Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays to all

Well, I will soon be switching over to a wordpress blog site ( but will continue to post here for a bit as that gets underway. I have been doing a lot of preparation for the coming year and for the next 5 or 6 paintings. I think I have some very exciting things coming down the pipe and think you guys will enjoy them. Rather than get into all that right now, I thought I would toss you guys an interesting quote from one of my favorite holiday books, the Hogfather. Not exactly the holiday spirit, but a motivational tool nonetheless. Just in case I don't hop on here this next week, it has been an honor to share 2010 with you guys. It will be fun to look back on this archive and compare it to what will then be the future. I hope you guys will be there with me to do so. Be warm, be safe and be yourselves. Happy new Year!

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape...You have to start out learning to believe the little lies."

"So we can believe the big ones?

"Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing."

"They're not the same at all!"

"You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy."

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point--"

"My point exactly...You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?""

--Terry Pratchett

Saturday, December 11, 2010

How's your News?

Mine's pretty good. I have finished up a few projects that I wanted to, shown in my first gallery setting and am set to relax for the rest of the year. I'll be hitting the ground running starting Jan 1, but for now it is time to revel in the company of my friends and family. 2010 has been a bit...full for my liking and I think I need some space to digest it.

Actually, that leads me to my mock-wisdom Thought of the Day:

Take some time for yourself.

I am the worst at this. I am so driven by painting right now that I feel like I should ALWAYS have a brush or pencil on my hand. I start to feel frazzled and thin and needy when I get consumed in my work. The same thing is true for any of your other personal ambitions. I have fantastic, and I mean gorgeously wonderful, folks to share my time with and I get caught in wanting to see them or paint or do everything else. If you start to feel really wonky or you have lost your focus in your work, take some time off. I have pushed myself so hard this year and felt like I had so much catching up to do that now I am a little burned out on everything. I am having to learn that distance and perspective are the keys to longevity and perseverance.

Sooooo, when you feel like an idiot or an ass, take a step back from everything: paint, relationships, whatever. You might not be any more pleasant, but at least you'll be able to see the forest AND the trees.

Thanks to all of you that have been along for the ride and have been/started following this blog. If you haven't checked them out yet, you should head over to and check out some of the podcasts we have been doing. I will be taking over as Moderator for the near future, so they should be pretty lively. I will also be working on getting more art celebs to hop on and share their thoughts. Again, what a year.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the pics. The comic images will have some digital effects (dundundun) added to them as well as some serious cropping, but otherwise, this is how they have shown.

Take care, g

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wizard World Atlanta

So, wow. What a terrible show. It is hard to even stick to my formula and review this steaming pile of an event. I'll try...

So I attended Wizard World Atlanta this weekend. I wasn't particularly looking forward to the event but it was a last hurdle to overcome in a year of traveling. This is the first year of WWA and they had a solid list of B Stars, Billy Dee, Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree (Shaft((he is still alive!)), Kevin Nash, and a host of some of the best comic artists in the field. At the least I expected around 5000 attendees. As the day got closer I had finished my Sinestro Illo (scanned soon!) and was planning on finishing Hal Jordan at the event. yea yeah, I promised it done last weekend, but heck, you guys know me by now. Plus, I figured it would be a neat draw for the booth to have live painting(I was right!). Some last minute life turbulence knocked me flat, but my best friend Michael Bielaczyc stepped up and rolled down to Atl to keep me company. We packed up Fri, hopped in the sporty Altima, and hauled it down to the Dirty Souf. A lovely lass named Molly put us up in her guest bedroom and we knocked out around 3am.

The show was located at Cobb galleria Centre and had a nice setup. Badge pick-up was easy and my table was easy to find. That is about the end of the positives. The event took place in one giant hall (common to comic shows) but the artists were in the back corner and there was no real organization or signage. Attendance appeared to be around 800-1000 and the lanes felt like a country highway with but a few passersby. Sales were laughable although I had a steady stream of compliments and comments. The on site painting was good, but in the end I sold a few prints and one of my original robot studies. I would have been drunk and punching volunteers if Mike hadn't been there. Instead, I played drawing games with my friend and made some progress on my divorce and painting plans. We packed up and were gone 5 minutes after close. The show was originally booked as a 3 day event, but was cut short to 2 a few weeks ago. I took a cue from all the bailing, angry celebs and cut it further to a one-day event and proceeded to have a terrible dinner but a raucous night of board games and whiskey. We thanked Molly for putting us up and hit the rod early Sunday.

In the end, Mike and I made Lemon Meringue out of lemons.



Pros: Solid list of guests


1.) Most of the celebs left
2.) No real promotion for the event in the ATL area
3.) No interaction or secondary organization from the staff
4.) Incredibly high fees for abysmal services or consideration
5.) Cut out a day of the show without refunding any portion of the fee
6.) Was just lame and un-inspirational. Boo to you WWA

Will I go back? Hell no. Will I even attend WW Nashville? That is a negative Ghost Rider. Did I have a good time? In spite of the event.

