Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Two in One!

Well I've been a bit crazed this past week finishing up these two images and getting everything ready for San Diego Comicon this weekend. But they're done now! I had a lot of fun painting my Mother Nature piece, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Let me know what you guys think!

And here's my final "Berserker Lord" painting from the Illustration Master Class!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mother Nature

So here is my Mother Nature piece. It is supposed to depict human's instinct to explore all facets of mother nature, and how she provides for us. How discovery only fuels the mystery of who mother nature is and how we can coexist.

Mother Nature, 18" x 12", Oil on Paper on Masonite, 2009.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Here is my final for the Illustration Master class.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Becca's IMC Lady of the Lake Final

Here it is at long last, the final Lady of the Lake, begun at the Illustration Master Class, polished up at home. It was such a luxury to paint all day every day for a whole week! This beautiful weather has us all running around outside like happy little squirrels - that, combined with Comic-Con preparations has put other painting progress on hold. More updates are in the works, and Comic-Con is next week!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Owen's Mother Nature Sketch

So I've changed up the composition so it's a lot less static. The trees will be covered in leaves and moss, I just like to define the form now and wait for the paint to make the textures.

Scotts Mother Nature Sketch

Here's mine!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Becca's Mother Nature Sketch

Well I certainly am squeaking this in just under the wire, but here it is! My sketch for the Mother Nature project. The main thing that might not be perfectly clear from the sketch is that it is going to be nighttime, or dusk, so there will be some stars in the sky. Also, tendrils of green will be growing from her left hand, and her right foot. OK, if anyone has ideas, lemme have it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Owen's IMC

It's hard to review what went down this past week, it flew by in such a blur. We started with a crit on the sketch with Boris Vallejo and Scott Fischer. This stage was the most revised part of the piece. I tilted the entire drawing, to emphasize the diagonals, got rid of the second tower in the background and made the city a bit further into the distance. I did a lot of erasing. Next came the background and sky, realized the clouds were to bright and didn't look convincing, so I darkened those and started on the building. The shadows of the building would not nearly have been so convincing if I had not made a tiny model. After laying in the building for 2 days or so, there weren't many things being said by the faculty, mostly just "looks great" or "keep going". Dan Dos Santos pushed me to lay in the figure soon, because thats something that they could help me with. So once the building was layed in, I started on the skin tones. I kept it fairly loose, just laying in darks and highlights, then blending the colors together. The next day, saturday, as I was laying in the outfit of the wizard, Donato came by and showed me how to make a nice worn, weathered look to the castle. Glazing down a warm tone with a lot of medium, then putting some cadmium orange in the areas wear water would pool. This little detail added a whole new life to my painting. By the sunday morning at about 3:30 am the surface of painting was completely filled in.
This was an absolutely amazing experience. One of the best weeks of my life, and it was spent working day and night.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Scott's IMC Sketch

Here's my preliminary sketch for the IMC! Check back for more updates throughout the week!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

IMC Sketch

For the Illustration Master Class, I am doing a futuristic/steampunk take on the Wizard of Oz. It is a depiction of the actual Wizard on a balcony on one of the high towers of the Emerald City. He is looking out and in the reflection of the spyglass he hold will be Dorothy's house moments before it falls on the witch. Can't wait for this class.

Becca's IMC Lady of the Lake Thumbs

These are thumbnails for the Illustration Master Class project. I've chosen the Lady of the Lake assignment (I'm also working on the children's book option...perhaps more on that later). The challenge with this assignment is that there are many different stories and depictions of the Lady of the Lake. I have chosen to go with an older, slightly less romanticized version. Rather than the oft-seen arm rising out of the lake to give Excalibur (the sword) to Arthur, this version depicts the Lady (who also goes by Viviane, Nimue, etc) as a priestess of the island of Avalon, a place somewhere between the world of Man and that of Faerie, where Excalibur is forged. Merlin (a magician and bard) is in love with her, and teaches her all of his magic. So, the Lady, Merlin, and Excalibur, are inextricably linked. My idea is to have the Lady standing in the lake (she doesn't live underwater), holding Excalibur in its sheath, with Merlin watching from the banks of Avalon, somewhat hidden in the trees and melting into the background. I think #5 is my favorite in terms of the Lady's pose - I like the idea of seeing her legs underwater, with fish swimming around, but I'm having trouble with where Merlin would fit into that composition. Ideas??

