Thursday, December 22, 2011

Space Marine 03

Final!  I did do some quick tweaks on the detailing, and revised those ships in the background, then turned on the color.

I filled the character selection with a base color, and then added a secondary color for the armor, but with this one I wanted to use a softer blend of overall colors with the airbrush, so after the two tone was set up, I just airbrushed a few different colors to enhance the tones and colors.  The background is a pretty soft blend, starting with the orange rocks, moving up to the lighter mist, with a blue transition  color moving to purple, and then the black of space.

Alright, time to get going on the last one of the Three Resolutions, Fishman!  And a long with further vehicle explorations from that LOST frame.

But first, a nice holiday break...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Space Marine 02

So after months of letting the image sit, I come back to it, with some new skills and approaches, and finish up the gray scale paint out.  It's looking pretty good overall, but I still need to figure out the design for the shuttles in the background, and work on some of the details and lighting here and there, before transitioning over to color.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Space Marine 01

Remember this...from last January?  Yep, that's another one of the 2011 resolution art type commitment whatever concepts I set up for myself to paint out, that I'm finally getting around to.

Ok, so here's the rough render, that was done probably months ago, I got really busy with work, and getting ready for BotCon, it kind of fell by the wayside, so this is where I left it, before reviving the folder and starting back again with the LOST image - don't worry, the Imperial Shuttles will not be in the background by the time we get to final.

This was also done before I had my minor revelation about form construction, where I was doing everything in a million pieces, like a movie Transformer, rather than approaching it like a car/suit design, creating the entire form first, adding the seam details and painting out from there, rather than creating a bunch of elements, and later trying to tie them together with the lighting.  It's ridiculous to me when I think about it, since I do cars and vehicles all the time - it wasn't a new technique to me, but the years of movie bots, and the way create those had bled over into my other approaches, it took a some frustrating days to figure out what I was doing wrong.  It was the Baroness armor that did the trick, from last spring.

Anyways, on to the new paintover...

Friday, December 16, 2011

"LOST" 04 *Update


And keeping with the Melancholy '70's Theme, I gave the hard surfaces a nice orange-y/yellow color, like a great shag carpet.

I knocked back that background moon a little more, and tried to make the space station look more abandoned, so the whole area comes across more desolate, rather than how it read to me before, like he just moon-hopped to check out the other, unexplored moon across the way.  I wanted it to give the feeling that he was LOST lost...

Uh, I tweaked it a little bit.  I wanted the blacks to be a little bit deeper, and I wanted to readress the canyon highlights, to help tie the foreground to the background a little bit more.  That is all. 

K/C, 01/07/12

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"LOST" 03

OK, here it is all rendered out in grays...over the last couple of years, I've been leaving the hot white highlights for the color stage - if the range is 1-10, and the white is 1, I usually go between 2-10, and leave the highlights to do in the color stage, because I use a bit of color - around 3-5% with the saturation under the white for the edge bleed into the main color, and then do a quick all white pass for the hottest parts.

That being said, now on to the color...

Friday, December 9, 2011

"LOST" 02

To force myself to not dive into the character vehicle design (the fun stuff to me) I started with the background, blocking out the main shapes, then going back in to do details, and then another pass with a variety of texture-type brushes, to give it a little life and energy.

Here I played with the contrast and elements a bit more, added atmosphere, and the planet in the distant background, amongst the starfield.

Well, maybe I cheated a little bit - I did do the line work for the foreground elements, just so I could have an accurate background relationship to the foreground.  I had blocked the character in a 50% gray, under the line art, to make the background decisions.  Then, after I was done with the background, I added tone to get the Spaceman and Land Shark ready for render...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"LOST" 01

Last year I posted some drawings I had done, that were meant to push my digital skills, and now I'm finally getting around to doing it.  Of course, doing all that Marvel stuff pushed this back a bit, but now I'm back at it.  This is actually a combination idea, I had posted the speeder, nicknamed the Land Shark, and a futuristic Marine as two separate ideas, but when it came time to do the illustration, it's become clear that I also, probably more than anything, need work on my backgrounds.  So I re-posed the marine, and redesigned the costume, and placed the speeder in the background of what will be a space scene.

