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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Join the Resistance!

So stoked with how this piece came out!

OK, slow down, back up. This poster was a somewhat last-minute "hey, wouldn't it be awesome if we had one more poster for Dragon*con's panel and film release Saturday night?" The answer is: hell yeah!

Of course, the schedule backed up, and here I was a week or so before Dragon*con and still needing to tackle this puppy. Toy work tends to jump the line for illustration in a lot of cases, due to its higher pay and immediate deadlines. (More on this in another post.)

So I knew we wanted to cram in a few "who's who" in steampunk community that had said yes to being in the poster...well, MORE than a few. This poster was a bit of a puppy-pile, and I was worried about my ability to work them all in AND give them the time and attention they needed. How do you do that and make sure people aren't lost in a giant blob of bodies? I figured a limited-tone piece (I am so fond of limited palette pieces, I know, I know) was perfect for this.

Boom, sketch. Took a few hours to pull all needed reference, make a Photoshop composite, do a sketch. Sketch was approved with minor changes. Note the Arches pad behind the sketch - I owe my everything to Arches, love of my life, paper ...of ...my eye? Whatever. Anyway.

On to the painting! Some of my favorite paintings come out of rush sessions - my Cupcake-Smiths piece was a last-minute portfolio filler before a SCBWI show - and I wanted to see this rushed deadline as an opportunity instead of a terror.

22 hours, no sleep, five cups of Earl Grey tea (sweetened and with a giant dose of lemon, my usual order) and two handfuls chocolate chips later, the painting's done. Boom! I ordered a celebratory pizza, consumed a slice and a half, and fell asleep. Ah, the glamourous life of an artist.

I'm thrilled, and the clients were too, I think. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I really wish I had a more complete and firm grasp on proper grammar and composition, because I lately find myself wanting to write stories ALL THE TIME. I get these little snippets of detail from the world, and, in three seconds, my mind has composed an entire short story or novel / novella outline based on these little pinpricks of glamour.

Just now, I saw a photo of a small church that had been erected in the middle-of-nowhere forests of Russia, near Mongolia. This reminded me of the tiny Trinity Church, similar in appearance and theme, built in Antarctica.

There's just GOT to be a story about that.

Something about Elder Gods, a small organization (or cult?) of Russian priests and monster-hunters, churches as secret outposts or bastions, watching over sealed-but-rumbling gateways... it's there, and I want to write it, then draw it.

Must. Find. Motivation.

Where does your motivation come from? What kicks your arse and makes you write?
I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Theory of Pie

A few months ago, my southern friends made me aware of a phenomenon that's become a ubiquitous and wonderful accessory of their convention-attending experience: Pie. Pie, my friends, is a high-sugar, high-proof alcoholic beverage of the homecrafted variety. It's like moonshine's pigtails-and-Daisy-Dukes-wearing sister - she has the smile of an angel, but leaves a trail of human carnage in her wake.

It really does taste quite a bit like apple pie filling - its cinnamon/fresh apple/buttery flavor has sweetness, tartness and barely a hint of that alcohol flavor (you hardly know that it's an alcoholic beverage until that first sip hits your belly and the warmth begins... quite like, well, apple pie). After trying both the Apple and Cherry varieties, I can and must perpetuate it's creation and consumption.  A friend's birthday happened this weekend, and I thought "what better place to guinea-pig bestow this new discovery?" Because I love you and don't believe in keeping this a closely-guarded secret ("...and then we never heard from Amy again...") I'm posting the results.

I decided to attempt my own with naught to guide me but the Internetz. I found a forum with a few hastily-transcribed recipes online, but they were strongly debated as to the "truest" recipe. Not being unfamiliar with the principles of baking and infusions, I married what I found to be the better parts of all, and this recipe is the result. I'm sure there are a million version out there (that's the joy of homecrafted boozes) and I'm sure mine is no better or worse than any other, but I did destroy several of my friends last night, and that's what it's all about.

So. Here you are.

