Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Painting Sale

I have decided to start an annual holiday tradition. In the month of December I am going to put all of my unsold card illustration on sale at a discount. This year all card paintings are on sale for $200, they are all oil on gessoed hardboard (masonite) and are approximately 11 in x 1 4 in.
you can email me at or call me at 760-633-1370 with any questions
Click here or on the image below to see the paintings being offered.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vampires this time

Here's a new piece for the Vampire: the eternal struggle TCG from Whitewolf.

oil on hardboard

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Materials: inking

I haven't done any inking in quite some time. I have been thinking of getting back into it and as such I thought it might be a good time to post the materials I use.

Surface- Strathmore 300 series 2-ply smooth bristol board

Ink- Higgins T-100 Drafting Film Ink
Applicators-Continuing from left to right
Kaimei natural hair brush pen
Cirrus 220 designers' Kolinsky Sable brush from Winsor & Newton
#102 Crow Quill Nib and holder

Unfortunately both the Cirrus 220 brushes and the Higgins T-100 ink have been discontinued.
I really like the Higgins T-100 (especially if you let it evaporate a little), and have not been able to find a replacement I like. As far as the brush Kolinsky Sable series 7 brushes are great, but the reason I did not use this to start with is they are really expensive. So if anyone can recommend an affordable alternative to either of these let me know.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mail Bag: Reilly methods and theories

I recently received an email from a young artist...

Dear Erik,

Could you please redirect me to a good Frank Reilly's reference book? I have seen some impressive head drawing and line construction on various blogs, but with no explanations. I am would be very grateful for any piece of information you can provide.

Very Sincerely,

...and it occurred to me this may be a question others have

Mastering Drawing the Human Figure From Life, Memory, Imagination by Jack Faragasso
A good resource, but perhaps needlessly complicated and it reads like stereo instructions

Values for Pictures Worth a Thousand Words by Apollo Dorian
Not as familiar with this book, I am looking into getting a copy because I have heard good things

The Frank Reilly School of Art by Doug Higgins
Good info, but the visuals could be better

"The Art of Color and Design" by Maitland Graves.
Reilly is not mentioned in the text but this book is based on lectures Reilly gave at Pratt Institute. Good info all the same though

The Artist's Atelier: Reference guide to Structural Concepts and Principles by Henry J.T. Doren
Only for absolute Reilly completeists

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Student Spotlight: Daniel Xiao part 2

At the beginning of the summer I did an interview with a former student of mine, Daniel Xiao, as he began an internship at Pixar. This is a follow up interview done at the conclusion of his internship

1)Have your professional goals changed since completing your internship, if so how?

In a way. If anything they've become more specific in that I know more about how the industry works and the types of jobs I'd like to shoot for. At the moment, matte painting seems like a good step in the right direction.

2)What kind educational/training do feel you gained from your internship that you cannot get from traditional schooling?

I think the most important thing I came away with from this internship was simply learning about what it means to be an artist as a profession. It's one thing to do your own personal project for class. Working on a real feature film with a full-fledged art department and experienced production designer is something else entirely. It's not something I really thought about before the internship but it certainly left the greatest impression afterward.

3)What experience do you feel you gained the most from in your internship?

[see above]

4)Do you feel your internship helped you to eliminated any weaknesses, or simply improve on your strengths?

A little bit of both. I feel like growing as an artist means making the most you possibly can out of your strengths, and then scrambling to plug up any weaknesses.

5)Which skills do you feel you improved?

Learning how to compose well for a shot is the big one. Also keeping your files clean and organized and painting for a specific style.

6)Has your dream job/project changed, if so how, if not do you feel you are closer to fulfilling this dream?

My dream project used to just be working on an epic sci-fi or fantasy film with a massive budget, something on the scale of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Now the dream is to have matte paintings in that epic sci-fi/fantasy film.

7)At this point which artistic achievment are you most proud of?

The other matte paint intern and I did nearly every background for one of Pixar's new short films. A few people have described to me what it's like to see your work projected onto a 60-foot screen in front of hundreds of audience members and it's definitely something I've been excited about. It sounds incredible.

