Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rain Angel

It's raining out and has been raining for more than a day. I love the sound of rain even though this period of weather is cold and uncomfortable. The theme for today's "speed paint" was inspired by a lady customer at work whose nicely coordinated purple outfit reminded me somehow of an angel. Since it was rain gear I just put the ideas together and called it a Rain Angel. Pop star "Prince" notwithstanding I didn't want purple rain. Nor any other dimwitted cliché's. I chose the colors of clouds and water and brought out a little rain angel, an April Rainer. "Eight for the April rainers," as the song "Green Grow the Rushes" goes.

Photoshop, about 5 3/4" x 6 1/2", April 30, 2014.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fantasy Pin-up Boy

This little image is my attempt to emulate my bloggin' buddy, artist Tristan Alexander. He produces a world of fantasy characters, usually attractive males with magical or animal elements. He is far more comfortable drawing human figures than I am. I did a few fantasy figure drawings for a specialty convention some years ago and tried to imitate Tristan, who would also be showing art there. My fantasy boy character didn't have any fins or fur, but he did have a glowing magical sphere and some "Moorish" style palace columns. I was delighted when Tristan bought this artwork. 

"Purple Magic" is ink and mixed media on brown paper, 7" x 10", October 2000.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Cherry Blossoms at Aspen Dale

The world-famous cherry blossoms in Washington, DC are all done, but the general area has many more cherry trees which are still in bloom, especially at the higher elevations. Last "Wine Saturday" I visited Aspen Dale Winery in Delaplane, Virginia, which is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Aspen Dale has a nice planting of cherry trees including an allee leading to their event house where the path is lined with them. This was the time to go as the Aspen Dale blossoms open two weeks later than DC's due to the higher elevation. I took loads of photographs but didn't make an on-site drawing due to lack of time. I did this tiny study of the pink flowers from memory. Aspen Dale's main guest  building is a marvel of intricate if rough and rustic woodwork. There is a tasting attic which can be reached by climbing up a narrow spiral staircase of wrought iron. Imagine making your way up this coil of metal on wooden steps, while carrying a glass of wine at the same time. I have done this, and I didn't spill a drop.

Ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 2 1/2" x 5", April 28, 2014.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Magical Architect

Here's another direct-to-digital "spitpainting" that is, a small piece on a single concept to be done in 30 minutes or less. The concept this time is "Magical Architect." I used a character from my own imaginary world of Noantri for this. If I were ever a professional concept artist, I would have to come up with things like this every day. I might as well use my own world's ideas. Otherwise I will be stuck in other people's worlds all the time and I have enough of that in the "real" world. 

"Magical Architect" is Photoshop, 7" x 3 1/2", April 27, 2014.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

TICA Cats Logo

Some of my best clients and friends are cat fanciers. One couple, who own some of my very best art, are professional cat judges and travel the world attending cat shows where they handle the prize felines all day long and pronounce judgement on what makes the cats true to their breed. The cat culture is a mix of furry cuteness and hardcore politics. Cat breeders and show folk remind me of academics and their epic conflicts that mean the world to them but do not ever leave their little purr-view. I've visited many a cat show simply because I was invited by my friends and I love cats. I have no cat to be shown or judged.

Every so often my cat judge friends would ask me to do some logos and graphics for them. This is one of them. The name of the cat show that had this logo was "MulTICAts," where the capital letters stood for TICA, "The International Cat Association." The emphasis was on a multiplicity of different breeds. I designed the logo in the form of a "triskelion" or Irish whorl, where three curved forms fit together in a circle. The forms here are a Maine Coon cat (seen from the back), a domestic tabby with striped tail, and a Persian with fuzzy coat and plume tail. Together they form a "tri-cat-skelion." 

Original design is ink and computer-printed type, about 8" x 8", April 1996.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Girl in the Golden Atom

The Chemist replied, “In other words, what I believe is that things can be infinitely small just as well as they can be infinitely large…" 

So begins a once-famous pulp adventure story written in 1919 and published in 1922 by Raymond Cummings, a New York author who was one of the first "pop" science fiction writers. In his book, "The Girl in the Golden Atom," a scientist - adventurer uses a magic chemical formula to shrink his size to subatomic levels. Inside the world of an atom of gold, he discovers entire civilizations and people including, of course, a beautiful girl he falls in love with. In the book the girl, surprisingly, has black hair. 

