Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So this year, I wasn't able to mail out Christmas cards. Time and money were a little tighter through most of it, and when things eased up, there was pretty much no way I was going to get something created, printed and mailed in time.

However I've heard many times in the past that I can just throw a Santa hat on anything and it becomes a Christmas card. So here we go!


Maybe this one works better.

 Or this one?
How about these guys?

But in all seriousness, here's the real one. I'm not going to pretend it's been a great year, but hey things happen. Still, hope you guys have a Merry Christmas !  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some ideas are just superficial

Today's drawing is based purely on the fact that these guys have similarly shaped heads and ears. That's really about it.

From left to right is Gizmo from Gremlins, Furby, An Asura from Guild Wars and Yoda from Star Wars.

Family Reunion

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Minor update

I don't really have anything too insightful to say today. Just popping in for a tiny update. Last month at some point I started doing some coloring work for Zenescope. This past week is when the first of the work hit the shelves, although to a very minor degree. I believe Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Bad Girls #3 came out this past wednesday. I colored a page of that (yup, 1 page). It was a deadline thing and they just needed that page done :).

NYCC is next week. I won't be there, but they're holding the screening for episode one of Grimm Fairy Tale animated series. I think one of the swag items is a copy of the comic based on the animated series (I think.. not 100% sure). Anywho I colored 8 pages from that as well.

Also at the end of this month, Grimm Fairy Tales issue 78 comes out. That book I actually did all the colors on the interior for. Check it out. Or not.. it's up to you really.

Lastly, here's a couple of drawings/paintings that I've done.

Wild Cymbal Monkey
This first one is based off of that freaky-ass toy I had as a kid.

Retro Space Gal
This one is just me playing with a simpler more animated coloring style (although it takes me almost as long to draw this as it does for a rendered or a painted piece :/). I just wanted to have a more fun image.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not terrible enough to quit, not good enough to be hired.

So, the myth about being a freelancer is that you get to set your own schedule as well as your own rates. While some people surely have the luxury, the reality is that most of us take whatever job comes to us and work like crazy to make sure we hit the deadlines.

On that similar note, our time off is also dictated by the job as well. Sometimes, the work just doesn't come in. It can be days, weeks, months or even years. In the past when the income was more stable, I'd take that time to just relax a bit.. take days off like normal people. These days, work and projects don't generally pay amazingly well. So my time off is spent trying to learn and grow so that I can hopefully land a better job that DOES pay really well and allows me to stretch myself creatively. Right now, there's some growth here and there. Dabbling in digital painting has had me learn at least something with each image so I hope that keeps going. It'd be great to one day be able to create a stunning piece that people would love to buy.

I've been kicking around the idea of leaving art/comics pretty regularly.. especially on the days where I don't really have paying work. I could get a normal day job (though honestly, I'm woefully unqualified for most jobs outside of retail it seems) and do the art thing as a hobby. While I enjoy the craft, it's pretty hit or miss about whether it's sustainable for me right now. I waffle back and forth on this a lot and have yet to come up with the perfect answer. Right now, my work is good enough that I shouldn't stop drawing, but not quite good enough to get me regular work. It's a nice in-between scenario that keeps me second-guessing myself. While you my miss 100% of the shots you don't take, shooting blanks doesn't help either :). Half empty? Half full? Or just some unseen force cock-teasing me so that my life will perpetually be at a crossroads? Who knows. But enough of this rambling.
Anywho, here's some things I've worked on recently. The first image is Chairman Kaga from from the Japanese Iron Chef series. I loved that show. If nothing else, it was a major influence in me at least learning to do some basic cooking and experimenting. Prior to that, I thought cooking was heat mixed with a hard set measurement of ingredients. Below are two versions. One with background color, and one without. I'm not really sure which one works better for me.

Next, is an experiment with more of a children's book type of image.
Sweet Dreams
And finally, we have two images that were originally line drawings for Sheila's book The Book of Horrible Stories. I wasn't really satisfied with how I inked parts of them so I went back to try and see if painting them can rectify some of my issues. Both of these will be some of the first attempts at making prints to sell. I've been told there's a market as long as the quality and artwork are good enough. So, not I actually to see if my contributions are up to snuff. Actually, I had a small number of "An Interlude" printed already and it looks pretty neat. Also a reminder that Sheila's reading at Open Books is tomorrow.

An Interlude

The Book of Horrible Stories

Monday, August 27, 2012

A slight change of pace

The previous batches of images were a bit more of the creepy painted style. For the last day or so I decided to try for something simpler and cleaner. I tried to keep the linework as clean as possible and also kept the rendering to a minimum.

Daenerys Targaryen

Guild Wars 2 comes out this week. Pre-orders got a three day head start. It's been pretty fun so far. So with a complete lack of anything better to draw, I decided to doodle my character. Saraquael, the Asura Engineer.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Salmonella - Death Rides on Two Wings

So I was staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what to work on but coming up with absolutely nothing. I go to facebook and someone posts something about Salmonella. Not having anything better to do, I decided to run with it so here's

"Salmonella - Death Rides on Two Wings"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dark Hair

Here's some more practice with digital painting. I just knew I wanted a little girl with dark hair because thanks to the last decade of movies, it joins clowns and spiders in the ranks of instant creepy. Also I wanted to play on the word "dark" to both describe the color and the .. implied evilness represented in her hair.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey, it's another art dump!

