"Speakeasy" character design

A few weeks ago Arthur Low, Tyler Law, and I spent some time working on a project with the intention of submitting the final product to a group in Chicago who had designed a cabinet for displaying PC games. The suggested theme was beer, so we decided to make a 2-player game about running a prohibition-era speakeasy. AJ programmed the game, Tyler designed the aesthetic, created the game world, and produced all of the UI. I created a simple character set consisting of two bartenders and six customers. Creating their tiny, classy outfits was a blast! The character design was heavily influenced by the remarkable work of Chen-ya Chang, an illustrator at Filament Games.


Derelict no more??

Egad! Where did the last 2.5 years go?? Here, have a rooster:


Metropolis tone and color

In a (not completely successful) attempt to save time I employed the grisaille technique for the final stages of the Metropolis project. Grisaille involves painting first in grayscale and then overlaying a transparent color wash. The idea is that by being able to focus on value removed from color considerations, one will be able to crank through the initial stages of the painting very quickly. In my case, I didn't push my values far enough before adding color, and this resulted in some of the panels looking washed out and underdeveloped. (I used the color blending mode in Photoshop.) That said, I think the more simplistic look of the colored page is acceptable for sequential art. A good exercise if nothing else!


Missing You, Metropolis

The first two stages of the Missing You, Metropolis project I've been working on the past few weeks. Graywolf Press hired me to produce a graphic treatment of the title poem from a soon-to-be-published book by Gary Jackson. The book focuses on the interplay between the imaginary worlds and characters found in comic books and the very real, often difficult experiences of the author growing in rural Kansas. The concept is to depict snippets from the poem in the format of a page from a graphic novel. This 6x11" illustration will be included in the first run of galleys sent out to editors, reviewers, etc.

The rough illustration is intended to demonstrate my visual concept to the client. Once this is approved, I redraw the panels and refine my linework. (Thanks to my aspiring photographer buddy Diarmuid Kelleher for helping me snap a few reference photographs for this stage of the project.)


More from life

All 15 minute poses this week. I remain frustrated with the quantity of information I am able to record in the time available, specifically with respect to light and shadow. If we moved to 30 minute poses I might be able to more clearly indicate form, finish hands and feet, etc. (I refine my linework at the conclusion of each pose.)


Life drawing



I keep forgetting to post my sketches from life drawing, so here are a handful from the past few weeks. Looking forward to further improvement tonight.


Walk or Bus?

The Walk or Bus? iPhone app has officially been released! Download it from the Apple store. The app calculates whether you are better off taking the bus or walking based on a number of variables, including how long until the bus arrives, your average walking speed, and how far to your destination. A very cool gizmo. Brainchild of Dana Boyd and Chris Mueller, coding and implementation by Peter Edstrom. I helped with the visual identity.


Painted PixelChef logo


Round 2: painted logo. Font is Univers. I failed to come up with a pixelation effect that I was happy with, so decided to omit it. The next step is to adjust the logo for readability at various resolutions. Suggestions are welcome!


Pixelchef logo - rough draft

Here's a rather rough first draft of the new pixelchef logo for my forthcoming web site. I am satisfied with the pose, but everything else is off. The colors are not sufficiently bright and cheery, and I am beginning to think the warmer color should be the dominant hue. Neither pixelation effect is working, either, but I want to continue playing around with the idea. Haven't thought to much about the background yet, but I may throw in one of those (admittedly overused) sunburst deals.


Groundling theater geometry

My current "Robot" task is to model the Groundling theater. The base symmetrical geometry, weighing in at just under 7000 polys is nearly complete. I will start work on the asymmetrical bits next, followed by baking details and painting textures.


Two more

More biology posters, this time covering the Calvin Cycle! These complete the set.


Christmas tags

As usual, I waited until the last minute to make my Christmas cards and gift tags. Fortunately, Dad (professor Robert C. Brown) had been looking for an excuse to try out his trusty new watercolor set, and so we found ourselves busily making art on Christmas eve. He painted the tags as I finished drawing them, and I even managed to coerce him into painting his own card! Who needs Hallmark anyway? :) Painting credits: Robert C. Brown


Final figure drawings of 2009



 After taking a 6 month hiatus from figure drawing, I decided to trek over to the last MCAD-hosted cooperative of the year. It's within walking distance, only $5, professionally organized, and the model last night was exceptional. I was also glad to see many people in attendance on such a cold night.

As usual, my first half dozen gestures were abysmal. I don't know if I will ever be able to shake a handful of bad habits that consistently pop up when I am drawing people from life: poor proportions, over-reliance on line, inability to sense form. I suspect this is partly due to the remarkable human ability to sense even the slightest anatomical error in renderings of people. But I also sense a certain anxiety when I know I'm about to draw a human being, an anxiety that is absent when I attempt to draft any other subject. Weird.


What they see




More refined compositions for the Kenneltraz project. The idea is that our pets' perception of the world is considerably more dramatic than ours--e.g. the local strip mall dog pound is seen as a creepy prison island. I still struggle mightily with value, but I'm starting to understand the whole painting thing. I've also learned that while the "mirror" test is invaluable and not all that scary during the early stages of a drawing, it becomes increasingly terrifying the longer one works. In the case of the animal gang picture, I was nearly finished with the painting (and out of time) before I worked up the courage to flip it. It was not a good experience.


More geese

Finished full-color cover and penciled interior illustrations for the goose project. I scanned the last two drawings before adding value, and I plan to add color to them in the near future.
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