Archives for category: Art


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Jay Z Process Video Part Three.

 

been two years in the making, but I finally got around to cutting together the final video of my making of Jay Z illo! One thing to note is how seamlessly Photoshop and Painter work. I did this illustration when I was still becoming comfortable with Painter.

That being said, I spent a good bit of time rendering Jay using Adobe Photoshop CS3. I worked the background and painted over Jay using Corel Painter 11. Also, I used several different picts of Jay Z and lighting shots of myself to get the mood of this one. If you look closely, you’ll catch them.

 

Here is how the finished painting appeared in the magazine.

 

Note: The soundtrack is pretty tame, but you might want to turn it down if there are kids watching, a few words got by me.

Now I need to get ready for my Painter 12 tutorial tomorrow!  Hope you can join me, I have something special planned!  if you like this piece, Please comment and Share!

-Mike.

I haven’t really done a lot of personal sales of my art.  However I have been getting a whole lot of requests for this piece.  I want to gauge interest, by starting with these sets of cards.  I have made a limited number and am now offering them for sale.  If you are interested in purchasing please contact me.

Click Image to Enlarge.

I’ve been meaning to post high res versions of these process videos for a while.  Here are a couple of videos of my paint process.  I’m currently working with a company to produce more of these types of tutorials.  If you like please Share and Comment.

Warning, a few of the Public Enemy tracks aren’t exactly “office/kid  friendly.”  You might want to listen with headphones or mute.  Or, if your office likes good hip hop turn it up!

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Jay Z Process Video part One.


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Jay Z Process Part two.

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De La Soul Paint Process part One.

I am pleased to announce that one of my very recent pieces has been accepted to the Macworld / iWorld Digital Art Gallery.

“Macworld / iWorld is the world’s ultimate fan event for those who use, create, and love Apple products. Attendees will encounter a unique celebration of Apple technology-infused art, music, and film, as well as learning opportunities.”

My fan painting of Marvel’s iconic character Thor will be on display along with selected other digital works of art at the show in San Francisco January 26-28, 2012.

Being a die hard Apple fan and 20+ year user, and a life time Marvel fan, I am especially glad to be part of this event and have this piece chosen! If you are in the area and happen to see it please send me a photo.

Marvel Comics Character Thor All Rights Reserved 2011

To all the folks who are patiently waiting to see new posts each week, thanks for hanging in there!  I seem to be jammed with new work each week which seriously cuts into my tweets and these posts.  I’m not complaining, it’s been a fantastic blur of a year.  Still waiting for more Joes, but I’m more than busy in the mean time.

The piece I’m posting this week is my most recent work for Hasbro, the 12″ Paratrooper box art.  I got the call to work on this guy early this year, and I couldn’t be happier.  It had been nearly two years since I worked on the Rise / Pursuit of Cobra figures.  After the extended break I was more than ready to jump back into the Hasbro business.

I decided to take a little different approach to my pose reference for this guy.  Toward the end of my run on the Pursuit figure art I got wise and picked up a John Conner large scale figure from the company Hot Toys.  If you aren’t familiar with Hot Toys, they make the best 12″ license figures in the industry (In my opinion).

After posing him, I broke out the old light box to add some interesting back light options then took a number of photos.  As you can see this guy already looks awesome, which only makes my job easier!

Once the pose and lighting were nailed down, I needed reference for the parachute rigging.  I went online and found some great military images.  This piece posed an interesting challenge, in that I had to fit the guy and the open chute on the box.  Normally you would need almost a bottom view to see everything.  I had to take a few liberties and create a forced perspective to make sure everything fit.

After submitting a couple of rough sketch options to the client, I got an approval and quickly moved on to my line drawing.  Having great photo ref saved me some serious drawing time!  I wish I had the John Conner figure for my other paintings.  I used Corel Painter 11 for my line drawing, to save time.  Not to mention, “Who really enjoys scanning and cleaning pencil drawings?!”  I have to cut corners whenever possible to make my deadlines, so I bypass the scanner when possible.

Since the placement of the paratrooper was so critical, I put the guy and open parachute on separate layers.  This way they could be moved around If needed.  I completed the clean line and got the exact dimensions of the box from the Art director.  He provided me with a spec sheet that showed me what active area I could paint into, and what areas to avoid.  When the drawing was layered on the box, I noticed it didn’t quite fit. Better to notice at the sketch stage, rather after I paint.

