Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007


A drawing of Shimon Peres, I did it for Bryan Larsen's guest sketchbook, Bryan's a great artist check out his portfolio or the blog. Bryan's blog has a closer look at the drawing, but for this one I wanted to use an old composition style. Maybe you've seen old portrait drawings that are small and centered on a large paper allowing a lot of empty space to frame the drawing. Pencil on paper, the old paper texture was also added afterwords for interest.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I have been fielding a lot of questions about the brushes I use so I thought I would just post it so I could refer people here in the future. (These are in Corel Painter)

This picture is a nearly comprehensive list of the brushes that I use in order of their frequency:

1-This is a custom brush made by the great Ryan Wood(you can probably make something similar using a round oil pastel brush and adjusting in the brush editor). It is really basic, I like that it picks up some of the underlying color and is a solid stroke.

2-The felt tip pen, I use this brush for nearly all line work and sometimes to darken areas. As I begin to lose the structure of a painting I use the hard felt lines to reestablish those interesting shapes.(example)

3-2B-pencil, very useful basic soft edge, all-purpose tool. I can soften edges, do linework, and fix blending areas.(example)

4-Digital airbrush, similar to 2B but it creates kind of a diffusion with random colors, sometimes I want the color variation,usually just on the underpainting.

5-Smeary wet sponge 160, sometimes a cool tool for grainy edges and building up color.(example)

6-F-X Glow brush sometimes useful for lighting up an area or adding highlights, I rarely use it.

I am really not a tool or software guy. I usually just find something that works and stick with it, that is why my oil painting brushes are so trashed. But hopefully this helps any interested in the brushes that I use. Questions?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

National Gallery

Another digital painting of a sculpture titled Giuseppe Balsamo, Comte di Cagliostro, located in the National Gallery in Washington DC by Jean-Antoine Houdon.
This type of painting, in my opinion, is a useful exercise because it is very difficult to paint the extremely subtle color shifts of the lighting and the volume and shapes. I wanted to spend some more time but needed to post and also was losing interest in the clothing. I love to do faces but quickly get bored with backgrounds and other elements, I think I like the challenge of faces and to a lesser extent hands. But the unfinished nature of the body shows a little of my process that I go into. "General to specific" is my highest rule. This was done in Painter using only the pencil tool, probably took a little over 3 hours.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Finally a oil painting to post, actually this was done a few months ago. It feels a little unfinished to me but maybe that is okay, it will continue to sit to the side as I decide over the next long while. I really need to drop everything and do more painting because that is what I want to do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sketchbook #20

a drawing. I have noticed a subtle tendency toward more looseness in my sketchbook, although maybe that was the plane turbulence. In the past all of the drawings looked a lot tighter see here for an example.
Now, I do like the looseness but I would like the drawings to be better then they are currently. Most of it has to do with my preoccupation with other illustration projects that haven't let me draw as much as I would like.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

sketchbook #19

A newer drawing, a little heavy on the straight lines. I've gotten into the habit of using my mechanical pencil, but would like to get more drawings using shading and a regular pencil.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

figure #7

A recent figure drawing that, I feel, has some nice things going. Unfortunately time was short after I missed on the first try, this was my second attempt.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I carpool with this guy.
He scares me, but with gas prices like they are, what are you going to do?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is the drawing from a new oil painting I am just starting. I am really excited for it because I like the composition(not shown here) a lot. I don't produce oil paintings as much as I would like, primarily because it is difficult to get quality compositions and reference.

Also, I have a new addition to my favorite contemporary artists list. I went to Doug Fryer's show this past weekend, it was inspiring work. His strong traditional art skills make his loose landscape painting work. In my opinion, loose work is much harder to pull off then tight realistic work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


For lack of anything better, I thought I would post an underdrawing for a in-progress painting. I did this yesterday in about 30 minutes. Through practice I am able to really leave out all the unnecessary lines and really focus just on the important lines and shapes that will give me the information I need for the painting.

Stay tuned for the progression.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

step 2

Here is the second step in the progression of my painting(see first step here). Basically the drawing has been set to it's own layer and the general colors are built underneath. At this point I drop the drawing and start into it, you can see where I've started under the eyes. I don't really use layers until the end as a tool to adjust saturation and darks and lights, similar to a wash layer in oil painting. The colors are pretty grey but I work that out as I go.

I thought I would go with a bright yellow background to see if I could make it work. I've always wanted to use yellow like this beautiful N.C. Wyeth pirate painting.

