Monday, November 29, 2010

Illustration Portfolio class

This Spring I’ll be teaching a class entitled “Illustration Portfolio” for the Continuing Education department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. The focus of the course is the development of an impressive illustration portfolio to show potential clients or employers. We’ll work on researching potential clients and creating samples tailored for prospective clients’ brands while maintaining an individual artistic vision. I’m really looking forward to getting out of my hermit cave and trying my hand at teaching. You can download a pdf. of the Spring brochure here. Also, here’s an interview I did for the Continuing Education Blog, Creative Consumption.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Cloud Roads

Here's a book cover I just finished for Night Shade Books called The Cloud Roads. The story is about Moon, an orphan who finds he has the ability to transform himself into a flying creature. Moon finds more of his kind, and joins the fight against an strange power called the Fell.

Digital comps showing two different approaches to the cover. An action scene, and a portrait of the main character, Moon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


This is a new piece I’ve been working on between commissions. In The Lord of the Rings, Strider the one of the many names and pseudonyms that Aragorn goes by in his travels to conceal his true identity and the heir to the long empty throne of Gondor. This is how we first meet him though, rough looking with mud caked boots and a weather-stained cloak. Though it’s a fairly literal interpretation of the text, I felt it also illustrates who Aragorn is at this time in the story. Strider’s face is obscured in shadow, just like his true identity and lineage is hidden. Just as he is waiting for the hobbits, he is waiting for the time to be right to reveal himself and confront Sauron openly and claim his rightful throne.
Oil on board, 24” x 30”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Armor studies

These were done a while back at the arms and armor section at the Philadelphia Museum of Art . Pencil and white chalk on toned paper proved to be the perfect tools for quickly rendering the steel pieces of armor. Studying the real thing, understanding how it all fits together, all the little bolts and rivets, is invaluable when designing an armored character in a illustration.

jousting helmet



fluted armor


side view of a cuirass and pauldrons

Thursday, September 30, 2010


This little painting is my contribution to the Hallowed Halloween show. I doesn't really mean anything, I just thought it would be fun to paint a goblin with a pumpkin on his head. The opening of the show is tomorrow night. My wife Gina, contributed a piece as well (and totally kicked my ass on it, but she's the Halloween Queen, so what can you do? ). You can see it on her blog. It's small 5"x7" , and done on primed clayboard.

Here's the info for the show:
Hallowed Halloween
Opening reception October 1st, 2010
October 1-October 31
Proximity Gallery
2434 East Dauphin Street
Philadelphia PA 19125

If you'd like to see more stuff about it, check out here and here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Strider Harness

The last but not least of the Scars of Mirrodin cards illustrated by me. The legs of the running elf are bionic additions which enable her to run with blazing speed. I tried to get that across with the speed blur in the background. Oils on paper on board, 11" x 14".

Speaking of Scars of Mirrodin, I'll be at the Montreal Prerelease this Saturday. If you're in the area, stop by and get some cards signed, see some original magic art, or just say hello. You can get more info about the event here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bloodshot Trainee

Another piece for the upcoming Scars of Mirrodin set- depicting a goblin dragging a metal boulder up a hill, so that he can drop it on some unfortunate being below. Trying to figure out how to pose the goblin was difficult. Should he be pushing the boulder from behind, or carrying it on his back? How would it work if he were pulling it? I remembered a painting by Ilya Repin, Barge Haulers on the Volga, which showed peasants in a somewhat similar predicament, in as far as ungodly back breaking labor is concerned, which gave me my answer. So I have to give credit where credit is due.
oil on paper on board, 12" x 16".

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blunt the Assault

I found this piece I did for the upcoming set on the Scars of Mirrodin minisite. Oil on paper on board, 12" x 16"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ichor Rats

New card art done for the upcoming Scars of Mirrodin set.
Oil on paper on board, 9" x 12".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gencon and Chesley Awards

I’m just catching up with things after getting back from GenCon on Monday. It was the first GenCon I’ve attended, and for an artist looking to work in the RPG gaming industry, there’s no more important show to attend. Virtually all of the game publishers are there, so you can see what’s out there to see where things are going, as well as to make contacts with potential employers. It’s also that rare show, outside of Comicon or Illuxcon, where so many artists are at the same show at once. Putting faces to names and artwork is invaluable. I’m always impressed and amazed at the depth of the camaraderie that illustrators have. It’s basically four days of hanging out, sharing stories and swaping tips about art and business. I meet a lot of artists there who I only knew from their websites and published work. It was also a wonderful to see their original paintings and large high res prints. It’s also a great place to meet with the fans of the games and the artwork. I must have signed countless cards, and drawn on more playmats and AP cards than I can remember. A big thanks to Barbara and Diesel for organizing a great show. Oh yeah, and I even got a 1st place ribbon for my painting, Skyward Eye Prophets.
When I was there I also pleasantly surprised to find out that I won two Chesley awards, one for Best Hardcover Book, and one for Best Product Illustration. It’s a tremendous honor to have won, and a huge Congrats to all the winners and nominees!
You can see my winning pieces here and here, and a list of all the winners here.

P.S. Thanks to Llereni for sending me a scan of a something I sketched for her at the show

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waterfall Dragons

Here's a private commission I just finished. I rarely get to paint dragons, so this was a treat.
It's oils on board, 32"x 40".

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hunters' Feast

One of the more unique subjects I've been asked to paint- Hunters returning with the main course, a glowing floating woolly rhino beast. I hear the left overs are even better.
The third new card for Magic 2011. Oil on paper on board, 11" x 14"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hornet Sting

Another Magic Card Illustration for M11.
oil on paper on board, 9" x 12".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sacred Wolf

Sacred Wolf
oil on paper on board, 12" x 16"

This one was done for the upcoming Magic 2011 Core set, and was just spoiled on the WotC website.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chesley Nominations!

