Cats + owls = win, apparently

For some reason I’ve come back to this again, a merger between owls and cats. I guess I like rethinking this particular combination. It’s an easy blend.

Watercolor and brown india ink on 4 x 6″ Strathmore watercolor paper.

Owlcat, final versionInterested in earlier stages? After the cut!

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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.

Painting day

I know! I have so much to get done! D: But I also have a pretty bad infection in my jaw from the wisdom tooth extraction, and either it or my antibiotics are making me a bit woozy and lacking in focus. So today, I finished my dad’s birthday present:

Ship for dad

Dad likes his ships

(His birthday was on August 17th…oops….)

And then there’s the 4th card that went with the ones I posted last time. It was for a wedding invitation company, and I thought “Hey! They’re based in DC. Maybe some paleontologists from the Smithsonian will want a proto-bird on their card!” but then I chickened out at the last minute and didn’t send it to the client. In fact, I didn’t even ink it until today.

Anchiornis card

A very Anchiornis wedding

Uncolored ink drawing after the cut!

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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.

Inky fingers

First of all, I finally set up a new Flickr account! Since I couldn’t get back into my old one… If you’re a flickr user, find and contact me! :)

This post is going to be a bit of a sketchdump. I’ve been working on that inky, chunky linework a little more, and made two more pieces with that in mind:

Inky self portrait

Inky self portrait

Ahhh… I’m having flashbacks to highschool. Self portraits. Well, it does look like me: angry. Though maybe older? The ink was acrylic, but despite that it still smeared when I put down water: too much ink. Also, that weird thorny thing and flower up front? To hide smudge marks where my inky hand landed on the page…

The short way homeHad a *lot* of fun with that leave mold. Not so sure about my idea of using blue ink (or on the general design of that creature, or the girl…) Also, something this complex needs to be a tad bigger than 4 x 6″.

Moleskine frontispiece

Moleskine frontispiece

I always like putting *something* on those first blank pages. Those are Jack O’Lantern mushrooms. The ink I used on the left didn’t like moleskine paper much, though. Soaked in as if I’d put it on a sponge. Trying Dr. Ph Martin’s Bombay black next time.

Hire me to design your heavy metal band’s album covers

Basically a stream of consciousness drawing. Used a nice, big dip-pen nib and some lovely gooey Windsor & Newton “Nut Brown” ink. Got very, very into working big globs of ink into feathery little lines.

Harvesting Snakeweed, linesThen I painted it! Forgetting that Nut Brown is not one of W&N’s water-fast inks! Ah well. I think the bleeding actually worked for this sketch.

Harvesting Snakeweed, colorIn the future, I’ll use some Dr. PH Martin’s Bombay, or maybe just ink on top of a prepared watercolor layer. Did try using FW Acrylic’s Sepia, but it’s just too damn dark, and doesn’t spread nearly so nicely.

What do you think? Is this a method I should explore in greater detail?

A little proto-avian in the morning

Just sharing this little sketch. I’ve started using a Strathmore watercolor postcard pad as a watercolor sketchbook, since I’ve been unable to find a decent pocket-sized one elsewhere. So this is only 4 x 6″.

Confusciusornis Sketch

Confuciusornis Sketch

Confuciusornis is one of the most common fossils we have. Literally hundreds of fully intact, which means we know a bit more about it than many other early birds. It lived during the early Cretaceous, and had a toothless beak and a fused (pygostyle) tail, which is what allows birds to flex and flare their tail feathers. It couldn’t lift its wings above its back, and that coupled with its wing-claws indicates that it was more of a climb-then-glide sort of bird. Still, pretty neat how close it was considering it evolved to this state 125 million years ago.

This is just a quick sketch, so not wholly accurate! For one, there’s no indication that they had tertiary feathers, or any on their upper arms… I’ll have to do another Confuciusornis soon, I really like the species. The tree it’s sitting on is period-accurate as well, but I can’t for the life of me recall what it’s named.

Everything goes back to normal

So I think my art crisis is over. I’m back to painting in about the same way I did originally (save for the fact that I ink last, rather than first) and I no longer feel quite as convinced that my color work is terrible. I do think that the experimentation was really useful, but it’s nice not to feel so panicky whenever I think about making work for someone. Expect more of that sort of thing next time I start feeling insecure about my art (which knowing me will probably be next week).

Three creaturesI tried using gouache for the first time in this one! And I also used salt successfully for the first time! So I guess I’m not actually done experimenting, but at least it’s more typical to my work. Ink, I missed you. I think I’d like to practice painting slimy things some more.

I was having an extremely strong urge to draw pokémon fanart, which I channeled into this instead. So I guess this is what pokémon would look like if I’d been the one to design them. This must be your three starter options. Which would you choose?

I forgot to get a scan of the initial pencil lines, but I do have an ink-less and gouache-less stage below the cut, if you’re interested.

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