Sunday, January 29, 2012


I call this one "The Monst-Her". This is basically a combination of "the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Swamp Thing" but the female version. Not anything really dramatic to speak of, but just for fun.

The idea came to me while I was down in Central America. I definitely took a sketch book with me, and along with finishing up the other sketches for the tribute book, I also put down whatever came to mind. This was one of those ideas.

In addition, I was also reading "Color and Light" by James Gurney (you can get it at Amazon here if you are interested). It's a pretty great book, pretty simple to get through and has a lot of really informative tips on setting up color palettes, and color schemes. 

I had definitely made my way up to working with creating color schemes, and up until now I was using color scheme designer. The thing that I was missing though was about color gamuts, and limited color palettes.

In short, using the color wheel, you essentially limit the colors that you use by drawing a polygon (a triangle, a rectangle, etc.) and then sticking to the colors within the polygon. What you will then get is a color scheme that is complimentary with each other (as long as you stick within the shape). Below is an example of a gamut mask pulled from the color wheel.
I found a site called that allows you to create your own gamut masks and you can use that as part of your piece/painting.
Now you can use this same technique when creating your own pieces.

In other news the art book is coming along nicely, and I will posting the Mighty Bomb Jack rework next!

'Til next time..

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back from Central America (Art Book cover sketches and more..)

Hey gang,

I'm back from Central America after a week of shaping and molding young minds. It was a really great week, and I feel so lucky to have been able to share time with those students.
You can see some of their wonderful photos on the Design 4 Kids Facebook page:

While I was there I had some time when I was not teaching class. I managed to start work on some cover designs as well as complete the final list of pieces that will be included in the book:

Here is the final list (in no particular order and not all necessarily Nintendo games:)
-Megaman (2)
-Clu Clu Land
-Pro Wrestling
-Elevator Action
-Legend of Kage
-Ring King
-Mighty Bomb Jack (gonna fix the cover)
-10 Yard Fight (if I have time)---I never really played 10 Yard Fight that much but it seems to ba a favorite. So if I can make it happen I will fit it in.
I managed to complete all of the composition sketches so now it's on to knocking these out one by one. 
I plan on starting that this week, so I am pretty excited about that.
As a quick treat below are some logo and cover sketches (kinda early but this will give you just a quick idea of the cover layout).

Below are some sample logos ideas:

Below are some cover ideas:

I'll start posting as I work through the ideas.
See ya soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Design 4 Kids 7!

Hey all,

I wanted make a quick note to let you know that I am on hiatus for a bit (read out of the country).
I am currently attending an overseas program called
"Design4Kids7", which is a great program that takes place in Guatemala Central America.

The program is designed to teach local students about the principles of graphic design, typography, photography as well as using tools such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

I was able to lead a drawing class this week as well, which gave the students the chance to get hands on drawing practice, doing gesture drawings, portrait drawings, memory drawings and blind contour drawings. It was all a lot of fun and gave the kids some hands on drawing practice and trying something new.

If you want to take a look at some of the photos the students have been posting, you can take a look at the Design for Kids Facebook page (make sure you like it):

Also to learn more about the organization itself check out:

I will be back next week with more news and tid bits about the 80's video game art book coming out in April!

See you then!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

X-men Rogue

This week's post is coming a little bit early and I am headed out of town for the next week or so.
I didn't want to leave you guys without a post for the week. So this week I decided to take a bit of a break from the Nintendo book and try something different. I don't normally do superheroes (although I love them)..but since everyone else does it I like to be different. However, in the spirit of doing different things, I decided to try and paint over someone else's lines, which turned out to be pretty awesome.
I have been following this guy and Deviant art for a while (
One day I asked him if I could pick something from his gallery and paint over the work.

He said "sure" and below is what I got:
Here are the steps to get to the end result:

1. Below: I picked the sketch of Rogue from the gallery it was the one with the cleanest lines and I was a fan of the sketch. I heard a lot that the key to a great painting is the sketch and the drawing underneath and it's really true. If you have a crappy drawing no amount of painting over it is going to fix it. See the sketch below:
2: Below: then I added a background gradient to set up the color tone of the painting:
3: Below: One tip that I picked up is before you start laying down any permanent lines, you should do some color tests. This means that you can try different color schemes and see which one works the best. Even different color backgrounds as well. In this case I kept the background green because it goes nicely with the yellow in Rogue's costume.
4: Below: I start to add color flats and the shadows and I make the decision that the light should be coming from the top right side of the image.
5. Below: One tip that I learned that also helps was to use a wireframe form lines to try and define the shape. This helps to keep the image from being flat, helps to define the form and helps when adding shadow and defining the form.
6. Below: Shadows added
7. Below I start to go over the lines and do the paintover. I will usually leave the light source indicator in place to serve as a reminder as I work.
8. Below is the final! Shout out to Weaponx for letting me paint over his work!
See you in a week guys!!!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nintendo Tribute: Double Dragon 2

This weeks post is Double Dragon (the second part of the tribute--Jimmy Lee). I think that the first character is called Billy. For this one I decided to go against the dark background of the last post, and this time around decided to do a twilight/sunset scene. (I really like sunset scenes/shots.) I find that they are easier to create and develop than a night scene. I also tried out a new signature to make it more official in the 2K12. See below for some steps to see what I was thinking while I was painting this guy.

1) So after the last Double Dragon post, I decided that I needed some help. I wasn't sure where I was going wrong and looked into watching more tutorials, podcasts, etc. etc. I learned a few things such as how to create better backlighting, and also about the sketch process. Basically, the sketch is the key to doing a good piece of work. Lots of times I would scan a sketch from my sketchbook, and   then go right into painting. However this time around, I decided to take the extra step and go over my lines, because I was finding that the painting process was getting difficult. What's funny is that I still really look the textured look of sketch lines. So I will have to work to see how to make this more interesting. Anyway below is the sketch phase.

 2) and here is the line phase. I created the lines on a seperate multiple layer over the sketch layer (I also set the sketch layer to multiply). I don't know about you guys, but the layer order is the thing that always always always messes me up and gets confusing. (below)
 3) Below you see that I start to block in the basic colors on a normal layer between the basic line art layer (above) and the sketch layer that I scanned in initially. At this point I start to determine where my light source is coming from as this will help me make my decisions on shadows later on.
 4) Below I start to fill in all of the basic colors as well as determine the background. Since I want the scene to appear in a twilight setting, I decided to go with a gradient background where the sun is the source of the light and everything is hilighted accordingly. I am finding that lighting is the hardest thing to get the hang of, but is another key to making a convincing piece.
 5) At this stage I start to go over my lines and paint over the lines on a new layer.
 6) Then at this point I have a sense of where I want to go with the piece, what I need to do color wise, and what bits need more details. Usually by this point I have a sense of what I am doing and all of my basic decisions have been made so now it's just a matter of finishing things up.

7) Below is the final piece. In the background I added some clouds to fill the space and then had the colors reflect off of the clouds accordingly. You won't be able to see it really since I made it a point to soften the background. I am sure that I will learn a better way to do this. I also am going to try and work on making the piece more textured and vibrant. It seems a little too smooth. All in all though I like this one and will put this in the book!
8) Next up Ducktales. Yeah....I's a game that was super awesome....and I really loved it. See ya next time.