digital painting

Substrata !!!

Well I have some very exciting news ! Substrata ,the book I contributed to last year  is now officially available for pre-order ! It was really cool to be a part of this and an honor  to be lumped in with some serious serious talent ! Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy !

official press

Pre-order on amazon 

Substrata Work

my art work submissions for the project 

Far to the North, an ancient Titan formed by a powerful energy lives beneath the world's substrata.  Having the knowledge of the darkness that lies in the hearts of beings it wanted to protect itself from potential attacks and selfish exploitation.  So, it twisted the woods above into a gnarled fortress of iron-like trees blocking out the sun and created a brutal gauntlet for any would-be adventurer or plundering army seeking its power. There it lived, secure, for thousands of years until one year, just off the Southern coast, a ship found itself crashed on the edge of the dark forest in the viridian waters of the untouched cove there.  Instead of advancing the harsh forest on to eradicate the unwelcome guests in fear, the Titan chose to leave them to struggle and die against the harsh, narrow strip of land that existed outside the twisted woods, judging the people too insignificant to be a threat.  Surely they could not survive for long.  To the creature's surprise the people proved resilient and carved out a life at the woods edge and were grateful for its shelter and meager bounty.  They felt the energy contained within the earth that he provided and began to worship it in their own small, humble ways.  The creature had never seen mankind show such love, appreciation and community before now and it grew fond and curious of the village.  As it began to spend more and more time observing them, it found that it welcomed the company they provided.  The Substrata creature began to care for them as its own, from a safe hidden distance, and would later come forth in a brazen move to pluck a chosen soul for salvation.  A salvation, as it would turn out, for all of them, for in the Eastern dry plains an army was building and preparing to decimate the forest and destroy the power it protects.

 The Substrata creature came to know a particular teenage girl from the village more than any, the inquisitive daughter of a herbalist.  While soft and kind, she was also adventurous and more brave than most.  She would venture deep into the forest, despite its perils, to study the plants and animals without fear.  This was the ancient being's kingdom and though he was angered at her intrusion at first, he quickly realized she was no threat and he was fascinated by her uniqueness.  Though he loved and protected the villagers he always did so quietly from a distance.  However, the young girl became ill beyond medicine's reach due to curiosity gone wrong experimenting with plants in his forest one day.   As the girl lay dying in her mother's arms at the forest's edge, a dark stag with horns of swirling smoke emerged boldy from the woods and stood looking down at them.  Though he spoke no words, the townspeople heard his message to the mother as the smoke wound its way to their ears on the wind in a whisper, "I can save your daughter from death but she must become a creature of the forest and never remember you as mother.  She will become the forest's greatest guardian and your savior.  Decide now, quickly."  Wanting nothing more than for her daughter to live the mother laid her daughter's limp body over the stag's back, kissed her gently goodbye and let the Stag take her girl deep into the woods.   He took her deeper into the forest than any man had ever tread, deep, until they reached a massive stone altar at the forest's very core.  The girl's metamorphosis took an excruciating number of days as her human soul and the Dark Stag's spirit energy bound together as one.  When the transition was complete she had no memory of her former life and was left with a body that was a union of her human skin and the plant elements she loved and studied.  She had truly become one with the forest.  Known now as the Osteodess, or "Bone Witch", she is the pupil of the Dark Stag.  Using the forest's dark magic she walks the woods looking for anyone wishing to harm the mighty being below.  One of the Bone Witch's greatest spells is a sort of necromancy.  She summons the long dead creatures from the forest floor and can create armies of skeletons to come to her aid.  The more her knowledge and power of magic grows the deeper she can dig into the earth for her soldiers and bring massive creatures from the past to life.

The Dark Stag is the physical form of the Substrata in the world.  He came to be when the Substrata realized she was dying and he knew he had to save her so he animated into a recently dead stag from nearby.  He is teacher of the dark arts and the wisdom of the dark forest to the Osteodess (Bone Witch) and, her protector as she grows in strength.  They are bound to each other and side by side they are the guardians of the forest.

Little is known of their origin but, they are a savage race of giant creatures that have been grafted with machines by some unthinkable evil oppressor.  Drunk with their unnatural power they march, destroy and pillage under the orders of their unknown master from deep in the arid East mountains.  They have now amassed at the edge of the forest, preparing to destroy it and all that lives there without mercy.

 Dark stag sketchbook studies

 Dark stag sketchbook studies

 bone witch sketchbook studies

 bone witch sketchbook studies

 scourge troll sketchbook studies


I have loved ninja turtles since for ever and I haven't drawn any in a while so I was over due to make some TMNT fan art!My first ever black and white ninja turtle comic was issue 10 and it gave me a very new appreciation for what comics could be .I bought many issues after and  read those comics ragged .

Here is  the first thumb i did .looks like hes sort of coming out of a door which i ditched but the pose was working for me .

This is me drilling down to the final Composition .If i haven't said it already tracing stuff like this out on a light box has been a life saver!

i removed the teeth because he is a turtle but then he looked old! teeth it is :)

my final Line work .I didn't ink it just cleaned up the pencils in Photoshop. It could probably be cleaner but part of me likes the more organic bits .

First pass color rough in 

Easy paint tool Sai

I saw this a month ago when Nick Southam had discovered it and was messing with it.I played with it briefly today and i LOVED it . It has a lot of what i love about painter and Photoshop all squooshed into one .I'm sure its got its issues but I'm impressed with the realistic media brushes which are a breath of fresh air from the stampy crisp tools of Photoshop .
If its capably wasn't enough it takes up very little space AND uses very little memory AND costs 64.00! The low footprint makes if function well on a laptop to add to the goodness. This makes a very powerful painting tool available to the art masses which is huge when you think of the price barrier of getting started and getting your hands on legit software .Much like my art bag I'm really big on cheap cost , mobility and accessibly.

I think we will be friends.

PS- please don't let the crappinesss of the attached picture dampen your interest in checking the software out :)

Gradient Map Tutorial

I discovered this about 2 years ago  and its a nice Little thing to have in your Digital tool box .I often find my self trying to explain the process to people but i feel like words alone fall Short with out some example.This  illustrates the steps involve but it definitely takes some individual experimentation to get it to work for you.

Lets Dig in!

this will be our test subject .hovering sphere .make a selection of the sphere
  1. At the bottoms of the layers panel select the create new fill/ adjustment layer icon and select gradient map. It will look  immediately odd because it uses the first preset by default.
  2. In the presets select the 3rd preset in .this will make everything look normal again .This is because it is a gradient that goes from dark on the left to light on the right.this is important to remember in order to work with gradient maps.The color on the far left will be applied to the darkest value and the far right color will be applied to the lightest value.
  3. You are ready to start messing with colors!
  4. You can create or select the existing" tabs" along the gradient and adjust their color using the color swatch below the will notice that each tab has adjustable points on ether side to clamp the color closer to the original point. You can also delete with the delete button or select one and repeat it elsewhere just by touching the gradient. A big part of using these effectively is sliding the tabs along the gradient so you get the right color matching the right value range . Try it out and see what you get.
 So you can see at the bottom you can get some nice smooth color transitions really quickly and i think it ends up looking much better than a simple overlay.Using multiple selections you can quickly color an image even if its only to get some base colors in .
A nice use for these in games is also matching colors between several textures by just dragging and dropping gradient map layers into other image files and then tweaking.
 I hope this is helpful ! If you catch any mistakes(which i am sure you will)  or can see places to make this tutorial better please let me know and i will edit .thanks!