Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Composition studies part 2

So last time I spoke about studying composition through simple three value studies of master works. That covers only one or two aspects of composition, next I like to do small gouache studies. Although my artist of choice this time (James Bama) often chooses a straight forward composition, using value and color to create to same break-up this is not always the case. It can be an interesting exercise to see if an artist creates a different composition with color than with value.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coming Attractions!

Here is a preview of a cover I just finished.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On the Easel

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Greatest Show on Earth (July 2010)

I have not done this feature in awhile, so I have a double feature for you this month.
First, is the Jean-Léon Gérôme exhibit at the Getty Museum in L.A.. All I will say is in my opinion this is one of the top 5 art exhibits I have ever seen. Beyond that this exhibit has been discussed to no end elsewhere on the web by persons better qualified than I.

Second we have the San Diego Comic-Con. I am not exhibiting this year, but I will be around as a fan and helping some friends for a couple of the days. One of the main draws for me at SDCC are the books. In the age of the internet this is not as big of a deal, but it is still one of the best places to go and actually be able to flip through just about any art book you have ever thought about buying. What follows is my list of interest for this year so far. Please feel free to comment if you know of others I should keep a lookout for.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Perspiration: Composition

Hey all,
Another area of study that I feel is often neglected is composition. Granted it is a difficult thing to nail down because there is a fair amount of opinion and personal preference involved. One of the ways I like to study composition is a master study or ten. The thing to remember about master studies (especially in regards to composition) is that they do not have to be detailed, rendered, longterm exercises. Sometimes you can get more out of simple three values studies in your sketchbook. In essence you are reverse engineering thumbnail sketches.

I have been interested recently in trying to figure out the graphic appeal of James Bama's work, in particular his series of Doc Savage covers.

Books on composition
There are others, but these are a great starting point. Plus they are all available and affordable.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

World's Finest Sketches (not really)

ere are some Batman/Superman sketches I did awhile back for DC, the project they were done for (but not ultimately selected) has been announced so I think I can show them now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sketch Redux (Lady Ruin)

Here is a sketch redux for the cover of Lady Ruin for WotC

Scene Suggestion:
1- She could be in conflict/confronted with a Dolgaunt.
This would resemble a snake fight. Boa versus and anaconda. I would prefer the Dolgaunt being positioned behind her. Or at least in manner that we show its haunting face. Maybe got the drop on her. But she’s not really scared. Retaliating. Her whip moves on its own. Imagine its composed of its own musculature. Its could be attempting to loose the tentacles wrapped around Lirra or can be strangling the attacker. Play around.

2- Contact with the portal
Portal positioned on the ground in front of Lirra. Those hands are reaching thru and have gotten entangled by her whip. It could be unclear as to who’s holding who.
Or go more thematic. Let’s say the portal is our ground. Giant sized hands are reaching up to ensnare her. The hands could either be aggressively grappling her. Struggle ensues. Or, they could be a pretty passive force of evil. Like a dais that she stands upon. Cupped her base. Lirra emoting something of an omnipotent air.

First pass at thumbnails.

The AD had this to say

Maybe we should lose the sword. Or really de-emphasize it. Her most unique feature is that bio-whip that’s attached to her body.

I’m way more into the giant hands approach. Its got more concept than 2 tangling foes. So, we should just abandon that idea. Editor agrees.

I think the hands should be less “squeezie” strong and more like long, sharp, and menacing (
Daelkyr hands). More like that passive force of evil I suggested. A venus flytrap before it snaps shut. A quiet, still, danger. More potentially energy than kinetic.

Other things could be coming out of the portal, too. Like smaller tentacles writhing around the giant hands. Like exposed veins.

Also, explore some different camera angles. And asymmetrical compositions.
These are pretty straight-on character.

And give it the Gist Creep-Factor.

My second pass at thumnails

He then had this to say

#2 is firing on all cylinders! Dynamic angle, Lirra’s pose is right on, and I like how the hands feel a little statuesque. Plus we get to look down into that portal. Go ahead and work up something tighter based on that sketch and then we’ll see how well it fits the layout.

So I moved on to the final sketch

and his comments were this

We have some costume changes. Karnath is a very cold place. So, outside of her whip-grafted arm, she’s going to need a bit more coverage overall. Think heavy metal, russian military.

Start with a white shirt underneath the green vest. It can be well worn. Ripped and dirty. Definitely ripped where her tentacle joins. Still pretty tight so we don’t wreck her silhouette. Boots- black and line with dark fur. Leggings- Yup, dark. Could have piping running up the sides. Karnath Cod Piece- it can be removed or stay where its at or have 2 of these. One on each hip instead. That might give the feeling of a gun holster. That’s pretty military. Upper body- How about some heavy black gauntlets? She could have all the other stuff we talked about. Fur lined shoulder pads. High collar. Short cape." The portal leads to the plane of Xoriat. Key color is a pale/desaturated blue. Described as stack of translucent parchment. Inhabitants exist on multiple layer simulataneously. Free-floating rivers of milk-white liquid. Rains of blue globes that burst into horse-size ticks/insects. Yikes. Hope this helps more than hinders. But to distill it down. Pale blue and hints at these layers of parchment or rain beyond the hands wrists.

Here was my costume redesign

Yes, we’re good with that Erik! Officially in the biz. I really appreciate the extra work you put in.

So onto the final piece