Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Website Preview

I noticed I haven't updated in awhile. Been busy with getting things ready for the baby and Abby's transition to big sister, the holidays, freelance work, and the preparations for going freelance full time. I have a couple of new "Daily Life" episodes in the pipe line, but I'm not really sure when I'm going to have them finished to post. In fact, while I might get one or two in December, I think I'm going to officially take a break until the new year and come back strong with some format changes, all new content, and maybe some other little suprises.
Until then, here's a little preview of the Redherring website redesign that I'm in the middle of. I hope to have it all done to launch the first of the year as well.

Until I talk at you again, Take care and be good!
Your friend,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Daily Life 011:Shopping Cart 2

Abby has a playschool shopping cart that she loves to push around... everywhere. And there's not really any rhyme or reason to what is actually IN the cart. The only consistent thing, is that usually either Woody or Kermit is riding in the seat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some New Daily Life Characters

First off, I want to say that this image does not accurately reflect the personality or demeanor of Crystal. I'm doing a Newsletter/Brochure for the class I'm taking, (and actually, its going to be my freelance brochure) and needed a little artwork to showcase the Daily Life Series. Abby and Crystal already had usable pictures, so I only had to actually draw three... Sorry, just didn't have time at the moment to do a new one for the other two. At any rate, she is just a place holder for now, and I will go back and update this image in the next week or two.
So, new Character models. I'm really happy with how my wife came out, I have a lot of trouble drawing her, because I want her to look like her, but also to reflect how I see her. So I generally get all wound up about it, and she comes out looking horrible. Ha-ha-ha!
I hope you all are well, and I'll talk at you again soon!

Your friend

Monday, October 12, 2009

DailyLife010:The Shopping Cart

Abby and I go shopping together. A lot. Okay, so it's really a Saturday morning thing for the most part. Mommy sleeps in, and we go maybe to the farmers market, maybe to the Home Depot, or maybe to the Walmart. Groceries is usually a part of this trip, so usually the Walmart is one of the places we go. So, it's possible that maybe I'm an over indulgent father, or maybe i just understand what the girl wants... She constantly tries to turn around in the cart to face the direction we are going (I think it's partly that she likes to accost people with demanding hellos). Because of this, I've taken to walking with the cart facing backwards so that Abby can face forwards.
She will wave at almost anyone... as long as they don't wave at her first.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Started serious work this week on the second of the Doom crew, Badger lord of the forest.
There's a couple of ideas that I haven't quite nailed down yet. The scarf and name, I got from my friend Josh "Badger" Atack. The initial idea for the doom crew characters came from a group of artists that I was friends with over on CA, with the eight major antagonists being very loosely based on them. I also like the idea of him having these big baroque, Steam-punkish power claws. The bomb is just an idea I'm toying with. It's kind of a cool visual element, but I'm not really sure how it jives with the character.
Until tomorrow then, take care and be good!
Your friend

Monday, September 21, 2009

Daily Life 009:Ultimate Alliance

This weekend Chet brought over Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Soooo much fun. I found myself thinking about the wreckage we created on the city streets of Latveria, and the super laser awesome combo moves often today while I was at work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daily Life 008: Waiting

Amy had a meeting and a conference after work today, so Abby and I sat outside and waited for her. Part of the time we spent just hanging out, watching the cars and peoples go by, and drinking milk. The rest of the time we spent playing with toys out of her satchel. She's not really even talking yet, and still she seems more grown up every day...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finished Abigail wallpaper.

I've decided that I need a name for the Sunday section of the blog, since I have one for the other three days. I like the way, on the other days of the week I can write "Daily Life: ..." and then the subtitle for the post. Sundays it always seems out of context. If any of you all have an idea for the name of this segment, let me know.So I finished the Abigail promo piece. It sort of evolved as it went, and I learned a ton about Photoshop working on it. I LOVE layer masks. There was a time when I didn't see the point of them, but one of the great things about layer masks is that you can effectively delete a portion of your drawing without actually losing it, so you can always go back, and re-edit it. Another awesome thing about layer masks is that using a gradient on them, you can fade part of one layer into another. It just opens so many design possibilities.
I was almost finished working on this, (had converted it to a jpg, and set it as my desktop so that I could consider it for awhile... viewing the image out of the context of the actual editing software often helps to define problem areas. I guess because you can't focus your attention on just one area, you only get the big picture.) and decided to repaint the face. I looked up some reference pictures, and got to work. I redefined the planes of her face and fixed a lot of the yellow tone in her skin (adding more purple and red to it) And totally redid her mouth (Reshaped the lips, defined the upper teeth, and added lower ones.) I also cut out one of her eyes and resized and repositioned it, because it was pretty big. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it all. I realize I should probably go back in and work on her sweater and shoes a little more, but I'm not really sure how big of a deal that is.
Well, that's it for today. Tomorrow's a new daily life, so until then take care and be good.
Your friend

Monday, September 7, 2009

DailyLife 007: Kicked Out

I got kicked out of the garage this weekend... After accidentally calling Theresa, Crystal. Twice.
Just to make sure that I understood just what was being asked of me, Crystal walked out to demonstrate EXACTLY how I should stand and also what expression I should carry. No standing meekly facing the corner for me.
No Sir!
Stand outside of the garage looking humbly in at the comfy chairs, the warm pipe and hot coffee. Listening to the laughter (product of stimulating and intelligent conversation) with out being able to join in. No Warioware on the Game Cube... Just tears and shame.
That's what I was supposed to do...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More bass playin' goodness...

