Monday, September 28, 2015

Mermaid Monday

It's your last chance to get my new sketchbook at 10% off! The sale ends this Wednesday night, September 30th. Don't worry –– even if you miss the sale, you always get an original sketch in your book!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

ECCC 2016 Tickets Go on Sale Wednesday

Emerald City Comicon is getting bigger every year. In 2016, ECCC starts on a Thursday, making it a four-day show for the first time. Passes for the con have started to sell out earlier each year, and for the last couple of years they've sold out well before the start of the convention. If you're thinking about attending ECCC in 2016, get ready! Tickets go on sale at 12 PM Pacific this Wednesday, September 23rd. I'm happy to report I'll be back at Artist Alley. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When in Doubt, Draw an Elf

A recent sketch drawn in a copy of my new sketchbook, Fabled Earth.
Don't forget, the 10% off sale (and free shipping for Gen Con customers) ends in two weeks!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Building a Fictional World

Just because it's The Wasteland, it doesn't mean that people can't make beautiful things.
– George Miller

A few years ago, I discussed an exhibit displayed at Seattle's EMP Museum about the movie Avatar from the standpoint of fictional world-building. Last week, Vinod and I sat down to watch the extras on our Mad Max: Fury Road Blu-ray, looking forward to similar insights into the world of Mad Max. Though we were disappointed there was no audio commentary for the film, the making-of featurettes were very interesting. They did a great job showcasing the thoughtful attention given to the creation of a post-apocalyptic dystopia that both expands and builds upon the world imagined by George Miller and Byron Kennedy beginning with the original film and continuing with my favorite of the series, Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior. My favorite featurette was Tools of the Wasteland, which covered the creation of the costumes and props.

When director George Miller says,"When you're trying to create a world that doesn't exist, you have to have some very solid ground rules," he succinctly points out what it is that sets sci-fi and fantasy movies with plausible worlds apart from those that fail to successfully immerse the viewer. You can extend the same train of thought to world-building in any creative medium. If the audience asks too many questions about aspects of the world that don't feel authentic, the illusion collapses.

Another great series of videos was released with the Blade Runner 5-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition" DVD and "Complete Collector's Edition" Blu-ray sets. (That's a mouthful!) The feature-length documentary Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner covers almost everything from the writing of the script to the concept art (see Syd Mead's incredible paintings in the video below) to the fraught production of the movie itself. Additional featurettes examine graphic design and costuming. So much attention to detail went into the creation of 2019 L.A. that artists working on the film even invented magazines about weird future subjects, illustrated the covers, and stocked them at newsstands barely seen in the background during street scenes. This is the dedication needed to build the kind of depth the best fantasy and sci-fi can offer. There's a reason both Blade Runner and the Mad Max movies have had such a massive impact on sci-fi visuals and filmmaking.

I encourage anyone interested in creating a believable (and beloved) fictional world to look for these making-of films. Please keep in mind these are featurettes for R-rated movies, so view at your discretion.

Do you have any favorite "making-of" featurettes or documentaries? Share them in the comments!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Playmat Art

At Gen Con this year I was asked to do a playmat commission by a satisfied customer for whom I had done a smaller playmat sketch years ago. I accepted with a bit of trepidation. Playmat sketches combine a couple of art fears of mine: inking, which I don't do often enough, and the inability to erase or otherwise cover up mistakes.

I started with a rough pencil sketch and then used Micron pens in sizes 005, 01, 03 and 05 to complete the drawing. It turned out to be a fun challenge and I enjoyed working on it. And luckily my customer was satisfied once again!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

My New Sketchbook Is Here!

New painting!

I'm excited to announce I've finally made another sketchbook! My last sketchbook, Journey, was printed in 2009. It seemed like the right time to put together a new one.

The fourth in my series of sketchbooks, Fabled Earth has a color wrap-around cover featuring a new painting, and 68 pages packed with character and creature designs, rough sketches, finished drawings and even a couple illustrations in full color. The book's content spans the last several years' worth of my drawings for clients such as Cricket Magazine and Paizo, as well as personal work and development sketches for The Explorer's Guide to Drawing Fantasy Creatures. The matte finish on both the cover and interior pages does a nice job replicating the color of my paintings and the softness of my graphite drawings. And all the paper is recycled if you care about that sort of thing.

Each sketchbook measures 6 by 9 inches and comes signed by me.

New book!

The book has both rough development sketches and finished drawings.
An example of one of the full-color images in the book.

Pretty rocks in photo not included.

To buy a copy visit my Etsy shop, Fabled Earth Art. I will also be adding the sketchbook to my (new! improved!) website shop page soon. It will be 10% off until the end of September. Neat!

