Monday, September 28, 2009

Artists of Zendikar

Today, art director Jeremy Jarvis posted an article to It featured the new artists who worked on Zendikar.

Am I one of the only artists who hasn't worked in video games previously? The experience might have helped. Oh well. I keep learning. The current series of cards is going well so far. Gotta keep pushing the intensity of those colors ...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Zendikar expansion set

The new Magic: The Gathering expansion set was released today. Five of the cards in the 249 card set feature my illustration. Below are images of the cards, the artwork, and a link to download the hi-res image. Enjoy!
Download hi-res image

Download hi-res image

Download hi-res image

Download hi-res image

Download hi-res image

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Kor

The buildup to this weekend's pre-release of Zendikar continues over at Magic the Today they profiled the Kor, a race of pale-skinned , thin humanoid adventurers. And look at one of the pieces of art they used for the article!

There's a backlog of old images that are just waiting to be uploaded to my site. It's been many, many months of stagnation, but from here on out there should be regular site updates at as more decks of Magic are released.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Society of Illustrators Annual #52

I submit to the Society of Illustrators Annual competition every year. And every year, I say, "It's my year."

But every year my rejection letter collection grows. To the left you can see my last four rejections from the past four years. I'm not complaining or whining. It's exceedingly difficult to make the cut: approximately 10% of the 5,000 entries are accepted (and the more "famous" you are, seemingly the easier it is to be accepted, meaning the little guys are often looked over. It's not a bad system, as it keeps the big guys employed and makes us unknowns want to become one of the big guys.)

This year, I've submitted Lion on the Mound (Uncommissioned category), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Advertising), Convincing Mirage (Institutional), and two other Magic cards that are going to be released on Saturday. It's a pretty good sample of my portfolio, and just might catch the jurors' eyes. But to a large extent, getting in relies on luck. Fingers crossed, I'll be adding a letter of acceptance to my door soon.

I also mailed out postcards today to the 50 or so art directors at the major publishing houses. I let them know that my illustration for Brighton Beach Memoirs is hanging on Broadway, and that I would love to work for them, too.

Are any of my illustrator friends submitting anything? John? Jeremy? Kelly? Lars? Cyril?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

UPDATE 9/20: My goal was reached last night! Thanks, and feel free to keep donating!
I'm very close to my fundraising goal to benefit the ALS Association. $50 more dollars and I will have reached $1000. Small donations are gladly appreciated.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. In the fall of 2007, one of my good friends Scott was diagnosed with the disease. Since then, he has lead the fight to find a cure and benefit others afflicted with ALS. His indomitable spirit will be my inspiration as I train for race day, October 25, 2009.

I did my 22-miler this week. It didn't go smoothly, but I finished. Then next one will be better. Please visit my fundraising page:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zendikar is almost here.

My first card in the Zendikar block was just leaked on Note that by the silver icon below the image, you can tell it's an "uncommon" card: one step above "common," one step below "rare." But I'm moving up in the world! I have 4 or 5 more Zendikar cards coming out in a couple weeks, and I swear, not all of them are landscapes.

This card depicts a small encampment on the edge of Sejiri, an icy region in Zendikar. It's part of a 5-card uncommon dual land group in Zendikar. Dual land, meaning it is aligned with two colors; in this case Blue and White. If you don't play the game, however, you probably don't care.

I painted this image twice. After I finished the first 18x24 canvas, and I was sure I just ruined my chances of getting more work from Magic. I really didn't like it. It had too many colors and didn't look nearly "cold" enough. The image might have been acceptable (you never know), but I still had a week left so I decided not to take the risk. I primed a new canvas and gave it a second shot, which I liked much better.

I should have saved the first attempt at Sejiri Refuge, as it would have been an interesting example of what might have been. But I didn't. I put gesso over the image and painted another Magic commission right over it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Haven Road Race and other activities

Marathon training continues. Labor Day weekend was a big fitness test and I think I'm doing well so far.

Saturday was the first annual RIT Cross Country Reunion in Rochester, NY. It was kicked off by a 5K half-loop of campus, scored as a alumni vs. current team competition. The current team just beat the alums 26-31 (lowest score wins in cross country). Our score was aided by Olympic Trials qualifier and RIT alum Kevin Collins, but I ran a surprisingly speedy 16:15 for 7th place overall, 3rd among alums and only losing to 3 current RIT runners. We all gathered for a BBQ after the race.

Monday, Labor Day, was the New Haven Road Race/ National 20K Championships. I don't usually schedule races so close together, but I couldn't miss either race, so I was just trying to do the best I could on both days. The New Haven Race is always super-competitive, with many of the nation's best runners vying for a national title. I came in 77th overall in 1:12:50 (5:52 per mile for 12.4 miles). It was 44 seconds faster than my time two years ago, and 6 places down in the rankings, which indicates that participation was up in 2009.

2007 Race:
Overall Time- 1:13:34 (5:56 per mile) 71st place
First 10K- 37:43 (6:04 per mile)
Last 10K - 35:51 (5:46 per mile)

2009 Race:
Overall Time - 1:12:50 (5:52) 77th place.
First 10K - 36:26 (5:52)
Last 1oK - 36:24 (5:52)

You can see this year was a much more evenly-paced effort (exactly even, actually). I was still pretty sore from the 5K on Saturday, so I thought a steady pace would be my best bet. If I slow the tempo by about a minute per mile, I should be able to continue for the full marathon distance (26.2 miles) by the end of October.

In other news, my sister and fellow marathon trainee ran a great 1:28:42 (7:09 pace). My dad, in his first race over 4 miles ran a 1:37:01 (7:49).

2009 results
2007 results

Friday, September 4, 2009

Illustration Friday: Strong

Illustration Friday: Strong. The strength of a lion. It's not a new image specifically for IF, so hardcore IF-ers will have to excuse me. It's rare that one of my pieces fits the theme, so I had to post it.

Be sure to click the image to view it at full size ...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It's September! And I don't have to go back to school. It's been 5 years since I've had to, but every year I'm thankful I'm not a student anymore (despite all the "real world" struggles).

Got a great commission this month from Magic for M11. M10, as you'll recall, was released back in July, so you get a sense of how far in advance Wizards of the Coast works. But thankfully my cards are coming out on a regular schedule now. The next six (count 'em, six) are Pre-Released on Sept. 27 and officially released the first week in October, as part of the Zendikar expansion set.

Also, as part of the Magic commission, I'm working on a special project. I'm not exactly sure how much information fans of the game know about it, so I'll just leave it up to your imagination.

As fun as working on cards can be, I really have to get cracking on expanding my client base this month. Yes, I just did a Broadway poster. But a major reason I got the job was dumb luck. The ad agency was looking for someone at the exact time I uploaded Lion on the Mound to the Directory of Illustration online gallery.
So, as John Tomac suggested, I'm going to make a mailer from the Broadway image and hit the publishing companies again. Once I make 2-3 more portfolio images of cute kids doing cute-kid things, I'll make another trip into the city to shake some hands. I just wish I knew what Art Directors needed to see from me (The running joke among illustrators is that if you have a portfolio with only paintings of 9-year-old kids, no Art Director will believe you can paint a 10-year-old kid).

Because I believe I have the talent and the desire. If an illustrator is going to make it, he/she has got to believe that. But sometimes I have the will to stick with it, and other days I think I could really use some cash.

My 2008 goal of getting a Magic Card was accomplished. My 2009 goal of a book cover is still hanging out there, with just a few months left. Time to get cracking.