December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This is a painting I did for the DreamWorks Christmas Special Shrek the Halls, it's meant to set up the look of the lighting and color for the moment when Shrek tells the Night Before Christmas story.

December 14, 2012

Online Portrait Drawing Course!

Study portrait drawing with me from anywhere in the world! My new online class is Drawing the Portrait in Charcoal. It begins January 21, enrollment is limited, sign up today! Hosted by the great people at LAAFA!

I've done my best to make this class the strongest such class on the market, it includes nine fully illustrated,  jam packed audio/video lectures, twelve video drawing demonstrations showing a wide variety of subjects, techniques and materials, and weekly homework assignments that will build on themselves to teach you a clearer, better way to work from life.

I'll work with you personally each week, you'll get a full audio/video critique of your work where I'll talk through with you what's working in your drawing and what can be improved and I'll draw over your image to give you a personalized demonstration for every assignment you turn in. And there's a built in grace period at the end for you to wrap up any incomplete assignments and still get full critique feedback.

This class is designed to show you how to make drawing cease to be a source of frustration and become a pleasure, I'm looking forward to working with you.

December 07, 2012

Coming Soon: Online Portrait Drawing Class!

Next week we'll officially announce my upcoming online, 9 week portrait drawing class which will begin in late January.
Keep an eye out, we'll start taking enrollments at the time of the announcement and I'd be thrilled to have you join in. So if you'd like to see and hear everything I know about portrait drawing including a live recorded demo of this drawing and numerous others, check back here or at the LAAFA website for more info.
(you'll also see that I have a 2 1/2 hr charcoal portrait demonstration currently available through LAAFA).

November 26, 2012

El Dorado

This is a painting for The Road to El Dorado done in acrylics on Crescent #100 illustration board. Below is my initial sketch, as you can see I got overly excited about the contrasts and needed to back off in the final to make it a proper character moment. The last image is the final frame as it appears in the movie.

November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a table setting I put together for one of the Shrek projects.

November 14, 2012

A little help from the blogosphere please...

Hi all,
I'm getting ready to record demonstrations for a portrait drawing online class I'll be putting out early next year.

Any suggestions on what kind of personal video camera will give me nice, clean recordings?

I hear that a simple HD flip can do a good job under good lighting conditions and that's an affordable option but I'm very open to suggestions


November 12, 2012

PIB Comp

This is a comp for the grand finale shot of the Puss in Boots Short "Puss in Boots and the Three Diablos".

November 09, 2012

Online Class 2nd Term

The second term of my online class has just opened beginning April 15!
We have a limited number of spots, first come first served, sign up today!
Full again, I do appreciate your interest in this class. We may be able to take on more students for the April class at a later date so do go to the link and get on the waiting list if you're interested. We'll also run the class again for you in July and October.

November 07, 2012

My New Online Class!

Study Concept Art with me from anywhere in the world! My new online class is Concept Art for Entertainment: Designing with Color And Light. Begins January 10, enrollment is limited, sign up today! Hosted by the great people over at Schoolism!
Thanks for the overwhelming response everyone, the class sold out in the first day! I welcome you to sign up for the following term, go ahead and click the link, there's a window to leave your email address to be notified.

November 05, 2012

Townscape painting for The Legend of Puss in Boots. We spent a lot of time on a lot of different versions trying to find the right look for Puss in Boot's hometown. This one gets close but there were more tweaks as the show went through final production.

October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This is a color and lighting painting for a DreamWorks Halloween short called "The Pig Who Cried Werewolf".

October 15, 2012

Watercolor/Gouache Workshop This Saturday

Here's a reminder that my "Painting in watercolor and gouache" workshop is this coming this Saturday, October 20, 12-8pm. To enroll contact LAAFA.
This painting is watercolor with a few touches of gouache on Arches watercolor paper, 15"x20".

October 08, 2012

October 01, 2012

Painting in Watercolor and Gouache Workshop!

Fundamentals and advanced techniques for creating dynamic images with traditional gouache and watercolor media.
Saturday October 20th, 12-8pm at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art.  Enroll now online or call (877) MY-LAAFA (695-2232)

The workshop will include:
12-2:30pm: Slideshow presentation illustrating the materials, process and approach for successful painting with water based media.
3-5pm: Instructor demonstration from a costumed model.
5-6pm: Dinner break.
6-8pm: Student painting time from a costumed model with instructor feedback.

See you there! 

September 24, 2012

Another one from the archives, this is a scene I painted for Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas somewhere around 2001, photoshop.

September 18, 2012

Road to El Dorado

This is a background painting I did for The Road to El Dorado back in the day. I've added some close-ups below.

September 10, 2012

New Charcoal Step by Step

It's been refreshing to use my rare free time to get back to charcoal drawing during the last couple of months. This drawing is compressed charcoal on rives paper and is roughly life size. It was completed in about an hour and a half.


August 30, 2012

My portrait demo on sale now!