For those of you who picked up my promotional coupon at Gen Con, don't forget to enter the code when you check out on Etsy. Please note that the free shipping offer ends on September 30th, 2015. If you choose not to order on Etsy, once I put the book up for sale on just include a note to me with the coupon code and I will honor it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gen Con 2015 in Pictures

Hello there.
Another Gen Con has come and gone. We did not attend in 2014 so it was nice to be back this year and see familiar faces. Thank you to Art Show coordinators Barbara, Diesel, and the rest of the Gen Con staff; all of the artists, attendees, friends and everyone else whose enthusiasm encourages us to return year after year.

I've mentioned in previous Gen Con posts that it's sometimes difficult to come up with something new to write about the conventions I've attended for years, so this time I thought I'd let the few pictures we took do the talking.

That's...a lot of people.
I did not take this picture, and I'm glad that I didn't! Wielding the power of my Exhibitor badge, I think I was safely inside the Art Show area by the time this huge crowd had formed outside the exhibit hall. Check out the Gen Con Facebook page if you'd like to see video of the doors opening on Day One. (And see if you can find Waldo.)

No, I'm not the artist, I'm just scribbling in her books.

My favorite cosplay this year.
We had to switch hotels for the last night of our stay and were greeted by Washcloth Dog. This hotel was way better than the first one!
Here are the sketches for 2015 drawn in the last few copies of Journey. There is only one book left which will be listed on my Etsy shop when it reopens in a few days.

For more pictures of the Art Show including the award winners for this year, check out the Gen Con Art Show Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Con Survival Tips Redux: Gen Con Edition

Gen Con starts on Thursday! Come look for me in the Art Show where I will have my usual goodies including a few new prints and paintings. The 2015 Exhibit Hall map is below:

Click to enlarge or go here to download at full size.

We are once again in a mad dash to pack up all our stuff for the Gen Con Art Show. A trip to exhibit work at Gen Con is not possible without a lot of advance planning. Simply attending any busy convention can take some preparation (or at least a few tips) especially for new con-goers. I've come up with a few after participating in conventions in some capacity for the better part of two decades. Most of the following tips are specifically for Gen Con, but many apply to any convention.

DOs and DON'Ts at the Gen Con Art Show


Please do:

•Talk to the artists. There might be vampires at the convention, but I promise the artists won't bite.

•If you like a particular artist's artwork, strike up a conversation even if you can't or don't plan to buy something. Feel free to ask questions about their work. Artists come to the convention to show their work and interact with people, so they will be happy to talk to you. I know this can be harder than I make it sound. Though I'm used to sitting behind the table, I myself feel bashful when approaching another artist at conventions or art shows.

•Look through stuff! Unless for some particular reason you're asked not to, it's perfectly ok to touch all the stuff on the table–it's there for you to view and buy!

Please don't:

•Take photos of booths (or the people sitting at them) without asking. Some artists prefer that their work is not photographed.

•Line up blocking the aisle in front of someone else's table to get to the artist next door.

•Put your bags on top of an artist's table–they don't want their work or product to be damaged.

Paying at the Art Show

Gen Con has a payment system that's different from most other conventions. Rather than paying the artist directly at their table, there is a cash register set up for customers in the central area of the Art Show. The system works like this: the artist you're buying from fills out a slip that describes the item you're purchasing and the price. You take that slip up to the cash register and pay. You will receive a copy of the slip stamped "paid" that acts as your receipt and you bring this back to the artist to pick up your item. While this might seem like a hassle, it is helpful in that it allows you to pay with a credit card instead of just cash and the artists don't have to worry about handling plastic or providing change.

Tips for New Attendees:

•Buy your tickets/badges in advance. These days, popular cons sell out weeks before the start of the convention. If you're sure you want to go, buy your ticket or badge as soon as possible.

•If you aren't in a rush to get into the show, if you need to buy your ticket the day of the convention (assuming there are any left) it's usually less crowded at the ticket booths later in the afternoon.
•Bring a backpack especially if you're going to buy a lot of stuff!

•Plan to do a lot of walking. And a lot of squeezing between people and navigating crowded aisles.

•Maybe this advice is outdated in the Paypal and credit card age, but when I used to walk a convention floor, I would keep spending money in a separate place from money meant for food and other essentials. This would help me stick to a budget. (Once it's gone, it's gone!) When I used to attend a lot of conventions in high school and college I would carry my spending cash separately in an old brown velcro wallet with a white line drawing of a Cabbage Patch Kid on it for some reason. I wonder what happened to that wallet?

•Eat outside the convention center. Con food=blah. Sorry, conventions! Get better food!

I hope these tips might be of some help. Have a great con, where and whenever it may be!