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As I’d mentioned before, I’ve been working on a series of covers for Clive Barker’s Next Testament. The folks behind this project are incredibly talented: art-direction by Chris Rosa, script by Mark Miller, interiors by Haemi Jang, and, of course, Clive Barker himself! Forming part of this team has been inspiring but seriously intimidating.

The more covers Chris & I work on, the more freedom he’s bestowed. It’s incredibly flattering when an art director trusts you so! For issue #8, his direction was simple. “Here’s the thinnest of prompts to all your maximum freedom: Paris, Wick, Julian, and a crowd, with Wick preparing to smite so many people…”

Although I experimented with some very violent compositions, my two best ideas were indeed the simpler ones.

Chris chose thumbnail #1, Wick descending over a graphic map of Paris. He recommended we bring Wick’s hands into the composition and the feet be slightly pointed.

At this point, I took the liberty of having Wick look straight at the viewer. It made the piece more engaging. I also traced over google maps…

… and I’m not ashamed…

… since, once the colors came in, it started looking morbid, like some sort of circulatory system. It was a very pleasant surprise. I wish I could show how Wick’s colors came about with a more detailed, visual explanation. Unfortunately, I go crazy painting this guy and I end up doing it in one single layer. Even worse, I always forget to take screen shots. I’ll try to remember next time.

I decided to enhance the circulatory system concept by adding colors associated with blood: plums, blues, and tons of scarlet reds…

… and specks and droplets always come in handy!

Just last night, Chris was so kind to send it back to me with title in place. It’s definitely been the proudest I’ve been of these covers!


Richard started sending out online promotions a few years ago. Choosing from his artists’ works, he and his team put together collections of a same topic. Although there are plenty of illustrations to pick from, some of us like to occasionally produce a new piece.
About two years ago, one such topic was ‘Fables’. I started working on an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately, the amount of work at the time didn’t allow me to finish it before the promotion went out. In fact, the amount of work the last two years has not allowed me much. Until very recently, I was juggling full time freelancing and part time teaching. Honestly, it wasn’t a graceful juggle. So for two years I sat over this piece. I opened it between projects and added something to it. Then another project came in, or midterms approached, or whatever. You know how the story goes.
A few weeks ago, teaching came to a halt. It was leaving me with little time and energy to freelance and I felt like I was neglecting my projects. Nonetheless, it was an extremely difficult decision. I taught at SCAD for a little under five years. Guiding talent of that caliber was an exceedingly fulfilling experience. Needless to say, I swell with pride for my former students.
Back to the subject at hand. For two years, I occasionally opened this pieces and built on what I had left the previous time. It must have been that practice that lead to a very messy sketch and an even messier composition.

The sketch never really felt done but it needed to end already! So, as it was, carving something out of this was the next step.

Even with base colors, this thing didn’t read well. I added some details to help…

… then some shadows.

… then some highlights.

In the end, Jen recommended I added some bokeh (photographic blur) to enhance the depth. Her idea was definitely what the piece needed to read better.

Lesson? Don’t sit on a personal piece for two years if you have a scattered brain. This thing may still not read well, but it’s finally done, dammit!