Saturday, May 5, 2012

Playing Catch Up!

"Public Purpose Magazine Cover" - Spring 2011

"Oglesby sleeping on the trip back from Belize" (wacom)

"The Air Force Dentistry staff working in Belize" (wacom)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

As High as a Kite

A few days ago I received some exciting news!  I was notified that the book "Rosa's Bus" by Jo S. Kittinger, that I illustrated last year, received the 2011 Crystal Kite Award.  I am both honored and thankful for the support of the folks at Boyds Mills Press.  The Crystal Kite Awards are given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize great books from the 70 SCBWI regions around the world.  The SCBWI Crystal Kite Awards are chosen by other children’s book writers and illustrators, making them the only peer-given awards in publishing for young readers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

She's a Killer: finale

"Killer Queen"

It's been a while since I've posted anything so I thought that I should at least show the end result of the Killer Queen piece that I started. I'll be posting some more of the posters that I've been working on shortly.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

She's a Killer: part 3

Stage 4

My computer was down for a few days, which practically stopped all progress. So I haven't made much progress on this at all. This is the stage of the illustration where I have absolutely no idea what will happen. It could go horribly wrong but that's why we have command Z.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

She's a Killer: Part 2

Stage 2 & 3

So this is stage two and three of the Queen poster. Years ago when the digital craze had just begun I found myself to be very frustrated that I couldn't execute paintings in the same fashion as a traditional painting. Part of this was that the technology was not advanced as it is now but the other part (and more importantly) I didn't have the same sensibility as an artist at that time. Now that both I and technology have made great advancements I feel far more comfortable working on pieces like this one.

Monday, March 8, 2010

She's a Killer: Part 1

Anyone that knows me (and I mean really knows me) knows that I'm often inspired by music. I rarely listen to anything contemporary so my playlist usually consists of anything from country to classic rock and even some soul. Whether I'm working on an illustration or a landscape, music usually plays a part in one form or another.

So this is stage one of my Queen poster do over. I painted one several years ago that I was happy with. Then I took a look at some old sketches about a week ago and saw some pretty good sketches and ideas that just fell short during the execution. there's no guarantee that I'll be any more successful than the first attempt but here we go.... to be continued

Monday, May 18, 2009


"The Liberator"

While teaching this computer art class I've noticed some significant difference amongst the students. The students that are excelling are those that just have an eye for art whether it's painting, ceramics or digital. These students often live for art as if it were an obsession. Despite all of the advantages of using Photoshop and Illustrator to create art, it's still up to the artist to make it happen. I think many people are under the impression that you hit one or two keys and the computer will create the art for you. Although that would be nice, if the person using the programs doesn't have a vision for what they're trying to achieve then the tools/ programs are useless. Think of it this way...if you were a skilled craftsman and wanted to build a bench what good is it if you don't know what kind of bench you want to make.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Good and the Bad

"The Liberator" (phase 1)

When I was in school (way back when) I often complained about doing math homework. I didn't care about what time train A was going to pass train B. I certainly didn't care about what equaled X. My parents often approached me with "it's a means to an end and you have to get to the end" followed by "while you're complaining about it you could be doing it." It's not poetry but it is true. I can hope that, in this last quarter before the summer, students decide to press on and finish strong.

Well we're in the second half of the Spring quarter and you can see that the pressure is getting to some but not all. Every year I have the dubious task of grading projects. Many times it's easy because I have so many students that decide to slack off towards the end of the quarter. This makes it easy for me to separate the good from the bad but every so often you come across a class that is full of superstars. These superstars are those students that eat and breathe art and that's their primary focus. They may drag their carcasses into class looking like the wrong end of a bad day but the quality of the work is what defines them. No complaining about projects, lack of time, or begging for leniency. Every quarter I look forward to a superstar class.

Monday, May 11, 2009


"The Liberator" (sketch)

As always I start with a sketch and work on top. In addition to keeping my references up on the screen, this is my digital process. When I work in illustrator I don't try to shoot for super realism. This is especially true when working with Adobe Illustrator. Less is more.

