Airbrush art of ALIENS by Den Beauvais

In the very early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to grab copies of the vaunted Aliens book 2 series that were four issues long, illustrated by the excellent Denis Beauvais who has inspired me at the time with such vivid colors and masterful use of lighting. Before that, Dark Horse Comics brought out the first ALIENS comic done in black and white by Mark Verheiden and Mark Nelson which I also loved. But it was the second volume that cemented it as a masterpiece of tone, grit, and horror with ‘cinematic’ flair.

At the time, I didn’t have an airbrush until a very talented neighborhood friend of mine showed me his Iwata brush which opened my eyes on how it worked. He explained to me that Denis’ work was airbrushed and hand painted which perplexed me at first until he demonstrated its use while connected to a large floor air compressor that was silent. I was hooked and eventually got an Iwata airbrush from my parents as a holiday gift which I’ll never forget.

It was to my amazement that Beauvais had a recent interview at an AVP Galaxy site which fascinated me and confirmed the use of his medium of choice while discussing his views on digital versus analog. Not only did he do the series, but was also responsible for the famous Dragon magazine cover showing ‘Bridge of Sorrows’ which I also own an issue of.

And to this today, that very same airbrush I own still works intact, originally made from Japan. I do want to stress that it had been years since I last used my airbrush in the 1990s up until recently earlier this year painting two fencing masks. I had to rebuild my airbrush set up from scratch with a new air compressor and new paint.

I plan on doing more of it in the future since it’s such a fun medium to work with, in my opinion, that digital airbrushes don’t come close to in terms of texture and quality.

Old school never dies.

The very first ALIENS comic by Dark Horse.

The very first ALIENS comic by Dark Horse.

Denis Beauvais’ work from cover to internal pages for ALIENS volume two. A masterpiece.

Denis Beauvais’ work from cover to internal pages for ALIENS volume two. A masterpiece.

A sample internal page. Is this not cinematic or what?

A sample internal page. Is this not cinematic or what?

One of his stunning panels in the first issue. Love it.

One of his stunning panels in the first issue. Love it.

My original Iwata HP-C which is at least over 20 years old and an industry classic.

My original Iwata HP-C which is at least over 20 years old and an industry classic.

New Inktober gallery added!

Now that October has gone by recently, I’ve added an Inktober 2018 gallery page of a few selected images that were posted on my Instagram page. Since Inktober has been popular with artists around the world, Mabs Drawlloween Club has been gaining traction as an alternative with a focused theme and that alone does tend to make it easier to decide on what to draw than, shall I say, randomized. I’m sure by next year I’ll add another gallery page to it for 2019 with selections of my choosing. I’ve learned, and hearing from other creatives, in the last two years that Inktober can be quite time consuming which can put constraints on project time tables, making it a bit of a challenge to get things done. It can be a method of building discipline by professional creatives to stay on top of things. Sometimes they have such a full time schedule that it’s a miracle they manage to find time to do an inktober sketch, especially when scrolling through Instagram for inspiration. This is why I didn’t have many Inktober drawings for that month due to juggling between things and fencing.

But it’s not to say Inktober is bad, rather it’s more of a visual exercise and form of experimentation. Plus, it’s fun to try a few things here and there.

The Demon Arrives on Society6!

My Oni Demon illustration is now available as an art print and poster on my Society6 store. I finally got around to fixing the resolution size from the iPad Pro to fit in a Photoshop document and adding text from a famous Musashi quote from The Book of Five Rings. As a fencer and martial artist myself, I find the supernatural Oni mythology to be quite fascinating and think the imagery of a Hannya half mask used by samurai is so cool. It's one of the reasons I airbrushed my fencing mask to kind of simulate that level of badassery. 

Preview of the final version with text

Oni demon on Clip Studio Paint

I've been experimenting with Clip Studio Paint that's a full version, paid by monthly subscription, on the iPad Pro which is really amazing and useful. It's especially great now that Celsys has lowered the price of the iOS version so that it's more manageable for the budget and keep on using it. Lately, I was getting into the japanese oni demons and wanted to tinker around with the tools of CSP to see how I can work with the layers in order to observe how closely it behaves compared to the desktop version. Incredibly, it is literally the exact same thing and ports over native files well enough through Dropbox, in my case, however I found uploading the image to the CSP cloud via iPad Pro to the desktop a bit of a problem but I'm sure there's a way to do it on the Mac platform. 

Photo of the actual illustration on iPad Pro version of CSPIt is nearly completed as I've to fix a few areas before adding the text quote marks in the negative space and consider having it available as a printed piece, probably on Society6. I believe with more experience on this particular platform, it would make it easier to work around the UI and workflow process more seamlessly. I'm really liking CSP on mobile so far. 

New t-shirt design for 2018

It's been a long winter and I've noticed that less blogging on my part is contributed to my being focused on other things and slacking. However, I plan to eventually revamp this site to a new engine that's more on the gallery and less on the blog activity. 

However, what's new this month is a recent t-shirt design I did for the Vermont Fencing Alliance's 25th anniversary event coming in March which I'm excited for and plan to compete. Fortunately, I will be competing in two events rather than three now that I have achieved an E rating in Epee on my birthday a month ago. What a huge relief it was with hard work paying off. 

Anyway, everything I did on this shirt was done entirely on my iPad Pro using Procreate and exported to Adobe Illustrator to finish off the project, inspired by the art nouveau period which is what my coach had in mind. And I think it turned out great. I cannot wait to see how the shirt will look in a few weeks!

25th Anniversary t-shirt design