Friday, December 16, 2011

W.I.P.: Oberyn Martell

Back in July, I was sorting through old images and posted an image which I wanted to franken-update at some point.  At first I thought it was going to be the hawk that got the royal treatment, but it turned out to be the face from the main image.

My favorite character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (along with Arya, to be honest) is the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell.  I really wanted to do a drawing or a portrait of him at some point, and looking at the image in the old post I felt I had the basis for the image.  The original face had to be reworked a lot, but the general look I was going for was already there.

Here is the initial work in progress:

It is no coincidence that his pose mimics a certain beer commercial character... 

At this point, it looks as if the armor (the flat grey will become scale mail), neck and skin tone are going to be my biggest challenges.  I have been wanting to do this pic since reading Storm of Swords, so hopefully I can do the character justice and crank out the finished version sooner rather than later.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Misunderstanding "Cochlea"

I recently had the chance to go uber-meta in a comic strip, all thanks to the word "cochlea" and all of the possible NSFW penis jokes our dirty minds can come up with as a result of how it's pronounced.  The highlight for me was also being able to pull the NSFW rug out from under the joke and create possibly the corniest punchline I have ever devised.  The level of geekdom is strong in this punchline as well.

Since the joke is merely abusing the word "cochlea", without further ado, here is the punchline:

Cochlea: What did YOU think it was going to be a picture of...hmmm?  ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dr.Sketchy’s Philadelphia - Cherry Bomb

This past Thursday, I had the chance to embarrass myself via the use of real media and timed exercises once more:  Dr. Sketchy's Philadelphia (in conjunction with their event sponsor Lillet) presented "Domestic Bliss", featuring the model Cherry Bomb, at The Little Bar on 8th Street in Philly!

Always a great time, this one featured the use of cookies, hand-held blenders and "April May & the June Bugs"!  There were also corsets and garters of course, which, let's be honest here, should be mandatory for any domestic setting.  Convincing women of this typically leads to the search for my next future Ms. Ex-girlfriend.  ;)

Many of my sketches were mostly awful, but hopefully I did Miss Bomb justice with a few of these:

This was one of the final sketches of the night - portray the model in a sort of deific
manner as a celebration of domesticity.  Stained glass was mentioned.

A few more random images - two quick sketches mixed with a longer, timed sketch.
At the time, I swear I had a logical connection between the last sketch and the topic,
but it may have been the beer and Lillet samplers talking.

Thanks again to Dr. Sketchy's Philly and Cherry Bomb for the great event!


Quick additional note: there was talk of a Twin Peaks themed event in January.  There was also talk of a model in Audrey Horne outfits.  I'll consider it a late birthday gift if it happens.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Haters Gonna Hate: 2011 Tebow Edition

Back in 2008-09, an illustrator named Omar Noory created a great "Haters Gonna Hate" animated gif which spiraled into some great derivative images.  The 2011 NFL Season has made it clear that another image needs to be added to this collection:

This is what I imagine haunts Rex Ryan's dreams at night now (and probably John Fox's and John Elway's as well).  Here is a frame from Mr. Noory's sequence that served as the inspiration, and the initial sketch that followed:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Lion in Pixels

A warm up using Alchemy -  create a number of random pages of shapes and patterns using the program and try to piece together something out the randomness:

Two random, warm-up pages created in Alchemy

Here is the what I was able to piece together:

Photoshop's selection tool was used to single out and rearrange the shapes,
and the warp tool was used bend and distort the shapes to more closely fit the idea.

I am not sure whether this will ever be used in an image, but knowing that I often go back and work on things years after they were started, I think it is worth saving for a future post in 2014 or so.  ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Penn State Riots

I have a fair amount of friends that went to Penn State.  I know that they are decent people, and a much better reflection on the school than the protesters I watched on TV the other day.  I believe that the rest of the student body showed their true, compassionate nature via a massive vigil for the victims tonight as well.  Disclaimer done.

Now it's time to troll the rioters!

I could have also gone with "Now we know what the 'P' in PSU stands for!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Practice Image: Manara Mania

Practice image post today.  A random, stylistic tribute to the Italian comic book artist and writer, Milo Manara:

(Click to Enlarge)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Misc.: Halloween 2011

No Straniero Art here in this post, just a Halloween nod to Brad Neely (site and content NSFW) and one of the greatest sets of irreverent cartoon protagonists I know of: the Professor Brothers!

Saturday, a good friend and I will be attempting to do Frank and Steve justice (you would be surprised at how difficult it is to find a partially bald wig to cover up a mostly bald head...).  Photoshopped name tags should help:

Please visit his videos page (remember, NSFW!) for all of the Professor Brothers goodness you can handle.  Next year, I may seriously consider going as another one of his characters, Baby Cakes:

Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

W.I.P.: The Eyes Have It

A bit of work in progress from last week, to distract me from today's chores and obligations.

Lots of options on how to proceed, but the key will be 
to keep the eyes as the focal point!

And yes, I really have no shame when it comes to post titles....

Monday, October 24, 2011

New York Citi

A bit of political humor, poking much deserved fun at the idea that people should not be allowed to go into a bank and close their own account.  Maybe there are special account police?  Don't make me break out the WKRP Phone Police video again!

From events on 10/15.  A Wall Street Journal article that touches on the topic can be found here.  MoveOn.Org has videos of the events posted here.

Friday, October 14, 2011


A digital portrait of Melisandre based on the casting of Carice van Houten for Game of Thrones - Season Two:

(Click to Enlarge)

The night may be dark and full of terrors, but it may be due to the fact that it is also inhabited by a seductive red priestesses who summons both the dark and the terrors!

Also, as a quick follow up: if she happens to suggest that there is still time to spill your wine, spill your wine!

Work in progress pics

The reference used for the original sketch was this photo, and all rights, credits and such for the photo itself go to the proper photographer/source.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eye, ear, nose, and...

...random sketches.

Looks like I only got up to the eye, ear, and nose part....  Please insert your own "go for the throat" style jokes to taste.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An "Other" Avatar

A bit more goofing around with ASoIaF icons and vector-image avatars and logos.

The Others

For fun, I wanted to see what they'd look like in a very short, visual "cliff notes" chapter summary.  I like the illustration part and the "Overview", but the "Aftermath" was lost somewhere in between information, humor, and a choppy and/or bland text layout.

Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


More "old images become new again":

Does this forever put me on "Team Android" now?  Will the iCops not allow me to buy an iPad in the future because of this!?  Is anyone old enough to get the reference to the WKRP in Cincinnati ala Johnny Fever and the Phone Cops?

"You didn't see me!  You didn't see me!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Logos? Icons? Avatars?

While doing the "Shagga's Catchphrase" image, specifically the little Shagga illustration at the bottom right, I became really intrigued with the idea of doing more bare-bones, black-and-white, vector-art-like icons/avatars/logos for the ASoIaF characters and groups.  I am not sure if I am envisioning them as usable icons on a map, game tokens, or buttons, but that wasn't the point so much as sating my continuing ASoIaF obsession I suppose...

Here are the first few in the batch:

The Night's Watch

Post-ASoS Jon Snow

A cleaned up version of Shagga

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Here is one of my old "Daily Sketch Group" images I stumbled across while transferring files.  The concept was a robot or vehicle that resembles a bunny.

I think I actually like the R.A.B.B.I.T. name and the make-it-look-like-copy-paper-digitally effects the most, but I am fond of the ship design as well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Google SketchUp Sample

I am not a 3D modeler by any means, so I cannot say how Google SketchUp performs in relation to other 3D programs, but I can say that I like it a lot.  It was pretty straight forward to learn, the sharing of resources is very convenient, and the stylized rendering of a finished scene really made it worth the time and effort to use.

As a sample of what can be produced, here is a to-scale model and rendering of an actually room at an old office I used to work at:

(Click to enlarge)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Splash Page Graphic

A quick Home Page graphic I threw together for a portfolio website I'd like to get up-and-running sometime in the very near future:

Click to Enlarge

Friday, July 22, 2011

Buried Treasure, Turning Garbage Into Gold...

...or maybe, how to bring an old image back from the dead.  Digital necromancy!

A number of years ago, when I was learning how to paint in Photoshop, I created an image for a contest on the forums.  The image was a good step forward for for me at the time, but it was far from perfect as it was riddled with anatomy issues, texture issues, positioning issues and the like.  The odd part was that the background image was the thing that stuck with me the most.  Years later looking at the PSD again I think that, while the process of doing the image was incredibly important for me to do at the time, I may have to rework the background and make that an image in its own right.

Also, to continue with the my personal theme of self-deprecation as a humbling tool, here is the image in question complete with the initial mistakes I later noted!  If you look closely, you can see the hawk floating around in the background at 25% opacity.

In truth, now that I look at it again, I may use the face (corrected and updated) as a basis for another image.  Should I change the title to Dr. Frankenimage instead?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anniversaire Nouveau

Here is a little Happy Birthday-slash-Art Nouveau image for my "if I had a twin sister she'd be it" (of course, I should probably be referring to this as "arte nuevo" to match the language in the image, no?):

(Click to enlarge)

(The reference photo used was the same reference as this rough sketch I posted a month or so back.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dr.Sketchy’s Philadelphia - D’Arcy D’Lux

This past Saturday I had the chance to drag myself away from Photoshop for a bit and go analog for a few hours!  Dr.Sketchy’s (Philadelphia Branch) hosted a sketchbook event at the World Cafe Live in Philly, featuring the model D’Arcy D’Lux.  I took the opportunity to rediscover what pencil and paper actually look and feel like, all while drinking and enjoying myself!

The Philly branch of Dr. Sketchy's usually runs timed sketches to keep you on your toes: 10 1-minute sketches, 5 5-minute sketches, and so on.  I am quite a slow sketcher, so it is good to be forced out of my comfort zone via timed poses.  I also think I either need glasses or I need to start sitting closer to the stage (or both), but that is beside the point!  Here are a few of my rough sketches from the session:

In case you are wondering what those odd lines are...Miss D'Arcy managed to spice up a few of the poses with a special trick: she threaded a  long, bendy straw up her nose and out of her mouth, and had a lucky first time member pose with her while he drank his beer through her straw! 

To spice things up at each event, and as an excuse to hand out some fun swag, some of the longer poses are thematic contests.  The first was Miss D'Arcy on a birthday cake and the second was as a liquor label.

If you have a chance, check out if there is a branch near you and join in the sketchy fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Balon Greyjoy

Balon Greyjoy (click to enlarge)

Originally, this was supposed to be a take on the Victarion Greyjoy helm described in A Feast For Crows.  Unfortunately, in my haste I glazed over the parts where it described the helm as black and covering most of his face (not to mention picking greens and blues as base colors, ignoring the gold cloak he wears).  Ultimately this turned into a portrait of his older brother, Balon Greyjoy.  Funny enough, I despise the villain (I blame him for much of Theon's ...ahem... poor life choices) and would have never picked him for a portrait, but I'll chalk this one up to some foul trickery of the Drowned God and wash my hands of it!

Original helm sketch/concept

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Faceless Men

A Song of Ice and Fire cartoon trifecta is in play!  It is a Braavosi conspiracy!  Valar morghulis!

PS - Valar dohaeris!
PPS - For another, non-comic, Faceless Men-related image, click here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shagga's Catchphrase

Another Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones cartoon - this time exposing Shagga, son of Dolf, and his infamous catchphrase:

Monday, June 27, 2011

The 1st National Bank of Lannisport

A quick Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones cartoon, poking fun at Tywin Lannister:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends Draw Friends

Friends don't let friends draw friends, or they will end up... a faux magazine cover of their awesome self!  The wonderful magazine ImagineFX  released a template for their covers awhile back, so I had to take advantage of this windfall to honor the woman that got me into digital art! comic strip caricatures of their awesome selves! not-quite-watercolor, possibly-muddy-sponge-like, versions of their awesome selves!  This one was outside of my comfort zone by a good bit, so I appreciate them bearing with me on this. faux graffiti art of their awesome former co-worker self!  You know how you mention liking something one time, in passing, to your parents and you are doomed to received that very thing as a gift for the next 5 years?  This is sort of what happened here...

(Thanks again to these understanding friends, and others, who must realize by now that they could end up inspiring an embarrassing digital version of themselves at any point, often with no warning, rhyme or reason.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Other 12

Being very experienced at unintentionally embarrassing myself, I thought I'd take the initiative and do it on purpose for once....  A number of years ago, I was focused on the idea of a comic/graphic novel series on the signs of the Zodiac, both Western and Eastern.  The poor Western signs have been beaten to death in no small amount as C-list villains in various comic book series.  Of course, that didn't stop me from fooling around with the ideas.  The most interesting thing that came out of it was the character, personality and story ideas for the Eastern signs.  For some reason, back then I attempted to immortalize my ideas as incredibly amateurish, manga-like representations of the characters - ugh, I still literally cringe each time I look at the images.  About a year or two ago, in an attempt to salvage some internal self-respect, I took a quick re-try at each concept in an attempt to do some of the characters (sketchbook) justice.

To punish myself, I threw in the original concept for the characters below next to the updated quick sketches.  If there is a lesson here it is that just by continuing to work through it, you'll probably get better without realizing (lesson two would be that sometimes it takes a long bit of stepping away and then coming back with fresh eyes to realize this).

Comic hair never looks right once you start thinking about things such as realism and gravity.  Any resemblance Dog may have to Henry Rollins is purely intentional. 

If I ever get around to a full concept, balancing her size and strength with her feminine appearance is going to be a challenge.   

Any resemblance to Im Ji Hye is, also, purely intentional (in fact, I think I may have even looked up a number of pictures to help sketch this out - I wanted a rounder, fuller face instead of a thinner, sharper one like the original idea).

This probably is my favorite sketch.  Ram wasn't a character I had a lot of ideas for story-wise, but due to this sketch he probably  ends up as the first story if they ever get created.

Rat didn't come out as androgynous as needed.  It also bothers me that in this sketch he resembles someone I have met in real life (which is surely unfair to Rat)!

Now that another year or so has gone by, it is probably time for another look at the original idea and to work on a few more updated sketches hopefully.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sketchbook Pages

A few random sketchbook pages from a while back:

(Quick sketch from photo reference...well, obviously!)

(Sketch at bottom left from photo reference, the hands are mine and everything else is random imaginings!)