Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I've been up to lately

Since my last post in May, life has been crazy busy, both in the studio and the office, cooking up all sorts of crazy schemes, plots, and pictures. Here's a look at what I've been up to...

-You're a Wizard, Harry!
I'm now an art director for keeps. Yay!
Translation: My managers at Wizards of the Coast saw fit to convert me from contractor to full time in August. I was certainly hoping that would happen, but I didn't want to get too comfortable in my seat until it was set in stone. I've now commissioned hundreds of pieces of art for Magic, and cut my teeth on all kinds of creative behind-the-scenes stuff I can't talk about. That's really the only downside- the shroud of mystery evokes a similar feeling to painting something I like that has to stay under wraps for a year, but protracted.

It's a fun, challenging, hard-ass job. I've learned a lot, and am still learning. Joking with a publishing AD I called it "atoning for all my sins as an illustrator." hah. It's a little true, though. If I could yell into the past, it would sound something like "Communicate! Don't rush that final! And for the love of god, name your files correctly!!"

From L to R: artist Sara Winters, art director Mark Winters, and me. On our way to PAX Prime, Seattle

As an extension of the art direction, I went to PAX Prime last month with my fellow AD Mark Winters to give portfolio reviews. I'll be flying to Pennsylvania for more portfolio reviews at IlluXCon in just a few short weeks: Sign ups begin at 6PM Eastern Time on October 3rd. Slots for reviews at IX have gone quickly in the past, so if you want to talk with me about your work, do not miss that signup date!

-Recent Work
I've been remiss in my responsibilities to you and have skipped over posting a bunch of my artwork that's come out recently (for which I apologize). Some of this may be review for those of you who follow me elsewhere, but some will not. Starting off, my latest cover for Tor Books was released today, for Emily Foster's novella, "The Drowning Eyes," art directed by Christine Foltzer:

A couple more Tor book covers I worked on with Irene Gallo from earlier this year- for all the full art in one place, take a peek at my portfolio archive on Imgur:

"A Daughter of No Nation" novel cover art, © Tor Books

"World's End" novel cover art, © Tor Books

Next up, some creepy Eldrazi and weirdly angelic Magic card artwork from the latest set, Battle for Zendikar (coming October 2nd!):

"Lithomancer's Focus"

"Incubator Drone"

"Transgress the Mind"

 "Emeria Shepherd"

And a few from the previous set, Magic: Origins:

"Archangel of Tithes"

"Reclusive Artificer"

 "Send to Sleep"

"Ampryn Tactician"

(All Magic: The Gathering artwork above ©2015 Wizards of the Coast)

-Some semblance of a social life?
If you find yourself in the Georgetown area of Seattle, I highly recommend going to Atelier Coffee Company for a cup- the guys are awesome and will take good care of you. The storefront has a curiosity shop/steampunk/artist studio vibe, and on Sunday afternoons it's filled with amazing costumed models and a range of artists, from beginners to skilled pros (many of them are my coworkers) for really cool figure drawing sessions. Whenever I attend, I like to post sketches on my Instagram.

Here's some stuff from the last few weeks:

-On the Horizon
Heads up, Infected by Art Vol. 3 preorders will ship in October- Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to win the juried contest for IBA3 and my art for Karen Memory is featured on the cover. I'm looking forward to getting a copy, not just for myself but to peruse its pages for artwork- some people may think art directors don't use annuals to search for artists, but pssst... we actually do. ;)

With the full-time job at Wizards, I'm not taking new freelance assignments right now, but I assure you that does NOT mean I'm going to stop making art. Hell no! How could you even think that, you monster?! I'm finishing up some stuff through the remainder of the year, including 13 pieces for a 2017 calendar, and preparing some personal works for next year. Details on all that later. I'm looking forward to having more creative exploration time once my current projects are wrapped up.

I hope I'll see some newcomers as well as familiar faces at IlluXCon! Signing off for now. Cheers, and happy painting.