Friday, November 9, 2012


It's finally time I started learning how to sculpt.

ZBrush, attempt number one:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Synesthesia experiment

Not exactly art, but I found it fun.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Back to the fundamentals!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

I think the internet broke my brain.

I can't draw. 

That's a pretty big problem, because that's supposed to be my thing. I have all the technical knowledge and muscle memory, but as soon as pencil connects to paper it's a total system shut down. I can still create images at work at the quantity and quality to justify my salary, but my personal sketchbooks have been as dry as a bone for months. 

For all of that time I've been trying to find solutions. I've tried taking a break from it in the hope that I would feel recharged. Changing mediums is typically a great way to break out of a creative slump. I've also tried forcing it, pencilling a twenty five page comic of my own, hoping it would simply break the dam. Finally, I mentioned this issue to my wife and she handed me an epiphany in five minutes:

I am completely saturated by imagery. 

You see, when I try and fail to draw something, I don't just freeze up. A voice inside me screams "It's been done!". Every time I try to sketch out an idea, I see the ghosts of a dozen other iterations of the same thing. Ten thousand dragons have fought ten thousand knights in front of ten thousand castles. Why add yet one more voice to the chittering cacophony? 

knights knights knights knights knights knights

There was a great article at called "Why Hollywood sucks (And it's our fault)". Reason number one was that we're too media savvy. We've reached a saturation point where we have too much access to media. This was my favorite quote from the article:
If you've heard all of the songs a million times before, even the most talented musician in the world can only issue remixes.

Read more: 4 Reasons Hollywood Sucks (And It's All Our Fault) |
There are THOUSANDS of these zbrush aliens, each mushier than the last.

I comb the internet every single day, consuming images. I have countless folders, divided into thematic subsections, for saving the images I like (for example: Fantasy>Fantasy Characters>Protagonist>Heroic/Anti-Hero/Magic or SciFi>NearFuture>Tech>Robotic>Android/Cyborg/Exo). Each one is full. Dozens and dozens of images that all fit comfortably within specific genre/theme parameters. Why bother drawing a charming female rogue when I have a basket full of them? What's the point in designing a zombie when I could show you my storage facility full of every shade of zombie design imaginable?

Dragons dragons dragons dragons dragons dragons dragons

So, what does this mean? I'm still working that out. I told my wife that some day I'd love to take some carpentry courses, maybe start making tables and chairs. There's something appealing about the simplicity of carpentry. Building beautiful, useful objects with your own hands, just you and the smell of sawdust in your workshop. Until you start joining online carpentry forums...

Does the intense overload of imagery and information made possible by the internet make this a new problem? Did people struggle with this issue when the printing press hit its stride? Is there anyone out there who has moved through this problem to the other side? Because if so...I could use a hand over this wall. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Steampunk is better when it's not made by steampunk fans.

I told myself I'd use this blog exclusively to post art, but I guess time makes fools of us all. 

Go look at this:

I saw these earlier and I've been thinking about them all morning. My final thought is:

"Steampunk is better when it's not made by steampunk fans."

These designs are beautiful, dramatic and full of narrative. They practically write the script themselves. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll ever have this beautiful steampunk movie. To create designs of this quality requires too much research and effort, two scary words that most artists run to steampunk to avoid. 

I like steampunk. I like the idea of it. I like that it's a mini-genre that is a product of (but has enough distance from) it's massive parents, Fantasy and Science Fiction. Unfortunately, most artists who dabble in it do so in part because it is easy. Do a quick search for steampunk and you'll find piles and piles of the same re-chewed aesthetics. The same costumes, the same airships, the same bullshit mechanical fluff and decoration hot-glued onto every surface. 

The Prada Menswear Fall 2012 line was not created out of laziness, but passion tempered with good research. The result is elegant, striking and packed to the brim with emotion and mystery. These are the things the steampunk aesthetic is going need if it's going to learn how to walk instead of crawl. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

John C Reilly

He's just awesome. Easily in my top 3 of all time. From comedy to tragedy his performances are honest and compelling. Keep up the awesome work Mr. Reilly.

