Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adventures in Transitioning

well, another end to an era. that's what we sign up for in the world of arting, huh?

in celebration of embracey changiness, I'm moving to wordpress!

I'll no longer be updating here, so get your heinies (all 3 of you) to



Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Leetle Children's Preview

I've been talking for a while about my kids' book, but haven't yet shown any of the final pieces - until today!

This piece took a long while on account of my day job, but I quite like how it turned out. I'll probably throw a little bit of type on it when the actual story is written, but so far I'm just making the story through its pictures. :)
All of the images are being done in watercolor.

In this image, the Clevenger kids have just narrowly escaped a sticky situation involving a Dunkleosteus, and time-jump a little ways into the Late Devonian, where they drop in on some Acanthostega.
Friendly proto-amphibians! ^_^

More pieces and half-pieces from the Clevenger Kids bedtime adventure:
click meh!

Also, some pieces I've done on the side:

The Dolphins of Japan, inspired by the recent slaughter at the Cove of Taiji.

Ornithocheirus, one of my favorite pterosaur species.

And the Battlecat of He-Man, redesigned.

until next tiems!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Lud In The Mist

Lud-in-the-MistLud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Enticed by the promises of a great many favorite writers, I took up Lud-In-The-Mist expecting a change in what female fantasy could be.

The name, the time, the author's story, all attracted me. Despite this, i couldn't manage to lose myself in it.

Essentially, for me, it didn't hold up.

I found the characters shrill and predictable, the bewildered goodies were good, and the baddies just as you found them.

As I read, I had a sense that I was waiting for the literary ah-ha to happen - the plot is thick as molasses, even the interesting characters are quickly stunted or oversimplified (I'm looking at you, Endymion Leer - such a great name, sigh!).

The whole plot and execution felt like a great dance around saying what the authoress wanted to say - I imagine this was quite effective in 1925, but I live in the 21st century, and I've seen LOST.

The premise is still interesting - a town on the border to the realm of Faerie, and the invariable cultural crossover that seeps in - and the prose was fittingly British and pretty, but Lud' left me with little to go on... and the slightly irked feeling of having missed the boat.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the white goddess

The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic MythThe White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth by Robert Graves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

a dense thicket of myth in all of its core components. graves is the writer's critic's writer, leaping wildly from one subject to another, spinning threads and running out across them. he focuses a great deal on the Welsh Ogham and its correlations with Greek and Jewish traditions. although historically flawed, the book itself it still thrilling to parse - and tremendously inspirational when you consider the nature of culture, the foundations of all stories, and their further path. i will very likely read this again.

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images from Derek Henderson's The River

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hello my dears, how is your Monday?
Here in Yay Area, California, it's a schizophrenic on/off switch of rain and shine.

The Spring is here, (in this area, it has been for a long while) inciting long walks, lots of photos of flowers, and moments admiring light.
The past few months, for me, have been a heap of mixed-baggery. The new year came in, up and down: perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop.
When I last wrote, to be honest, I was in a pretty dire spot, and was considering abandoning art-making all together.

I've been feeling lately that the methods I have relied upon in the past no longer serve me - and thus feel forced and outmoded. They're cast in this mold of final product, quick changeover, and imitation. I'm just beginning to realize now how it puts me in this position of resenting the creation process, hurrying to some end-day when I'll finally have the time to do as I wish.
But the day I will be perfect and "finished," will be the day I die.
So what then? Change is scary. The conflict I'm wrestling with now, with my art, and my expression, is like some somatic symptom of my feet dragging - resistance at finding a new method.
Perpetually in transition, I am still filling up my mind with ideas and images like some decanter of experience. After maybe a few more years of decanting, maybe I'll have some great work, my gift - perfectly aerated. It will be true, and come perfectly from me. Fountained.

Since then, and despite my challenges, I have seen New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, a glorious wedding, and (large amounts of) snow. Thankfully, I came back around to my senses. Travel will do that.

Mike has taken up a new hobby - our oven is filled with bricks. Every weekend he experiments in baking, and his holy grail is the perfect New York style pizza. I'm convinced he's already nailed it, but he isn't satisfied. In myriad ways, he's the foundation for my ability to not give up.
My family has been predictably incompetent and infuriating - and predictably just in time for Mother's Day... I think I've finally given up having any manner of dialogue with mine.

The detractors, distractors, the nay-sayers.... I can't waste energy on them any longer.
It takes away too much from my work.

Employment-wise, I've been doing brief gasps of work for game companies, web non-profits, and authors whom I inexplicably befriended at coffee shops.

A good friend has loaned me a copy of this; it and various design blogs have been a very grounding place to make me feel less crazy, despite the rabble's prattling opinion.

And about and between this, I'm developing my own children's book, a fantasy bedtime adventure that is somewhat autobiographical. This project has allowed me to somewhat keep my head during my days (and away from Facebook), and warm me to the idea of being a freelancer.
My home studio fits like a pair of favorite shoes, by now.
It's usually covered in Moleskines and paint.

Two of my dearest loves have always been watercolor and natural history, and diving back into that world has taken me into heights of nerdery these past months, all which I refuse to apologize for. :P
I recently completed a terrifying double page spread of a Dunkleosteus menacing my characters, I'll try to get it up soon.

I am also letting a few new stories simmer a bit more in the pot, they might cross and connect in cute little ways. They're fittingly children's literature-esque, hopefully one or more will show promise, and be a follow-up book to the Bedtime Adventure.

