I've been working on new projects I am excited about. Some new work will be released next month on the 15th.

I finally bought a Cintiq 13HD. The design is a huge improvement. It truly is a portable Cintiq. The screen quality is good and I like the high resolution. The best part is that it doesn't have a huge power brick! I've tested out carrying it around in a backpack and it is lighter than my old medium size Intuos tablet.



Assassin with dual daggers. Illustration for DestinyQuest Infinite.

Time flies.... It's been a while since my last post-too much happening. I'll be in the showcase at IlluxCon, and I'm planning on getting table for the NYC Comic Con.


Demon Girl

A quick unfinished demon girl sketched in Photoshop.


Mac OS X 10.8 tip

I was starting to get very annoyed with the sort categories that are now in finder if you are using the latest OS.

 Here's a helpful article on Planet10Tech.com on changing the view options to get finder to display files the way it used to before Lion.


Blood, iPad Painting Step by Step

Here's a new piece that was painted 95% of the way on the iPad. I used ArtStudio, a Jot Stylus Touch, and Pogo Sketch Pro.

Here's the step by step:

I started with a very vague thumbnail. The graphic shape of the creature with the line of blood dripping down really  caught my eye. . . .

I skipped using line to solve the forms because I wanted to capture a simple graphic composition with a strong focus. I started with rendering lighting to define the form, working out from the blood which is the focal point. I used color dodge for bright hits of light, overlay for less bright lights, and soft light for subtle transitions of light and shadow. Sometimes a soft light layer almost feels like painting with watercolor or an oil glaze. 

A step showing the rendering using the adjustment layers I mentioned above. Of course not all the rendering is in some type of adjustment layer. Sometime marks are just opaque made with a simple round brush or a brush squished so it has a strong edge.

After figuring out the anatomy of the torso it felt like the piece could use some color to pop the design of the blood. I love that ArtStudio has color blend layers. That makes adding color to a black and white piece extremely fast. First I paint bucket filled a new layer with green, then I switched the blend mode to color. To get the red blood I repeated the process, except I just painted over the blood with red.

I also added a layer of watercolor texture and then change the blend mode to color burn. When adding a texture layer to unify things, I usually just try different modes until something intrigues me.

And this point I decided instead of green and sickly I wanted blue and night. ArtStudio has Hue/Saturation/Lightness adjustments, so I used that option to quickly change my green layer to blue. I used a mask on the blue layer to erase out the blue on the skin. Later on though I decided I liked having his skin blend into the background so I simply turned off the mask. Masks are a huge time saver instead of erasing and repainting.

At this point I realized I was so obsessed with the details and hadn't looked at reference so my proportions were too far off. This is a fatal mistake working traditionally. But ArtStudio has a filter called Elastify that is similar to Liquify in Photoshop. They app developers also have a stand alone app called Elasticam that offers an even higher level of control. Basically where you paint deforms the image like it is made out of rubber or a thick liquid. It's a weird effect when used aggressively, but with subtle adjustments you can fix drawing errors. And I definitely had many on this! The mouth was too big, the neck was too thick. Even the top of the head was weird and a bit too flat.

After those fixes I got reference for the edge lighting and fixed how the light moved across the form. From there I got great feedback and in Photoshop fixed some light areas on the skin that were competing with the highlights of the blood. Always take the viewer to the focal point! These are fixes that could have been done on the iPad, but I didn't want to take time to transfer the file back and forth. Lastly, I finished it off with an unsharpen mask in Photoshop and a sky texture in the background.

I hope this gives you some ideas for your own way of working. Let me know if you have any questions.


