Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I head over to Muddy Colors to check up on what many of my favorite artists are working on, and how they do their art. It's always a pleasure. But sometimes, the insight is so sublime, the experience so universal, the post so poetic it moves one to tears, that I must share it. I would feel like a criminal for keeping it to myself.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

one down, the rest to go.

Here's a painting for the ArtOrder "Deungeon Delve" challenge.
I shall inflict more art on these internets soon, as my new image is developing. Here's a sketch. It's young, so don't judge too harshly.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

line dependency

Hi, my name is Micah, and I am line dependent. When I stood with Jon Schindehette outside of the Heritage Center in Altoona, the setting sun painted the cathedral with a dusky glow, and the frosted cinnamon bun I had for breakfast was wearing off, he gave me some great insight into producing more painterly pieces, pieces that I could shop around to more publishers of fantasy and science fiction art, pieces that are closer to the works I imagine myself creating.
The techniques of color and light, contrast and texture, are techniques I remember from school, and from my own work before comics. But the assembly line nature, and tight deadlines, of comics led me into line dependency, where I could quickly map out shapes, environments, and characters and keep them all on model throughout the book, then add texture and color later. So I created some good comic work, but lost the craft of using texture and light to my advantage. I needed an intervention, and I got one in PA.
In order to move away from the line and back into the realm of realism I'm going to take Jon's instructions to heart. Warm and cool colors can not only move the eye forward and backward through an image but invoke real atmospheric distance in settings on Earth (or any fantastic place like earth). As fall becomes winter I find myself looking wistfully at the bare trees that make the forests and wind-breaks in this part of the world. The trunks must be made of browns, greys, and whites. But in the distance I'll be damned if I don't see blues, purples, and yeah, green (but just a smidge). Lots of atmosphere make the world blue. Rayleigh Scattering. I taught it to my toddler, but failed to absorb the lesson myself. But that's not all a pressurized blanket of N2, CO2 , O2, and Ar can do to a landscape.
Not only do the lines of real and unreal, symbol and literal, blur in a successful fantasy piece, but so should the ends and beginnings of the objects and environments illustrated. We view the world with a dynamic field of vision, focusing on some things, letting others stray out of focus. I'm going to let a little of that infect my art from now on too if I can manage it.
A couple more bits of wisdom feature warm colors making highlights pop, cooler color as diffused light brings other things to light, and keep the shadows cool to make the highlights really sell. I hope I remembered that right.
But when in doubt, I can study light in the world around me, with some new benchmarks to help my brain wrap its sticky grey lumps around what my vision orbs are picking up.
Thanks again Jon. I'll be back when I have made some finished arts. Until then, take 'er easy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This year I attended Illuxcon in Altoona, PA. What a fantastic show. I was four days amongst the best fantasy artists in the world. I was able to meet in person, Jon Schindehette, who has recently taken me on as a mentee to help me become the fantasy artist that I want to be. I met and had dinner with several of my favorite artists, Mark Nelson, Todd Lockwood, Lars Grant-West, Jeff Easley (sorry for the lack of link, Jeff. I think I must have the wrong web address for your site), and Cyril Van Der Haegen, whose work I was only familiar with in passing and has since elbowed it's way into a 9 inch space among my favorites.

I met John Jude Palencar (holy moly!), bought a drawing of his and we talked about Ireland. Later, while telling a horror story about an 8 track player left on overnight, he sang a few verses in the voice of Tom Waits. I was able to watch Todd paint, and hear him speak about composition. Donato Giancola gave an excellent talk on abstraction in realism. Mark also gave a couple talks about critter design, and inking over pencils. I learned a tremendous amount from all these goings on, and absorbed so much more from the other artists on the scene, Steve Prescott, Mark Poole, Justin Gerard, Ralph Horsley, Jeff Laubenstein, Tyler Walpole, Steve Ellis, Jordu Schell, Kara and Tom Kuebler, Pat Jones, and Lauren Cannon. It was utterly amazing.

I mentioned Jon's mentoring, and I'll get back to that in the next post, he had some excellent insight for me about becoming less line dependent in my pieces. And he had some praise for my work in Trickster, which really made my week. Cheers, Jon! But yeah, more on that later.

So I come home from Altoona, with a little more steel in my blood, and a hopper full of theories, insight, and the dampened sawdust that is usually up there keeping my hairs rooted in place. I got way more out of Illuxcon than I ever expected. I'll be going back next year. Take it to the bank.

Thanks for show Pat and Jeannie, you really know how to make it happen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

an oldie but a goodie.

Here is a short I did a while back. Jason Rodriguez who edited, "Postcards: True Stories That Never Happened", in which I illustrated Josh Fialkov's story, Homesick, asked me to help him with a pitch for a collaboration with blog, Post Secret. It didn't pan out. But the postcard Jason sent me inspired me to use one of my own secrets in the short. This is a half-autobiography about how I learned I had Crohn's disease.
I hope you dig it.
It's called, "As a Kid I Thought I Was Half-Robot".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ranger final

I think. Probably. Definitely. Maybe...Ok, Ok, I'll commit. It's done. unless...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shoggoth wip

From H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness".