Monday, June 8, 2009

Becca's Mother Nature Thumbs

POST-MASTER CLASS UPDATE! Ok don't hate me! I have added these new (better) thumbnails (above). You can't blame me for getting inspired by the Illustration Master Class! The first one is Mother Nature and Father Sky, the bottom one is Mother Nature by herself - in both of them, the idea is that she will have tendrils of green flowing from her fingers, and her dress will ripple and meld with the earth/bark/flora. I imagine the background to be a dark forest, and she'll be glowing...

So the old thumbs are pretty much moot, but I'll leave them down there anyways for...posterity...

OK, here are the Mother Nature thumbnails. The first two thumbnails are an attempt at making a statement industrialization/pollution vs nature - with mother nature rising out of the ground and looking with distain and alarm at the factories/farms/etc that have begun to spread over her. The third one, the idea is that she is a mountain, and her face is cut into the stone. The fourth and fifth ones are similar ideas...I like the idea of mother nature being made out of the earth itself. The third one would be pretty self-indulgent, but we all know how I love to draw those animals :) Suggestions! Comments! Criticisms please!

Owen's Green Thumbs

These are my thumbnails for the Mother Nature piece.  Personally I am really jazzed about the third one, I may do a different perspective, but the idea of Mother Nature as this tree goddess bearing fruit for man, I really like.

Mother Nature sketch and Master Class Thumbnails

Here's my sketch for the upcoming Mother Nature assignment. I did a few more thumbnails, but I really like this one so unless you all absolutely hate it...i want to do this one! Anyhow, it's a bit more conceptual J.J. Palencar-esque.
She is in a kind of trance-like pose floating over a field of dead sunflowers. In the background are tornados twisting across the landscape. It is sort of an allegorical image representing how mother nature often destroys life just as quickly as she gives it, thus continuing the necessary cycle. Let me know what you think.
And below are my thumbnails for my Illustration Master Class assignment: It is an epic fantasy cover sample for the book Berserker Lord. It is basically a battle scene between the main character and his companion against a hungry polar bear on an iceberg. I think i'm leaning towards the first and fifth ones, but I'll take any suggestions i can get! Sorry they're a bit loose. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Assignment: Mother Nature

For our next project, we asked Dennis Nolan, a fantastic illustrator and a former professor of ours from the Hartford Art School, to come up with an assignment for us. And boy oh boy did he deliver! This is what he sent us:

"Your illustration assignment, should you choose to try it, is a painting of Mother Nature (in all her glory, of course). You may use any imagery you like as long as it qualifies as an allegorical interpretation. You can invent the setting and include as much flora and fauna as makes your picture work and may choose any storyline you wish to pursue. In regards to the last, clarity of intention is paramount (sound familiar). Sharpen your pencils, the clock is ticking."

Demanding, creative, timely, and open-ended - a classic Dennis Nolan assignment! And speaking of a ticking clock, here is our project schedule:

Monday, June 8th - Thumbnails due
(June 14-21st - Master Class!)
Monday, June 29th - Sketch and reference
Monday July 13th - Final due

Time to get cracking - thanks Dennis!

Also, keep an eye out for postings related to the Master Class assignments - it's comin' up fast!

News and Results!

Hello All! Thanks so much for all your GREAT comments on the Agents of Artifice assignment. We are very happy with the finished paintings, and loved getting feedback, so thank you!

And, in an exciting twist, Becca's piece got an honorable mention from Wizards of the Coast! See it here.

We are now preparing for the Illustration Master Class, which will take place at Amherst College from June 15-21. It is sure to be an enlightening (and sleepless) week! We will also soon be posting a new assignment from the venerable Dennis Nolan, one of our favorite illustrators in the whole world! Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scott's Final

So here's mine hot off the drafting table. I'm pretty happy with how it came out, and I think it'll be a nice addition to my portfolio in the direction I want to be heading. Now I think I need sleep....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Becca's Agents of Artifice Final

The deadline for the competition is today, and I think we've all squeaked in just under the wire (I know Scott and I were both burning the 3am oil last night). I'll submit the painting to Wizards of the Coast this evening. Results won't come out for at least a few weeks, and I'm sure there will be a lot of high quality entries, given the huge fan base (there are a lot of us art nerds out there). No matter what the outcome of the competition, I am happy to have done this painting.

Owen's Agents of Artifice Final

I know it's been a few weeks since we updated this thing, but it's been a busy time.  Anyway this is the final image as I sent it to Wizards of the Coast.  I'm quite happy with it, if it doesn't win the contest, it was still a great excuse to incorporate some more high fantasy into my portfolio.  I haven't done a dragon since college.