It's been a busy week. Working on a freelance gig, getting ready for Archon at the end of the month, and I spent a large chunk of today moving stuff around in the studio, to make room for stuff from the office, which is going to be the new babies room.
So all you get is this sketch. Like I said last week, the pose on the sheep dog character was just too close to the one that I'd already used on the Goat, so I changed that around a bit, and I think I'm also going to use an upright bass (Like the bassist for The Reverend Horton Head, pictured on the left) as well, to give him a little more character. So that's it for this week. I'll have more goodies for you next time.
Take care and be good.
Your friend,

Monday, August 31, 2009

Daily Life 006: Long Week

It's been a long, and very busy week. My wife is pregnant with our second child, and we've begun talking about some of the changes coming up in our lives. I have that feeling, like when you've just moved into a new house and you sit down in a little chair with boxes of your stuff in a place that's not really yours yet. I sit and let out a deep breath, and just feel a little... overwhelmed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More pics of the band: The Bassist

Started work on the bassist for the animal band this week. The sheep dog. I wanted an animal that I felt you could rely on to be there when you need him to be, but that is also is pretty laid back. I don't know anything about real sheep dogs, or their temperaments, but this is the impression I get.
The image in the upper left is my working drawing that I pulled into illustrator to act as a guide as I create the final character. In the lower right hand corner is the bass guitar that I intend to use as a model for the final instrument for this character. In the center is a mockup of the final character (that I put way more effort into than I should have, but I wanted you all to have something nice to look at, and I'm putting off going to bed...).
I've started vectorizing his head, and am playing with how much (or whether I even should) of his eyes and mouth I should show. Also, I noticed that his pose is almost exactly like the keytar player, so I should probably think about that a little more before I get too far into this.
Thanks for looking, and until I talk at you again tommorrow, take care and be good.
Your friend

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What you Talkin' About: Jackson Pollock

I am not really a huge fan of the work of Jackson Pollock. I appreciate the idea behind it, and the experimental nature of it... but basing an entire body of work around this idea seems unreal. I'm not here to bash on Mr Pollock though. I have a design related story to tell, and it involves him.I got in the mail the other day (by other day, I mean about two month ago...) a brochure for Pantone. There was a design on the back of it that I thought was really pretty cool, lot's of swoops, flourishes and spatters. At the end of the day, this is really just controlled chaos, which got me thinking about Jackson Pollock. Maybe I'm way off base here, and I can think of other artists/movements that also relate to this statement, but here we go. I told my wife that I don't know whether we'd have design quite like this if it weren't for Jackson Pollock.

I graduated from college with a studio art degree, and I remember feeling like it was just as useful as a philosophy degree. (By that I mean not really useful at all.) So much of "Fine art" is wrapped up in ideas, and like them or hate them they do affect the world we live in, and do become a part of our collective unconsious. Sometimes it gets so easy to be elitist about what is good or bad art and design which is a dangerous trap to fall into, simply because it closes your mind to the dialog of ideas. I'm starting to ramble, so I'm going to stop here. I hope you enjoy the design stuff I pulled off the interweb, and Jackson Pollock too.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Life 005: A gap in my afternoon

Every day last year as I passed through one of the neighborhoods on my way from work to pick up Amy and Abby, I would pass this older black gentleman. And every day, he would turn slowly and wave as I passed. It's over two weeks into the school year now, and I haven't seen him at all... It seems odd that I should really miss a person who I never really met. And it kind of makes me sad that that should seem odd at all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Some More Progress: Almost finished

So I got some more work done on this Abby promo image this week. I finished all the coloring in illustrator.And then I moved over to photoshop to add in the highlights, and deepen some of the shadows as well as smoothing out some of the color breaks. I'm not 100% thrilled with with it. I think I need to do a little more work on the pants and face especially, but I'm not really sure where to go with with them right this second.
I started adding in some background elements too. Designing in photoshop is something that I rarely do, so this is a little bit of an adventure for me. If you all have any comments or suggestions about where I am, or where you think I ought to be heading, please drop me a comment. The plan for this page, is to be part of the website background, and I think also I will make it available as a downloadable desktop background too.
It's not nearly done yet, I have a vision for what it will look like, and I think I might do this weeks "What you Talkin' about?" segment relating to where I'm going with it. So'oooo please make sure to drop by for that little slice of heaven.

Okay, until tomorrow then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Daily Life 004: New Boots

Abby got a new pair of boots from her Nana this weekend... She was very excited. We went to the Wal-mart after dinner, and she kept stopping to admire them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daily Life 003: My Bike

My Bike is now functional again! The plan is to drop me and the bike off at work every day, and then I will ride it in the afternoon to pick up Amy and Abigail. It's like getting back in touch with an old friend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daily Life Logo: A little process.

