Over the past few years my good friend and photographer Tomas Donoso has been working on creating music videos for the enormously talented Chattanooga based band, Strung Like A Horse. Together they are working on releasing a new video for the song Glad, and will be kicking off the video with a Horror Ball at the Honest Pint, in Chattanooga Tennessee on August 10th. I was asked to create a poster for the event as well as some art work for potential T-shirts and stickers. Tomas provided me with amazing reference photos, as well as clear direction to how he wanted the poster to look and feel. This was a super fun project to work on and the final poster ended up being a composite of numerous watercolor paintings, some of which are featured within this post. Much thanks to Tomas Donoso, Clay Maselle, and the members of Strung Like A Horse!
Since completing my thesis at the Hartford Art School in 2009 I have not had the opportunity to work with acrylic paint all that much. This painting was a lot of fun to do as it offered a chance to re-visit the medium. Included in a previous post was the preliminary drawing in which this painting was based upon.
This is the second painting in a series of images that I am working on, inspired by the book "The Alchemist". In efforts to finish this piece for the "Big Characters" show that opened this past saturday at Seven Arts Gallery I had to cut a few corners in my process. Lately I like to complete a value study as well as a color study before jumping into the painting, but these steps were left out due to limited time. The result was that I ended up with some things that were a bit more spontaneous than if I had gone through my usual preliminary steps. Of course there were also some things that I struggled with by not having a few essential details sorted out in the beginning, but that is par for the course.
Here is a nearly finished version of one of the paintings from the Alchemist series that I have been working on. This piece along with a number of other watercolor, acrylic, and digital paintings will be on display at the Seven Arts Gallery in Ridgefield, CT, as a part the "Big Characters" show. The opening is this saturday April 6th, from 6-8 pm.
This is the final layout drawing for one of the pieces in the Alchemist series that I am working on. It has come quite a ways from the initial thumbnail in which I posted a few weeks ago, and at this point I am still unsure if the composition actually works better than the previous drawing. There are things I like about the previous version and there are things I like about this one. Either way I am hoping to have it ready for my show at Seven Arts Gallery on April 6th, guess we will see?
Lately I have been posting a lot of rough drawings for paintings that I am working on. Quite a few of them have entered the painting phase and I hope to post some images of them in progress as soon as I can. For now here is another that I am working.
This is the second layout drawing for a series of paintings I am working on based on the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is image depicts the opening scene where the young shepherd and his flock spend the night in the ruins of an old church that has sprouted a gigantic sycamore tree from within its walls.
As always there are a few things I will go back and refine in this drawing. As time goes by, and the more and more I work on creating illustrations, I realize how important it is to push the design phase as far as you can. In most cases a composition can always be better, a character better designed, a hand better drawn, etc. This composition was very much influenced by the Sagrada Familia in Spain, as well as the amazing Sycamore trees found growing in the temples of Angkor Wat.
Many years ago on a flight from Connecticut to Denver I had the chance to read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, a beautiful story about a young Spanish Shepherd that embarks on a journey to unlock the significance of his recurring dreams. The story is filled with captivating imagery, beautiful landscapes, and magical characters in which have inspired me to create a series of illustrations. This post contains an assortment of rough drawings in which I hope will result in finished watercolor paintings. The scene containing multiple figures is furthest along in its development, while the others are tiny thumbnails taken from my moleskin sketch book.
Creating pictures is something I have been doing for as long as I can remember. For me it is something that has just always been there, something that I have always felt the need to do. In the past ten years my illustrations have been used for a variety of purposes, personally, as well as commercially. Work as an illustrator certainly has its ups and downs, and some projects are far more rewarding than others.
At this time, the Shark Stanley campaign, has been by far the most satisfying project I have ever been involved with. Personally I see creating pictures as a way to express an idea, a vehicle in which to tell a story, a process that may end up in an image in which will spark the viewers imagination. If I can do any of the three things listed above then I see the illustration as a success. Although I have always dreamed of using my art in a way that could not only satisfy me, or an art director, but as a way of bettering the world. Shark Stanley for me has added a whole new element to what is possible through picture making, it has shown me that my Illustrations have the potential to reach a global audience, and can help to make positive impacts in our world.
I have been very lucky to be a part of an awesome team on this project, who without, I do not think that campaign would have been nearly as successful. Hats off to everyone that has been involved! In this post I have included various photos that have been taken world wide with Shark Stanley and Friends. Every time I see photos being added to the Shark Stanley page, filled with smiling faces, it brightens up my day. Seeing these photos makes me feel great about choosing the path, although rather difficult at times, to be a picture maker.
A big thank you to everyone that has been participating in the Shark Stanley campaign and for posting photos on the web. I am not sure who the photographers were for each of the shots included int his post, but if you would like to be credited please drop me a line with your info and I will be happy to include it with the photo!
Thanks again everyone!
To learn more about Shark Stanley and Friends visit them on Face Book:
It is said that the blues musician Robert Johnson made a pact with the devil, exchanging his sole for musical talents. This legend that has been retold in many shapes and forms since Johnson's untimely death in 1938. Obviously the story inspired me to create this painting, and in this post I am sharing a bit about the process of creating the final image. The first image is one of many small thumbnail drawings that I always do when starting an illustration. The second image is a digital value study, and at this point in the process I lay out the large shapes within the composition. The final painting was done with Yarka watercolors on Arches cold pressed paper. The painting was scanned and I made a few finishing tweaks in photoshop.
The paintings in this post are taken from the pages of a recently launched children's book titled " Shark Stanley and friends". This book along with the four shark character cutouts that I created are part of a campaign to raise awareness about endangered sharks and rays, as well as to provide sanctuaries for them. Shark Stanley and Friends is now offered as a free PDF download and hard copies will be made available after Feb 7th. I will follow up with some information as soon as I have it to where you can go about getting a copy of the book.
For now here are the links to download the free PDF version: