Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Crying King Kong - notes on my style

This first image (left image) is one of my earlier attempts at digital painting.  When I say "earlier", I mean it was maybe attempt number 4? At the time, I was beginning to appreciate designed art.

 In the recent image (the right one) I said I was going to upgrade the old one to my current style (dirty word apparently). I thought that just meant giving it a bluer tone and some more realistic anatomy. The more I just tried to refine that, the more unsatisfied I was. This made me think what else is there to my style.  I realized that I'm not just interested in portraying a scene or character.  I want to engage the viewer and understand how I'm engaging him/her.

Thus, I tried to look at my art as objectively as I could.  As a viewer, theres a certain amount of sympathy I feel staring at the crying gorilla's eyes. When, I just see him crying, he seems kinda comical like a big sobbing cartoon. Once I started to think about why he's crying, I experimented with the planes flying at him.  With the planes chopping into his face (compositionally) I feel a lot more sympathy for him.  Some friends have likened the plane wings to prison bars over his face.

So what do I know about my style now? I tend to like cool toned illustrations with anatomy. I also like to think about how the viewer is going to engage the image. ( I think that better art allows the viewer to be an active participant.)  I think that composition is crucial for engaging the viewer.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Personal World: Fence Tooth and the Doberman Rider

This is Fence Tooth, an idea that I've been toying with. I'm not totally sure what he's all about, but he's got something to do with the first dog and the struggle between domestication and feralness.

The painting is done using brush pen on a 5"x7" watercolor moleskine sketchbook. Some part of me personally likes the rugged edges of the ink on the paper. It makes it feel more like a field guide documentation. In my fantasy world, Fence Tooth's head is the size of a small Buick.

This is the doberman rider. Yes, it is a portrait of myself and my dog :)
If anyone remembers the riders of Rohan from Lord of the Rings, you might remember how they were considered horse people.  In my own fantasy world, I kinda view myself as a dog person.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Who Invites The Grimm Reaper to a Ball?

In this story, the Grimm Reaper  attends a ball. The story is written by the Amazing Peter S. Beagle.

Listen to the story here on this amazing podcast:

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Favorite Book - American Gods

Gotta Catch 'Em All- Blastoise

Heres my latest of the pokemon posters. It took some work to find an aesthetically interesting way of portraying a giant standing turtle without looking too godzilla-esque.  Eventually I decided the most aesthetic part of a giant turtle is his shell.

I also decided that the pokemon trainer scanning the blastoise should be a girl.  It was nice to draw a girl for once. I might have to do it again some time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Poor Gregor Samsa

The first time I heard the story of the Metamorphosis was through a This American Life episode where Gregor Samsa corresponds with Dr. Seuss about his troubles turning into a cockroach.  If you ever get the chance, I definitely recommend you listen to it here.

The real story of Gregor Samsa (As written by Kafka)  is about a man who still lives at home helping his family pay rent.  I got the sense that he already felt bad about his lot in life and it just gets crumbier as he turns into a bug.

Like many people out there, I moved home after college too, and I really understood Gregor.  On the more depressing instances, I just remind myself that no matter how bad I feel, at least I'm not turning into a cockroach. Sorry Gregor.  That's schadenfreude.

I tried to portray Gregor in a more sympathetic moment.  Yes, he's turning into a cockroach, but I wanted this transformation to be a kind of beauty that he doesn't see. As I developed him, I realized he's basically a cockroach fairy.

Monday, February 10, 2014


I think every guy, especially artists, find a lot identity through their work. As a graphic designer in a cubicle farm, I struggle to be both creative and corporately appropriate.    Before I got my job and as I pursued a way to be a working artist,  I repeatedly heard this phrase "Be a man. Get a job."

While this link between job and identity may not always be the best thing for a generation graduating into the recession, everyone knows it exists.  Still, I haven't seen many illustrators tackle it.  I really respect artists that address real-world issues, and hopefully I've done that here.