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May 27, 2012

Back from Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, and at the easel again..

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 1:07 pm

I returned  last week from the first ever Spectrum Fantastic Art Live convention, in Kansas city, Missouri…and I think I’m just now recovering from the greatness of the show, and the continuous 27-hour drive back home.  To truncate my review, let me say that it was an amazing time spent with good friends. It was great seeing old faces again, meeting new folks, and checking out some fantastic work in person.  I will be doing a more in-depth review shortly (I promise! There was to much cool stuff to not talk about it) but for now, enjoy a couple of the pieces I brought with.

 ”King of Wyrms”

oil on board, 18×24




oil on board, 11×14




oil on board, 11×14





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February 11, 2012

King of Wyrms

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 12:14 am

Sorry for the massive delay in posting, all…  I’ve been more than busy with taking care of my incredibly awesome 6-month-old son, teaching a new course at the Atelier, and getting ready for the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live convention.

..Speaking of which, here’s a little preview of a piece that I will have on display at Spectrum Art Live:

King of Wyrms


If you’re heading to the convention in May, be sure to swing by and check out the final painting.  It will be on display at booth 1221, part of a mega-booth-display-block featuring myself, Eric VelhagenLucas GracianoMicheal C. Hayes, And Ryan Schutter.  Come on by, say hello, and check out all the awesome work from these great illustrators in person.


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November 12, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 7:49 pm



Just a little sketch of your average, ordinary house sparrow.  Drawing birds is always a fun challenge, especially when tackling one of the more “mundane” species like this guy.  Birds in general are always tough to sell in an image when compared to mammals, as they lack any discernible musculature (thank you, thick feather layers) and they’re more or less incapable of any dynamic movement (fused vertebra will do that).  When drawing something that’s not as sensational as a raptor or as bizzaire as one of the giant flightless birds, you really need to get creative on what to play up to grab the viewers’ interest.


What do I choose in these instances? Feather groupings.


Feathers are all divided into specific groups, with specific shapes, forms, functions, and insertion points in relation to each other, not terribly unlike muscles. They’re a blast to design up, and a good understanding of the feather groups and how they interact can add quite a bit to a drawing.




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October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, from the Babbey Family…!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 7:46 pm


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October 29, 2011

Ahem…Your dewlap’s showing…

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 9:59 pm



    If you ask someone to picture a zebra, most folks think of the Plains Zebra or the Grevy’s Zebra…Which is a shame, because the Mountain Zebra (Equus Zebra) is all kinds of neat, and deserves a bit more fame.The only Zebra with a dewlap, these stocky bodied, nimble-hoofed equines are under threat in their mountainous homes of southern Africa, where they are hunted for their skins and suffer from habitat loss. Don’t let that get you down, though..Having bounced back from near extinction in the 1930s(the wild population then was less than 100) these guys now are at a count of around 3,000 and growing, thanks to the efforts of conservation teams worldwide.


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October 17, 2011

Rhinoceros unicornis

Filed under: Uncategorized, Wildlife — tb @ 5:49 pm



Rhinoceros unicornis,  the Indian Rhinoceros, is the largest of the rhino species, with the males of the species weighing anywhere between 4,000lbs to 8,000lbs.  These are some of my favorite critters to draw (yeah, i know..I say that alot, about so many different things) due to the massive amount of character they carry around with that equally massive build of theirs.


The thick neck folds, the heavy horn, the upward sweep of the skull, the heavy-lidded, unamused eyes…It’s almost to easy to inject heaping spoonfuls of personality into your drawing when sketching these guys.

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October 8, 2011

On the Easel

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 7:55 pm

Just a quick sneak peek with what I’m currently pecking away at;



…Aaaaand a quick reminder… Classes start at Watts Atelier next week, which means there’s six more days to sign up for my Dynamic Animal Drawing at the Zoo class.  It’s going to be a *great* class, so be sure to sign up before time runs out. To register, please visit the Watts Atelier of the Arts webpage.