In the meantime, here are a few quick previews of my children's book, Dinosaurs Before Bedtime: (my good cousin Chad visited from Dallas, and snuck photos while I was out, the little sneak)

And some new places to see me (because I'm feeling whorish):
My tumblr, a repository of things I like, and you might, too: Tumbles away!
I'll also be featured in the Drawgasmic compendium: Drawgasmic

Happy May, cuties.


Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Finally Happened.

(That's me! Spewing love out my ear. Or cheek.)


No more holidays or new year dawdling! Time to get to work! You heard me! Drop and give me 50! Paintings!

Yes, it's true. After a month of piddling around and hemming and hawing over what to do, and my general dissatisfaction with the state of the games industry in America (although I'm sure Japan and Europe are just as screwy), I've decided to switch gears and develop a children's book.

And damn if it isn't daunting. All the worst-case scenarios and fire and brimstone lectures from illustration curmudgeons have been coming back, and hitting hard. It's so easy to get discouraged, and I haven't even done anything yet! Just reading about the state of the overly saturated publishing industry sets my teeth on edge. Yeeee.

I'm enthusiastic mostly because of two things: I've rediscovered how much I missed drawing and reconstructing prehistoric creatures (I've been so out of the loop with paleontological discoveries in the past few years: I'm a bad nerd!); and two, I've rediscovered how much I missed watercolor. Coming from years of battling digital programs, it alarmed me how easy it was! Just slosh and slop and a painting is done. It's hard to keep the images from getting to heavy.


I'm going to be sneaky about the details of my book for now, but I will leave you with some preliminary practice work I've been toying with to get me back in the groove. Here comes fun!

And some others I'd been piddling with:

Stay sassy y'all, next time I may have some more secret details for you. Chock full of paleontological goodness!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

personal work

unfortunately, these things do happen. a few months ago, i was laid off from my job as a concept artist at a start-up video game studio here in the Bay Area, ending three years of work with no product to show for it, and nothing substantial to add to my resume. many friends of mine have been unemployed for a very long time now, and now i've joined them. it's actually quite depressing, the layoff went down just in time for seasonal affective disorder to take hold.

the upside is that work that was being put off can be realized. so far this has limited itself to quick paint sketches, but i have plenty of bigger, more refined pieces coming down the pipeline, which i intend to print and send in for various art competitions. i am also making an endeavor to get back into traditional art, as was inspired by a trip to a sketch-night at a local gallery, where my work was very well received by enthusiastic art scenesters.

but until then, here is what i have so far.

Haibane Renmei is a short (13 episodes) anime series from the creator of Lain, and centers on a few girls living in an isolated village, who have awakened as angel-like creatures with no memory of their past lives. the plot is very slow and meandering, but the emotions that are kindled as the series progresses are searing. i found myself crying while watching the later episodes. i was especially struck by the character of Reki, the selfless caretaker of the group, and her emotional struggles - which of course resemble my own.

Greer Gilman's Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter's Tales is the best novel i have read in many years. the craft, the images, the themes, the sheer poetry of the three stories (two shorter ones to set the scene, and a long novella) has filled my mind with beautiful images for months now, but no real complete pieces have come out of it so far. the abstraction and ethereal tone is sometimes difficult to pin down in a precise image or character design, the prose is told as if through a haze of all the words that came before it. the experience of reading Cloud and Ashes is to be fully immersed in the present moment, being overwhelmed with the english language. sounds pretentious, but it's true. of course it helps that the authoress is a lexicologist.

the plot circles in on the unassuming and reticent girl, Margaret, who was born and raised in the celestial plane of Law by her sinister grandmother, the goddess of the moon, Annis - but escapes. Margaret is the product of an incarnation of Annis' daughter, Ashes, who came was stolen away to the earthly land of Cloud with a simple fiddler. her journey through Cloud to find her mother and escape the prying eyes and spies of her grandmother is a myth as rich and multilayered as any hero journey from the european tradition.
so far i am on my third reading of the book.

and finally, this piece is purely a personal work, inspired by a particularly distressing session at therapy. the emotional struggle that i have been going through lately, in attempting to reconcile and grieve for my past self, has been harrowing. this piece was done in the weeks leading up to a trip back home to stay with my family, and the anxiety and guilt that i felt was almost enough to make me back out of the whole thing. so this character, whom i named Turmoil, is the representation i have chosen of myself, when i am overwhelmed. i'm using a bit of overt symbolism, but the emotions elicited are what i am after. constriction, suspension, and the feeling of gasping in brackish water.

until next time,

arts for artists

well things have certainly been interesting, but i wanted to share with you all some commissioned work i did for some of the good folks at DeviantArt. it was pretty successful, and some of the pieces were fun to work on. maybe i'll do another set soon!

Belligerent, a mongrel wolfy character.

Furyen, a birthday character design request, which was later printed and framed and loved.

this pic was once a much more kinky fetish image. i talked the commissioner into giving it a bit more context.

a set of four for one gal, of three of her characters.

and finally a kabuki assassin night elf named Vanasa Orclance.

overall the commission experience was kindof interesting, i've never coordinated something like this online before, and it was actually relatively quick and painless. all the people i worked for were quick to respond, inquisitive, honest, reasonable, and they liked the pieces that came out of it.

this is mostly, i figure, a product of doing art for people who are themselves artists. they know what to look for, know what to provide, and know where to let the person hired for the job go ahead and do their thing. i had all kinds of delays and crises throughout the process, but the clients who were delayed just sent me smilies and love. i wish "real" freelance jobs could be this fun!

until next time,