The sale price for my video demonstration is on for just a couple more days (goes back to regular price Sept 1), buy now if you're interested!

Here's the final drawing from the video.

This last image is a value analysis that I hope those of you interested in portrait drawing will find helpful: it has a noise reduction filter laid over it to remove detail and texture leaving only the value structure. It's nerve wracking to do a live demo like this one, the video crew won't come back another day if you wreck the portrait being filmed so you have to have some ideas about holding the drawing together. My idea is to carefully keep the value structure organized and grouped for a naturalistic lighting effect that is believable and clear, and that lends strength to the composition. I hope you enjoy the video.

August 18, 2012

My Portrait Drawing Video is Here!

I'm excited to announce that my portrait drawing video is now available for pre-sale! Order before the end of August to get the sale price, it will come online for download the middle of September, complete info and description are here.

August 14, 2012

Portrait in Charcoal

I'll be on the theme of portrait drawing in my posts for the next couple of weeks, and if you're in the LA area come on out to my Workshop this Saturday, August 18th where I'll show you how this is done.

This one is done with charcoal and white nupastel on strathmore 500 series charcoal paper.

August 07, 2012

Portrait Drawing Workshop on August 18!

I'm very excited to invite you out to my portrait drawing workshop on Saturday August 18, 12-8pm. To enroll contact The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, (877) MY-LAAFA (695-2232)

For this workshop I'll present a slideshow that will take you through the principles you need know to successfully draw a portrait from life, I'll do a full demonstration in charcoal then turn the time over to you to draw from a live costume model with me as your coach. The workshop will include:

• The fundamentals of constructing the head with the values of light and shadow.
• Principles for creating the illusion of space and volume on a 2 dimensional drawing surface.
• Ideas for portrait composition and creating a likeness.
• Techniques and tips on materials and the drawing process.
• Instructor demonstration from a live model.
• Student drawing time from a live model with instructor feedback.

See you there!

August 02, 2012

Earth invades Mars on August 5th!

-Update 08-06-12: Congrats to the JPL team for nailing what looked like an impossible landing! It was incredible to watch events unfold live on the big screen. If you didn't have a chance to see it check out the replay here which includes cg recreation, and this extended version that stays inside mission control and gives a good sense of the suspense and celebration.-

I'll be down at the JPL/Planetary Society Planetfest in Pasadena this weekend for the Mars Landing, it's fun to be alive in a time when people are sending robots to other planets.

No, mars does not have rings, this is actually an illustration of an interstellar probe visiting Barnards Star, a nearby red dwarf I sketched back in '93, it's all I had handy.

And since we do the occasional science fiction reference here, the recommended read of the week is David Brin's new novel Existence. It's a tour de force of life in 2050 and uniquely solves the Fermi paradox but with the appropriate mystery, threat, thrill and horror of first contact.

July 30, 2012

.This is a painting I did for The Prince of Egypt (1997). Acrylic on Crescent 100 illustration board.

July 21, 2012


Here's my Comic-Con demo at the LAAFA/Blue Canvas booth:

It's a great time to connect with old and new friends. Pictured left to right are: John Nevarez, Cecil Kim, Justin Yun, myself and Armand Baltazar

July 17, 2012

Launching Your Career in Animation and Entertainment Design Workshop

Here's a special event I have coming up on July 28 for art students interested in going into animation and entertainment art:

Saturday, July 28, 2-7pm at MakeSpace Arts 2797 E. Foothill Blvd. Ste 100, Pasadena, CA 91107. To enroll contact

Here's a 12 minute video introduction for the workshop which includes a talk on the subject for those of you who can't make it.

July 05, 2012


I have a couple of demos I'll be doing at Comic-con, stop by and say hi!
Charcoal portrait demo Saturday July 14, 2-3:30pm at the LAAFA booth, #5567  
Concept art demo Saturday July 14, 4:30-5:15pm at the Schoolism booth# 2042.

Here's a step by step for those of you who can't be there:

June 29, 2012

Head Drawing Course Begins July 9th

My head drawing class begins Monday July 9, 7-10pm. To enroll contact The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (click here for more info), (877) MY-LAAFA (695-2232).
Sure, the class will heavily cover structure and rendering (in charcoal) but in the age of instant digital photography our work needs more than just mindless rendering, so we'll also talk about giving portraits a reason to live through design.

In this lay-in example, I'm carefully finding long lines and shapes that will give the portrait strength and visual interest.

The long line that connects the background to the figure helps make the whole image cohesive and creates a repetition of the triangle shape to give a sense of meaningful relationships between the parts.

June 21, 2012

"Student to Pro" this Monday

A reminder that my "From Student to Professional and Beyond" presentation is this Monday night June 25 at the Animation Union.
Post script: we had a great time at the workshop, hope to see the rest of you next year!
One of the many subjects we covered was workspace, below is my desk while we were working on The Road to El Dorado back in 1999.

Here's the finished painting that's in progress in the workspace photo: