Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Magic Card Art

I'm back from the Sacramento Grand Prix, and I have got to say what an amazing experience that was! It was so wonderful to meet so many Magic The Gathering fans! I swear  I've never met such a lovely group of people, always patient, always kind, and just so appreciative of the work the artists do!

Well, I'm looking forward to my next Grand Prix, whenever that one may be! Probably sooner than later ;) .

In the mean time and per request here are some hi-res versions of already released/spoiled cards!

Famine from Commander 2013 Edition.

Curse of Shallow Graves from Commander 2013 Edition.

Ashiok's Adept Spoiler from Born of the Gods.

That's all for now!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

MTG Grand Prix: Sacramento, CA

"Dissolve" Special edition playmat available at the event! Art by Wesley Burt.

Dear Magic: The Gathering fans! 

I've been invited to the Magic Grand Prix in Sacramento, CA, this weekend as a guest artist! I will be there all 3 days, from Friday the 17th till Sunday the 19th!I'll be bringing prints, rare artists proofs, and signing everything you give me! 

Also the wonderful Jason Chan and Wesley Burt will have booths there as well, so come on by and say hello!!!  

For more details please visit the following link:


Do note I'm not listed on the official artist list because of my last minute addition, but believe me I'll be  seeing all of you there! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Prints and Show.

It's the start of the new year, and I have so many exciting things to share with all of you! For now I just have two major announcements I can make!

The first one is, I finally offer prints of my work!

This is what the store looks like!

There are a variety of prices and paintings, so drop by the store and click on things!!

 The second announcement is an exciting one!  I will be having an upcoming show at Thinkspace Gallery (the project room) called " ILUSO". I will be showing alongside the one and only João Ruas , his show beautifully named "VERSO" will be in the main room.

Iluso Poster

The show will occur February 1st 2014, from 6-9pm at the Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City,LA.

Words can't describe how excited I am for this show. I hope to see so many of you there, (especially the LA crowd!) as I know this one is going to be amazing!

For more details , please go to the Thinkspace gallery website at the link below:


And of course, Joao Ruas BEAUTIFUL work:


Lastly I made a Facebook event page. Think of it as a personal invitation to each of you to the show:


 That's it for today everyone! Stay tuned for more updates, including magic cards, book covers, and upcoming convention schedules! Oh, and happy new years everybody!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oh, Hai Kotaku!

Everyone! I got a feature on Kotaku! 

A big thank you ( and warm hug) for Luke Plunkett, who wrote the article.  I read Kotaku  all the time ( how else am I going to find out that nintendo is releasing a super weird new handheld. 2ds!? Really!? )  so this is super huge for me. So thank you sir! You made my whole year!

 You can read the article here:


And not just that but yet another Magic the Gathering card was just released !It's called "Vindicate" and it features Sorin Markov not giving a crap about the guy in front of him! :)


Also here's an oldie that has yet to be published on the blog, it's called "Mending touch" .


That's all!  Till next time everybody! :)


Monday, April 29, 2013

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts process.

Hello everyone!

As promised, and to honor the pre-release of Dragon's Maze  here is the step by step of one of my cards for the set, Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts:

This painting was certainly a challenge.  I was never great with perspective or set design, and this painting forced me to tackle both of those things and a figure at the same time.

So here is how I tackled this challenge: 

1. The Brief:

It all started by a small brief describing a smart, scheming, magnetic and ruthless woman in her 30's. Her surroundings would be something between a lawyer's office, and a necromancer's lair. A room adorned by scrolls, strange devices, tomes, and somewhere slightly hidden in the background, the spirits that surround her. 

When I read this (and after letting out an eager giggle...seriously, painting an evil woman!? YES!) I immediately began to research what this image would feel and look like. I dug  through all my resources, to get color compositions, lighting, props and ideas ready. I looked at movies like Amadeus, Black Narcissus, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince and Gladiator  for inspiration. 

2. Initial doodles: 

After all that research was done , I scribbled a lot of loose initial ideas:

It doesn't matter if they are in color or a simple little scribble, what matters  is that they quickly show what I intend to do with the painting as a whole without focusing on any details. I answer a lot of questions at this stage, for example: What is composition like? What is the focal point? What is the angle of the camera? What is the gesture of the figure? Being loose forces me to think of the image as a whole, rather than focusing on details. From these little scribbles, I focus on a couple of them and turn them into a-

3. Detailed Sketch:

These are the two sketches I sent the art director for approval. Out of all the scribbles I did, I thought these two had the biggest potentials to be good illustrations.

I like to polish my sketches, because it really helps me with three big things:

  1.  Helps me envision what the final painting could be.
  2.  Provides a solid foundation for later steps. This includes drawing out the scene as best as I can, and establishing color and value relationships. Most important of those two is having a good drawing, as I've said before, an accurate drawing will save you a lot of grief later!
  3. Serves as a guide throughout the whole painting process. I love sketches, and usually find them to have an energy that finished paintings usually lack. Through out my entire painting process, I keep a small window open with this thumbnail up. It usually steers me in the right direction when deciding what to keep, what to focus on, and what to keep loose. 
The art director chose the 2nd image, and now with my sketch approved, it was time to begin the monumental task of bringing this image to a final.

