A great article on how to draw better

I have read many art books and many articles over the years.  This blog article, How to draw better, is one of the best ones I have ever read.  Jesse Miller has done a great job of being succinct and informative and encouraging all at the same time.

I highly recommend if you are a budding artist or an old art dog like myself.



Narosia: Sea of Tears

I just found these in my google drive and I don’t think I shared many of them.  This was a fun assignment, all of them pencil except for one pencil & digital piece.  This was done for Nariosia, Sea of Tears, a Hero (aka Champions) tabletop role playing game.  Here is a link to the book and from what I glanced at, it seems like a pretty nifty setting.


I find it cool to work just in pencil.  For me, it is going back to basics.  The art direction wanted a sketchy look from me.  Not too polished.  I have been told there is an energy in my pencils that sometimes my finishes lack and I agree with that.

Now… to get that energy into finish work too!

Across 110th Street

Ten Ton Studios has their new weekly challenge up.  http://www.tentonstudios.com/forum/index.php?topic=10784.0

This week it is Misty Knight.  Now, I’m not a huge Iron Fist/Power Man comic book aficionado, but the very first thing I thought of when I read the challenge was Bobby Womack’s amazing soul tune, “Across 110th street” (I’ve yet to see the movie, although I payed homage to the movie poster too).  I met my wife and lived in Spanish Harlem at the ages of 19-21.  I lived on E119th street, Harlem was close by.

Watching Luke Cage on Netflix was like going home for me.  Luke Cage is my favorite Netflix Marvel show so far and I LOVED Jessica Jones and Daredevil.  I was a bike messenger and would often cut through Harlem from Spanish Harlem to pick up packages at Columbia University (and then bike downtown).  One time, I even delivered to the Apollo Theater!  That was a thrill.

So I am paying homage to stomping grounds of my youth.   Now, I wish I could get some of those empanadas from 116th street.

pencil and inked on marker paper, scanned, digital colors

Playtime with new materials…

Thursday night is my game night.  One of the other players is the amazing artist, Steve Ellis, http://steveellisart.com/.  We often talk art, share tips, what we are working on and the like.  This last Thursday, I came with a 1/2 sheaf of this thin yellow toned paper I had found at Hobby Lobby, because we both like working on toned paper.  To give to Steve so he could play with it too.  He, totally coincidentally, brought me a 1/2 sheaf of gray toned paper which had some tooth to it and some real thickness, like 80 lb or something.

The yellow that i gave him  is really thin, only good for sketching, although the piece below that I doodled, was not inked, it did seem to hold up to some inking I did in the corner. I really like that yellow paper is not so dark that my prelim pencil lines are tough to see, which happens in anything nearing midtone paper.  But it is still dark enough that white pencil or white ink still is a viable way to work in the lights.

I did two sketches (see below) Thursday night, one was of our actual player character, Xian Xiang, our diplomat turned spy turned ship captain in our Uncharted Worlds game.  And the hatchet guy.  I gave Xian to our player Mike and so the snap is with my iphone, the color of the background with this paper is much more french gray than the tan that the iphone picked up.  The hatchet guy was scanned this weekend and so it shows a bit closer what Steve’s gray paper is like… but still came out a bit lighter and warmer than in real life, but it is off by only 5%.

But Steve’s paper has quite a bit of texture.  Which I don’t love when I go with toned sketches to some kind of digital finish, because I tend to work with multiply and that texture can sometimes look crappy.  But because the paper was fairly thick, how would it stand up to acrylic paint?  Quite well, I think.  The paper did buckle just a small amount due to me using thin washes at time.  Steve Prescott (another fabulous artist: http://prescottartblog.blogspot.com/ who I happened to go to school with) turned me onto some heavy body acrylics of late and I’m enjoying them.  Can’t wait to use them as an underpainting for an actual oil painting sometime soon.

I love when art is play, because that is when some cool learning happens.


En Garde!

Here is a doodle, I was experimenting with a very loosed pencil sketch.  I wanted to see if I could work with that when I went to the paint.   I tend, especially with fantasy, to be a “bit” tighter with the pencil work.

But I was quite happy that it came out the way that it did.  The face changed a bit, now looking at it, I like the angle of the pencil a little better than the finished.  Although I like the paint application in the face.  Ah, I’m picky.

This piece, plus 4 others, are my latest Fantasy Clip Art portfolio from LPJ Design, available here: Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 39: Storn Cook

The preview of the Portfolio wasn’t working for a bit, but it is working now.

Star Wars Sniper

A fun private commission that I got to do.  A Star Wars character.   I don’t have a ton to say about it, although it was a totally digital creation.  Usually I do a pencil sketch, but this time I wanted to work a bit more with my cintiq.  The initial scribbles where done on separate layers, along with some reference that patron gave me.  I did this at work during lunch over a few days.  The camo texture was provided by the patron.

Let me tell you about my character…

…. I hope y’all don’t dread those words.  At least this time, this character concept comes with a picture!

In my Thursday night role playing game, we are just starting out with Uncharted Worlds, a Apocalypse Engine game ( like Dungeon World) but the genre is science fiction.  Pete, our GM, had been reading the Expanse books and is now watching the show and it is a big influence on our game.

So, set in our solar system, no Faster than Light, no Artificial Gravity.  Earth has a lot of rocks dropped on it by Mars 5 years ago and it is a Mad Max sort of place.  Luna has become the banking Switzerland of the solar system after Earth “fell”.  Mars is a techno marvel, terraforming happening at an amazing place, one can walk outside without breathing equipment for short periods.

My character, Tremaine “Trey” Sinclair, is from Europa.  Europa colonies are in the buried oceans under the ice, and are heavily into the bio-sciences, including gene splicing and manipulation.  Trey is Homo Aquaticus, he is amphibian, can breath under water, notice the gills and webbed, large hands in the picture.  He is a pilot (both submarine and starship) and yearned to see the outside world.  Left Europa to explore the “other” oceans (both stars and Earth’s own oceans).  He is the pilot of the “Flying Fin” which was a museum on Earth as it was one of the first Europa probe ships (both starship and submersible), recently salvaged from the Atlantic off of Africa, by a Luna corporation with the Trey and the other characters help.

It is a really interesting game as Uncharted Worlds really lends itself to easy character creation with totally interesting results.  The world building we are doing is awesome!  I look forward to next week quite a bit!

Riddle me this…

My entry in the latest Ten Ton Studios weekly challenge;  The Riddler.

Remember, you can swing by Ten Ton Studios and see all the art and even vote on your favorite (hint: vote on mine, that would be nice), later this week (after 9 am Thursday till 9 am Friday).

Ten Ton Studios:  http://www.tentonstudios.com/forum/index.php?topic=10776.0



Death and unrelated art

So, my mother in law died last week, early Monday morning, to be specific.  I was in Puerto Rico for the funeral and just got back in last night, late.  But right before she died, I had done some artwork for commissions, the two superhero pieces.

Happy accident time!  I totally had a dyslexic moment and the Honey Badger commission called for a male.  But in my brain, I thought I had read female and I drew Honey Badger as a woman villain. (It was the term “Honey” that threw me, so sexist of me).  The patron really liked it and didn’t take me up on my offer to redraw her as a man after I found out my mistake.

I also really like the Cloud concept.  He is a shapechanging, digital entity who resides in the Cloud.  That is a scary concept, guess you have to lure him out to like rural-off-the-grid New Mexico or Canada in order to truly defeat him.  Good luck with that y’all.

And I fooled around on a painted piece after watching Steve Prescott’s painting video with heavy body acrylics.  After pestering Steve and asking a few questions about heavy body acrylics, which I had never used, I went and got a couple of tubes (burnt sienna, white, black).  I had doodled that drawing in my toned color sketch book and despite it being fairly thin paper, I went to town with the acrylics.

The underpainting is the heavy body acrylic, but the color work was done with some guoache I had lying around.  Bottom line;  I really like the Liquitex heavy body acrylics, they stay wet a nice long time.  Easier to blend and mix.  So thanks Steve!