My ice hockey team (The Bluezerz) fought its way through the playoffs and wound up in the championship game last night. It was a tightly contested affair, the game got a bit chippy (things were said to me that I hardly ever hear in church) and one of our defensemen got thrown out of the game. We soldiered on without him, played from behind the entire game and then scored a goal with only a few minutes remaining in the game. We hung on for a 4 to 3 championship win! I had one goal, one assist and one slice of championship pepperoni pizza.
This was a fun project I worked on a few months ago. The good folks at Cryptozoic saw a picture I did of my very first car (a 1970 Opel Kadette) and asked me to do the same sort of thing with the old 1966 Batmobile from the Batman TV Series. I worked up a sketch with some quick color on it, DC Comics approved the concept, I did pencil views from different angles and a sculptor digitally created my idea and really took it to a whole different level… look at those flames and smoke… WOW! A prototype was built and shown at the latest New York Toy Fair and WonderCon and this should hit the market and be available later on this year.
I just spent a great week with my Oklahoma kids helping them move into a fabulous new house. I flew out last Thursday (which was my birthday) and I killed time on the flight once again with my Surface Pro 4 tablet. This happy little redheaded birthday cat magically appeared beneath my Surface Pro Pen on the plane.
I’ve had some questions about how well the pen that comes with the tablet works. Everyone has their own unique process for creating digital artwork (so there’s not really an absolute answer that can be made) but I’ve found the pen works great for the way I personally create pictures. It comes out of the box with the HB nib (which I found perfectly acceptable) but in Denver I picked up the four pen nib set ($10.00 – cheap) and switched to the 2H nib because I have grown accustom to the slick feel of working on a Wacom Cintiq. If you prefer the “drag” of a real pencil, you can step all the way down to a B pencil lead feel. I’m very happy with this product.
It seems people really enjoyed seeing my rather… uhm… humble… beginnings as an artist… so I will go ahead and show you the other sketch I did last weekend.
My very first professional jobs were for Silver Dollar City, a theme park in the Missouri Ozarks. I did three different park maps, coloring books, activity books and miscellaneous other illustrations for various products. For some reason, this weekend I was thinking about those old SDC coloring books. It would be really fun to have another crack at those things. I’m not a big fan of hard line coloring book art, but what if a coloring book could be created with tonal art? I had some spare time, so I whipped up a sample to see what that might look like. You can see what I came up with below, right next to my old original coloring book page…
…HEY… I was straight outa college when I did that! QUIT LAUGHING AT ME!
I don’t often get asked to do background scenery… well… to put it another way… I have NEVER been asked to do background scenery, so I was pretty nervous when I was tasked with developing six backgrounds for a quirky board game, tight focus, pan through film shot… but when I got past the opening stage jitters, it turned out to be a pretty fun experience… plus after reading the film transcript, I’m really excited to see the finished movie.
Several years ago I did a job for Mission Hockey and as part of the payment process I received a bunch of their latest hockey gear. For some reason my wife is not fond of this sort of compensation package (she seems to be a big fan of hard cold cash) but I loved it …and I’m STILL using those Mission hockey gloves!
I just finished another job that had a unique payout at the end. This time I got one of those new Surface Pro 4 Tablets. For years I’ve been looking for SOMETHING PORTABLE that I can digitally paint with and the Surface Pro 4 claims it can fill that bill… so I gave it a test drive to see.
Because I use an older version of Photoshop (CS6) I had to jump through a couple of hoops, but basically got it loaded onto the tablet with no problem. The Surface Pro 4 comes ready to use out of the box with a pen and screen sensitivity, so using the 8 megapixel camera on the device, I snapped a picture of a crumpled up sermon note that was in the trash can, opened it in Photoshop and got busy. To make a long story short, it worked great. (I write really short reviews) I can now sit in front of the tv with a full blown version of Photoshop on my lap and make goofy pictures with it. I’m really impressed…
…and oh, did I mention it’s also a pretty slick little gaming computer. It runs Steam games really well to boot.
I’ve been doing a lot of “behind the scenes” work that is confidential, but here’s some character development work for a tv commercial that’s close enough to production that I can show. I love the spider Clayt Ratlaff built from my sketches and to see him come to life in the commercial is awesome!