But first let's talk about-

4. Brushes:

Even though I have over 200 brushes ( and this is me sizing down! I used to have 700!) I realized I only use about 7. And then out of those 7, I only use these 3 on a regular basis. 

I got #1 & #2 from one of those brush sets from incredible artists you find around. M@, Jamie Jones, Min Yum, Thomas Scholes & James Kei just to name a few of them. The 3rd brush is a basic Photoshop round round with a spacing of about 10%.  #1 & #2 are the ones I use for almost everything, like a mass block in or rendering areas with texture. #3 is used primarily for rendering skin and other soft surfaces.

5. Blocking in:

Now i'm starting to block in large areas. I'm getting rid of lines, and really beginning to define light and shadow. I'm also keeping a close eye on my layer management (which may explain why in some steps, certain areas are missing!)!

At this point I realize I don't have such a clear grasp on the perspective. So I decided to do circles in perspective. This helped me think of the location and angles of objects in the scene a lot better, and it also served as the tops of glasses later on.

6. Rendering:

At this point I realize I need to start working on the most important (and fun!) part of the painting. Her face!

With digital media you can do things that traditional media would never allow you to, such as redesigning, and transforming the face. I realized that her head was too straight on, and too wide. I narrowed her face and made certain features smaller. Something that one would never be able to do, had it been traditional!

Now I'm switching back and forth between her costume and finishing the book area. I spent a very VERY long time on those books, as I had to constantly double check my perspective.

So at this point, I think I'm completely done with this. I've worked on the image as a whole, going back and forth between foreground and background. I added some last details, such as the glass work on the side, costume details, the railings on the window and the creepy ghost face behind the window. I finished the chair, and added all the texture to it. Done, right?...Wait. Something still feels...odd?

Why, her hand is GIGANTIC! I almost made an entire painting not noticing such a GLARING mistake! The reason for this was, that at some point I told myself her hand was foreshortened, without realizing that nothing else in her posture showcased that foreshortening. So with the power of digital, I re-sized her hand to look more human, less of a claw.

It's very important to step away from your pictures, let them sit for a day if at all possible. You never know what sort of crazy mistakes you'll see the next day!

After this fix, I did some slight color adjustments, did a quick unsharpen mask on it, and voila!

7. It's done!

Here's another gif showcasing the whole process!

That's it everyone! I hope this was helpful!

Remember to check out Magic the Gathering's release of Dragon's Maze on May 3, 2013.  Also be sure to stay tuned here for a bunch of more uploads coming this week!

Till next time!



P.S.  I have received many requests for the 3 brushes that I used, so here they are! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Line in Lead 2: Works in Graphite

Hello everyone!

I've had a very humbling and  incredible opportunity to be a part of this year's Line in Lead 2: Works in Graphite show at Gallery Nucleus!

The artist list is mind blowing , and to be showing alongside them is one hell of an honor!

Here I present to you the three pieces I will be showing at the show:

"La Omega"


"To The Other World"


The opening reception will be this Saturday, April 13th from 7pm-10pm! So if you are in the area, come on by! See these in person (FYI, They look so much better in real life!) , look at all the other incredibly mind blowing art  , and just have a fun time!

And just in case some of you can't make it, there is always the online viewing and purchasing option!
 Do note if you are indeed interested in purchasing any of these works, move fast! There has already been various interested parties, so get 'em before they do! (just don't let them know I told you!)

For more details show view this link:  http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/exhibition/384

And for details on the online viewing ( which opens Saturday), go here:  http://www.gallerynucleus.com/gallery/pieces/384

See you all there!


Now , I wish to talk to you all about my  next update.

For my next update I will be going more in depth on this:

My first ever Magic: The Gathering card : Teysa, Envoy of Ghost, to be released with the Dragon's Maze set . I will be showcasing the process, steps, thoughts, ideas and blood sacrifices made to create this card! :)

In honor of the set, this update will coincide with it's Pre-release date on April 27th - April 28th!

For more information on the Dragon's Maze set , or just Magic: The Gathering in general ,  please go here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/products.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/products/dragonsmaze

Stay tuned and see you all next time! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Safehouse Show VI: The Rooster Show Tonight!

If you are in the bay area and are willing to brave the rainy weather, you're in for a treat!

 Today from 7-10 pm at the Safehouse Studios ( 80 langton st. SF) the Safehouse Studios will be doing a silent auction benefit!

 There will be free drinks, great art up for auction, and a lot of wonderful artists and art enthusiasts!

To check out some of the work that will be in the show you can go to the facebook page HERE.

