Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

Here is a painting created entirely in photoshop for Magic the Gathering's Return to Ravnica set.

Here is my original digital sketch. The approach I took with this piece began with a few thumbnails using light grey scribbling strokes. I spent some time experimenting with the different thumbnails by mirroring the images and laying them on top of themselves and each other at varying opacities hoping to see something in the tangle of lines. Once I started to see something in the mess, I blew it up to a higher resolution and used a thiner black brush on top of the low contrast thumbnail to bring forms out of the scribbles.

The resulting sketch was Jarad riding on top of an insect-like creature as if it is mobile throne. Unfortunately he was too relaxed looking. It just didn't fit the intended personality. He also need to be emaciated looking instead of the muscle bound Jarad I had here.

I captured the emaciated body type with this next sketch but I thought the pose was too close to the one Svetlin Velinov had already done for the character.

Here is the final direction. Time to paint.

The final artwork:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


If you come across the latest issue of ImagineFX magazine you'll find an interview with me inside. The issue also includes articles featuring James Gurney, Jean-Sebastien Rossbach, David Gaillet, Marta Nael and Francesco Lorenzetti. Check it out!

Here is the first two pages of the interview:

If you are not familiar with the magazine... "ImagineFX is a digital art magazine that features workshops and interviews with artists from the science fiction, fantasy, manga, anime, game and comic disciplines."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flesh of the Zombie

Here is the fourth cover to the "Scream Street" series of books (french edition). The trio of friends are back to back surrounded by zombies. The advancing zombies presented a challenge. I didn't want to paint them in such a way that they would give the reader nightmares. These books are intended for a younger audience of probably nine years and up.

I sent in the color sketch below and it didn't seem to raise any red flags with the publisher. They just wanted me to make sure I wasn't showing any open fractures, brains or tendons etc. This sounded pretty reasonable to me. I was actually expecting to hear it was too scary and that I should tone it way down.

Though, the more I painted, the more I felt deep down that this was going to be too scary for the audience or at least for the parents who are buying the books for their kids. At this point I was far enough along where it made sense to just finish it up and send it in. I could always change the zombies later. The kids wouldn't need changing which was comforting since they were the focal point. As I expected the art director let me know that they were too scary and monstrous. They suggested something less realistic and closer to a cartoon style. The trouble was that I didn't want the zombies to look out of place next to the kids. The three kids aren't fully realistic but they are close. I would be treading a fine line.


A little time was spent trying to tone down the scariness by lightening up the zombie expressions and adding a little more clothing. It wasn't enough. They still looked a little maniacal.


I decided to completely redo the two main zombies on the left and right side using softer features, a little more green color and dimwitted personalities. Since I was already making major changes I thought I would make a compositional change as well. I moved the foreground zombie head to the left side of the canvas so that it worked better with the vampire's cape and the bottom right foreground arm. This second round of edits did the trick.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Duel of the Planeswalkers Avatars

Not too long ago, I was asked to create a cycle of Planeswalker-esque avatars for the Duels of the Planeswalker 2013 video game. So one black, one white, one blue, one green, and one red. It was pretty open ended and I jumped at the chance to work on it.

I love the thought of intelligent sea beings so that was the direction I knew I'd have to take the blue avatar in. Why not come up with my own half crustacean, half fish merfolk? Here he is:

Aside from choosing from any of the existing races in the M:TG multiverse I was also free to come up with a new race. That is what I hoped to do with the white avatar. Maybe a race that lived their life high in the mountain tops, almost up in the clouds. I had the basic design of her rolling around in my head for awhile but I hadn't found a use for it yet. Here she is:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yeva, Nature's Herald

Yeva was probably one of my top three favorite magic cards to paint in the last year. In my mind she is the leader of her clan. As a sign of solidarity she had her face scared starting at the corners of her eyes. It is as if her tear ducts had been carved out.

Designing the barding on the bear was a unique challenge I wasn't expecting. At first I tried to hang a lot of cloth from the animal as well covering much more of it's face with leather armor. The problem was that bears are just too cute and they are much more human-like than a horse is. It looked goofy and a little anthropomorphized. The ears were really killing me... Too much attention was being brought to those rounds fuzzy ears. I decided to back it off and go a simple a possible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


A little doodle from last night. My character Pargo carrying her pal through the muck, sword in hand. Her sword hand is infected, but not worry... That amoebic thing clinging to her arm is working it out of her system.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Resurrection (End of Nations)