Friday, October 12, 2007

step 3

The third step is on a flattened image, I just start to flesh the thing out trying to introduce as much color variation as possible. Most of it is just done by picking a color and putting it down, but a little of it is blending and reestablish lines that have been lost. With the foundation I have from step 2 I can push the colors and and shapes to add interest.
I work in Corel Painter, this step probably took a little less than a couple of hours.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Here is the final step with it's finish piece. I guess it loses the impact seeing all of the steps leading up to this finish, but I like the background texture. This was finished with just a few layers set to different opacity's to add color and atmosphere. It feel like it needs some text in the negative space(don't worry I wont add any).
I almost forgot, props to Joe Olsen for his brilliant drawings used subliminally as background noise.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

figure #6

A recent figure drawing, Nupastel on white 18"x24" drawing paper. I can't figure out how to get a good digital representation of the drawings yet.
I sat next to the great Adam Ford, you can see his superior version here. Adam is a master of shadow and lost edges. And this one has some beautiful form work, and his mid-tone shadows are unbelievable.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The ring

A now book cover illustration done a couple months back. I am really happy with the outcome here. I love doing illustrations digitally, no mess. Apparently the story surrounds the ring, thus it's prominent position in the composition. I had one stressful few hours searching for the ring after we had friends over and their baby got a hold of it and decided to hide it in our towel basket. This was done in Painter, I really like the effect of the loose stroke work in the arms especially with it's colors variation. The fabric is less loose, obviously, but I enjoy painting folds(and hair) couldn't tell you why.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Figure drawing #5

At Avalanche we have a weekly figure drawing session. This is my results this week, I am fairly pleased with it. More than any other medium, figure drawing feels like chasing a carrot, I never am totally happy but it always feels like I am just on the brink of really doing a good drawing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Website redesign

I have just unveiled my new version 3.0 of Please visit and tell me what you think of the new format. Also, please tell me if you find any bugs, have any trouble with the layout, or get a really slow load speed.

Friday, September 14, 2007


A digital painting I did from reference I took of a sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. It was a beautiful statue that I unfortunately do not remember the name or title because I didn't write it down.
I have a theory that sculpture is a more forgiving medium to work in. I might be wrong, but it seems that it is harder to see mistakes in 3 dimensions. Don't get me wrong there are some unbelievable artists and artwork done in sculpture, this is one example, another is everything done by Bernini. But I really love sculpture and hope to get the time to do more of it someday.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

the Artist

I guess I previewed this one early by putting it up on my website, but this is my newest oil painting. This was done from a photo I took when I visited Burt Silverman at his New York studio. My wife interned with him so I have connections, but he is a great guy and obviously a master artist. If you look close you can see he's got his artwork hanging all around his studio, some of the most beautiful stuff I've ever seen. It's 14"x18" oil on board.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Along with all of my painting and drawing I do some 3D modeling as my job is in the modeling department of Disney interactive. This is just a personal project I am working on. 3D work and sculpture is surprisingly near to drawing. I think the shape making and composition skills involved in drawing apply themselves well to modeling. My experience seems to be that if you can draw it you can model it. Be aware there is a learning curve involved in learning the 3D programs though.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday afternoon drawing

A Friday afternoon painting exercise. I almost exclusively use Corel Painter for my digital painting work.
This is a copy of a great portrait done by classical painter Paul Delaroche you can see the original here. I don't know if the original was black and white or not.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Looking around at old cowboy pictures, I think it is funny that they all have that deer in the headlights look on their face, maybe they hadn't realised they were getting a picture taken. I really like to paint sepia toned paintings, It is such a huge weight off my mind to not have to worry about color at the same time as I'm thinking about value, composition, drawing, line, etc. This tooks maybe 3 hours. Anyway a fun topic for the Avalanche blog.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I found a really cool picture of Mark Twain. The first version looked like Stalin, so I had to start over(wouldn't want to support an ideology, although he does have a red robe).
I tried very hard to keep this one loose.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


A recent piece of freelance work. It's a pencil drawing on illustration board. I decided to leave the pedestal he is sitting on unshaded as a design decision, a little more graphic. Tell me if you think it was a good decision or not.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Joe who?

From the crazy mind of the great Joe Olsen comes my newest illustration. Joe's always got insane drawings that lend themselves to painting so well. So Ryan Wood did an beautiful version that you can see here, and inspired me to have a go at it. Initially I was satisfied with my first color pass, then I took another look at Ryan's and after the deep depression wore off, I had to go back for another couple hours to produce this version that is much better(though still far short of Ryan's).

Also: Check out Sam Nielson's awesome version here. He's done a killer job of creating a 3D feel that I am very envious of. Very original take too, mine may have been too heavily influenced by Ryan's.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


An unfinished painting I have been back and forth with. Completion becomes uncertain at about the point that I finish the face. I am always trying to keep things loose but my natural tendency is to highly finish, I guess I am a perfectionist. My wife modeled for it, she is a great artist herself, you can see some work at her blog.

