Revamping the Wall-Spider (Artwork)

Having recently completed the general and rough manuscript for Butterfly Gate and passing it off to a trusted editor, I suddenly have time to work on my other stories and art projects. Re-reading and editing the same 460 page story three times within a week is hard work, but also really engaging and fun for me.

So this week (Spring Break!) has been all about planning new art for my other work-in-progress Saving Hadley and tackling a new arc. I also had time on the side to start writing my third project, Wall-Spider in a more serious capacity. As soon as I finished the rough short story (now chapter one of Wall-Spider) I knew I wanted to take it farther, but I already had a few engulfing projects. It was great to really delve into developing a new book, and infinitely less stressful than the first two times.

It’s a little mind-blowing and encouraging how visible the improvement has been. I started by  re-working the short story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my current standards or style, so I improved the flow and counter-play between the first and third person narration. Then, having a good six months of ideas and notes about where I wanted to take it, barfed out a cool sixty pages, which was a new record for me.

But there’s other clerical work I do when I approach a novel. Part of that was taking the art I’ve already done for Wall-Spider and reworking it.


Hunger Demon
Hunger Demon


Hunger Demon

The main challenge was retroactively fixing the perspective issues with the first sketch. Then I drew as realistic of a padded cell backing as I could in Photoshop. The rest was simple lighting.

Obviously there are still some lighting and perspective issues, but I felt good about it for a simple three-hour session. One of the main takeaways from this for me is to really spend more time planning perspective. Messing up the two-point as badly as I did on a drawing that was otherwise very solid and emotionally personal/important to who I am was a little silly. I could have avoided the issue by spending two minutes with a compass to measure the two-point, but I free-handed the lines and rolled with it.

Theory and Thoughts (Artwork)

The philosophy for my different art series and projects are usually experimental and relatively consistent from piece to piece within the series. That makes this particular piece a little bit of a black sheep next to it’s brothers and sisters. It’s technically a similar multimedia style, but far more impressionistic in terms of technique and presentation. The background is entirely texture-work with no real lines or contour aside from the track receding into the horizon.


One of the goals for this was to turn the surrealism present in the other five up a notch. I’m not sure it was successful. The theory was by clashing rudimentary and clean texture work with smoother and more realistic shading and contour, it would bring out that dreamy kind of feel I wanted. The harsh contrast and reverse shading of the two-dimensionally textured sky and clouds were meant to bring her into focus, as the drawing itself is very busy and kind of small. It’s ambitious in that way, but I think my mechanical skill and ability to draw detail in really small areas fell short. Especially in the hair, hands and face. I’m happier with the broken wing and I think overall the piece is a unique capstone for the series.

Moving forward, I really want to work on my figure drawing and eyeballing proportions. I screwed the broken wings position up a little and that left hand is just poorly realized and rendered.

I think it’s really helpful for me personally to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. So I’ll end on a more positive note, I think the monchromatisism being broken by the aggressive crimson blood was a good call. It helps emphasize a few details that would easily be misunderstood due to poor contour and wing texturing. I will definitely be experimenting with that in the Wall-Spider art moving forward.

Another part that I think I did well on was the clothing. The ripped tank and overly textured jeans serve to impose and communicate where she is on the tracks. That’s not always easy when you’re working in black and white, because you only have one real range of value to differentiate things.



Before and after highlighting

Highlighting is cool because it broadens the tonal width of your drawings. By just going in and putting a bright white in the right areas, the drawing ends up looking entirely different because all of the old whites look like mid-tones. I’m glad I was able to salvage the nose and add more clarity to the face.


Before Highlighting


After highlights (and some mid-tone surgery and texture work if we’re being completely honest):

Winter Cover

Still need to clean up the hair. and window. I’m really excited to become better at doing this extra phase in the drawings I do because its already giving me great results. There’s still some major issues with certain areas in the drawing, but it’s great when you find yourself improving.




Back to Monochrome (Character Art)

Going back to my roots a little bit. I’ve felt like I’ve been relying on color a little too much to fix contour and compositional issues, so I wanted to practice some pure black and white. I messed up the nose pretty bad, but I’m happy with the hand and how the jackets texture turned out!

Been writing a lot and loving it. Need to focus more on Organic chem 2, but I’m sure I’ll strike a better balance.


cover art4




Heavy Paper Review 1: Watercolor Blick Studio

I’m a paper snob. A necessary trait for someone who has a heavy hand and utilizes wet mediums (Watercolors/Heavy Metal mixes/Gouaches/India Inks). As such, I like to test out various paper stocks to see which can best handle heavy mediums while still being smooth enough to support extensive line-work without forcing a texture.

Over the past two weeks I’ve worked with Blick’s in-store studio watercolor 9×12 paper.

Cost: I got it on sale for six dollars, which is very low for a whole 15 sheets of 9×12.

Specs: 9×12 inch (confirmed with ruler, +- .05 inches depending on the serration), 140ib. weight, with a smooth finish. Acid-free and Cold-press! Both good things. Made in the USA, if you care about that. The 140 pounds is standard for watercolor, but nothing special. I usually like it a higher around 160-180, but that’s just so I don’t have to worry about killing the tooth.

Texture: The texture is extremely smooth, which is what drew me in at first. Smoothness is often a double edged sword, though, as it can often correlate with a weaker tooth, which means I have to be subtle with the watercolors (God-forbid I take my time, right?)

