Thursday, March 25, 2010


ArtOrder had a sort of mini-challenge recently, the idea being your take on the Eye Tyrant, more commonly known as a 'Beholder'.   I submitted a speed-paint of an old-school Beholder;  more armored sphere of eyes than the angry floating skull of doom type made popular by Todd Lockwood.

Afterwards I got to thinking I wasn't quite done with the whole Beholder theme just yet.   I felt like there was at least another Beholder painting in me that needed to see the light of day.  This time around, I wanted the Beholder to look a bit more scary... like something you definitely don't want to meet while spelunking the UnderDark, yet still retain something of the old school Beholder.   I'll probably tweak it some more here and there, but I think the Beholder urge has been satisfied with this piece...for now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Everything Old is New again...

Last night I received a great compliment about my work, in that the person making it was honestly unaware that the body of my work in the last year or so was entirely digital.  But what makes this particular instance even more of a compliment to me is that this person is someone who I've known since my days at art college.  Someone who is very familiar with my work before there was such a thing as 'Digital Illustration'.  Back when I was pushing thick swaths of oil paint across painstakingly prepared Masonite or Illustration board.   Back when every image began as a broad, flurry of shapes, color, and light; slowly but surely carved into focus and detail where needed.   I say it's a compliment because when I made the decision to 'go digital', one of the things I wanted to preserve was the look of traditional painting technique.   Easier said than done when the majority of the information on painting digitally is based on techniques that more often than not, result in some very obviously digitally rendered images.

My last image, Cthulhu, and now this latest are the result of a 'new' approach I've been trying out while painting digitally.  Up until Cthulhu, my images have been the result of all manner of photoshop techniques; complicated layering, image/color manipulation, masking et al.  With Cthulhu, I decided at the onset to simply paint like I used to, and to just lay down broad shapes, color and light, refining those further and further until an image began to appear.  I chose to limit the amount of layers, and even moreso, forgo as much of the little photoshop tricks and techniques that seem to scream at you from so much of today's digital art.  If a color needed changing, I simply painted it in.  If this arm wasn't quite right, I repainted it etc.  Ironically,  going 'back to basics' seems to have not only sped up my painting, but really made the entire approach a bit more enjoyable.  I would even venture to say the images are better.  

Monday, March 1, 2010

"That is not dead which can eternal lie..."

That I love H.P. LoveCraft is no secret to those who know me.  In my opinion he's one of the greatest writers of Modern Horror and has probably influenced the genre more than any other.  And to love the man, you must love the monster who's essentially the icon of H.P. Lovecraft's worlds... Cthulhu High Priest of The Old Ones.

I decided to base my Cthulhu on the scattered and vague descriptions found in Lovecraft's seminal "Call of Cthulhu".  Here he's described as "vaguely anthropoid..bloated, corpulent..." with a "Octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers".  There's a little conflict when he describes the wings though.  In one description, they're "rudimentary..." and in another they're "long and narrow..."   I opted for the rudimentary description, since I didn't really see such a massive, bloated figure flying under the power of his wings.  Maybe at one time before the fall of Ryleh perhaps.   Cthulhu is also described as "Miles high...a mountain walked or stumbled".  I scaled him back a bit and chalk the size as a little exaggeration of the witnesses who were no doubt driven to immediate madness upon the sight of the monster.

Overall a fun piece to work on, a definite labor of love as it went 3 revisions before I was happy enough to go to a finish.  Cthulhu fhtagn!