Apple Pie
  • 1 gallon apple juice
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice (or substitute with your own concoction of mulling spices)
  • 2 tbsp. orange zest
  • 3 golden apples, sliced and seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-7 cinnamon sticks
Bring the combined above components to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for a half hour, then let cool completely to room temperature. Remove cinnamon sticks and retain all available liquid out of softened apple slices. Strain through triple-folded cheesecloth several times to remove majority of cider silt and grains.

Stir in:
  • 3 cups everclear or high-quality vodka (vodka will make a lower-proof end product, but will probably kill fewer people)
  • 1/2 cup goldschlager or cinnamon-flavoured liquor
  • 1/2 cup buttershots or butterscotch-flavoured liquor
Adjust quantities of alcohols to taste, or according to your level of sadism. Pour into glass jugs or mason jars and keep in a cool dark place to allow “the magic” to happen for a little while, preferably a couple days. I kept mine in the fridge to chill, but you may not have or want to. 
Or, you know. Drink immediately. Up to you. 

As they say, enjoy responsibly. Or while wearing pants on your head. Preferably, both.

EDIT: And because I love you even more, here are the labels I threw together.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Classifieds: Trouble for Hire

No, I'm not talking about myself. Yes, I wish I'd thought of it for my own personal tagline.

I'm talking about one of the jobs I've been working on that I've been thinking about a lot, called TROUBLE FOR HIRE - written by Kevin Allen Jr., creator of accolade-winning games like Sweet Agatha [read more on Allen at his site].

Kevin contacted me a few months ago and pitched the game idea to me, and, I'll be honest - I felt like it was completely out of my comfort zone of colorful, adorbzies fantasy and steampunk anachronism. So I said yes.

You know when Ernie Hudson says, "when someone asks you if you are a god, you say YES!"
...Don't lie, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen Ghostbusters, you stop what you're doing and you go watch it. It's OK. I'll wait.

Anyway, my inner Ernie Hudson shouted at me, "When someone gives you the opportunity to watch movies like "Deathproof" and "Vanishing Point" for work, you say YES!" So I obeyed. I found myself immersed in the glorious, horrible, grainy pastiche that is the "road movies" genre. I was behind the wheel. I was feeling that anxiety you get when you watch a well filmed car chase. I felt the filmy layer of dust on my brain that makes you want a shower after watching the exploitation and the cliches. Kurt Russell was wearing that eye patch for ME. For SCIENCE.

Ahem. What came out of my sketching time was a big pile of fun drawings. Kevin's character write-ups are really wonderful, and I hope the original tone and much of the wording remains in his final game descriptives. The non-player protagonist is such a right mix of "everyman" and "that cool guy I always hoped would give me a ride home from high school in his Corvette".  When thinking about the antagonists, I had to find the right balance of cartoonish vs. "yeah, I believe that person could ruin my character's day", and it was a fun, dark road. Best of all, my inner Amazon is desperately willing the enigmatic character known as "the Rider" into existence, via "Neverending Story" magic.

Here are some process sketches, artfully staged (cough cough, iphone) so that I can give you a look before I show off the final inks.

I can't wait for more information on TROUBLE FOR HIRE to come out so you can see for yourself, and support it.

[Warning: Some drawings below contain boobies. You have been warned. Tuck away your inner fifth grader, people.]

Working out the comic relief characters and all their charming idiosyncrasies was a riot. Drawing unidentifiable stains is a not normally in my purview, but I was... er, inspired (inspired is a horrible word to use in this context, but, you work with what you've got, and I'm not a writer). Using "People of Walmart" for your go-to visual reference website. Yeeeeah. Whew.

This guy was reworked to look a little more realistic, and the end result (which I'll post soon) ended up being at least 82% more terrifying. I think so, anyway. 

I know you want his car. I want it too. Good luck stealing it.

This character brings to mind my favorite quote from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's "Good Omens":

'The men in the room suddenly realized that they didn't want to know her better. She was beautiful, but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful: something to be admired from a distance, not up close. And as she held her sword, she smiled like a knife.'

