Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Was Outstanding

A bulk of the work I made in 2013.

Wow, it's been an interesting year for me. Thanks to everyone who worked with me, supported me, "liked" my art on facebook, bought a skull mug, and otherwise inspired and encouraged me to live my dreams. So many things happened! I think this calls for a bullet list.
  • When 2012 ended, I had had enough of working as a web designer. The work itself was fine, but working as a full time designer, I got tired of being laid off. If I was going to be poor, I might as well be poor doing what I wanted, so I bought a new tablet and made the resolution that 2013 was the year I would become a professional fantasy illustrator. No distractions, no baloney.
  • And it happened! 
  • I made a bunch of work, some better than others (see above). In previous years, I would consider myself lucky to finish 1 painting every few months. The above image doesn't even include much of the work I've done in the last couple of months!
  • I went to Illuxcon, not knowing anyone or anything about it, and met some great people. The fantasy illustration community is such a positive and supportive group! I think there is a love and appreciation of each others' work that isn't as strong in other related fields. I also got to meet and got feedback from incredible art directors Zöe Robinson, Jon Schindehette, Lauren Panepinto, and Marc Scheff. As well as living legends Jeff Easley and Donato Giancola (and many more!!!). I was hesitant to go, but it was very much worth the trip and one of the most valuable investments i've made in my life.
  • I got a wake-up critique from the afore-mentioned Jon Schindehette, which led me to make better work and to write an article about rejection that led to a feature in Imagine FX.
  • I got a job at a major animation studio working on a(n amazing) secret project.
  • I got to work with THE R.A. Salvatore on a project, and he sent me an e-mail!
  • I got to make a contribution to the Whedonverse! (I'll post more about that later!)
  • My daughter grew up leaps and bounds, and I was able to be there with her, working half time and being a dad the other half. Something that wouldn't have happened if I was at a 9 to 5 job.
Looking forward to 2014, I just want things to keep going how they're going, so I guess here's a list of some of my goals:
  • Ramp up on painting in oils again.
  • Get to work on Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Make at least 8 personal pieces.
  • Do a book cover.
  • See a movie in a theatre.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays!

 I hope you're having a casual post-christmas. I finished my yearly painting in a series I call "Alpha Santa", where I like to imagine Santa shaped by the harsh-environment of the North Pole. This one is called "God Emperor of Christmas". This year, as a departure from the last two years, I wanted to show him in a religious, reverent way. So I went with a centered composition, inspired by this painting from William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

The Motherland - by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
I've been thinking of what to do with the elves for a while, now. They are implied by the arrows in "End of the Hunt I" (the one with the yeti), and last year's painting with Rudolph was originally going to be Santa knife-fighting with the king of the elves. I have purposefully kept from doing to much research into various elements of the Santa myth (like why he gets to boss around a magical race of little people) because I am pretty certain I'd like my own version better.

Planning the composition was really fun. I decided to approach it very formally, placing elements in a very deliberate manner according to two inverted golden rectangle cascades. The result was a symmetrical (both vertically and horizontally) picture, where I got to have a lot of figures and elements. It was a very fun painting to execute. It was also a good opportunity to switch it up from the tilted-action perspective illustrations I worked on for the last 2 months.

Here are the last 2 years' Santa paintings. I like seeing how i'm slowly getting better over the course of time.