Designing logos for yourself is always hard. Okay, I mean for myself. I feel like when I'm designing for other people, 1. I usually have a clear idea of where I want to go and 2. There's always the "safety net" of the client's feedback.

At any rate... I've been working on a logo for the "Daily Life" section of the blog, and thought I'd share a little of my process.
The first two steps here are pretty much interchangeable for me. There's different type of "thinking while I'm working". I begin by generating ideas. This is either in my sketchbook (above), or on the computer (below) and both methods have their merits.
Working in my sketch book, I am not hampered by specific fonts, or images. I can work out of my head, trying out different shape combos with out having to figure out how to make that happen within a program. I can abandon an idea that's not working and write notes to myself without changing tools. I'm not as good at this method, but I am trying to get in the habit of doing it because I will not only get better at it, but I think that it will ultimately help me generate stronger, more original layouts.

When I'm generating ideas on the computer, I usually start with an idea of what types of font I am looking for, and "pull" samples that fit that. Going through the list also sometimes gives me possibilities that I hadn't thought of and which might push me in a new direction. Fonts are useful, and can be a great time saver, but sometimes can lead us into a rut where we aren't doing anything really new and original.
So I take my a font that I like (or two or three) and set them aside along with all of the other characters from that font. What I'm looking for here is shapes that I can use to embellish existing letters. One of the really nice things about working with text on the computer is that you can cut text apart as shapes, and then paste those parts onto other letter shapes to get new effects.
As I'm working, I'll add graphic shapes and maybe some images to turn the plain text into more of a design.
I came up with a few versions of the logo. The top one is a definite no. It's one of those ideas that worked in my head, but just didn't translate well. The rest... I like all of them pretty well, but am not really feeling WOWed by them yet. I'm leaning toward the one with the blocks and the ball, but think I need to do a little more work and find a few more ideas.
Until tomorrow then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily Life 002: Darth Vader

Abigail recently discovered her mothers microphone/tape player. She doesn't seem to get that you're supposed to talk into it, so she sticks the whole microphone into her mouth and does a pretty decent Darth Vader impression... Then says UH! really loud.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Abigail: A New Work in Progress

I promised myself I would try not to do this... Ha-ha-ha!

Okay, like I said. I really am trying not to post too many WIPs, but I got busy doing some freelance work and other stuff (by "other stuff" I mean that I have a new Xbox in my house... do with that what you want) and didn't get what I wanted to show you today done.
This is another drawing of Abby that I started on in the spring, and am working on getting the colors done. This one is a promo illustration that I plan on using in a couple of different places including my myspace page, the website, and brochure. I'm doing the initial colors in illustrator, and then I plan to export it to photoshop to add highlights and some background effects.
Gotta run now, but I'll be back again tomorrow for the next "Daily Life". Until then, take care and be good.

Your friend

Monday, August 3, 2009

Daily Life 001: Fifteen Minutes

My favorite part of the day, is the fifteen minutes between bath-time and bed-time when Abby and I just sit on the couch, watch a cartoon, and wind down...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Time: I think I'm pretty much finished

Or at least I'm moving on to something else for now.

It seems like it's taken just forever... To be fair to us all, I'm the only one who's really seen most of the trial and error steps, where I just wasn't sure where to go with it, and a couple of times really made a mess of things (Thank goodness for being able to work in layers, LOL). I was reading Zach Fransen's (from Portland Studios) blog the other day, and he said something that reminded me of this drawing:

"Justin told me not to post progress before I’ve completed a piece. That way if it goes off the tracks I won’t look stupid, ... ...I’m putting my dignity at risk and telling you to come back for the finished piece."

I do wonder if people checking my blog question my professionalism when months go by of little changes in a (seemingly) neverending series of progress images. I learned a lot from this picture, and doing it. It took a long time, but it was personal time which by nessessity takes a back seat to time spent making dollars to feed my family. I hope you all didn't mind the journey, and I've taken some steps to insure that there will be at least some new content every week, starting tomorrow.

If you have a minute, please let me know what you think. I will continue to post progress pictures too, but will try to keep it from taking months and months to show something finished.

New Segment "Daily Life" starts tomorrow, so stay tuned! Until then, take care and be good.
Your friend

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Denise Brunkus

I think drawing kids is hard. In spite of this, I do it often, both at work and at home. I also am always on the lookout for good art featuring kids. Last night, Abby and I were at the Hobby Lobby scoping some art supplies, and a copy of "Junie B. First Grader: Boss of Lunch" caught my eye.

Wow... What a great illustration. The little girl has a definate sense of character, and the drawing is simple but so full of life. I wasn't able to find very much information on the illustrator, Denise Brunkus, but here's what I was able to dig up.

Denise Brunkus has illustrated more than sixty books for children, most notably the bestselling Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park, Read All About It! by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush, and Charlie Hits It Big by Deborah Blumenthal. Denise is basically a neat person, so adding smudges and smears to the art for Sloppy Joe was an unexpected thrill. She lives in Massachusetts.

Mostly, I just wanted to share these fun little illustrations with you tonite.

Until next time, take care and be good.
Your friend

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Two months? Are you kidding me?!

