It has been quite some time since my last blog update. I had attended the SCBWI conference in LA and it was an excellent experience. I met with quite a few people that were able to give me some great feedback on my work. It was my first venture into the world of Children's Books and the publishing industry, and it was very informative. You can hear me sum up my experience in 32 seconds right here on youtube
Since the conference, several great opportunities have come up. First of all, I recently signed with East West Literary Agency. They are representing me as both an author and an illustrator and i'm very excited to be working with them. I have already started work on two books, and it's been a great experience so far.
Earlier this year I was in a gallery show at Gallery 1988 where I entered a piece based off of the cult tv/film series "Firefly" and that thing caught internet fire and spread like a bad case of herpes... or a good case of herpes... This clip came to mind when I started seeing my name on the internet
anyway, my work was featured on many of my favorite websites. The actual artwork itself was purchased at the gallery by Seth Green He is awesome! Kenny Fisher, Scott Evil, Oz, Chris Griffin, etc. etc. etc.
It was awesome having having Seth Green buy my artwork and meeting him. I didn't think it would get much better than that. About a month later I got an e-mail from River Tam herself, A.K.A. Summer Glau. My girlfriend Kristin and I had a chance to meet her, but I'll save that for a whole other blog post. There's some exciting things happening that I can't share yet, but it will be awesome!
As a result of the success of that gallery show, i've been invited to 5 gallery shows next year for Gallery 1988 that i'm pretty excited about. Most of the shows have excellent themes that I'm really looking forward to doing something for. More on that later as well.
I've started working on two new books. Last year I spent quite a bit of time working on my first book, and while it was a great learning experience, I think of it as more of an exercise in storytelling and illustration as opposed to an actual product. I've put it in the vault for now, but here are a few page layout sketches.
Over the past 2 years, work in the videogame industry has been a roller coaster of opportunity. One minute there's an opportunity to work on a great project, and then a month later, it's shelved with little explanation. I experienced this first hand at the end of 2008 when a game I had pitched to EA had seen quite a bit of interest from the powers that be. In the interest of the studio going a different direction and eventually becoming "Visceral Games", my game was killed before it could even take it's first steps. Too bad, it would be awesome! Sorry Joey, you're just not Visceral enough.
I have always felt that my work was more geared towards children, and well, most game companies don't make games for children anymore. As a result, I've always had an itch to work in the children's book industry. As a concept artist in games, I really enjoyed creating establishing images... images that can tell a story. I decided to make the move over to trying to do more of that with actual storytelling in children's books. Back in January of last year I wrote a story that I felt conveyed a lot of emotion, a great character arc, and an opportunity to explore some illustration styles that I just wasn't allowed to do in video games, and it felt great. It felt like I could finally breath and not be concerned with whether or not adult males 18-34 would find it "cool". I want to do more of that... a lot more of that. Earlier this year I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators And now i'm ready for a dose of reality of starting over I'm very excited for this conference. I've been working on a portfolio geared towards children's book illustration work, and I'm happy to say there's not a Photoreal image to be seen for miles and it feels great.
For my portfolio I wanted to create some images that told a story in a simple and easy way. I had so much fun working on this image, I think I laid it all out in a day, and then finished it on day 2. I'm both nervous and excited about my new adventure, I learned the hard way that no matter how many plans you make, NOTHING ever goes according to plan, so I feel a little bit like the kid in my painting above. I'm walking the plank, but smiling the whole time. Hopefully there are some mattresses to catch me if I fall.
It's that time of the year again! Gallery 1988 is holding their 4th annual "Crazy 4 Cult" gallery show. I have participated in several previous shows at Gallery 1988, and they were kind enough to invite me to participate in this show. Crazy 4 Cult is a gallery show celebrating the unique love for cult movies. According to Wikipedia, "A cult movie is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans.". They kindly provided me with a list of movie suggestions, and as I went through the list, I felt that a lot of them didn't necessarily add up to cult status. Most of them were films that I loved, but I felt there was a sub-genre of space western missing from the list.
I remember seeing the ads for the show Firefly but I can't say that I ever watched it when it was on the air. I guess I wasn't alone in this because the show sadly didn't make it past one season. The show left on somewhat of a cliffhanger, and luckily there was a rabid enough fanbase that someone somewhere at Universal decided it would be a good idea to greenlight the movie "Serenity"
So, when I sat down to think about what movie I wanted to illustrate for the show, I decided I wanted to join the Browncoats . As with the show, I didn't see this movie in it's initial theatrical run, but instead on DVD... which i immediately purchased after blowing through season 1 of Firefly over a weekend. Anyway, one of the things that always seemed unique about the show was the opening theme song. It's a great little ballad written by show creator Joss Whedon that sets the tone perfectly for the entire series. Apparently the NASA astronauts are fans of this song as well, in February of this year they used it as a wakeup call on one of the last shuttle missions. Click HERE for a cool little article about that, including video from the shuttle!
A few years ago I got into collecting Vinyl records with artwork on the front. I've never really had a chance to design an album cover, and when I started thinking about what would be a fun illustration to do for Serenity, I thought since music was such a strong component of the show, that an album would be perfect. I was always a fan of old vinyl art of children's music so I wanted to incorporate a retro feel. It is a known fact that River Tam is a badass, but for now things have taken a lighter direction with "River Tam and the Fireflies" And here's the back of the album and the record itself Since the soundtrack to Serenity wasn't actually released on vinyl, this record contains something special for whoever decides to purchase the full item from the gallery. Here's a quick shot of the finished product Prints of the cover art will be available to purchase through the gallery as well as my etsy store HERE
So if you're in town July 9th and want to come check out some great artwork by over 100 artists, do yourself a favor and come check out the gallery opening for Crazy 4 Cult at Gallery 1988. Kevin Smith will be there as the host for the evening as well
Crazy 4 Cult: 4 "the case of the redundant number" July 9th, 2010 7020 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90038 http://gallery1988.com/
p.s. I got to meet THE creative genius Joss Whedon last year at a comic-con party... and I just wanted to share this picture because it's awesome! Beards unite!
I was working on an environment test for a new game project. I spent a few hours struggling with a different image and composition and I just wasn't feeling it. I quickly realized my problem... It was an environment I didn't want to spend any time in. If i'm going to dedicate some time to a painting, I want to be able to enjoy my time with it. So i threw that painting away and started to think of a place I'd like to visit. I wanted the organic areas to have a pretty saturated color palette, while giving the rocks some character to their design. Once I started laying in colors it all just kinda flowed.
I'm a big fan of stories that have two equally strong opposing forces. Jedi vs. Sith, The Fellowship of the ring vs. Sauron, Freddy vs. Jason...
More recently, people have been asked again to choose a side. Teenage girls (and, judging by the screaming crowd of thousands I was surrounded by at Comic-Con last year, Teenage girls at heart) have taken sides between a certain sparkly vampire and a werewolf that always manages to find a way to lose his shirt
But now with the last season of Lost upon us, we're asked to pick a side yet again. Will Jacob win out? or will Smoke-Monster Locke finally make his way off the island? Let's just hope it doesn't end up like Gilligan's Island