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.
I love working on fan art. I don’t do it often but I have a blast when I do. There’s just something fun about creating imagery based on characters, places and things you spend so much time with. Be it video games, movies, tv shows or comics. It’s also great practice. So much so that this piece helped me solidify the direction I’ve been wanting to go with my digital color work.
I have tried in the past to do a full digital style like this, but I’ve never been happy with the lines that come from it. This piece used ink line work, from the Pentel Brush Pen, that I just did on a whim in my sketchbook while I sat around waiting for an appointment. This was the lead up to the Triumphy piece I shared earlier, and set how I wanted to work on them. The colors and technique is more refined in the other piece as well, but without spending the time here, I wouldn’t have even had that commission pop up!
I’ve started doing a little bit of nerdy portraiture based on characters from World of Warcraft. This piece was commissioned by a friend recently and it was actually a fun exercise working in a this style that I’ve not touched on for a little while. Digital color and art making has been a struggle but I’ve started feeling more and more at home with my style in the computer. But with these sort of portraits I feel like it’s a lot lower stress and just allows me to play with technique and handling rather than getting bogged down with concept or even too much with composition.
I’m looking forward to doing more of these and seeing how the style develops from there!
‘An Oil Painting of Clowns Storming Normandy Beach’
Sometimes you get a commission request that you just can’t refuse, no matter how outlandish it might be. That was the case with this piece.
I was contacted by the wife of a brother from my old Iraq unit one day asking if I would be interested in doing a painting commission for her. Of course I was interested in the work, and even more so because of who it was for. When I heard the subject I was a little thrown. ‘An oil painting of Clowns storming Normandy beach’ had me furrowing my brow a little to figure out the significance. Then she told me the story of him hearing the phrase after watching an April Fools video gag of guys asking for fake items at a department store, and how he laughed and talked about it for days and weeks after. She said she just wanted to hear him laugh like that again after a really rough year. I was all smiles after that.
So regardless of my own misgivings about clowns (THEY’RE TERRIFYING), I set to work. She wasn’t expecting to have the piece until sometime this year, but I was able to knuckle down and get the painting off in time for Christmas morning when he received it.
A lot of work, a lot of hours, and a probably a few nightmares, but it was all for a smile.
I’ve seen a local event at one of the shops called a ‘Paint and Drink’ or something along those lines, and for a while I’ve considered taking my wife out for one. In the end I decided why couldn’t I just sit at home with her and do the same thing! I have all of the equipment and supplies we could ever need so it only makes sense to throw some music and wine into the mix.
It was fun to teach her some techniques for painting and get her to actually make something with me that doesn’t involve digging around in the yard! She did most of the initial drawing work and then handed the brush off when she felt the need to take a break (she is a self-professed perfectionist) and I would dig in with carving the painting out and trying my best to explain what I was doing at the same time. Apparently I did a good enough job because she’s looking forward to the next one!
Grandma, 24″x18″ Spray Paint and Acrylic on Canvas
Hot west Texas days created the perfect backdrop to meet this amazing and warmhearted woman. My wife’s grandmother has had a lasting effect over the years on me. It was hard to see her go and it still resonates through to today.
As a way to break free from typical conventional approaches I use, this piece was done almost exclusively with spray paint, save for the white which was acrylic paint.
The warmth surrounding her, the backdrop falling away into simple lines and flicks of color. You can’t really see past her and what you can doesn’t seem to come into focus with her in your view.