Tuesday, November 17, 2009

IlluXcon 2009!

I just got home from IlluXcon in Altoona, PA. Chris and I traveled and roomed with fellow illustrator Cynthia Sheppard and her husband, which was a ton of fun... and very very helpful, as Cynthia went to the first ever IlluXcon last year and was a wonderful guide for this one =)

The Main Show, Altoona Heritage Center

Structurally the convention has a few main "areas" of interest:

1.) The show at the Heritage Center in downtown Altoona. This is the most amazing display of fantasy and science fiction artwork to ever occupy the same space. We're talking originals by Donato Giancola, Michael Whelan, and Brom here. And, even better, 99% of the artists displaying were there behind their tables ready to chat or sign a print.

2.) Networking, ie hanging out. This might actually be the #1 attraction. Freelancing can be a lonely business... one of the biggest highlights of the convention was getting to chill with fellow illustrators. I've never been too keen on bars, but the bar at the Ramada on Friday and Saturday nights when it is jam packed with awesome illustrators is another matter all together.

3.) Portfolio reviews, both formal and informal. There is nothing that beats exchanging portfolios, giving and taking critique with the best in your field. I was absolutely floored by the useful and encouraging comments I received, by the "greats" who took the time to sit down with me and help show me the next steps in my path. A very deep and special thanks to: Ruth Sanderson, Dan Dos Santos, Jeremy Cranford, and Lou Anders.

4.) The convention programming. Here I must admit I didn't go to nearly everything... but things I did attend, such as the Art Director Q&A and the "Art of Self Promotion" were quite helpful. We spent a good deal of the car ride home, brainstorming/daydreaming about how various items on the list could be expanded next year.

5.) The fledgling "Saturday Night Showcase." Where those of us not in the main show were able to show and sell prints from our own tables. -I can't wait to see how this expands next year.

And so much more...

Cynthia and I also started an interesting thing with my Nintendo DSi and the homebrew application Colors! The "game" involves one artist starting a sketch, then passing it to the next participant, who adds to the image and so on. As you can imagine, this is huge fun in a room of illustrators. Below are the collaborative sketches from this year. Cynthia and I worked primarily on the first two, then as part of a group (including Zelda and Christine) on the later two.

What I personally took away from the convention to follow in a later entry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Art Update! Fakir and Witch Cards

These were created for a fantasy card project that changed "direction" and are now not going to be included. So, just in time for Halloween, I can show them to the world =)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Hint of Magic - Cover WIP 1-3

Just started on a new book cover for Liz at Zumaya. This is the cover for the up and coming book A Hint of Magic by Linda Andrews.

Still a ways to go... but 'tis coming along. Color sketch is the current stage.

Friday, August 21, 2009


For a few months now I've been working on a large (29"x46") acrylic painting as a personal piece. I've fiddled and tinkered and gone through more "tweaks" and revisions on this one than is probably healthy for traditional media. So, I have now hereby declared this done! (All that remains is the UV protective coat.)

Owl's Eye Nebula

Also, today, instead of a "Daily Sketch" on the DSi I started work on another owl painting: this one digital. I'm torn as to whether I want to finish this out in Photoshop or make it an acrylic.

"Why owls?" you ask... Well, why not? They are rather cute. =)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily Sketch - Foggy Mirror + Meadow

Today's Daily Sketch Words:

Foggy Mirror
and Meadow

Time: 45min
Program: Colors! (on Nintendo DSi)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Daily Sketch - Symbol of Life + Rust

So I've been meaning to get myself into a new habit for quite some time. Or should I say back into the practice of quick "daily" sketches. This morning I curled up on the couch and made a start =)

The topics come from two separate grab bags of phrases and words I made up some time ago. The idea is that I blindly draw one of each and use those to spark the color sketch.

Today's Daily Sketch Words:

Symbol of Life
and Rust

Time: 45min
Program: Colors! (on Nintendo DSi)

Monday, August 17, 2009


I saw Ponyo on Saturday!

What can I say? Gorgeous movie. Absolutely bursting with stunning nuanced animation, as I'd expect from Miyazaki. Truly a work of art. I loved the "prehistoric" sea creatures. Those scenes with the dappled light filtering through the (mostly underwater) forests, with the kids on the little candle boat were beautiful. (The one thing that didn't quite hold together was the story -toward the end. But, heck, I'd have loved a movie of this artistic caliber ever if it hadn't had a story at all.) Beauty, humor, character, heart...


Go see it, if you haven't already!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mother Goose in Prose II

Just about done with the Mother Goose in Prose cover for Kalliope. Actually had a lot of fun painting the sheep and flowers =)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mother Goose and Steph Portrait

First up. I just started another lovely book cover for Kalliope Audiobooks. This is for the audiobook version of The Mother Goose in Prose by L. Frank Baum. The story I chose for the cover is "Little Bo-Peep."

Also onto the next character portrait for Tom Tancin's Time Warriors series:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cynthia Sheppard Illustration

I feel bad that it's taken me so long to post this... But about a month ago I was surfing on the CG Portfolios and ran across the portfolio of Cynthia Sheppard. And fell absolutely in love with her piece "Half Her Heart's Duet" (partial image below).... Curious I clicked over to her site. After feasting my eyes on even more lovely art, I was shocked to see "Fairfax, USA" as her place of residence. Fairfax Virginia??? I asked myself. I just had to send her an e-mail.

Long story short, this awesome gal lives just down the street from me. Not only is she a great artist, but she is a wonderful person and kindred spirit. (Heck, we both wore our Photoshop Hero T-Shirts when we first met over coffee) =) Check out her site and prepare to pick your jaw off the ground!

April's Storm

Busy busy busy! (And I can only show a fraction of it here.)

Just finished another for Pumpkin Tales' author Mark Milbrath. This is an interior illustration for a somewhat spooky Halloween story titled "April's Storm."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

William and the Witch

So my little fingers have been flying around the ol' Wacom... Below are some recent projects: the first a WIP character portrait for author Tom Tancin (of Time Warrior fame).

The second is a quick black & white interior illustration for fantasy author Mark Milbrath. This is the first of a series of images for his upcoming book Pumpkin Tales (working title). The particular story I've illustrated is called "Matilda's Ingredients" -about a witch, three orphan girls, and a mysterious cat.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Patchwork Girl of Oz - Sketch

I just started on a new audio book cover for Kalliope Audio Books. This one is for The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

It's not really a literal scene, more a selection of characters and scenery that I thought would make an attractive cover. The landscape will be painted in shades of blue (as per Munchkin Land). The road they travel is the yellow brick road (of course), and the strange plants are the ones that had hypnotic color/shape changing properties and attacked the group.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Princess and the Goblin - Painting I

Working on the "long part" of the Princess and the Goblin illustration now... =) Still not sure I've got her face the way I want it.

(On a random note: today is my birthday.=)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Princess and the Goblin 1

Got a good start on the cover illustration of The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. This is another one for Kalliope Audiobooks... Below is the tight sketch, rough sketch and thunbnail sketch.

Also, finished up the splash page illustration for a few days back:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Daddy Long Legs (just about done)

Nearing done on the painting part of the Daddy Long Legs cover... Title text work next.

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