November 24, 2016

Post Con Post: 2016

The three newest images that I brought along, making for a total of 18 new convention pieces this year.

So I just wrapped up the Calgary Expo Holiday Market, which means I'm officially done with cons for the year. Whew!

Normally I do a "post con post" after each convention that I exhibit at, but this year has been both very busy, and a little weird, so I've been hesitant. Instead I'll do a post con season post so that I can blast through this stuff and get back to making art.

First up, the new. This was the first year that I traveled with other artists, which helped to keep costs down, and made for some very entertaining weekends. It was also the first time I've flown to a convention (C4 Winnipeg) and the first year of the Calgary Expo Holiday Market (and I couldn't pass up supporting another local con, especially from this organizational team).

So how'd it all turn out? Overall, sales were way down. About two thirds what I normally make at Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, and about a sixth at the Holiday Market. This marks the first time that I've suffered a significant drop. The economy here in Alberta has been hit hard, as we're heavily invested in the oil & gas industry, so I'm assuming that's a big factor. That said, after my experience at the Calgary Expo Holiday Market, it's clear that I need to start being a lot more particular about where I'm placed in artist alley and how I set up my booth relative to my "neighbors" (being between two tables who build displays on top of their table, instead of having a stand behind them, meant that the only way to see me or my work was to already be standing in front of my booth, which is... not ideal).

Now, what comes next. First priority is ensuring that my display isn't so easily blocked, so I'll be ordering a new stand in the next couple of days. Then I'll be making some new signage, trying to figure out a banner, and reorganizing my table to make space for Boneshaker Press projects. I'd also like to purge a lot of old work both from my sketchbook and my print book, and build up new pieces to replace it.

Keep an eye on my instagram to see how that goes!

November 11, 2016

Inktober 2016 pt 4

Here's the last set of images for Inktober. Late because I couldn't justify pushing back other projects for an internet challenge, and I went a little above and beyond with the image for "wreck", but finally complete!

I learned a lot during the last month, and I think it's something I'll be referring to often as I continue to process the experience. One big take away was that I am too slow when it comes to dreaming up the basis for an image. I'm often paralyzed by the multitude of choices available and it takes a while to narrow down to something that I'm happy with. Opting for artificial constraints in the last two weeks helped a lot with this. If I didn't have an instant reaction to the prompt I would focus on ideas that fit within the fantasy genre, or one of my pre-existing properties.

However, it's worth noting that had I used that approach from the get go I would never have discovered Monty and Baz, characters that I quickly came to love. As with most things, I think balance is key. You've gotta work on creation just as much as you work execution. All in all it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to taking part again next year!

November 5, 2016

Inktober pt 3

Week 3!

Yikes... did I ever fall behind schedule. Knocked out by a nasty cold, and then busy getting ready for C4Winnipeg, and there just wasn't enough hours in the day. I'll be catching up over the next few days, and should have this finished sometime next week.

As far as notes on the experience go, I don't have a ton, but here are a couple quick thoughts.

One of the big changes I made this week was refusing to allow myself to push late into the night just to get an entry done. Given that the core of Inktober is to build good drawing habits, I felt it was necessary to cut that off, lest sleep deprivation be the thing that sticks with me once this is all said and done.

I also upped the complexity level of a few of these entries, and while it's nice to be able to say that I pushed myself, I think that was probably a mistake. It's tough to walk the line between speed and quality, and I'd say that I didn't focus on speed enough with this batch.

Alright week 4, bring it on!

October 19, 2016

Inktober pt 2

Alright, Inktober week 2 is complete!

I made some slight changes to my approach this week, and for the most part I'm pleased with the results. Pulling in pre-designed characters saved me a ton of time and helped to keep me interested throughout the process. But I still found that I was rushing to finish these in the dead of night, and I think a few suffered because of that. Overall though, I'm happy with the results.

Now, on to week 3!

October 9, 2016

Inktober pt 1


I'm a week into my first Inktober, and I'm having a blast! I'll be posting my work in batches here (every eight days, time permitting) and I'll also include some thoughts and reactions from the week.

First up, here are the rules for Inktober, pulled from the official site:
1 - Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2 - Post it online
3 - Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016
4- Repeat (you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or once a week. Whatever you decide, be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you're consistent, the better.

That's it! Now go make something beautiful.

And here are a few more constraints that I set for myself :

1 - New IP only (so no Spider-man, but also no characters or ideas from personal projects)
2 - Keep the pieces small. I've been cutting a 9x12 piece of bristol down to 9x6
3 - Traditional inks only (not that I don't love digital ink, but a big part of my interest in Inktober is pushing myself to get comfortable with traditional tools)
4 - Use the official Inktober prompt list
5 - Post every day, no break.
6 - No preplanning, no pencilling images a week ahead of time, nothing. Each day I start fresh and go from there.