The quote's not entirely accurate - this character is no sex kitten. Her toplessness is out of sheer "could care less"-ness rather than being of any motive of enticement. This makes her intriguing, and ups her intimidation factor tenfold, if you think about it. It might be best not to. The direction I was given relayed that the Rider hovered somewhere between Frank Frazetta's "Death Dealer" and Racer X. You just ponder that for a little while, and see if she alone doesn't make you want to buy this game immediately.

Anyway, there you go. The finals and more goodies will be released when there's an update on this game. I will let you all know, have no fear.

In other news, my next post will hopefully be a process blog about the illustrations I'm finishing up for a kick-ass fantasy novel called "The Duchess of the Shallows", by Neil McGarry and Daniel Ravipinto. I think you'll really like this book, and hopefully dig the work I've done for it. Maps are challenging, but I really, really dug the process to create it. Hope I get to do more maps some day soon.

The guys over at Penny Dreadful Productions teamed up with the Brothers Young (a really kick ass  brother filmmaker duo and their mad, merry crew of talented-as-all-getout artists) to get the short film series for REMNANT underway. I did a poster series for them (you can see that here). Dan Carroll - an all around excellent gentleman and naughty ne'er-do-well (yes, he actually can be both at the same time) - wrote a great article/interview about it over here at Space Gypsies. I recommend you read it!

OK. I'm off to attempt to reverse-engineer some Pie*. I'll have to post the recipe once I've gotten it to the point that I'm satisfied. Pray for me.

*Pie: A moonshine-like spirit that kicks like Everclear (...because it's sometimes made with Everclear) but tastes distinctly like wholesome, innocent apple pie. Homemade. Often seen being poured from unmarked jugs, and destroying costumers at conventions in the South.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012, Kickstarters ahoy

Happy New Year, peeps! So much going on. So much to write about, and so little time. There are several exciting jobs I'm working on that I'll post more about in the very near future, but right now I'm going to say a little bit about the wonder and glory that is Kickstarter.

I think the phenomenon of Kickstarter is really going to grow in the future - it really is crowd-funding at it's independent best - and I hope this becomes the proto-model of the future when it comes to a new level of products and services in the world.

I've spent the last decade+ working for major companies designing toy lines that get hacked and slashed regularly when a concept doesn't seem appealing enough to "the masses" - read, it won't sell over 25,000 pieces, at the very least. The toys I've designed tend to sell more in the 100,000+ units range.
While that's awesome, it leaves little room for the "boutique" or "specialty" items in major stores. In the meanwhile, small startups can't find the funding they need to sell items or services that some people might be very interested in purchasing.
What's beautiful about Kickstarter is that, with the age of the internet and accessibility, people can truly use their money to vote on what items and services have enough draw to become a reality for small scale support and purchasing. When it comes to fine arts, publication, games - items of enrichment which may or may not be "luxury" items - Kickstarter allows developers to set the rules they want to live by, and it's up to them to find the funding.

When approached about the opportunity, I joined on to the "Fireside" Magazine concept and Kickstarter because the core of what Brian White (Fireside developer, journalist) is trying to accomplish here is making sure that his contributors get paid a healthy and respectful rate-per-word for the stories they write and the art they create. Comics take time. Stories take talent. In turn, those stories should be good, entertaining stories that make you feel excited and fulfilled when you put that magazine down.
What an awesome idea! How crazy, how novel - paying your authors and artists well, and getting a solid product!
Anyway. The Kickstarter is here (will open in new window) and it's close to goal - less than $1000 to make a professionally printed, high-quality, high-substance magazine come to life - and it needs your help in the next 48 hours to come to fruition. Take a gander, pass the word on if you don't have $2 to throw in, and let's support the idea that writers and artists should be paid a good wage for their craft, done well.

Cheers, and thanks for reading, folks!

More blogging to come in a couple days when I get my feet under me with the current workload. Much due immediately. Happy Freelancing!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Steampunk Lemming. Steamrodent. Lemmingpunk.

This is no great commentary on steampunk culture or anything, this just came from a conversation on Faceyspace. Sometimes you draw things. Vodka and large quantities of chocolate may have been involved.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stuff and Things and Halloweens

Its been a while. Lots of work going on! This is a quick update with some work, but I'm making an eaaaaaaarly New Year's Resolution to start blogging more regularly and about silly things like cats and books and soup and such. Maybe I'll dress my cat like a book. Or soup. And take photos and post them.
Let's see... what have I done since the last blog post that I can talk about?

Oh! Did an illustration for the cover of Chuck Wendig's new novella series. The first installation of the story made me laugh and cry, literally. It took me back to the rough bits of high school, but made me daydream about being able to be more proactive in response. It was brain candy for 15 year old me, and I'm guessing it might be for you. I'd recommend picking it up, for the crazy low price it is. 

Completed the series of promo posters for Penny Dreadful Productions' Remnant line (go see the whole series of five at the previous link). I'm still working on the process and project post for these posters.
That's a lot of P's.
(Have to find the photos I took in progress. Sometimes I catalog things on my computer in the darndest ways....)

I created a poster for the American Library Association's "Office for Intellectual Freedom" and their new campaign against banning books. The "Defend the Freedom To Read" poster was based on the 1942 Barclay "Uncle Sam" poster, as directed by the client. The reality of how many books are removed without challenge and then made unavailable for the public is kind of scary, and worth reading about here.

Lots of freelance toy design work going on. Can't talk about that stuff, but some of it has been Halloween themed, and that's exciting. It definitely makes things more exciting, even when the items are themselves fairly mundane, to be working on Halloween themed stuff. If I could be paid to paint pumpkiny things all day, that'd be a mighty fine gig indeed.

Speaking of Halloween, I did a piece for the "All Hallows Read" poster contest. All Hallows Read is a request for people to purchase a scary book for kids for Halloween, instead of giving out candy. 
I'm normally opposed to "art contests" due to the fuzzy line between healthy competitive exercises (like Illustration Friday), and that dangerous and detrimental-to-professional-creatives practice of spec work. Spec work promotes free labor and devalues what professional creatives do, and that's not OK.
This particular situation was concepted by Neil Gaiman, though, a writer whose work toward creative rights and freedom of expression should be taken into account. No rights will be surrendered, and the potential for my work to be seen and to generate buzz/potential new work is quite possible. (Note to self: Write a post about my personal experiences with free work or promo work, and how it's worked out for me in very tangible ways.)
Anyway, I decided that this situation would be an exception for me, and that I would enjoy working (for at least a couple of nights) on a painting that I controlled and enjoyed rendering. I rushed it a bit, due to the desire to not spend many-hours on an unpaid job, but... all in all, it was fun.
Drawing Ms. Lupescu, I wish to do that more.

(Click to embiggen ze)

(close-up of the Hound of God, Ms. Lupescu) 

There's more going on, but I've got to get back to it. I'll post again soon when I need the break, when I've got other more human fun things to talk about.

This post made me realize that I paint a lot of people. Looking forward to lots of upcoming things, like a boardgame project (lots of items and landscapey things) - crossing the fingers on them all being a go. 

Really want to paint some goblins and landscapes and landscapes with goblins in them. 

I'll leave you with an adorable puppy. (No, not my puppy. But if I find this dog, I make no promises I won't steal it.)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Punks, Portraits and Pilgrims

It started with a Tweet. :)

I slept once. It was a Tuesday. It was awesome.

But seriously, things have been busy-bee. I didn't get to do a proper post after Steampunk World's Fair this year, but it's about time. I worked my bustle off, met some really fantastic people, and got to paint their portraits. Good times.
The lovely and talented S.J. Chambers, co-author of The Steampunk Bible, joined me at my booth to sell and sign books, hang out, and drink cocktails like good little writers and artists do. Coauthor extraordinare Jeff VanderMeer sadly couldn't be there, but the books still sold out mid-convention. After that, I think people kept coming over just to talk to S.J., since she's one of the most pleasant and engaging people on the planet. Luckily she lured them in, and I grabbed them and painted.

