Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Used a Wacom Art Pen tool and Corel Painter over a pencil rough.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Quick color rough. Just threw down some marks which I will tweak in the next stages.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Altered the hue and curves on this image to see what the blue demon would look like in reds.
He still ain't pretty.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


"...These teens are hiding from perceived danger. They have been hurt and will do whatever they have to do to be safe. They live in fear of people outside of their territory. The common goal of the Hiders is safety. They have reverted to this territory because there is no place for them outside it. In the mainstream Teenland, the Hiders are not noticed. They are the ones who slip through the cracks because they do not initiate communication. They are very quiet and almost invisible. " Pamela Jo Kayanan

This is one of several images I drew for a book titled TEENLAND: A Parent's Guide to Navigating the World of Adolescence written by M.Ed Counselor Pamela Jo Kayanan who is also a licensed Substance Abuse Counselor and Family Therapist. She is a clinical faculty member at the College of William & Mary, and the mother of two beautiful daughters.

The premise of TEENLAND is that adolescents experience their world in ways that are different from either children or adults. It centers on "Joey's" vast experience in counseling and working with parents to establish rapport, to communicate more clearly and effectively with their adolescents. I'd recommend TEENLAND based on the valuable and very informational text alone.

Click here for a copy of TEENLAND

On the art side of things, with an HB pencil on paper - I roughed out the above image based on Joey's descriptions. This sketch is based on her concept of "Hiders", one of several categories in TEENLAND that an adolescent may fall into. The quote above is part of the text Joey included that helped shape what type of compositional direction I would head to. She also described the HIders as placing themselves in caves or underground caverns, or "terrain (which) is dark with heavy wooded areas with trees that block out the sun".

So I framed the girl's face with her long dark hair. The small opening in the part of her hair suggests the cavern or the wooded area blocking the light to her world. With custom brushes, I then finetuned and played up the darks in P-shop. I deepened the blacks, and removed the expressive line work to cause the tension to come from the void itself. The eyes being the so-called window to the soul, were isolated to a single eye that symbolized her identity's slow downward spiral and her silent cry for help. The rough sketch stage gave the teen too much of a startled look, I altered it enough to express a subtler tone.

Friday, July 20, 2007


This image takes a detail of the rough breakdown (in blue) and superimposes it over the pencil art (in earth tones) from an issue of TUROK in the mid 90's. You can see the art choices I took which differ from the breakdowns.

Here is the pencils of the page.

Here's the roughs. You can see I was starting to finetune my breakdowns a bit more than the scribbing from CONAN.
The art style for TUROK eventually evolved to a much cleaner brush linework. I was still trying to mesh the ink art to the then digital coloring revolution... it became apparent that feathering was no longer mixing well with the heavier modeling of digital coloring. It continued to evolve as I started to understand the coloring methods even more so that by the time I did the recent CONAN issue for Dark Horse I knew how much of the ink lines I had to edit out to help the colors read better.

If you check on this image you will be able to read some of the notes I wrote into the breakdown. One is a note to writer extraordinaire Fabian Nicieza, which states, " Moving Yanik (character name) to the left so you have more room for WB (Word Balloon)." The slight separation also added more depth in the negative space between the foreground characters and Yanik. I added more space for word balloons on the bottom panel as well.

Btw, TUROK seems to be one of the licensed characters that is just made for films or animation. So how come there's never been a TUROK movie?!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Found this rough in a pile of old roughs from CONAN THE ADVENTURER. My old roughs were much more scribbly back in the day. Compare this rough to the previous blog posts of recent Conan work.


Friday, July 13, 2007


Saw this article and agree with the author on how reading Heinlein early does help shape one's outlook as you grow older.

Heinlein at 100

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Here's another peek at some roughs. The image at the very top is of Conan throwing some creatures about. I wanted to show how strong the Cimmerian was and retain some of that brute force that Buscema did so masterfully in SAVAGE SWORD back in the day. I put him in a position where he is also showing off that he can maneuver his sword like a master swordsman but without sacrificing his forward aggression. Power and grace. The image also hint that the flesh rotted creatures may not be made of equal density as a human. Their skulls are lopped off at the top and a metallic lid with a spike on it houses what impulses are left that triggers thought. None of this is explained in the story, it is something Kurt Busiek and I leave up to the readers. What's fun about Robert E. Howard is that he does not have to over explain the makeup of the sorcery in his stories. Kurt understands this very well, and we just pumped as much odd little details in there so that it has that unnatural feel to the stories. What makes things magical is that we can't or don't explain it. Conan is our proxy. He accepts that sorcery exists in his world, he interacts with it, he cares not to study it in-depth nor does he have to like it.

The bottom set of panels are roughs of the coconut breaking throwaway images that are in the early pages of the comic. Here, it is more self indulgent, since I'm just working out the composition. I altered the panels to suit the flow of the page in the final.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Vader sketch card for TOPPS. Sketch cards are the same size as baseball cards.
TOPPS commissioned a group of LucasFilm approved artists to draw cards which will be inserted into packs.
The set also includes autograph cards from the original cast of actors such as Harrison Ford.
I did 56 cards for the 30th Anniversary set of STAR WARS.

On some 3POs I added a touch of gold ink, cuz that's how we roll in the sketch card biz!
Click on the 3PO image to get the detail shot.

Monday, July 9, 2007


From doodle to digital colors.


Fight boards can come pretty close to what makes it onscreen. The added benefit of being a comic book artist is that it meshes seamlessly with translating what I helped choreograph with Thomas Kier on William Friedkin's the HUNTED. During the Paramount (Kerry Conran) version of JOHN CARTER of MARS, it came in very handy because I'd choreographed long sword fights with characters that were totally computer generated. Above is a sampling of boards out of around 80 which were drawn for the HUNTED knife sequences.


Posting some roughs from a recent CONAN issue for Dark Horse.
These are panels where I am working out the composition for a page.
At times, the panel may look fine as a single image, but it does not fit the setup and reveal for the followup panel, or the one preceding it does not flow in terms of shapes and other compositional concerns.

In this case, although I like the power exhibited by the lead character, I have already done a similar, more interesting version on another page where Conan is doing the same thing but thrusting with the sword behind his back.This panel also directed the reader back up to the panel above it which broke the stream of the storytelling.

So it goes in the "to blog" virtual pile.

Below is the rough that I ended up going with. Conan is sweeping his sword and pushing the direction of the page towards Janissa who is in the panel adjacent to this one.



Reposting this sketch here to make a smoother transition.
This is close to where I left off on the other blog.
Messing around with brushpens.
Layering a select few and using that minimal palette to generate some interesting marks.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Made the move to Blogspot from Blogstream.
If you'd like to check out a ton of art from my old blogstream, check out the links and archived work on the link to your right titled: Old Raf Blog