The odd thing is, I've never read the Cummings book. I just did the picture because I liked the face and outfit of the girl. I added the "atomic" golden orbits around her head later. I made her a blonde because the fashion model whose photograph I used as a reference was blonde. I didn't have the Cummings story in mind at all. When I finished the picture I was told that it was a portrait of the daughter of a client couple of mine, who had commissioned "Domes of Fire" a few years earlier. Maybe she looked like that, but she had not sat for me and I didn't intend this to be her portrait. Well, archetypes live forever in fantasy art. Her parents bought the painting and it's somewhere in the same living-room as "Domes of Fire."

If you want to read the original 1922 text of "Girl in the Golden Atom" it is right here. Maybe I'll read it someday and make real illustrations for it.

"The Girl in the Golden Atom" is 7" x 10", acrylic on illustration board, fall 2000.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cookie Butter

I don't usually do the big billboards at Trader Joe's but this was an assignment that came in the middle of a whole lot of other lettering work and had to be done by a deadline. No time for fancy design. So I referred to a current fad in graphic design of throwing a lot of different typefaces together in a single panel, and went with a kind of early 20th century American look. "Cookie butter," for those who have not yet partaken of it, is a sweet spread made from crushed cookies, resembling peanut butter except that it has no peanuts. I could have written on the sign, "Just eat it out of the jar with your finger," but that would be messy.

"Cookie Butter" is 6 feet by 2 feet, acrylic markers on black-painted Masonite, April 23, 2014.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Radioactive Beach

If the guys at "Spitpaint" can turn out interesting little pictures on a theme in 20 minutes, well, so can I. This piece, on the theme of "Radioactive Beach," is inspired by the destruction of the Fukushima nuclear plant complex in Japan by the tsunami of 2011. Anybody here in North America remember that? The disaster is still going on but it somehow doesn't get in the news any more. I did this piece while listening to a piece of very dark ambient music, played live and improvised as I listened by the adventurous "Darth Buddha," otherwise known as John Tocher.

I hope to do more of these visual improvisations on a theme. I might do them on the iPad too if I have the time. 20 minutes maximum for this game.

"Radioactive Beach" is Photoshop, 7" x 3.5", April 23, 2014.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tree Fantasy Pin-up

Here's another attempt at doing a fantasy pin-up. My model is from a book of photographs called "1960s Glamour: 20th Century Pin-ups." The girls in the book are not professional models, but amateurs whose photos were published in British mens' girlie mags in the mid-century. The surroundings or interiors where the models posed are now historically interesting. 

My figure is halfway OK except for the upraised right arm which I have never been able to do. It looks awkward in the model, too, which brings up the question: is the model ever awkward, and if so, do you draw her that way. Or do you have this magic figure drawing ability that can "clean up" poses and make her look graceful no matter what. I tried to put in the big round boobies which are so necessary nowadays for a pin-up babe. The photo models in the '60s didn't have implants but most of the pin-up models nowadays do. This leads to the question of whether you should alter the breasts of your model to make them look like the standards of the 21st century. Remember this is fantasy not real life. Anyway, I tried again. I am again recommended by my fellow artists to keep drawing live nude models. If I find one available I would be happy to draw her. But she won't look like a fantasy girl.

Ink and markers on sketchbook page, 3 1/2" x 5 1/2", April 22, 2014.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Priestess of the Pentacle

I don't depict faces very well, it's part of my general failure to depict people well. But this one is marginally better than my usual. I copied an old fashion photograph to get something right. I forget what was in her hand originally. I put a Pentacle in her hand as a shameless ploy to attract a Pagan customer. Sure enough, someone bought it at a convention auction, and I think she was a Pagan, too. I used to be a lot closer to the Pagan community. Back in the "old days" I designed covers and logos for Pagan and New Age conventions and even helped run one or two of them. Now I'm not even sure the Pagan movement is still active. It must be but I don't have the contacts I used to, and their leadership is getting old or even dying off. I remember Paganism being kind of enjoyable, full of pleasant symbolism and a friendly view of Nature, colorful and tolerant of most lifestyles. It was also a good source of art clients though now as they age the Pagans, never the most financially secure of people, have no money to spend on luxuries like art, and no space to display it.

"Priestess of the Pentacle" is 6 3/4" x 8 3/4", watercolor and metallic acrylic paint on illustration board, October 1997.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lady Elixir

Just experimenting with newly acquired picture books of Victorian garb. I think I'd be a good Victorian lady if I had the clothes (and the money) for it. No use being in a historical era if you are poor and can't enjoy it. It isn't "steampunk" yet though. Just because someone is dressed in 19th century attire doesn't make it Steampunk. But I would call this one "Mysticpunk" as she is holding a nice little glass of the Elixir of Life. Swig that down and live forever, or at least into the far future. You know you want to.

Ink on sketchbook page, about 4" x 5", April 20th, 2014.

And speaking of new life, Happy Easter and Happy Spring to my little band of Art By-Product readers.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Dragon on your Windowsill

The dragons of the town alight on windowsills, looking for a handout. They might look fierce, but all they really want from you are some leftovers. The larger types participate in the defense of the town if someone is so rude as to invade it. The windowsill dragon species is no bigger than a dog. It is best to keep on friendly terms with them. 

This piece was drawn in my "storybook style" and even though I hadn't been through my self-study of "drawing dragons" my creatures weren't too bad. The architecture is from the rooftops of a French country village. 

Ink and watercolor on illustration board, 8 1/2" x 9 1/2", October 1997.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vandal Savage character portrait

And…here's another character portrait using the previous posting's stance, from a long time ago. The character is "Vandal Savage," a perennial DC Comics villain, who is immortal and evil and endlessly determined to have his way. ("Vandal Savage" has to be one of the best villain names ever.)  I was especially fond of the black and white costume, with its "jodhpur" pants and its somewhat Nazi-ish collar and epaulets. He holds what appears to be a high-tech Molotov cocktail.

He might be an immortal master villain but he looks a little wimpy in this illustration. This is because I didn't use a fashion template but created the figure by myself. You need those exaggerated fashion proportions for a mythical being. This is one of my perplexities with illustrating human figures in mythic roles and situations. Their proportions are NOT "realistic" yet all the art figure training and practice I have done demands a strictly "realistic" rendering and proportion for human figures. So when I depict a heroic or mythic character, they look like some random person dressed in a costume rather than a legendary larger-than-life figure. I know, this is not exactly a dire problem but it is a factor in my endless quest to do art work that conveys excitement and doesn't suck. 

"Vandal Savage" is acrylic on illustration board, 6" x 10", August 1988.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Digital Costume Sketch

For a long time, well not quite an aeon, but certainly a year or two, I've wondered how concept artists, game artists, character designers and costume designers were able to draw these lifelike figures that somehow all were in the same position or looked the same. Here are some examples from the "Massive Black" concept art catalog. This is the level of artistic quality I aspire to. But as you know I constantly struggle with drawing human figures.

Why were they all in the same position, I wondered. I realized it must be some kind of template, a pre-drawn figure that you can just trace when you need to design a costume over it. These are common in the fashion industry and in graphic design but are completely forbidden in the artistic world where you are expected to draw all your figures from scratch with a live model. Tracing is outright cheating. But this is what the concept artists do. So I found and sent away for books of fashion templates. And there you go. These figures, with their exaggerated proportions, were what I need to make decent-looking character and costume designs. 

The young prince above, who is vaguely inspired by the comic-strip "Prince Valiant," is my first experiment using a template. The line-art template depicts a fashion model in that standing position. 

Using the magic of Photoshop (which replaced tracing paper) I digitally drew my own "prince" costume design over a faded-out version of the template. After I had done my own drawing, I discarded the template and finished the costume design and added a reasonable head and face.

Eventually I hope to be able to draw decent figures all by myself but given my endless struggle I am glad to have this resource to "draw on" even if it isn't "good" artistic practice. When I put the costumed figures into action positions I will still need to be able to draw rather than trace from templates. 

You see, I still have not given up hope that someday I will do digital art with the quality of "Massive Black." I don't know whether I will ever professionally do concept art or illustration, but that, and comic book art, are the types of art I really care about.

Template and design are 2 1/2" x 6 1/2", digital something.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eddings Knights

These two stalwarts are Sparhawk, the heroic and somewhat stodgy Knight character from David Eddings' "Elenium" series, and his cohort and best friend Kalten. They belong to a knightly religious order based on the Templars, though there is hardly any religion in the Eddings world. Eddings' knights ride about doing good deeds, and getting involved with magic and princesses. Also, they wear their armor almost all the time, even when indoors at courtly events and banquets. I don't know whether real medieval knights ever did that, it seems quite odd to wear a hugely heavy suit of armor when you aren't in battle, unless perhaps you're expecting trouble at any time. One disturbing theme in the Eddings "Tamuli" series (the one with "Domes of Fire") is the baby girl goddess whose mere touch causes humans to be obsessively and hopelessly in love with her, even if they don't want to be. When I read that I suspected that Eddings was modeling her on a member of his own family but I'll never know since Eddings is now in the otherworld himself, if there is an otherworld.