Enjoy the pic and get ready for some gallery goodness and a host of scans.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give some thanks and take a bow

Well, I am going to warn you that this is going to be another one of those inspirational, positivity type posts. Sure we all know that we are very well off comparatively and we should be thankful every day for everything we have. We should put aside our greed and petty ambitions and revel in the now that we are blessed with. We all know this and some of us constantly strive to be that person. And that is the problem. Speaking from personal experience, by projecting your desires on your future self, you are diluting your present being. So knock it off.

I have striven my entire adult life to be this guy instead of That Guy. I wanted nothing more than to bury my failings and shortcomings under a metric ton of desires and personal goals. My philosophy has been that if I played out the "best guy I can be" role long enough, that it would just become habit and the old shitty me would be converted. And to be honest, at first, all it did was hold the darkness at bay. But after awhile, it started to work. Maybe I just needed something to work towards and found a stupid way of doing it. Either way, for any number of reasons, here I am today, and I am thankful for who I am. Even though I am still an ass.

And that is what each of us should be thankful for.

Be thankful that you get to draw breath as You today. Explore the things that make you who you are and revel in their beauty; terrible or otherwise. Sure you should be grateful and appreciative for the folks around you, but to be honest, you should be thanking them the other 364 days of the year in some form or another. There are a lot of great people out there that inspire and support us. It should be up to each of us to find our inner strengths and bolster our self-being enough to become one of them.

So there you go: Love yourself when you can, and do some esteem push-ups when you can't.

Oh, and those are my girls helping me put up ornaments.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What is up!

So hey there folks. I am still waiting to get my scans back from the printers as well as waiting to shoot pics of my most recent work. Do you think that will stop me from talking about anything in particular? Heck no. This blog is not only about the work but the process. So booyah!

I am currently finalizing my con schedule for next year. This year I attended over 10 conventions with one more to go in 2 weeks. Many of you have attended these shows or lived vicariously through this blog. Either way, you should have a good sense of what has been happening on and off the road. In 2011 I plan on presenting a whole new face to my enterprise. With a completely revamped website and art presentation, I will be focusing more on networking and rep vs on-site sales. I will still continue to offer portraiture and print sales, but will man a booth at very few of these shows. Instead I will be doing panels, demos and shots with/for the attendees. I learned alot from this year's venture; primarily how little I like to be a huckster. I want to talk about art with artists and fans. I want to dive and delve throughout the process. At most of these events you will find me either in the halls with a beer or behind an easel...with a beer. No more missed opportunities for me!

That said, I will post a list of the events I will be attending soon so you can mark your calendars in advance. I have about 5 paintings lined up right now and each will be better than the last. I will be interspersing my illustrative work with personal pieces in an effort to stay loose and fresh. Those of you in the Nashville area will be able to come see my work in galleries across town starting in December. See? I told you I could talk. As a payoff, I hope you enjoyed the sneak peaks of my next 2 pieces that will be completed over the weekend. I have set myself up for a big fall here by showing these, but I love Hal and Sinestro and hope to do these guys some justice. Perhaps the added pressure of time and dignity will help the creative juices. I'll let you be the judge!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Illuxcon 3 and Me

So when asked about my trip to Illuxcon, I had the following words to say

Well, I went to the show to rock out with some of my best friends, and rock out we did. I rolled up with Sam and Mike and Paul Bielaczyc and we shared adjoining rooms. I romped and stomped and threw one heck of a room party. I didn't sign up for any reviews, because I didn't see any need. My portfolio kind of stopped progressing after Dragoncon with all my life's shenanigans. Instead I just focused on cementing the relationships I had begun this past year. The anniversary of my painting genesis was profound for me on many levels. I wanted to celebrate that thoroughly. (pssst- I did)

The panels were alright but were missing a lot of the punch of last year. Having so many heavy hitters cancel the show brought a level of freshness to the floor but a serious lack in austerity and grandeur.Still, most of the work was fantastic and Michael and Audrey made it in late as a bonus surprise. I bought a few original works including Dan's Implied Spaces, Drew Baker's Fire Dragon, and a personal piece of William O'Connor's.

Saturday night I butchered 2 songs with a live band and my best bud Michael Bielaczyc.

I feel like Illuxcon is a source of renewal for me. Not just the artistic inspiration, but a good opportunity to re-evaluate myself as an artist in this environment. I am a 32 year old single father who is embarking on a chosen path. My art is distinct and improving. I feel that this is truly an advantage. Many of the artists I saw this weekend feel lost and confused to me. Maybe they weren't ready for stardom. Maybe they just never had a solid life of their own outside of their art. Whatever the reason, I felt like I was one of the more grounded, albeit enthusiastic, artists there. I know who I am and have faith that my work will grow stronger because of my depth of character. At this point I feel like my lack of art experience is no longer a detraction when compared to my real world life's experience.

Whatever helps me get over a hangover I suppose...

Still, it was great to see so many friends in one place. Oh, and Corina ST Martin's jewelry kicks butt and was very well received here at home.

As far as new work, I am waiting on the scans for September Falling to come back, ad I have just finished Pipe Dreams. I will be starting a new Illustration tonight and will be sure to keep you guys updated. Till then, enjoy this photo from Dudecon 2 '010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pipe Dreams - A Work in Progress

Hello all! So I thought I would post up the piece I am currently working on. I am currently in between commissions and conventions and so am doing a few personal pieces. Those of you going to Illuxcon next week will get to see them in person.