So I'm back from vacation. Literally. I've been up to my elbows in a big project for the last little bit, and let you guys fall to the wayside a little bit. Fret not, though! I have some new ideas that I'm pretty excited about. A new segment for the blog, plus a double fistful of new "What you talkin' about?" articles that should be pretty rad. I'm also ramping up for the Archon art show, so I'll be getting some all new art together for that along with a new pamphlet for Redherring illustration, and an insert for the Doom Crew. Illustration and Design... Design and Illustration.

Ryan's been bugging me to get my act together and move into my future, so that's what I'm setting out to do. Right now. Also I'm chatting with him about a super LASER AWESOME project that I'll fill you all in on when we get a little bit more together.

For now, here's a little sneak peak at what I have in store for you in the new segment. Look for it either on Friday or monday. I haven't decided where to put it yet... Probably Friday.

ummm... Tomorrow's Wednesday, so I'll be back for an all new "What You Talkin' About?" until then, take care and be good.

Your friend,

Monday, May 25, 2009

A little Update, Memorial Day

I hope that all of you are having a good Memorial Day weekend! Hopefully we can enjoy some time off with our families, maybe get caught up a little bit on chores, and also take a moment to remember those that have left us...

Running a little behind this week. Lots of work at home, plus just being busy with friends. It's all worth it every day though. Fortunately I have today to get caught up here, so I wasn't up until 3:00 in the morning and had to go to work as well. Ha-ha-ha!

Like I said, It's been a busy week. I made a point to pus aside a little time to work on this illustration though. Not much, but it's a step in the right direction, and I think it's almost done. Another hour or so of work on the background, and I think I can call this guy finished. I changed the grass... I didn't feel that the last try really worked, (the texture of it with the gradients and also the sheer denseness of it was really distracting. I also added the foreground path, and finished the garden walls. As I'm looking at it right now, the right side is looking a little bare, maybe I'll plant some azaleas or wisteria this week to fill it in.

Have a happy, fun and safe memorial day, and I'll talk to you soon!
Your friend

Sunday, May 17, 2009

There Is No Holy Grail

I am not perfect. I do not claim to be. I strive to be better at the things that I do. There is no Holy Grail that will make that easy for me. It's hard work.
I have a couple of reasons for doing this blog. The first is as a platform to both develop my portfolio and to display it. I also try to have an educational element to it... both showing off artists and designers that I enjoy and admire, and (hopefully) talking about tools and techniques that I use from time to time. Lastly, I do this blog as a sort of documentation of my progress as an artist moving toward freelancing.

I want to mention that it's not always easy. I've been bogged down with work (both during the day and freelance at night) as well as the fact that it's summer, and my daughter is mobile and awake more of the day. My personal stuff is at the bottom of the list, and usually comes late at night. Bed sometimes wins. LOL.

Anyway, tonites post comes to you for a couple of reasons. 1.I was too busy to do much worth showing you... Actually, I did a lot, but am not ALLOWED to show you. 2. I got a couple of e-mails from a friend who is wanting to get some use out of his degree, but isn't sure about where to start. He is in a similar position as me time-wise. Working, Family/kids time, etc... So I'm not really sure about this, but here goes. His questions, my responses as I see them.

These answers are just my opinion from my current vantage point. I am not full time freelance, I do not have cut and dry answers.

"Jeff I wanted to know how one would start trying to get jobs on CA I saw there are low level freelance jobs to working for free. What do you know about this stuff? Help a brother out. I just want to know the good, bad, and ugly of it. Thank you"

As with any job type situation, you have to apply for it, and show that you can do the job you are being asked to do. This is a public forum, so to "Apply", all you have to do is post in the thread saying something like "Hey! I'm interested in doing this project, and I think I'm a strong candidate for it because_(Fill in the blank)_. Please view samples of other projects that I've worked on here _(fill in the blank)_. Samples don't have to be crazy, and you don't need a huge, Laser Awesome website for them either.
Your blog, CA sketchbook, or Flickr account would all be fine. It is important to have them though, and that they be FINISHED. If you are wanting comic work, do some finished pencils showing Characters interacting in a story framework. Also do some inked pages. Maybe even download penciled pages by other artists and ink them, so you can show how you would ink another artists work.

If you need some "get up and go" to feel like this is a real project, try doing some of the P.O.W. (Panel of the Week) activities in the community activities forum. Activities are fun, and a good way to pad your portfolio. You can also get some good feedback from those guys.

Having a portfolio/samples of your best work is really REALLY important. Nobody will hire an artist without seeing their work first. And honestly, if they did I would seriously think about whether it was a good idea to work for them. LOL.

The job forum is set up so that you can check out possible jobs based on what you feel comfortable charging right now. Many people start in the low paying section, because that way you can prove your worth before (to yourself as well as potential employers) before you start taking on bigger jobs with more responsibility and more pay.

Generally working for free sucks. The upside is that you can build some credibility, experience, and a portfolio from doing this kind of work. The important thing here is to remember that there is a reason you are doing it. It's not just hobby work. Just because it's non-paying does not mean that it should be treated with less respect than any other job.

Both of these options are for people who want quality work, but can't really afford to pay for it. So the mutual benefit is exposure and experience.

