February 27, 2013

Almost there!

Missed the update on Monday because I've been working away on this piece and didn't feel comfortable posting the same image twice in a row. Then I realized it was Wednesday and I still hadn't come up with something else to post, so I thought it best to update on my progress, and then try to make up for it later in the week. I've only got a couple days until the deadline for the Calgary Expo Art Book and I've been spending what little free time I've had continuing work on this. It's pretty close to complete now, but there's definitely some fine tuning still to be done. The last few nights have been focused on tweaking and testing as opposed to huge revamps, so I know I'm in the home stretch. With any luck I'll be able to call it complete and get it submitted sometime in the next 24 hours and get out of deadline mode. As much as I've loved working on this I'm looking forward to moving back to my regular working habits. Having a deadline for only one piece is kind of a pain as it gave me some serious tunnel vision. Even thinking about other pieces filled me with guilt as I didn't want to allow myself to waste "what little time I had left before the deadline". It's certainly going to be nice to get back to bouncing between pieces so that I can get my momentum back up.

February 22, 2013


Took off in a new direction a few days ago and haven't looked back. There's still a decent amount of work to do before the deadline, but I think I'm in a good position to have things finished on time if not a couple days early. Sadly I don't think I'll be hitting my personal deadline of Feb 25 as I've got shifts for the next few days, and usually spend and free time I have on the weekend with my lovely wife. I'll try to squeeze in a couple hours each day, but I don't know if that will be enough to get me all the way to the end. I'm not discouraged though, quite the opposite. I'm having a blasty-blast painting away and coming up with new details and idea to test out. I think if I was really in a rush I could hammer things out in short order, but I see no need to hurry this piece along as it's been a great learning experience and I don't really want it to end.

Here's a few of the steps that I took along the way here...

February 20, 2013

Coming Along

I'm trying to focus on my current Red Cape Kid at the moment, as the deadline to get into the Calgary Expo Art Book is March 1st and I'd really like to have it done early so that I can edit/tweak over the final week. As such I've been hammering away at it (I'll post an update on Friday), and then using this piece as a way to relax. They're both very experimental in that they're far outside my norm, but I'm finding that bouncing between them has done wonders to keep me motivated. Whenever I hit a wall, or feel burned out on RCK I can flip to this and get my momentum back. They're both coming along at a good pace, but I've revamped RCK pretty hard and upped the degree of difficulty a fair bit, so I'm not nearly as confident about hitting my personal deadline as I was a few days ago. On the other hand Superman feels damn near completion and I'm very happy with the way it's turning out. With any luck I'll be able to call it done within a few hours and pull something else out to be my down time piece... any requests?

Steps along the way below.

February 19, 2013

Dr Steel

I don't normally post commission work until I've wrapped it up and have confirmation that the client has the piece in hand, but I'm really excited about this one and wanted to get it up here (after checking with my client). One of the reasons I'm so into this piece right now is that I took a chance and did it up as a comic cover. It's rare that I use text in my work, as I'm not overly comfortable with it, but I had a flash of inspiration while I was working away on this piece, and figured I'd give it a shot. Glad I did because I think it's pretty damn cool. I'll be looking to a designer friend for some advice later on when I've got the image finished, so it should look even better in the end.

This is one of the last pieces I have in process that I haven't posted a WIP of, but now that it's up I think I'll just be cycling through pieces I've already posted, showing the progress I've made and giving you a view of the way I work these days. I'll still post the odd sketch here and there, but right now my focus is on getting a new Red Cape Kid done up for the Calgary Expo Art Book, and then turning as many of these WIP's into prints as I can. Of course I'll also be plugging away at this piece as I don't like to keep people waiting for work from me if I don't have to.

February 15, 2013


I've got a few sketches on the go at the moment as I've been pretty focused on getting some digital work done. For the most part the pencils are done, but I'd like to take some time to ink them, and if I'm feeling really adventurous, color them up with markers. I picked up a ridiculously expensive winsor&newton series 7 brush a little while back, and would very much like to take it for a spin before I sit down to ink these. Hopefully I'll find the time to squeeze in a few trial runs over the next week, so that I can focus on finishing these up soon after. Traditional inking isn't something I've really spent much time with for many years now, so I'm a bit nervous about getting back into it. At the same time, whenever I try it out, it feels like I'm working at a crazy fast pace, and I'm usually quite happy with the results. 

Wish me luck!

February 14, 2013

Arrow... Green Arrow

Because that's his friggin name...

