Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Green vase


A little watercolor still life. The idea was predominantly cools with the one warm pitcher in the middle to be the focal point, but the green vase with the pattern ended up being much more interesting as I was working on it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Digital tree sketch


I recently got a hold of several brushes for Photoshop, and I was playing around seeing what I could do with them. Some very interesting effects.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oil landscape sketch


Its been a cold winter, hey I thought this was California! What's up with that? I'm hoping it warms up soon so I can go out plein air painting. This is an oil sketch, about 8" x 10". This is a basic composition of 3 horizontal lines: foreground, middle ground, background. A focal point that has the most contrast and form, with a counter point: that little church. The sky is probably too saturated, but it was really cyan that day. I like how all the color variation occupies a thin strip across the center while the top is essentially monochromatic blue and the bottom is almost monochromatic neutrals. Imagine all of that thought in such a simple little composition.

Sorceress sketch


This is for an improved version of Spell Focus, a classic spell from Tomb of the Lich Lord. One of the things those in playtests have heard me complain about is how much freaking art it takes to make one of these Dungeoneer sets. There are 110 cards in a set, and each illustration takes me about 1 day to do, sometimes more. Not every card is a unique illustration, there can be about 90 illustrated cards when you remove things like trackers, summaries and duplicates. That's 90 days of art! I don't make that much in return on a set, so Dungeoneer truly is a labor of love. Astute players have noted that there have been more duplicates in recent sets, a cost cutting measure, but it also makes for a better game because it adds to the consistency of cards. But I've figured out another way to re-use art, and that is to make the hero card art be the "signature Boon" of that hero, so that same art can be used on the Boon (or possibly Treasure) card. In this case this is the illustration for the sorceress and also for the more powerful Spell Focus Boon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Watercolor Head Sketches in the Key of Melancholy


Some watercolor sketches where I used warm tones as the foundation to create an emotional response with the viewer. I like trying to capture melancholy, it is one of my favorite emotions in music and art. Something about that feeling strikes a deep chord that is both pleasant and just the slightest bit sad. It makes me think of lost childhood memories and forgotten places and people on the fringes of memory.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Teeny sketchbook




For a while I carried around this really tiny sketchbook, I think it was like 2.5" across. It was great for when I was at the airport waiting. It turns out the airport is a fantastic place to draw people since they are sitting around for extended periods of time and you get to see all types of interesting people.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hi-key still life


I was exploring a composition with white on white, and put a darker object in for an accent. This was done in acrylics, the original is about 12" x 16". I did this at a time that I began using masonite as a painting surface.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Digital sketch


Most of my professional work is done in Photoshop, but I do dabble with Painter. I love how organic Painter looks but I get frustrated with the interface. I wish they'd adopt more Photoshop-like interface, or that Photoshop would adopt more of the way Painter mixes color. Ideally Photoshop would just add a "smudge" effect to their brush controls, where you could introduce an amount of smudge to the brush from 0% to 100%. Currently the only way to do it is to use the smudge tool, but it is very limited and it doesn't add color when smudging, it only smears around existing pixels. Anyway, I try to practice everyday, sometimes it is in my sketchbook and sometimes it will be something digital. This is a quick little portrait I did in Painter, but I confess I ended up in Photoshop with it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Redwood Marina


This was a little watercolor study done near Redwood Shores, near the PDI studio. I recall struggling with the color of the shadows to keep them from getting too muddy, it was getting later in the day and the shadows were getting dark and hard to read the color. Generally the perspective is working and the composition is okay though the focal point could be better and the color isn't as pleasing as I was hoping for. The main point I was going for, capturing the light, works well enough that I'm posting it here. :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Figure sketches in gold and sepia




Since art school I have generally attended weekly figure drawing workshops to at least maintain or hopefully improve my figure drawing skills. As an experiment I did these sessions with a gold colored marker and a sepia ink pen just to get a different look. Sometimes just using unique mediums or colors can add some pizazz to routine drawings.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Watercolor Sketches




John Singer Sargent said he carried watercolors "in case of emergencies". I have a love/hate relationship with watercolors. On one hand they are immediate, portable, and make beautiful marks on the paper. On the other hand I find them unforgiving and nearly uncontrollable! I often carry watercolors for "emergencies" and they can be fun until they become frustrating. I've long since given up the notion I'll ever master this medium, but I do enjoy sketching outdoors with them occasionally.

Acrylic Quick Studies


While I love oils, I work naturally in acrylics. The reason I take to acrylics is that it forces me to avoid some bad habits: over blending and noodling. These were done at a figure painting workshop, each of these is 20 minutes! I used techniques I learned from Craig Nelson's quick studies class. Craig is a great teacher, he has a way of teaching artists to overcome their fears and just going for it. His book and video on quick studies are good lessons for anyone interested in painting in oils or acrylics.

This was another acrylic quick study done on location in Sausalito.

Friday, January 12, 2007

San Francisco Wharf sketches



These are some pen & ink sketches I did in my sketchbook near and around the San Francisco wharf. I don't do nearly as much of this kind of sketching as I like, never seems to be enough time.

Maria - oil portrait


Its been years since I touched oils, luckily Maria was a great model! Late '06 we found a figure drawing/painting workshop on Saturday mornings at a local art store. Very cool! Some of the guys from Molly's work (LucasArts/ILM) also attend, so it was very inspiring to paint next to such talented artists. I plan on going a lot more in '07, I guess you could call that one of my New Year's resolutions. :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My new blog

I guess its the thing for artists to do nowadays. Let's see how regularly I can post here.