I made an art toy scupture of Junkbot, one of my Robot Roundup characters.
I started by printing out the vector drawing of the character at the size I wanted the sculpture to be. I used this as a schematic so that I could measure his proportions against the print out.
Except for some screws in his arms, legs, and neck, he’s made entirely from polymer clay, even his inner wires. Using a clay extruder tool, I made a bunch of “noodles” that I used to coat his insides with a messy nest of wires. I then made some thicker ribbed tubing by twisting a noodle around a thin wire.
After the clay was cured, I coated him with thinned modelling putty, dabbed on with an old paint brush. This added a kind of cast iron texture.
I airbrushed him with various rust and orange colors and then used thin washes of oil paint to add grease and rust streaks.
The Black Star Maquette I made has been sitting around for a few years in my workspace but there wasn’t a good way to display it. It needed a proper base.
I started by using a clear acrylic Christmas ornament half-dome as a mold. Using baby oil as a mold release, I coated the inside with about a quarter-inch layer of polymer clay (Super Sculpey). Then I packed it with aluminum foil and added a top layer of clay. I took it out of the mold and sculpted the craters and added texture. I used a little lava rock to put gouges into the surface.
After baking the clay, I sprayed it with black primer and then dry-brushed several shades of redish-brown acrylic paint, going from dark to light.
The hardest part was finding a way to straightly attach the acrylic rod that holds the ship. I don’t have a drill press and my hand-drilled hole was a bit crooked. So I made the hole bigger, giving it some wiggle room, and built a jig out of Lego to hold it in place while I epoxied it.
I really like how it turned out.
I’m not sure if a single work of art has had more influence on me than Descent, by Michael Whelan.
I started delving into Science Fiction when I was in high school. One time I was at the public library browsing the sci-fi section when I found a paperback copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, with Whelan’s illustration on the cover. I was immediately transfixed by his artwork.
Not long after, I found a large art book, The Art of Michael Whelan, at a Waldenbooks inside my hometown mall. This was pre-internet, so I ended up returning many times to study this book.
I started painting my own Martian and Dune-inspired landscapes in watercolor, but mostly I was trying to copy Michael Whelan’s style.
I was lucky enough to meet Michael at a convention in 2003. I got to tell him how much I liked his work, especially his cover illustration for The Martian Chronicles.
So I was overjoyed to find out that he was releasing a print of this work. I’ve been waiting almost 30 years for this.
2020 be like…
A while back, while I was working on a Space Monkey drawing, I had the realization that I was drawing manifestations of my anxieties, and that I sometimes end up visiting this character during stressful times.
The painting itself I tried to render in a style reminiscent of vintage sci-fi book covers (and obviously Dune inspired). In any case, it’s reassuring to see someone who won’t back down in the face of insurmountable obstacles.
I sculpted a little maquette of the sand worm so that I could get the lighting right.
New logo for the continuing adventures of Otto the Space Monkey. The font is BackBeat from Comicraft.
One of my goals this year was to complete 100 small paintings, which I finished this week. 💯
I’m experimenting with the Zorn palette, which is limited to cadmium red, yellow ochre, black, and white. It’s surprisingly versatile.
For this painting tried something new by priming the surface with black gesso. The others were done with an orange underpainting.
8/100. 6” x 6” gouache study of the old tool shed in our back yard. I used a limited palette of burnt sienna, titanium white, ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, and chromium oxide.
I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks trying to figure out a focus or goal for my art this year. I think I’ve settled on getting better at painting. To that end, I’m trying to complete 100 small paintings this year. These are the first few. They are 6” x 6” acrylic or gouache.
9” x 12” painted in gouache on watercolor paper.
For Thanksgiving we were in my hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado. I got a few plein air painting in while there.
I painted this for my daughter’s 10th birthday. She’s really into NASA and space right now. It’s designed as a triptych.
For Inktober this year I followed my character Otto the Space Monkey on a few of his adventures. I’m planning on scanning and coloring a few of these, making them into covers.
Thanksgiving? Never heard of it.
I had the pleasure of attending a plein air landscape painting workshop with Mike Hernandez this past weekend in Langley, Washington on beautiful Whidbey Island. I learned so much, my head is still spinning.
This is a technique I’ve developed for adding gemstones to a painting.
I took a sheet of watercolor paper and painted a lot of different streaks on it. I don’t remember what kind of brush I used, but it was some kind of flat. I wanted a range of line styles, so I wet the paper in a few places to get more bleed. I also crisscrossed the lines in several places.
Now when I need a gem, I cut it from this sheet. Sometimes I will cut the shape out of a blank piece of paper that I can overlay as a stencil and see what the resulting gem will look like.
After cutting out the shape I glue it onto the painting using a thick acrylic gel medium.
I’ve used this technique a few times and really like the result.