Archive for the ‘Fine-ish art’ Category

The Watchers

December 4, 2016


Guitar Mural

November 12, 2015

every so often, whether it needs it or not, I give my guitar a facelift. This design was based on illustration of motifs found in a copy of “Salome” by Oscar Wilde.

Zoo Painting: Part 2

May 20, 2015

After laying down a yellow base for the background, I did a simple tonal under painting on the animals. For this painting, I selected a triadic color harmony using secondary colors. I painted like washes of purple, green and orange on top of the animals. In some instances, I mixed neutrals from the secondary colors in their complements. Finally I use colored pencils to add detail and to give some dimensionality to the lettering.


Zoo Sketches

January 7, 2015

Excerpts from a recent visit to the SF zoo. Micron, inkwash and highlighter marker.
IMG_5055.JPGIMG_5057.JPG IMG_5056.JPG

Tutorial- Digital Scratchboard Reverse Engineered

December 30, 2014

I was looking at a copy of “There’s Nothing to Do on Mars” by Chris Gall. It’s a fun sci-fi children’s book with great hand drawn scratchboard illustrations colorized digitally. There’s something about the graphic qualities of woodblock printing and scratchboard (a la Scott McKowen and Mark Summers )  that appeals to my design sensibility.

Looking at the artwork in Gall’s book, I wanted to try to approximate the aesthetic, but 100% digitally. Over a gradient background I freehand drew a series of plateau shapes with the “Lasso” tool and filled it with a linear gradient. On a new layer I drew large blocks of solid red which I then “scratched out” with the eraser tool. By holding the shift key after setting down my Wacom stylus, I constrained my erasure strokes to straight lines. Since this was a quick demo, I didn’t spend a lot of time trying for consistency, but with care and practice (and the pressure sensitivity of my Wacom tablet) I could create nice, tapered “cuts”. I could also see the benefit of making customized brush/scratchboard tools.

Below is an animated GIF of the layers. I based the sample artwork on the Martian landscape from the book’s opening spread. I included pre and post slides of any layer that incorporates transparency. The last step was to create a gray layer, then select Filter–>Noise –> Add Noise with the layer blend modes set to Overlay at 35%.


Sketch Collage- process

November 1, 2014

I have a binder full of magazine photographs that I have collected over the years. While I use them for reference, it’s also fun when I don’t feel very creative to create a sketch collage. Selecting various photo elements, I build a composition that is visually interesting and balanced.
Pencil, LePen .8 technical pen, ink and ink wash in Niji water brush pens, BIC WiteOut correction fluid, fingerprints. Uni SuperInk ballpoint pen






Japanese Garden Sketch

August 15, 2014


Tutorial/Idea–Sketch Collage with J.S.

January 26, 2013

My friend Juan and I did a mini sketch-crawl yesterday. We started in a neighborhood and walked to a park, creating a sketch collage with pen and ink as we went.

Sketch collages are a great way to:

  1. fill a page,
  2. force yourself to work quickly to capture relevant detail,
  3. prevent yourself from getting too precious with your sketching,
  4. deal with composition and shape,
  5. try out new techniques and tools

Create contrast in your sketch collage by:

  1. alternating natural and man-made objects
  2. vary size and direction (e.g. round things, long things, etc.)
  3. employ close ups and long shots
  4. rotating the page

When you’re finished you have a piece that you can then refine or correct manually or digitally. Below is the original scan (watercolors were added after the ‘crawl) as well as a digital version adding layers and elements in Photoshop. Not necessarily one to hang in a museum, but a great way to sharpen your skills and have some fun.



Portrait of contemplation

January 5, 2013


Thanksgiving Sketch collection

November 23, 2012

The Benfoster Day collection was so successful, I decided to do the same process for Thanksgiving. I managed to capture everyone who was present for the festivities in the ten panels. Micron pen, ink wash (using a Pental Aquabrush), and a Faber-Castell brushpen for the solid blacks and thicker lines. For most of the drawings I laid down a light pencil under-drawing first to capture the composition in case my unwitting (and sometimes witting) models actually changed their position.