Ink performance: This is a beautiful stock for archival and fountain inks. It can take a good amount of pen punishment without showing indents or pressure lines. I had no issues getting a good range of value either, which means the absorbance isn’t too high (some papers spread ink when you put it down too thick).

Pencil performance: It falters in the higher b pencil range, probably because its pretty thick. Texture lines will show up if you aren’t careful, but the texture is very ordered, so used correctly, this could be a bonus. hb to 6h works perfectly well as long as you sharpen enough. My 4h really liked this paper, it started to scratch above 6, though.

Watercolor performance: This is the part most of you will want to pay attention to, considering its marketed as a watercolor studio level paper. I was a little let down by how quickly the tooth came up in the mid to shadow range of my drawing. I’ve almost never wrecked the tooth with a moderately saturated tone (the middle color of a particular watercolor). Putting down deeper colors was a big struggle and I had to do it dry as the paper didn’t hold well against the paints. It was noticeably worse against my higher quality watercolors, especially ones with metals, despite being acid-free. The glaze from my series 4 amethyst barely shined despite using a bunch of it almost entirely dry.

Metal Performance: As with most smooth Cold-pressed paper, Metals and glue bind well and sink into the tooth if you’re delicate. Very good paper for leafing and adhesives. Here is a link to a piece in which I used extensive adhesives and leafing with this paper:

Oil performance: I only used a white oil in the drawing, but it reacted very well with the paper and watercolor and I was able to achieve the low opacity effect I was attempting without any issues.

Conclusion: This is a great stock for light-range watercolors, pen drawings, light use of oils. It suffers quite a bit with wet gouaches and mid-deep tone watercolors as well as heavy metal paints and mixed media projects. Overall, it’s still an excellent stock for the price. In store it was going for eight normally, but online it is listed for a mere 5.72, and I got it for 6 with a membership card.

Rating for price: 7.4/10

Rating overall: 5.6/10


Here is the mixed media painting that I did on the paper. I did quite a bit to repair the damage to the right of her head, but it still showed up in the final project despite two layers of dry oil over it. For these reasons I would not use it for an intensive mixed-media painting, but it performs extremely well for subtler projects, just go easy on the water and saturation and you’ll be fine : )Food2

Artwork: Pisces

The second piece of my Zodiac project. After Leo (found here: I really wanted to clean up the line-work and composition. This almost ended up looking a little too clean for the style, I think. This is probably the first time where I’ve had a reverse fore-ground, where the background is so noisy that it draws attention to the undetailed focus of the painting, which is a weird but kinda cool effect. Sorry about my shadow on the bottom of the picture, I have a very dark room and the light is currently out, so I had to use the window!

Concept: Pisces are all about finding that one person who makes them feel whole, there yin or yang, so to speak. To a true Pisces, life may not seem worth living until they find that person or thing that drives them. You know what they say, life was built for two.


Sagittarius (Art in progress)


Spent a good amount of time getting the outline done and some preliminary shading so I know where to put the watercolor. Tried a new technique using metals and glue which turned out pretty cool for the first try. I used my fingernail for most of it to be honest. Still need to put in the Shadows and clean up the contour before I get to painting, though.

A few mistakes, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going.

Artwork: Leo

The first piece of a conceptual project I was commissioned for. This represents the zodiac sign Leo. I wanted to get across the whole sense of individuality and feelings of not quite belonging where-ever you go.

Overall it went pretty well, a lot of pen and line errors, especially in the skeletal portion. Had a lot of fun and learned some new techniques with watercolor.

11×8 inches on blick watercolor paper. Done in watercolor and ballpoint pens. The word are an overlay comprised of typed text and a page from my dictionary.


Artwork in Progress + Steps


I recorded many of the steps along the way: 

Outline work:



Minor shading and reinforcing line-work:



Watercolor overlay and deeper mid-tone base:


Water-color detailing (Bad Picture, the light is reflecting off the heavier painted areas):


Heavy oil and pen shading+detailing in addition to skin shading and texture work (Current Progress):


It has taken on a bit of a surreal vibe with the self-harm symbolism being echoed through the blood-tinged smoke, the wrist, the smoking, and standing in front of a moving train. I like how dark I’ve managed to get the shadows as well. I need to go in with some white and highlight a few things, but I want to get basic mid-ranges handled on the train and grass before I do so.

The scene itself is from Finding Happy: Chapter 11, which hasn’t been released yet. I need to spend a week or two re-editing the flow of part one as a whole, at which time I’ll start releasing more hard-content. Another issues with these pictures is I couldn’t submit .Tif files, which really hurts the shadows in the current drawing, especially the hair. I’m going to try to figure out which compression file works best for it in future uploads, but I just wanted an update on artwork put out since it’s been almost a week and a half.



Blood-Hound (Poem + Drawing)

Blood Hound   —–>PDF with proper formatting, manuscript below. 



I’ll be your sick-bird,
you be my blood-hound,
My hearts in your mouth,
Breaking neck spins round.
You’re not the one to blame,
You see; I can’t complain,
This is all you’ve known.
Blackened bloody mold,
Just doing what you’re told.

Your love was a warhead,
A straight time-bomb,
You taught me this lesson,
That I ain’t so strong.
Take your pound of flesh,
Don’t matter if it’s right,
Hit me while I’m fresh,
You know I’ll never fight,
As long as you let me,
Love you more than this life.

So here’s to that jaw,
Tightening ‘round me,
I’m just your dead-bird,
So be my blood-hound,
‘Cause baby,
You’re the one with teeth.
And all I am is meat.


7×11 cut watercolor, Pen and marker. Edited fox