Three pieces of mine have been nominated for ASFA's Chesley Awards! Valley of Shadows has been nominated in the Hardback Books category, Serendib Efreet in the Gaming category, and The Battle Under the Mountain in the Product Illustration category.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Another D&D monster. Just for fun in my sketchbook.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Phillustration 2010

Phillustration 2010, the third annual exhibition of illustration is going to be held at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, and I'm pleased to announce that I'll be in the show. I submitted two pieces, Dernhelm, in the Self Promotion category and Skyward Eye Prophets in the Institutional category. I'm also very honored to hear that both pieces were awarded first place in the respective categories. Thanks to judges, and the check's in the mail.
The show runs from June 4th to June 16th. Check out the Sketch Club's website for more info.
UPDATE: The show will be put back up Monday, June 21, and run through July 16th.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Beautiful Grim auction is up!

The Beautiful Grim auction is up. My piece "Daughter of Aries" is in with a lot of great artwork offered in first wave of the auction.
I blogged earlier about the good cause that the auction is for, and the story behind my own submission here.

Update- A great big thanks and congratulations to the person who bought my painting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spectrum 17 and the wall at Misty Mountain Games North

I'm just getting back into the swing of things after a fun weekend in Minneapolis, where I was the artist guest at a Rise of the Eldrazi pre-release there. A huge thanks to Steve, Cedan, and all the staff at mistymountain north. Those guys did a spectacular job of running the well attended event, all the while taking great care of me. I also had the honor of leaving my mark on their wall.

RK Post did the first dragon, on the top right. Below his is really cool drawing by Matt Cavotta. Jeff Easley's (who I've been a huge fan of since I was about twelve years old) is on the top left, and mine is below his. I was asked to draw whatever I wanted, but with three dragons already up there, I felt that only another dragon would hold up next to the other drawings. Plus, I pretty much never get to do dragons.

my drawing

When I got home on Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to find my Spectrum 17 confirmation letter waiting for me. I'm pleased to say that I've gotten two pieces into this year's issue- The Battle under the Mountain and Kor Firewalker. It's a big deal for me to get one piece in, so I'm extremely excited to get two in.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rise of the Eldrazi

I've been swamped this month, so it's while since I've posted. I can, however, finally show these. They're for the Rise of Eldrazi expansion set for Magic: The Gathering, which has just been released.

"Echo Mage"
Oil on paper on board, 10 3/4" x 16 1/4"

"Halimar Wavewatch"
Oil on paper on board, 12" x 16 1/2"

"Umbra Mystic"
Oil on paper on board, 12" x 16 1/2"

"Zulaport Enforcer"
Oil on paper on board, 12" x 16 1/2"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stone Troll

More sketchbook stuff. A Troll, maybe like the ones Bilbo encountered.

Monday, March 1, 2010


He's always willing to pose

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blue Slaad

This was for fun. Although I usually work in oils, I've been trying to teach myself digital painting lately. I use photoshop for color studies right now, but I haven't reached the point where I could do a finished piece entirely digitally. Its a Blue Slaad, a classic Dungeons and Dragons monster that I took from my sketchbook. I don't know how successful an illustration of a vicious beast it could be when my wife Gina says it looks cute.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Worldwake, the second set of the Zendikar block of Magic: The Gathering was released a couple of weeks ago, so I can show these. Zendikar is a world where gravity doesn't always act in a predictable way, hence all the hooks and rings on the clothing and gear of its inhabitants which was fun to paint.


Marshal's Anthem

Kor Firewalker

Beautiful Grim

After much procrastination, I’m finally getting off my duff and starting my blog. It’s mainly a way for me to show everybody what I’m up to.

Here’s a painting I just finished called Daughter of Aries, for an art show and fundraiser called Beautiful Grim. The show benefits Kat, the girlfriend of a fellow artist, Daarken, who at 25 was diagnosed with breast cancer. The auction of painting and prints will help them with the resulting medical bills along with aiding some cancer research charities. The artists taking part were asked to intepret the theme “Beautiful Grim” in whichever way they chose.

I chose to depict the myth of the Amazons, the female warriors from Homer’s Iliad. The title Daughter of Aries refers to the Amazons’ association with the Greek God Aries. This painting was an opportunity for me to blend fantasy, myth and history. I was itching to paint something related to Amazons after watching a PBS documentary called Secrets of the Dead: Amazon Warrior Women. It was about the discovery of the 2,300 year-old skeletal remains of a warrior priestess in a tomb on the Russian steppes. The locations of tombs roughly correlate to where Herodotus placed the legendary warriors, on the borders of ancient Scythia. These women could have been the inspiration of Homer’s Amazons. The make of objects found in the tomb, including decorative patterns, is similar to those found in Central Asian and Mongolian design. The archaeologists–and this was the really cool part of the show–were even able to match the DNA of the remains in the tomb to a young curiously blond-haired girl living in present day Mongolia.

The painting is also informed by the more mythological aspects of the Amazons. The Archer’s left breast is exposed and she wears a tunic with a zig zag pattern. This alludes to depictions of Amazons on Greek pottery. Her right breast is covered, and might have been removed, refering to the legend that Amazons cut or burned off their right breast so that they could shoot their bows and throw their spears better. The quiver and the mirror hanging from her belt are Scythian.

Along with allowing me to indulge in my love for history and myth, the Amazon encompasses the theme of “beautiful grim.” She is grim in that she is a fierce, yet scarred warrior, and she is beautiful and courageous.