Ranger Up

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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.

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With the new job comes a lot of new art.  Some I can share here, others that will be filed away for the future.

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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!

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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.

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Battle Dawgs Racing Shirt

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Shirts Available Through BattleDawgsRacing.com

The glacier.  The dogs.  The trees.  The river.  The camaraderie.  So much of what went into this piece was an instinctual reaction to the trip I took to Alaska this summer thanks to Alaska’s Healing Hearts and Battle Dawgs Racing.  There was some time spent in my sketchbook, and on my computer just doodling trying to capture the right feel.  To bring something of my experience into the work and not have it feel disjointed and without focus.  The base shape for this was hashed out digitally, but it wasn’t until the ink started going down on the page, it finally felt as though it was coming together.

There are so many things in here that seem to just happen, and felt correct the second I saw them.  Deciding to build the image around drawings I did while I was up at the glacier camp with the dogs, the two you see here are from the Battle Dawgs team, Hugo in front and Duster at his back.  The team was a major focus for me.  Seeing them all together on the line stuck with me, and I knew that having a solitary dog on the shirt would never feel correct for what Battle Dawgs is about.  It’s about having each others back.  Being there regardless of how hard things get.  And getting through it.

If there’s one thing you don’t ever get used to in Alaska it’s just how majestic the natural world around you feels.  When the shapes around the dogs started going in it was just a reaction to this.  A primitive and visceral representation.  The shapes around the dogs began to form a mountain range and tree line with the gaps between giving rise to a river.  Things that in all honesty I didn’t see or even comprehend having done until they were already there.  It’s something all to important to the mission that Battle Dawgs and Alaska’s Healing Hearts is on.  To share the beauty of Alaska with veterans and to show them that ‘the world is bigger than the four walls of your room.’

I knew I wanted to weather the final image, to give it the grit and rugged look that would help it feel more stenciled and military.  And when the texture was laid over I knew it spoke to more than just military, but also to the dog sled team as well.  Running a team is tough, gritty, exhausting work.  Just getting the dogs from their kennel to the line, trudging through the snow, was an endeavor.

‘Helping our warriors one step at a time’ was a line pitched by Rick some time ago.  And something that I believe fits the Battle Dawgs mission perfectly.  They race, they inspire, they help, they heal and they keep giving back to those who have sacrificed so much of themselves and well being:  our service men and women.  To add the Battle Dawgs paw print at the end is to give their word, their signature, that they’ll continue to do so.  One race, one outing, one warrior at a time.

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Shirts Available Through BattleDawgsRacing.com

Brothers Keeper

 

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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.

Alaska’s Healing Hearts T-Shirt

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Alaska’s Healing Hearts is running a Teespring selling this shirt for a limited run! Get yours here:

http://www.teespring.com/alaskashealinghearts

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!

1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide – Kickstarter

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I watch a lot of Kickstarters go up, mostly in one of the various gaming industries, some in product design or even art projects that require a little extra funding to see their work realized more fully. This one hits home a lot more than all of those.

Tim ‘Lawdog’ Lawson of the Veteran Empire Podcast is tackling one of the toughest subjects of the vet community in recent years: Veteran Suicide.

22 Veterans commit suicide EVERY SINGLE DAY. The “1, 2, Many” project aims to get deeper than the superficial stats and get to the people affected by this tragic reality. In order to better understand what is happening to our community, Tim is interviewing vets who have survived the struggle with suicide, the families of those vets who have lost their fight, and professionals from around the country.

Head over to the ‘1, 2, Many: Veteran Suicide’ Kickstarter page and read more about this important project and, if you can, Donate.

And please share this to as many people as you can. This one’s important.

Logo by Sean Roirdan

New Merch and Free Shipping!

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Just want to give folks a heads up on the current free shipping promo and highlight a few of the more ‘moto/hooah’ products in the shop, not to mention the addition of wall clocks to the shop line up!

It’s always cool to see Society6 adding new products, the mugs have been my favorite so far, but wall clocks are another great ‘office hooah’ product.  Looking forward to seeing what they release next!

The free shipping promo ends Feb 9th at Midnight Pacific!  Offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases and Throw Pillows with insert.

Combat Diver

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Combat Diver – Graphite on Bristol
Prints Available!

For the longest time I only associated this sort of thing with Navy Seals. It wasn’t until I started getting familiar with the Marine Recon and MARSOC community that I began to see how much bigger the combat diver community was than those few pictures of Seals everyone knows.

I’ve actually had this drawing in my head for a while now, I just couldn’t get to it until now. The figures floating but grounded by the water reflections and letting the viewers imagination fill in the rest.