And painted. And painted. I can't even tell you how many portraits I did each day. The pressure of having a crowd behind me and watching was stressful but surprisingly enjoyable, and I had a line of people or was scheduling portrait times all weekend. I felt "retro" in the best way. Having people sit for portraits is so frickin' Tombstone. (Just call me Wyatt.)
I nursed my Painter's Claw for about a week after, but it was really, truly worth it.  So many stories stand out in my mind - like the silhouette I painted for a guy who's been looking for a silo-painter for YEARS. His family has something like twelve generations of silhouettes, and now he can add his own to the history. That's so cool, right? I thought so.
Steampunk Boba Fett (a.k.a. John of Penny Dreadful Productions) also sat for a portrait, which was pretty hilarious to do (see the photo of His Prettiness below). I'm not putting up the results, since it was pretty rushed... but I'll get another shot, I'm sure. Anyway, due to the nature of striking up new partnerships in the weirdest ways, my next post will also feature them. They're a passel of great chaps and ladies who have a lot of awesome plans up their sleeves/bracers... and they've let me be a part of it. But that's for next post.

He always seems to be grabbing a nipple-gear in every photo.

So, Do.
Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple was a Kickstarter I found out about by tweet, actually. Awesome gentleman Fred Hicks (of Evil Hat Productions fame) re-tweeted a message from indie games mastermind Daniel Solis, who requested volunteers to write the words "Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple" and scan/send them to him. I did, and because my handwriting is a little... er, odd? (top image) Daniel and I struck up a conversation that led to me being fortunate enough to work on this project.
It was originally listed as a Kickstarter with a goal of $4k. It raked in over $24k. Insanity. Never let it be said that a stellar industry reputation doesn't help you... friends, fans and strangers all over lined up to be a part of this book, and it's SO awesome to be able to have a small hand in it. Good people.

Fast forward to a couple days ago when I received the contributor copies of Do and Do: Book of Letters.  Sweet buttery Buddha, these books are great. Really clever game, gorgeously printed (what... I like the paper - I AM A TACTILE PERSON. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME), really awesome stories in the Book of Letters (all contributed by Kickstarter supporters! You talented pandas!)... all in all, I was honored to be asked to do "doodles" for the Book.

Here's me with one of my favorite pages. This was a super quick doodle, but she's got a giant robo-superhero-mecha-suit. (I think she grows up to be Ripley.)

I've wanted one of these since like five years old.

I've done a lot of work for digital delivery and packaging, but to have a lovely, finished, printed copy of my drawings in my hot little hands... well, I got all a-flutter. It's a nice feeling in a digital age.

I've got lots of other things to report on, and lots of new work coming. I'll get there, pandas. Back to work.

Monday, June 20, 2011

SPWF, Do! and more

I only have time for a super-quick post at the moment - but I wanted to take a second to say that I had a BLAST vending at Steampunk World's Fair this year, and I'm certainly going to attempt to do it again next year. Painting silhouettes of everyone's amazing costumes and characters and getting to hear everyones' personal "how I met your Steampunk" stories, the development of thier personas... wow. So cool. Reminds me of why this subgenre/fashion trend/community is sometimes awesome.
I'll make a post very soon about Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, and how amazing a project it was to work on. Fred Hicks was once again a joy to work with, and I now get to add the cheerful and energetic Daniel Solis to the list of people I can't wait to work with again.

I worked on their "Book Of Letters" supplemental book (a special gift for the contributors of the Kickstarter), doing a variety of doodles and handwritten accents. Kickstarter supporters were invited to contribute letters of their own, and this resulted in a great assortment of stuff to draw - piles of pandas, scroll and magic inkwells, flying pilgrim shenanigans....

