Light is a relative term in the world of ‘Light Infantry’. They live and die by what they carry. Every ounce is considered. Every meal, change of socks, and baby wipe a measured dance between comfort, longevity, and necessity. Mission dictates, but sometimes the mission can change. The troops on the ground having to make due with what they have, or what can be dropped in for them.
I’m really excited to have this piece finished at last. It’s been on the back burner for a long time and it was just great to have a little time to continue to explore this series further.
I know a lot of people stress their job selection and finding just the right job for them when they enlist. I knew I wanted to join the Army, and while I didn’t know exactly what job I was going to go with, I knew it would be combat arms. I had no desire to go in any of the admin/supply/etc. jobs. When it came down to selecting the job I was going to pick, my recruiter and I simply went through a list of high bonus combat jobs. When it came to 13F Fire Support Specialist, it just seemed right. He was an old Mech Infantry guy and so knew FO’s I could talk with. I had a quick chat with another recruiter who gave me a quick run down of the job and I was set. I love what I did as an FO. It was the best mix of small unit and large scale operations. It allowed me to get into the mix with all combat unit types from Infantry to Armor to Scouts. And it allowed me the chance to meet and befriend some of the greatest people I’ve ever known.
This drawing has been in my head for some time, and with all of the commission work I’ve been knocking out, I hadn’t had a chance to get at it. I’m glad I was able to finally get around to working it up. Though it wasn’t without issue. I had a lot of trouble creating a believable sense of scale and background and I think that’s why I’m more partial to the version at the top. It’s cleaner, it speaks more to how you feel when you’re up on the hill calling in fires, and allows the viewer to fill in the rest.
So, it’s been some time since I last posted here. In January, I started working full time at Ranger Up! Since getting the job I’ve been setting up my new life in a new city and getting myself through a probationary status with the company to a full designer status. It’s been hectic and a little stressful at times but it’s been some of the most rewarding work I’ve done since I was in the military. Converting my ambition to work as an artist full time was daunting, even terrifying at times. I felt like it might never happen and I’d just end up having to abandon it all together in exchange for a little stability.
With the new job comes a lot of new art. Some I can share here, others that will be filed away for the future.
I’ve been lucky enough to see my work go from a design meeting concept to final design to printed shirts and products. Seeing stacks upon stacks of shirts with my design on them go out the door to people. Even seeing fans getting them as tattoos!
Last year, I wouldn’t have thought it possible that I would be here, in a place like this, working in the field I’ve loved so much. Back then it was just a dream to be considered as I struggled to make heads or tails of what it was I was trying to accomplish with my life again. I’ve sacrificed so much to get to this point, that some days I need to remind myself what it was all for. Every day I sit behind my desk, I can’t help but feel pride in what I’ve accomplished in the face of so many obstacles. There is still so much more to achieve. More goals I want to meet. The bigger picture is finally clearer than it’s ever been.
There’s something about the profile of a Bradley that just calls to treadheads. Yeah it’s too tall. A bit unwieldy in the corners. An absolute pain to maintain. But it’s distinct. It’s tough. And in all honesty wasn’t even supposed to exist. You can’t help but love the thud of the gun when you fire. The wail of the engine when you gun it, and all those cuts and bruises from pulling the 25mm chaingun make you appreciate it all the more.
I’m using this as the principle art for the unit shirt for the fine infantry of Able Company 1-63AR. And it’s making me want to do more of these ‘armor in profile’ drawings. Look for some Abrams, Paladins, and 113’s to show up soon! And if you’ve got some great reference shots from the field, send them my way!
This saying may have it’s roots grounded in religious texts, but it’s also a feeling that every soldier, marine, sailor and airmen that’s found themselves in combat know well. That willingness to do anything and everything for the man or woman at your side in their time of need. It’s not about bravery or heroism. It’s not about politics or country or even defeating the enemy. It’s about family. You take care of your own, and you’ll do anything for them.
The men and women I’ve known as my medics have left lasting imprints on my life. They took care of me in my time of need and they fought side by side with us in the thick of it. It’s up to these soldiers to keep the wounded clinging to life, and thankfully our docs were up to the challenge time and time again. Caring for any who found themselves on the unlucky side of an IED, RPG or a bullet, they were always up to the task.
Dedicated to Doc Chase, Doc Torres, and Doc Collins.
The design was a fun change of pace and gave me a chance to stretch my legs and push this style of illustrating/designing a little more. I drew the original in black and white and then converted the entire thing over to just white for the shirt. It was a fun challenge to get the depth and distinct shapes I needed/wanted out of the drawing while making it work in a single white tone on a color background. In the end I’m extremely happy with how it all came together.
Support this fundraiser and support this group! And if you order one, I definitely want to see some photos of people repping my work!