Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy some yōkai for the art prompt.

I'll add work from everyone else in the group as it's posted.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Art Prompts!

So, after a bit of talking, Kaiser and I have decided to start doing some art prompts. The more the merrier, so feel free to join in--especially if you're a BG student or alum!

This week's prompt is "something scary." Any media you choose is acceptable. Posting your work by Halloween would be ideal, but you can give yourself a full week (or more) if you like.

These prompts aren't a contest, or a competition. It's just a way to keep your creative juices flowing and have some fun with other artists. Once you've finished the prompt, post your art on your blog, deviantART, website, etc. If you want to share it with everyone, just comment on this post with a link to your image.

And now, enjoy some music.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bats and Animals!

As promised, here are the concepts that developed into Alba. Also, here are some stylized animals.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Just a little illustration I've been working on, lately. This is a new character I designed, a Honduran white bat, named Alba. Drawn in Adobe Illustrator.

You can check out the concepts for this character here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Color Studies

Lately, I've been trying to put some thought into what areas of my work I need to focus on improving. One of those areas, I think, is color. Looking at my art, overall, I feel that I'm sometimes too conservative with my color schemes.

So, I decided to do a few color studies for a sketch I'd done recently. Since each panel only takes about 15 minutes, tops, there's less "commitment" to make everything perfect and more room to be adventurous. There are some technical problems with the lighting in these. (You can tell I kept changing my mind about where the light source was, and what the room was like.) Really, though, I'm just glad I pushed myself to do something different.

For now, I'd be interested to hear opinions from my readers and other artists. Problems aside, is there panel you like best? A panel you think almost works, but could be stronger? Let me know!


Set1 with layer blending. B is combined with A; C is combined with D

Set 2

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

B&W Study - Helina

I started this one yesterday, as a short study/exercise, and finished it up, today. Why Helina? Why not.

I've been meaning to do some more greyscale exercises, and I'm pretty happy with this one. It's a little on the stylized side, but I decided to focus more on lighting than on super-realism. I also spent a good bit of time on that tattoo.

Helina Kerensky
She's not a completely horrible person, by the way. She's just a bit cranky. You would be, too, if you had relatives like hers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

'Nother Birthday

Just a little something for my friend. Don't let anyone get ya down on your birthday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paint Sketch

I just got a new tablet, to replace the one that fried. So, here's a warm-up painting to get back into practice.

Ne shiteru... ?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There was a small-ish tremor from an earthquake, today, where I live--the first one I've ever felt. (It was very mild, with no damage.) It was an interesting experience, though, considering how rare that is in my region. Apparently this one originated from a 5.9 magnitude quake in Virginia. I hope that the damage isn't too severe for those closer to the epicenter.

If you felt the quake, the USGS has a brief questionnaire you can fill out, to help them gather more data.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Art Theft on ""

Just some news to pass on, today. A number of deviantART users have found that has been selling their work as prints without their permission. I'm not sure how many artists the site has been ripping off, but in my personal experience, I've noticed that a lot of art thieves tend to be very prolific.

Keep in mind that the site seems a bit wonky. You'll probably have to replace "" in any URLs with ""

So, my first recommendation is that everyone who has a deviantART account (or possibly any other art community) check out the site and look for their work. If you find anything of yours, take a screencap with date and time. Print it, if possible, with a date. This could be important later, if you need to go to court.

My second recommendation is that while doing so, you keep an eye out for any familiar pieces. If you see a piece that you recognize, it's best to contact the artist with a link and let them know. Screencaps with dates are a good idea here, too.

This news post on deviantART sums up a number of good ways to take action on this issue.

Lastly, if your work has been ripped off by this site--or any other site--remember that you have rights as an artist. Check up on copyright laws and how to write a "Cease & Desist" letter.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8-04 Sketch

For something a little different, this week, I came up with a sketch prompt for myself. Today's been packed, so I've only finished Part 1, so far. I'll finish the rest of it over the weekend, though.

For anyone following this blog, feel free to follow along and do this prompt yourself (and share your sketches, too, if you do) or suggest prompts for the future.

  1. Pick the animal that you find most difficult to draw, and sketch it.
  2. Now, pick the animal that is easiest for you to draw. Sketch this one the same as you did for the first animal.
  3. Pick a random animal that you find interesting. Sketch it, as you did with the others.
  4. ???
  5. Profit! Combine all three animals into a chimera-type creature. Try to blend the features of all three into something that looks like it could exist in nature.
Step 1 - Horse

  • I'd recommend drawing from life, where possible. Of course, there aren't any horses near where I live, so I used this photo as reference. Try to keep your drawing fairly realistic. Heavily stylized looks exaggerate or cut out visual information, and thus won't help you improve on drawing the real thing.
  • Don't re-use existing sketches. Make a new drawing for each step.
  • For a little extra challenge, don't erase (or if working digitally, undo) any of your lines. Just put 'em down, and try to live with it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

7-28 Sketch

I've started doing something unusual, lately: namely, playing an MMORTS. Games I enjoy rarely fall into the category of "MMO" or "RTS," much less both at the same time. Last week, though, Hellcat invited me to play League of Legends with him. I was skeptical at first (and also not very good at it), but the game has won me over. I like the art style quite a bit, and the gameplay turned out to be pretty fun once I figured out what I was supposed to be doing.

One of my favorite champions, in terms of design is Anivia. She just looks awesome. She's one of Hellcat's preferred champions, too, so I thought she might be a good subject for a paint-sketch, today. [Insert obligatory Articuno joke here.]

I promise I'll post some non-bird art, soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7-21 Sketch

I'm working on commissions again, so a lot of what I've been drawing won't be posted for awhile. I do have something new, today, though. Here's a quick 30-min sketch, 30-min color of Seket that I did as a warm-up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Species: Hktrikcht

The Hktrikcht are one of the sapient races in my SF project. They are an amphibious and (superficially) arthropod-like species. Some physiological traits, like a complex central nervous system (which has several "brains"), a chambered pulmonary organ in addition to gills, and closed blood vessels, set them apart from insects and crustaceans on earth. An average adult stands at just .7 meters, and generally weighs no more than 25 kg.

An albinistic individual. (Illustration from senior thesis.)

Because they are so different, the Hktrikcht are an opportunity to play around with how culture and biology might intersect. For example, the character Two-Colors is a gynandromorph.

Gynandromorphy is not especially common among the Hktrikcht, but it is also not so rare that individuals like Two-Colors are seen as unusual. Their culture accepts more sexes than "just male" and "just female," and most of their languages either have many gender-specific pronouns or don't indicate gender at all. How English-speakers make due with only "he" and "she" baffles them.

I did this quick color sketch last night to try and develop the Hktrikcht and the character Two-Colors a little more. Since almost any kind of clothing would be impractical underwater, the Hktrikcht paint or etch their carapaces. (That's something I didn't have the chance to include in the first illustration, due to time constraints.) Every symbol and pattern has its own meaning, like the spiral, which symbolizes balance. If you can read the symbols, it's easy to tell quite a bit about an individual, such as where they come from, how old they are, and what their occupation is.

For anyone curious about gynandromorphy in real creatures, there's some info on Wikipedia. London's Natural History Museum currently has a gynandromorph butterfly, which you can read about here.

Birthday Birds

Two of my friends and classmates had birthdays this week, so I did some gift art for them. The first is for Cara. It's a sort-of fanart for her series "Pesedjet," featuring Thoth, god of writing and other scholarly pursuits. The second image is for Christine, and depicts her personal charge, the cockatoo with a bit of an in-joke.

I feel that these turned out pretty well, and both were very enjoyable to draw. Funnily enough, I used to hate drawing birds, because I never felt I was very good at them. After doing this commission, though, that's changed and I actually like birds quite a bit more.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A New Rating System

The SMRSNH (Scientific Movie Rating System for Nerdy Hipsters) is based on the stellar classification system. Instead of giving a number of stars to a movie, you compare films to types of celestial objects. A list, with examples*, follows below.

*YMMV. Examples are based on critical ratings, and are not guaranteed to be underground.

  • O-type "Blue"
    • Members of this type are extremely hot, as well as a very rare. These are the masterpieces, the gems that outshine all the others, and one that will go down in the history books. (Ex. "Citizen Kane")
  • B-type "Blue-white"
    • Make a point to see this one before it blinks out. It's an impressive sight, and one you won't regret. (Ex. "Toy Story")
  • A-type "White"
    • Bright, entertaining, and energetic, and one you'll most likely enjoy. (Ex. "Star Wars Episode IV")
  • F-type "Yellow-white"
    • Though not quite as hot as the others, this one will still make for a good night out. (Ex. "Coraline")
  • G-type  "Yellow"
    • You see this kind of thing every day, and there are plenty more where it came from. It's not exactly the lowest common denominator, but it's still not outstanding. (Ex. "Top Gun")
  • K-type "Orange"
    • You might be able to enjoy this one if you don't set your expectations too high. It's a dime a dozen, and you'll probably soon tire of seeing its kind. (Ex. "Constantine")
  • M-type "Red dwarf"
    • Ah, this is stable, predictable, common—and base. Don't worry about missing out if you skip one of these. There are too many to count, and they won't die off any time soon. (Ex. "Land of the Lost")
  • L-type "Brown dwarf"
    • Despite the hype, it ultimately never amounted to anything and probably never will. Often starting with great raw material, the end result is less than stellar. (Ex. "The Last Airbender")
  • D-type "White dwarf"
    • First it collapsed, but now it's shining brighter than ever! This thing might have seemed like a failure, but somehow, it's still going—and getting more attention than ever. (Ex. "The Room")
  • Neutron star
    • This one is bright, but also incredibly dense. You've heard a lot of people get excited about this, but it's rather puzzling. (Ex. "2001: A Space Odyssey")
  • Black Hole
    • It sucks—period. There is absolutely no light in this, and you'd be lucky to escape. (Ex. "Baby Geniuses")
  • Supermassive Black Hole
    • Mysterious, infamous entities spoken of in hushed tones and rarely seen. It's better that way, really. These are dangerous. (Ex. "The Star Wars holiday Special")