Well, things have been hectic.. then not hectic.. then hectic again. The freelancer's life is dull and unpredictable at the same time. Anyway, here's a few images that I've done in the meantime. Most of them are just me trying to experiment and grow a little. Some were a bit more successful than others.

Overall, I like "Closet" and the linework to "Hang in there" the most out of these.

Hang in there

Hallway door


Monday, July 23, 2012

Ugh. 34

So.. I'm 34 today. Not really a major landmark in terms of things like the mid-life crisis or anything. But still, it's a time to at least reflect a little. Looking back at the past year, I'd have to say.. overall it wasn't particularly awesome. There are little nuggets of potential and hope in there, but overall the last half of it was less than stellar. No one really likes to look at a point in their life and go "Hmm... I was much better off last year than this". I guess sometimes life likes to throw you a big reset button on your work and make you start over. How badly do you want it right? But enough of the pity party.

Today's update will be a slap-dash bit of random things that I forgot to post the last week or so. There's not too much to say about them other than I was trying to experiment a little bit in each one. So.. pretty much a sketch dump.

This one was inspired by The Police song - Roxanne. Just color practice.

And this one is Mumm-Ra. Because I liked Thundercats as a kid. I still haven't seen the new one that got cancelled though. No cable

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

And now for something.. not as original

Boy, today's uploads are both derivative works. Heh. First off, I have the colored version of the Adam and Teela in the garden of Eden pic. There's not too much to add to it other than.. it took way longer than it should have to color.

Now, for the second piece. I'm a big fan of pugs.. additional, I'm also a big fan of Mike Norton's work. As such, it's only natural that I'm a big fan of Mike Norton's Battlepug. I think it's one of the best web comics out there. Everything from the concept to the execution is top notch. So what does a reader do when they encounter such an original idea?

Gank it and do something that's.. pretty much a rip-off. However, it's not intended that way. My piece is meant to purely be an homage to Mike's great work. So here's WarWiener!

And here's some links and the Battlepug on Facebook.

So the important thing about these two recent pieces is that I really enjoyed the source material. As such, I also enjoyed working on them and I think they turned out pretty well. I'm sure all artists feel this way at some point or another, but for the past 3 months or so I've pretty much been getting the feeling that my shot at ever making it as an artist were pretty much gone. I feel old and in a few weeks, I'll have been another year older. The six years prior were spent being a good worker and not necessarily a good artist. While I did my job and did it pretty well, in the end it didn't open too many doors for me overall. I've made some friends, but I'm still pretty much no better off than I was a decade ago really. My attempts at getting the creativity going after such a long hiatus were lacking. I'd sit and try to come up with something, but my mind was a complete blank. Ideas were nonexistent and execution was garbage. With the career situation being what it is, maybe it's time to get real..

Or maybe not. These drawings feel different. There was no major planning or any attempts to make things more than what they were. They're not perfect nor original by any means, but they're my attempts to do justice to the worlds that bring me joy.. whether it be for 30 minutes a day as a kid, or one day out of the week now. The motives were pretty pure.

It's a nice start I think. I know I can't make a career out of piggy-backing off of people's work. That wouldn't be fair to them or myself. BUT, it's nice to know that I still have some ink in the well.

Anywho, here's some of the work in progress stages for the WarWiener pic.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Adam and Teela in the Garden of Eternia?

Yesterday, I got it in my head that I wanted to do a little mash-up between the old biblical Garden of Eden story and Masters of the Universe. I'm sure it's been done before since it's just a goofily obvious thing.. Adam, Snake-men.. well that's about it really.

I was about 5 years old when Catholicism and Masters of the Universe came into my life. Both were actually pretty important to me very early on in my life, but eventually I'd leave them both behind. Eventually, MOTU would re-enter my life, but religion wouldn't. Also, during my time in Catholic school, I think I learned more about morals from He-Man than the school itself. Heh.

I'll clarify though that I've got nothing against any religion. While I find that some followers can be a bit overzealous in their attempts to share their faith, I do find that religion as a whole can be a good thing that provides people with hope and guidance. However, the organized aspect of it isn't my cup of tea. These days, I just try to do right by others as best I can.

And that's the last I'll mention religion on my blog (unless it's relevant to a drawing or something).

Anywho.. I haven't colored the image yet.. not sure when I'll do that. But here's the pencils and inks. The pencil sketch was done in Adobe Photoshop. The finished inks were done in Manga Studio. I'm starting to get used to doing things completely digitally. The Cintiq helps a lot with this for sure.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wala Wala

So, like millions of other people, I got Diablo III (albeit about a month later than everyone else). My main guy is currently a Witch Doctor that's level 41. I'm not a hardcore player and only jump in about an hour or so on days when I get the chance, but I'm enjoying it. Anyway.. here's a drawing of my character (since I couldn't come up with anything better to draw that day). Drawn and colored in Photoshop.

