Friday, May 25, 2012

IMC: starting the prep work.

Well, I've picked my Illustration Masters Class assignment

I'm going to be attempting cover art and a two page graphic novel segment for Our Human, by Adam-Troy Castro.  (Ambitious, I know. I may have to go with one or the other and if that's the case, I think I'll go for the two page spread. But don't hold me to that.)

The brief description/instructions provided by Irene Gallo:

A science fiction short story with an anthroprological feel.
Include at least one human and one alien figure.
"On a savage backwater world, the last ragged survivors of an expedition to hunt down the infamous war criminal known as The Beast Magrison set off into an inhospitable wilderness in search of the alien village that may be sheltering this beast. The hunters are aliens from two different species, the village is inhabited by strange aliens of yet another species, and Magrison himself is no sterling advertisement for humanity. Who’s human in this situation? The answer may surprise and upset you. This novella from acclaimed SF writer Adam-Troy Castro explores the fate of the dread Magrison. Readers can find out more about the world that spawned Magrison by tracking down his Andrea Cort novels, Emissaries from the Dead and The Third Claw of God."

Why did I pick this one?

I wish I could give you a really good answer for that: I have not read either of Castro's Andrea Cort novels (tho they are now in my queue) nor any of his other work, plus science fiction illustrating is a weaker area for me.

But, the story is amazing. And as I read it, various scenes jumped out at me with full visuals blooming in my head. And it's not hard sf: for example I won't need to kill myself trying to draw the interiors of a space ship.

So there you go.

Now I just need to start some initial characters studies for the brutish, militant Barath, the secretive translator, Mukh'than,  the village of timid three gendered Trivids, and.... The Human, Magrison. A ravaged waste of flesh wheezing out his last breaths in a mud hut.

(May 30th update, you can now read Our Human at TOR. Illustrated by John Jude Palencar.) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


life drawing at Spectrum Fantastic Live

This past weekend, I took a trip to Kansas City for the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event.  A tremendous amount of amazing happened there, but one of the highlights for me was the live drawing session held Friday night. 
I was attending with Jacob Ruby and Marlyse Comte and they had come armed with iPads and app after app of drawing goodies.  After I had filled several pages from my paper sketchbook, Jacob was kind enough to let me commandeer his iPad for a spin through the next few poses, and I was hooked.

I do have an iPad, but it's old, entry level.... plus... my offspring lays claim to it.

I may just have to rectify this situation eventually.

Anyhow, a glimpse at some of my iPad life drawings (using Sketch Club, and LiveSketch HD


 ((ironically, I came home and showed the apps to my kid, he proceeded to completely blow me away, doing things with the apps I didn't even know were possible.))

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Illustration Masters Class. It Begins.

Yesterday, as part of the forthcoming Illustration Masters Class of '12,  I got an email from Rebecca Guay: The Assignments! Selected by IMC core faculty art director, Irene Gallo.

IMC is one week long, crammed full of critiques, demos, and lectures by a heavy-hitting star-studded line up of Core and Guest faculty.

One month in advance, we the students, are given a list of story prompts to chose from. (Day one of IMC  is June 9th.)

Generally, the assignment is to create cover art or an internal piece for the story we have selected. We can tailor it to adult, YA, kids books, middle grade, comics, etc, wherever our interests lay. (If desired we can also do a personal portfolio piece on another subject: they are flexible that way.)  But the bottom line is that by the time we all stumble in on day one, we must be ready to put our initial B&W concept sketch up on the wall and have it be heavily critiqued by the faculty.  The rest of the week (with all it's demos, lectures, etc...) is geared to take those initial (now heavily critiqued) studies and turn them into a polished final product. 

The assignments to choose from this year:

Tristan & Isolde. The ancient tale of two lovers, complete with dragons and magic and love potions, etc...

Tarzan! Who turns 100 this year. With particular eye to tailoring the subject to today's sensibilities (ie, no Damsel in Distress Jane and lay off the body-builder Tarzan stereotype)

Hunger Games. Well of course :)  The movie can be used as a guide for imagery... but please don't just copy the sets and costumes therein.

Our Human: a science fiction story with an anthropological 'primitive' feel.

Cairn in the Woods: a YA ghost story, in a contemporary rural New England setting.

and last but not least...

The Old Man's War. by John Scalzi. (Woohoo!) Hard SF. Self-Healing battle armor. Bug-like aliens. Etc.

So. Yes. Time to get serious. Along with deciding which of these stories (or another one?) to work with, I am also debating whether to do cover art, or to panel out the story into a comic book. (Very very tempted...)

Anyhooooo, will keep you posted. Hoping to document the process from start to finish.


(This IMC, I will be working almost exclusively in digital media. It's just what works best given my situation right now.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Workspace (thank you Evan Jensen)

So, last year we moved (and I lost my studio space and was relegated to a tiny desk in the corner of the bedroom.)
At the end of this month, we are moving again (final destination; still a tad bit up in the air.)

Therefore it was Oh So Fitting when Evan Jensen wrote a guest post for the Inkpunks on the topic of Workspace, particularly with an eye to relocating:

"...When Lisa and I started looking into building or finding a place across the country (Did I mention we’re moving to Seattle this year?), we knew we needed to find something that allowed for a great studio space somewhere inside or nearby. This got me thinking about what makes a perfect little nook where you can write, paint, or draw your work in peace without as much outside stress. I must point out that what works for us, might not work for all. Everyone’s comfortable in different environments, so do whatever you feel is best for your workspace...."
~ read more 

Have any advice on the topic of creating your optimal work space? Go over to Evan's post and leave a comment!

((meanwhile... I am keeping my fingers crossed on a possible location for us with a spare bedroom. I want my studio back.))

the good ol' days. i miss my studio.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Harry Clarke illustrations for E.A. Poe

Harry Clarke (March 17, 1889 – January 6, 1931). 
Irish stained glass artist and book illustrator. 
One of those books was Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by Edgar Allan Poe.  
See all 24 black and white illustration at 50watts.  
(Thank you Wendy, for sharing this with me!) 

Harry Clarke, illustrating E.A. Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"

 See More...

The Town of Autumn.

A poem, written by Mike Davis of the Lovecraft Zine, illustrated by me.
(Soundtrack nabbed from Inception.) 

BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA! Cover and contributors.

Just announced over at Dagan Books: the Cover art and list of contributors to Bibliotheca Fantastica. Edited by Claude Lalumière & Don Pizarro
by galen dara

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

the feminine side of the Lovecraft Zine

Coming Soon!! This month the Lovecraft zine gets in touch with its feminine side with an issue entirely dedicated to Female Authors.
"Issue #14 of The Lovecraft eZine will be published on May 10.  This will be the previously mentioned female-themed issue; all stories are by women authors!  One criticism of Lovecraftian fiction is that most of the characters are male, and with this issue I hope to do my small part to change that." read more
~ Editor and Founder of the Lovecraftzine, Mike Davis

Seriously, check out the amazing line up Mike has assembled! This is an issue you do not want to miss. Oh, and also... cover art by yours truly :)