Friday, December 25, 2009

Victorian Santa Claus - Christmas card

Hello out there!
It's been a while since my last post. I'm sorry, I have an Abolishers post I need to make. But I figured since it's Christmas, I will treat you to a pretty in depth progress post of one of the Christmas cards I sent out this year. This is the final product, it's for the most part watercolors and colored pencils. With a few Photoshop tweaks (or "fixes") thrown into the mix.

Let's go back to the beginning. It's starts with a little thumbnail sketch about two inches high and only I can make out what the heck it is.

(Nevermind the image on the right for now, that will be a future card... for the future.)

Once I get a general idea as to what I want the layout to be, I start looking at inspiration, mostly the masters such as Leyendecker, Rockwell and Mucha. But also santa suits and different styles of suits. Now I was certain I wanted my santa to have the feel that he was from a time period of the past. With that being said, you may already know I am really into the Victorian era so I researched Santas from that time period.

That's where Thomas Nast comes into the picture. Nast was an illustrator from the 1800's and it just so happens he was the first to draw Santa as a jolly fellow with a sack full of toys for good boys and girls. The Nast Santa had red and white striped pants and a blue coat with stars shapes on the front. I loved the striped pants idea, the blue star vest... not so much.

The first appearance of the Knast Santa. Harpers Weekly 1863.

At this point, I have my thumbnail, I have my inspiration. Since I want my Santa to look somewhat realistic, I wanted some actual reference pictures to work from. That's where my good friend and fellow artist comes in... this is about how the conversation went:

Me: - "Hey man! I'm drawing a Santa Claus for a Christmas card... will you dress up like Santa for me so I can get some good reference shots?"
G: - " Yeah! That will be awesome!"
Me:- "Great! I already have the Santa suit at home."
G: - "Cool... wait... are you saying I'm fat?"
Me: - "uhh..."
*awkward pause*

As you can see, G is not fat... ( I love you man!) but he is a very tall, large build man. Perfect for my Claus. I wanted mine to be almost like an elder superhero of sorts. Like Superman's great grandfather.

So! after about 20 or so shots in my garage with Gerald in my Santa suit and wearing my Nacho cape. I get some really good shots to work off of. This one is actually a frankenstein of a few photos I meshed together for my reference piece. With this image I am now able to have a picture to reference lighting, the pose and just the overall image. At this point I could try and draw freehanded just by looking my reference. But my drawings always tend to lean towards the more cartoonish side if I go about it that way, which is not always a bad thing. But since I want this guy to look a bit more realistic and I started this three days before I had to send it out and only about 2-4 hours each of those days to work on it, time was of an essence so I opened my reference in photoshop and began TRACING (*gasp! the dreaded word!) Yeah tracing, Struzan so does it, Rockwell did it so can I, besides, unless your Alex Ross or Frank Frazetta it's the quickest way to get proportions right the first time round.

Once I get the main outlines of the figure and the more important key landmarks like the eyes, nose and hands. I remove the reference photo and start to add the finer details I want to see in the art. the bag of toys (note Unklbee there) the long list, the striped pants, large pipe. and I turned the Nacho mask into my Santa Trench coat. These are easier for me to incorporate on the computer just incase there is something I don't like, or I want to try a new idea it's a quick change without destroying what I already had if I need to go back. It's basically the most important step in this whole thing because it's the step where I figure out all my key points and work through any problems I might have. Once I get all the details figured out and I'm happy I print this out at 11x17 and off to the *light box I go!

*sorry! I had a shot of the finished pencils right after transferring from the lightbox, but I can't seem to find it. I might have deleted it from existence! boo!

I transfer my sketch to my watercolor paper then I soak it in water and stretch it to a piece of plywood. I let it dry overnight so it'll be good and dry and ready for paint the next day!

Now the few shots are just progress of the watercolors:

So.. I got a bit carried away and got into the zone painting after that last image. I forgot to take anymore photos of the colored pencils stage.