Watercolor on illustration board, 10" x 7", October 1997.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Flying Car from 1926

Do you miss your retro-future? Do you miss your floating cities, your silver spandex jumpsuits with bubble helmets, and your robot maid? Where is your flying car, you ask? I got yer flying car right here. It may be a little too retro for your future but I'm sure it will do the job. Like the Dragons of Pern, I suspect that its flight is enabled by levitation, with the wings active only as steering and perhaps giving extra airspeed. The car is a 1926 Chevrolet Superior Series V Coupe. Get in and take a spin!

Pitt technical pen ink and markers on sketchbook page, about 4 1/2" x 3 1/2", April 15, 2014.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eddings Character Couple

This traditional pair comes from another fantasy series by David Eddings, the "Elenium." The  main male character is a knight named Sparhawk, who comes into possession of a magical talisman called the "Sapphire Rose." He travels far and wide to the city of Matherion, pictured in my "Domes of Fire," along with his princess bride Ehlana, depicted here, who he liberated from evil magic. 

I have often written about the color code in fantasy writing. In this code, the color of your hair, skin, and eyes determines what role you play in a traditional fantasy. In general (and this is also true in cartoons) men are dark-haired, and women are blonde. Just check this out when you next look at depictions of people. Yes of course there are exceptions. But it's been this way among white people and their stories from the dawn of time. Good women who are rescued and end up marrying the hero are blonde. Manly men who rescue them or struggle to be worthy of them, like Chandar of Iridar, are black-haired, often with blue eyes  to show that they are good inside. 

And then there are the ubiquitous red-haired heroes and heroines. Red hair, the mainstay of fantasy, means special gifts, courage, martial prowess, brilliance, and for women, feminist heroism, like Disney's feisty princess Merida in "Brave." If she's a fighter for a good cause, she has red hair. 

If the woman has black hair, watch out, she's dangerous and possibly a witch. And if anyone has brown hair, forget it, they will, like the proverbial Star Trek red-shirted security guard, die early in the story defending the hero.

"Sparhawk and Ehlana" is mixed media on brown paper, 7" x 10", October 1997.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wine Deck in Spring

It's still twiggy and leafless at Winding Road Cellars, though the temperature was warm and the sun was bright. My "Earthly Paradise" wine art book is selling well at Winding Road. My wine friends and I were there to deliver more books and sip the excellent vintages there. I am told that the trees, flowers, and vines sprout at least a week later than their counterparts back near the coast and the big city. So while the cherry blossoms are at their peak now in the city, they will bloom later at the wineries. This gives me another chance to see them, if I'm lucky and the weather is good. 

Black technical pen ink on sketchbook page, 7 1/2" x 5", April 12, 2014.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

City of Iridescent Rose

It's a pink world out there, filled with cherry and soon crabapple blossoms, so I have revisited  my city of perfume bottles and painted the town pink. I added in the elevated railway which is being built in my neighborhood. The pink city shines with iridescent surfaces in the spring haze. One structure near the center has a manta-ray-shaped roof accented with malachite. This is a magical city with no traffic jams or pollution. 

Once you assert that there is an inner, magical or "spiritual" world, you can do anything you please in it. You are no longer bound by the laws of matter, energy, or physics. You either have a non-material astral world, or you don't. The closest you can get to the Otherworld's "real existence" is to say that it takes place as a shared virtual world created by human consciousness. And people are real good at making stuff up.

Excuse the metaphysics. Now back to those cherry blossoms and Photoshop. This image started as a little black and white sketch in my journal. I transformed it into colors with Photoshop and added in opaque highlights. It's entirely possible to do the same thing with acrylic, especially if you use an airbrush. And airbrushes are very metaphysical devices, creating astral skies with a whoosh of compressed air.

"City of Iridescent Rose" is about 3.25" x 6", ink on sketchbook page, colorized in Photoshop, April 11, 2014.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Little Backhoe

Spring was on back-order, we just couldn't get it. But finally the delivery has arrived and the blossoms are blooming against a brilliant blue sky. So it's time to go outside and draw pictures of infrastructure maintenance equipment, yeah! This is a rather rusty but still functioning Bradco 509 backhoe used in digging jobs at my housing complex. There is also an old wheelbarrow near it, tipped on its front end. 

