Over the course of years my work has delineated itself into 3 distinct applications. I do contract illustration, concept work for film and my own personal work which exists on a spectrum from roughly abstract to very narrative depending on my needs at the time. This month for Muddy Colors (and my next two posts) I’d like to briefly showcase the processes for each of these and at the end I’ll talk about the similarities.

Best of Horror Volume 3


The most formal of the three tends to be contract illustration. This includes interior, cover and singular narrative illustration (such as Magic the Gathering).


Initial Sketch for Merfolk Secret Keeper (MtG)


Merfolk Secret Keeper from Magic the Gathering


Typically my process here tends to be very traditional in that I familiarize myself with the brief, sometimes that means reading the book or style guide. This is also the time I usually start to gather reference ideas and save (to a private Pinterest board) or print them. I usually sketch some*very* rough thumbnails for myself which then become more readable palm sized sketches. These sketches are usually what I sent to the art director and, to be blunt, sometimes these are still a little rough and have to be clarified. I have, on occasion, been given free reign but that is a relatively rare occurrence.


Spot rendered Pencil for SCP Project


Final Digital Rendering of SCP Project, The Map Keeper From The Kingdom of Alagadda


Full Pencil Rendering for Litany of Earth


Once I have approval (often after revising the sketches) I move on to building the work in stages. Often I will execute a fully rendered drawing before moving to digital paint or traditional (which tend to be oils).


Final Cover for The Litany of Earth


Whether I work digitally or traditionally usually depends on the type of work and what’s being illustrated. Once finished the illustration is prepped (regarding file format, resolution, etc) for delivery and then sent via file transfer services.

Interior from Special Edition I Am Legend from Suntup Publishing


When traditional, there is usually the added steps of photography, scanning and digital cleanup during the file prep stage. That’s about the sum of it unless there are last minute revisions which I usually handle digitally. My digital tools: Cintiq 24, Photoshop, Painter and Sketchbook Pro. My scanner: Epson Expression 12000XL. My camera is a Nikon D750 with a 50mm fixed lens and lights. My reference printer: Canon ip8720

Ofelia and the Faun from Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun


My next post will be concerning the second area of work that I produce: Concept Art

and the third post will, of course be about personal work, leading to (at least my plans are for) a video process.

Thanks for looking!