...oh, and battle hamsters.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big breaks, the pre-growing season and the latest paint splatters

I wish I could blog a bit more regularly, but it's one of the first things to get crossed off the Big Ol' List of Time Management (more specifically, it's #3 on the list.... #1 being "sleep" and #2 being "prepare food for myself that is more substantial than three cookies"). I'm pretty sure there are all ready too many posts about cats, whiskey and stress on the Internetz, so the world won't miss mine. When this round of deadlines settle down, I'd like to start a series of posts about freelancing and the trials and joys therein (no, I refuse to use the word "winning", you jerks). Yeah. When work settles down. Yeah. I'm also considering starting a Unicorn Hatchery.

There's a lot going on over here. I'm in Paintapalooza / Illopocolypse / Artageddon / whathaveyou while I get about 48,427 paintings done for the Ex Arcana card game that I'm criminally, bashfully behind on.

Couple card illustrations so far:

I've also got a lot of confidential work going on for the toy clientele (it's that time of year again, and I've gots bills ta pay). Feast or famine tends to happen a lot in the toy industry since the product development schedule is cyclical. Two toy seasons a year - Spring and Holiday - have lulls and swells that I've spent the last few years getting used to, but they still catch me off-guard occasionally. My fingers. They cramp so. Oh, the Drawing Claw, she be back. Yar.

I can't wait to start putting up photos of the garden again this year... I feel like this winter lasted about 9 months too long. We had way too much snow, and I saw way too much night. I'm looking forward to the feeling of a little sun on the back of my neck as I till the soil and grow some vegetables. I bought a sprouting system and some new vegetables to try out (soybeans, carrots, different types of beans). I may or may not do pumpkins again this year, due to the infuriating battle I had with aphids and powdery mildew and making sure to pollenate them at just the right time and so on.
Pumpkins are prissy goddamned reality TV stars of the garden, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I swear. They're like the Kardashian girls except swollen and orange and... well, they're like the Kardashian girls.

More later, perhaps, when I get my nightly injection of caffeine over here in the Illotorium.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"DEATHLESS" comic up!

Awesome news week over here... the "DEATHLESS" comic I did with Catherynne M. Valente for her to promote her forthcoming novel is live on TOR.com. Sweet! I can't tell you guys what a gorgeous, gorgeous book the novel is.
As for the comic, Catherynne gave a small number of signed copies away at Arisia this past weekend, and will also have them available at Wiscon. You can also go read it online in its entirety at Tor.com (couple people seem to have had a problem viewing it).

If you're having trouble with it online, you can also view it super low-tech as a slideshow set here, or even download as a PDF from here (just right click and "Save As" to your desktop and read it from there)!

Go read it at Tor.com now. I command you. Gooooooo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Casefile: Neutral Grounds" and my tiny, paper soapbox

So much going on!
 I did some character portraits for the Dresden Files RPG put out by Evil Hat Productions, and it's available now. I mightily enjoyed working on them, and I hope I get to do more with the lovely and talented Fred Hicks and his team of madpeople.
The character portraits laid into the notebook feel of the PDF well, I think. See? Coffee rings ADD to the beauty of something! (mumble, mumble, defending myself for spilling coffee on stuff)

Anyway, the PDF is FREE from DriveThruRPG.com, and it's a great one-shot introduction into the Dresden Files universe and RPG system.  Check it out here.

I know I'm the last person on earth to start reading the Dresden Files books (written by Jim Butcher), but I do like his flavour of modern-magic-noir. There are two genres (sub-genres?) I can't get enough of in fiction lately: modern magic, and turn-of-the-century crime.

I do like noir fiction. When it comes to noir, however, there's a tricky topic I find myself fixating on. In Dresden Files, Jim Butcher manages to make women attractive without patronizing or diminishing them, or making them less intelligent, capable or, in some cases, deadly. That's refreshing, since so many newer noir classics like "Altered Carbon" (nuthin' but love, peeps) can't shake the slightly icky aftertaste of sexism, no matter how great a read, or how intense a world they've constructed. I don't consider myself a feminist, and I don't like soapboxes as a general rule; I do climb up a step sometimes when it comes to the conundrum of talking about women in noir fiction.