I hope this makes sense and helps.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

"I want to know how you do it man? How do you find the time... Especially with the little one. What are your words of wisdom on that. I thnk I'm going to use the structure of the skillful huntsman to come up with a portfolio and story and try to get work from there, obviously start small, but go to it. now I just need deadlines and motivation :) So how do you dig deep?"

This is a harder question, but it's really about desire and discipline. It's also about being able to break down both your day and your projects into smaller pieces. I'm going to give you a breakdown of my "typical" week day.

I get up at around 6:30, get dressed and pack lunches... Basically get Abby and me ready to go. We all pile in the car at around 7:30, I'm at work Between 8 and 8:30, and I'm there until 4:15(ish) then I go and get the girls, and come home (5:15), Make dinner and eat (6:30), Get Abby cleaned up and ready for bed (7-7:30) and then spend some time with Amy until 9 or 9:30. This means that I have 1 hour and 30 minutes to work on my own stuff before bed. That includes checking e-mail and surfing for whatever. (Freelance deadlines will sometimes change this around, and Amy is wonderful about supporting my dropping out of existence when I have to)

I know I have a lot of projects on EVERY burner. So I dance between them, and do a little at a time. I put stuff off when I need to. But the important thing is that I honor my commitments first. I spend a few minutes scribbling and doodling. I'll work on some pose studies at Posemaniacs, or ink a drawing or work on some coloring or vectoring, but it's little bits. I don't have enough time to commit to doing a ninety minute warm-up drawing. If I was down here all day, every day, then sure I'd warm up for ninety minutes, but I'm not. So I don't. I warm up for five minutes and then work on something.

This goes back to what I was saying at the top of this monstrosity of a post that I applaud anyone who sat though... THERE IS NO HOLY GRAIL. So many people are out there looking for that one supply, that one book, tutorial, video, paper, pencil, snarfblatt... whatever, that will make it EASY for them to be a good artist. That thing DOES NOT exist. It's about hard work. It's about dedication.

It's about wanting it so bad you want to live it.

Think about what you want to do. If you want to be a concept artist, and work on defining the look of characters and worlds, then by all means use the skillful huntsman book as a structural guide to building that portfolio. It's a good book, with good work.

If you want to do comics, do some pages. If you need an idea, check out the P.O.W. community activity on They give out a plot summary and you have a couple of weeks to turn out three pages. It's a good way to get some work behind you and into a usable portfolio, and you might make some good friends to hold you accountable for it.

Sorry everybody. I think I've rambled on long enough for one day. I hope everything is going well for you all. If you have any questions or comments... or if you want to call me an ass that doesn't know what he's talking about, feel free to drop me a comment. Until next time, take care and be good.

Your friend

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Lorenzo! and Studio Blink Twice

"When I look at the sketch work of an artist, it is always the working lines that hold the most interest for me, as they show an idea as it is just taking shape, when it could go any number of ways and when the creativity and imagination of the artist holds the most potential."
I first saw Lorenzo!'s work in his sketchbook on I was blown away. This guy is doing art that is both loose, and yet clean. His art is highly detailed, but simplified down to what it needs to be. It holds together equally well as black and white line art, and as more finished, rendered grayscale and color pieces. Just... wow.

Looking a little bit closer, he's also working very hard, and apparently LOVING every minute of it. That's one thing that comes across in his sketchbook, and his blog in the way he talks about his work. It also seems to shine through in every line and gesture... Lorenzo! truly loves what he's doing.

Founded in 2003 by the Etherington brothers, Robin and Lawrence (Lorenzo!'s "real" name), Studio Blink Twice was a "total change of direction from the whole touting-art-and-words-to-publishers-who-weren't-all-that-interested, to Self-publishing". Working in black and white, the animal comedy story "Malcolm Magic" launched as a bi-monthly title in January 2004. "Our intention is a simple one; we want only to create beautiful things. Blink Twice is committed to breathing excitement and fun into paper, pixels and people’s minds."

I've been following the sketchbook for quite a while now, and I'm always excited to see new work. Recently, Lorenzo! self-published through Lulu (A Laser Awesome self-publushing/print-on-demand website) the first volume in a brand new series of art books, "El Sketchbook Lorenzo: Volume One". What an excellent little book! Weighing in at just over 100 pages, it is packed to the gills - cover to cover - with drawings, sketches and processes.

It's really cool to see the process that artists go through when they are working on concepts and finished drawings, and I look forward to checking this book out over and over again. If I were to have anything bad to say about it, it would be that I would've liked a little bit of commentary to go along with the images, but at the end of the day he was trying to keep costs down (which I appreciate) and it's an ART BOOK! Given the choice between some text, and more pictures, I think he chose wisely.
One last cool thing about both his blog, and his sketchbook on CA... Demos! this is another reason I can easily forgive the lack of text in the book. LOL. Every so often, Lorenzo! posts pictures of his workspace and works in progress... as they are progressing. Even better, sometimes they include detailed text embedded in the .jpg for convenient theft (erm... I mean... um... well...) viewing later when you are trying vainly (LOL) to emulate his working style.

