Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year (with doodles and varnishing technique)

Here are a few doodles that were made with the intention of testing out some new varnishing methods. I have been working with mixed media for a while now and I was investigating some alternatives to framing under glass. While the presentation of a matted and framed piece is very traditional and protects the image very well, it is very expensive and in some instances can be down right boring.

So in order to explore other possibilities, I made these little mixed media bird doodles and varnished them with varying techniques. The watercolor paper is mounted to a piece of professional quality hardbord (I like Ampersand's products). I like to use a cradled hardbord for mounting the paper. This way, a wire is easily attached to the back for framing purposes.

I found that the best method proceeds as follows: Since I work on watercolor paper with water-based media and drawing materials, I needed to seal the drawing in order to prevent the varnish and isolation coat from smearing the watercolor. The best method for this was using a resin-based artist grade fixative. Several light layers were applied. After the fixative dried, an isolation coat of acrylic gloss soft gel mixed 2 to 1 with water was applied. This permanently seals the image against moisture and creates a barrier between the final layer of varnish and the artwork itself. A UV blocking archival spray varnish is then applied for the final protective coat. The varnish is removable for conservation purposes.

In essence, the piece becomes a mixed media acrylic painting due to the application of the soft gel. The watercolor paper is sealed to prevent buckling or molding due to moisture and the watercolor/drawing materials are fixed in place. The piece can then be displayed without glass, just like a traditional oil or acrylic painting.

I'll be making several small paintings using this method. Check back for more info!

Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Etsy FAE Team

I've just joined the Fantasy Artists of Etsy Team or "FAE Team" over at Etsy. This is a collection of artists, artisans, and craftspeople who create works with a fantasy theme. Check out the various shops at the Team's website: or visit our blog at .

If you see any items here or on my website that you would like to purchase, you may request to do so at my Etsy shop: Click on "Request Custom Item" and leave a message with the title of the piece.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goblin Garm

Here is another piece in the Goblin series. This little guy is an eccentric aristocrat that likes to squawk and sing in an unnaturally loud irritating voice. See him on display at the Beep Beep gallery in Atlanta, GA until December 20.

Ink, watercolor, graphite

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Warlord Preview #3

I just got permission from Phoenix Interactive to post the next preview from the Warlord CCG. The game will be arriving in the US soon. Visit to order.

copyright Phoenix Interactive 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Warlord Preview #2

Here is another preview from the collectible card game "Warlord: Saga of the Storm" originally released on the Warlord weblog. This one is watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, and I think I threw some ink in there as well.

copyright Phoenix Interactive 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bitesized Show

"Bitesized" opens next Friday, December 5 at the Beep Beep Gallery in Atlanta, GA. The reception will be from 8pm - 11pm. The show will feature small works from a variety of local artists. This piece, in addition to a few others I've been working on, will be on display. "Bitesized" will run through December 21. Visit the Beep Beep Gallery's website for more details:

Ink, Graphite, and Watercolor

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Warlord CCG

The publishers of Warlord: Saga of the Storm collectible card game are releasing an expansion pack in December. I had the privilege to work on a few cards that will be included. This was a very fun project and I enjoyed working in this format. For more information, please visit the Warlord weblog at

Copyright 2008 Phoenix Interactive

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Etsy Shop Now Open!

I have just opened a shop on the online handmade marketplace, Etsy. Currently, I have several digital reproductions of my original illustrations for sale. If you missed your chance to purchase some prints at a convention, or if you would like prints of some of my new work, be sure to check in frequently for inventory updates. I only have a small sampling at the moment, but I plan to add additional items in the near fututre.

In addition to prints, I am working on a new line of small, affordable, original art pieces. I hope to have these completed by mid December - just in time for the holidays. They will be offered for sale through the Etsy shop and will cost around $100. I'll have more details and pictures as they are completed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Just in time for Halloween! I've been wanting to play around with marker and ink for a while, so this was a great chance to experiment. Basically, I had fun with the clothing and tried to make a more dynamic pose. The one thing about using markers is that you have a limited palette. While I could blend and layer to some extent, there really was not as much of a range as you would get with paint. This was fun it itself though, and presented a stimulating challenge. Another problem was that I made it too large for my scanner and I don't have a digital camera. So, his foot will be left to the imagination until I can piece the whole image together. I'm also going to put in a simple background to finish it off.