Oh yeah, I spent most of today cleaning a virus out of my PC. that sucked balls. Anyway, on to the pictures!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Saturday drawing

I'm normally not a big fan of lapses in my work schedule (it just makes me nervous). However, I do enjoy the fact that I get more time to work on my own craft and make steps towards improving.

Of course, it'd be great if I got paid to draw/illustrate, but all things in their own time I supposed. Anywho, the other night I had to pull an all-nighter for some work and during the loopier hours, I thought I saw the face of someone in the window. No big deal I guess, except that I live on the second floor.

The things your brain does when it just wants to sleep.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A couple of practice drawings

I'm rusty. REALLY rusty. It takes me way too long to come up with anything to draw and WAY too long to bring it even close to what I want it to be. The amount of free time I have is pretty much all over the place so as much as I'd like to make time to draw everyday, I'm just not able too (seriously, on deadline periods, I pretty much just work from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed).

However, I did manage to do a couple of drawings in the past week. The first one is a stretch of a pun that got into my head when I was in the car and "Love Machine" by the Miracles came on.

"It's just a glove machine,
And it won't work for nobody but Yu"
The drawing was done with Copics on Bristol board at the open mic night at the Tamale Hut Cafe in North Riverside, IL.

The second pic was drawn today in Adobe Photoshop.

It was initially supposed to be a quickie sketch, but ended up taking quite a while. I know, the foot is all janky but it wasn't a perfectly planned out sketch. In the end, I just wanted to work on something that was more detailed than what I'd been doing recently.

Also, here's another tweaked version of the image. It was pointed out that the single wing was slightly distracting so I did a quick cut and paste to make it a bit more complete looking.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Inspried from real life

Here's a drawing from earlier today. It's based off of people I know. Basically it's mother and son pair of creatures. They're still connected via umbilical cord. She's strapped to him via thorny vines that dig into both of them and his legs are chained to large bricks so that he can't run away. Additionally, they're attracted to money but the reason for it is unknown since they don't actually spend it. They live together in a small cottage or home in the woods that's far too tiny for the both of them. Neither of them like each other, yet they still stay together.

Overall, it could have turned out better. I like the concept of the character so I'll probably revisit it at some point, but the drawing itself was basically a rough sketch that I decided to detail more. Done in Manga Studio 4.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

St Elmo's Fire colored

So here it is, the colored up version of St Elmo's Fire. It's been a while since I've done a piece from pencils to colors. It turned out pretty decently if I do say so myself.. and I will if no one else says it :)

I'm also including the trial color tests that I did to try and figure stuff out ( I pretty much just ended up doing a mash-up of it all in the end).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

St. Elmo's Fire inked

So.. I guess I lied. I didn't want to ink it, but I had recently purchased Manga Studio 4 and needed to justify my purchase a bit. Plus keeping it digital would keep me from completely botching up my pencilwork.

I originally wanted more line variation, but in the end I'm okay with how it turned out and the overall line weight choices that I ended up making. Manga Studio is a pretty great program. It even has features that fixes up your lines. I ended up toggling that off a lot though because lines that were too perfect didn't look like I did them. Heh.

Monday, May 14, 2012

St. Elmo's Fire

So, most of the time when I do work on the computer, I usually run Netflix or Hulu or video podcasts on the secondary monitor. Of course, earlier this year, AT&T decides to impose a 150gb bandwidth limit per month citing that it's a necessary step in keeping people from sucking up all the bandwidth. Personally, I think it's just a money grab since bandwidth isn't a finite resource, but whatever.

Anyway, as the amount of free bandwidth I have decreases, I end up hitting Spotify and listening to my random playlists. At one point I got St. Elmo's Fire stuck in my head. Being the big fan of cheesy wordplay that I am, I had draw this image with the muppet Elmo. I tied him in with the weather phenomenon rather than the song, since I actually don't really know what the song's about.

I'm not sure if I'll ink it though since I tend to crunk things up a lot when I ink my own work.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I picked up some Copic markers over the past few weeks. I've wanted to try working with them for a while now, but never got around to it since they were a bit pricey. In restrospect, I should have done it sooner since they recently increased the price of them. Ah well, live and learn.

Anywho, I had some free time today so I decided to play around with them.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bah, I'm not even going to bother..

There's really no point in promising to do more posts. Things come up and I just completely forget. I can't even really think of a great excuse for it all at this point. But.. here's some drawings that were done in the past few months in hopes of making it up a little?

The first six images are the pencils and inks for Sheila's upcoming book. Overall they turned out decent. There are some aspects of the inking I'm unhappy with, but that's where the growth comes in I guess. The fifth and sixth images were from the story "Mrs. Ambrose". I had the hardest time coming up with that one, but it probably turned out the best overall.

 The following image was done as a gift to Sheila for her birthday. I actually liked how it turned out overall. It's a shame that my strongest is oftentimes reserved for the personal works. I'd love to consistently bring this level on everything.