Saturday, August 31, 2013

Old Drawing - 1983

Tired of looking at picture-less SOE Layoff post.  Let's brighten the mood a bit with this cheery little drawing:  Going through my stuff and found this from thirty years ago, around when I first moved to San Diego.  Didn't do it for any reason in particular.  Obsessed with skulls and little pen-and-ink hatching lines at the time.  The more little lines and dots, the better.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Layoffs at SOE

Big layoffs at SOE today.  I'm not sure how many got let go, but I was called into a meeting room with about fifty other people, the execs, the human resources person and financial person.  They told us we were being let go.  There were more people being let go in customer service and in the Austin office, so quite a few people.  We are all officially employed for two more months but we were asked to clean out our desks today.  October 28 is my official termination date.

It was too bad to see all those people losing their jobs.  I'm sure a lot of them were living paycheck to paycheck.  As for me, I'm more fortunate than most, and I'm going to be treating this as a "sabbatical" from the industry.  It's a chance to re-tool my career and try a few new things.  For starters, I'm going to be spending more time writing and drawing you-know-what.

I've seen this coming for a couple of years, as some of the company's biggest projects have not been as profitable as they hoped.  But SOE gave us a very generous package and I have absolutely no hard feelings towards the company or any of the execs.
Hi. TAG ...

The push for Candy Popper!! worked. I did raise a little more money from GoFundMe, but even better the post mentioned our manufacturer and they got contacted by an industry group about the project (because it, and RetroActiv Games were unknown entities to them). Once contacted, our manufacturing partner got all in a tizzy and wanted the GoFundMe page taken down (which I did). Simultaneously, however, they jump started the process with us and have ordered a second set of hardware from Ingram Micro so they have a system to use in building the cabinet and housing the peripherals, etc. RetroActiv is getting a hardware of our own so Dave Dentt can test the game on a native system.

So, thanks for your well wishes. It seems we may be off and running on Candy Popper!! ...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Art of the Luba Peoples (Congo)

L.A. County Museum has a great show going right now: African art from the Luba tribe, who live in Congo. Blair studied a lot of African art--and remembers most of it. Having her along added hugely. Great stuff.

Find Ronnie

Vine of Unity user group meet

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A color comp I did up

Its rough but I figured I flesh it out more

Cleaning house/eBay advice

I'm going to get rid of a lot of dead weight and downsize my not-vast-but-not-small book and trade journal collection. While I'd love to get some of my money back on things like "Cinefex" and my collection of movie-related art books, I don't really expect a whole lot of cash-per-item. Mainly, I need to just clear out the junk and if I can turn some coin, all the better. Ellis suggested I post about it to get the perspective of Jim and anyone else who's done some eBay business. What's the best way to go about this, what are some of the pitfalls and how much work is it to liquidate collections of mostly-sentimental-valued stuff?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Random Surfer

I was looking for something else, found my birth certificate, decided to look up the hospital I was born in.
They are going to turn the place into artist loft studios. The irony.
Probably not irony. A fitting purpose. I'll send them a plaque with my name on it.

Update by Rick:  Out of curiosity (and because I love a mystery), I thought I'd follow up on the story of this property.  I looked it up one Google Maps and found this in Street View mode:
There's no telling how old this picture is (for comparison I had a look at the Street View of my house and it's at least a year old, but I'm betting it's more like 2).  You can see that some progress has been made on the place... the ivy has been cut away and it looks like they've started replacing windows.  It also looks like a pipe in front of the place has been cut down.  My guess is that it's come a lot further in the meantime. 
Also, I found Karl Engel's LinkedIn profile... It doesn't look like he maintains it though... he only has one contact:
It looks like he participated in a recent gallery show, so you might be able to find contact info through the gallery:
That's all I got at the moment.


Here's a thumbnail for a little somethin' I worked on a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Time to finish the fight...

Meant to post this yesterday, but the TAG deadline came and went and I failed. A few days ago, I dusted off an old project I started back in 2011 where the goal was to build a reasonably-accurate version of the Master Chief character (based on his Halo 3 armor design). Started this almost two years ago and then abandoned it. Now I'm determined to finish it for the portfolio, so here's the result of a few days' work.

