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Illustration Master Class Painting

We received our assignments about a month before the Illustration Master Class. I of course picked the assignment to paint a dragon and at least two characters. I played with some ideas, maybe a Dragonlance scene, maybe an undead army. But I settled on a cathedral type building, a battle scene, and a deformed dragon. Sadly the extra mouth in the torso didn't make it to the final version.

This thing started as a very rough sketch on a Cintiq and iPad. The iPad is useful in a meeting when I want to paint- but can't be in the studio.

I would not recommend working this way. But I wanted to start in a way that was spontaneous and would create challenges to learn from.

Ugly beginnings:

Sketching on an iPad:

I did not have much sketch time before the IMC started. I found myself putting up a sketch on the critique wall that was a mushy mess with no reference.

I really had no idea what I was getting into. . . the Illustration Master Class had begun.

The initial critique was with Donato, Scott Fischer, Scott Allie, and Jeff Mack. All of them had great insights. Donato jumped on board with the idea of a battle scene and pushed me to isolate an area of focus. Scott Allie advised me to embrace the chaos in the battle scene and not worry about making the story obvious.

The next day after the critique I jumped right into color and rendering. I had less than a week to finish in between all the lectures. Dan Dos Santos and Scott Fischer really helped me out with directions to take the lighting. Scott did a paint over where he emphasized the back lighting on the dragon. Dan added a burning torch to illuminate some of the foreground and an archer shooting the dragon.

After some advice about shooting reference from Dan, I started grabbing everyone I could from the studio for reference. This is definitely something I should have been doing while planning the composition.

Only orcs where harmed in the making of this reference.

Donato added more figures. And he, Greg Manchess, and Adam Rex moved the characters around. Their advice was great. I'm usually worried about uncomfortable cropping and tangents. But in battle scenes you actually want to do the opposite and get some uncomfortable intersections between the characters. At the end of the IMC my painting was coming a long but it needed a lot of work.

I worked on it much more at home after getting critique from some of my trusty and eagle-eyed artist friends. Also I was lucky to catch Greg Manchess at a Tor.com party and he showed me possible battle poses in the middle of a crowded bar. It was kind of like an 80's break'n movie where everyone clears the floor for the dance fight!

It was still lacking something.

Dan Dos Santos did a great paint over showing me where I could push the lighting. So finally after another day or two of work. I had a final painting. It was a long process but I learned a lot, especially the value of having good quality reference and a strong drawing before I dive into the painting!

A few adjustments to lighting, details, and the magic effect.


Post Illustration Master Class 2011

A little bit ago the 2011 Illustration Master Class hit me like a freight train. I knew it would be a great time and an intense learning experience. But it was more than that. More intense, more fun, and more instructional than I hoped for. I am still processing and applying everything. The faculty was amazing and being surrounded by a hundred talented artists was really inspiring.

The IMC really opened my eyes to new ways of doing things and gave me confidence and better understanding of the tools I have been using for years.


IMC 2011

I am headed to Amherst MA today for my first experience with the Illustration Master Class. I am really excited to work hard and learn a lot!

Here is an unfinished study I have been painting with my new iPad2.


New Figure Study on the iPad

Here is another figure study done on the iPad. This piece is still in process. There is quite a bit of line work that needs rendering. But I am really happy with the pose. Ironically I did not pick my spot in the studio. It was the last spot that was not taken. Maybe it's good to leave things to chance sometimes?


New Demon

Here is a new demon that I sketched on the iPad and then finished on the Modbook. The iPad sketch is posted below.


Blog Neglect

I apologize for the neglect. Between a cold, two seasons of Dexter, and painting projects I've been booked. I've been sketching new demons that should be ready to withstand daylight sometime soon.



New iPad Figure Work

Here are some ten minute monsters and a fairy from a one hour pose.

ten minute monsters



New Website Design

I have just finished doing a complete redesign of my site. I think it's time to take it back to a theme based on my favorite color- black. Some of my older work has not been uploaded yet. But there's a portfolio section and some new info sections as well as links to other sites I use. More content will be coming soon. Any feedback you have about it would be great to hear.

I would love to do more now, but it's time for figure drawing. I have lived in NYC off and on for six years and have never done sketch night at the Society of Illustrators. Tonight I am going to finally check it out.


Art at the Art Student's League of New York

Two of my digital figure drawings are on display in the gallery at the Art Students League of New York.


10 minute monsters

These were done during ten minute short poses during today's figure drawing session.

monster experiment finished

Here is a sketch showing the model's pose and then the final of the monsterized version.


New Post By This Evening

Yesterday was spent updating Deviantart and making prints. And then I got distracted trying to make a twisted drawing of Brittney Spears because so many people are excited about her new album on Twitter. I just find that disturbing. However my drawing turned out even uglier than I expected. It's something in-between a dominatrix and an 80s workout video. Truly frightening and I didn't even add leg warmers. The true nature of Brittney shows itself. Anyway I was so repulsed I gave up on drawing for the day.

So this morning I will be figure drawing at the Art Student's League. Later on I will have time to post the conclusion of the monsterous transformation of our poor figure model.


new monster experiment

I really enjoy figure drawing on the iPad. But sometimes I am just in the mood to do a monster. So today I decided to try something a little different and draw the model as a monster. This is my four eyed three armed figure model after one session. I will refine this drawing more and post it soon.


Undead Odin Cultist

Greg Spalenka did a great job with the Artist as Brand workshop last weekend. Here's one of the sketches I did while listening to his inspiring presentation. Sorry for the crappy digital photo reproduction.


first iPad figure study

nude figure 1

This was an experiment trying out the iPad during a figure drawing session.