I wanted to try to do one of those melancholy 1970's sci-fi paperback cover type pics, with the featured character lonely in the vastness of outer space.  So I made it literal, and gave him a little digital map readout to push the idea that he's flat out lost.

OK, long explanation for the thumbnail drawing above - so that's what I came up with.  And here is the tight drawing, that will go to digital paint...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Keith Hargrove

So, I lost a friend over the weekend.  He'd been battling illness for the last few years, and finally lost the fight, leaving behind a beautiful wife and twin girls, who are absolutely darling.

I believe that without Keith, Bad Flip Productions would not exist.  So today, any of you TransFans and Hasbro lovers out there that like my work, you can thank Keith Hargrove, for setting me on the path.  During the Great Disney Artist Purge, near the end in Michael Eisner's reign at Disney, I was laid off.  My friend Keith flipped the F out, and set me up with a contract for another 2 months worth of work, post my end date.  Doing that forced me to start my own company, and gave me the start up money to give it a go as a freelancer, instead of just trying to find another office job.

The funny thing was, that after nearly four years of working there, and despite being on the same development team the whole time, we barely ever did any projects together, until that last year, and even then, it was a super rushed outpouring of ideas, that barely made it past the rough pencil stage.  Not until I was out of the office, did I really color any image I did for him, and for our projects.  Here's samples of the fun we had together:

At the time, Miramax was getting a lot of genre scripts through their offices, and in the spirit of company synergy, we got tasked every now and then to scribble out some ideas.  Until eventually the studio would pass, and it would become nothing.

Above is my favorite shot from the Six Million Dollar Man pitch we came up with, basically a game mechanic of 'super leaps' from one moving vehicle to the other.  Of course no color.  We had one week to design a game, along with maintaining our currently ongoing projects.

Oh yes...Green Hornet, when the Wiensteins wanted Kevin Smith to direct.  Whilst he 'scripted,' Keith and I went off on our own story, based on the TV show mythos, with some upgrades.  Pre-release 2005 Mustang, I lobbied to use that as the Black Beauty, and we took it from there.  A Suit Museum and an HQ establishing shot, also included.  Obviously nothing ever came from it for years, and then from a different studio.

Oh look, another movie that went nowhere for years, the most horrible Ghost Rider script ever (yes, different and much worse than the actual but also horrible Cage movie) so again, Keith and I took liberties, and just tried to come up with a cool game.  I believe this shot portrayed a limited invincibility.

That's right, Disney Transformers.  Keith's idea, that I of course was ALL OVER, when he approached me about it.  This was before Crossover's - he was a visionary, people.

And the summer before I left, ideas for a new Pirates of the Caribbean game, in which I went into great detail, awhile back.  (Full disclosure now, "Karzappy" was Keith!)  Below was his super badass idea for the Black Cloaks, supreme pirate hunters, big bads in the proposed game.

So we weren't quite wrapped on the project when I got the axe.  Which is why Keith flipped out, he needed me to finish his art, and we were already talking about moving on and trying to get a TRON 3.0 game going.  I'll post snippets, as this isn't exactly cleared to publish, but I imagine it will never go this route, now that there's new movies coming out, Legacy, etc., and this is going on 8 years old, and was immediately passed on...

It.  Was.  Batshit.  Stephan Martiniere was a contracted contributor, and Kurt Busiek was writing some storylines.  I took it another step, and we did almost a glass like skin over organic neon piping - TRON but not.  In and out of the real world, all kinds of stuff.  Tons of colored pencil sketches.  At least TRON and Pirates got some splashes of color...

And here and there I helped out with his ESPN projects, and also worked a bit on Stunt Island 2 (which went nowhere fast, but I STILL get emails about it every now and then) , trying to get Marvel to partner up with us ( OH, THE IRONY!) a meeting at comic con with Alex Ross to create a superhero universe, ala City of Heroes - along with being in nearly every meeting together, company function, group outing, etc.; I enjoyed the hell out of being around him, or working on projects together, as infrequent as it was.  He would get so enthusiastic about trying to get these projects going, it was infectious, and I started doing my best work in those last few months.