After a little adjustment the clean line was approved without any major changes and I began painting.  I decided to fill the background with a neutral sky blue-gray color.  Unlike the 6″ figures I’ve done in the past, this guy would have a graphic background.  Meaning I didn’t need to paint the plasma background.  This allowed me to spend more time detailing the uniform.  That was great, since this art would be reproduced at a larger physical size on the package.

Referencing some of the photos I found earlier online, I started on the parachute.  Again, the angle was totally forced in order to make the composition work.  I decided to paint the entire chute on it’s own layer, in case I had to move the guy around.  Also, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED AN OPEN PARACHUTE ILLO! …Now, I have one.

Painting the parachute was easy compared to the cords.  Since the angle I painted the parachute didn’t match the guy, the rigging was way off.  I am probably the only person who noticed or cared, but my OCD kicked into overdrive.  With a quickly approaching deadline, I got it together and moved on to paint the guy.

The process for the paratrooper was my usual.  Block in my large areas, then work the details.  “Rinse and repeat.”  Once he was finished, I added a cobalt blue rim light to match the graphic he would eventually be placed on.  Total time spent cooking this painting was between 40-50 hours using Corel Painter 11 and Photoshop CS5.  I think I had to do a couple of all-nighters to make deadline, but it worked out in the end.  I would probably paint these things quicker if I didn’t obsess, but that is easier said than done.

As always, click the images for a larger view.  Here is how the painting looked on the retail box. If you think this tutorial was helpful, please like and share it! More to come!  Oh, I need more Twitter followers, so please tell a friend.  Seacrest, Out!

I know I promised a weekly update for the GI Joe fans, but that hasn’t happened. I’m in the throws of a massive project that will carry me over until late next year. That is the good news, the bad news is, it will be quite a while until I can talk about it. You know the drill… “Here is an awesome project you will really want to talk about, now don’t.”

All good though, it’s totally worth the wait. Not to be too cryptic, but the job involves Superheroes…”Nuff said!””

This week I have decided to show my painting for the “Pursuit of Cobra” Whiteout. Of all the figures I’ve painted in this line, he is one of the more straight forward. Basically a guy in winter gear.  That fact actually made him more difficult to pull off. With no jetpacks, armor, or doomsday devices strapped to his back, he kind of just looks like a regular dude. The way I tried to get around this was to give him a dynamic pose. I knew what I wanted and asked my wife to model for the reference photos this time.

Next I took a few additional shots to establish the expression and tone I needed for this illustration. Also I dug into my photo library to get Picts of gear; belts, pockets, boots, etc. I usually spend between one to three hours looking for the perfect reference. More often than not, I have to force myself to stop searching and move on.

Now that I had everything I needed it was sketch time. Same process as always, a quick rough which is refined to get a tight drawing. I can spend a few hours to few days on a clean line drawing. I know it’s more time than I should spend on something that will be completely covered in the end, but it usually saves me time when I paint. Think of it as a “Measure twice, cut once” type of approach. Again Hasbro sent me very good photo turn arounds of the figure as you can see below.

Hasbro White Out figure Ref photo.

Now on the the paint!  As usual, I start by blocking in my tones.  One thing to note is that I was very unsure about how to handle the face early in my painting.  My early attempts at the expression just didn’t work.  I decided after a few attempts to just paint the goggles over his eyes and save myself a ton of time and trouble.

 once I moved past the face, I spent most of my time rendering the gear.  Since he was originally supposed to be released with the “Rise of Cobra” line, the background began as the standard green plasma.  Later Hasbro made the decision to move him to the “Pursuit of Cobra” grouping so I changed it to blue.  Also, I repainted the black gear to a lighter gray as not to stick out like a sore thumb in the snow.  I used Corel Painter for this, and decided to use the FX fur brush for the hood as a starting point.  I then did a quick paint over to make it less “filtery” and boom, quick Fur!

Because this guy was packaged with a vehicle the art was cropped down pretty drastically.  Below is what remained on the retail box.

That’s it for this week, again sorry for missing the past couple of weeks.  More to come.  Please feel free to comment, subscribe and join me on Twitter for more updates!

Last year I was asked by Warner Bros to illustrate 30 individual pieces of art for their new Green Lantern Animated television show. It was a huge project that took me about six months to complete. Now that the Cartoon Network series has aired it’s first episode I can show my work!

So first let me explain, I did NOT do any animation. I did paint all the art assets that are used to promote the show and in print. This was an incredibly cool project for a comic fan/nerd such as myself!