This piece is called Pipe Dreams and is about %20 finished. It is 24x36 and heralds my return to canvas for personal work. I am finding it very therapeutic to change surfaces depending on the subject matter. My illustrative work remains crisp and professional on Masonite or Illustration Board and my Canvas work retains the inherent texture and emotion of the fabric. It should be fun.

I don't know that I have a whole lot to say right now other than I will soon start posting the costuming I have been doing. My good friends at Aradani Studios have been nurturing and nudging me into this genre and it is fascinating. I have already learned soooo much and had such a great time. Plus, there is nothing like directing traffic while Breakdancing to Thriller in a full demonic minotaur costume.

As far as my life goes, I have made peace with the things I can't control and as such have opened myself to new ideas and new experiences. I will be doing more traveling, more painting, more cooking, more exercising; heck just more of everything. I have amazing people in my life, and through them I have found a whole world within myself to explore. I am the most blessed and fortunate person I know, and I look forward to sharing all of the joy, knowledge and abilities I develop along the way. I hope that you guys out there will be a part of it.

Sooooo, as Dr Scott the Palentologist on Dinosaur Train reminds us daily, "Get outside in Nature and make your own discoveries".

Oh, and before I forget I have a new favorite phrase. When someone repeatedly stuns you with commonality and synchronicity; almost paralyzing you with their presence : "Shut the Front Door". Slow, fast and with numerous inflection possibilities, this is the verbal handyman's go to response.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting the ball rolling...

What a day.

That said, I have been working while away. I did one painting that will be scanned soon (tomorrow-ish) and it is one doozy of a personal exploration. I've never felt the need to use art as therapy and this one kind of rolled out on its own. I have picked back up the pencil and brush and am very excited about the next 4-5 pieces I have lined up (one of 'em is an official book cover!). I just moved into a medium sized apt where I have my own studio AND a room for my little girls when I have them.

As far as words of wisdom, give me a minute.





No seriously. So many of my posts this year have been about carrying on when life kicks you in the teeth. This one was a little below the belt, but I could still just give up and remove the pressure of art from my already burdened life. But you know what, that is crap. I love to paint and I love being around other illustrators. I love creating and striving. I love the frustration (ish) because the payoff is almost always profound. I have been quoted on mic as saying "Not everyone should be an illustrator" alluding to the strife we all have to go through to resolve in this industry. It is not for everyone, but it IS for me. This will make me stronger AND better as an artist and a person. So, persevere.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Flight

So here she is: "First Flight" 18x24. Oils on Board. This is my first Dragon painting and was done just in time for DragonCon. whheeeee. I will be sure to upload pics of the maquette and images from Dragon Con.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prep for Dragon Con

Hey there all! I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I have been very busy. Time kind of slipped sideways on me and DragonCon is only a week away! Since GenCon I finished the 3rd SP piece (already posted), and have been developing 2 Dragonrider bookcovers. Bold and ambitious to say the least! I have been experimenting with a looser style of painting while maintaining the accuracy of lighting that maquettes supply. To this end I have been laboriously sculpting my dragon form using Green stuff and some McFarlane dragon toys as a base. I pretty much shave down all the McFarlane studios stuff to get a rough dragon "Blank" and then get to work over it. In the future I think I will just use Sculpey to get the proportions I want. The MF Dragons gave me all kinds of neat fiddly bits to play with, and the Wings are decent in the pinch I am in. Still feels kind of lame. Anyways, I will post pics as I finish these up, and if you are in the Atlanta area over Labor Day, stop by DragonCon and see the work in person!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aradani Arms

Hey there all you guys! I have been waiting to have this scanned and thus have been a few days late posting. This piece, Aradani Arms, is 18x24 Oils on Masonite. It is the 3rd installment in my Steampunk Trilogy. I have a few things to shoot pics of and update and then I will post them. Sneak peak: Dragons! I hope you dig it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GenCon or Taking My own Advice

So GenCon has come and gone. This one was a tough one for me. I didn't have high expectations, but I did have some solid hopes. It cost alot of money I didn't have to go participate in this one, and my friends all raved about how they do extremely well in gathering sales and fans at this show in particular. Such was not the case for me. I could go on about this or that, but the recurring truth of cons is appropriateness. Who is your target audience and are they there?

At small shows, even where my artwork is an aberration from cats and dragons, it is still good enough to stand out from the rest. It draws people in and generates a few sales. At shows like Gencon, where I am bundled in with Steve Prescott, Tom Baxa, Steve Belledin and a dozen or so other fantastic working professionals, my work only glimmers in the crowd because it is all cover work. People are surprised to see large works with no monsters.

The worst part about attending cons where I shouldn't necessarily be, is the boredom. I want to be working. I want to be talking to folks. I want to be engaging new fans and justifying my presence. When I am sitting there for hours on end, I just focus inward and get all mopey. This is not necessarily the most attractive of stances, but is a part of me and demonstrates how personal all of this is for me.

So what does it all mean? Well, basically I have to follow my own advice for large and small shows alike. Do I belong there? If I don't, but really want to attend, how can I tailor my presence to succeed. Even if it is my type of show, what are my goals and how should I go about achieving them. I can't just attend an event and expect folks to throw money at me. I don't have a gimmick or a dedicated following so I can't rely on notoriety or niche buying. In short, I have to be the best me I can at all times, but understand that sometimes this will not be enough. As an Ultimate Frisbee coach, I have often said "that you have to go into a game trying to win, but ready to have fun even if you lose".

