Friday, June 10, 2011

Late Spring Update: L5R and Call of Cthulhu

Summer is almost upon us and it's been months since I checked in. I'm still alive (just barely) and still plugging away at this whole art thing. In a few days will be the 1-year anniversary of my life as a freelance illustrator. The year has had it's ebbs and flows and I'm still struggling to get used to them. But I'm currently in the "flow" stage which is why I have been neglectful of this blog. Unfortunately, I can't share all the work I've been doing in said "flow" stage due to those pesky NDA's that gaming companies love so damn much. So you'll have to settle for the work done during the "ebb" stage, in 2010.

First up work from over a year ago, done back in February 2010. These are for AEG's popular Legend of the Five Rings CCG game. These are a long time coming. They are from the War of Honor set that just came out a few days ago.

Legend of the Five Rings War of Honor 01

Legend of the Five Rings War of Honor 02

I was still new to the world of L5R when painting these, so I really messed up on the characteristics of the particular clans I was illustrating. The female in that last illustration is supposed to be wearing a mask to hide part of her face dress way sexier than the conservative outfit I have her in. The male's colors are way off and don't even get me started on that samurai armor. UGG! But the AD never mentioned anything to me about these important story elements and the cards were approved. Maybe that's why I didn't get more L5R work until the end of 2010.

In November 2010 I got an email from a new AD to work on the Forgotten Legacy expansion. This set is coming out next month, but the website has already spoiled 2 of my cards so it's safe to post them here. (I'll update the blog when they spoil the third card):

(click on the images to see them in card form)
Legend of the Five Rings: Forgotten Legacy - Hunter of Harmony

Legend of the Five Rings: Forgotten Legacy - Wind of the Moon

I'm not happy with these either. The figure in the first image is shameful. Someone has to beat me senseless for doing such a crappy job, especially since I practice painting the human figure on a weekly basis. Goes to show once again, that there is no substitute for good reference.

I also had the chance to work on Fantasy Flight Games' Call of Cthulhu: Silver Twilight expansion.

Call of Cthulhu: Silver Twilight: Guitar

This piece was done mid July as a "break" from apartment hunting in Portland after just moving there. Another one I'm not too crazy with.

I think the issue for me is working digitally. I get hung up on the details (zooming in WAY too close) and fail to see the image as a whole. This is definitely something I've been trying to fix in 2011. My process has changed and evolved in the early part of this year and I can't wait to share the results with you. I'm actually proud of a few of them.

Before I go I'd like to highlight another milestone (bet you know what's coming). In a few day's I'll be celebrating the 4-year anniversary of my Nude of the Day blog and I'm running a sale throughout June. Click the banner for details:

Nude of the Day - 4-Year Anniversary Sale

AND as an added bonus, if you're a member of the Nude of the Day Facebook Fan Page you get an extra 20% off your order!

Thanks for being patient with me. I'll be back real soon with some updates on my work for Dover and some watercolor illustrations.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Happy 2011!

Howdy Everyone,

Happy New Year to all of you!

A year ago I wrote that my biggest goal for 2010 was to pursue my freelance career full time. I'm happy to report that I was able to accomplish it in 2010. I went full-time freelance in the summer after quiting my day job at Royal-Athena Galleries and moving 3000 miles west to Portland, Oregon. It hasn't been an easy transition and 6 months in I'm still trying to work out a lot of the kinks that come with the freelance life style.

The biggest change, one that I don't think I can ever get used to, is the absence of the weekly paycheck. I had to drastically change my standard of living. Good bye weekly sushi outings, hello PB&J. This hasn't been that hard mainly because I haven't found a good sushi place in Portland yet. But worrying about how I'm going to pay rent next month has not been fun. On the plus side, this experience has been a crash course in living within your means, something every freelancer need to learn to do.

The other major issue is not having a daily routine fully worked out. I don't need to be anywhere at any certain time, so it's pretty easy to loose all structure and sleep in past noon. In NY, my freelance work day would start in the evenings after coming home from the full time work day. It has largely remained the same here in PDX. I typically start my workday way too late and burn the midnight oil a lot. So one of my resolutions for 2011 is to slowly edge this schedule down to the less vampiric hours.

There are a few other changes that I'm still struggling to get used to, but I'm sure you really don't want to hear about this minutia. So on too some art.

Last year I previewed a dragon head from a coloring book I did for Dover. Well the book just hit the shelves a week or so ago. Here is the front and back covers (note: I just did the art, the covers were designed and colored by the Dover art department):

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Front Cover

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Back Cover

...and some interior pages:

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Dragon

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Trebuchet

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Cyclops

Build A Poster Knights and Dragons Army

This was a fun project. I had to make 2 big illustrations that had to split into 12 individual images and each individual image had to be interesting enough to stand on it's own. It was a fun challenge that I took to my usual anal-retentive extremes. Here's another one I did immediately after, Fairy Princess:

Build A Poster Fairy Princess

Build A Poster Fairy Princess

The first scene was you typical Princess in a magical garden scene:

Build A Poster Fairy Princess Angel Statue

Build A Poster Fairy Princess

...but for the second scene I got to draw a Princess defending her castle from an attacking horde of Orcs:

Build A Poster Fairy Princess Attacking Orcs1

Build A Poster Fairy Princess Attacking Orcs2

I also got to do a fun, glow-in-the-dark paper-dolls book that will be coming out some time before Halloween 2011. Here are some rejected sketches that sadly will not be in the book. We ended up dropping the demon and using a different pose for the Werewolf:

Creatures of the Night Werewolf and Demon

And the Zombies were a little too gruesome for kids so I PGed them for the final product:

Creatures of the Night Zombies

I can't wait to see how they'll turn out in all their glow-in-the-dark glory.

I was hoping to show off some work I did for the Legends of the Five Rings RPG, but AEG pushed back the release date to late February 2011. I've been working on a number of cards for them over the last few months and I'm starting on a new set soon that I'm very excited about. I also have some personal work that I'm very eager to get started on as soon as I finish my current obligations. I'm really looking forward to what 2011 has in store for me, and I hope to be able to share new work with you more often than I did this past year.

Thank you all for checking in and being super patient with me.

Oh and before I forget, today is the last day to take advantage of the Holiday Sale on Nude of the Day.

Nude of the Day Holiday Sale

I realize that I never gave the readers of this blog a heads up about the 2-month long sale. So if you're still interested in getting some Nudes once the sale is over I'll be happy to extend the 50% off rates for you. Just email me and I'll take care of you.