When I first began working in Illustrator there weren't all of the nice bells and whistles of the newest versions and so I've developed a style that could be achieved with the most basic version of Illustrator. This is not to say that I don't venture out and experiment. Although it's digital it's just like working in any other've got to take chances or you just won't learn. It often drives me crazy when I see artists who won't take chances or try new techniques. It's one thing if you're an accomplished artist who's tried very techniques and found your style but it's another story if you're just starting out and you're too nervous to venture out. Experiment and Learn.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Locked & Loaded

Many, many moons ago when I was a student, one of my professors gave me a project that nearly killed the class. He gave us dimensions and a due date but then told us that we could create whatever we wanted. We had become so accustomed to taking orders and solving other peoples problems that most of us (including myself) didn't have a voice of our own. I had to quickly discover what kind of things interested me. While I'm a big fan of comics, music plays a much bigger role in my life.

The piece above is from Aerosmith's "Janey's Got a Gun." I'm not completely finished with it but I wanted to lay it out in Illustrator before taking it into Photoshop. I strayed away from the sketch and now it seems to have lost some of the impact that the sketch has but it's still the same basic composition. You'll also see that I corrected the spelling of the song from the thumbnail sketch. Now I'll just make notes on what to correct and get back to it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

King of the Sea

For the most part this is the final. I still have a lot of details that I'd like to zoom in and take care of at a later time. As an update from the last post, I've added a map to the background so that it's not just canvas. The map is part of the coast of Ireland. I also included a collar and more definition to his chest. On to the next piece.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Making Progress


Here's a brief update on Aquaman. View number one is the progress that I've made from the last Aquaman post. Since then I've added more detail to the face along with more contrast. In addition to working on the face I've the shoulders and a background color to help him stand out.

After taking a step back to really look at it I knew that the green in view number one was too bold so I lowered the opacity to let some of the canvas texture show through. Next, I painted a scale and cloned it. This made life a whole lot easier than painted each scale. Again I lowered the opacity on the scales to let the texture of the canvas and the base color of the outfit dictate the color. Just a little bit further to go.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Deep Sea Painting

This is the updated version of Aquaman. After deciding on what sketch to render I added a toned canvas, that I scanned in earlier, over the first layer of the sketch. I lowered the opacity of the tone canvas layer in order to see my sketch. Even when I paint traditionally I use a toned canvas. It really helps to unify the colors as you're painting and it's better than working against white.
When I paint digitally I like to paint with brushes that have brush like tips. I'm ol school so it's easier for me to work as if I'm working on a traditional painting.

I had a lot of fun painting his face. I'm not sure as to just how many colors I used but since the layer was semi transparent I was able to achieve colors and effects that I couldn't if the layer was opaque. I thought that it would be appropriate to make the skin pigment a little brighter and more intense than normal since he is a superhero. On to the next step.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Submerged In Progress

This is the initial sketch of my Aquaman portrait. Why Aquaman? Well, one of my favorite cartoons and superhero groups was the Justice League. Aquaman was part of the original cartoon but I always felt that he didn't get nearly the attention or fan fair that Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman received. In addition, I rarely come by Aquaman artwork. This is more for my own leisure than anything.

I'm going to work on top of the sketch in Photoshop for now. I don't foresee any problems with getting the effect that I want but I may take it into Painter as well. I'll add a map and a canvas texture for the background and to give the piece a more artsy feel instead of graphic. Let's see where this goes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Process Works

I can't tell people enough as to just how important process work is. Most outsiders from the art world don't get a chance to see all of the prep work that goes behind a good art. Process work is important for those artist who create representational work as well as abstract art. Many people, including artist, believe that a major part of the creative process is 50% luck. This may be true for some but what's the success rate? How many canvases or, in this case, files do you go through. How many hours have you wasted playing on dumb luck? Here's a short string of process work that I used while working on an illustration for Highlights Magazine. This piece in particular was completed traditionally with oils but i still apply the same process to digital work.

As images I enjoyed the first couple of layouts but I had to think in terms of the intent of the image and the text that would accompany the artwork. After looking through several reference's the final.