I have been working on a bunch of character designs for a game called End of Nations. The artwork has been functioning as both character concept art and well as final illustrations for marketing. They will probably be used in-game as well in some way. As usual I have an idea of how I want a character to look in my head but I don't have access to any models that look anything like it. Oh well. Actually this photoshoot went surprisingly well. As a result it was painted pretty fast in comparison to the others. The model's face might not have matched that closely but he had more muscle definition and a darker skin tone than myself which was really helpful. When it comes to faces, a lot of the time I feel like I am sculpting. Slowly pushing features around until I get the desired result. I try to remind myself to avoid getting into a trial and error mode though. That can drain a lot of time. The model happened to have a military background so he had the exact style of pants and boots that this character was going to be wearing. That was a bonus I wasn't expecting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tamiyo Concept Art and Video

Here is the concept art I had mentioned for Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. When I sit down to illustrate a brand new character I usually take some time to design the character in this fashion. I find that laying out ideas for the costuming on a neutral and symmetrical pose very helpful. I am able to ignore a lot of the nagging problems that present themselves in a composed illustration. If I commit to a composition early on and then design the character around that intended composition and environment, there is more of a risk that design choices I make only work well in that pose. When the character has to be illustrated again, the design deficiencies become apparent. When working on the concepts I do keep in the back of my mind how the costuming might most likely be oriented and posed in the final illustration. This way the the interesting points of the costume can be emphasized. Since this an important character in the Magic universe the costume has to work from multiple angles. It isn't the only illustration she will appear in (at least hopefully). Tamiyo's design came together pretty quickly. Here are 3 iterations she went through. The changes were relatively minor. I have also posted a start to finish video for the illustration. I flip the canvas a lot when I work. I usually take that out of the videos but I left it in for this one. I hope no ones gets nauseous watching it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

New Planeswalker! Tamiyo, the Moon Sage taking down multiple inquisitive notes at one time. Tamiyo had to feel both like a noble scholar and an explorer. I edited her garb a few times to let a bit more of the explorer in. Originally, she had more of a restrictive wrap. I will get together some of the concept art I created for her in one of my next posts.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Duel Decks - Venser

Here is the other half of Venser vs. Koth. I hadn't posted his finished art yet. Underneath the finished art is a link to a video following the artwork from start to finish. The environment and most of his pose were laid out pretty quickly in this one. What took me a while was figuring out how to get his arms and magic effect to work within the constraints of Planeswalker art. Since these characters get cut out of their background pretty often, it made an all encompassing magic effect awkward. I toyed around with having his hood up as well.

Follow the link below for hi-res start to finish video of Venser:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ral Zarek

This is Ral Zarek, a new Magic the Gathering character I was given the pleasure to design. I had fun attempting to give him a young and cocky swagger.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Duel Decks - Venser vs. Koth

Here is an unused sketch of Venser the Sojourner. The idea was that he was zipping in from a teleportation.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trouille-La-Mort: Le coeur de la momie

Scream Street: Heart of the Mummy

Here is the 3rd cover of the french translated young adult book series I have been working on. Mummies, huge spiders, werewolves and vampires all on one cover :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dack Fayden

Not too long ago I was given the opportunity to paint the cover for the very first issue of IDW's Magic the Gathering comic. I love comics and I love Magic so I was pretty excited. In addition to the cover I was also tasked to design the visual look for the hero/planeswalker Dack Fayden. The character was to be a charming thief who could talk his way out of just about anything, but wouldn't shy away from a fight if it came down to it. For the cover I was asked to show Dack embracing a noble woman while at the same time snatching her necklace.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Withengar Unbound / Elbrus, the Binding Blade

Here is the initial sketch for Withengar Unbound painted for MTG's Dark Ascension. It is a double sided card. The other side being "Elbrus, the Binding Blade." Notice the demon's missing finger on the original sketch. I intended for the blade on the reverse side of the card that summons the demon to be carved out of that missing claw. In the end the demon had to be redrawn to be as a large as a building so that gag had to be thrown out.

Here is the finished art for both sides of the card:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beguiler of Wills

This painting went incredibly fast. It was a rare occasion where I had the image in my head, went for it and didn't meet any obstacles on the way. Such fond memories... too bad that only happens about once a year.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Angel (Dark Ascension)

This is a piece from Magic: the Gathering's Dark Ascension release which is coming out soon. I don't paint angel imagery often. The idea of humans with wings is definitely cool but it is always hard to shake the religious overtones. That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to capture the sorrow laden atmosphere that the art description called for.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Manor Skeleton Video

Here is a start to finish video of the Magic: the Gathering card "Manor Skeleton."