Fencing Squad Shirt 2019

As a new addition to the design gallery, the competitive squad shirt for the Vermont Fencing Alliance has been recently completed. A fellow fencer once approached me about how she had nightmares of a squid holding several blades and that I mentioned how I could draw it, considering the ‘lovecraftian’ nature of tentacles and dark art that compels me. Due to the club’s recent slight restructuring of the team that now includes all adults and teenagers instead of just the Junior Team, a new identity would be in need to show a sense of unification and attitude.

I set out to go with the Kraken and add in a pirate’s patch along with four blades. As tempted as I was going to make it seem like the goddess Kali, that decision led to restraint to focus on the actual weapons my club uses ranging from electric epee and foil while saber wasn’t the specialized discipline. I added in the pirate’s cutlass instead just for the fun of it. And once it was finished, it went to a Redbubble account owned by my coach so that anyone in the club can purchase it without need of going to a local shirt manufacturer.

Also, stickers are part of the store offering which I’m planning to buy one for my next sketchbook!

VFA Competitive Squad shirt

VFA Competitive Squad shirt

Corel Painter 2019 Improvements

Years ago, I had Painter 9 for my older Power Mac G4 desktop tower and enjoyed it, however it had an antiquated brush engine that lagged badly especially for inking sequential art until Clip Studio Paint came along which saved me a lot of trouble. The original CSP I had was entirely in black and white and then they released a color engine with new brushes that rendered Photoshop and Painter almost pointless with a focus on comics and fantasy illustration. It was a godsend. That is, of course, until Procreate arrived for the iPad Pro market that became a very strong contender, impressing me big time. Recently, I downloaded a trial version of Corel Painter 2019 and thought they did such a nice job fixing the brush engine and it shows. I’ve had no trouble using the brushes on my 2010 iMac workstation with my Wacom Intuos4. However the tablet didn’t have multitouch which made the process very awkward, now that I’m so used to my iPad Pro’s workflow. I’m seriously contemplating replacing my Intuos with a new Wacom 16 inch Cintiq or an XP-PEN tablet which is a bit cheaper and gets the job done although I’ve never seen or used their products before. I need to make sure my iPad Pro to desktop flow goes smoothly with multitouch so I can use the tools better because the Intuos 4 does tend to put a crimp to the projects. Corel painter 2019 is a big update and quite expensive, however it’s UI layout made it a bit awkward to switch around brushes and other functions despite the short keys that are available. The art in the following photos I did are not meant for finalization but as a test drive on the software. I’ve had less than a few days in the trial and just wanted to experiment with it out of curiosity. I do recommend Painter for those who are used to the interface and have experience in the painting realm. For now, I’ll be sticking with Clip Studio Paint, Procreate, Paintstorm, Sketchbook Pro and Concepts as my main tools of choice.

The actual Corel Painter launch title

The actual Corel Painter launch title

My Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. It’s quite old and will probably need replacing for sure.   The lack of multitouch is now wearing thin on me.

My Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. It’s quite old and will probably need replacing for sure.

The lack of multitouch is now wearing thin on me.

The actual Painter 2019 user interface in dark mode. A nice touch with a better focus.

The actual Painter 2019 user interface in dark mode. A nice touch with a better focus.

I love the color palette and mixer design on this one. It’s beautiful and serves a function. I tested the inking brush which went smoothly this time.

I love the color palette and mixer design on this one. It’s beautiful and serves a function. I tested the inking brush which went smoothly this time.

I tested the palette knife brush among others and give credit to Corel for fixing a major problem with the lag that had been problematic for years. A good step in the right direction.

I tested the palette knife brush among others and give credit to Corel for fixing a major problem with the lag that had been problematic for years. A good step in the right direction.

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.

Studio Inner Sanctum Now On Mobile!

I have finally gotten around to rebuilding my site for a more streamlined look, powered by Squarespace, and one that would work with all mobile devices. I hope this is worth the wait and that those who are interested in looking at my portfolio will be pleased to know that the gallery page is still here. Keep in mind that all the works I’ve done posted in the gallery fall under the Creative Commons license of sharing. My website’s logo has also undergone a redesign from the ground up with a broken circle flanked by two griffins with a much cleaner appearance and especially one that translates well on print, in particular my business cards which came out so nicely thanks to MOO cards.

As an illustrator, I find it important for me to keep my creative work out there and find ways to tell my own stories on printed or digital form. Someday, I hope to get myself back into the sequential storytelling medium since I have some ideas to approach, probably on digital format.

In regards to social media, I encourage viewers to follow me on my Instagram page so as to keep up with current events, projects, and fencing endeavors. Also, the reason for following my Instagram page is that I don’t blog much as I used to back then since the social media world now revolves around ‘in the now’ moments or for those who stream. Of course, I will blog now and then when there is something of substantial value to share, be it a new medium, technique or major event.

And for those who are new to my site, welcome to my inner sanctum.