This is something that I personally love about the inter-web (and you kids better count your lucky stars at how easy you have it). It seems like when I was a lad, everything (techniques, processes, even ideaology) was closly guarded. I remember getting issues of "Starlog" or "Wizard" magazines reading the fluff articles with the creators "behind-the-scenes" and studying grainy little photos of their studios hoping to spy the Holy Grail. That one thing that made them better. Or at least to get an idea of how to do some of the stuff that they knew how to, and I didn't...

Well, it looks like I've started rambling, so that's a good time to cut things here short. I hope that I've piqued your interest in the Etherington Brothers, and Studio Blink Twice, and that you'll go and check them out. Also, as a side, I hope they inspire you check out the possibilities of self publishing your work through companies like Lulu, or Ka-blam!. There's a lot more flexibility out there now than the old model of working and hoping to get noticed by Marvel or something. There's still some hustling involved, but I think it's worth it, and possibly more rewarding in the end.

Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More WIPs... But not new ones, LOL!

This illustration is really becoming appropriate... I just looked back in the archive log, and it's been over two months since I posted any progress on it. It's so easy to move on to other projects, and lose a little focus. I promised in my last post that I would work in earnest towards finishing some of these other projects before I move on to more new ones. Sometimes, that kind of kills me... Ha-ha-ha! I have so many ideas for things I want to draw and write about, but it doesn't always seem like I have time. And then by the time I get to them, my interest has waned somewhat.

This is really something that I've been struggling with, and I know that others have too. Finding time to get the personal work that will move your career (and life) forward, in a world that seems to fill in all of those gaps for us. It's partly about discipline... being able to say "No." to things like facebook and TV sitcoms. These things have their place, but mustn't consume all of the free time we have. It's also partly about realizing that we can't do it all in one go, (much as I'd like to... I know I don't have that kind of stamina) but should instead set aside a lot of little blocks of time to work. If it carries over and we don't want to stop, that's fine. It's much harder though, to commit to a large block of time than to a small one.

At any rate... I can feel this post turning into a ramble, so I'll stop there and talk a little bit about the work. I added the grass and started working on the garden wall this week. I'm not totally sure how I feel about it yet. I think there are still some kinks to work out of it, but progress has been made, and I'm glad of that! LOL.

I also did a little work on this illustration. Fleshed out the dad a lot. I think he's mostly done, except for his kite. Next I'll work a bit more on the girl. I'm thinking, instead of doing a painted background, I might put them in a vectored one. I'm not totally sold on that idea yet, but I definitely want some vectored elements in there.

I'm going to be starting up with the "What you talkin' about?" Wednesdays again this week. I feel pretty lazy for missing them pretty much all last month, but I think part of it was that I'm not totally settled on the new format for this blog... I sometimes worry that there isn't enough of my own work in here. I guess the best remedy for that, is to start doing more work and posting it, huh? We'll see...

Until next time, take care and be good! Talk at you Wednesday!
Your friend

Sunday, April 26, 2009


So, I have a confession to make this post. I was going to get more work done this weekend to show you all, but all I have is this linework drawing of Abigail... That I did tonight. Okay, I started it last night, but that's not really the point. I got "Rampage: Total Destruction" for my PS2, and while it IS Laser Awesome, I also wasted about 4 hours and was up until two in the morning playing it. On the more productive side of things though, I did get the first four pages of the script for the next issue of the Doom Crew comic written this week. I'm trying to avoid a punch in the stomach from my friend Justin, LOL.

I feel like I've been showing a lot of works in progress, without having much finished work, or even getting to the finished stuff, lately. I just wanted to let you all know that I noticed the backlog of unfinished work too.
Some more promo document work here. This is the main character abigail. I thought about showing the reference photo I took for this drawing... but decided to spare us all that embarrassment. I have a pretty good Idea where I want to go with this illustration, and I'm pretty excited about experimenting with some of these new ideas! Hopefully, I'll have something more to show and talk to you about that soon.

I did this illustration to put in the artshow at the Archon science-fiction, and gaming convention last year in Collinsville, IL. It's a little earlier incarnation of the Abigail character. It's always interesting to me to look back a little ways, and see whether I've grown. I don't think I'd do this illustration the same way now that I did then, so I have to say that I'm in a different place today. That is part of what this search is all about.

I have one last thing before I go. I'm thinking about changing the name of this blog... I know in the grand scheme of things that the name dosen't really matter, but there we are. The original intent has changed, and I think I have too, so I don't really think that the current name really reflects the nature of what this is about. Just wanted to give you all a heads up. It may be a week away, or a month, or just three days. I'm not sure yet. I'm still mulling it over. Do I take this thing too seriously?

Until next time, take care and be good!
Your friend

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Self Portrait and a WIP

Today's Abby's first birthday, so I'm feeling kind of reflective... thought maybe I'd go ahead and do a self portrait to share. The beard is getting kind of out of hand, I think I may go ahead and trim it this week. Ha-ha!
I also got the base colors done on the mountain king illustration... Overall, I'm pretty happy with the color palette. I'm thinking basically green and gold for the mountain kingdom, with a little purple. It's been a crazy busy week, so I didn't have much time to get anything else done. Next week, I hope to have a little more progress on this guy, plus a couple of icons. If I'm feeling especially energetic I may start work on another character as well. We'll see, LOL.

