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Sunday, January 30, 2011


So here is my finished pulp cover, done 100% in watercolors. I am pleased with my decision to for the sepia look as opposed to inking this in black and white comic style. It's got a nice feel to it and looks faded in some places. I am planing on doing a few more of these pulp covers, so keep an eye out. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Phantom Press 2011: WIP

First of all, as far as I am aware there is no such thing as Phantom Press. At least not to the capacity of publishing stuff the way that Weird Tales does.  Anyways...the artwork....

CGHub is currently hosting a challenge for a Voodoo witch or shaman, and it is open to different types of entries. I recently also put together a list of possible projects to work on through out the year, one of them was similar to the proposed challenge. So this is the idea that came to mind. Initially I was thinking about an old school carnival poster. As I was drawing this out I started to wonder if I would just ink it or do sepia washes in watercolor...and since I couldn't decide I let other's vote on it....

As you can see the watercolor came out in the lead as far as votes go. Which lead me to think that it would be cooler if I made it look like an old pulp cover, which is what my aims for this are now. So this is 100% watercolor on Arches hot press paper. Some of the inspiration for the back layout come from Adam Huges and Norman Rockwell, but mostly I am really into old pulp covers. I am considering adding type to the bottom but am not sure about it just yet...maybe Love Advice From Little Ouija or something?

So it's turning out ok so far, and yes I am aware I need to get a scanner. Phage is also still in the works, so look for more WIP work of her as well. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MTG Phage The Untouchable:WIP

Swat by RK Post

So, I've been out of school for a while now and while it might sound horrible, I have been struggling for purchase of an artistic kind. I've been thinking a lot about what lead me to pursuing a career in illustration, and spending monies on learning to better myself as and artist. 

Which brings me to two things really. Magic The Gathering art, and RK Post. As far as games go...I started out with MTG. And that was what got my attention at first via the art. I thought, hey...I can do this for a living! My favorite from the start has been RK Post (whom it turns out lives...or lived (not a stalker) a few towns over from me). 

In my quest for finding out what it is I want to do with my art, which has been open to numerous venues from pin-up to billboards, I come back to thinking about things I am lacking in. Composition and all that jazz...things I pointed out a post or two ago that I want to work on. And I thought about how much digital work I've been doing...which lead me to think of making a MTG image. 

Why not...?

Sketch 1

So I started a sketch. Actually I didn't have any grand schemes for this...I've been in kind of a bog so I thought to just sketch, and I had this figure and a bunch of lines drawn in lightly (which you can't see). And I thought to turn it into something....which wound up being Phage. There are some things I need to address still....the background for one thing, some issues with the anatomy. 

Drawing straight onto 140lb Arches hot press. press. And to your surprise I am using a pencil...yep, gasp! How horrific of me I know, but I haven't forsaken my pen. It's holding my hair up at the moment.'s stage one of the sketch...I'll post another soon. 

Amended  Sketch
So...I went back into the original doodle on my watercolor paper and made a few tweaks as well as added in some details. Such as the second hand since I wasn't sure what she was originally doing. I rather like this sketch though I am still a little worried about the background, but some watercolor washes with some salt (oh yeah baby) and a bloom or two might work out nicely. And if not....I can always Photoshop in a different background. 

First Washes
So I started out with a few base colors. For the skin I started with a mix in the pallet of yellow orchre, Indian red, permanent rose and some water. I know some folks use white in their skin tones but...I'm not one of those people. I also laid in a light wash of what is apparently NOT blue but pthalo green...I must be color blind but it looks like Prussian blue to me...

Main Pallet
So right now I am still just laying in colors in places. Phage has color elements to her character that I am using though for the sake of painting I am making a few small choices to pallet. The dark 'black' is actually a mix of Windsor violet and viridian green with a dash of Antwerp blue in spots where I let the colors bleed. I did the same in the purple of the cape, first mixing my violet with pink to create a brighter hue, then letting in spots of pure pink and blue in areas for flavor. The green was mixed with Hansa yellow for the jade part of the breast plate, so far that's a straight wash. And in the face I let my colors bleed together but also am using a touch of violet and blue along in the original skin tone. 

As far as the background...I probably should have used a frisket to mask out the actual figure and thrown the background in first.......BUT....I hate frisket and tend to not use it so why start now? Depending on how the figure starts to turn I will probably use a mix of the skin tone colors for the background, though at the moments I am thinking about letting some grey and pink mix around back there. 

Anyways, this is the update...more to come. 

Update: As you can see I am still working....pardon the weird colorations to the piece. I need to buy a scanner and have been using my camera for the time being. Anyways, this is starting to turn out ok despite a severe lack of planning....however I did decide to take a look at this in grey tones....

There are some areas I keep gauging as I put paint down. Color has a habit of making the eye think that certain tonal ranges are being achieved when in fact, they aren't happening at all. This can be an issue since if the image is painted in black and white it suddenly becomes flat. So I felt it was time to look at it sans color...and indeed I can see that the areas I have been eyeballing are indeed lacking in tone. 

Think I am gonna call it quits on painting for now and grab a bite and sketch instead. Give the eyes time to rest. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day At The Museum: Featuring Guest Blogger Lucas Durham

Gather round gentle readers. Kat's given me the opportunity to share a tale with The Land of Dust Bunnies, and I intend to use my time well. What's that you ask? Who am I? The name is Lucas Durham. I'm a friend of Kat's and fellow illustrator. We met during Kat's waning days at the American Academy...but that's a story for another day. I'm getting off track.....