So today's tip comes round and round to : Listen to your own advice.

I have lots of irons in the fire and can't wait to show you them as they emerge. You guys take care, and thanks for reading. Also, to end on a personally positive note, here are my 2 best Gencon moments.

1.) I did a really cool portrait for a guy named Justin. He had me draw him as a 50s serial sci-fi astronaut and liked it enough to come back and buy a print later. Cool guy and cool idea.

2.) Paolo Parente of DUST and AT-43 fame came over to the booth and marveled at my maquettes. He was tickled to see his creations come to life in a different way. Paolo is the game/book designer/illustrator for DUST as well as the creator of most of the AT-43 vehicles. When he saw the paintings he seemed pretty blown away and asked ME to get in a photo with him. He was even more stunned when I signed and gave him 2 prints of the SP pieces. A really humble guy with extraordinary talent. Thanks for your work Paolo and the high compliment.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wadda ya know

Soooo way back in ...whenever (I think April/May) I submitted a piece for Art Order's Discover a Muse Challenge. It turns out, my piece made the top 20: 14th of many, many entries. Not too shabby. This piece was a real breakthrough for me and I am glad it has some minor recognition. For the full line-up and details of the challenge:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blech and blogging

Hey all! Soooo after traveling to Broomfield, CO and getting incredibly sick, I returned to Nashville on Tuesday and stayed incredibly sick. Needles to say, this derailed my Gencon goals considerably. I still think I will show well, but it will be with only 2 of the 4 Steampunk paintings I had intended. Ah well... I am back on my feet now and have started working on my next piece: Aradani, Inc.: a steam mechanic piece. This large sketch is just for refined placement and composition resolution, but I thought you guys might like a sneak on whats coming. Modelling for this were Clayton Pollard, Laura Jones, and one of my best buds, Mike Bielazcyc. These guys are all fantastic artists in their own right, so look em up on Facebook or the inter-web thing.

On a quick side note, I have also discovered Pro Graphics in Nashville, TN. I met Adam Baker, an Assoc. of PG at a Dr Sketchy's event and he is in the process of scanning in my latest SP pieces and pumping out the prints as well. Their rates are very affordable and I am very much looking forward to having my work professionally scanned/adjusted. That said, I will no longer post quickies of my paintings. The pics look like crap and seem to generate redundant comments and criticism. Not to say that these reviews are invalid. In fact, part of being a professional is presenting professional work all the time. Making excuses and justifying short cuts/quickies are the mark of an amateur and a hobbyist. You have to be prepared to be called on your inconsistencies and shortcomings. I know this and yet get excited and want all of you to see what I have been working on. Soooo...:

Tip of July:

Pace yourself. Whether it be in preparation or presentation. Slow down and take deep breaths.

Alrighty guys. I will post soon with pics from Gencon and hopefully blog about exciting things. Take care and stay hydrated.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Hey guys! I finished this bad boy late last night. I am really pleased with how it turned out. Of course the pic captures none of the luminosity of the original, but I guess I have to live with that. I will be preparing a quick tutorial of this piece over the next few weeks. I learned so much about my own preparatory needs and how to overcome daunting obstacles in my path, and I think it should be valuable. I will start with prelim sketches, maquette creation, pertinent studies and all the way on from there.In the meantime, I'll be getting it scanned soon when I get the prints made for Gencon. Hope you guys like it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty and the Beast or How I get through the day

Lesson for the Day:

Keep Painting

I feel like I post this every month or so, but it is never any less applicable. For those that know me, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and often let my mouth outpace, if not lap, my thoughts. Both can be a boon and a curse. I feel that these things also manifest themselves in my art career. I produce something neat, or get a positive critique and generate this foolish notion that everything has to be at that level instantly. Then I look for praise where there will likely be none and feel diminished when attention is not forthcoming. Stupid hobbit...

But wait, what does this have to do with painting.

No matter your skill level or position in the art community, you have to keep working. Stopping for a day turns into two which rolls into five and pretty soon you haven't produced something new in a month or more. Now I am not talking about a brief siesta or vacations. We all know when we wuss out or get in the dumps. When you find yourself there like I do, then draw or do studies. Instead of taking a day off, take an easy day. Do something comfortable to replenish your confidence and get back to rolling that boulder uphill.

I get so bogged down with where I want to go, that I lose sight of where I was. I look back to the work Sam (Flegal) and I were doing a year ago, and the work we have done in the interim and feel like an idiot. As long as you put one dogged foot in front of the other, you can baby step your way to whatever comes next. That said, I have tossed up my current WIP that has been a testament to this process. I got so frustrated early on that I did a Foster Robot study, and then 3 other studies before laying the first Robot rendering. I am very pleased with where this is at, and am excited to dive into the figure. I'll be playing Dan Dos Santos's DVD on loop while working and looking at the figure study he gave me to punch through and level up my figure painting. I guess you guys will be the judges.