I hope everything's cool in your part of the world! Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Abigail and the Doom Crew: The Mountain King

...And he was a fierce, seemingly unstoppable warrior. However, there was a regretful sadness in his eyes.

So I started working on the Promo/Style document for the Abigail and the Doom Crew story. This is partly a way (I guess) to put off some of the work on the actual comic, but also I need to get my thoughts together about the story as a whole (Major characters, Plot summary, Future plans, and Back story). This also is going to work double duty as a design portfolio project, and elements for my web presence/marketing for the finished book. Mario is putting in so much work, and we really need to be able to be unified in our promo efforts.

First character is the Mountain King. The first member of the Doom Crew that young Abigail confronts. He is the keeper of the Scepter of Power, as well as some closely guarded secrets that will help shape our young protagonist. I'm really excited about this first story arc, and am in the first stages of writing it, but there are a couple of kinks that I still have to work out.

This is my first pencil drawing of the character, with some graphics to go along with him.
Today, I did a clean ink line drawing of him that I am going to use to make a colored graphic of him. I also did the Rhino silhouette to use as a graphic element alongside the others in the promo materials. (I did not do the bird in that graphic, I got it out of a free vector sample pack from GoMediaZine. Which is a really cool design company and blog that I am planning on featuring soon.) I still need to do some final icons for the mountain element, as well as some sample patterns and color guides for the Mountain style. So that is my goal for this week, and then I am moving on to Water.

Okay, that's it for right now. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Portland Studios

We want to be consumed with something beyond ourselves.

Portland Studios isn't concerned with the next big leap, the next wave, the magic bullet. We strive for a collective body of work that displays a habit of excellence.
Hopefully behind our art, people might perceive the shape of truth, the romance of order, the virtue of beauty, and the goodness of goodness.

It's a big job, but that's the plan.

Sometimes, I run across something on the interweb that just inspires me. I found the Portland Studios website through the blog of Justin Gerard, Quick Hide Here. Interested in Justin's work, I wanted to see more of it, so I followed up to the where he works, which was conveniently linked in the sidebar.

From the opening screen, I was hooked. Elegant design, with a warm brown pallette and textured background brings to mind old books, a warm kitchen, and a hot pipe. Add to that the charming "soundtrack", and it just draws you into the experience. I'm not usually a fan of music on websites, but the music for the Portland Studios site is tasteful, not overpowering, and like I said, adds to the experience. Also on the home page right now is a short animation, illustrated by Justin Gerard that was just wonderful.

The Portland Studios site is easy to navigate, with tabs for Home, People, Work and Contact. Also there are links to their blog, as well as a company store where you can purchase apparel, textures, books, and brushes.
The Work (portfolio) section is split up into the companies three main areas of expertise. Illustration, Animation, and Interactive. It displays as a pile of snapshots in a Flash interface. When you click on a picture, it enlarges into a full view. All of the work is impressive, and really puts paid to their claim of striving for a collective body of work that displays a habit of excellence. We could all take a page from that book.

Like I said, this site really invites you to explore, and explore, explore. There's just enough information to leave you wanting MORE. So, in that vein, I did... and for all you lazy people out there I have provided some links to blogs by members of the Portland Studios team. I hope you enjoy checking them out as much as I have. All in all, I was/Am very impressed with Portland Studios as a company, and as a site. I feel inspired to push with renewed resolve in my own work, and also that this is maybe another sign-post towards where I want to go in the next couple of years.

I'll be in again soon. Until then, take care and be good!
Your friend

Portland Studios:
Justin Gerard: Quick Hide Here
Cory Godbey: light night rains
Ben Kammer: Tide Is Level
Mark Johnson: WMD Boom

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun with Banners

So I've been thinking for awhile about opening up an Etsy shop. Actually, a real long while. The problem is, most of my physical work is five to ten years old, or else just sketchbook pages, and pretty much all of the newer stuff is digital. I realize that I am totally capable of doing a high quality print of any of my digital art to sell, and that is one of the things that I am looking into doing.

Also, I did some looking around, and there are graphic designers there selling banners and avatars, business cards and logos. That's an option as well, but I worry about selling graphic design work at crafters prices. I don't mean that in a nasty way at all, but looking on there, a lot of the work is marked at 5 to 10 dollars that really should be three times that. If you crank them out, and sell a lot of "premades" I think you can do okay, but it just feels like that's devaluing a skilled labor, and that sort of thing just tends to compound on itself. So it's something that I'm thinking about, but I am just not sure about.

A third option, and I'm just not sure that this fits into the sites regulations, is doing illustration work and selling as clip-art for scrap booking and graphics supplies. That way I can get paid over and over for one piece of artwork, and it doesn't devalue the work that I did. Like I said, I'm not sure that this is something that would be allowed, but I feel like it should be. The possibilities here extend into digitizing it into embroidery files, and also using it for screen printing and custom books, etc... It's a thought, but I have more work to do before I'm ready to really pursue it.

