Hallowe’en approaches…

And to celebrate, and because it turns out I’m not the only one who loves them, I’ve drawn some bats!

Little brown myotisFruit bat

A little brown bat, because those are the ones that you mostly spot in the skies around here, fluttering against the summer twilight like determined black butterflies. And an Egyptian fruit bat, because they’re so objectively cute that I think even your average chiroptophobe has to find them endearing. Happy October everyone!

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The freelance mindset

One of the dangers of setting your own schedule: it’s really easy to allow weeks to slip by without noticing. I’ve been pretty loose with scheduling lately, as a follow-up to a contract that had me pretty rigidly locked in for a few weeks, and it has not done good things for my timeliness.

For one, I forgot to blog a mention about my guest post over at Inkpunks, which outlines some basics of website design (applicable even to lazy folks like me who rely upon blogs and premade themes to do the bulk of our work).

Today Evan’s guest post went live on Inkpunks, in which he talks about his struggles in finding a comfortable space he can feel creative in, even in cramped living situations.

And this past weekend, my little brother graduated from JMU! In an outdoor stadium, in the pouring rain! Congrats Warren! I’m so proud of you. I hope your celebratory 3 day, 50-mile canoe and camping trip in the pouring rain still manages to be extremely enjoyable despite everything.

And just for fun, something new from my sketchbook:

Wizard + cat

Happy agenda management, everyone!

Literary influences

Do you remember the first book that really grabbed you? The one that fell apart in your hands from constant rereading and spring-boarded you off into your career as an obsessive lifetime reader? (I’m assuming you’re a reader here, because I most certainly am and who would visit my blog if they’re not like me at least a little? Right?)

Well, mine was A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. I have no idea why my mom decided to bring it home from the library for me that day. To the best of my knowledge, she’s never read it herself (though she can feel free to contradict me if I’m wrong, or fill in the story if she remembers) and it certainly wasn’t a new release in 1992 when I was 7.

But whatever the reason, there it was. And that story, of a young and talented wizard whose life and career nearly end at the hands of his own hubris, really got to me. I remember carrying around laminated bookmarks I’d made myself, painstakingly copying out the poem and runes from the front of the book. I hunted down the trilogy, the copies with my favorite cover art of course (these ones), and still have them on my shelf to this day.

Yet for some reason, I think this might be the first illustration I’ve ever done of Ged.

Ged and Hoeg

(Bigger, better view here)

Of dinosaurs and videogames

Some months ago, the inimitable Jon Davies asked me to do some internal promo art for a game his company, Megadev, was working on for Adult Swim. The game came out today, so now I can finally share this!A man and his sheepherding Allosaurus

There wasn’t much in the way of existing art representing the game at that time, outside of Jon’s original proposal sketch, so I actually got a fair bit of creative leeway. Here are some of my initial character sketches.

Character sketchesAnd here are the compositional thumbnails.

Compositional thumbsI can’t even describe what a great experience this was. I’ve known Jon for some years, and working with him as an art director was just terrific. And his own art, in the game? Standout gorgeous.

Give it a play. Just watch out for those exploding tomatoes at the carnival, they’re brutal.

Rest up

Is what the orthodontic surgeon told me to do. But since it’s never so hard to take it easy as when you’ve been commanded to do it, well… here are those ink sketches I posted yesterday. But colored.

Llama deer person... in color!Cheshire Cinnamon, coloredNow I’m going to go lie down, because the painkillers are making me dizzy and tired. But I’ll probably make more art tomorrow.

Sketches – experiments with color

Color is not my strong suit. I tend to panic and go for neutral earthtones, and when I do push myself to go bright I often overdo it and include far too much variety. Or maybe not very well matched variety.

I’ve decided to make this a bit of a focus, because it certainly deserves it. You’ll be seeing a lot of experimentation in color from me, in other words, though I’ll try to keep it interesting.

To begin with, I’ve gone back into some old ballpoint sketches in my moleskine with colored pencil. I deliberately limited my palette, putting aside a handful of (mostly vivid) colors to work from. I feel I did a decent job with these, though obviously they’re only a start.

Next step: using a palette-generating tool like Kuler to set limits for myself, and see what they look like in paintings.

Wish me luck.