Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Foxilisk

Last Friday on my Twitch Stream, we did the thirteenth community draw-along event #DrawTheExtinct where I posted an image from an old block print I made with a few animal photo inspiration prompts and the idea to create an imaginary extinct animal. I worked on my piece live on my Twitch stream while viewers worked at home and then on Monday we shared our finished pieces. 

Here is my finished Foxilisk. And below are my steps to create it as well as the community submissions.

We started with the prompts of my original 2000's era linocut print titled 'Extinct' as well as a Red Fox, Snake, and Bird (I went specifically with a Black Rat Snake & Eagle).

I told the viewers that they could use any combination of the inspiration prompts––they could make their version as cute and cuddly as a pocket pet stray kitten, as monstrous and deadly as a giant kaiju destroying cities, or anything in between. I also wanted this to be an excuse to get their pencils moving. I invited all skill levels, because I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't have to be good at something or pursuing mastery of it to just simply enjoy the act of it...and art is no exception.

On the Friday stream I started drawing with mechanical pencil on a sheet of copy paper to try and reimagine the beast. I wanted to keep some of the silhouette of the original print, and that meant keeping the fox's head, but this time really emphasizing the tail into it's whole body. 

I also wanted to bring in more of the bird (eagle in my case) than just the talons, so I added some wings. To the left you can see the scanned pencils (drawn on two different sheets of copy paper––the wings were on a separate piece) assembled and then digitally colored to help me see the forms a bit better. 

After I was happy enough with my above design, I printed that piece out on copy paper and taped it to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. Using a lightpad, I was able to see through the surface of the bristol as I inked the Foxilisk. I used a Copic Multiliner 0.7 SP pen to ink the art. I spent most of my inking time on stream working on the fox and eagle bits––and I saved the snake scales until last, which also meant I ran out of stream and had to do them after the broadcast was over. 

After a meal and some down-time, I got back to finishing the above inks and scanning them to color the flats on Friday night. The colors were mostly established by what each creature naturally is, but I made sure there was some adjustments in hue and value to get it to all work together.

For these Draw The Extinct pieces I have a  template with background and border already established, so it makes some of this color prep work all the easier. 

I left the flatted colors for the rest of Friday and all day Saturday before returning to them to finish the piece on Sunday. And when I did, I was disappointed in myself. I felt that the transition between fox and snake was lazy. most of it happens behind the wing, and I should have done more to blend the attributes of each species together.

So, I went back into my inks and added a scale-like texture down the face and around the eyes (similar to the coloration of the original lino print). I then rescanned the inks and lined them up with the flat colors to start the final render.

To get all the highlights, shading, and texture I used the dodge and burn tools with a stock photoshop texture brush. Below you can again see the final rendered colors with a border and type applied in this final version. 

But, as this is a community event, I wanted to share all the other entries posted in the Discord. I awarded a prize and we voted together on a few more (prize winners marked with *) on Monday's Twitch stream and we all enjoyed seeing what each other had done. I hope we get even more participants next month (First Friday!)


Capt. Nemo

Roaming Witch*






Pendrake (wip)


Nate Pride*





Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Anniversary Present

Last year  I did an online event called OnlineCon where I opened up a list for inked commissions. It's not often that I offer fully inked commissions like this any more, but I was open to the idea of making fans happy in troubled times, supplement my income with conventions responsibly canceled, and to generate material for an upcoming Mouse Guard sketchbook.

To the left you can see one of those pieces finished and colored ready for a page in that sketchbook––and in this blogpost I'll break down the process to get there.

This piece was a special request from the wife of a college friend. Their wedding anniversary was coming up as well as the arrival of their second son, so she wanted to get my pal Seyth a mouse commission of the family in front of their home. I was provided with a reference photo of their house that I could make more like a medieval cottage as well as notes about individuals' likes (the coin necklace, 33 for Larry Bird, Fleur De Lies to signify New Orleans where they met, Lavender flowers, and older son's toy Fox). I drew each character and the cottage on different sheets of copy paper and then scanned them and assembled them in Photoshop (tinting each drawing to help me see where one form ended and the next started.

I inked the piece with a printout of the above layout taped to the back of a sheet of Strathmore 300 series bristol. On my Huion lightpad I can see through the bristol down to the pencils and use them as a guide while I ink. 

I used Copic Multiliner SP pens (the 0.7 & 0.3 nibs) to ink this as I streamed on Twitch, answering fans questions as I worked.

When the inks were finished, I started the color flatting (the first step of digital coloring where you establish all the color spaces with flat color). I also added all my color holds at this stage. Color holds are areas where I want the ink lines to be a color other than black, like the background and Molly's Dress pattern.

Below you can see the final colors all rendered withe the Dodge and Burn tools and ready for inclusion in the sketchbook I'll release this year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Recent Toned Commissions

 I've finished  all the toned paper commissions from the 2021 Black Friday Sale and events like FCBD and Baltimore Comic Con. I streamed drawing almost every one of these on my Twitch Stream.

A Guardmouse with a hand-crossbow


An Elephant Shrew Mouse in Armor

'Slashy Ashy' from Ash vs The Evil Dead TV show

Demona from Gargoyles

A Frank Quietly-esque Superman

A MI mouse showing where he lives by using his paw as a map

Logray The Ewok


Dr. Doom as a Wolf

Jai from Usagi Yojimbo

Baby Yoday/Grogu/TheChild

An Arctic Fox Squire

Mouse Black Knight

A Guardmouse 

Usagi as a Rabbit in Mouse Guard

Nausicaa & The Fox Squirrel

A fan's Cat with a Guardmouse

a Mouse Athena


A Black Cat named 'Gimalkin'

A fan's Pup as an adventurer

A Guardmouse

Kenzie, a Guardmouse

Hudson, a fan's pup

Raphael of the TMNT as a medieval warrior


Iron Tortoise

Ewok Scout




Guardmouse with a pipe

Dwarven WWI Soldier

Elven WWI Soldier

Goblin WWI Pilot

Usagi Yojimbo

Usagi Yojimbo

Rat from Wind in the Willows

A Swashbuckling Guinea Pig 

Mike Mignola's Radio Spaceman

Havok of the X-Men

Iceman of the X-Men

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