8)If you could go back in time 5 months what advice would you give yourself?

Go vacation somewhere nice.

9)If given the opporitunity would you take another internship from Pixar in a year?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WFC demonstration recap

So, as I mentioned last week, Lucas Graciano and I did a relay painting demo to launch this years World Fantasy Con. We met many nice people, mostly via John Picacio's kind introductions, and had a fun time. For our painting demo we did an oil painting based on a thumbnail we whipped up real quick at lunch. Since this was the World Fantasy Con and this years theme was Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday, we thought it might be fun to paint Poe as a knight riding on a raven. I know, clever right. We spent about an hour and 20 minutes on it for the demo, alternating every 20, starting with me. We then spent maybe another 40 min on it in the hotel room.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Vote For Scott Is A Vote For Quality

I don't really know Scott Fischer, but he seems like a decent guy. I do know his work though, and it deserves your vote. So put a little Scott in you Cheerios.

Click here to see what the hell I am talking about if you don't already.

Zombies!!! I know, shocking right?

Here is a new piece I just finished for Palladium Books. I will also be exhibiting this piece next week at World Fantasy Con.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WFC demonstration

Hey all,
Lucas Graciano and I will be doing a live, relay painting demonstration in San Jose at the World Fantasy Con on Thursday the 29th at 3:oo pm. If you are planning on attending come by and say hi. We will also both be exhibiting in the art show.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LoN Scout

Hey all,
Sorry for the lapse in posts lately, I have been very busy. I should have a bunch of new stuff to share with you very soon. In the mean time here is a piece I just finished for Legends of Norrath.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sketch Redux: Chipper Ironbane

Sorry I have been slacking on posts of late, this will probably continue for a bit as I am really busy. Anyway on to the art.

Here is one of the first cards I did for Jeremy Cranford when he took over art direction on the WoW TCG. Too this day it is one of the most popular card illustrations I have done.

Card Title: Dwarf Warrior # W2_055 Card Type: Ally - Alliance Action: Show a grim dwarf warrior raising a deadly battleaxe, as if he were about to strike Setting: Warsong Gulch Notes: Dwarf warrior must follow reference, can be any pose artist desires Flavor: a seasoned warrior, favoring strategy to blinding rushing into a fray

Here is my initial thumbnail

and my first sketch

Art Direction
"Blizzard feels that the armor for W2_055 isn't really reading as Warcraft… this almost looks like a robot... Maybe it's a problem with the chestpiece. Also the shoulderpad (the way it points) makes it look like a robot arm."
Jeremy and I decided it would be better to put him in a different set of armor altogether.

Sketch 2

This got approved with the caveat of removing the symbol from his shoulder

Final Art

to which Jeremy said
"I LOVED your last Dwarf painting. Really good stuff."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Life Painting: gesture

Here is a quick gesture painting from life.

Perspiration: facial features and expressions

Another area of artistic study that is often neglected are facial features and expressions. A great resource for the study of the human figure in general, but specifically the features of the face is The Human Figure
. For expressions I would go to The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression

Also here are some tutorials by my good friend Stan Prokopenko

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Inspiration: Fred Fixler

photo courtesy of Dave Darrow

Fred Fixler founded California Art Institute (CAI) in the early 1980's just north of LA in Calabasas. Prior to that he taught at nearby Brandes Art Institute. He studied with Frank Reilly from 1947-49 at the Art Students League, during this time he was roommates with James Bama. It seems that the bulk of his illustration career was spent doing sports illustrations, and movie poster work. It has also been rumored that he did uncredited "sleaze paperback" illustrations for Brandon House in the sixties. Fixler instructed a generation of Southern California artists, including Morgan Weistling, Greg Pro, Mark Westermoe, Shawn Zents, Glen Orbik and Laurel Blechman.
I will leave you with an anecdote from Morgan Weistling

"The secret to capturing the essence of what you are looking at can be found in your high school yearbook.

Fred Fixler would have us look at our high school yearbooks and find that page that has everyone in our grade standing together in one big group shot.

