March 2011
« Jan   Apr »

March 26, 2011

Demons, demons everywhere.

Filed under: Gribbly — tb @ 1:31 pm

 Here’s another little demon sketch I threw together last night; Teldris, The Mutable Wyrm, Grand Pyromancer of the Fourth Hell.



I think I might go and explore this guy a little more, maybe tweak his design a bit and build up a maquette.  While I’m a fan of that crazy distended limb of his, I’m not terribly sure I enjoy that person-hand he has right now. Time for a few more exploratory sketches to help make up my mind.

• • •

March 24, 2011

Cliche’s, Archetypes, and Thinking outside the box.

Filed under: Gribbly — tb @ 9:18 pm

Let’s get this post started with a sketch I did this afternoon;  Here’s Xaal the Liar, a charming demon with a trusting grin and a name I made up just now.



   Before I get to explaining Xaal, I want to talk a bit about cliche’s and archetypes.  Not infrequently, I hear artists say something along the lines of “I simply wanted to avoid the cliche’” when speaking about their work.  The individual who uses that phrase may see bull horns and hoofed-feet as a cliche’ in demon designs.  I only see such a thing as a cliche’ if it’s done poorly, lazily, and sloppy.  If embraced and done well, you’re sticking to the archetype, and can come up with something classically-awesome, a timelessly-grand design.  And if you incorporate elements, or the essence, of the archetype, but take it in a completely different direction? If you shift, and take a lateral step, but with the same inspiration at the heart of the design?  Then you’re thinking outside the box.

 That is what I tried doing with Xaal here.  I wanted to take a side-step, To think outside of the box, but with the same inspiration as those archetypes at the heart of it.  Take a close look at Xaal…There’s no giant horns and hooves, but there’s plenty of “bull” in his design.  Bovine and human characteristics are all there; Two things that are present in many classic demon archetypes, are just presented and assembled differently here. After sketching him up, I went and added the little bull skull above his head for a few reasons.  I wanted to incorporate a design into the featureless face, but didn’t want to use warpaint or scars (so a cast shadow did the job instead).  I also thought that  it would be neat if demons, in order to manifest themselves, needed a sacrifice, and would take on physical attributes of whatever that sacrifice may be (a bull in this case), and be bound to the mortal world through a piece of that sacrifice (the skull of that bull).  The final reason I threw that little skull in was to hit the viewer over the head with the design.  If they didn’t notice the bovine elements in the demon before, seeing the cow skull just might flip on that switch, and get them to notice it.

 So, do I feel like I succeeded in my outside-the-box demon design?  I have no idea.  That’s for the art director and viewer to decide.   I can tell you that I had a heaping pile of fun creating our friend Xaal here, and this exercise is one that I’ll be revisiting soon.


• • •

March 20, 2011

Here, have a horse.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 5:19 pm

Last week I went ahead and posted a page of lion sketches, with the rather cryptic promise of “I’ll explain all in time!” in regards to a scrawled, half-finished skeleton at the bottom of the page.

Well, the time for explaining…Is not here just yet.  A rather busy week that included friends visiting from out of town delayed the preparation of my explanatory post.

So here’s a horse instead.



 Oils on board, from photo reference.

That promised post..?  Yup, it’s still coming, fret not.


• • •

March 13, 2011

Now, just why is this sketch page unfinished…?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tb @ 10:55 pm


Nothing much in today’s post;  Just a few lion heads drawn from life at the San Diego Zoo, and an unfinished skeleton scrawled from not-life at the computer monitor.




You may be wondering why I didn’t finish the lion skeleton before posting this sketchbook page..The answer will be revealed later this week in a future-post.


Stay tuned, folks.


• • •

March 1, 2011

Of dexterity and tiny portraits.

Filed under: Studies — tb @ 10:49 am

For awhile now, I’ve been meaning to push my dexterity and indicating skills.  It’s something I’ve always meant to work on, but somehow managed to squirm out of, until recently.  Several weeks back I went ahead and cornered myself, so to speak, by cutting my stack of masonite down to pieces no larger than 5×7.  I gesso’d the boards up, and off to class I went, my hopes high that my indicating skills would up dramatically and (due to the smaller size of the canvas) I would get a more “finalized” portrait in a small window of time…

I found that during the first life-painting, I got *less* done that I would have on a 9×12 board.  To add insult to injury, it looked as if I painted the face with a baseball bat.

What the crap.

In situations like this, when you’re thinking ambitiously and your hopes are high, your mind acts like that guy with the shells game down by the subway stop, and it can con you out of a good painting if you’re not careful.  I hadn’t realized that I was working slower on the portrait than I normally would have, my mind subconsciously believing that I had more time, *not* that I had less canvas to cover.  There’s a big difference between those two things.  In addition, I was painting with a hugely-wrongly-terribly-sized bristle brush.  As a general rule of thumb, you often are told “use large brushes.”  That means use brushes that are appropriately large to what you’re painting, not “use large brushes,” period.  Alas, another trick my shady, subway con-artist mind pulled on me.

At the end of the day though, these are all things I already knew.  The lesson to be learned here is BE PRESENT IN YOUR ART!  Focus, think, analyze, execute.  Once I started exercising the rules and lessons I already knew, I started making progress on my tiny paintings.  I do feel my dexterity has been improving, but only because I’ve been making a conscious effort to do as much.  Progress can only be made when you don’t let your mind con you out of a good painting.

In closing, here’s a few of those 5×7 portraits that I feel were successes.  I had a blast doing these and I’ve learned quite a bit from them.  That said,  I’m planning on pushing forward and carrying on this practice of tiny portraits for a bit longer.  I’m going to win this game of shells, folks..  Or least lose 20 bucks trying.

 Feathers and Scarves



• • •
Cogs on lease from WordPress |•| CSSery via priss