Side note: If anyone leaves a comment that's just a Dr. Steve Brule (or any other John C Reilly character) quote their name will be added to a volunteer eugenics program, and they will no longer be invited to a single birthday party as long as they live because they are internet-stupid.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back to the drawing board

I spread a wide net, requesting critiques of my work from all across the art-o-net. After reading through every last critique, I found a pattern. Just about every issue had its root in "impatience". In order to create the images I see in my head, I need to slow things down. These are the first attempts. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Requesting a mega-critique

We all have blind spots. Sometimes we need other people to point out obstacles that are invisible to us.

That said, if you can spare a minute, please let me know what you think I can do to improve my work.

It can be easier to critique if you know the artist's original intentions, so for context: I want my art to be like visual writing. I'm not as interesting in rendering as I am in communicating real emotion and telling compelling stories. I want my art to invite the viewer into places with depth, age and a sense of temperature. Finally, I want to cleanly communicate mass, volume and good design without getting bogged down in detail or decoration. If there are places where I could do a better job at this stuff, please let me know!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mass Effect 3

My time on Mass Effect 3 wasn't very long but I feel fortunate to have been involved on such a great project. Here is a small selection of the images I created for the game.

 Just after Mass Effect 2 was released I got so excited that I started wildly speculating about where 3 might take us. This was well before I knew where the story was headed.  

This was a pirate version of the Normandy. I was imagining the crew on the run from Cerberus and the Alliance. The ship would start filling with scavenged equipment and they'd start setting up bunks for extra recruited soldiers.

This was drawn as a counterpoint to the Mass Effect 1 image of a woman standing in the snow with a fortress in the distance. I was imagining a Commander Sheppard that had gone underground, wearing scavenged or black market gear.

This was part of a series of images I painted showing Sheppard taking back the Normandy from Cerberus. He has blown open the window on his old captain's quarters.

Some characters get to have their moment.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I can't pay you now, BUT...

About once a month I get the exact same message from a different naive creative type. Each and every one of them has this AMAZING story idea. It's going to be better than Lord of the Rings and Star Wars combined and change the way society thinks about storytelling. They're thinking graphic novel. A logical place to start. They just need an artist. They saw your work and you're exactly what they're looking for. And then the inevitable:

I can't afford to pay you now, BUT! You'll get 50% of the profits! 

Wow! All they need is for you to draw the entire thing, spend months of your life working tirelessly to create a massive body of work for zero pay with the empty promise that the project will be profitable enough for you to recoup the money lost drawing the damn thing?! Where can I sign!?

I have a large enough collection of these emails that I figured it was time for me to put my foot down. 

First, to the artists:
You wouldn't ask a mechanic to build you a truck for free with the promise that he'll get a percentage of all the money you make on deliveries.
You wouldn't ask a janitor to clean your office building for free with the promise that he'll get a percentage of all the business done in the building. 
Artists, you are professionals and deserve to be paid. If you're going to work on something for free, it will be your OWN passion project (hell, I'm working on mine). Promises of future profits are not going to feed you, clothe you, or fund your own project. If you get a request like this simply thank them for their interest, and decline.

Second, to the people who send these requests:
If you are truly passionate about this project, and believe in your heart of hearts that it will be as big as you say it will, GO FIND INVESTORS. Find people with money who believe in your project too. Take their money and give it to the artist of your dreams and watch the beautiful artwork pour in. Are investors not interested in your project? Maybe it's not as good as you thought it was. OR, maybe it's time to get a second job and start saving up enough money to keep an artist on commission?

In the end, there are thousands of creative people out there with incredible ideas. We all just need to respect each other enough to value hard work.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Our little girl, Scarlet, was born last week. She's happy and healthy with a dark head of hair. I painted this image for her and will be putting it up in her room. I've had the name Scarlet in mind for years and it comes from the Bible, Proverbs 31 (A Wife of Noble Character). In describing this incredible woman of great character and quality, this one verse in particular caught my eye:

"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet."

Digging into the research, the use of "scarlet" refers to scarlet dyed wool, as it is double dyed to get the intense color. It seems to be a poetic way of saying her household is clothed doubly, layered against the cold. Regardless, the imagery of a family walking through snow in bright scarlet cloth became firmly lodged in my head. So, Scarlet is a name that is both visually striking and nods to a beautiful book in the Bible, Proverbs 31.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


any day now