Folks don’t normally get to see my black and whites, but this one looks kinda cool, so why not post it? I also finally took this chance to time myself. A lot of long time pros know their processes so well, they can accurately tell how much time a project may take them. I’m trying to find that out myself. Anyway, not sure what to make of it, but at least I know this piece took approximately 30 hours, admittedly, much more than anticipated.

I based this whole piece on sleep paralysis. When I was a teenager a…um… while ago… this happened to me for the first time. It may have been my very religious upbringing, but without knowing of any folk stories or any past experiences, I thought I was being pinned down by something unearthly (refusing to say demon… whoops… gone and said it now). I found out much later it was, in my case, due to physical exhaustion.

Most of my time went into these infamous inks. Sketching those mushrooms went faster than refining them with black linework.

By the time I started painting this, I had a solid idea of what the colors were going to be, only to find out that once all the colors were set, the little dude in the middle looked like a chupacabra (by the way, this little paper construct is a pretty wicked rendition).

Somehow, in my head (and probably only there) changing the color scheme made it look less like a chupacabra (this one’s just plain funny). So blue and gold was the last color scheme.

Lesson here? I wish I were faster, and it would be good to better foresee how colors will affect the piece.


The folks at inPRNT and I have put a few prints up for sale. You can find them here.


During a recent class, one of my students approached me with a very common concern. In her mind, she could visualize her figures and how these fell within the composition of her illustration. Once drawn on paper though, these looked nothing like they did in her thoughts. On the other side, her attention to detail was impeccable. This made me realize that I had been ignoring the basis of her problem. We found out she was paying plenty of attention to detail but ignoring the base gestures to build upon. It is a problem that I had neglected to see, as most of my students have already acquired this knowledge and put it to good practice through their foundation classes. After a few lessons on gesturing and its importance, the student reached a control over her figures she hadn’t grasped before.

The information here is amply discussed on hundreds of books and websites. This doesn’t make it any less relevant. So I’ll take the chance and explain how I use gestures in my process through this project done for Euroman and art directed by Sune Ehlers, who is also a phenomenal artist.

During thumbnail stage, I don’t normally bother with correcting the figures. The main concern here is gesturing the right compositions. Keeping them as simple as possible makes them easier to read.

After moving to sketch level, the real figure gesturing starts. At this point, the main concern is to get the right proportions and motion. Getting into proportions, my concern isn’t really making the figure look correct as much as believable. Sure, the proportions might not be those of a real human, but if it looks alright and makes the illustration interesting, then that’s good enough for me. I also keep the figures undressed at this point… or at least most of them. The ones in the back I don’t care for as much as the one in the front, so I roughly gesture them clothed.

And then they get dressed, keeping in mind that every added clothing detail will seriously affect the composition.

Once the inking begins, a couple of details may shift here and there, but the main idea remains. Remember that thing I just mentioned about elements seriously affecting the composition? Well, say hello to that unwrapped turban. Nonetheless, the gesture underneath dictates almost everything. This may sound constricting, but it’s a really good safety net to fall upon once the illustration starts getting complicated.

Oh yeah… and there’s that thing about the background. After that, what remains are a few layers to color this number up.