Friday, May 31, 2013


Long ago, I did an illustration for a contest. I was supposed to design a Tiefling (a horned half-demon race) as a pin up. It was not super successful.

On the same front, I had some reference that I really liked but didn't get to use for other projects. So last night, as I rolled around in bed, this image came to me. Nothing special, just a fun vignette to help me hone my digital painting skills.

I am continuing work on the futuristic bike chase, but this bolt of inspiration was just too good to pass up, so here it is. It may be a few weeks before you hear from me again, things are about to get busy. But good busy. Enjoy!

EDIT: I will turn this into a painting, but other projects are pressing, so she'll have to wait.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When to quit

I kind of mentioned this in an earlier post. Remember Mother's Syndrome? A part of that is quitting too early. You're afraid to mess it up by overworking it, so you underwork it. A prime example is my Ranger painting. He's all well and good, but I didn't do the necessary research on how to hold, fire, or string a bow and arrow, and worse, I didn't pop any highlights into my piece. I stopped with a nice underpainting. In fact, I may still have an underpainting here, but I'm moving on to other projects for now, so here are the changes I've made thanks to a few helpful critiques.
Which is better?

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Fun fact: I've never painted a hover-bike chase. WHY?

Little genre trope tidbits: the good guy is on the right because #1. he just served a plate full of foot to the dude on the left #2. his bike is scrappy and worn (sci fi fans have been taught to be suspicious of anything too smooth and perfect) #3. he's got a cape, which gives him a little personality other than 'random helmet man.' I'd fit a dog in there if I could, just to make sure you knew he was endearing. But a kick to the face will have to do.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Just like every illustration I ever do, I'll probably make changes to this the moment I post it. That moment being now. So, crap. Oh, well. This piece was a lot of fun to do. It went smoothly, and when it isn't smooshed into 100 ppi, you get to see some of the brush work I tried to put into it. It came out more Frazetta-y than I intended, but I suppose Esjing is an evolution of Frazetta in many respects, anyhow. Either way, I hope you like it!

You will note, I imagine, that he is holding his bow in the overhand position (who knows if that's really the terminology), from which he can only fire sideways. Much like gangster movies in which they fire their guns pointed to the side, this is only for style, and generally frowned upon. I'll probably adjust one of his hands, because even though I meant for this to be the pose, it still bothers me just a little bit. We'll see.

EDIT: I've been told by two very helpful souls of the dangers of arm chafe. Here's the fix:


Cuz I kno you like that sort of thing....
I'm pretty happy with how this is coming out, but I'll be honest, this is looking way more Frazetta than it is Esjing. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I thought that last painting turned out nicely, yes? So I'll use some of that energy to transition into another portfolio piece. This time I'll hit more of the traditional fantasy vein. I'm trying to really loosen up on my paintings and give them some flow. I love paintings that look like they're still in movement. Here's a Ranger, for a piece entitled Overwatch. While I looked more at Shawn Barber and Dan Dos Santos for the last piece, I'm actually drawing much more heavily from Jesper Esjing this time around (I imagine that's evident). Hope you like it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Now I'll sit on her, see if I want to make changes before I send her into the wide, cruel world.

In the mean time, let's talk about her tattoos.

Since I wanted much of her character to be in the tattoos themselves, I tried working with one or two telling motifs. Her right arm starts off with a smoking knife and a banner. The banner says, 'hack' since she's an adept hacker. The skull, snake tail, and bone design moving into the grim reaper all follow the same idea: death. But the Reaper's coat is drawn away, and flowers burst from his ribcage. The verse below that is I Corinthians 15:26 "The last enemy to be destroyed is death."

Her right arm moves from death to life, while her left arm represents resurrection itself, what with spirit birds bursting from the dead sparrow's heart.

I originally wanted a much more cyborg-ish rogue, but I did my research, and adepts, though they have increased physical abilities, don't usually opt for cyborg parts since their abilities don't affect (and in many cases are hampered by) technology. So I had to go all-naturale.

UPDATE: Changes! :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013


So far...
More WIP-ing:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Operation: Look at Me

Welcome to the ground floor. I've been light on projects lately, so I'm starting to get proactive on the situation. I really liked working for Shadowrun. As I've covered in my previous posts, they liked me working for them, too. But like any child who knows that their parents love them, sometimes all they want is some attention.

'Look at me!' They scream, while doing anything on a spectrum from touching their nose with their tongue to climbing a tree while trying to juggle cats. The amount of attention they get is in direct correlation to the danger/impressiveness of their feat.

So I'm going to try and juggle some cats for Shadowrun.

My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness: I am a character artist. The faces/figures are crisp, clear, and individual, but the outfits are poorly thought out, lacking the required baubles and doodads that every post-magical-awakening badass should be fitted with. I struggle with the storytelling, not sure if I should go full leather chaps or 80's glam, and end up dropping a t-shirt and jeans on a bamf elven warrior. Even if they were Express Jeans, I should be doing better.

So I thought about it: I enjoy simple design. I like clarity of expression. But how do I get my cake and eat it? How do I tell a runner's story without chains and netting crisscrossing the frame like an S&M surplus store?

I looked through older (read: already published) Shadowrun illustrations, and I noticed another common theme: tattoos. Most of the tattoos are black tribals, which probably has more to do with their simplicity than a future cultural preference for frat boy tramp stamps. Don't get me wrong, they look cool and all, but for such a personal accouterment, you'd think there'd be more personality.

Which is why I did this sketch:

Meet Sparrow, the elven adept hacker. Adepts are runners that use magic to augment their abilities, rather than cast spells. Sparrow has augmented eyes, reflexes, speed, and stealth.

She also has one more important ingredient, badass-ness. After working on more than six illustrations with Shadowrun, it's the most important ingredient in every piece, and something I have to constantly remind myself of (lest my AD do it for me).

I was influenced by artists like Shawn Barber and Dan Dos Santos, who often let the skin of their subjects carry the narrative.

Now begins the hard part: painting an illustrated woman. I'll invariably have my share of stories on the process, but until then, make sure to introduce yourself. Just... don't make any sudden movements.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

No one ever thanks glue. Especially on things that need it, rely on it. Glue just does its job, keeping everything together. You don't get nearly the credit you deserve, Mom. You are the glue that binds the Hoveys, and the only reason many of us (read:me) passed certain classes or turned in certain projects. Art critic, burden bearer, advice giver, no matter the day or the problem, you set down what you are doing to help your family when they call for it. It is no surprise that you are on the speed dial of four phones, and you will stay there, because you are super glue. You're a super mom. You're the bomb and I love you. Happy Mother's day, Tonnie Hovey.

Sadly, I don't have a painting to show along with mother's day. Maybe soon...