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ranger a work in progress

First I took some pictures of Jodi posing with some simply amazing rock formations up at Devil's Lake. Then took them home and began to transform them, and her, into a mountain ranger. Here goes.

color worm

Here is the final of the Emergence of the Worm piece. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here, fishy, fishy...

A little bioluminescent bugger. Enjoy...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Here are the colors. I think it turned out nicely. My first attempt blending digital backgrounds with penciled focus in the near-midground.
I hope you like it as well.
Next up, a couple critters...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Take That Chicken to the Sky

When an npc commoner get a hold of treasure meant for the players. He takes wing, to give his little hen a taste of the high life!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Art Order, neat and tidy

Visit ArtOrder
It's the best of it's kind out there. At least I assume it is, I've never seen anything quite like it before.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


With no mirror, I suppose this must be how I see myself most of the time.
Food for thought.

Hey, Farritor! Like snowy obstruction much?!

So, I'm cheapening myself by not addressing the ground, obscuring it with snow or mist. At least I'm not afraid of color...wait... Damn.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Black and White vista

Ahhh....A nice black and white vista. Hopefully, for your viewing pleasure. I'm kinda amazed how quickly it came together. I know, I know, most of the thing is obscured by mist. But hey, I wanted eerie or dreamy, and eerie or dreamy is what I think I got.

Monday, August 2, 2010

digital sketches

Here are two of the sketches I was working on tonight. Well, two version of the same sketch. It's coming along, slowly but surely.
I imagine I'll get the hang of this in a while, a year or so maybe :) We'll see.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dr. Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships

Here are my latest classics images. The good doctor fulfilling his wanderlust gets more than he bargains for. The surgeon finds himself the pivot in a deadly conflict whose origins can only be described as a catastrophic ovoantagonism. Hope you like them.
These images are copyright READ magazine and Reader's Digest 2010.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a couple more from the last few years

Okay, enough of the retrospective. Back to the task at hand...a giant of a man, among a people as little minded as they are little in stature. Cheers.
These images are copyright READ and Reader's Digest.

a few pieces of the past couple years

Images copyright READ and Reader's Digest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I'm going to let this rest for a few hours and come back to it for a fresh look. Lot of strands in the ol' duder's head...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Easter, the feast of the year! This year's was remarkable. I took a couple new recipes for a spin, and a new beverage too.

Since we moved beyond mint jelly a long tome ago as an accompaniment to lamb (we now rely on basil pesto as a spreadable edible for lamb) I wanted to find another way to get some mint back into Easter. The aperitif...mojito. I enjoyed this so much that I forgot 'till the last minute to snap the photo. Jodi made a great salad of spinach, walnuts, strawberries, and raspberry vinaigrette. Very delicious, I'm sorry to say it disappeared before I pulled the trigger on this photomatic. A credit to my beautiful wife's talent with greens. Next, vegetable.

Asparagus in a in a dijon/mayonnaise sauce topped with the ubiquitous fried onions. This was a side I did last year, minus the onions, that I learned from Jacques Pepin's cooking show a couple years ago. Fast Food, My Way, is a terrific program. Which brings me to another great recipe and another great resource: Red potatoes with lemon zest, parsley, and feta, from Cook's Country magazine.

Genius. The garlic, feta, and lemon complimented the mustard in the asparagus, and reminded our tongues of the citrus in the drink and salad. And when the taters got in the pesto, and asparagus got a crumb of feta as a carry on, it was glorious. Then there was the lamb.

Sorry vegetarians and cute-baby-animal lovers, but some beasts were meant to eat. I feel good knowing that somewhere out there some other family is sitting at a table enjoying the other hind of this guy. Pierced and implanted with garlic, rubbed down with salt and pepper, browned in the pan then covered in the same dijon mustard from the asparagus sauce before roasting, this leg was simple and turned out like a dream.
We ate, we drank, we laughed and made yummy sounds. Then we brought out my mom's lemon chess pie, a pie that had a poem written about it (or at least the promise of a poem). Garnished with strawberries, the end of the meal harkens back to the beginning. Even chilled, it melts in the mouth. Buttery and sweet, tart, creamy, crunchy, it was all of these and more.

It would diminish the night to say the pie was the end of the meal. We kept having a good time and finding room to sneak more odd bites of pie, lamb, and potato, long after the main run through. Thanks to Jodi for cleaning up after, thanks to BearPaw and Nonni for making the trip out, thanks to Ella for being so durn cute and sweet throughout, and thanks to the whoever first distilled magic from sugar cane.
Have a great one.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Lately I've been spending a lot of time over at the ArtOrder blog. It's a community of artists set up by Jon Schindehette, Senior Art Director for Dugeons and Dragons at Wizards of the Coast. Check it out here.


Friday, March 19, 2010


With the eyecapsule armor of a dinichthys, the chitinous jaw-claw manipulators, and mouth petals, glistening with surface toxin, the eight eye-tentacles may be the least of your worries. Say "hello" to the primordial ancestor of the common beholder! Now say, "Goodbye".

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Last of the Spirits

"It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the dusky shroud, there were ghostly eyes fixed upon him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost, could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black."