How to travel in the finest Imperial fashion

Well... I found some sketches! How did I never post these? I think this was intended to be an ArtOrder Challenge submission, but I never got around to finishing it. Anyway, here you go!
Sometimes, you just gotta ride the fish.

Barreleye Messenger Model C3

Greater Reef Guard, Royal Issue 

The fun part of finding stuff sitting in your sketchbook is realizing that I still want to make these into a painting. I mean, BIOMECHANICAL FISH BIKE; what's not awesome about that?

Initial Sketches


Nigh doth they twinkle

There's a terrible thing coming. It's known by various names, across time, across nations. Often, you can hear it creeping nearer when the right season comes, even sometimes seeing its baleful glow in the darkness. 

I'm talking about those seizure-inducing light displays that are put up by certain tasteless neighbors. Who clearly have something against neural function; or maybe they only hate the idea of a warm white glow.

The Horror!


Some number of Gaulish fowl

Some of those ever-present French hens that you see promenading along the quay this time of year.
Peek in at the book I'm engaged in right now.


The Nixies of Spa Creek

A quick doodle done the other day in my big moleskin, while waiting on the IT folks to install Snow Leopard on my work box.

Spa Creek Nixie

I love the creepy, duckweed-trailing river faeries of myth vastly more than the singing, sunbathing merfolk of most people's imaginations. Jenny Greenteeth for the win.

Based the setting on the grass-choked estuary near our house. There are nutria there, we discovered.


The other day I got Awesome News(TM):

Broken Time Blues has officially launched! The great, great anthology of set-in-the-Prohibition Era SF/F stories. This is full of superb authors & will be available in ebook formats soon, but is now available as a print edition on Amazon. If you're one of the lucky folks to be at WorldCon in Reno this week, the official launch party is @ 2pm on Saturday, August 20th.

Authors & stories what might be in this book:

The Sharing by James L. Sutter
Chickadee by Frank Ard
Semele’s Daughter by John Nakamura Remy
The Automatic City By Morgan Dempsey
Button Up Your Overcoat by Barbara Krasnoff
Nor the Moonlight by Andrew Penn Romine
Jack and the Wise Birds by Lucia Starkey
Madonna and Child, In Jade by Amanda C. Davis
Der Graue Engel by Jack Graham
The Purloined Ledger by Ari Marmell
Fight Night by Ryan McFadden
A Drink for Teddy Ford by Robert Jackson Bennett

And my personal delight are the illustrations I did for stories by Robert Jackson Bennett, Jack Graham, Lucia Starkey, Morgan Dempsey, Frank Ard, and James L. Sutter. Pen and ink deliciousness, just for you wonderful readers. ...and we hope the authors like their pictures, too.

The cover by Galen Dara is pret-ty snazzy; your bookshelf with undoubtedly seem bare and backwoods without it. Don't be that dude.


Cover Sketches for Fantastique Unfettered 3

Back in April I finally finished the cover for Issue Three (Prolefeed) of Fantastique Unfettered, an excellent print magazine of SF&F stories. It was an awesome project, and I did a bunch of sketches before the editor finally settled on one for on the cover. Brandon is a great editor to work with, too; he had some neat ideas and is real easy going.

These sketches I did that weren't chosen... I still like a lot of them. I'd love to pursue some as finished paintings, even though they won't be printed in the magazine.

The final cover is a few posts down on the Fantastique Unfettered site. The issue should come out on or around August 31st! What a neat birthday present!


Broken Time Blues Announcement!

So Broken Time Blues is officially slated to release at Worldcon (Renovation) in August! Awesome publishing of art and stories. The stories, they rock. As an illustrator thereof, I can safely say that. Also, I can safely say that the artwork is sub-par, rife with allusion of the roughest sort, and probably a mortal sin.

I heard tell it releases for sale August 1st, but if Worldcon is the release party of the year for EDGE Publishing & Absolute XPress... well, get it online before, or buy it there in person if you're so lucky as to be attending.

For listening to me ramble excitedly, here's a cookie quick peek:


Interiors from 1920s anthology

The anthology '20Spec Broken Time Blues, a collection of SF stories set in the 1920s, had me illustrating six of their many tales for the past few months. These are some really great stories, and hopefully they'll only read better with some black and white artwork to accompany.

Here are two of the first pictures I did for the book. You should all buy the book when it comes out and see which tales they're for. The book will be published by EDGE Publications sometime later this year. More info to come as I have it!



Some new sketches for the ArtOrder stuff coming up on the 19th.

D&D geekery for the win.

Human fighter in the woods with a beholder, armed with a longsword.



Catoblepas for The Alphabeastiary. I'll probably keep posting these mythological critters pretty often. I've started using the biweekly challenges to do color/style experiments that I normally wouldn't be allowed to do in client work. Art Directors generally expect to get what they see from your portfolio (except when you're really lucky with a crazy AD). Not, yanno, some wacked-out, lurid neon digital painting over a pencil sketch from your moleskine that could send children into 70's discotech hallucinations.

So, enjoy your trip over the course of the alphabet.

Catoblepas at Sunset

One of creatures of myth I learned about earliest, when I must've been 6 or so. Had this awesome book that introduced me to a whole slew of fantastic animals from legends around the world (though to be fair, it was 80% Pliny's Histories source material). The Catoblepas always seems to be pictured as some sort of shaggy, depressed cow..


Black Dog That Isn't

The Alphabeastiary has posted the digital coloring of the Hellhound image I did the other day for their Letter H! Glad to finally have contributed to that most awesome of blog challenges. It's a hoot, and they have some supremely talented folks doodling away at it every couple weeks.

I started on an image for the Catoblepas back on Letter C, but never did get around to finishing the watercolors in the meantime. But I will! Soon!

For now, this entry is brought to you by the Letter H, the Numbers 42, 12, and 86^5, and the Color Chartreuse.

Emergence Art Show: Opens March 12th

Including work by Lisa and myself. Initially, it was the Talespinning paintings, but now it's hedgehogs. Lisa's is monsters.

If you can make it to Baltimore between the opening and closing, go take a gander. And when you're in B'more, eat brunch, lunch, or dinner at Woodberry Kitchen in Hampden. It's hands down the best food I've ever eaten. And I've done my share of diner chow to haute cuisine. This is comfort food, farm-to-table. And mind bogglingly awesome.



Working this large moleskine sketch up for The Alphabeastiary Challenge's newest topic - H. Gonna color it tomorrow.


New Work

The final (pending minor tweaks... whendoIstopworkingonit?) Elephants General. Definitely the longest span of time I've left between starting and finishing a piece. Six months of downtime when I didn't touch it at all, though it was hanging in a show for two months back in June.

I feel like I needed the interwoven practice I got between when I set this aside and a week ago when I finished the watercolor part, in order to really do it properly. The scan didn't turn out fantastically, so when I have some money, I'm going to get it properly done by a fine art imaging studio. And because of that, it was 6 hours of digital work on top of the painting to bring the vibrancy and colors somewhat back to life. It seems to be my usual way of working, though I keep fighting the intermarriage of watercolor with digital overlay... despite being a huge fan of Justin Gerard's work in that very mode.

The model for our green-skinned potentate is the superb Natalie Paquette. The elephants belong only to themselves and nature photographers everywhere. The hands are mine, my mate's, and probably someone else's, too. ...So. Many. Hands.

The Elephants General


The Horror! The Beastliness!

This is some big news: I'm finally able to sell prints of the Evolutionary Diversion paintings I did for 826DC's Museum of Unnatural History! So if you've been wanting a Warty Koala of your very own, or maybe you know someone special who'd enjoy the company of the Andean Rotor Penguin, then now it's possible. See the Etsy Store for prints. Further works from the 826DC Catalog of Evolutionary Diversions by Lisa Grabenstetter, Katie Schuler, and Oliver Uberti.

Spooky Hare

Andean Rotor Penguin

Insatiable Squid

Speigal's Hooved Marmoset

Warty, or Snaggle-tooth Koala

I think everyone needs nature's mutants.


Sketchery and Hello!

After working all weekend on it, yesterday I finally finished the painting of the Elephants' General that I put away for six months. Since I've yet to get the finished painting scanned, have some sketches from 2008. These were interior work for Leading Edge SF/F Journal.

Been sketching some more random stuff, which I'll share if I get around to scanning it anytime soon. : )

Lots has happened in the month or more since I last posted, but really... I twitter more these days than I ever blogged, so if you're on there, come on by. Lots of great creative folks huddling about the 140-character bonfire these days. One really awesome commission was working on a pair of matched, custom SF/F bookplates for a fellow in Australia. It was such great fun, and so glad he and his friend (for whom one of the pair was a gift) were happy with the final run... of 100 hand-pulled prints.

Worked on laying out my folio tonight; will probably send out some mailers in the morning. There was also a horrendous experiment with a recipe for pumpkin spice latte in a crockpot, but no more will be said on that score...
A bit of yesterday's doing.  on Twitpic