Had the one on the left sitting around from a few weeks ago and thought I'd spend a bit of time today working it up. Not sure I'm super happy with the results, so I'll definitely have to go back in, but it's coming along. I've found it very difficult to capture the energy of the rough but I'm starting to pick out the differences now that I've got them side by side so hopefully that will help me to get things right next time. What do you guys think? Green Arrow worth the time? Should I be doing him up as "the Hood" instead and draw off the popularity of the show?

February 10, 2013

Saints Among Us

I first watch Boondock Saints about 10 years ago. It blew my mind. Since then I've happily watched it a half dozen times and enjoyed it just as much, if not more, with each viewing. Hearing that both Sean Patrick Flanery (Connor) and Norman Reedus (Murphy) were going to be at the show I thought I'd put together a Boondock Saints print.  This is of course just a rough attempt at finding a working composition... but so far I think I'm on an okay track. I was really hoping to include a quote from the movie, but at the moment it's pretty tough to make out ("It's your corrupt we claim"). Clearly I can't leave it as it is, so I'm going to have to see if I can find a new way to make it work... or throw this to the side and come up with something totally different. I'll try to find some time this week to plug a few more hours into it and then let you know how it turns out. 

February 6, 2013


  A friend of mine picked up Zombicide through Kickstarter last year and we've been having a ton of fun with it. So much so, that we went ahead and designed a few characters for the game. Say hello to Belladonna, Dr. Maison, and Missouri Smith. Belladonna was created to give my wife another female character to play as, Maison came about because we felt a healer would be beneficial, and Missouri... well he's been kicking around in my head for quite a while now, and seemed like a good fit here. I've posted the finished character cards below for anyone interested in using them in their games. Enjoy!

February 4, 2013

Guess I should add birds and a plane eh?

This one's feeling very intimidating the more I work with it, and I think that's why I've kept it hidden away. Don't get me wrong, I'm used to fighting with pieces, but this sucker feels like it's dragging me off somewhere and I don't know where I'm headed. Usually when I hit a rough patch I don't worry so much about the outcome as I do about the amount of time it's going to take to get there. That's actually a personal belief of mine. We're all capable of doing anything, as long as we're willing to put the time and effort in. But since we have limited time, no one can do everthing, so you have to pick your battles and make sure you're using your time where you really want to. If I hit a snag I can take comfort in the notion that it's not impossible for me to move on, just difficult (and perhaps very time consuming), and that I'll eventually get where I want to be. Not so much with this one... Maybe because it's a color piece, and that's something that I'm still relatively new to, and maybe because I'm tackling it in a way that's quite unfamiliar (more like a painting than color over a line drawing) but this doesn't feel like it has an end that I can push it towards. My lack of experience creates a void where expectation belongs, and so when I look at this I can't really see where it's headed. It's far from finished, but I don't have a list in my head of what I need to do. I can see the next few steps, but each of those is fraught with uncertainty due to inexperience. It's not as simple as just executing a plan... instead I'm exploring... and it's exciting. 

February 1, 2013

Digging Down

I've had a Dardevil vs Elektra piece on my desk for probably close to a decade now. It started as a loose sketch that I was going to turn in to a large sized, traditional media (pencil and ink if I recall correctly) poster. That stalled out before I made it past the pencil stage, and so when I found it hidden away a few years later  I digitized what I had and started toying around with it in photoshop, having no clue what I was doing and moving on pretty quickly. Years later, between semesters at ACAD, I pulled the files up again and laid the groundwork for a new piece. I had planned to pull it together with a strong background, one of my earliest attempts at such a thing. I think I built the piece up too much in my head though, and began to see it as a way to prove to myself that I was a capable artist. As the pressure to wow myself increased I started experimenting with elements of design until I hit a point where I had over complicated things and needed to pull back. Attempts at simplification were frustrating as I didn't really know what I was trying to achieve. On top of that, I was finding that I really enjoyed having multiple pieces on the go at once, and so easily moved to other things, returning less and less often. The file never left my "To Do" folders, and I'd open it up and redraw it, tweak colors, or make notes every so often, but it never grabbed me the way it had when I was first working with it. Last time I opened it up, I realized that a big part of what was bothering me about it was its landscape orientation, so I started thinking about doing something similar, but as a new composition. A few hours here and there over the last few weeks (and a few more spent trying to nail down a pose for Daredevil) and this is where we're at.

I've included some of the old files underneath for those who might be curious.

The red border was meant to hold several quick snapshot like illustrations of moments shared between the characters, some of their romantic relationship, and some of their fight against one another. I was never 100% happy with the actual drawing, so the final image is taken from the last time I went in and began redrawing things from scratch. Thanks for checking it out!