He always believed in me, fought for me, put up with me, and was always a great friend.  As we went out separate paths in business and life, we never got to work together again, although we came close, but he trusted me enough to give him a post-mortem on his Ghostbusters game (oh yeah, remember that game?  Click the link and watch a video of Keith, reintroducing Dan Ackroyd to the Ecto -1!!!) and exchange ideas on our creative endeavors, both personally and professionally.

Another connection we had was football, me from Washington State, a Seahawks fan, and Keith from Texas, and damn Cowboys fan.  That's right Keith, you might be gone, but I'm still going to talk shit about your team.  And lately, the Seahawks vs. Cowboys was practically an annual thing, so we often tried to get together to watch, even if that was the only time in a year we saw each other - a great reason to make the effort to stay in touch.

So a few weeks back, our teams played, and it was time to do a bit of hanging out.  Unfortunately, he wasn't quite up to sitting through a whole game, and honestly as it turns out, I wouldn't have been up to three hours of his cackling, as his 'boys beat my 'hawks.  But I did go over later in the day for a visit, to sit a bit and chat with Keith, his wife, and watch their girls play and play.

Darkness fell, he was wearing out, and it was time for me to go.  I had made sure to tell him and his wife that their support meant so much to me; I wanted him to know, even though I told him a million times before, that I owed him so much for the direction my life took since 2004.  The support he showed to me at that time still meant so much to me.

He walked me to the door, I told him and loved him, and hugged him goodbye.  I found out yesterday he was gone.

I'll miss you, Keith, but wherever you go from here, as always you'll be in my heart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sideswipe and Sunstreaker combo

One last thing before Thanksgiving...

Here's the brothers on the combo background - you'll see their personalities showing though on that too - a nice, mint condition box background for the uber-groomer Sunstreaker, and a roughed up and beaten about box background for Sideswipe, not so minty fresh.

All right, have a Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sideswipe Print 03

Final!  Sideswipe in his Lambo Red glory, not too concerned with a scrape here and there, as long as the job gets done...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sideswipe Print 02

And now here's the raw grayscale image, with the shading and details finished, over the filled in shapes.  I looked at pictures of the Lamborghini Countach he and Sunstreaker are based on, and really tried to bring in those specific details, while maintaining the G1 toon model sheet forms.

On to color...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sideswipe Print 01

Finished with Sunstreaker, I now move on to his brother, Sideswipe!  This is the initial sketch, but when I put it against the sketch for Sunstreaker, the balance was a little off, so I revised:

And gave him a wider stance.  Now, with a strong thumbnail image of the pose, I blow it up and put it on the light table, to redraw, adjusting the form and adding details, on a tighter drawing to paint over in the photoshop.

Now I have a good idea of the final, and of course I'll continue to make adjustments and tweaks as I go, but now it's ready to go to the raw stage, the grayscale form render...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Land Shark Preview

Here's an element of a piece I'll be putting up in a few weeks - for now I'm calling it the Land Shark.  It's based on the sketch I threw up on the blog at the beginning of the year.  That's right, I'm just now getting around to it.

It's a combination of an F1 Racer, Land Speeder, and a Mako Shark.

In other news, I now want a Quantum Levitator...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunstreaker Print 01

Remember this...kinda?  It's the Sunstreaker sketch from the 2011 BotCon sketchbook, with Iron Man and 3PO, arguing over who was the shiniest.  It turned out to be a pretty popular piece, I sold the original, the layout drawing, and did a bunch of Sunstreaker head sketches.  So, I thought maybe I should include him in the 2012 print set - and he got called up to the next level.

Here's the raw render, with all the forms and details defined.  I still used the G1 Cartoon model sheet as the primary source material, but I beefed him up a little to match the others I've done so far, and brought in some minor figure details from the original toy.  Now he's ready for the color...