Anyways, if you can't keep your chin up, then put your head down and bull forward.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Liberty Con 23 Chattanooga, TN

I will preface this post for any new followers that Liberty Con was a blast. The reviews I post on my blog are focused at penetrating and accurate reviews for artists and don't always accurately convey the moode/feel/enjoyment of an event. In the case of Liberty Con, I would be tempted to just show up and hang out at this one with or without a professional agenda.

Libert Con 23

As this was not your normal genre show, I am going to skip the formal review. Liberty Con is a literary "relaxacon" in Chattanooga, TN. At the aptly named Comfort Inn, I spent the weekend with some close friends (Mike and Paul Bielaczyc) displaying in the Art Show and, well, relaxing, The staff was friendly and accommodating (shout out to Brandy, Derek and Shannon!)and the atmosphere was very cordial. With an Art Show and no Dealer's room we spent the weekend eating and drinking and chatting with the Artists GOH: Darrel K. Sweet. I even squeezed in an hour or 2 of painting on my most recent piece (to be revealed soon!). Mike, Paul and I participated in an Iron Artist session for charity and then each of us painted our rendition of an Iron Artist and donated it to the Art Auction. They all sold with multiple bids each and the Charity auction raised nearly 2k all said (yay!).

As far as sales go, I would really rather not talk about that. This group seemed really close knit, and like to buy from folks they are friends or familiar with. Diving Pac-man and Demonic summonings were not to their liking and my age and appearance (and shenanigans) could have been perceived as intimidating. Stranger Danger!!! As Brandy advised/admitted, you have to let these folks get to know you before they will buy a print or painting. Sooo from a professional standpoint, if you have an interest in sales, this is probably not a show I would recommend. Unless of course if you have either:

1.) Cats
2.) Dragons
3.) Dragon Cats
4.) Castles
5.) Princesses

in your work. In that case reap the whirlwind. Seriously. Some folks made bank, but this is not a show that will support the extravagant or erratic piece with money. This show demands a very tailored setup with only a few blips of non-conventional collectors.

That said, I would still recommend this one if you just want to hang your work and have a good time. The Art Show was very well run with several assistants, the peg was new and sturdy and the lighting was excellent. A fantastic Con Suite (Killians on tap!) and a 24 hour pool were serious bonuses. I was very discouraged by the lack of reaction to my efforts and progress, but at the same time I did win Best In Show: Kid's Choice. If you have a free weekend and can spare the dime, do this one with some buds. Will I be back? It would really depend on the pieces in my portfolio and whether I can get my Show Space comped. If that happens, and I have little to no hanging expenses to recoup, I will pretty much plan on 2011.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finding a path forward

So I know these are a lot of images. The reason I have posted all of them is because they are all from one day. 8 full sketch pages of Anatomy and concept. To be honest this isn;t even that remarkable. Any one of us gets on a tear and the pages start flying. However, this is about the level I feel I should be producing every day.

Going into IMC, I knew one of my biggest weaknesses was my original drawing ability. Having great ideas and being able to convey them quickly and accurately is a tool that we all need in our repertoire. The painting itself will be more sound and will be much better thought out. Laboriously copying your reference material just to get an idea of where you are going makes you a slave to the process. I understand that many of you don;t have that problem, but I have and do.

My solution is just to draw the hell out of the figure and form. You guys should know by now that I find....

AAAAAAHHHHHH as I was typing my daughters were taking a purple magic marker to my finished IMC Painting. A quick dab of water and vigorous scrubbing and my heart is back to normal.

Anyway.... I find that studies should be useful, informative and discard able. Before I was doing my figure studies by rendering the hell out of one section of the form each day of the week. For the next few weeks, I am instead devoting a week to a section. Last week was the head/face, this week is the torso, next week will be arms/hands and so on. In a few weeks I will then come back in and start doing whole figures. The idea is to spend 2-4 minutes on each sketch trying to pull out the information and familiarity you need rather than get bogged down in "drawing that model". Who gives a crap if I can draw a chick on a cloth leaning to the right. What I NEED is to know how the form bends and pulls underneath her "garb" so my drawings and paintings are more natural. This knowledge is what will allow you to modify and deviate from your reference with confidence. Again, I realize many of you know this via your own path, but I still think it useful to share mine.

More robots to come!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I, Steampunk

So I have got the fever. It's true. I never realized how bad I had it until I started researching my IMC piece. Steampunk kicks ace. Its true. Not just any and all, but GOOD steampunk. I'm talking Miyazaki and Otomo good. People slapping gears and valves on crap and calling it punk is lame, but well researched and fantastically viable Victorian style low-tech steam punk is the bomb. With that said, I am developing a series of book covers focused around the exploits of two steam engineers. I will be building maquettes for all of the vehicles and steam-jacks depicted. The finale will be a 20x30 battle scene depicting the heroic engineers and the standard Germanic empire baddies. Think Valkyria Chronicles meets Porco Rosso fighting across the Iron Kingdoms. If all 3 of these references don't strike a glorious chord, you don't know steampunk. I will make it my mission to educate your properly. It is my goal to have these pics done by Gencon.