Copic Markers, Pitt Pens, and Chart Pak Markers on bristol board

Monday, September 15, 2008


This is a cover for the RPG game "Steamworks" that was commissioned by 12 to midnight games. If you're into gaming and would like to try something new, stop by their website for more info.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Art Show Award

Well, Dragon con is over and now it's time to recover and get some sleep. It was great to catch up with some friends that I haven't seen since last year, and it's always fun meeting new people. I had a great time and I am especially excited and honored to have won an award from the Art Show. "Underneath It All" won the Juried Award for Best Color Piece. There was a great showing of some very impressive art, I'm glad to have had the chance to exhibit with so many talented artists. I'm very much looking forward to participating in next year's show.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dragon Con Art

These are three new pieces created for the Dragon Con Art show in Atlanta, GA. Artists exhibit and sell their work at a gallery style space within the convention. The convention is still in progress, and the attendance has been phenomenal this year. Spending time at the art show is always enjoyable. Several different styles and genres are represented so there is something for everyone. For more information about Dragon Con, visit their website.

The theme for these three pieces is derived from Norse mythology. The children of the god Loki and the giantess Angrboda are three monstrous creatures. The oldest, Fenrir, is a giant wolf. The other two siblings are Jormungand, the sea serpent or Midgard serpent, and Hel the ruler of Helheim otherwise known as the realm of the dead. Materials used are ink and graphite on bristol board.




Monday, August 25, 2008

RPG Illustrations

These are some of the gray scale concepts created for 12 to Midnight Games and Morbid Games. The images were used as interior illustrations for RPG manuals.

"Inventor" Graphite: 12 to Midnight Games

"Technologist" Graphite: 12 to Midnight Games

"Blood Hound" Graphite: Morbid Games

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Aves Avelia

Here is the newest piece I've been working on. She's called Aves Avelia. In addition to many others, this piece will be on display at the Dragon Con art show in Atlanta, Georgia this coming weekend.

watercolor, gouache, colored pencil

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Art for the Circus Show

I just finished my piece for "The Circus Show" at A Bitchin' Space Gallery in Sacramento, CA. The show will open Sept. 13. Read more about the show here.

Watercolor, Gouache, Colored Pencil, and Ink on 140 lb hot pressed watercolor paper

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chesley Awards

I recently received word that my graphite drawing, "Sliopterom", has been nominated in the "unpublished monochrome" category for the Chesley Awards. This is an incredible honor and I am so excited to be included with so many talented professional artists. A full list of all of the nominees is at the ASFA's website, here. Yay!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Recently I completed a piece for an activity over on Below are the preliminary graphite sketch and a detail of the final rendering. Materials used for this piece include: watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, and ink. The full image may be viewed at my website.

The concept is based on the "Tiefling" which is a character from the Dungeons and Dragons rpg game.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sketches from the Week

Here are a few sketches from this week's CA sketch meet. I need to practice more with ink, so I busted out the good ol' ink brush pen and had some fun.

watercolor and ink, moleskine watercolor sketchbook

Ink, moleskine watercolor sketchbook

Ink, moleskine watercolor sketchbook

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Circus Show

I'll be participating in the second annual "Circus Show" at A Bitchin' Space Gallery in Sacramento, California this September. The show will raise awareness about the inhumane treatment of performing animals and proceeds of the sale of works will be donated to several non-profit organizations.

There will also be performances, rides, and much more. Here is a quote from the gallery's website:

"The invitation-only gallery show has over 100 national
and international artists participating. The performance
line-up starts with Dan Piraro, creator of Bizarro, who will

be joined by comedian and MC, Keith Lowell Jensen, singer Larisa Bryski, plus the Kings of Drag,
jugglers, belly dancers and other performers, freaks, artist-made midway games and rides, as well
as raffle prizes including original artwork and so much more."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Choco Sketch

Now that I have had some time to recover from Heroes Con, it's time for an update! The convention was an absolute blast. There were a ton of excellent artists in attendance. The best part was having the chance to meet with them and talk about art and other random stuff. Some fellow CA participants were also there (Hi, Wheezy!).

For some reason I was completely enamored with Chocobo-like giant birds for that weekend and sketched many different forms. They even started morphing into dinosaurs the longer I drew them. This is one of the sketches I fiddled around with at the latest CA sketch meet:

Also, it's been a while since I've sketched on the Wacom. I did this very quick (about 15 min) dragon sketch to get warmed up.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Hermit

I just finished this piece for the Tarot Card Thunderdome on I'm quite interested in illustrating more of the major arcana, so I think that will be a fun project in the coming months. The technique for this one was a bit different than some other pieces. I started out with a pencil sketch and a watercolor under painting like usual, but instead of going straight to the colored pencil I finished most of the details with gouache. The colored pencil only served to sharpen some of the lines and details.