So about a month ago, Kat had this great idea for a plein aire outting. Since only the most foolhardy go out to paint during Chicago's frigid winter months, she suggested that we spend the day drawing and painting at the Field Museum.

Lucas & Kat

One invitee, Aaron Miller, had recently been on a day trip to the museum. While he had been sketching in the taxidermy section , Aaron had noted a plaque about an artist-in-residence, Peggy Macnamara. He proposed that we try to contact her in the hopes of seeing her studio and possibly some of the back rooms not normally accessible to the general public.

I'm thankful Kat followed through on Aaron's idea! Mrs. Macnamara gave us an extremely generous tour of her studio, record rooms, and the upstairs laboratory.

Here are a few pictures of the lab:

Here's the 'Cleaning Room' a portion of the lab where they use native beetles to clean the rotting flesh off animal bones, which will later be processed and categorized...

After the tour we went back to Peggy's studio to ask her a few questions. She showed us some blown up images from her sketchbook and explained the importance of the drafting stage.

It was inspiring to meet a woman so passionate about capturing nature

We spent the rest of the afternoon sketching in the taxidermy wing. Although I've visited that section of the museum in the past, it never occurred to me how much effort goes into building those displays. They are really works of art in their own right. A taxidermist must build, stuff, and pose the animals in a believable stance, a muralist must paint a background that fits the creature's natural habitat, and a diorama artist must decorate the display case to match the mural. What a team effort!

Here's what I drew:

I think I see the the beginnings of a roaring dragon and a retold alien...

Overall, it was a great day and a great opportunity. I have to thank Kat for organizing it, and Peggy Macnamara for hosting and inspiring us. I hope we can do it again soon!

Catch what Kat thought about the Museum Trip here

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ponderous Pondering mind has been churning some thoughts around as I take tea and scones with the Royal Court of Dust Bunnies. Thoughts focused less on stately affairs of dealing with the dreaded vacuum-monster and more along the lines of art and the makings of. 

Bobbistock @ DA

Such as some foes of mine, including male anatomy. Yes, one of the banes of my existence as an artist, and one I will have to tackle in my pursuit of becoming a serious illustrator. Thus, I have made it a goal to focus on spending time studying the male species...purely for artistic reasons mind you now...

Eirian-stok @ DA

And children. Children are not something I have ever drawn, as I have come to realize in the recent holding of my friend's baby a few days ago. Their proportions are not the same as an adult's, and I feel that I must look into studying children in my art now as well. I even suspect it may come in useful when I try to tackle gnomes and such...

R3ndybl4ck @ DA

And composition and working in grey tones. Which also means illustrating scenes as opposed to single character vignettes. But using shapes, angles, and other elements to create an interesting composition that ties in all the bits in pieces peaceably. Not to mention that I have been using grey tones a lot more in my work to help push tonality otherwise obscured by color. 

Thoum @ DA

And lighting....because it's one of the main things that makes a  piece. Understanding light and dark, and the way the objects are effected by, or effect light and shadow. 

Lots of stuff to study on, but integral as breathing air. In addition, I've also given thought to structure offered when I was in school. Working on 2 projects in 2 weeks meant that in school I made a total of around 4 pieces a month (give or take). That means a lot of art. Sure I am not in school now but it doesn't mean I should stop working that way.....and it doesn't mean getting back into the say of things that I shouldn't spend more time working on pieces as opposed to getting them done by a certain time. 

So I've made a list of projects I plan to work on this year for exercises as well as for portfolio. And of course I still have a few projects to finish up as it is ( Like the Star Wars screen, the Faithless cover, ect...)

And a return to watercolor media! This Friday I have invited a few people to venture to the Chicago Field Museum with me for a day of drawing and painting (possibly), as well as the chance to meet artist in residence Peggy Macnamara, who will be giving us a private tour of her studio. Check her work at

So, lots of work to be done, and hopefully a  little fun to be had too. Looking forward to Friday!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ending The Year With A Bang....And Starting The New Year Riding The Blast

Chimera (Adam), Taylor (Erin), and Jynx (Me!)
So it's the first blog post of the new year. You might be wondering a few things such as, am I still working on the Star Wars screen, what projects do I have planned, do I have a New Year's Resolution....Why is that man dressed in drag?

I do have a lot of work to do on some past projects that I will continue to work on. I also have grand schemes to pick up my paint brush again and am greatly looking forward to a trip to the Chicago Field Museum on the 14th of the month. In addition to that there are already a few other things I would love to attend, including the Frazetta Tribute show at the Provocateur Gallery in Chicago which will be opening the same weekend as C2E2. 

Other than that all there is to do is grow and expand this dust bunny dream of being a professional illustrator into a grand and mighty empire. Lots of studies, some writing, and more conventions. Huzah!

As for the question you guys are probably frothing at the mouth for me to answer....why is that man dressed in drag? Well, Verne Con was New Year's weekend, one of may small cons hosted by the game group GB7. Our special event night, which was Saturday, called for some role playing among the some of us chose to dress the part. Adam, after much talk in our group chat, decided to dress up as his 'Jedi' character Chimera. There were a lot of laughs, and we'll see if we can't talk him into donning the wig and get up again in time for Gen Con 2011. 

Anyways....a lot of fun was had, a lot of interesting things occurred in game....which may or may not include the adoption of up to 3 children into Jynx's already jurry rigged family. Speaking of which....I did some sketches while at the con inspired by some of the events that transpired. Will post those up soon. 

-Happy New Year