There is still a ton of little details I have to add to both the armored shells and the undersuit. Biggest challenge is getting good source shots to work off of. I'm using a ton of reference shots (from the game, from toys and models) off the web, from some books I have, but it isn't always easy to extrapolate what a particular piece looks like or is supposed to do. And there are subtle differences in the design from game to toy, to life-sized statues, etc. And then when Halo 4 came out, the design went through a pretty radical redesign (which I like, but I thought I'd focus on the 'classic' look of the character).

Apparently you never get to see what Master Chief actually looks like under the helmet, so I'm just taking a guess. I think, so far, my take on him looks like a weird cross between Patrick Stewart and Bruce Campbell.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Revisiting the Gorgon's Lair....(UPDATED)

This for a revise of that "Monsters & Dames" page I did for Emerald City Comic Con. Redoing the girl as a more beautiful, more Gibson-y type (the original came out too ugly!). Want to improve the whole thing so I can make some prints.

I will have my mythologically-themed turn-of-the-Century girls, Jimmy will have his Maleficent girls, and we will be raking in the bucks come Comics Fest!!

UPDATE: Here's a snap of the rest o' the piece in progress--gives an idea of what I "start" with (after drawing it all on paper and scanning it in). Girl above has already been saturated, contrasted. leveled, etc.. This one below is raw. You can see how the felt-tip marker stuff comes in very un-saturated...also, the drawing is too big to scan in one shot, so I have to do it in a bunch of pieces (this image has five different scans involved,  4 of 'em visible here--and that's not including the girl/Gorgon image at the top of this post, which was drawn larger on a different page and scanned seperately). 
I'm not only gonna splice together the different scans, I will also create distinct objects from them, (eg., the Gorgon tail and the smoking brazier with plinth are already single pieces, and I'm currently working on making the stairs a single object/layer...). I like working this way--let's me work a little looser knowing I can line things up in PhoSho and rearrange/tweak placement as needed, (fer instance, the temple got wonky in the markers [you start to blend a buncha' colors and straights start to squirm like y're working in watercolor], but I'll shore it up in the computer).

Once I've got all these "objects" sorted, I will do my levels/contrast/saturation, then integrate in the original image I did fer "Monsters & Dames." Then I'll start marrying things I liked in the old image with things in the new.

Probably you guys have better/more efficient ways of tackling jobs like this. I would be interested to hear them!

I guess the best process would be just to draw the thing perfectly and have it photographed/scanned in one piece. Sadly, I'm not that good. But I do try to avoid "making marks" in the computer--I mean even when "healing" areas or creating new parts, I use the pen/pencil work from my source scans so that the finished image is almost totally from "hand drawn" material (I do this mainly via the cut/copy and clone tools).

Part of me bristles a little at the idea of asking a computer program to "mask" my computer-based gestures as taking place in the physical world--eg., using a mouse to "draw" a pencil line or "brush" some watercolor. Is that dumb?

But now that Tom Moon has instructed me in the art of using the "MULTIPLY" function, not only will I convert completely to digital, I will be unstoppable!

Babe Lab

Babe Lab. NSFW-which means , not safe for work. Screw acronyms anyway. How hard is it to type not safe for work.
The artist doing these female figure studies obviously has no trouble with nudity. Using Maxim and Penthouse ideas about how to present young beautiful women. But he does some great essays on appeal and gesture.
I really liked being led to this odd calendar featuring pin up models being x-rayed in high heels.

I did this illustration for Dawn Atkin's Shadows Of... fanzine. Now to figure out the exact issue.
I think it's the one with the spider. 1979.
If I remember right , Jim had his work rejected.
Just now getting over it.
Found this. A gang scan with some of Dok's iconography from Leland Corp.
I'm actually in volume 6, 1982.
I'm about to turn 30. About to go to Dallas, followed by Linda Schulman, who I will then follow to San Diego in 1986.
The late bloomer archives.
I'm done. This is the flip side of The Shadows Of... fanzine fiction. The black at the corners on the other page is where I had it taped in my portfolio. With my first notion of anthropomorphizing a big cat. He was going to ride a Harley.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A work in progress

As I'm getting ready for Comic Fest. I figured I'd put up a still "In Work" piece. Working on 3 at once at the moment but this one is an evolution of something I did years ago. Originally I wanted it to be more of a design style but as I progressed it grew. Hope to have this one done by weeks end. Putting that Cintiq through it's paces.