"Can you find yourself?" he would ask. Yes, we could.

"Can you find your friends?" Yeah.

What's the point? Well, in those photos your head is almost the size of a pea - if not smaller! And yet, without seeing eyelashes, nostrils, pupils in the eyes, or any other details, you recognize people you haven't seen in years! Yet, most of us sit in front of a model drawing the most unimportant details and miss the simple overall shapes that form the essence of who we are observing.

Details are not the answer.

Thanks, Fred."

Here are a couple links to some interesting reading courtesy of Norm Nason
Fred Fixler: notes on drawing
Fred Fixler: notes on gouache

photos of life drawings courtesy Glenn Orbik & Laurel Blechman

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Collectors: Gregg and Yvette Spatz

Here is a nice interview with two very nice people. I have been lucky enough to be invited up to Gregg and Yvette's home on a couple of occasions, and words cannot describe what a wonderful collection of art they have.
So hop on over to Sour Harvest and check it out

Materials: studio painting 2.5

After my surface prep demo earlier this month I was asked by a few people about a technique I have used before for mounting a printout or sketch to board. Rather than put together my own inferior tutorial I told them I would just put up a link to the source where I learned how to do it.
Donato Giancola

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Painting From Life

I have been taking a bit of a break from painting from life over the last couple years (with the exception of an occasional demo). I am now hoping to start back at it, here is my first attempt. I am not very happy with it, clearly there is room for improvement. I post it here in an attempt to document my development over the coming months/years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Drawings and Demos (Aug 09)

4 x 5 Min QS warm-up

4 x 5 Min QS Demo

2 x 10 Min head lay-in demo

20 min head tilt demo

20 Min head warm-up

10 Min fig lay-in demo

25 Min fig demo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

For My Bro

This is a sketch I had been promising my brother forever. He is a Major in the Army and pilots both UH-1 and CH-47 helicopters. If I got this right this is a CH-47 or "Chinook" So Nick it is in the mail.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Venture Bros Season 4 Trailer

I know what your thinking "What the hell, more videos? Make with the art!" or maybe not, maybe you hate my art, maybe you hate me. Anyway second to movies (particularly horror movies) I am a huge Venture Bros fan. Anyone who wants to be my friend send me Venture swag. Because I am a Venture Bros fan here is the season 4 preview. Tomorrow more art I promise.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This is how it is done
House Of The Wolf Man

Monday, August 17, 2009

Materials:studio painting part 2

Surface Preparation:
Here is the process I follow to prepare a surface for a finished studio illustration.

Image 1:
The materials I use are Liquitex Basics Acrylique Gesso, a craft foam brush (I usually get these in a multipack at Michaels), double-sided hardboard (I get a 4ft x 8ft sheet and have them cut it into 4ft x 2ft strips, then cut it to whatever size I need on my tablesaw at home), Black & Decker Mouse electric sander, and an old hair dryer (optional)

Step 1:
Lightly sand the surface to remove any oils and imperfections on the surface.

Step 2: Mix your gesso with a little bit of water in a separate container to give it a creamier consistancy that is more conducive to smooth application

Step 3: Thoroughly clean the surface of any debris with a damp cloth

Step 4: Using your foam brush apply the diluted gesso evenly with smooth parallel strokes

Step 5: Apply perpendicular strokes to those you initially used to gain a smoother grain (you may need to use more gesso at this stage if you applied it very thinly on step 4) Do not press too hard with your brush strokes, lightly brush across the surface to gain a smooth surface.

Step 6:(optional)
I used to use a hair dryer to speed the process, now I use the drying time as a chance to take a break and get something else done.

Step 7: repeat steps 4-6

Step 8: Lightly sand the surface to your desired smoothness, and then clean surface of gesso shavings

Step 9: repeats steps 3-8 till you achieve your desired coverage and texture. I generally do this 2 more times so that I have a very smooth, bright white surface. Occasionaly I will skip the final sanding if I am going for a brushier look to a painting.

Friday, August 14, 2009


So I mentioned a few days ago that we I was taking my sketching class to a gas and steam engine museum. Here was my effort for the day.