The style looks nothing like my usual work, but that is the point. The show is a CG animated show in the vein of Star Wars The Clone Wars. That being said, I needed to match the look of the 3D character reference provided by Warner Bros/DC Comics. Warner provided me a style sheet with 3D turnarounds of all the Lantern characters. Next they had their artists create the poses for each figure I needed to render. Legendary comic artist, Bruce Timm oversaw the pencils I was given, so I knew they would be awesome. My job was to paint each piece to look as close as possible to the 3D source material of the show.

So why not just use the original 3D models from the show, you might ask? Long story short, it pays to build a good working relationship with your clients. I’ve worked on a number of projects with Warner Bros over the years, and I generally don’t question a good thing. Below are a small sample of the illustrations. I have many more characters to show. Maybe I’ll post more in the future if enough people are interested.

Let me know if you like it and want to see more! I just watched the 2 hour premier of the show and am even more excited I was able to be a part of it. Please feel free to share.

It’s bad when you create so much art that you forget work you’ve done.  I was going through some old emails and found this piece I did as a pitch for the Adult Swim show Childrens Hospital.

I do a lot of these television/movie pitch pieces.  Every once in a while I’ll hit, like the “Youth In Revolt” poster.  Either way it’s good practice.  I used Painter 11 to illustrate this piece.  Seems there has been a little confusion from the responses I’ve been getting.  This is a painting, not a photograph.  I’m adding a close up to show the strokes below.  Click the images to Enlarge.

Any time I get to paint in an oil style, I’m happy.  Please feel free to share.


Not a lot of type this week.  I really need to be painting, but I want to try to consistently get these post out every Friday.  Spirit was a Toys R Us exclusive from Hasbro’s Pursuit of Cobra line.  Rather than discuss the same process as my other figures, I’ll just post the images.  Feel free to comment with any questions you want answered.

Spirit style sheet.(Click to enlarge)

Gear and pose photo reference.

Sketch/ line drawing.

Personal notes for revisions.

Approved package art.

Detail one.

Detail two.

Hasbro POC Spirit figure.

As always thanks for visiting the site and if you like the work, please feel free to Comment, Subscribe and Share!

Since I was at Comic Con and missed my weekly post last week, I’ve added a few extra picts. The figure this week is the “Pursuit of Cobra – City Strike Scarlett.” This one was officially not released although I have talked to a couple of luck guys who somehow managed to get her.

Before I get into the process, a quick shout out to the fellas at the What’s on Joe Mind and Flag Points podcasts. Thanks for the support guys! Ok, now to business…

This figure was originally slated to be part of the “Rise of Cobra” movie line released by Hasbro. Since it needed to feel like it could exist in the film, I was asked to paint the likeness of actress Rachel Nicols. Hasbro provided some fantastic set photos of her, in addition to a style sheet, and prototype toy picts.

Hasbro Reference.

Urban (City Strike) Scarlett style sheet.

I decided to render a black and white color study in addition to my normal pose sketch on this illustration. Since she was primarily a grayscale painting, I would later paint over my b & w comp. This ended up saving me a lot of time in the long run since most of my lighting decisions were already made.

City Strike Line Drawing.

Black and White Study.

Early Color Blocking.

Next I scoured the internet for pictures of “Military-type” gear. Buckles, bags, pads. I got the idea for these particular knee pads by looking at my kids bike pads. I want her uniform to have a distinct feel, and decided on something between a wet suit and motocross leather. She is armed to the teeth with a Katana and two arm blades which need to look like tempered steel.

Ref Picts and More blocking.

Sword reference / Detail.

Working Face Paint.

Now I start adding all the little details that will push the piece off the page. I needed to sell the fact that this is an actual person wearing a suit. Quilting on the jacket panels, stitching, seams, and the zippers really helped.

Gear Detailing.

Finally I paint the high altitude mask she needs to wear. I’ve decide to put the mask on it’s own layer in case Hasbro decides to show Rachel’s face. This particular piece of gear was one of the instances where I needed to improvise a bit.

I couldn’t really make out the detailing in the toy picts I was given and the style sheet was a little vague, so I winged it. The feel I was going for was an actual H.A.L.O. jumper’s helmet with a little George Lucas for good measure.

Like the other figures I painted in this line, the uniform needed “dull playing against shine.” I wanted a clear distinction of Matte hoses against a metallic mask. The “techie” pattern on the aqua plexiglass is a call back to my Star Viper detailing.

Helmet Paint.

Here is my finished painting along with a pict of the toy that would have been available at retail. Hope you like it. Joe fans please feel free to post any interesting tid bits about this piece I missed. If you want see more please Comment, Subscribe, and Share. Also thanks to the Joe Community, I appreciate the support… More to come next week!

Approved City Strike Scarlett Art.

Hasbro POC City Strike Scarlett figure.