Monday, July 7, 2014

Magic Card Art: Altac Bloodseeker

Card Name: Altac Bloodseeker
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Gatherer Link: coming soon

Medium: Digital
Original Art Available? No
Artist Proofs Available? Coming Soon

Artist notes: Third and final card spoiled for M15. This and Blood Host were painted before some of the other art I've shared recently, and it's interesting from a technical perspective to see my heavier use of the flat & angled brushes in these two. I don't dislike it here, but it was something I was playing with at the time and consciously scaled back a little in future paintings.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Magic Card Art: Blood Host

Card Name: Blood Host
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Gatherer Link: coming soon

Medium: Digital
Original Art Available? No
Artist Proofs Available? Coming Soon

Artist notes: Second card spoiled for M15... Dinner parties at my house can get kinda weird.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Personal Work: "Soulbound," and DeviantArt Updates

First off, here's a new personal piece I finished yesterday:

"Soulbound," digital painting, ©2014
[prints available here]

This piece was originally conceived as an entry for a male pin-up challenge on the Women in Fantasy Illustration Facebook group, believe it or not. Through a couple conversations and the ideation process it ended up evolving into something else- there's a story that's been developing behind the scenes, and you can see some recurring symbolism and themes emerging in my recent personal work. If you're feeling adventurous, see if you can spot some of it.

On a style note, I really enjoy that aesthetic in 19th century paintings that feels like you're watching actors in a Greek tragedy, with sheet-draped actors and the intimate eye-level POV. I don't know how many more I'll do like this because I don't want it to become a crutch or a formulaic "thing." I dig it here, though.


Second off, I finally updated my DeviantArt account again, with loads of work from this year so far. There was some shockingly old (translation: bad) work still on there that I cleared out, too. And I don't want to hear about how DA is a great place to show an artist's evolution. No one needs to see that crap within 100 miles of my portfolio. Those lazy compositions, the blinding saturation, the knuckleless sausage fingers...

Yeah, sausage fingers.

Ok, my dear readers... It's been a day. Time to paint.

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Athena" cover for ImagineFX Magazine, issue #110

I'm honored that I get so many amazing opportunities in the illustration world, and this is no exception. Some of you who follow my work know that I've been creating workshops and tutorials for ImagineFX Magazine since 2009 (June 2009, to be exact). Here we are exactly five years later, and I get to show you my very first COVER for the illustrious publication!

ImagineFX Issue #110 "Athena" Cover

The subject was Athena for their Myths & Legends issue- the magazine features a step-by-step workshop on the process of creating the image. No spoilers here... go buy the issue! You can also see the full painting without the text on my portfolio website.

Proud moment when my copy arrived in the mail today! via Instagram

Monday, June 2, 2014

Magic Card Art: Wind Dancer

Card Name: Wind Dancer
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Gatherer Link:

Medium: Digital
Original Art Available? No
Artist Proofs Available? Yes

Artist Notes: I made a blog post exactly one year ago today about a painting that changed everything. This is that painting.

I had been going through a tough time for months prior to working on this, both with my work and my life in general, and was starting to give up on myself. The painting depicts a faerie character reaching out to the viewer over turbulent waters, offering safety, or a way out- in a sense, that's exactly what I was looking for at the time. The creation of the painting itself is what jolted me out of that bad period, and another literal interpretation of something I was going through, that paved the way for more recent pieces like Learning to Leave.

2013 was a crazy growth year no one knew I was having, and I came out of it with momentum that's still going. Thank you to those who've stood by my side.

EDIT: Adding a link to the art review on

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Divine Restraint"

I took some time away from concept art over the long weekend and made a quick & fun personal piece. My partner-in-crime Jonathon modeled as the character, and made up a back story involving how he came to possess the magical armor and its power.

Divine Restraint
"Divine Restraint," digital painting, 2014

Prints Available

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Magic Card Art: Shadowcloak Vampire

Card Name: Shadowcloak Vampire
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Gatherer Link: coming soon

Medium: Digital
Original Art Available? No
Artist Proofs Available? Coming Soon

Artist notes: First of my cards spoiled for Magic's core set, M15. The art brief for this one was largely open to interpretation, as long as it had a big flowy batwing cape, so I spent a lot of time noodling on the fabric for fun.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New "Virtual Plein Air" Landscape Studies

Study of Melville Caves Trail, Australia | Google Street View Reference

I'm just finishing my second of five weeks working in-house at Wizards of the Coast on a concept art project. It's been an amazing and very challenging experience; since I come from more of a finished illustration background, doing concept design is something I'm just starting to sink my teeth into, but I'm learning a ton and the educational rewards of each day at the office are plentiful.

One of the biggest challenges has been doing environment designs for the first time. I've always thought of myself as a "micro" painter, looking inward toward everything, instead of outward. I was the kid that picked four leaf clovers, always looking down at the ground and imagining being really really small. Imagining vastness is a new feeling.

Suddenly, with the most fortuitous timing imaginable, the Virtual Plein Air Facebook community sprung up. The group, founded by artist Timothy Rodriguez, prompts group members to find places on Google Street View, and paint studies from them. Of course nothing can compare to actually going outside and painting a plein air study, but this is a really fun and novel way to draw interesting scenery that's inaccessible, and get some quick practice to jumpstart my brain into making images of wide open spaces. The group has been exploding with studies since its inception one week ago today.

Study of Jasaan, Philippines | Google Street View Reference

This is the study I posted in the community yesterday. A couple people wanted to see the process, so I'm happy to oblige.

Like all my figure work, I start with a sketch to get the landmarks in place. I jump straight into color without doing any black and white or value studies, since the value and color information already exists in the reference image. Jumping straight into color, I put in large areas of local color to start with, and do several detail passes.

Close up of water detail.

A few people specifically wanted to know about the water texture, and it's actually fairly simple to achieve. Starting over the base color (the greenish-blue gradient) I brushed the lighter color all over the surface, then erased away the ripples. It's not an exact match to the photo but the surface highlights follow the same "rules," so to speak.

During the last few steps of each painting I do something I like to call "atmospheric noodling," which is mostly using Screen and Overlay layers to apply subtle changes to the contrast and color over the whole piece. In the case of the Jasaan study, I used the Gradient tool on a Screen layer to simulate the mist in the background, etc. This is the biggest thing that makes digital painting different from traditional for me- if it was oil, I could glaze darker darks into some areas, but it's harder to go lighter at the end with real paint. Digital allows you that flexibility, so the order of operations is a bit different.

Most of the textured brush work is done toward the end as well. Here's what the Jasaan study looks like from start to finish:

Enjoy, and I hope you'll check out the Facebook group and try one of your own.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Magic Card Art: Reviving Melody

Card Name: Reviving Melody
© 2014 Wizards of the Coast

Gatherer Link:

Medium: Digital
Original Art Available? No
Artist Proofs Available? Yes

Artist notes: My 3rd (and favorite) card released from Journey Into Nyx. It's partly a gender-reversed Orpheus & Eurydice, and the could be read as disintegration or reintegration, though given the flavor of the card we know she's bringing the hoplite back from Erebos's clutches through the power of her song.

Also, here's a review of this and other JOU art on

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Inside the Deck" Interview with Gathering Magic

Gathering Magic was kind enough to have me for an interview on their Inside The Deck series, filmed at last month's Grand Prix in Richmond, VA. Thanks again to Richard Castle, Gathering Magic,, and all those involved in the production.