Friday, November 4, 2011


Sometimes I just want to see something, so I draw it.

Turns out I could have just Google Image'd Unifrog.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

From one of my favorites, the Exorcist.

Done mostly with the magic of Sharpies...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unit:E Space Station

Finally.  Finally something I've* done for Hasbro that is shown to the world.  And I didn't even know what this was for at the time; done just about a month ago, it showed up as a page in the Hasbro Unit:E giveaway comic at New York Comic Con.   I posted it as released, though of course I didn't do the text, and the original art had a horizontal lens flare around the figures, that was felt to be too distracting.  I thought it looked cool, but now that I see the text/balloon placement, I can see how it could conflict.

I received the rough outline, and given a day to bust it out.  So the space station is about half of what I had pre-visualized in my head before I started, at least in terms of detail, but the foreground characters are as requested, kept in silhouette.

Though this was the only actual art that was done by me, I saw a lot of my other design work with HasLabs sprinkled about the pages, illustrated by other artists - some of the MASK characters, Tonrar, the tree/wood monster, parts of Acroyear...good stuff done by all.  But my absolute favorite image was the Jem and the Holograms, done by Peter Nguyen!

Of course I recommend getting your hands on it if you can, though I think you could probably only track it down on eBay...

*Prima and the Optimus Prime Truck mode, found in the Transformers Vault book, released earlier this year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Microcassettes Print 03

Final!  Wow, a lot going on in this one, flying rocks, lasers, glow-y eyes; this one took quite awhile to find the balance for all the elements.  So I'm done with it for now, but as with all the work I'm doing on prints this fall, I may tweak again before I begin making the actual prints in early spring...

On to Sunstreaker, but a few things to post beforehand, next week...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Microcassettes Print 02

All right, here's the Ravage, ready to be incorporated into the image...

...on to the Bad Birds.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wheeljack Print 03

All right, here's Wheeljack!

I changed the background, I like how it looked graphically on the original sketch, but I lost a lot of detail and form, trying to keep it white on white - maybe a darker colored character will better with that idea.

Done for now, but I might tweak him before I actually begin making prints next year.  I put him up against the other Autobots I've done, and he fits right in...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wheeljack Print 02

He's coming along...still need to do quite a bit of finish - clean up the raw gray, matching details, etc., highlights, shadows, textures, the smoke around his feet, some more lighting F/X, but I'm getting there.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Microcassettes Print 01

Again, here's a work in progress, for our pals, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble, and Frenzy.  Still not 100% on the composition - one of the robobirds might get changed to fill it out better...and might change the head on Ravage.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wheeljack Print 01

So I have a couple of the 2012 prints already started...but I'm slammed right now so I'll put up work-in-progress shots of the images this week.  First off, Wheeljack!

If you remember the color comp, the back leg is almost entirely obscured by smoke/steam, hence the very unrealized details on that, and the back of the fore leg.  Next in store for him is color, textures, shadows, highlights, and then another detail pass after I place the background and smoke effect.

Later this week I'll post the work in progress of the Microcassettes...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Epic #3 - Predator

Dutch and Team, about to get their badasses kicked.  One of my all time favorite movies (got the Hot Toys classic Predator on Pre-Order!) that never really had an epic image for the poster/marketing.

Of course, this is nearly 25 years after the fact, so spoiler, it's about an alien.

This epic series is chugging along in the background, the Road Warrior is transferred to the final 30x40" canvas/board, and is getting drawn, along with thumbnails for the next two ready to go to this comp stage - Superman the Movie (I&II combo) and Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Masters of the Doodle

Good ol' Skeletor.  I went to Power Con last weekend, and had a great time.  I got to meet the original creators of He-Man, and hang out a bit with my buddy, Emiliano (one of my concept artist counterparts for Hasbro) , who helped put together this awesome book, from the Power and Honor Foundation, a collection of all the concept art for the creation of Mattel's He-Man toyline.  It's great!  I highly recommend...

Check out this video of the book preview!