The pics above are concept sketches for "Earl" the clockwork golem (steam-jack) as well as production and completion pics. I will be painting him up over the next few days to bring out his inner glory. He has taken about 10 hours to scratch build, and all of his limbs, torso and head are fully moveable and poseable. The fingers even come out if I need to change the grip. A big shout out to Jim Gurney for getting me to take this to the next level. His support and enthusiasm are the most blessed of contagions. I hope you guys like it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Summoning

So here is the final piece for The Summoning. I started this before IMC, and then came back and knocked the rest out in an evening. The piece is 20x24 in Oils and took about 8-9 hours to do. It was fun and I hope you dig it too. BTW, you really need to see the original on this one. The vibrancy and inner life are half the point. Ah well...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"First Flight" - IMC

Hey guys! Here is a better pic of my finished piece for IMC. This is the thumbnail I submitted for ImagineFX. This was the Jetcycle assignment and is titled "First Flight". Later this week I will put together a montage of the process so you can see the effect IMC had on my composition.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

IMC Day 6

It is still Day 6 technically and I have painting straight for about 12 hours now. I even turned down a round of frisbee throwing. That means I am serious! The painting is at about a 10 right now, and I am going to put in a few hours and take it to 11. Almost through this long haul and missing the family. Can't wait to change things up and amp up my summer cons!

See you guys tomorrow with my latest piece "First Flight".

IMC Day 5

Whew. The roller coaster ride has begun its descent. Paint. Paint. Paint. Lunch with the Gurneys. A great lecture by Rebecca Guay and a stirring presentation from Donato. Donato is a "genius" and an inspiring artist. I am thankful he is out here working.

Made some good progress on the bike and stayed up until 6am painting, drinking and later on, WHOOPING BUTT IN STREET FIGHTER IV!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

IMC Day 4

Day 4

Uggghhh. I know I am supposed to remain confident at all times, but this day was a punch in the jeans. I got up a little late and headed back to the trenches. I will preface the rest of this post with "Thank you Dan." He has given me a plan and a method to attack my future paintings and this is what I needed.

Steering a course through turbulent wind in a new ship.

That is what this feels like. I know the craft will get me to my destination but it is a bear sailing my way to the end. I painted all day until 3 am and got a few background elements done. Slow, steady and with a heavy heart.

In between bouts of Alligator wrestling (figurative), caught a great lecture on Color and Light from James Gurney. Later on, Scott and Dan gave us a peak into their process. Very cool stuff and mostly just a routine of painting. More to come!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

IMC Day 3

Wow. So where to begin. I started the day off tired but resolved and set off to lay in some paint. I got to work right away and was treated to a visit from Mr. James Gurney. He loved the dynamism of my concept and thought the execution was looking good. We talked some more about jetbikes, kit-bashing and was given an insight into the Gurney legacy. Apparently they are all pioneers and inventive folk. One of his ancestors, Goldworthy Gurney was a steam inventor who was forced out of business by Luddites and Railroad tycoons in the mid 1800's. Sweet. This was a very big pick me up in a (so far) frustrating experience. Then, to top it off, he asked to take pictures of my bike. Instead, we posed holding it together and he ended up posting the photo on his blog. Could it get better? I told him how his book shad always been a very special thing between my mother and I and how he was one of my great inspirations. His response: "That means alot to me coming from you. Your work amazes me and I look forward to reading your book." The expectation gauntlet has been thrwon and I will not disappoint.

After lunch Mr Gurney gave a lecture on/from his book Imaginative realism. A long time follower of his blog (The Gurney Journey), and owner of his book, I was still fascinated by his delivery of the material and the breadth of his knowledge. He even went so far as to mention our conversation and me by name. This guys is a fountain of inspiration!

Got back to painting and was smiles and roses. Until...

Dan (Dos San Tos) cornered me on the way back from dinner and requested I wipe my painting and start again with his guidance. He really wanted me to develop the process correctly. A big, fat, deep breath and a leap of faith later, I was back (literally) to the Drawing board. He came over and got me started on the right path. Laying in (slowly) my background, then mid ground, foreground and focal point. Of course I was only able to lay in a few background elements before calling it quits around 4:30am. Uggh.

Still, Dan is a hell of a guy, and I came here to be challenged and to learn the right way to do things. I know it will work out, but it was still a reality check: I have a long way to go.

As you guys eagerly await tomorrows post, a day that I am still experiencing if only in duration, I will leave you with a non-existing image: the painting as I had it when I killed it. Wheeee..cough.cough... *(positive) sigh*

Monday, June 14, 2010

IMC Day 2

Day 2

With the arduous task of trying to sleep out of the way, I started the day ready to work. I had to wait until 11am to get my piece printed out at 18x24, so I doodled and doddled around for a bit. I really should have used this time to composite my precision sketches, but instead I drew that damn bike, in detail, for the umpteenth time. I am starting to realize I should be doing this all the time. It was at this time that I finally got to meet James Gurney. He was upstairs touring around and happened to be back critiquing near my semi-final drawing. As he rounds the corner I hear “Oh Wow! Whose is this?”. He loved my idea and delivery and then seemed delighted by my model Jetbike.


Here are the main reasons I built the bike:

1.) I knew I would need the reference.

2.) I wanted to impress James Gurney

3.) I still love to build models

4.) I wanted to impress James Gurney

5.) If my concept sucked, at least I could show my dedication with my model

6.) See 2 and 4

We talked about this kit bash and different glues for a bit and I got a pat on the back (literally) and a Gurney smile. Score!