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weekly Sketches

Here's a little bit of what I've been working on, over the past week. After finishing up Sobel, I did a character sketch of Myron.

I spent a lot more time on this one, playing around with a larger scene. Ultimately, though, I scrapped the idea and went back to the simpler spot illustration style I used with Sobel. It was a little frustrating at first. I felt as though I'd wasted a lot of time fiddling around with something that didn't make it into the piece. Then I remembered how Tom Jech advised us, when he visited BGSU this past semester, that the difference between student and professional work is often what you don't include. It's good advice that I think I'm starting to internalize.

The next sketch that I worked on is a few months older: the clothing design for the High Priestess of the Syäloä, län-Eyloeiwä I started this one at the same time as the others, but felt unsure about how to finalize the design. I spent a few minutes on it again this week, and feel quite confident about the design. She shares some elements of dress with the temple guardians. This also shows, when compared with the other outfits, a cultural element of hierarchy through dress--the higher an individual's status, the more clothing they wear. This is a common practice in many real-world societies.

You can see the previous clothing concepts here; the Temple Guardian here; and the High Priestess here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Quick Message

I've recently been polishing up Dr. Catalano's website, and he now has a blog, as well.

As a lot of my friends and classmates know, Dr. Catalano and his family will be going to China, soon, where he'll teach at Zhuhai International School. Unfortunately, they won't be able to take their two cats with them. So, if anyone would like to give a loving home to either of these animals, please check out this post, and get in touch with him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Remember these guys? Since I haven't done much with the characters since their initial designs, I decided some more illustration were in order. I picked Sobel first. Her sketch turned out to be a bit more of a challenge than I expected, but it was a very fun exercise and I learned something in doing it.

The first bit of trouble I ran into was the pose. Because I'm not an archer, I felt that going with a photo reference was a good idea. I wanted to get Sobel's position correct, and knew I'd get something wrong if I tried to draw from my head, or pose in front of a mirror. However, I picked a reference that wasn't too clear in some areas, and ended up paying for that. The face and right leg took the longest to adjust properly, balancing how the model was positioned against what looks correct. That's the "con" of the pose; the "pro" of course, is that it looks very dynamic. Another "pro" is that the model is wearing a sleeveless shirt, so the muscles are visible as the bow is being drawn. (Again, this is a case of photo being preferable to live reference; I am not that buff.)

Ernest helped me quite a bit. He's done about 500% more archery than I have (which is to say, any at all), and was able to give me some tips. One thing that I had completely neglected, initially, was a chest guard. I'd seen them before, but it never registered in my head what they were for. It's sort of ironic, though. In the initial design, I got some flak for not making Sobel's bust noticeable enough (under a chainmail shirt, I might add), so I gave her a bit more definition; this time, I actually scaled it back a little, because the chest guard would compress her bust slightly.

I finished up the sketch with some greyscale shading and, again at Ernest's suggestion, some vegetation to ground her. I'm pretty pleased with this.

The second bit of work I did yesterday was more straightforward: a simple landscape. Since I'd just finished drawing Sobel, I thought I'd try to connect the landscape a bit, by giving it an English countryside sort of feel. Although I was able to paint the whole thing, it was a pain and a half to do so. My regular tablet has tilt functionality, and the one I'm using now does not. ...Which means I had to go back to my old, less efficient method of painting.

It didn't come out quite like I expected, but in the end, I think it came out pretty well. The sky (done with watercolor tools in Painter) and the river are what I'm most pleased with.

And I still can't wait until my tablet is repaired.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lots of Updates!

I have a lot of news to share, since my last post. The past few months have been a little stressful, but also very exciting.

At the end of February, I completed the first version of my BFA thesis project. For my thesis, I chose to combine my focus on digital painting and illustration with my love of world-building to create a digital "book." The end product is a Flash-based compendium that provides visual and text information on six different species of my own creation. Titled "Encyclopaedia Creaturae Rationalis" (that is, "Encyclopedia of Thinking Beings"), version 1.0 features a built-from-scratch interface, designed and coded by myself; information on the biology, habitat and culture of each species; and large, full-color digital paintings to depict each species and their planet.