Looks just like the old comics store in Hillcrest.

Fellow that runs this is talking about having comic artists guests come and sell sketches and the like.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Click ME to see some silliness.  I was generating some animation reference for Polar Bowler.  Imagine me as a big ol' polar bear with sunglasses settling into my innertube.  Also, check this out:
Panel 1 if a Sunday Newspaper style comic strip.  More to come... I promise!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Final Stretch

Click HERE to see a turntable render of the helmet on my Vimeo channel.

Getting close to finished with this helmet. I'm in the optimization stage now where all that's really left to do is to boil it down so it meets the required polygon counts. I did all the UV mapping, but the texture is a standardized texture provided by SOE. I have to say this has been a really fun and rewarding project and I'm looking forward to doing more. I would encourage anybody with even a passing interest to get on board with SOE's player studio. It's a great way to work on your skills, get involved with players and you can even make money off your work.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's Tuesday in Oklahoma

Just finished the thumbnails for the 7 page horror story I've been working on it fits and spasms.

Got it where I know where to go with it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What would you sell this for?

I'm selling it for at least 15 bucks. Had a good run on Ebay just this past week. I'll have made close to 500 bucks on artwork I have hauled around in my miscellaneous sized tubs for 25 years.
This warrior in a tree piece was done shortly after I moved there. May even date back to pre-San Diego in Dallas. 1985. I remember showing it to Shel. This and a piece featuring a nearly naked black man having his sword stolen by a Princess as a really bad Tiger menaces them. Shel was kinda "Oh my." about the black guy in it. Littel too much black ink, little too much minstrel.  I'll see if I can find that and add it to the post. Sold most of this art to a guy in Escondido.
I think I'll paint into this. Art direct it to a level I'm happy with.
Here it is. Someone plopped this right back onto the market. Bought it from me for about 50 bucks. Looked for it again the other day and couldn't find it.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Witness the Power!

A new Polar Bowler drawing has appeared!  This is another promotional illustration, like the one I did for 4th of July.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Assassin-Werewolf's Sketchbook

Found this while surfing around.
From this auction of my sketchbook. Which I sold for about 200 bucks...or less.
Dig the vignetting the seller has gone to the trouble in image editing.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Here's another silly Polar Bowler drawing I did for the PB Facebook page.  I did it last night at TAG and colored it this morning.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Teen Ellis Tuesday

Stuart Ng ordered another 11 books (that's 21 so far--not much, but it's more than 20% of my production run). To help justify the $20 price (when many well done sketchbooks retail for $12-$16), I sketched a little something in the back of each book.

I couldn't resist slipping a couple of Teen Ellises in there! (HATE the middle picture's dialogue blurb--so out of character--but I was pressed fer time!)

Cartoon hound dog sculpt.

Posted it on Facebook yesterday, thought I'd post here as well. Just something I did for fun, to loosen up and for no particular reason. Growing up in the south and watching tons of classic animated shorts gave me a love for hounds. 

Monday, August 05, 2013

Ranjo link via Twitter

100 dollar, multi-piece action figure with a skill level for building it.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Gravity FX

I like the art direction of "Space Tech NOW."

Friday, August 02, 2013

Speaking of SOE and Player's Studio...

SOE announced its next Everquest project in Las Vegas at the SOE Live Fan Faire today.  The project has been kept secret from everybody except those actually working on it.  This is the first I've seen of it. 
Ronnie, if the thought of building stuff for SOE's games and generating income from it appeals to you, EQ Next is going to take that whole idea to the next level.  Here's a link to the talk they gave:
(The talk is about an hour long.  If you just want to hear about the assets-building part, skip to about the 39:00 mark.)
I think it looks pretty intriguing.  It made me want to try building stuff with the tools they will be providing.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Planetside 2 Player Studio Helmet

Been busy making a helmet for SOE's Player Studio. Going to be for Planetside 2. This is the Zbrush bust that I'll boil down into an in-game asset that players will be able to purchase in-game. If people buy this item, I'll actually make some cash for my work - which is awesome! Things like the Player Studio, the Unity Store and the Second Life marketplace are great opportunities to bring in some side money while honing your skills and plying your trade.