TheGrav!?!? Where have you been!!

The last few weeks have been a little crazy… I have experienced being laid off, experienced crunch time in City 7s timeline, and I have started to try and gather everything I do together to see if I can’t make it as a freelance artist again…

Long story short, I have been pretty busy, and really bad and posting…

The largest task I have undertaken is in the composting the first 25 seconds of our short Zombie Movie, City 7.  As an artist and graphic designer I have had some experience with matte painting, which is basically the term used to describe how an artist might help a director create a scene that just can’t be filmed.  Some of the greatest examples of matte paintings in film, are in the Original Star Wars films.

Matte Painting at ILM

When I was in middle school and lived in San Francisco, my Dad and Step-Mom took me to see an exhibit of the largest single collection of Star Wars props, it was pretty damn cool, and I think it was there that I really started down the path towards art and graphic design as a possible career path.  I saw a handful of these paintings in person and going back to watch the films was just impressed with how they did it.

There are several good examples of digital matte painting in this little clip from ILMVisualFX.


Of course with a budget somewhere in the neighborhood of only $2500 we did not have quite the number of resources these guys did!  But we do have a cool little intro!

Our movie is set to release in full in the next few weeks on our YouTube Channel Digital Raven.

More to come!



Please make sure to follow me, send me any questions you have, or just in general keep and eye out!

Life is a lesson…

I often joke that I went to school to become and illustrator, but go to work to be a web-developer.  While true this doesn’t really say much about any of my experience.  Right after High School my big dream was to write novels, something I still have up there in the ranks of “wouldn’t it be cool if…”  but then I looked into real careers, and decided I didn’t want to be an English Teacher.

After that I flirted with computer science, history, graphic design, and finally illustration as potential majors, but never really finished any of them.  I am one of those “Some College” guys, but in my case it’s a bit more like “a lot of college, that has little to do with anything” guys.  Illustration, painting, and digital art is where I am headed though, and as I get deeper into those fields as a freelance artist the idea of going back to school and finishing a degree seems better and better.

So how did I end up sitting in a pile of web-development?  Well in late 2005 a buddy and I were sitting around complaining about clothing, and how not enough cool stuff was made for guys, and how we could make better stuff.  So we spent the next several months doing research and collecting data to the end of opening a clothing company.  In Mid-2006 that happened, and we launched Ravenhorde Studios form my garage.

Over the next 8 months we learned the hard-way, made a lot of shirts and decided it was time to go big.  We moved into a business park and ran Ravenhorde Studios as a small business to business t-shirt company until 2010.  Now that wasn’t the original dream, we had wanted to sell our own designs.. but due to lack of planning and lack of time, our own e-commerce website fell to the wayside as we focused on doing business to business sales.

T-shirts could not sustain us however, and along the way we also began doing marketing design, web design and development, and wide format printing as well.  It was here that what had been a hobby in high school and college became a skill I realized I was good at and could market.  From there I ended up realizing that there were a hundred other skills to learn and grow upon, and I saw that for a long time I had been acting as an unpaid Information Architect consultant with family and some business friends.

The Market crash was pretty hard, and left our business in the dust and in Early 2010 we had to close our doors, although I continued as a freelance web designer.  A brief 9 months spent in the hell that is known as Starbucks Coffee as a Shift Supervisor, and finally I find myself where I should have been 10 years ago.

Still a freelancer in the art, design, and web-development world I have found myself being one of two developers for a Real Estate company, and the head designer for most of the same companies marketing materials.   What the future holds however is yet to be seen.


And how do you hunt the wastes?

I have returned to the wacom tablet, and tapped into the slippery bitch that is my muse.  My #sketchaday practices have done me good and inspired me to finish what I started.

When last I had posted about my Wasteland Rider, he was just a mess of colour and tone.  Basic shapes and information that needed to be trimmed, nurtured and formed into a final product.

To do this I started quick and dirty, taking a bender brush and smearing the colours together to get what I wanted.  As I blend, I keep returning to a other brushes to add in bits of colour and tweak the final image.  I also move back and forth between normal brushes and textured brushes.

As this rider is not going to be the focal piece of my painting I am not really putting that much effort into texturing, in fact I will do it all with paintbrushes this time.  Marking out and maintaining my hard lines, splashing texture in and blending all at once.  This allows me a more fluid development process.

As I worked I also changed my mind on several features of the figure.  The goggles, and gas mask were scrapped and redesigned.  I also moved to a more untanned leather look with the colour, and added girt where I though it should be.

Lastly I cleaned up the edges that needed it, but kept the piece  a bit gritty on the edges.

I combine them, do a bit more clean up and use the dodge and burn tools to tweak the rider just a bit more.  Now it is time to save it as a proof and  set it aside for a few hours to see what I think with a fresh mind.

After a few hours of letting it stew I decided to change very little.  More grit on the rider, made him a bit smaller as well, added some highlights and environmental reflections to him.

Then I messed with my colour levels to get it set a bit more like I wanted.

I have a problem with never “finishing” anything I have painted, so at this point I will call it done, and move on to my next hat trick!