Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vancouver workshop!

I've been so busy with projects recently that I keep forgetting to post this. I'll be teaching a workshop along with some legendary artists, in Vancouver in January. I'll be melding some of the stuff from my Schoolism classes together and adding some new things I've been learning into a workshop on how light can be used to tell story. Of course my demo will be painting, but the ideas will apply to any discipline that fuses value, color, and composition. I can promise that the other artists will make it worth coming, and I'll do my best to add something useful to the mix. My guess is that tickets will sell fast, so don't wait too long to sign up if you plan on coming.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Posted by request

Andrea Femerstrand (who you really should be following because she's amazing) asked what was different between my final version of this and where I ended up at the end of the class demonstration.
After end of lecture
The finished version
I think the earlier version more clearly communicates the feeling I wanted with the lighting, but that required the lighting to feel a little bland and static (perfect as a narrative beat but not as great for a stand-alone image). So I punched some of the contrast and added some soft rim lighting. I tried to look at the image from a distance and up close since once the image is posted I couldn't control the scale people see it at. I also changed some of the colors because I didn't like the color relationships in the original image. Anyway, I hope that is helpful to see.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sorrowbird again

I decided to paint this up as a demonstration for my second Schoolism lighting class. One of the biggest difficulties of lighting (and painting in general) is deciding when you are done. I think I spent another 6 hours on it after the class demonstration, adjusting the colors and values to make the lighting pop more, and it's still not feeling like I want it to. So I'm not officially calling this one done yet: I may come back and George Lucas it later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Special self-taught sale

I nearly forgot to mention, my new Schoolism class is having a special self-taught sale. Since it's early in the class there won't be many critiques available to watch yet, but for anyone who wants to dive into the subject right away, go here:
The sale ends Nov. 19.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Done as an example for the female protagonist assignment in my Character Design/Vis Dev class.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Protagonist exercise

Another assignment I did along with the students. I do wish I had more time to spend on the monster even though the focus was the kid. Maybe someday if I paint it up I'll fix his design.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Grandpa's stories

Another assignment example I did for my character design class. I would have liked to work on the grandfather's facial expression a bit, but the time limit is part of the fun of doing these along with the class. These were based on a New Zealand reptile called a Tuatara.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I just realized that in my crazy schedule the last month, I never took the time to announce officially my change in jobs. I decided to leave Disney and teach at BYU full-time. This semester they have me teaching digital painting for animation, character design, and gesture drawing. BYU has a great animation program and the students are very talented so I'm excited to see what kinds of things we can do there.
I have no idea if the students are getting anything out of my character design class but at least I've been having fun doing the assignments with them. This assignment was to design a monster that was both scary and had a personality. This idea was based on the criteria we had on an unreleased project I worked on at Disney/Avalanche several years back.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Caricature for character design class

I'm teaching a character design class at BYU now. The first assignment is on caricature, which I think I've talked about on this blog as great exercise for character designers. I don't consider myself a strong caricature artist but I really love it anyway.

Based on this guy, here:
I think my guy ended up a bit more squarish than this guy feels but I wanted to communicate how solid his face and neck feel.

In other news, Schoolism is having a sale on Self-taught classes, here's the flyer:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Boo Bird

I used to go with some friends to draw at Barnes and Noble once a week. We had a reunion tonight, where I drew this. I started with inking a drawing and added color later. Using real ink is always a scary prospect, because you have to make decisions with the lines and live with them (at least until you scan and fix them later).

Sunday, August 10, 2014


A demonstration I did for the surface design lesson in my upcoming Schoolism class. This class has been so much fun to prepare!

Monday, June 09, 2014


Some of you may have noticed that my Schoolism class has changed names from "Advanced Lighting" to "Fundamentals of Lighting." (If you don't know about the class and want to learn more about it, look here)

It's still an advanced class: in fact it's the same as the old class in every way, but I felt like the name change was necessary because I'm working on a second class that will be offered later this year at Schoolism. This class will be called "Lighting for Story and Concept Art" and you can see more info on it here.

I see these two classes as being companions to each other; they essentially contain all the knowledge I draw upon when painting my concepts and illustrations. If you're wanting to take both classes I'd recommend taking "Fundamentals of Lighting" first, because that talks about the technical aspects of light and surface, while "Lighting for Story and Concept Art" focuses on using that technical knowledge of light sources and surface to tell stories and communicate ideas.
I painted this image in a demonstration for the lecture on value from the new class. I'll have more work to post from this class in the weeks and months to come, so stay tuned!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Disney Infinity 2.0

This is what I've been working on. I'm not sure when or if I'll be cleared to show concept work, but I figure it's safe to show stuff they've posted online. I contributed concept for Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Schoolism Spring sale

Spring sale for my class and the other Schoolism teachers! Also, they used my art on the flyer, which I wholeheartedly approve of.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Trying to emulate an artist I really like. 5 brownie points to the person who guesses correctly (Avalanche concept artists excluded. No brownie points for you!)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Trying stuff with color

A watercolor pencil doodle I did during a meeting
Something from a morning exercise at work. The drawing was from reference but the lighting and colors are made up.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Emperor Mollusk

Cover art for a European print of Emperor Mollusk vs. The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez.
I originally wanted to him in an exoskeleton suit like he wears in the book with a much less empowered true body, but that idea died. Still, I can show my explorations for that here. I like the pure melodrama of the right design.