"Arrival" 20 years after "Farewell"

I painted the painting below in 1998, during a time when I was ready for adventure. It was a point in my life when the open road and a life full of experience called to me. I wanted to fly and be free and to leave behind the warmth of home and a golden world of childhood behind me. 

 

 "Farewell" 1998 acrylic on canvas 18x24

"Farewell" 1998 acrylic on canvas 18x24

I was a young artist and a young man. At the time, it was a masterpiece for me. There's actually a golden city I managed to paint in the far background (my camera is horrible, I apologize)...

Time passes, and the painting passed from my hands and back, and a couple of years ago I hung it in my garage studio to inspire me to keep moving on the path I began to follow all those years ago. 

So... below is my current version of the story contained in the painting above. The character had many adventures. You'll see the wings remain, etched into the armor he picked up along his journeys. There are a lot of other details that let the viewer know he's been on a long journey. It's entitled "Arrival"...

 

"Arrival" 2018 digital 

Golden Sphere Project (Halcyon)

I'd like to share what I've been working on for quite some time. The seeds of this project started back in 2010 from a sketch of a crow (A picture of that is below). In 2016 I revisited the idea, and it grew into a story. Since then, I have been working on illustrating the story line I laid out. 

So far, I have 45 completed illustrations, with 15-20 remaining. I have 20 Black and White ink/wash illustrations, 15 color illustrations done with gouache paint, and 5-ish digital/colored pencil spreads for the book.  I still have more color/gouache and spread pieces to complete before I start doing the layout for the book.  

 My kitchen table full of the illustrations completed so far. Note:many are buried in layers there...

My kitchen table full of the illustrations completed so far. Note:many are buried in layers there...

A bit about the book, as it sits right now. It's an illustrated story book for people of all ages. A tale of myth & mystery centered around an astronaut, a crow, and a golden orb. They strangely find their paths entwined, and forever changed. 

The world of the book takes place in 3 areas- A world resembling our present day (with the astronaut), A world of dreams (with the crow), and an Afterworld . 

This book serves as an opening act for a much larger, detailed story I will tell in the future. At a point in the past, the current story was separate from the next... but then I saw how closely they matched, how I could tie the stories together to create an overarching narrative. It just became time to tell the stories, instead of dreaming them. 

 The very first sketch I did for the story. c.2010

The very first sketch I did for the story. c.2010

I'm not sure if the book will need to have text. In some aspects, I'd like it to operate as a visual journey, where the reader fills in the "gaps" between images. On the other hand, having an heavily illustrated short story would be nice, in that I would be able to tell the story as it exists in my imagination, guiding the reader to the ideas through words AND images. It's something that will be decided as I finish the illustrations and layout. 

 The first sphere illustration- c.2012

The first sphere illustration- c.2012

 

I have had to create a work schedule , and it's challenging. I work a "day job" as an art teacher, and am a father and husband. I also have taken on an illustration position with a start up game company that fills what little time I have left for art. So finding a good time to work on this project is a challenge in itself. 

I chisel out work days, and from those days I set aside time to work on the illustrations as I can. In an ideal world (and quite possibly a future one) I would be working on my art work full time. That's the ultimate goal here, really. 

As far as the publishing aspect. I'm thinking of going with Blurb right now.  They've got a fairly decent editor, and if I don't like that - they offer integration into Adobe products. They also  offer a Kickstarter service for self publishing and I'm thinking that will be the route that fills the needs of this book. Financially, having a larger number of books printed would be ideal.  I could keep the costs lower that way, and pass that on to people who'd like to purchase the book. 

 I typically work up larger images by creating a thumnail sketch (lower left), refining that into a larger sketch (upper left), and creating a series of color studies (right side). Then I begin work on the final image. 

I typically work up larger images by creating a thumnail sketch (lower left), refining that into a larger sketch (upper left), and creating a series of color studies (right side). Then I begin work on the final image. 

I'm also working to build a substantial fan/support base to fund this project and my work. 

If you'd like to be kept up to date on this and further projects, feel free to sign up below: 

Learn how I started working with a game company!

In January 2017, I was approached by a small start-up game company, Rusted Ogre Games. The purpose was to commission a piece of artwork for the cover of a game they were working on. They found my information through a mutual acquaintance, and contacted me after viewing my art on my site. I talked with the company regarding the design direction they envisioned, and began work on what was to be the cover. 

Long story short, they loved it and brought me on board to create the cards for a couple of the races. I loved the work, and the game sounded amazing. Soon enough, they bumped me up to complete the entire deck, and my position as Art Director was created.  Over the course of 6 months, I designed and created over 100 cards for the starter deck of the game "Dark Masts: A Dead Seas Card Game." 

While finishing the artwork for the game, it was successfully funded on Kickstarter. 

I maintained a working schedule that had me working most evenings after my kids went to bed and heavily on the weekends. There were moments of self doubt that come with every project, but -as an artist- you learn to just push on through and keep working on your art. At the end, I'm surprised at the amount of illustrations I was able to complete in that short of time. 

The game was just sent to the printer and will be on the shelves this spring. It will be very exciting to see the completed deck of cards and play with them. Seeing your art on something (especially something that people will have their hands on constantly) is a very impressive thing. 

Currently, we are working on a game set in the same game universe. It's a racing dice drafting game that takes place on the deck of a ship .  The art for it is currently being made and I will post links soon!

This summer Rusted Ogre Games will be attending a number of conventions, including Origins in Columbus. I will have my art for sale in their booth. 

 Logo for Rusted Ogre Games. (I did the ogre sign)

Logo for Rusted Ogre Games. (I did the ogre sign)

20 years ago.

Between 1996-1999 I was an adolescent artist creating work that contained all the angst one goes through during that stage in life.  During a momentary lapse in judgement, I went through a short "Purge" period wherein I gave away and/or destroyed a large portion of what I had created to that point. (Note to young artists: Don't do this.) 

Regardless, these are images that have found their way back to me. The quality is horrendous, I know. (Another note to young artists: Learn how to photograph your work, NOW!) But, this serves as a window on the past and where I was as a young human artist during the late 1990's. 

Enjoy.

A New Year, a New Focus.

This year I will be more active, engaged, and focused on my professional art career. 

By the end of 2017:

      I will have a book available for purchase. (The subject of which will be covered in a subsequent blog post)

      I will be involved with/in conventions, art shows, or a solo art show. Exposure. 

      I will attend more art openings, and be involved more closely with my art community. 

By focusing on my art work, and my involvement with its' growth, I hope to grow as an artist and human.

Also, I am stealing a motto by Jake Parker for the year: "Finished, Not Perfect"

 

1st entry on the new site.

It's my first blog entry on my "new" site. In the previous incarnation, this domain served as my online gallery, an "on again/off again" e-commerce site for my art work, and a linking portal to my various blogs. 

I let the previous site expire and felt it was a good time for a bit of "re-branding". I think this new version will serve as a better platform for my needs and provide one, central hub to all my avenues and explorations in the world of art.