Showing posts from October, 2015

Police Sketch Artist

Last weekend, a bunch of Illustrators were hanging out at a bar in Allentown, PA. During our drunken revelry, we ended up inventing a new game we like to call 'Police Sketch Artist'.

The game works like this...

As a whole, the group decides on a famous and unique looking celebrity. Whatever artist amongst the group does NOT know who the celebrity is (by name) is tasked with drawing a picture of them using only descriptions given by his/her peers. Much like a Police Sketch Artist would have to do, hence the name.

At first, it seemed like the challenge would lie in the abilities of the artist drawing the image. But we soon realized that the real difficulty came not in drawing, but in describing the person. Trying to identify what features truly captured the person's character was far more challenging than we initially thought.

In the end we came up with some really great drawings that came surprisingly close! More times than not, the artist drawing the picture was shocked at th…

Inktober 2015! (part 3)

Inktober 2015 is nearly over.  Tomorrow is the last day and I will miss seeing the stream of updates on Instagram and Twitter.  I have seen some friends grow significantly in their proficiency and confidence with their work.

I have also made some little discoveries along the way that I think have improved my sketching.  Moving from pen to pencil has made me more deliberate with my pencil sketching.

One of the things I love about ink drawings, especially a good India ink, is the immediacy of it.  As soon as you make a mark, you are committed.  When I see a wonderful ink drawing, I can't help but admire each stroke of the quill or brush as a distinct moment in time.  Each line is a decision made that can't be unmade.

I am going to wrap up my 3 Inktober posts with a feast of images from past and current artists who I think do some wonderful work with ink.

Joesph Clement Coll

I love how the silhouetted shapes in the background are drawn with the same flowing lines that flow through th…

What, How, and (most importantly) WHY?

-By Lauren Panepinto

I was at IlluXcon this weekend, and for those of you that don't know, it's an art convention for Science Fiction and Fantasy illustrators, mostly working traditionally, held at the Allentown Art Museum in PA. Cons are exhausting times to be an Art Director. (Especially a really really recognizable one.) For example, I had hours of official portfolio reviews every day, then Marc Scheff & I gave one an epic 2-hour mega-condensed-version of our Art Business Bootcamps. In between, almost every minute you're free, you're giving impromptu portfolio reviews, mostly to young artists who are hungry for any kind of feedback you can give them. There's a joke that at the height of a convention an AD can't walk a full 10 steps without being stopped with a portfolio review. (Trust me, we test it.) Eventually you have to start saying no for the nite - but we're terrible at it - I saw ADs giving reviews in a hotel lobby full of drunken artists at 2a…

The Phantom in the Maze

Greg Manchess

This is number seven in Michael Swanwick’s The Mongolian Wizard series of short stories, The Phantom in the Maze, to be released soon on

As usual, I read the story a few times, listing elements that I felt were good visual hooks to help push the story into the viewer’s mind and create interest. From there I started putting pencil blobs on paper, generally sketching major shapes of what I thought would be different elements.

Thumbnails to establish the composition

Those shapes led to creating an overall design that sits on the page. I use the montage approach to entice the reader so that I’m not describing one scene and dictating to the viewer/reader how they should visualize it. I want to inspire their own imagination to create the world in their minds, their way, like all of us do when we read. I don’t want to take that away from them, so I give them just enough.

A more finished sketch to develop the figures.

The series is full of wonderfully subtle but exciting idea…

Watercolor and Oil: "One of Those Days" Work In Progress

-By Justin Gerard

Quick post today as I am just getting back in the door from Illuxcon! It was another great year of mayhem and mischief and we are already looking forward to next year's event in Reading, PA. I'd like to send a special thank you to the the event's staff, and particularly the folks at the loading dock. You guys are the real MVP's.

These preliminary images are for a new painting entitled, "One of Those Days," which will be another in a series of images involving dwarven hunting accidents. The plan for this painting is to do a watercolor underpainting, seal it in acrylic and finish it in oil. A good, clean, simple plan. What could go wrong?

Tune in next time as I go through the technical process of working in oil over a watercolor painting!