This drawing took about an hour to do, it was not one of those quick-draw urban sketcheries. In fact I had to piece it together in Photoshop, since I ran out of space for the extended stabilizer "foot" in front and had to draw it separately. You'd never know, thanks to the wonders of digital inking. 

I wish I could sit in that driver's seat and operate a backhoe. I think it would be so much fun, even if I was only moving dirt.

Pitt technical pen black ink on sketchbook page, about 8" x 7", April 10, 2014. Click for larger image.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sorceress Janine of Darkover

During the 1980s and 1990s I did countless pieces of fan art for fan-produced magazines, in those days known as "fanzines." This was an illustration for a story set in Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Darkover," called "The Last Song of Sorceress Janine." I have no recollection of what the story was about, though from my picture it seemed to involve a glamorously dressed sorceress and an attack by masked street thugs. The image of the Sorceress was copied from a 1928 glamour shot of famous movie star Joan Crawford. Somewhere, my illustration in its magazine sits crammed in a closet, gathering dust, rather like the films of these old stars. 

Fan art is ink on illustration board, 8" x 11", spring 1987.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Perfume Bottle Towers

I have a collection of perfume bottles made in Egypt. They are little things of beauty, built by the hands of glassblowers into unique shapes, accented by color and metallic luster glazes. What would happen if these tiny forms were enlarged into architectural towers? This sketch attempts to answer the question. They would be faerie towers reflecting moonlight, the homes or workplaces of sprites and glass-like crystal nymphs. Some of the shapes you see in this picture are sitting on my shelves, but they are only six inches tall.

"Perfume Bottle Towers" is gouache on black paper, 7" x 10", January 1998.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Knight's Homecoming

In this small picture, a weary Knight returns, alone, to the castle he left many years ago. It looks the worse for wear and it may even be deserted. This was inspired by the work of David Eddings though it isn't from any one of his books.

This is painted on paper which warped when paint was applied to it, giving the golden sky unnecessary vertical "ribbing." There is no easy way to correct this in Photoshop, I would have to totally re-paint that area, so I've just left it as it was.

"Knight's Homecoming" is gouache and pencil on dark brown paper, 10" x 7", October 1997. Click on the image for a larger view.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I Am A Mushroom

I mentioned to one of my co-workers that I was a mushroom, because I flourish in the darkness. I have always had a fondness for fungi (not of the psychedelic variety) and when I was younger I did a lot of mushroom identification and study. I never picked mushrooms to eat because I knew I didn't know enough to determine which ones were good and which were not. But I was delighted when rings of mushrooms grew in the back yard or when I found pristine samples growing in the nearby forest. I haven't been much of a naturalist since those days but sometimes a random encounter makes me remember that I was much closer to the world of nature when I was growing up. I would like to spend more time in that world along with my guidebooks. I always wanted to identify the plants and creatures that I saw, I wasn't a tree hugger. There are always little pockets of nature even in the big city so I am not entirely out of range. If you look at the mushroom, the mushroom may look at you too.

Mushroom is ink on sketchbook page, about 2 1/2" x 2 1/4", April 7, 2014.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Winding Window

Weather has now permitted me to go on my "Wine Saturday" visits again. Today I went to "Winding Road Cellars," one of my favorite Northern Virginia wineries. I sipped their excellent Chambourcin (a hybrid French/American red) and did two iPad drawings. It was still too cold to sit outside and draw so I chose this window with their wine chill bucket in front of it. Remember, there is no prohibition against drinking and drawing. The iPad was on the bar right next to the wine.

And here is a quick sketch of the grounds at Winding Road, drawn looking through a window. The upright dark sticks are stakes supporting young grapevines.

"ArtStudio" app on iPad, April 5, 2014.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Professor Spider

One of my gamer friends commissioned a portrait of a character of hers that was a shape-changer. He had at least two forms: a mild-mannered biology professor, and a huge alien crystalline spider. I created the character along the lines of the famous adventure/fantasy actor David McCallum. When I had finished the character (but not the spider) I realized that my version of the character looked like my idea of a figure out of the "Milieu" series by Julian May. This was Denis Remillard, a mild-mannered metaphysical psychology professor who unfortunately was possessed by a hideous collective of evil souls. So when I added the spider I also had Denis in mind. It was a good example of two-for-one illustration. Julian May's "Milieu" world had a great influence on me when I was updating my world of the Noantri. I based a lot of the psychic science on May's world-building factors. Most authors and artists borrow from other authors and artists. If they say they are totally original and made it up themselves, they're just wrong. But there are no giant crystalline alien spiders in my Noantri world, at least not yet. 