I made a couple of banners for myself, for the etsy shop, and also I'm using the second one on my CG Hub profile.
There's things that I like about both designs, but I have to admit that the bottom one is probably stronger. The cleanliness of the text and logo in general better represent my design aesthetic. I think this is going to be a good year for me, and I'm slowly working my way towards some of my goals. I'm hoping to squeak an extra post in this week, but if things don't quiet down a little bit, I may not be able to. So, until Wednesday for sure, and maybe sooner. Take care and be good.

Your friend

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What You TAlkin' About?: Pose Maniacs

Well... I missed Sunday's post. Oops. It's so tempting to get down about it, and miss Wednesday too, but that's a slippery slope. I'm tired, but I'm going to get this done.

Todays post is about Pose Maniacs. Or more specifically about their 30 seconds drawing section.

Randomly displayed from 19,440 different poses and angles, the images from Pose Maniacs are both high quality, and inoffensive. That shouldn't matter I guess, but I just want you all to know (as if you couldn't tell from the sample image) that while the figures are not clothed, there is no way that they would be confused for porn. Ha-ha! Another thing that I would like to note, is that the site is mixed Asian and English text, but it dosen't take too much poking around to find what you are looking for.

This is directly from the site:

"Get ready in front of the screen with a pencil and a paper. Press the start button. The models shown will change every 30 seconds. Your skill will surely improve if you do this training every night and day, with 2 sets of 5 minutes(10 poses).

What's this training for?

The idea of thirty seconds drawing app is based on a special training method introduced in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards."

Basically, the idea is that by observing and drawing quickly, we are able to bypass the concrete left side of our brain and access the creative right side. Effectively observing what we see, rather than interpreting it.

Another aspect of this exercise that I find useful is using it as a warm up. Sometimes in the evenings, I am uninspired, and tired... the last thing I want to do is commit to getting my sketchbook out and drawing for thirty or ninety minutes. With the Pose Maniacs 30 second drawings, I can commit to 5 minutes (six small drawings) and if I'm still "too tired" then I can quit. Often though, I find that all I really needed was to get the ball rolling. I do my five minutes of sketches and then work for another hour or more before calling it quits for the night. Sometimes we just NEED a little constructive goof off time to actually be more productive.

Okay, I hope you all had a great week, and I'll talk at you again on Sunday. Until then, take care and be good!
Your friend

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What You Talkin' About?: Skottie Young

Maybe you'll find this a little ridiculous, but I think all week about what I'm going to post on Wednesdays. It's mostly questions like "Should I post about this artist, who I think is really cool?", or "Oh! I saw this cool technique, maybe I'll talk about that!", or even "Well I got all these bookmarked pages, maybe I'll start with my command bar, and start talking about them. I look at them every day, so Obviously I think they're worth seeing..."

Then sometimes something comes up and I get really excited about it. And that's what makes the cut.

Today, I sat down to check the e-mails, and see what's up on the inter-web, and Skottie Young posted again. Always a good time, but this time it was special. It's a video post. It's only like 15 minutes of footage of him drawing and talking, but it's always cool to see inside the process of somebody you admire. Plus Skottie's pretty funny. Double bonus.

I first heard of Skottie on a Sidebar Nation podcast, and really enjoyed his frankness, his sense of humor, and... I guess you could say general personability. He seems like the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with for awhile, have a few beers and shoot the breeze. One thing that always comes across, whether it be in his blog, his Podcast, "The Devil and Me", or his art is how much he enjoys what he's doing. I really hope that this video-casting becomes a regular thing for him.

Okay, so I'm still super busy trying to get a project out the door for a client. So until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Abigail and the Doom Crew: A Prologue

So. Last June(ish) my buddy Mario, creator of Pagan Zoetrope called and said he was working on a comic, and had found a place to publish it. Awesome! For the entire time I've known Mario, he's been working on a few different IP's on the side, and Pagan Zoetrope is one of the ones that we'd been talking about for a few years now. It's basically a (loosly) autobiographical acount of a group of highschool and college bound people in the fictional town of Warrensville, Kansas. Obviously not where we're really from, but close enough. There comes a time when a grain silo is a grain silo, and a cow pasture is... a cow pasture. Lol!

At any rate, Mario called and told me that he had this story, and he was finally ready to go forward with it. He'd begun posting it on Drunk Duck in strip form, and had found an indy publisher and a distributer. I know, you're telling yourself "This is Sunday. Jeffreys posts are supposed to be about what's going on with him this week!" Okay, okay! Don't get all worked up about it. Jeesh!

Let me get to the point. Mario said he knew I had some stories bouncing around in my head that I'd been working on since he's known me, and maybe we could pool our resources, get some exposure together, and get both of our stories out there. How would I like to do a double feature book with him, like some of the old Marvel "back-to-back" comics with his story on one side, and mine on the other. Never being one to turn down more work, I of course agreed. So in my spare time (which seems to be ever-shrinking) I put together a four page prologue to the larger story of Abigail and the Doom Crew, along with a cover, and a page of some of the Abigail concept art.

This week, I finally got my hands on the printed version of the book, and it looks incredible. So, I thought I'd share it with you all today, and If you like what you see go to comics monkey and order a copy.

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed working on it. Until next time, take care and be good!

Your friend
Pagan Zoetrope on Drunk Duck
Pagan Zoetrope on myspace
Comics Monkey