Hope to see you next week,


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July 28, 2011

Not wolf nor coyote nor fox nor dog

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 2:55 pm

No sir, Chrysocyon brachyurus, the Maned Wolf,  isn’t any of those..It’s a creature unto itself, the only member of it’s Genus.



The maned wolf (pardon the confusing misnomer..as I said before, it’s technically not a wolf) is South America’s largest canid, and one of my favorite canids, due in part to it’s very un-canid-like behaviors.  It’s a solitary hunter; it doesn’t form packs, and lives a loner lifestyle, wandering the savannas of South America on it’s stilt-like legs in search of food and, in the off chance it comes across another Maned Wolf, a mate.  To make it even more un-canid-like, the Maned Wolf’s diet is made up of nearly 50% vegetable matter..It’s rather integral to it’s ecosystem, not as a top predator, but as an important distributor of seeds from the plants it eats.

 I’m always drawn to bizarre animals, and these fellows are made all  the more bizarre by the fact they are ancient…Maned Wolf fossils have been found that date back to the Pleistocene, which means these guys used to share their habitat with the bear-sized Smilodon populator, the largest saber-toothed cat (and one of the heaviest cats ever, for that matter) ever discovered.


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July 7, 2011

Phoenix pair

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 9:10 pm

Here’s a couple of drawings from an old project;






The client had liked the first version of the phoenix, but asked for it to be more “mythical.”  Instead of turning the bird into a creature made entirely from fire (and thus scrapping the “naturalistic” feel of the first sketch entirely), I went ahead and reimagined the creature’s evolutionary path; It went from something that resembled a cross between a falcon and a peacock, to a sort of draconic eagle, complete with combustible plumage that ignites as the creature’s body temperature rises.

The idea of naturally-evolving monsters and mythical creatures, with magic acting as a sort of environmental stressor that shapes their evolution, is an idea I kind of love, and one I’ll be visiting quite a bit in the future.


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April 5, 2011

Doug and his Lovely Hats: A post concerning failure, progress, and the importance of leaving your comforts behind.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 9:14 pm

You may remember a post from a few weeks back where I announced a “paint tiny” excericise, in which I forced myself to paint no larger than 5×7 in an effort to try and improve my indication skills and up my dexterity.  That excercise has reached it’s end.  On the final day of the portrait painting course, I went and increased my canvas size to 9×12; I wanted to apply the lessons learned from those tiny paintings to a more traditionally-sized portrait.  Here is the result:



   I’m pretty happy with this painting.  I feel I’ve learned quite a bit in the past few months.  By leaving my comfort zone and knocking out a few *horrendous* tiny paintings, I managed to break through a stagnant cloud and push myself.  The lesson learned was to embrace my failures…I remember hearing Greg Manchess say that once, but I didn’t quite realize what he meant until I completed this exercise.  Without embracing those failures, those awful, exceedingly uncomfortable attempts at painting,  I wouldn’t of been able to push through to the next level.  For that I thank you, demons of failure.

  I want to add that the model in the portrait is Doug, a long-time portrait model at Watts Atelier.  Doug’s been a constant at Watts since..well..I think since the school started some 20-years ago (Erik, Lucas or Jeff, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)  As such, I’ve been painting and drawing Doug since I set foot in the Atelier several years back.  After completing the above-portrait, I went ahead and dug through my archives of shame, and turned up several old portraits I’ve done of Doug.  Sticking with the theme of embracing failure,  I’m going to air my shame; Here’s a little chronological timeline of my history painting Doug.



    From painting glue-on beards and trying to avoid eyes, to struggling and failing at applying the concept of tiling, and finally ending at the most recent portrait (Which I feel is most-certainly a success), it’s become evident to me that the only way to get better, to get to those successes, is to fail…Miserably, if possible.  You need to step outside of your comfortably stagnant box, and grasp blindly in that muck of self-doubt in order to finally find Progress in those murky, Defeat-ladden waters.


Edit: Because I myself am a sucker for seeing paint strokes and the process involved in a painting, here’s a hi-res version of the portrait (click the link title)  for those that want to get a closer look.



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