it was actually pointed out that the tension wasn't coming off the way I wanted, so we changed the backpack's expression to help convey what I was after. I did the final image on arches hot press watercolor paper 140 lbs. Dimensions are 8.5x11 inches, in watercolor, ink, and colored pencils.

Bonus Stage Design Layout
But wait! There's more!!! To show how an illustration like this was intended to be used I found an article online and copied it into a page layout format. While I need to work on placement of type (as in those paragraphs are horrible) it shows how my image works in relation to an actual page layout. I sampled colors from the image to use in the type.  

Bonus Stage Working Type
And made another page to show how I can keep tying things in with color. It was a fun piece to work on and while normally someone else would be creating the page layout it shows that I can, and that this piece could very well fit into something like Family Circle without too much of a problem (but for that type). 

Anyways....wasn't that magical!?!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dungeon Delve: WIP

Jon posted a challenge over on Art Order for a Dungeon Delve, depicting a lost and weary traveler inside of some kind of dungeon or space. I've been working on this for weeks and it's been proving to be a difficult challenge for me. 

Above is one of my original sketches. I did a bunch to try to figure out what I was going to do but this is the one that I settled on because I liked it the most. The original character was a bard....I didn't have a race in mind really but I was juggling between an elf and a gnome. 

After a while I did a grey tone comp to see what I was really working with, changing up the composition a little bit. I really like how this turned out but there are a lot of issues with the anatomy of my figure and not any detail shows through. 

I decided at this point I wanted to do a gnome, which proved to be a lot more difficult than I imagined. Their proportions are different and I kept drawing more accurate proportions for a human and 'tooning' the image the way I do with my pin ups sometimes. In the end I began to really hate what I was doing so I decided to leave it alone and come back to it. 

After taking a break for a day or two and working on my other dungeon piece (Knights of The Dragon), I came back to this. I got my sister to shoot some reference photos of me to help me out with the anatomy and scraped the idea to make my bard a gnome for the sake of getting out a piece I could be happy with. Don't worry....I will  do a gnome piece in the future just to prove to myself that I can.

While I like this sketch a lot more I need to push it still. I am not happy with the perspective here and am not sure how I feel about the angel head in the foreground.

I showed the composition around and made a few changes to the scene, keeping my figure the same. I changed the head in the foreground and the angels in the background. I do plan to get fairly dark with this piece....once I am happy with my sketch I will render a grey tone and then go into color. I have my pallet selected already....keeping it simple. 

Quick grey tone comp to figure out my lighting....I want this to be dark. I'm not sold on my water just yet and think I need some rim light (reflected light) to pop my lost bard out a bit more. couldn't last forever I suppose. Man, I really hate coloring least over grey tone. I am thinking of going back to the original pencil before the grey tone and building up my colors like I would in watercolor cause working dark to light here is really messing me up. And look at that pallet! What the heck am I thinking!?!

I am finding it very VERY hard to paint over a grey tone drawing. I got so frustrated that I copied my image and started rendering over white. It's going better a bit, I still have my grey tone up to look at but I am still feeling frustrated with my piece and am thinking of adjusting the pallet a bit to the one I tend to use a bit more: violet, sienna, and a bit of yellow. 

Below are some of the 'references' that I am using on this piece. I have a mood board set up  of images to help me out with what it is I plan to do. (A mood board is like a collage of images that carries a vibe to it.)

Some things I am looking at are form and surface texture I plan to use....statues have some great things going on with them in age and weather....

Picture of some weird dorkwad in her pj's trying not to laugh at herself....

I put these images up (above and below) because I didn't realize how useful they would ever be. The above was a study I did of white on white but I am looking at the way that light effects the stone. The bottom image is a pic I took and painted a doodle of for no reason, but I find I keep looking at both the picture and the watercolor I did while rendering my current piece.