Monday, April 13, 2009


For those new visitors, we are working through our newest painting. See the beginning here.
Check back for weekly updates!

Becca's Drawing

So here it is! Click the image to view it larger. In the scene, Baltrice and Jace are in the the village of Kamigawa, which is located in a jungle swamp. Baltrice is meant to have flames in her hands and eyes - she is holding a ball of fire in her right hand, and in her left the flames are dying out a bit because it is raining. Let me know what you think is working/not working/missing, etc!

Scott's Drawing

Here's a quick color comp that I did up in photoshop the other day before starting my drawing. This helped me to think more clearly about colors (though they will most likely change), and the general composition and pose. Sometimes I like to do this if I'm having trouble with an image.
...And this is my final drawing ready for printing and mounting. I couldn't get my photo to lighten up enough without washing out some parts. So to help, I did a little highlighting in photoshop to show where the lightest areas will be. I think I need to hit the face a little more just to give it that pop, since it's the most important part of the image. Any suggestions or comments are encouraged!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Owen's Drawing

So this is the final drawing for the Agents of Artifice piece. I guess it's pretty straight forward. It will start looking a lot cooler once the painting aspect is started.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Scott's Thumbs

So here we go. I've managed to conjure up 5 thumbnails that I'm fairly happy with. #1 and #2 are images of Lilliana towards the beginning of our story. #1 is supposed to be more of an above view while she is levitated conjuring...something. #2 is  similar to #1, she is levitated with a long tunic and cape bellowing around her. The shapes all around her are of this dark matter that is described as flowing all around her as she summons. She also has glowing purple tattoos that are on her skin when she is casting. #3 is a scene from Grixis, Jace is standing in a floor of zombies and bones and corpses that have come to life and are pulling him down, when Lilliana appears through the cyclonic storm hovering down towards Jace. Her head is described as being thrown back in concentration and her eyes glowing the same deep purple as her runic tattoos. Her arms are said to be outspread while she coaxes the demons back to inanimate state. #4 shows Tezzeret on the ground in the foreground after being thrown through the bronze doors of his tower. There is fire and smoke filling the large arched doorway and the figure of Jace is seen emerging from the smoke. His eyes are glaring blue in his concentration. We can see Tezzeret's metal fist. #5 is an action scene of Lilliana underneath a large bronze mechanical spidery thing that is about to come at her. it is said to have needles for a face and made of various gears and steam. 

Becca's Thumbs

Here they are! Installment #1 for project #1! I chose the scene where Jace (the main character) and Baltrice (a woman who is his co-worker) go to the village of Kamigawa. Baltrice has a power that allows her to control fire, and she's just set some of the village on fire - her eyes glow with flame, and I imagine her hands do as well. There is a great description of this little hut that belongs to the village shaman, who has called the rain to put out Baltrice's fire. So in the scene, it's nighttime and raining, in the center of the jungle village. Baltrice's eyes glow with fire, and Jace has cloaked himself in shadows - he doesn't entirely trust Baltrice and her powers, so he looks at her warily. They are about to confront the village leader, who is in one of the huts behind them...I've put up four thumbnail sketches for this scene, and numbered them (in no particular order). I think the biggest question in my head right now is whether these should be full-figure (#2,#4) or portrait (#3)...I've pretty much ruled out thumb #1, but let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Owen's Thumbs

So this is the first of many posts each week showing the process of a painting. This week we are going to show the thumbnails for the Agents of Artifice contest piece. This is a crucial step, it determines the entire direction in which the final is going to come out. It is a huge decision making step. The three best options I have come up with vary in style and perspective. The scene is one in which a summoned dragon is facing off against a group of summoned mechanical tentacles reaching from the ground. The battle take place in a courtyard in the middle of ancient ruins. The first thumbnail shows the fight in a dramatic horizontal angle, the second is tough to make out but it is the fight from more of the tentacles perspective and the dragon breathing flame towards the viewer. The third is a verticle piece in which the tentacles are pulling the dragon down which shows more of how the battle ends, because the dragon does lose.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Assignment: Agents of Artifice

Wizards of the Coast is running a fan art contest, and we have decided to use this for a project - and enter the contest, of course! The assignment is to create an illustration based on a favorite scene from the new book Agents of Artifice by Ari Marmell. Copies of the book in hand, we are studiously reading away, and will soon be posting thumbnail sketches for the assignment. Check back to help critique our progress!