Anyway, they Dresden Files books, for that reason and others, are good reads. I'm on Book 2: Fool Moon. It's no secret I like werewolves ("there wolf, there castle"), so I'm latching on to this one. If he writes one about Cthulhu, I'm in love.

Next week I think I'm gonna look into those newfangled "Walkman" devices everyone's all a-tizzy about. Betchyer buttons.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sneak Peak: Koschei the Deathless

This is my most favorite thing of all the things I've painted or drawn in the last couple days. And guys, that's a lot of things. If I told you how much, you probably wouldn't believe me.

When I have finished the burning hot stuff on my plate, and then take a nap (for three days), I'll make a proper update. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

C is for Catbirds, Commissions and Christmas!

There's a lot going on in Illustration-land lately. The perfect storm of work hit a few months ago, and I've had to multi-task my multi-tasks. If anyone's got a time-turner, pass that over, yo. I could use it right now.

One awesome thing that I worked on was the cover for the story collection "Irregular Things" by all-around-awesome-pants writer Chuck Wendig. Here's his blog post about it.
The book will be out in a few weeks, and I'll encourage people to purchase it then. The cover-story (featuring cat-birds and a fuzzy mint green bathrobe) was great.

I've been doing lots of fun, fulfilling private commissions... too many to post. A couple of my favorites, though, are shown below. I could paint cameos all day and enjoy it, tell you what.

A steampunk/Sailor Jerry-tattoo style mashup.

A Dungeons-and-Dragons couple portrait.

Another post will come soon, featuring the 569,483 illustrations I'm doing for Bridge & Tunnel Union's Ex Arcana dynamic card game, Evil Hat Productions and Cat Valente's promo teaser chapbook for her upcoming Stalinist-era fairytale "Deathless" due out this year.  

Christmas was lovely. The in-laws visited from Boston, and we had a house full of people enjoying staggering amounts of food and drink, and conversations about the comparative sizes of bull-privates vs. other animals.

Happy holidays and happy new year, world.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Death: The High Cost of Sketching

This is not a proper update. I will write one, I swear. It's coming, I assure you. But this is not it.

I needed a break from drawing-for-money, and this month's Dr. Sketchy's Philly theme was "Death" (as in, the Sandman kind) - one of my favorites to date. Good crowd (except for that one creepy guy at the bar that kept saying "this is my first time to one of these! I'm cultured!" but he had no sketchpad or drawing implement... ew), great music, plentiful rum.
I'm a Gaiman fan (shocking, I know) as well as a Sandman fan, and having a model as picture perfect as Stoya was the icing on the cake. The spooky, gothy, dark-as-my-soul cake.  With black candles. And Robert Smith singing "Happy Birthday". And spiders in a gift box. But I digress.
Anyway, Stoya had a parasol and high shiny boots.
That's pretty much a great day, right? Thanks to the DS Crew for putting together a great one.

They do challenges, and I'll usually do them even if they're harder, because it hardens my "drawing on assignment" muscles. Drawing Marilyn Monroe from memory was a little harder than I thought it'd be, but I think she translates.

Sketches here on Flickr.
Stoya on Twitter (Warning: Stoya's a saucy lady & adult film actress).

EDIT:  I will truly make a decent post soon. A lot of what I'm working on is confidential right now, so I can't even talk a big game. I'm psyched about the work I'll be doing so for Evil Hat and the Dresden Files RPG, and other stuff.

In the meantime, I've been up for about 32 hours straight. My brain is turning into soft gelatin product (the kind with horse bits) and is oozing out of my ears. This is what happens when I don't sleep - I'm amused by crap like PhotoBooth:

Ugh. Time for bed, babykins.