For the most part these haven't been an issue, but the combo formed by the first and last constraint has proven costly. I'm spending a lot of time just getting to the point where I have something to ink, which takes my focus away from experimenting with these tools. I think having a conceptual framework to work within (be that a specific story, or cast of characters, or whatever) would speed up initial ideating process significantly.

Here are a few more quick thoughts that have occurred to me over the week:
I'm slow, and I need to work on that.
I'm getting a lot more eyes on my work than I did previously (note: I do almost no self promo, so the bar is set very low)
I'm pleased with the majority of what I've produced
Constantly experimenting with my process slows me down, and prevents me from streamlining
I'm noticing an improvement in my drawing after only 7 days
I'm happy that I haven't skipped a day, but...
Staying up until 3 to finish a drawing isn't something to be proud of, and it tends to make the next day even harder to get through
I've come up with a few concepts and characters that I would be happy to return to
Ink wash is very interesting to me, but in practice I just don't enjoy it as much as b/w line

All in all, it's been a good experience thus far, and I'm already thinking about what I'll do differently in the future. I'll make some adjustments for next week and see how that goes.

Do you do anything special to make Inktober an even better experience? If so I'd love to hear about it in the comments or on social media.


October 2, 2016

Still Kicking!

It's been a little over a month, and things have been BUSY.

Boneshaker Press wrapped up the Kickstarter for Encounters with the Imaginary with a whopping 215 backers who pledged a total of $11,201. Now we're busy putting the final touches on the book, and hoping to have it off to the printers within a week or two. That means if I'm really, really lucky I might have copies for C4! No promises though.

Edmonton Expo came and went last weekend (Sept 23rd-25th) and I had a bunch of new work at the table (attached at the bottom of this post). I'm hoping to get a few more pieces wrapped up in the next few weeks as well.

I'm also exhibiting at the Central Canada Comic Con at the end of this month! This will be my first out-of-province show and I'm from everything I've heard it's going to be a lot of fun. Really excited to check it out, but it's going to require a fair bit of work to prepare for, as this will be the first time I've had to take my con setup on a plane.

And last, but not least, I'm taking part in #Inktober this year. It's only day two and I'm already having a blast. I'll post a more substantial update on that in the near future, but if you'd like to check it out ASAP you're welcome to follow me on the twitter or instagram.

August 24, 2016

An Update on 2016

Well now, it's been 5 short months since last I posted here, and not much has changed really.

I mean, aside from the new baby, and the artbook launching on Kickstarter, and my increased involvement with the Boneshaker Press blog, and a few commissions, and personal projects picking up momentum, and, and, and.

Hunh, might be time to do a bit of catching up.

Let's start with the most pressing news.

Encounters with the Imaginary is on Kickstarter right now! And only for a few more days. I strongly recommend you check it out. Don't worry, I'll wait.

Pretty awesome, right? The guys and gals of Boneshaker Press have done an absolutely incredible job on this project, and I am so happy that I had the chance to be a part of it.

As for the Boneshaker Press blog, I'm of course a bit partial, but I think you'll enjoy it too. Lots of behind the scenes art, articles devoted to the sharing of cool stuff (great books, software, drawing tools, and so on), some great art challenges, and discussions of some of the issues facing artists today. All in all I'm really pleased with what we've put together there.

While working on the BsP blog I've learned that bite sized beats grandiose, so I'll leave it here for today and come back soon to finish catching up on everything else going on.



March 31, 2016

Post 201: Everything Changes

Whelp, this is embarrassing. Shortly after my last post, my partner on Lunar Ascension decided he wasn't willing to put in the time necessary to complete the project, and has instead opted to walk away entirely. So the project that I was most focused on finishing this year is now packed up in a box, tucked away in a closet in my studio. I'd like to revive it some day, but it's not something I'm comfortable trying to finish solo, and I'm not willing to devote the time to finding a new partner/team right now. Too many other projects pulling at my sleeve. So goal #1 is dead.

Long Live Goal #1!

But of course there's always more to do, and over the last few months I've been helping to build a new collaborative project with an amazing group of people. Boneshaker Press, and their first art book which we plan to release in the fall. It's been a fantastic experience so far, and I feel deeply honored to be involved with so many talented individuals. They are truly inspired, and inspiring, and working with them gets me very excited about what's to come. For now we're focused on getting this book finished, kickstarted, and printed. But along the way we've launched the Boneshaker Press website & blog which we plan to turn into a home for all of the lessons we, as a group and as individuals, have learned over the years. Check it out and let us know what you think!

January 12, 2016


Haven't really been paying attention, and I guess in the grand scheme of things it's not all that impressive, but this is (so blogger tells me) my 200th post!

I've been out of touch for a while (sorry!) due to being craaaazy busy. I've got some major ongoing projects (Board game, Mobile game, Tabletop RPG) that each suck up as many hours as I'm willing to let them. On top of that there's client work (can't share now, but hopefully soon), studies/training, con prep and on and on. Too much to do, and never enough time. With that in mind, I saw a fellow artist/blogger do a check in of her 2015 goals and a list of 2016 goals and thought I'd steal the idea and join in on the fun. Since this is the first time I've done this there's no 2015 list to call back to, but I'll run through the highlights to give context to the 2016 list.