Finally a Cintiq 12 WX replacement

A month ago I was going to buy a Cintiq 12 WX. After using both a modbook and a retina macbook pro I was tired of  making sure files were transferred when working off site. Also the 16 gigs of RAM, quad core, SSD drive, and highly superior graphics card on the macbook pro really make a difference. But after calling around only B&H photo and the Wacom store had them in stock. A couple weeks ago they went out of stock on Wacom's site. I thought I was in for a long wait. However Wacom has announced a long overdue upgrade of the 12 WX, the 13 HD! The resolution will be higher and I'm really hoping the screen will be brighter. The announcement was made on the european Wacom estore so hopefully they will be announced on the U.S. site soon.


Creature Sketches

Various scary beasts- a humanoid and carnivore with extra limbs, and an herbivore that is capable of causing damage also. If you open the image in a new window or tab the image will open in a much larger size.


Ad During the Oscars Inspired by The Fifth Horsewoman of the Zombie Apocalypse?

While working on an assignment for some creature designs last night, I had the Oscars playing in the background. A funny Samsung ad showed Tim Burton brain-storming for a Zombie Unicorn Apocalypse movie, which totally reminded me of my painting. I hadn't seen those three words put together until I did my painting of the Fifth Horsewoman of the Zombie Unicorn Apocalypse last year (scroll down to July 2012 for that post).

At the beginning of last year when my wife and I were coming up with the idea of the zombie apocalypse rider on an evil unicorn, we looked around online and there was no one making a connection between those three things zombies, unicorns, and the apocalypse. So I wonder if I inadvertantly got Tim Burton to say those are his favorite things.

Here is the ad.

At first I thought it was a remote possibility because if they googled those three words they would have seen my painting. It's shows up about eight rows down on Google image search. But then I saw this image in the ad. It is very much a My Little Pony version of my image. So many elements are similar, a skull that's exposed mixed with a mostly intact body, the teeth showing, the exposed ribs (which where one of Dan Dos Santos' many great suggestions for the painting), the drill bit-like horn, the long hair growing around the hooves, even the angle and the gray sky in the background.

I have to say extra props for the dangling eye ball.

I know as an artist who paints from reference these are the types of details that repeat if you are looking at an image for reference and trying to create a new piece that is equally as effective. Here is one of the first images that comes up on Google search for My Little Pony, their illustration looks very much like a combination of my image and the one I found online. 

I think the ad is hilarious and that would be cool if they were inspired by my work, obviously they came up with something creative and different with the my little pony-cartoonish look. But it does feel uncomfortable discovering a huge publicity campaign might have been working off my ideas without the slightest notice. I am an easy going guy though, but I wouldn't mess with My Little Pony.


Humanoid Creature Design

I'm taking a Gnomon class with the brilliant creature designer and excellent teacher Jerad Marantz. This is one of my first projects, a tribal humanoid, monkey mixed with a bat type creature.


Recently, I had jury duty. I had quite a bit of time while waiting for jury selections. Here's an herbivore drawing I did on the iPad.


In the Realm of Dreams & Fears Art Show

On February 6th from 5-9pm I will be at the opening of a group show at Longwood Arts Gallery @Hostos, titled, "In the Realm of Dreams & Fears.". The last day of the show is May 1st and there will be a closing reception that evening.
This group exhibition is organized by artist and guest curator Antonio Vicenty, inspired by his interest in horror/fantasy films. It presents recent phantasmagorical works in drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and video by visiting artists from Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States. Participating artists include Pierre Ayotte, Patricia Ayres, Michael Paul Britto, Fernando Carpaneda, Kari Christensen, Shawn Conn, Steve Durham, Elisabeth Faraone, Julio Garay, Alba García, Mike Hrubovcak, Jayson Keeling, Steve Lewis, Claire Martial, Ivan Monforte, Owen Mulligan, Lucrecia Novoa, Peter Pier, Matt Pinyan, Radical Sem Dó, JohnnyRamos, Vertebrae33, and John Zhao.
I will have four pieces in the show. The address is:
450 Grand Concourse
(near the intersection with 149th street)
Bronx, NY
The building with the gallery is on the same street as the 4 and 5 subway 149th street stop.