Also, this piece is from several years ago and was retired from the website.

Monday, May 5, 2008 Reader Art and New Sketch

Today my work is featured in the "Reader Art" section of It's a fabulous magazine and I'm really excited and honored to have my work displayed there.

Also, here is a sketch for a new piece that I hope to finish soon. I'll have more details about this piece as it progresses.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hawks and Hounds

This is a sketch from my Moleskine Sketchbook using Inktense pencils, Micron pens, and Pitt pens - a very fabulous combination to work with. I had no real plan for this. The image sort of evolved on its own as I worked on it. I don't think it's quite finished, but it is at a good stopping point for now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cleaning Up

I'm changing around the website a bit - taking down old stuff and putting up new. These are some of the ones that got the ax:

"Drippy" photoshop

"Siege of the Mountain Pass" Graphite

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Last Man Standing 3, Round 2

It's time again for LMS3. Round two has just been posted on and there are, once again, some spectacular entries. The topic is "outbreak" and there are some very interesting interpretations on this theme. Unlike round one, this round will utilize a point system to rate each piece so entrants will get a better idea of how they fared with the judges.

For my entry, I chose to depict a pair of children escaping their village before it becomes completely eaten by swarming caterpillars. Their get away is facilitated by a giant magic flying beetle creature, which was a lot of fun to create. It was painted using watercolor and colored pencil.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dragon Con Art Show

I just got the official word that I passed jury for the Dragon Con art show (Aug. 29 - Sept. 1). I'll be offering prints as well as original works of various sizes and prices. Also, this will be a great opportunity to show some new stuff that I have been working on. For more info on the con, visit Dragon Con's website.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Reception

I just got some photos of the "Deep Dark Woods" opening reception courtesy of the illustrious photographer and illustrator, Adam. The opening was a very huge success and lots of people showed up to view the work. In addition to the gallery opening, we also celebrated Earth Hour and all the lights were turned off from 8 - 9pm. Lit candles were given to each person that entered the gallery. The effect was quite eerie and really gave a surreal atmosphere to the show. It felt as though you had discovered some abandoned house in the middle of a deserted city and there happened to be all this strange art on the walls.

After the lights turned back on, people really started to show up in earnest and it became a real party. The place was packed and everyone was having a great time viewing the art. Thanks again to the Beep Beep Gallery for a great time. The show will be up until April 20, so be sure to stop by and check it out. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12 - 6pm.

Monday, March 24, 2008


These are three new graphite drawings that I produced for the "Deep Dark Woods" show. Their names are Goblin Groh, Goblin Grack, and Goblin Gryn.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Deep Dark Woods

I'm participating in a group show at the Beep Beep Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme for the show focuses on the darker side of fairy tales. There will be a good deal of strange imagery, monsters, goblins, and various other interesting characters. The opening reception will be held March 29 from 8 pm until 11 pm.

Beep Beep Gallery

696 Charles Allen Drive
Atlanta, Ga

Friday, February 8, 2008

I made it to Round Two!!

The results for the Last Man Standing 3 competition were announced last night and I'll be moving on to the next round. The competition was fierce and it will only get more intense from here. But, there's nothing like some healthy competition to make your best work. I'm looking forward to the next topic which should be announced soon.

In the meantime, I'm working on a new digital piece. Here is the sketch and the work so far. There is still a ways to go, but my goal is to finish it before the next round of LMS3 begins.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Last Man Standing 3

The competition of the year is underway! Several hundred artists have completed entries for the topic "Underneath It All" and are currently being judged by a panel of distinguished judges. We had several months and the freedom to interpret the topic however we chose. There is a TON of excellent work that was produced for the first round. The entries may be viewed on the website in the Finally Finished section.

For my entry, I chose to work with the traditional mediums of watercolor and colored pencil. I began with a polished graphite sketch and a watercolor under painting. Layers of colored pencil were then applied to provide the final details.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

Had some down time for the holidays and created a new digital piece. This is still in progress and I probably won't get around to finishing it until later this month. I have several ideas ready to illustrate so 2008 is shaping up to be a productive year. Convention season is also right around the corner which is always exciting. There are also several other illustration and gallery activities in the works so I will post with more info soon!