 Here are my entries for the show. Been digging pencils a lot lately! :)

This one is called " Bali Juju" (4x6) ... don't ask me why I named it that , or why I even decided to draw this. I have no clue either. ( Also try and see this one in person, a LOT of subtleties are lost in the scan! I need a better scanner...) .

This one is a life drawing I did a while back ago. It's graphite and white chalk on toned paper (9x10?).

Also don't forget, next week  we got the Moleskin Project II Show!
( Yay! The image on the website is my entry! :B Thanks spoke art!!)

Opening reception will be  Dec. 6th from 6 - 8 pm. and will be open to the public until Dec. 29th. ( check on the website for business hours.)

That's it!  See you all tonight, and at the moleskin show!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Drawing process.

Last week I took some time, and made a drawing for an upcoming show (details of show below!) .  I usually don't have good process shots of my traditional work, so I figured why not start now?

This is the drawing I ended up with. It's titled "Serf and Greyhounds" , standard moleskin size  ( 8.5 x10?) .

Materials: HB lead holder ( rubbed against sand paper to create a flat side), .03 HB mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, a small white eraser and a stump... yes, a stump.

1. The Drawing:

This was probably the hardest part of making this image. Getting all the angles and proportions right can take a long time. Before getting to this point I gathered all my reference and did a quick digital composition in which I figured out my perspective, and scale relationships.

I spent probably a good full night's work  ( 4-5 hours.) on the drawing alone. Don't rush the drawing! An accurate drawing will save you a lot of grief later. 

2. Rendering

This is the part where I begin  establishing value relationships.

In fact the FIRST thing I do, is render the area where there will be the most contrast ( the area with the lightest and the darkest tones!) ,in this case I wanted it to be the woman's face. 

Because of that , now I know what is the lightest and  the darkest value. With toned paper ( like a moleskin), you always want to designate a value to the tone. Because I wanted this to be a graphite only piece, the value of the paper became my  brightest point. So that means only highlights and bright areas could have the tone of the paper. This helped immensely , especially when rendering the cloth. If you notice there are soft gradients by where the folds are, I wanted the cloth to be the second brightest thing ( next to the highlights of the girl's face.) so I very lightly shaded it, so that it became a slightly darker tone than that of the paper. 

More  rendering. Worked on the foliage by filling in the area with graphite, using the flat side of my led holder ( so I dont ruin the paper!) and picking out leaf shapes with my kneaded and white erasers. I'm trying to be mindful of edge quality too!

I focused on rendering the trees. I tried out an old tool I haven't touched since I was a kid... the dreaded stump.

(yup.. these.)

I haven't touched a stump since high school. I always thought of them as a cheater's tool, something people used when they didn't want to bother rendering, or worse, if they didn't know how to render. Ever since I can remember, I would always tell myself " I'd rather render it with my own hands!". Oh, what a fool I was!

The stump was an essential tool to this image. It helped mass in major values very quickly,  giving the areas where the stump was used,  a soft, almost paint like quality, that would have taken AGES to produce with a pencil.  This is how I made the trees, using a stump to mass in the basic value of the tree, then going over it with a pencil  and eraser to reinforce texture.

The stump also proved to be very helpful when rendering fur.

3. Done!

This is how the final looks like, except a lot more yellow... the scanner I used could not capture the yellow of the paper very well.

That's it! Pretty straight forward! :)

4. Say hello!

 This drawing will be a part of an incredible group show,  December 6th at the spoke arts gallery. 

So if you are in the bay area, come by and see this and other insane moleskin drawings and paintings face to face! Be sure to say hello too!

That's it everyone , and happy thanksgivings to all of you! Until the next update!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Godfather: Five Families

For the past year or so I've had the honor to work alongside an extremely talented team on The Godfather: Five Families  games from Kabam & Paramount studios.

While there are tons and tons of work, I wish to share with you all some of my favorite works that have been released so far!

And if you haven't had the chance to play the game yet, check it out! Not only is it crazy fun, but everything in the game is hand painted, beautifully animated, and there's no other game that looks like it! :)

So go and play it HERE , until then please have fun and enjoy the visuals!



The Godfather: Five Familieshttps://www.kabam.com/the-godfather/  
Kabam,inc:   https://www.kabam.com  
Paramount Studioshttp://www.paramount.com 
Play the Game:    https://www.kabam.com/the-godfather/play

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lunch time + Studies= Lunchies!

My co-workers and I have been doing quick 15 minute studies almost every day , for about 4 months now. We call them Lunchies. We're very strict with our time limit, and sometimes even hold our wacom pens up in the air to ensure we don't do any extra polish when time is up (which can get very difficult to do sometimes!).

These are a great exercise , because you only have 15 minutes. So you are always thinking what is truly important about an image and how can you capture it as quickly as possible. You don't get hung up on the details , and start realizing how simple and broad brushstrokes can describe far more,usually with a better aesthetic touch than relentless rendering. You also learn to let go and move on to something else...which obligates you to try and get the damn thing right the first time!

Here are some of the ones I like the best and/or learned the most from, side by side with the movie stills I studied them from.