It was a massive project--which I still want to add more to!--that presented a lot of challenges, but in the end, it really paid off. At the BFA Thesis Show this March, I was pleased and utterly shocked to receive the Alumni Association Award for my thesis project. The president of the college informed me that I was the first Digital Art major to win the award.

I really need to give credit to my friends and classmates for this, as well: Wes for introducing me to the basics of Flash and helping me to troubleshoot my "book."; Leah and Olivia for critiquing my work; and Christine for tea, moral support, and more.

The other goings-on over the months have been a bit less intense. I began freelancing in addition to searching for permanent employment, and got my first commercial freelance job with Kinou Games. I did a large batch of 2D coloring for their upcoming MMO "Papa Pirate, Baby Bandit." Kinou was a really great client, and I'm very happy to have gotten the opportunity to work with them. I've also been doing a large number of personal commissions for miniature artist "Insane Kangaroo" of CamoSpecs fame, which has been another fun project.

Lastly, I've jumped back into web design, and have been working on a portfolio website for Dr. Dominic Catalano. Dr. Catalano is a children's book author/illustrator and and was one of my instructors at BGSU. I really admire his work, and enjoyed his class, so I'm very excited to be able to do this for him.

I've also completely revamped my own website. It's built from scratch and far superior to the old one, not to mention nicer-looking. You'll notice there's even an RSS feed on the page for this blog.

Friday, February 25, 2011


It's been awhile since I last posted. I've been busy with commissions, that I'll hopefully be able to post later. In the mean time, here's some personal sketches I've been working on. Alien critters!

I always enjoy having a few "rules" to play by when I create new creatures and characters. It helps keep me focused on important aspects of the design and the opportunity to find creative solutions on how to work within my rules.

One of the rules for this set of xeno-animals is that none of them could have true teeth (the predators' fangs are part of the skull), and they must have scaly, avian/reptilian feet. With just those two rules, I've made five different creatures, each with its own niche. Hopefully, their roles will be clear from their designs. (Click the image for a bigger view.)

  • The nova-frill is a small arboreal creature that eats fruits and nuts. Its brightly colored frill changes color and fans out to frighten predators.
  • The poiga is an herbivore that lives in lowland jungles and marshes.
  • The firetail is a pack predator and scavenger that inhabits grasslands. Males have a brightly-colored tail to attract mates.
  • The terror-bear is an apex predator that prefers temperate and taiga forests.
  • The skaptopus is a small jungle insectivore, and a good swimmer.
These have been a lot of fun, and I've also enjoyed getting critique from and bouncing ideas off of  Leah. I'll probably do another set of creatures like this in the near-ish future.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011


    Continuing the concept work I've been doing lately, I moved on to fleshing out character designs for some of the Syäloä characters. Because my initial focus this time was clothing design, I simply re-used my temple guardian sketch as a base. It saves time and the pose--frontal, fairly open--works well for quick sketches.

    The first design is for the High General of the Autocracy, Seket. This one was particularly challenging, because I needed to incorporate armor. What I finally decided upon was a modular design. The partial armor Seket has on is her everyday wear, which augments her strength without being cumbersome. More pieces can be added for combat.

    The second design is for the Empress of the Autocracy, Nileshta, which developed much more easily. I got a lot of great feedback from Leah and Christine, which really helped the process. Christine even contributed a few touches to Nileshta's headdress.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    IDW #151

    So, I decided to stop lurking and do some of the community activities on  I picked this week's Industrial Design of the Week, for which the prompt is an remote-controlled, surveillance ornithopter. Drawing mechanical things is a bit outside my comfort zone, so I thought this would be a good challenge.

    Everyone seemed to be doing dragonflies, so I decided to start from a beetle. I ended up going with a scarab. Initially, I thought about trying to make some futuristic Egyptian-styled device, but wasn't quite sure how to pull that off without it looking like BattleStar Galactica... So, after playing around with it, the design kind of transformed into a very 50s... thing. Kind of an amalgamation of everything mechanical from that decade. I referenced cars, motorcycles, cameras, microphones, radios, TVs, and even refrigerators.

    I'm pretty pleased with the design, overall. (Not sure if it would fit the "avoid detection at all costs" bit, but oh well.) The only thing I'm really hung up about are the wings, but I feel they're starting to look more mechanical, now.

    1st image: Overall design and color, perspective view.

    2nd image: Back view, refining details.

    3rd image: Final for IDW #151, fully-painted perspective view, line-drawings for alternate views, labeling and size comparison.