"Professor  Spider" is acrylic on illustration board, 14" x 20", April 1991.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Digital model drawing

I haven't done a digital figure sketch in a while, so here's one. I'm trying not only to depict the figure well but to work with layers and shading. The Photoshop "brush" can imitate pencil or ink, and then on another layer I add in a color "wash" and soften it up with the blend tool. My model is a photograph from the excellent "Art Models" series of picture books. I know, it is always better to draw from a live model but I just don't have that resource right now. I need to work on everything figure drawing and the photos are very helpful. They are also on a CD which comes with the book, and you can draw from the photo on your screen direct to digital with a tablet and stylus. It's not great sketching by any means but at least I'm still trying to do it.

Sketch is Photoshop, about 10" x 6 1/2", April 4, 2014.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ayn Rand old style

Back in the old days, in the early 20th century and before, upscale books usually had illustrations. Many of them in the late 1800s through the 1930s were illustrated in a slightly sketchy pen work style which was typified in the work of Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the "Gibson Girl." Many of the literary works as well as pictures were social commentary and satire on the lives, romances, and foolishness of the upper classes. 

As an illustration experiment I decided to adapt the Gibson style to one of my favorite fantasy books, "Atlas Shrugged" by the notorious Ayn Rand. Note that I call this a fantasy, because that's what it is. And it also contains a whole lot of sarcastic social commentary that many readers miss because they are too busy being either outraged by it or treating it as True Believer gospel. 

In this little piece, we see three of the main characters, from left to right Hank Rearden the steel industrialist, Dagny Taggart the railroad executive, and Francisco D'Anconia, the mining potentate. Both men were Dagny's lovers though not at the same time. The quote is from one of Rand's tense party scenes where the various characters interact, behave badly, or lecture us about the importance of money. The quote is typical of Rand's convoluted dialog style. "I wish I could permit myself to like you as much as I do," comes in the knowledge that the other guy was Dagny's ex-lover, as well as the plot device that D'Anconia is pretending to be a worthless playboy rather than an industrial powerhouse because he is part of the plot against the System. 

I borrowed the old style to illustrate these idealized characters, putting Rand into the world of "society novel" rather than libertarianoid propaganda. This was the only time I ever tried that, until I re-worked Rand's text into a sample graphic novel chapter back in 2009.

Dip pen and ink on sketchbook page, about 7 1/2" x 4 1/2", June 1981.

This is posting number 2000 for "Art By-Products." I guess that is some sort of milestone but if I allow myself to think about all these posts and the numbers that come later I will drive myself crazy so this is all I will say.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fantasy History Grail

In the late '80s and early '90s of the XXth century, the famous science fiction magazine "Amazing Stories" was revived in a lavish full-color glossy paper format. I got to do some interior illustrations for it and this was one of them. I can only vaguely remember the story. It was set in the dark ages after Roman rule in the British Isles had ended. This was supposed to be the "reality" behind the mythos of King Arthur and the "Holy Grail." The famous Camelot was only a rough fortress made of stones and logs, as depicted here. I added in picturesque ruins to give the atmosphere of long-lost Empire. (I REALLY LOVE picturesque ruins.) The story had something to do with a simple monk who discovers a manuscript with an alternative history…I think. Somewhere in my packed closets are all the magazines I illustrated for, including this one, but I'm not going anywhere near that area now.

Watercolor and ink on illustration board, 12" x 17", September 1991.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Angel Towers

Imagine cities full of science-fictional angelic souls, living lives connected in a cosmic Matrix, all under the absolute control of an omnipresent God who expects souls to thank Him for every favorable occasion and pray for His help in every adverse circumstance. There are millions of inhabited planets out there where material life has been subsumed into virtual worlds, which will last until the end of the Universe. Apocalyptic religion has been going on for millennia, but now we have the Internet and Photoshop to give it vivid representation. Put on your Google Glass and you, too, can link in and be an electronic angel. 

Photoshop, 7" x 10", April 1, 2014.