After a moderately brief visit to the print shop I snagged my drawing, had some lunch and head off to the James Gurney lecture. Needless to say I own Gurney’s first Art guide, Imaginative Realism, and it has been inspiring. But to have him present his thoughts and ideas was a real treat for everybody. His pleasant delivery and easy jokes just made me feel relaxed and delighted. Plus, in the middle of his lecture, he references talking with me specifically about modeling reference. I was done. Wheeeee.

Most of the afternoon was spent fleshing out the final transfer image and I got the first stage of mounting done with Sam’s help. Sam Flegal is a great friend and a valuable reference. Check out his blog if you haven’t yet. When I think of Sam, the Golden Girls theme song always pops in my head. Thanks buddy.

Dinner was knocked out with no ceremony and I headed over to the Donato and Manchess multiple figure demo. 2 hours of the artists’ inspirations, preparation and direction and I am left feeling lazy and overly inspired. These guys talk about the most technical concepts in the most basic and casual terms. The combination provokes a very challenging blend of emotional responses. I think if I can overcome my personal obstacles and make myself push harder, I might one day far down the road develop ownership of these concepts. Uggghhh

The next 5 hours are spent mounting my final and shooting references for my second piece: a steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast. The lovely Anna Christenson posed as the short, spunky mechanic in what should be a fun piece. I don’t really care too much if I finish this one while here, but I really wanted some figure/clothing work with Dan. If I can knock the composition and her role out, I will be satisfied. Feeling like I had made it over the hump, I tooled around with the guys and had a few drinks. Talked with Dan about picking up one of his originals in the (hopefully near) future. He is going to go through his remaining work and pick out a few pieces that are particularly technical AND cool. Dan Dos San Tos remains one of my favorite artists and if you are not familiar with his name, you ARE familiar with his work. Now if only I could get Fortunato out to IMC…



Day 1

Sooooo. Saturday, June 12th. After a terrible night’s rest, and a decent breakfast, we rushed over to the studio to get a good spot. I set up in a window corner with the rest of the Drawn Today guys, bookended by the inestimable Aaron Miller and the lovely Kim Kincaid, and prepared for the whatever. Rebecca Guay started off the day with an introductory greeting and slideshow. It left me feeling incredibly emotional and in a state of turmoil that would not subside for the rest of the day.

From there, we rolled upstairs and started the sketch critiques. In a moment of mixed blessings, my sketch went first. It was well received and well critiqued and left me in shambles. Nah not really, but it was encouraging and humbling at the same time.

After our Safety lecture at 1:00 we went back to the studio for 4 more hours of critiques. What a tough time. I made sure to pay attention to each sketch and review; both out of politeness and for the valuable information. Got a few sketches of the bike done in that time; a few of which paved the way for the final.

After dinner, we headed over to the Photo reference lecture. Donato and Rebecca walked us through the basics and then the particulars of not only shooting your references, but how to choose the right pic and how to embellish your work off of it. This was a great lecture in both the application and the worth. We hear and say to not be a slave to your reference but this lecture really struck home with me. Can’t wait to bring this level of clarity and decision making to my own work.

With the reference lecture finished, we headed back to the studio for a very frustrating 6 hours of doodling and dwelling. In my search for criticism and direction, I started to feel really desperate and self-conscious. Once I finally cornered DDS and got him to really comment on the quality of my new direction, I felt much better. Of course, it was only at this point that he said he thought the original was badass and just needed to be tweaked. Ah well….

Instead of staying up till 5 drinking, I decided to call it a day and went back to the room for some much needed but undelivered rest.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hey guys! Here is my final production sketch for IMC. It is a little cropped and has some odd fades as a result of photomerging paper scans. Still, I think you guys get the idea. The colors will be very Miyazaki/Venetian and I think I will go with big, ruffly clouds and a bright spot of blue in the upper left. Thanks for all the advice and criticism. I leave tomorrow for IMC, but I'll keep on posting! Take care, G

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Jetcycle

So here are a few pics of the final piece. I am working on the Production Sketch right now and should have that posted tomorrow. Having a viable presentation of perspective for this painting is invaluable.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sneak peek

I just thought I would post a few quick progress pics of my IMC Jetbike Model. More to come!

Update: Just added another progress pic. About to go prime it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Summoning - a Study

So I am going to attempt getting in one more piece before IMC in 1.5 weeks. This summer/Fall I am going to try and break into the Horror Con circuit and figured I needed a few more dark pieces in my folio. So I thought, how's about I start with a little demonic summoning? What could be more American than a little Satannic conjuring? Beers and Beelzebubbery? Heck if I know. Here is the prelim sketch. Big shout out to Soutchay Soungpradith for getting me to play with smoke and creating boundaries in an image only to break them. This should be fun!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mobicon Review

So I thought I would continue reviewing back as far as March to give folks an in-depth review of conventions. I have some cookies baking, so now's as good a time as any.