But here is the finished art after fixing a few color tweaks and adjusting the saturation and levels. You can see here I'm no Alphonse Mucha by a long shot so my shoddy attempt at intricate floush-y borders work was just that.. shoddy. So to "fix" that I would have loved to just power through here and start over painting a new border with watercolors and pencils but remember I was kind of pressed for time. Thank the Heavens for Photoshop! I'm a firm believer of Bevel and Emboss'd art is for rookies and a "REAL" artist would have hand painted all those highlights and textures on the borders... but at this point it was being printed to mail out literally within the hour so I had no choice but to do something I hate.

With said and done, that was the entire process of my Victorian- inspired Santa Claus. I sent quite a few out (about 150) to friends and family and a small few to some of my artistic heroes you know who you are. But after ALL that hard work and precise attention to detail..
the card that everybody responded to the most was just a last minute gag. A sweet xmas sweater from Goodwill, some gold jewelry and a groovy mustache is all it took!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 is....

Sorry if you have tried to visit recently. I am having an all out war with my web host service. Thus resulting in my good friend Barry with to come to my rescue. Yay for web savvy friends!

In the meantime, I will have a new Abolishers post in the VERY near future but just for giggles...

Joy wanted me to make her a flyer for her "Twilight Pajama Party" for the midnight showing of new moon.... so my only stipulation was if I could put this sweet doodle on there. All I need now is glitter paint and we have a masterpiece at hand.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here are a few close up shots from page three of the ApAb web comic I am currently Illustrating.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Abolishers page 1 - inks

As Promised.. here is the pencil / ink wash to the first page of the Abolishers web comic which is scheduled to begin this Saturday. (Oct 10th)

In the meantime, Dr. Mortimer J. Torque has updated our site with a special little treat from our good friend and talented artist, Scott Gipson of RocketFuelConcepts.

See you after Saturday, when I will post some more progress shots... this time.. IN COLOR!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apparition Abolishers

Well! Much has happened since my last post, most importantly, Dragon*Con. Over Labor Day weekend we packed a huge trailer full of droids, costumes and ... um "beverages of the fun kind" and headed down to Atlanta for the biggest convention of the South.. basically our version of San Diego Comic-Con.

One of our group costumes were the Apparition Abolishers or Steampunk Ghostbusters. Our costumes were a huge hit and we won the great honor of being "Best In Show" at the Masquerade Ball.
Here I am in my gear.

And a short clip of us on stage. (Thanks Zach)
The Abolishers were such a huge hit we have created our own site and now have character back stories as well as weapon descriptions. But most importantly, a web comic is in the works! Written by my awesome sister Jess and Illustrated by yours truly.

Here are the first three pages in sketch form, just to rough out the ideas and get a layout going.

Over the next few posts I will have progress shots leading up to the final art which will be available on the Abolishers website.... for FREE. ;)

We will be in costume at the GMX convention here in Nashville this weekend on Saturday, stop by our panel discussion at noon and say hi.

To see more about the Abolishers please visit our site or follow us on Twitter

Special thanks to bynk for the photo of me :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Well.. white water rafting really.. maybe some fishing, who knows.

Speaking of fishin' here's a fun little doodle I recently whipped up that actually ended up on my resume as the background image.

Great Lake Swimmers @ Grimeys

Last Sunday at Grimey's New & Preloved Music Record Shop, we had the absolute pleasure to meet and listen to one of my recent most favorite bands Great Lake Swimmers.

My good friend Lauren was much smarter than me and brought her camera to record this epic FREE event. here is one of the videos she recorded. I'll post the rest once she uploads them.

Many thanks to the Great Lake Swimmers,for excellent music.
Thanks to Grimey's for being the coolest record shop in Nashville.
And to Lauren for being generous enough to share her videos. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Review ReCap

Well, the review is finally behind me now. It was alot of hard work and frantic last minute scrambling to get everything together. I must say it was well worth it too, I met many great people and possible new clients. I took home Third place in best Table display (oh yippee.)

For a fun little giveaway item, I found a place that sold "Gummy Brains" in 5lb bags and I thought it would be a tasty idea plus a way for people to take my info with them. So I drew up a fun little tag for the individually bagged candies (that my awesome girlfriend individually bag for me: ) and here's a pic of the final product and the box I used to put them in. (thanks for the box Kyle) In the top right corner you can see I made some stickers as well.

(sorry about the poor iphone pic)
I want to thank all the friends and family that stopped by and thank you for your support. And to all the future clients and competition.... watch out! I'm on the prowl and I'm hungry!
With that being said. I'll leave you with a picture of my inspiration behind "Unklbee and Me" (a post for another day) That's me.. holding the Unklbee card, and Aiden, holding the Aiden card. :)
Now, off to the RollerDerby. Go NRG!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Freaks & Friends: My Portfolio Review

I will be having my portfolio review at the LimeLight. As I understand it, from noon to about 4 or 5 will be the time for professionals in the industry such as art directors and/or creative directors to stop by and view the latest batch of Nossi's finest.

Then, after 5 will be for friends and family to come. The award ceremony will begin at 6pm (i believe?) If your in the area please stop by and say hello!


Friday, June 12, 2009

OZ : The TinMan pt.2 (progress)

A few screen shots of the TinMan revamp in the making. He is finished and has already been sent to the printers, but I will wait until they officially release him before I post the final.

Monday, June 8, 2009

OZ : The TinMan pt.1

I recently had a class at school called "Illustration Specialization." That was basically a fancy way of saying, "draw what you want, as long as it focuses on the genre or type of work you would like to do professionally."

So I had always thought it would have been neat to do my own interpretation of the characters from The Wizard of Oz. The Tinman, The Lion, Scarecrow, and of course Dorothy. I also wanted to try something I had never attempted before. I wanted the paintings to "flow into each other" so when I was finished with the project, they could all be assembled together as one BIG long illustration. My mind set was to take on the project as if they were a series of book covers or maybe as character concepts for a game.

So I got to work with the thumbnails (which I did as one overall thumbnail) refining as I went along. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted for the Tin Man, so I started with him first.

Now I must tell you, right before I had started this project, I was introduced to the works of Justin Gerard and his amazingly unique process of which I had tried to mimic ... (and I failed)

(You should Check out his super awesome Hobbit projects he recently finished up.)

The process was to get the tonal value via thumbnail, which I did in Photoshop. then from that, print and pencil out the tighter pencil work. From there, using a very limited palette of watercolor to get all my textures and values (light vs. dark areas) Once I got my values in, I would scan in the painting and finish it off in Photoshop.

But... Like I said, I failed to execute this process as smoothly as Mr.Gerard. So here is a look at what happened the first time around...

Below is was what I turned in for the grade. I was very unhappy with it, and I knew i could do better.

The part 2 of this post, I will show the new and improved Tinman and a few progress shots of how I got there.

Thanks for viewing and being that this my first "real" post on my new blog, I would love to get feedback from anybody who took the time to get this far. Good or Bad. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WonderFest 09

The first batch of my recent trip to WonderFest are up in my flickr stream. I'm new to the Flickr thing as well and it only allows me to upload some obscure tiny amount of photos per month. I guess thats what I get for being a cheap-o and not paying to have the membership fee that would take the limit off.

I'll will continue to post them as much as they will allow. (I've got about 6gig's worth of photos to post. whoa!)

The models were absolutly mind-boggling, not to mention all of the amazing artist that I had the chance to chat/drink with! ;) Not many people at my young age have had the great opportunity to sit back and talk art techniques and J.C. Leyendecker with William Stout. Or "Hang with The Wang" in the Hotel bar until closing time. Steve Wang was a super down to Earth great guy to hang with and knock a few drinks back... matter of fact.. I think he might have bought me a round... (awesome... I owe Steve Wang a beer...)

I just wish that music in the bar, which was SUPPOSED to be a one man band, had not turn into a Karaoke contest for the worst country songs ever. Geez, and I thought Nashville was bad.. go to KY and listen to "Aspiring Vocalist" ...not so much.

Many other great artists were there as well Like Frank Deitz, Ken Kelly and David Fisher just to name a few. And Last but least i want to thank my former instructor / mentor Jeff Preston to whom none of this would have been possible. I had a blast guys! And I will for sure be back the many years to come!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Hello all!

I have decided to try out this blogging thing.

My intention is to show the world what it is I actually "DO."
You can expect sketches, process shots, thumbnails, wacky reference, and finished illustrations. Also, every once in a bit I might post things or events the are taking place in my life.. who knows really, I am just going to wing it and see what can come of this bad boy.

So.. wish me luck!