Friday, October 30, 2009

M is for Mummy

Graphite on Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

Here is a sketch in honor of the Halloween season. I wanted to do something familiar but put a little bit of a twist on it. A screaming cat should do the trick. I used reference of a yawning hairless cat. Very frightening. I also put an eye on the left arm....a little homage to Mark Ryden. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Random Information #1

Glenn Zimmer was gracious enough to stop by and give a demo the other week in his colored pencil techniques. During his discussion he mentioned listening to talk shows while working. He associates certain areas of the artwork with what he was listening to at the time. Rich and I chimed in on some of our own experiences with this phenomenon. Below are some personal favorites of mine...left to right...

-Fat guy in a little coat...scene from "Tommy Boy" and The Preston & Steve Morning Show
-Tori Amos "From the Choirgirl Hotel" cd. (I was just out of college ... okay?!)
-Jack Johnson's "Better Together" and NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!"

Next entry will be M for ???? Oh...the anticipation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H is for Hygieia think I'm going to challenge myself and create a "Visual Alphabet". Hopefully every week I'll get a letter up. I'd like to say I'm going to stick with mythology and fantasy characters but I might stray into another genre once in a while. So "H" is the first and I'll randomly pick letters here and there.

This is a child portrait of the goddess Hygieia. She was a healer and prevented the spread of disease. She was often depicted as a young woman with one snake and a bowl. The snake represents the delivery of medicine as well as a courier of spirits from the underworld.

Gustav Klimt has a spectacular rendition of Hygieia that I used for inspiration. Go ahead and google that! You know you want to.

New York Visit

Listed from left to right....Stephen Heigh, Glenn Zimmer, Rich Harrington, Walt Reed, Dominick Saponaro, Tegan Bellitta and myself.

Last week we visited the Society of Illustrators in New York during the last days of the stunningly awesome Spectrum Exhibit.  Donato Giancola was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to provide an inspirational lecture and Q&A session for the students.  It was cold and rainy but afterwards we made it to the Illustration House to drool over some more artwork.  Floating about the premises were some Berkeys, De Seve's, Rockwells, Cornwalls, Parrish, a Dr Suess, one Sendack and a stunning Flagg.  Some were color studies, some were rough drawings.  All originals ... All breathtaking.  An experience I recommend to any illustrator.

Monday, October 19, 2009


This is the finished version of the previous sketch I posted. It is going to be printed as a black and white interior. The quote mentioned how mother nature crafts everything with such intricate care even down to each and every snowflake. My idea was to make the snowflake jewel like to emphasize the craft. I researched jewelry and found alot of interesting incorporation of beads and stones laced within silver, brass and gold. I tried to create a glow around the stones to soften the look and give it a fluffy snowy appearance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drop Caps - Final

This is a follow up to a previous post on drop caps. They will be printed in black and white at probably about 1 inch in height. Keeping the final print size in mind I tried to keep the value somewhat simple. I kept getting carried away with the detail so I had to make sure those little areas were keyed in properly. Below I have a close up of the "A". I particularly enjoyed painting the Queen Ann's Lace as well as the drippy background. Karen Appleton sites a quote from Alfred Sisley that I found appropriate for this little painting..."Every painting shows a spot with which the artist has fallen in love".

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Painting Demo

This is a demo I did for my class at the University of the Arts. The class is based on the techniques of Corel Painter...a digital program that mimics traditional medium. I used an image of one of my mom's irises and painted it using the the oil brushes. No matter if you choose to paint digitally or traditionally you have to understand drawing, composition, color and value. The computer will not magically make everything beautiful which is a common misconception when considering digital work.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Graphite on Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

This is a piece that I am currently working on. The final will be published in black and white but I decided to paint it in a limited palette of blues. Before going to final I did make a few changes from the sketch. I felt the snowflake was too centralized so I moved the whole composition over to the right. This cut off a bit of the ribbon shape on the left but I felt it made a more interesting flow through out the composition. I drew one leg of the snowflake and after scanning I copied and rotated it to create a solid repetitive shape. Traditionally I would do this with tracing paper but photoshop makes it so much faster! I will post the final when I finish it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cardos and Scottish Thistles

This is a combination of two thistle flowers. One from Italy and the other from Scotland. I tried to combine the different elements of leaves and thorns from each one towards the bottom. The first is a pencil sketch (traditional) and the second is a digital painting. I am currently working on several pieces for a client so hopefully I'll have some more fun stuff to post. I have a very long week of painting ahead but plan to take a few breaks here and there to spend some quality time walking my basset hound....preferably with his new banana outfit I bought him. Hmmmm....maybe the next sketch?