Monday, July 02, 2007

sketchbook Pacino

A new sketchbook drawing. Another Al Pacino, It is a lot more detailed then an earlier version that you can see here. I came across Sebastian Kruger's brilliant work on his blog and was blown away by this beautiful drawing. He does a fantastic job of creating interesting line work, for example notice the interest added by the line width changes on his arm. He is also great at creating form and shading.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Electioneering (sketchbook #14)

Tonight's drawing. The likeness was way off but I kept at it and now it seems to work okay. Sometimes, if I go into enough detail, I lose a single center of interest, it's something I struggle with on most of my artwork.
I like to draw and have gotten away from it with all of the other projects underway.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pointer (alpha)

Upon request, I have the first version of the below picture here. Almost all of my digital painting work is done in Corel Painter. I initially(and probably still do) thought the beach scene would be a little more interesting, but gave it up in favor of a easier though less interesting background. I would love to hear which you think is more appealing. Also, on the right is a drawing/finish contrast, my new underdrawing method is pretty quick and messy with the felt tip pen tool.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The newest digital painting. I guess I just like faces. They are interesting. I worked hard for a cool background but in the end failed and had to give up. Actually I have very limited interest in backgrounds( obviously). I usually finish the character then it's like a race to decide on and complete a background, I have about 1 hour before my interest trails off and I give up. I was working on a beach scene, once again choose your own adventure when it comes to the story.
Hat tip to Joe for the E.T. finger idea.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


My latest. Oil on board 18"x24"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Figure Drawing #4

This is a recent figure drawing I did in the class I taught. Unfortunately the class was only 2 hours, which is no where near enough time to do a full drawing. Plus, being the teacher limited my time even more. But I revisited this one for 30 minutes last night, cleaning up lines and things. Done in Nu pastel on 18" x 24" paper.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sketchbook #11

A new drawing. I love to draw in my sketchbook, and may have already said that I attribute any talent I have to my sketchbook. I am really interested in faces, likenesses, this is Steven Spielberg. Hopefully I've captured it, I also really like the very subtle caricature/stylization, so subtle that you almost don't recognize it without looking closely.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Finally the painting of this previous drawing. I like to paint them then they sit around for a few weeks while I decide whether I like them or not. I am okay with this one, but I took this picture using the flash from the edge and really like the light right side progressing to dark(the actual painting doesn't have that effect) so I think I will get back and rework the background. I would be happy to hear peoples opinions.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Figure drawing #3

I have been doing a lot of figure drawing work lately, including teaching a college course. I've liked it, and actually have noticed some improvement in my drawings, maybe just by thinking more about some of the process.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Figure drawing #2

A figure drawing I did. Sometimes I do large 18"x24" drawings from photos or drawings of great artists as a way to practice my linework. I find if I do one the night before a real life drawing I get much better results. It also helps to have more time, not being rushed between models breaks, etc. One problem I am still working on is my habit of high key drawing, I never get darks as dark as I would like, this drawing benefits from the contrast edit tool.
This is done from a reference I have from William Whitaker. A great artist. Check out an interesting and useful demo of his painting technique here.
Also, for some unbelievable examples of flawless figure drawings, see Adam Ford's figure drawing sight here. I highly recommend copying his work for great instruction.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sketchbook #10

I've been away but here is a drawing. It is Scooter Libby if you know who that is. I have always preferred profiles.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Figure drawing #1

This is a drawing from Friday's 3-hour session. I used Nupastel. It is the first one I have been happy with for a while. I really feel like life-drawing is the weekest link of all of my different art styles that I work in. I don't want to vote it off but it really needs to shape up. Actually I really enjoy it. Usually I am decently pleased with a drawing but I put it away and come back to it a few hours later and I can suddenly see all of the terrible drawing problems.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


A charcoal sketch out of my sketchbook. I like to draw with Nupastel, charcoal, Conte because of the ability to smudge. I do a first pass then wipe over it with a paper towel, then continue to refine and pull out highlights with an eraser. Important: spray it with crystal clear or hairspray when you are done or you will have a mess.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sketchbook #9

Another dip into the old sketchbook. Just a typical page. I just draw whatever strikes me as interesting in whatever space is available. I like to expirement a little, trying a different approach with each. You'll notice the left one is a little more graphic/shape oriented, the bottom more focused on line, and the top a little stylized and stretched.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Drawing awaiting paint

A new drawing I am doing in preparation of a new oil painting.I am all of the sudden having trouble finding the right size Masonite board or I may have been finished with the painting by now. I really like painting on board because it allows for so much of my style to show, without fighting the canvas texture. I am excited to get started with this one because I am happy with the drawing, that is probably the most important thing to keep you going with a new painting through the long hours.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Manly women

A painting done for the Avalanche blog. I don't know where my crazy ideas come from. I just start to paint and the ideas develop with the drawing. I used a man as reference which is still a little too apparent, though some of the manly features work well for the subject.

Monday, January 08, 2007


You may recognize this painting as a color version of this previous painting. I thought it would be a great idea to do a black and white painting to get all of the values out of the way before I started into the color beast. I learned that is not a good way to paint. I went over the face with the colors then continued onto the rest of the painting only to discover the face was very very gray. So basically I ended up doing 3 or 4 layers of paint to get what I wanted. The black and white underpainting turned into a huge time waster, maybe it could work with a sepia tuned value study?

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Brush

A quick paint up of the previous drawing. I tries out the Cali brush style. Now obviously they are nowhere near her brilliant use of colors but I am happy the direction.
It was really a very handy tool. I loved the colors that I got from the method and I will absolutely use it in the future, at least to get my preliminary colors. It helps by gradually building up colors in a direction rather then putting down the color immediately, and it follows art's most universal rule of working "general to specific".