2015 Wrap Up

  1. Lunar Ascension. This has probably been the biggest time sink of 2015, but we've made some real progress and I'm super excited about what 2016 has in store.
  2. Freelance. Was lucky enough to be involved in some really fun projects during 2015 (shout out to Feudal Legacy and Valhalla Comics!).
  3. TO DO Book. This might sound like a small thing, but I bought a notebook a while back (on my second one now) and have used it to track/plan every day of my life since. I'd say it's at least doubled my productivity.
  4. Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. Surprised by the amount of art I prepped for Calgary's show. I aim for 6 new pieces at every con (which tends to include an image made for the artbook) but this year produced 8 new pieces and updated 2 others. Had some big sellers in this batch too, which is always reassuring. I also spent some time building up my original art collection, which continues to be time will spent.
  5. Breal Studios. I was asked to join a pair of awesome programmers to form a game development studio back in June. We've spent the rest of the year working out the rough plan for a mobile game that we plan to execute in 2016.
  6. Sketchboxes. They need a new name, but I've been developing a sketchbook replacement system over the last year and it's been coming along pretty well. Getting parts in has been painfully slow, but I think I've got that figured out now, so things should progress much quicker throughout next year.
  7. Schoolism Subscription. I jumped on the Schoolism subscription Kickstarter and made it through Character Design Fundamentals with Stephen Silver this year. Picked up a lot of great habits and information that I look forward to implementing. I've just started into Advanced Character Design, and am looking forward to more of the same (Silver is an awesome instructor).
  8. Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. I put together 4 black back pieces for this con. Less than I like to do, but I'm quite happy with the quality of each image and I also dipped my toe into the sketch card market. Sketch cards are a lot of fun to make. Sadly they didn't sell, and they took time away from developing larger originals, so I'll have to cut them from future con prep.
  9. Oatley Academy's Painting Drama 1. I was accepted into OA's Painting Drama 1 (a 12 week course on composition that ran an exhausting 14 weeks) and have had a pretty good time there. The community is fantastic, and the information on composition is stellar. 
  10. Mall Sketching. A close friend and I have been taking some time to do a little sketching in the wild, and I'm loving it. I don't do much drawing from life, so I'm hoping this will lead to some big improvements.

2016 Goals

  1. Finish Lunar Ascension! Honestly, I'm not sure we can pull this off amidst everything else, but I'm certainly going to do my best to make it happen. I was also hoping to develop a 1 page comic for each playable character, but I'm a little worried about the amount of time that will require. Once all that is done, we have to figure out how to manufacture it and then put together a Kickstarter. We should probably head to a few gaming conventions too. Don't be surprised if this lands on the 2017 list too.
  2. "Art" the Breal Studios game. This is the other big project for the year. I've got to figure out how to animate a mobile game while doing all the character design, prop design, environment design, and a big chunk of the game design. No small task.
  3. Skull-a-Day. I just ordered a model skull, so I'll be tackling a month of Skull-a-Day asap. 
  4. Complete Proko Portrait Drawing Fundamentals. I think I'll be poking away at this while I do the Skull-a-Day challenge. I'm hoping the course will be so good that I can justify signing up for Proko's Figure Drawing and Anatomy courses as well.
  5. 6+ new pieces for Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. Some Jessica Jones (and Luke Cage) and Star Wars inspired art for sure.
  6. 6+ new pieces for Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo.
  7. ?? new pieces for Central Canada Comic Con. I'd love to stick to my 6 per con, but C4 is only a month away from Ed Expo, and I don't think it's likely that I'll be able to put together that much work in so short a time. We'll see how things go, but I'm currently thinking that it would be best to use that month to refill the sketchbook. 
  8. Finish Feudal Legacy Artwork. I'd love to see this project wrapped up and out on shelves.
  9. Build a Feudal Legacy Artbook. With any luck I'll be able to bring this along to a few cons. I haven't ever built a book, so this'll be a great to have figured out for the future.
  10. Schoolism Subscription. Advanced Character Design w/ Stephen Silver. Gesture Drawing with Alex Woo and Louis Gonzales. Intro to Digital Painting with Andrew Hou. Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu. The Art of Caricature with Jason Seiler. I'd love to say that I'll go through all of the Schoolism courses in 2016, but I don't think that's a realistic goal, so I'll aim for 5 and see how that works out.

Overarching Goal for 2016 - Freelance

My wife, the bread winner of the family, was packaged off a few months ago. She's pregnant, and likely won't return to work until 2017 at the earliest. I figure that gives me a year to get things rolling well enough to handle the financial load if that turns out to be necessary. Fingers crossed!

And now, back to work :)