Miniature Illustration Scene

Dock scene with man and schooner produced with custom built miniatures and models

Yep, here’s that same old dock scene. All custom built miniatures and painted backdrop. I still haven’t done final touchups, but the foggy and fog-free images are composited. Soon it will be ready for print.

I am also building structural elements for the iceberg scene, photos of that will be forthcoming.

2nd Raven Illustration

Illustration in pen and ink, oil wash and NuPastel of raven atop column from cathedral st. Francis of Assisi

Here’s the second raven from my Cathedral of St. Francis series.

So we watched an episode of ‘Stephen Fry in America’ last night. We’ve watched one every once in a while and had reached the episode where he visits New Mexico. I pointed out, to my wife, all the places I had recently been. This was also the episode where he would be visiting my home state of Utah. Unfortunately, he only visited Lake Powell in the Southernmost corner of the state. That was disappointing. I thought he would at least go to the Salt Flats, Promontory Point or Temple Square. Oh well, he did interview a couple of Mormons in Las Vegas, right before he interviewed the owner of a brothel…?

Basically, I hope people don’t make all their judgments about the USA based on the places Stephen Fry visited.

Santa Fe Raven and Basilica

Earlier this Summer, I went with a group of artists from BYU to Santa Fe and various nearby sites. While in Santa Fe, I visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. I spent some time sketching the exterior and noticed that no two columns had identical capitals. In fact, they were each very unique. This inspired me to produce the work below, which is one of five ravens atop columns based on those from St. Francis Cathedral.

Ink and oil wash illustration of raven atop capital from cathedral basilica st. francis of assisi.

This is a photo I took at Goblin Valley, where we stopped on the way home. Nothing fancy, but it has that Southwesty feel and thus belongs here helping to describe the trip.


Hidden Face

Oil on panel, woman in veiled headdress from fantasy culture.

This is a painting I did fairly recently. It is Oil on panel.  It isn’t supposed to reflect any real-world culture or religion. Once again, I’ve painted something that is actually directed at the fantasy crowd. I started with a sketch, transferred that to toned paper and worked in some highlights. I scanned the toned version and printed it and then mounted the print on my panel using acrylic matte medium. I painted in three stages.

Stage 1 involved painting until I was really tired of painting on it.

Stage 2 was taking a break and not working on it.

Stage 3 was looking at some of the artists I admire and thinking about how i could improve what I had done based on what I learned from them.

Stage 4 was doing the things I learned in Stage 3.

Yep, I told you there were three stages, but it was really four.

Sketch for painting oil portrait on panel

Toned drawing for oil portrait on panel

Miniature Dock Setup

Setup of elements for miniature scene illustration with dock, quay, ship, man, supplies etc.

This still isn’t the final image. However, I have most of the elements finished and am setting them up. I still have the painted backdrop to add and need to figure out the lighting. Luckily, because everything in the shot is static, I can use a longer exposure and don’t have to worry as much about getting daylight levels with my lights in the little back room studio.

Things are coming together, I just need to finish this one off and then get moving on subsequent images 😉  P.S. If you haven’t been following my blog hitherto, everything pictured here is hand made, custom for this illustration.

Miniature Illustration Rush Job

Image of miniature man maquette made from sculpey wire leather and fur. Photographed outdoor in winter.

As I have been saying in some of my recent posts, I am working on building miniature sets and models to create a series of illustrations.  This image isn’t from that series, but it was a sort of test run to see if the concept was a valid way for me to work.  I also wanted to try submitting something in that style to the Society of Illustrators Student Competition.  It just so happened that the day I started working on the image was also the deadline for the competition. that means I had to finish it in a matter of hours and get it photographed before the sun went down.

I ended up cutting a lot of corners on the construction.  I had to give him a bundle of dowels to carry instead of the rifle I had been planning on making. I was also planning on photographing him at a frozen lake. Unfortunately, the road to the lake was closed for construction.  I decided I would try to take some shots next to the railroad tracks where I had stopped. I was soon sent away by a railroad worker who informed me that I was trespassing and might distress the train engineers because, apparently, people who wander near railroad tracks sometimes have tragic intentions.  The light was then failing and I decided my only option was to cross the valley and drive up the mountain to a point where the sun would still reach me.  I did and this is one of the shots I got (magical sparkles added for emphasis).

Anyway, it wasn’t accepted to the Society show, but I had a good time making it, and learned some things that are proving useful in my current endeavors.

The Firebird


This is my take on the Firebird. Of course, when most people say “the Firebird”, they mean Stravinsky’s ballet. If they don’t mean Stravinksy’s ballet, they probably mean “I have heard of the Firebird but I don’t really know what it is or how its story goes.”

The funny thing is, there really isn’t just one story of the firebird and the ballet for which Stravinsky wrote music, draws elements from various tales, but faithfully follows none. In short, the firebird is more of a recurring character in various Russian folk-tales. In fact the firebird usually seems to take an “and the” sort of role.  My illustration could be entitled: “Princess Vasilisa and the Firebird”.

On this image I went straight from my sketch/drawing to digital, but I tried to color it in a way that would feel like it is still made of something, like you wouldn’t be surprised if it was on a sheet of traditional vellum.

I was hoping to channel a little bit of Arthur Rackham, I don’t know successful I was at that, but I hope you like it.


What is she looking for?


Here is another illustration I finished outside of my BFA project. It’s a post-apocalyptic sort of story, directed to the sci-fi/fantasy audience. It is oil on panel.  I worked a bit larger on this than some of my other recent pieces.  I am glad I did, because I feel like the face and hands were just barely large enough to paint without major issues.

I was about to tell you sort of what the story is, but hopefully it conveys a little of that without words.

I don’t really have the money to hire models right now, so luckily I have nice friends and family who will pose for photos now and then. I convinced my sister to help me with the gesture on this one: