Wednesday, December 10, 2008

tree drawing

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  OK, so my two favorite subjects to draw are people and TREES!  I love their sculptural organic shapes...the trees I mean.  Well, people too, I guess:)
  Here's a tree drawing I did the other night when I was killing some time--I teach a night art class at Golden West College and I was waiting for the last student to finish his final project so I could go home.  It turned out to be cool getting to really spend some time on this drawing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

still working

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I haven't posted anything in a while though I have been alive and drawing!  Here is a sketch of a dragon done recently that I'd like to turn into a cover painting.  I like it and think maybe I'll do more dragons:)  I'm also working on a cover showing a horse and rider, but I'm struggling a bit on that one still.  I hope to have something to post for that soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the final is done

Pin It Now!   Over last weekend I was able to get this one done:)  Once the face finally started working for me, it all finished up fine.  Not sure what to call it since it's not from a real story.  I'd love any suggestions.  This one is horizontal so it could be a wraparound cover (did I already explain that?)  Now I'm looking forward to getting going on the next one.  It's only in the thumbnailing stage right now though.
  In other news, I'm looking forward to attending Illustrator's Day coming up in November.  It's an SCBWI annual event for SoCal.  They always get some great speakers and I can get my portfolio reviewed by an industry professional--intimidating but exciting:)  I just wish my portfolio was a little more consistent, but I'm in this in-between stage while I'm creating this new series of covers.  I'm really working hard to let it "flow" on these covers I'm creating this year (I think that's oxymoronic somehow :).  Anyway, I tend to get overly self-critical when I work on my art and sometimes forget to ENJOY myself in this creative process.  It really works better when I can manage to find that "zone" where I relax and just let the illustration process flow without too much constant analysis!  That's the trick, isn't it :) 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

the color rough version

Pin It Now!   And here's the color rough I painted in Photoshop before I got going on the actual painting which is in acrylic and currently in progress.  I'm trying to keep a moody/stormy kind of atmosphere with this one.

drawing for the next cover

Pin It Now!   Here is the drawing for the next cover painting I'm working on.  I decided to go ahead and do a horizontal format make it a wrap-around book cover.  The trick will be making the boy look like the same boy from the other picture.  I'm glad to get a chance to put another tree in this picture since I love drawing trees :)  The tree is from my head, but the boy I drew after shooting some reference photos of the same boy, as well as a few of myself to try and get the body position how I wanted it:)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

new painting

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Hey there,
I finished another of my cover illustrations and wanted to post it for you. I need to get it on my website but I'm having some difficulties with that...hopefully to be resolved soon. In the meantime, here it is. I'm pretty happy with it, I think. I can see a couple of little things I might go back and touch up, but for now I'm OK with it. I'm getting going with the next one now. It's still in the drawing stage though. It's going to be a continuation of the same series and will be focused on the red-haired boy on the right. I'm thinking of doing it as a horizontal painting--that could be a wrap-around for a book cover.
By the way, in case anyone is wondering, this cover painting is not for any particular story. I am just creating works that could be for a story.
Hope you like it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Comic Con

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Hey everybody,
I attended the famous Comic Con of San Diego for the first time this year...well, I went a couple of years ago, but I'm not counting that because I was only there for about an hour just before it was ending. Anyway, I've been hearing about it forever and I've gone back and forth on whether or not I think it would be worth my while to go. I decided to go ahead and spend a day scoping things out there. Basically, I was looking around to see if there is a market for my artwork there. I also got my portfolio reviewed by a couple of people. After attending, my conclusion is...well, I'm still not really sure. I definitely think that my stuff doesn't fit with a large percentage of the work there (high fantasy and sci-fi), but there was some cool stuff there that is close to what I do. So I think I should keep researching that market and keep myself open to it.
As for how the experience was apart from my "recon" work, it was a fun place to check out. The highlight was getting to watch a demo by one of my favorite illustrators, Gregory Manchess. He was at the Donato Arts booth. It was so cool to watch him paint for about an hour. I was pretty close. He did a painting of Hellboy that looked very cool. It was in oil and he was just very steady and confident in his method. Cool.
I also got to see one of my favorite art instructors, Marshall Vandruff, there. He did a drawing seminar for kids on how to draw monsters, as well as hung out at the booth he shared with the art group he's with. It's called Carbon Canyon Studios and it's he and awesome fantasy artists, Justin Sweet, Vance Kovacs, and John Dickinson. It was cool to catch up with him a little.
Overall, it was really intimidating to see the high level of talent at the conference, even if most of it is not necessarily the kind of stuff that I do. I really feel motivated to keep pushing myself in my artwork and to keep painting and drawing more, more, more!

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Resolves and Summer Teaching

Pin It Now! Here's the latest...I'm continuing to work on the Shunning Tree sequel illustration. It's moving along, but it's not quite there yet. In the meantime, I made a decision not to attend the summer children's illustration conference (SCBWI) in LA after all. In looking over my portfolio, I'm moving in a new direction stylistically in my new stuff. I'm at a point where I don't really like a lot of the stuff in my portfolio--well, I don't think it really fits where I'm at anymore. With my newer pieces, I'm aiming much more specifically at book cover art for middle grade and young adult fantasy. So...I need to spend more time developing this newer work so that I can phase out the older stuff. With this in mind my goal is to produce about 10 new illustrations in the coming year. I think this will really help in going after the specific market I have in mind. Better roll up my sleeves and get to it!

In other news, the summer arts class I'm teaching begins next week. I'll be teaching a 2-Dimensional art class for children ranging from 3rd all the way to 8th grade. There is both a morning and an afternoon class and it lasts for 6 weeks. I'm a little nervous about the wide range in ages. But I'm also hoping to really relax and have some fun since I don't have to worry about grading the work. We're just there to learn and have fun. I'll be experimenting with some new techniques and projects that I hope will turn out really cool.

That's all for now. Hope you're all having a creative summer!


Friday, May 16, 2008

summer, picture sequel time, & the SCBWI conference

Pin It Now! Hi all,
Ahh, school is almost out! I teach 2 classes at Orange County High School of the Arts as well as a class at Golden West College and the stars have aligned so that they both finish next week. Woo Hoo! During the summer I'm teaching an art class to younger kids through the high school's community arts program but that doesn't start for a few weeks. Until then I'm free as a bird to devote myself fully to my art for a little while. Uh oh. That means no excuses:) But really, I'm looking forward to finishing up a new piece I'm working on. It's the sequel to "The Shunning Tree" illustration--the one with the girl with the staff and the tree over her. The drawing for this new one has been completed and sitting on my desk for months I'm sad to say. It's time to get this monkey off my back and get it done. I've started it already and it's going well I think. I hope to pop another one out after that one so I can have a trilogy of pictures from that series.
Toward the end of the summer I'm planning to go to the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Summer Conference in LA. I'm looking forward to redesigning my portfolio and having this new work to feature in it.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

almost famous

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Here's some news, people! Back in December I did about 20 illustrations for this educational game called Elementeo. It's kind of along the lines of Magic: The Gathering, but teaches kids about chemistry. Well, the CEO for the game, who happens to be a 14 yr. old kid, let me know today that there was a feature about the game on the home page of They included a picture of one of the cards that I illustrated depicting a witch overlooking some computer equipment. Unfortunately they didn't include my name:( But still, it was really cool to see my illustration on the main page of a site as big as You can check out the article at:
As far as I know, the kid behind the project, Anshul Samar, is still looking for a company to take on production and distribution of the game. Hopefully somebody will and I'll be able to purchase a copy of the game at some point. You can look at the game's website at:
I believe the game consists of about 120 cards and he used several other artists for the other cards.
The project was a tight deadline so I did the illustrations using scanned drawings and painting in Photoshop. I hope to get a gallery of the pictures up on my site soon.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

fairy tale time and gallery updates

Pin It Now! Hey folks,
Just wanted to give an update on what I've been working on. I have a couple of things in the works. I'm working on an illustration of Hansel and Gretel. I originally was working on it for a competition, but the deadline has now passed...but I still want to finish it. I have a couple of other fairy tale illustrations that I've done and I thought it could fit nicely with the rest of those. It's about 75% done, I'd say.
The other thing I'm working on is some updates for my website. I want to add a lot more content to my gallery. Actually I want to set up several other galleries for different groupings of my art such as my Celtic design work, preliminary sketch work, and just other art that doesn't quite fit in the main category. I hope to work on that during spring break from my teaching which is coming up. Be on the watch for it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Edit of Anti-Valentine

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Hello again,
I'm actually posting my valentine artwork again because I made some slight changes to it. After I posted it, I got some feedback on it that led me to make some edits: I added the broken heart graphic element, as well as making the arrows at the bottom a little darker and easier to read. I think it's an improvement so hopefully so do you:)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Anti-Valentine Card

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Hello again,

Here's something new that I worked up for the latest SCBWI on-line contest. The theme was an "Anti-Valentine's Card". Mmm, rich territory. I needed to keep it somewhat sweet though since it was for a children's illustration society:)

I decided to make it kind of a medieval setting since I like historical or fantasy imagery. I made a drawing that I was happy with but ended up with very little time to add the color. After planning to paint it in acrylic, for the sake of time I went with painting it in Photoshop. Anyway, here it is... What do you think?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Final is finally posted

Pin It Now! Hello all,
Well, I finally put up on my website the final version of the rough comp from my last post. It has been done for at least a month but I've just been too busy to get it up on my website. I feel really happy with it. I wasn't sure what to call it so I had just been calling it "Nadine", which is the name of the model I used, but I've now decided to name it "The Shunning Tree". This is because my good friend Deanna wrote a story inspired by the picture and that is the name of the story. I've decided to turn the character from the picture into a series so I am now at work on another painting featuring the same model and character. I look forward to posting some preliminary work for that soon.
In other news, this past week I had the fun opportunity to attend a 3 night seminar at Fullerton College by my favorite drawing teacher, Marshall Vandruff (see I took pretty much every class I could from him when I was studying at Cal State Fullerton. This seminar was his Composition Crash-Course. I had taken it a few years ago, but he's always tweaking it and adding to it. It was so helpful and informative, so I feel ready to charge into this new year with new enthusiasm for my art. I took pages of notes but especially picked up on what he said about designing your pictures with abstract shapes and metaphors in mind. I was also really inspired by all the slides Marshall put up of one of my favorite artists (and one of Marshall's former students and a Fullerton College alum) Justin Sweet. Looking at his art really gets me excited about making new pictures.
Until next time...