Mayan Shaman, character concept

I watched the movie Apocalypto and was inspired to draw this character. I drew him with a variety of graphite Prismacolor’s on a large Canson sketchpad, scanned and touched up digitally. I played around with some color for a while, but in the end I decided to let the pencil work stand alone.



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Daniel, portrait study

This fellow did yard work at one of the properties we house sat while living in Costa Rica. I got him to pause from his work long enough to snap a quick photo. His name was Daniel and he was native to Platanillo Costa Rica. The painting is black and white acrylic on 7.5 X 7.5 inch printmaking paper, with digital color overlay.

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Figure Studies

Below are some new figure study sketches. In the past I have used photo reference when doing anatomy or figure studies. I still use photos, but lately I have been playing around with the DAZ 3D modeling program. It allows me to setup 3D models in any pose imaginable and also move the camera in various positions which is a huge advantage from a static 2D photo. This program is a great tool for artists and illustrators who want to study human anatomy up close and personal and don’t always have a live nude model on hand:) Professional illustrator Tin Salamunic has a great article here about using DAZ as a tool for artists.

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More Costa Rica sketchscapes

Below are a couple more “sketchscapes” I did while in Costa Rica. The first one was a gift for our good friends whose beautiful home we house-sat while they were back in the states. The view is from the front patio out to the ocean. There were sunsets like the one depicted below, regularly. The next study shows some of the many wind turbines that are stradigically placed all throughout the Costa Rican country side. An interesting contrast between nature and technology. (As usual, click images below to enlarge.)


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Football paint studies

Below are some new paint studies done in acrylic paint. The image measures 7.5×7.5 inches on thick 280gsm printmaking paper.

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Roots and Veggies

It’s been a busy month to say the least. After nine wonderful months living/traveling throughout Costa Rica, my wife and I have relocated back to northern California. We are still getting settled but I have been making time to do some work. The illustration below was for a short article my wife posted on her blog, The Resourceful Dweller titled “Roots of Resourcefulness.”


Pencil Drawing

Scanned with tonal values


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More paint studies

Some more gouache paint studies. I have been calling these little landscape studies, “sketchscapes.” More to come, for sure!

One of my very first gouache studies of some foliage in southern CR

Jungle path in southern Costa Rica

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Lizards of Oz, process

Below is the process for an illustration I completed while living abroad in Costa Rica. The client was based in Australia and was in the start up phase of his small business “Lizards of Oz,” which would specialize in buying, selling and breeding exotic lizards. He requested the image have a “wild, outback feel,” incorporated some form of aboriginal art, some frilled neck lizards, native Australian flowers and that the colors stay true to earthy tones (my favorite). He also wanted the image to be at a fairly large format for printing purposes. This was a fun project and I really enjoyed working with the client, who had a clear vision in the beginning stages of the project and was able to communicate them to me throughout the whole process. Always a plus! (click images below for larger view)

Initial thumbnail sketches to find the right composition and elements to include

The refined thumbnail sketches

Large pencil illustration on Stonehenge paper

Once the drawing was scanned and sized, I started the digital coloring process

Finished Illustration


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Sharptooth illustration

I did this pencil drawing of a sabertooth skull many years ago and always liked it. It was fairly large at 19x26in. Years later I decided to scan (or in this case photograph) it into the computer and play with it in Photoshop. Below are the results.


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Toucan paint study, process

Below you can see the painting process of another gouache study. This painting was also pretty small (postcard sized). You can see in the early stages with the foliage, I was really exploring with the gouache to see how transparent it could go on the paper. I slowly built up the opacity with more layers and then started mixing the paint to a much creamier consistency for the toucan.

If you aren’t familiar with gouache, it is a water based paint media that can be heavily diluted like watercolor, yet is much chalkier and can be applied much more opaquely. I have enjoyed exploring with gouache as I feel I have more control over it than watercolor. That’s not to say that it isn’t a challenge to work with! If I were to paint this cute little guy again, I would loosen things up a bit and use some broader, more expressive brush strokes. Not so tight and detailed. Anyway, hope you dig it. More of these paint studies to come!

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