Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I made some changes to what will eventually be my mailer. They are both big and small, but hopefully all subtle. Now back to the grind. I have a lot to do in very little time, and I am feeling sickness coming on...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Running in the shadows

ALRIGHT! Finally, I get to show these little biddies. I'm working for Catalyst games on an RPG called Shadowrun. This is a futuristic world where dragons, elves, and all other fantasy creatures have been 'awakened' in our world. So you get all the fun, dark, mean future noir stuff alongside the elves and fairies. Think Johnny Mnemonic meets The Lord of the Rings. Okay, just kidding. Think Blade Runner versus Lord of the Rings.

These two sentences are a good example of my work on this project: Do it once, pretend I was joking, and then do it again. See, I'm not a big RPG player. I love film noir and science fiction, but I've never thrown a nine-sided die. So I'm doing double duty here, covering the ground I need to understand the universe it is set in, and then bring the artwork to life. It is something that even now I am struggling with, but it is fun for me, learning all these new things, even though my AD might be pulling his hair out.... :(

For example, I produced this thumbnail for a project about an assassin who is interrupted during an (what else?) assassination.

Easy, right? Except in this world, trolls are freakin' nine feet tall, the assassin looks wimpy and burnt out, and no security team would allow such a ridiculous breach that they would be inside the freaking building fighting each other. It is the future, remember David. So I got spanked and told to do it again.
Ah, now this one gets it. Yeah, I'm showing the assassin's back, but all the other elements are in order: noir city, political rally at sniper rifle range, and big ass troll. I'm sure the AD just looked to the heavens and prayed that I would be more of a nerd (in a good way).

But I had one better for him, this time, because I gave him this:

The file I uploaded is kinda small, but it's big enough that you get the picture. I'm pretty proud of this piece, and I think he finally sighed in relief.

Same goes for my other illustration. Here I was supposed to illustrate the beleaguered residents of a poor district. I mean sleeping in the streets poor. They had just been rounded up to vote by a runner, and he was showing them off to the election official. Think back to the beginning of this month, except with more dirt, a few elves, and less sour grapes with the result. I gave him this.
This has all the hardship and darkness of a Saturday morning cartoon. This is what Blade Runner would be if they just played Benny Hill the entire movie. I got spanked again, and told what we were really after. So I did this.
Much better, came the reply. A few changes were made, and I set about the final.

Look at that sexy leather jacket. I should put leather into, like, every painting. Just because it looks so cool.

So there you have it. These pieces are published! You can buy and download the book and play Shadowrun to your heart's content. Are you excited? I know I am.

These were a blast to do, and I hope you like them. At the end of the day, even when I got it wrong, the guy I was working with was both patient and encouraging. The more experience I get, the less patient he'll have to be! :) But until then, if I can be ignorant and put out some of my best work, I'll take it. After all, I'll always be ignorant of something. Stay tuned, there's plenty more coming!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

Here it is! The celebration post. Of due note, however: I will probably extend this illustration to be a wraparound cover. So, really, this piece has just begun. The back side will be much less busy, of course, to make way for the copy. Until then, here is my project from a lackluster painting in senior year of college to a personal promotional book cover today.

Here is the original piece from senior year in college. I painted a specific scene in which Montag watches as a woman sets herself on fire. I wanted the design to be kinetic, because I feel that old classics get mistaken as boring too often. I can't say that, even at the time, I was very happy with it, but it does tell a story.

I just didn't feel that it covered any of the important thematic elements of the book. I also felt that orange was 'too easy.' I get it; the book is about burning books, the title is the temperature at which they burn. Fire! Fire is orange! Bleh.

I was always struck by the calm beauty of the scenes with Clarisse. I'm also trying to illustrate things more subtly these days. Not every illustration needs to hit the viewer with the obviousness of a ball peen hammer. Yes, fire is still a very important theme, but can I have my cake and eat it too?

I still have some orange-yellows in there, but I limited their use, thereby increasing their effect. I also tried to be very conscious of the cover aspect of the design. 

I wish I was good at type. All that time I could have spent learning to kern and vector my own font was spent learning to paint the crap behind it... but this is a good placeholder. It lets people looking at it know what the illustration is for, and it lets them know that I was conscious of the application of my composition. So there it is, another one in the books. Or for the books.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"It was a Pleasure to Burn"

Here it is so far! I always say 'so far,' because I seem to tweak things right at the end every time. Regardless, this piece finally has that cooked feeling. Let me know what you think!
I might as well elaborate on the image.

This illustration is based on the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The book's protagonist, Guy Montag, is pictured at the left. He is a fireman in the future. Everything in the future is fireproof, so firemen make fires, and they burn books. Clarisse, pictured on the right, is a young girl he meets from the neighborhood. She opens his eyes to the world he was missing, and from that moment a fire starts in his soul that threatens to destroy his artificial world.

I wanted to portray the ignition of his imagination here. A much more symbolic painting than I have done in a long time, but I like it. I was going for two things here: Mood and subtlety. I wanted it to look like a dreary evening fog that Clarisse's ebullience directly contradicted. I also wanted there to be a fight between organic and industrial between the sharp wrought-iron fence, slick leather glove, the twisted tree and soft dress folds.

I think there are still small things I need to balance on the piece, but, as is my usual pattern, I will set her aside to garner critiques and cool down so I can look at it with fresh eyes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fahrenheit Progress

Finally this thing gets up and moving. More soon.
Update again!