Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 — Wait, What?

I've been missing in action.  Last seen in the Boston area, but not a word for months.  What has become of our middling illustrator hero?

In my time away, the holidays happened, the year changed, and we left Massachusetts behind.  We broke down everything in our house, had it transported to New Jersey, and have begun to rebuild anew.  We've spent some time getting our bearings, experimenting with the drive into New York City, visiting the many malls the area has to offer, and frantically pulling my Spectrum entry together.  We've tried new restaurants, and visited places previously associated with only bad memories in the hope that we can build happier ones.

The net result of our efforts is that this weekend will see the finishing touches of the studio put into place, followed by the rude awakening that will be Monday when I will have to begin digging into the mound of sketches and paintings that I have been forced to neglect in favor of relocating.  Last year's move had an impact that lasted about three months.  This move's effects will likely last about the same amount of time — especially given the fact that I have at least one personal piece to put together for Spectrum Live, this spring.

How will this affect the blog?  Will my entries continue to be as sparse as they've been the last four months?  In a word: no.  I once again have control of the computer.  Amy has relinquished the thing in favor of doing a figurative fan dance in an attempt to turn the nibbles of interest she's had into full on, adult-sized bites.  It's worth noting, too, that the interest she's had has been more plentiful in the couple weeks we've been in the New York area than the four months she spent unemployed in Massachusetts, so it looks as though her career may get back on track soon, and it confirms that our move back to the New York area was a good idea.  At least for now.

Anyway, my intention will be to begin editing and finishing some of the entries I've already started, and to add to those from time to time.  Will it be more than an entry a week?  Can't say.  But I'll certainly try.  Even so, an entry a week would be huge compared to the virtual silence this blog has suffered for the last few months.

In the meantime, here's a piece for your consideration.  It's from the new Magic: the Gathering, Dark Ascension set, and is called Gravecrawler.  First the sketch:

©Wizards of the Coast
The sketch is pretty straightforward.  The working title of the piece was Relentless Zombie, and in the description I was asked to portray a zombie who despite having no legs has not given up his quest for what is kept in your cranium.  I decided that he needed to not just be legless, but needed to leave a trail, as well.  I could have pushed it to an even grosser level, but I decided this was gross enough and stopped at the trail.

Anyway, the finish:

©Wizards of the Coast
Obviously, given the horror theme of the Innistrad block, you'll notice that the work I'll be showing you in the near future will be in keeping with that.  Not sure I'd ever have painted most of what I'll be showing you on my own, but I was happy to oblige Wizards' requests.

Anyway, this piece is oil on hardboard and measures 12"x9".  Fun features to note are the pools of water in the holes left by missing or broken cobblestones, as well as the nail marks across the stones as he drags himself forward.  Normally I wouldn't toot my own horn over stuff like that, but I enjoyed the heck out of those little nuggets for some reason, and now feel obliged to share them in case you'd missed them.

This was a pretty easy piece for me, which is something I rarely say.  I knew what I was going to do with it off the bat, with the exception of whether it was going to be a mostly cool piece with a warm glow from behind or how it ended up, which is the reverse of that.  I went this way because I really liked the warmth on the decrepit flesh.  It played well to me, though I think it could easily have worked just as well had I gone the other path.  Either way, it resulted in a relatively limited palette (which I'm always a sucker for), and I'm pretty happy with the results.

Given the subject matter and its handling, I suspect I'll be stuck with this piece for a long time to come.  I'm cool with that, though I think it'd make a perfect gift for a kid's birthday or a housewarming!

That was a joke.

Alright.  I'm going to wrap this up now.  I'm going to attempt to recover from that joke, and I'll definitely have a new post next week with even more new art for your perusal.  Cheers!


  1. I really love this guy, definitely one of my faves from the set. I think what puts it over the top for me is how it feels like he's crawling into the torchlight in front of a tavern or something. Really damn creepy.

    Good to hear things are settling down for you guys and I'm look forward to more of these rants.

  2. Crystal - Thanks!

    Chris - I try. I think that weird moment where it's not clear what is going to happen next — that point where things could go either way — is something I'm always chasing after. I've always dug the tension of that moment. It's never obvious tension, but it's the start of the slow tightening of the gut.

    Anyway, I'm really close to getting back on track. Right now I'm dodging the wreckage of a couple projects, but I look forward to getting past that.


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