Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just putting it out there ...

I want to be invited to join Drawger.

Yes, I realize it's invitation only. Yes, I realize that there are only about 100 working illustrators on the site at this point. Yes, I also realize that my invitation to join would cause many people to question, "Why is he on here?

But screw that. I work hard. I've had some good clients so far. And eventually, I'll be accepted into the SI Annual (eventually). So I'm just putting it out there so that in 2, 5 or 10 years I can look back and say that on October 29, 2009, a goal was set. No real plan, just a goal. But that's how I've been operating for four years, so why change now?

In early 2008, I told people at a party that I was going to have a Magic card illustration by the end of the year. In September 2008, I got my first Magic commission.

Earlier this year, I said I was going to have a book cover illustration by the end of 2009. No book cover yet, but a Broadway poster. And there's still two months left.

I got a new commission from Magic last night (sweet!) and when I get a breather I'll do another portfolio piece. I made a bunch of prints to sell at the Magic tournament in December. The postcards I sent out a few weeks ago didn't yield any results, so I really have to get into the city again and knock on some doors.

The work continues, because what else is there?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marathon Mini-Recap

3:18:22 ... not exactly the time I wanted to run. Something went wrong with either my pre-race preparation or my diet during the race. I developed a painful cramp in my side around 10 or 11 miles (which has never happened in training), so I was running in pain for a while. By 15 miles, I had the cramp under control, but my legs were shot. By 19.5 miles, I was walking. I ran/jogged until 25, when I could not run at all. I staggered the last mile and shuffled to the finish.

But I finished. The friends I was running with ended up running 2:53 and 2:55, so they had good races. Another one of my former teammates ran 2:33.

Another race and another learning experience. I'll probably take my fitness from marathon training and do a fast 5K in a couple weeks. But not now. Right now my legs feel like rocks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October Update

I sent my most recent illustrations over to Wizards HQ yesterday. I'm pleased with what I turned out and I can't wait to see them in print ... 9 months from now. In the meantime, more of my cards will be released in late winter and mid-spring; probably 6 more cards cards (13 total) before the summer.

After I got back from FedEx, I finally sat down and updated my website. I added the newly-published card illustrations. Be sure to click through to the full-size images (1200px wide).

And tomorrow morning I leave for Washington D.C.. The Marine Corps Marathon is Sunday. After my great 20-miler, I hit a bit of a hiccup. I stressed my Achilles last Friday and took 5 days completely off. I ran for the first time on Wednesday and again yesterday. Today will probably be my final run: maybe 6 or so miles. Those five days off have made my body feel terrible. Running 26.2 on Sunday is going to be really interesting.

Feel free to follow the link to the marathon site. You can sign up for "Remote Runner Tracking" which will allow you to receive a text message or e-mail every time I pass certain intervals along the course.

I'm off.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New Event

Attention! Attention! I'll be attending another Magic: The Gathering Event on December 13th: $5k Tournament Series - Philadelphia. Along with fellow guest artist Matt Stewart, I'll be signing cards, doing sketches, showing original art and SELLING PRINTS (!!). Yes, a couple of people requested prints and I'll finally have them available. I'll have at least two 13x19 prints of each card that's been released so far.

So if you're in the Philly area on December 13th, stop by the Pennsylvania Convention Center and say hello.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Impressive Illustrator

I admire Steven Belledin's work. He does a lot of work for Magic: The Gathering. And get this: he works with paint! No, really. Not the software. Actual paint! I'm glad there are still a couple of us out there.

I met him briefly at GenCon '08. I had just shown my portfolio to Wizards and was feeling a little down. I asked him how he got started and if he had an artist rep ... but I forget most of the conversation. All I remember is that he worked hard eventually made his life as an illustrator work.

Which is all I want to do.

Check out Steve's gallery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ready to go

Did my final long run of marathon training last night. 20.4 miles in 2:14:56 (6:37 per mile). I had intended to try 6:45 pace, and was right on for the first couple of miles. As I got closer to finishing, I pressed a little, making the last 10 miles a mild acceleration. It felt about as comfortable as 20 miles can possibly feel for me. I think I'm ready to go.

But the marathon is tricky. It's very counterintuitive for me. In races like the 5K (or my college specialty the 1500m), you're pressing the accelerator from the gun. Sure, there's pacing involved, but if you're truly racing, there's no point at which you feel comfortable. My personal experience in the marathon has been much different. For close to 2 hours of running I'm fighting the thought, "I can run faster than this." I want to open up my stride and go for it and I always have to avoid that.

Because as I've learned, even 6:05 pace will feel really easy on race day. Until 18 miles, of course, when suddenly you're walking like a zombie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Illustration Friday: Flying

Please support Illustration Friday participant and a good friend of mine, John Tomac. He's raising money to support the fight against Leukemia. Visit his site here and lend a few dollars to the Society of Illustrators Team. Please donate before October 15th. If you want a more direct link to the fundraising page (hint, hint) click here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What might have been.

Since all these cards are now published, I think I'll give you a little more insight into the method by which the cards are created. Contrary to what many people think, the artists who work on Magic do not sit in a basement doing multiple paintings, hoping that Wizards of the Coast chooses one or two to publish. That would be a terrible business model for both artist and publisher.

I get a very specific description of the assignment, and I try to work that concept into a visual composition. I send out sketches to the art director, and either he likes one of my ideas or we go through a series of revisions until it is right. Here are some sketches from the most recent cards. Same concept, different compositions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Common Cards

Since most of my cards have been of the "common" variety, today's article about common cards at the Magic the Gathering daily blog featured a lot of my artwork.

Sorry that this is such a lame post. All I'm doing is working and running, so there's not too much to report. Better, more interesting posts are coming.