Thursday, December 9, 2010



I referenced various of bugs and creepy-crawlies to design an alien that would wig me out if I were the one trapped alone with it on a spaceship. I also had fun with custom brushes and grungy textures for the worn industrial interior.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Armored Snout Badger

I set out to design a fictional but mechanically-plausible digger, so I mashed up features from some of the world's best dirt-movers: the mole, pangolin, anteater, and badger.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Golden Beets

Watercolor over Gesso

White Charcoal Pencil on Black Paper

We got these gorgeous golden beets in our weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, and I was way more excited about painting them than eating them.

I did the white-over-black gesso underpainting first, intending to add color over the top. But then I liked in it black and white so much that I did an extra white charcoal drawing on black paper so I could have it both ways. 

White Gesso over Black Gesso on Illustration Board - Underpainting

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Model Stairs

Check out these fun stairs! I used to do a lot of scale model work back when I was a scenic designer, but these I made on a whim just to play with geometry in space. 

1/4" = 1" scale. 2 1/4" tall. Balsa wood struts, cardboard plus card stock base, and the treads are made from the frosted plastic cover of an old notebook.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tree Rescue Pencil Test

Here's a pencil test I did with Ariel Gitomer. We collaborated on the story and split up the characters. She designed and animated the little girl, and I did the cat doll.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Fun

Look, I'm a walrus!

Fear & Sadness

Fear 17" x 9 1/2"

These from-life self-portraits were meant to depict the specific emotions of fear and tragedy. Fear went fairly well, but I just couldn't get a handle on tragedy. My drawing only expressed sadness. 

Later it dawned on me: I had failed to sufficiently define and understand my terms. Tragedy is a concept that can only apply to circumstances or situations. An event within a narrative can be tragic, or the whole narrative can be tragic. One can have an emotional reaction (like sadness or catharsis) to tragic event, or feel emotions (like self-pity, despair, or anger) about falling victim to tragic circumstances, but tragedy itself is not an emotion. It is a characteristic of a narrative. Without a story, there can be no tragedy.

So without a narrative, my drawing was doomed to fall short of "tragedy" and became "sadness" instead. So there it is. Enjoy.

Sadness 17" x 11"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Skin Tone Painting Challenge

I'd been doing exceedingly well in painting class, so the professor pulled me into her office one day and told me to really stretch and challenge myself on the next assignment, our first color study of skin tones. I ended up spending something like 8 hours shriveling in the bath.

This was a challenging painting for many reasons:
1. While I support the idea that if you're going to regularly ask someone else to pose nude for you, you should be willing to pose nude for yourself at least once, I was also very aware that I'd have to present it to a class of my peers. Bad body image and insecurity about whether that was an appropriate choice for a professional environment plagued me the whole time. I purposefully didn't leave myself enough time to do a second painting to ensure that I'd follow through with my original plan.

2. Any painting where a subject of that scale starts that close to the eye is going to be a perspective nightmare. It is pretty much impossible to use the standard proportion-measuring tools, and it is really easy to get a wrong impression about relative sizes due to the fact that you're translating spherical vision to a flat canvas. This isn't as much of an issue when the subject is further away because you're dealing with less distortion: the smaller the picture plane relative to the total surface area of the visual sphere, the more it resembles a flat plane.

3. To further complicate things, I wanted to play with warm and cools to set up contrast between the wet and dry bits. I started with hot water so that my skin would warm up, both literally and in color terms, but I was in there so long that my water kept cooling off, which would change the skin color.

4. Physical limitations of painting in the bath. I'd secured the bottom two corners of my painting board to either side of the tub, and I ran a big duct tape loop up the back and fitted over the tap. I had a whole set-up of tubes and mixing trays along the edge of the tub and on boxes within reach, and I tried really hard not to splash or drip when getting in or out of the water.

While I don't think I'll be doing any more paintings like this again, I'm glad I tackled it this one time.