My book links aren't working for some reason, check out to find this awesome book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2012 Sketchbook and Prints Preview

Yep, I'm getting started early this year!  Still locking down details on my first con of 2012, but it looks to be a pretty sure - I'll make a formal announcement when everything is 100% confirmed, but I'll give you a hint...Yellow Brick Road.

Enough of this jibberjabber, and on to the robots!  Here's the thumbnail plans for the sketchbook and prints:

Jeez, that's a lotta stuff to do!  A few of last year's sketches that didn't make it in the 2011 book, and hopefully a couple of blueprints for 2013's print set.  The 2012 Prints will include the Tapes, Thundercracker and Skywarp - to round out the Seekers - Wheeljack, Sunstreaker, and Sideswipe.  Sunstreaker and Sideswipe will have a linking background, for anybody who wants to keep the twin's together.

I labeled what was actually going to be what the thumbnails will turn into, though all poses aren't set in stone, just yet.  But I am excited for the double page spread, Dinobots vs. Devastator, bottom right!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dawn of Apocalypse 03


I'm pretty happy with this one overall - and I love that Cyclops, I want to do a painting of just him.   So I don't know if that means the Cable and Apocalypse are weaker then, making it a weak painting.  I still really like the composition, but now that it's done, I wonder if I should have spent time more defining how Apocalypse is being portrayed - he's not actually meant to be with them, but is he a spectral figure?  A background figure?  If so, he's too defined/rendered.

So here's what got sent to Marvel this week:

After scanning in the Strange painting, I went back and added some more glow, with white paint airbrushed on, and then gave it the gloss varnish.  It changed so much with those little tweaks, I had to rescan the image.

I got a response back from CB, saying the Strange one was the 'best one yet!' but I don't know what that means - I hope it signals he's passed it on to the editors, or at least Steve Wacker, who I had talked with at SDCC, weeks back.  Anyways, it's nice to have a guy like CB enthusiastic about your work!

I'm tentatively scheduled for a comic con in March, so my need to get going on my 2012 prints and sketchbook just kicked into high gear, coming three months earlier than I expected.  I may have to put aside my efforts to get into Marvel, (though I have high hopes these last two will hit it for me) and get going on making pictures of robots fighting each other.

Next week I'm out, but expect some Transformers sketches to be posted when I get back - got a lot of ideas to come up with, in a short amount of time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dawn of Apocalypse 02

Quick update, still working on this one in the after's the paint prep, the drawing transferred to the canvas, with the darks painted in black, and some texture.

Here's the airbrush pass, getting all the colors in there.  I masked off the figures from the backgrounds, and tried the airbrush spatter technique this time, rather than my old tried and true toothbrush.  I think it worked well for this, as the paint spattered out in more deliberate directions than I sometimes get with the brush.

And finally, a quick scan of the work in progress - I nearly have all the pencil work done, now I need to balance the values, and do the f/x and highlights.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dawn of Apocalypse 01

Nope.  Wait, first let me explain.

Strange and this one are going to Marvel for submission - they HAVE to be the best I can do at this moment with my painting.  Apocalypse looks pretty good, and I think Cyclops looks awesome.  Cable is jammed in there, in a pose I envisioned originally, but in actuality he looks contorted to fit the composition.  I drew, and re-drew the gun hand, the arm details - the angles never came out right ( I don't want the blast angles to be the same) so I finally faced facts, and decided to scrap that version of Cable.

Painting is the hard part for me, the drawing isn't - and if the fundamentals aren't there with a strong drawing and composition, the painting is going to fail.  I think the pre-Strange submissions suffered from that, and the White Queen painting is a transition from that older series of Avenger paintings.

So moving on:

I cropped out the Cable, and did a few quick sketches in photoshop with the Cintiq - this one more suspense, and less action, and the second sketch got deleted, but it turned into this...

...I decided to let go of trying to feature the cyber arm, and just get a cool pose in there that worked with the rest of the composition, and I think it came out pretty well.  I found the gun angle I was looking for, and the tone I was originally going for with the piece.

And finally, here's the color comp.  Expect some foreground paint spatter before all is said and done...