December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!


These are paintings I did for the DreamWorks Christmas special "Shrek the Halls". If you're new to my blog you can see more from this show by clicking here and scrolling down.

December 16, 2010

Upcoming January Classes

I'm offering two fun filled classes starting in January (see the sidebar for dates and times, To enroll contact, phone (877) MY-LAAFA ). Here are the course descriptions:

Colorful Life Painting in Watercolor and Gouache
Sketching from life is one of the great pleasures for the working artist. This course will provide students with the experience and understanding to work from the costume model quickly with pleasing results. Each session will include a slideshow lecture or demonstration that will guide students step by step through the drawing and painting process. Student painting sessions will be short and long poses from live models emphasizing theatrical color and lighting. Also included will be a study of the head, figure, drapery, and costume. Gouache or watercolor with white gouache is recommended though students are welcome to use acrylics or other water media.

Head and Portrait Drawing in Charcoal

This course will provide each student with the necessary understanding and experience to draw the human head with authority. Each session will consist of a lecture or demonstration that will guide students step by step through the process of drawing from a live model. The traditional elements of life drawing will be emphasized including the structure of the head, the values of light and shadow, edges, portrait composition and drawing techniques. The course will also include exercises and assignments aimed to help students greatly hone their portrait drawing skills.

December 03, 2010

November 29, 2010

James Gurney's New Book

As long as I'm pitching books I'd like to make a recommendation for you:

James Gurney's new book is out: "Color and Light, A guide for the Realist Painter". James gave me the opportunity review a first draft of the book and generously invited comments and criticism, but my comments are all positive. I'm taking time out from my regular posts to pitch the book to you because for years students have asked me if there's a good book on color and light out there and my answer has always been no. There are some great chapters here and great articles there but not a single comprehensive volume that I was comfortable recommending. But now James has taken his impressive knowledge and experience and given us exactly the book we've been looking for. I can't recommend it enough.

November 17, 2010


Moonshine is a newly published book featuring the personal work of DreamWorks visual development artists. It's on sale now at Amazon, get yourself a copy! All the profits go toward the creation of volume II which we hope to release next year.

November 11, 2010

October 28, 2010

Charcoal and Nu-pastel on Strathmore paper.

October 24, 2010

Color Design for Entertainment, Nov 13

Only a few spots left! To enroll email: or call: 818-669-4657

Hope to see you there!

October 07, 2010

Here's a scene from The Prince of Egypt. The painted background is somewhat abstract and was meant to serve as backdrop for several character moments.
.Still frame from the film.

Painted background

September 30, 2010

September 23, 2010

September 16, 2010


Sarah, oil on canvas, from a life painting session in 2000.

September 10, 2010

Location design for How to Train Your Dragon. This is the shoreline of Dragon Island. I did it in photoshop, it's inspired by a look created by our Art Director extraordinaire, Pierre Olivier Vincent.

September 01, 2010

From Student to Professional, September 14th

.I'm giving a presentation we're calling "From Student to Professional and Beyond" on Tuesday, September 14, 7-10:00 pm. It's for any student or professional artist seeking improvement and will focus on where and how to focus your efforts as you work toward developing a more professional level of artistic ability. We'll cover the skills, tools, workspace, attitudes and habits of of the successful working artist (digital and traditional). I've been working hard at fine tuning this presentation so I'm going out on a limb and guaranteeing that it will be worth your time and effort. Contact the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art at (877) MY-LAAFA or register online. Hope to see you there.

August 27, 2010

A Watercolor demo this week.

I began with a light blue wash over the paper before beginning the drawing, then added darks so as to not loose the drawing, then built up the washes from there. The drawing is in orange prismacolor which began extremely light but then I dug in with final lines so the drawing wouldn't wash away.

Winsor and Newton watercolors on Arches Cold press paper.

August 21, 2010

This is a scene painted for Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron with close-ups and a color rough. Acrylic on illustration board.


August 11, 2010

A location sketch for How to Train Your Dragon, photoshop.

August 04, 2010

A scene painted for The Prince of Egypt, 1998.

July 26, 2010

Comicon Portrait Demo

Here's my charcoal portrait demo from Comicon, it was great to see all of you who stopped by.

And much thanks to the Laafa folks for hosting.

July 14, 2010


These are digital landscapes painted in photoshop. They're meant to serve a very different purpose than the plein air gouache paintings over on Landsketch. These are exercises to improve my digital chops for my day job in entertainment art.

July 08, 2010


In my class we've been studying painting with theatrical light sources. Here are a couple of my demo sketches. Watercolor and gouache on heavyweight craft paper.

July 01, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon: Location Design


I very much enjoyed doing rockwork for How to Train Your Dragon. My Dad is a geologist and he passed on a strong interest in it to me. This area is meant to be a granite mountaintop carved out by man and nature and it was important to describe a sense of the overall structure to the digital modelers.

June 25, 2010

Composition Workshop! Saturday July 10

The skills of drawing and color are critically important and yet they don't find their full expression until they're teamed with a strong composition. If you're going to make a great picture you have to have a great composition.
That will be our topic of study for this years composition workshop on Saturday, July 10, 12-8pm. So whether you're a landscape painter, figurative or entertainment artist, if you're in the LA area I'd love to see you there.

Composition: design for dynamic picture making:
  • Slideshow presentation and lecture, 12-3pm: Lectures on the fundamentals of effective picture making. Discussions on the creation of mood and environment. Principles for organizing complex scenes into pleasing arrangements. Strategies for solving compositional problems quickly and effectively. Studies of Composition in history and the modern day
  • Painting demonstration, 3:30-5
  • Compositional exercises, 6-7pm
  • Student painting time with instructor feedback, 7-8pm

To enroll contact the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art at 877-695-2232. Their site is

June 17, 2010

June 11, 2010

Here's another idea piece for the ogre encampment from Shrek Forever After.

June 04, 2010

Shrek Forever After: evolution of a sketch

The ogre resistance encampment was an interesting challenge, here's one of many passes we took at it:

Moleskine sketch

Color rough

"Ogreifying" the location in photoshop

Establishing the scene as an ogre encampment and finishing in photoshop.

I prefer the previous image over this one, I'm a location guy more than a character painter but they asked me to populate the scene with characters. This is what I came up with.