Mobile, Al

1.) A relatively inexpensive con. ($60)
2.) A few friendly and well-meaning staff members
3.) A very casual atmosphere
4.) Cheap hotels right off the coast
5.) Very friendly attendees
6.) Cheap movie tickets

1.) Very low attendance con; around 400 if I had to guess
2.) A few too many smug/self-important staff members I know that's not new, but at small shows it seems really disproportionate
3.) Very locally social con so the vendors were very local shop feeling and most people were there just to dress up and see each other dressed up (again nothing new)
4.) Very congested setup space
5.) Mobile is kind of scary at night


Not a bad little show. A bit out of the way, but if they expand a little bit into a larger venue, it could be worth going to. In the meantime, I would give it a C for being pleasant but relatively ineffectual for an art dealer.

Would I go back? If I was an Art Guest of Honor I would. I think bringing in someone like me, or more accurately, who I will be in a year or so, would be an infusion of fresh blood in an otherwise stagnant environment. A new look and some fresh talent would go a long way down South.

The cookies are done, so I'm off. Be back soon with new projects and a review of ConGlomeration.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My take on Imagicon

I have decided to start writing reviews of the shows I attend. Not only will it help me remember the shows, but will also help guide others in their travel choices


So having just returned home from a frustrating and exhausting day on the road is probably nto the bets time to start reviewing my recent experience. That said, I think it will be focused and cathartic.

Let's start with the:


1.) The staff was very accommodating. We were asked all weekend if we needed anything and they helped us unload when we got there. Kelly,m the Art Show director, was very helpful and relatively ever-present. She apologized profusely and tried to make us comfortable. An ASD who is humble and attempting to be helpful? Believe it.
2.) The Art Show was sturdy and reasonably well lit.
3.) They provided us with a nice "green room" and lunch and dinner were provided in a partitioned section.
4.) Free Refills!
5.) Kelly let us hang art in the show at no cost. Admittedly, the walls were bare and my work was a significant contribution, but it was a nice gesture.


1.) The design of the event was horrendous. I am sure there were size limitations and innumerable other factors in their decisions, but the spacing of events over 3 buildings seemed more designed to keep the guests comfortably away from all of the different vendors. Short story : We paid more than the guests and our needs should have been the most important. Good vendors and celebrities bring the guests out.
2.) Over-priced. $125 for a new con in a new venue is steep. Coupled with our terrible location makes me feel downright cheated.
3.) As disorganized as can be. Folks didn't even know there was an art show behind us. They tried to point folks in our direction, but being situated in the middle of a science exhibit and off to the side, guests seemed surprised and confused by our presence. This one really felt like some Mickey Mouse Shenanigans.
4.) Design revisited. This one needs 2 slots. There was never a steady stream of traffic past our entire section of the show. People were being dispersed instead of funnelled and only seemed to be exploring the building when they found us. I really can't even find the words to describe how poorly spaced, placed, and jacked we were.
5.) It was so bad I feel that there should be a 5. So 5 stands for lame sauce.
6.) I had to wait 55 minutes for someone to check me out only to find out they could have done it all along. When the director returned, it still took over an hour and 4 people to figure out how to check me out of the show. Friendly staff, but not competent in the means and methods of an Art Show.

Overall I would give this show a D+. Would I go back? I would go back as a featured guest and if the location was changed. I could accept the current location if the overall flow and placement was completely redesigned and the costs re-evaluated. Even if I didn't have to pay, I wouldn't want the others to have to struggle so hard to break even. That venue is not appropriate.

All said, I had a good weekend with some buds, started a whole new line of merchandise, and did some very cool character portraits. I may post some here, but will definitely throw them up on Facebook. Hope this helps!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Soul Cages

and here is what I ended up with. The Scans don't do any justice to this, but in the end, what does? Anybody have any equipment tips or program tricks to bring a scan to life? I built a home photo studio, but that really only works for large canvases. Maybe I'll just lug it to IMC and Illuxcon... Thanks for all the help guys!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Alrighty guys, I could really use some help here. This is shaping up to be one of the best illustrations I have done so far, and I don't want to jack it. The top pic is where I am at so far. The tone is much darker in the photo than in the piece. The second image is a photoshopped study of where I am taking it. I really need some advice here. Compositionally I think it is sound and I don't think the number of elements is overwhelming. What do you guys see? What is your reaction. Thanks for the extra eyes, minds and voices. G

Monday, May 3, 2010


So I am here on a little getaway with my wife (first one in about 5 years) and have managed to fit some painting in on the Muse piece. Changed a few things around although what is evident is only the anatomy of the piece and doesn't really reflect the atmosphere I will develop. Still it is nice to see it starting to develop some life of its own. This is about 2.5-3 hrs of the acrylic under-painting.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Carrion Queen

Here is my Muse concept rough followed by a very quick color rough to generate a sense of depth. "Carrion Queen" will likely be 16x20 in Oils. For those that don;t know, the Muse Challenge is a very specific challenge that ArtOrder is hosting. We had a specific model that we had to use and her image had to be strong, sensual and confident. I have toyed around with quite a few concepts and think this will be a little more distinct. I welcome any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pac Attack

And here is another piece I finished recently. It is another one in the vein of the "super-studies" but is at 16x20. This is an example of how one of those could lead to a more finished work without having to be the next White Dragon. In essence, I am using these types of fast works as a means of self-expression while deliberating over grander portfolio pieces. I will probably still include a few of these in the folio but more than likely at a reduced size and all on one page.

Pac Attack was done in Oils and after about 6-7 hours.