Monday, July 14, 2014

Making of "Releasing the Soul"

Hi all! It's been a while, but I'm finally ready to summarize what I have learned at the Illustration Master Class. Yes, I had a very fun and productive time at IMC this year in June, and I'm proud I was able to finish another portfolio piece while I was there. Following is the process for the painting above, "Releasing the Soul".

Above is the first pencil drawn thumbnail study in my sketchbook. I was thinking about painting a hunter like creature sitting on her prey.

After the thumbnail I went to Photoshop to refine the sketch and made a rough draft of the composition. 

I presented the sketch at the first critique, and I received good feedback from the instructors. Many of the teachers had concerns about hiding the face of the character. I never thought it'll be an issue, but seeing their reaction made me realize the weakness of the creature design. 

So I refined the draft, trying to make the design more effective. I tried more weird design for the creature on her shoulder too... This one is flipped because I often flip the image to adjust the balance of the composition. I probably forgot to flip it back to the original direction when I was saving the wip image :p

Then I photographed myself for reference with a help of my classmate. Using the reference I kept refining value of the painting. 

I threw in some color... At this stage I usually use "color" option in layer mode. After blocking general color for each elements I make a new layer on top and start refining with normal layer mode. I got feedback from Iain McCaig at this point that the feet are not working with the flow of creature design. Also, Greg Manchess commented the spear blade should be defined more, as well as the background, adding more bodies to give perspective. Then Donato Giancola came over and suggested to refine the tail more. He also said the creature on the shoulder is disappearing that I should change the hue to make it pop more. I remember Dan Dos Santos gave me a feedback that the blue blood should be saturated more. (Yes, more blue indeed. It's so Dan! giggles)

This is the final version after working on the revisions. Do you see a difference? 

One thing I learned from this year's IMC is that I need to be more conscious about the character's pose. I tend to depict characters in subtle gestures, and sometimes it's not the best way to show what exactly is going on. I have strong urge not to make my paintings too obvious and shallow, so this is one of the things I need to focus for future projects.

Well, this is all. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

More zombies!

Hi all! Another batch of cards is out on Deadman's Cross. I'm excited to post these! 

Deadman's Cross

Spectrum Live is next week and I'm excited about that too. This will be my first time visiting fantasy convention, and I'm looking forward to meet a lot of people! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014


It's been a while! I'm glad that I can finally show some of my zombies I did for Deadman's Cross. I never thought I'll be painting zombies for work since I am afraid of corpses, but this project has been such a joy. I found zombies are so cool (and beautiful indeed), and Walking Dead to become one of my absolute favorite TV series to watch any time. Itchy, tasty!

...And to my dear friend Eliot, here's your portrait as zombie skater.

Download and play on your phone!
Deadman's Cross:

Friday, November 29, 2013


It's Thanksgiving and I decided to work on this.

Got rid of the halo, made it simple shape overlay instead. Trying out some effect, but not feeling it...

No effects. Worked more on the background.

Slight adjustment to the contrast, a bit of overlay on the creature face and halo, more details on the dress. Also trying some minimal effect (line) on the creature.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Facebook site and new painting

Last month I released my official Facebook site. Check it out...and subscribe! :D

It's almost the end of November, and a bunch of holidays is coming soon. I decided to start a new painting for the rest of the month. I don't know if I can finish it, but posting the progress here definitely helps to keep me motivated.

Initial sketch was done a couple months ago. Let's see how it goes...

Probably around 2 hrs later. I put some colors on and starting to paint. I turned the black+white sketch red brown using color layer, and now I'm painting on top of it with more variation of colors. I don't paint in oil, but I guess this is what oil painters do ...toned underpaint with more pigments on top.

Friday, October 4, 2013

more High Heavens art

I got permission to post the latest card arts for High Heavens :) Here is Disable, with full composition followed by her sister card Ensorsel (also in full composition). I have posted Ensorcel before, but it's nice to see them being extra fluffy when they are together. There are lots of negative space in the bottom half due to the card layout requirements. Enjoy!



I love painting clouds. It's so simple yet so hard to make a successful cloud!

and Flight of the Valkyrie. Yay horses!

Friday, September 13, 2013


I finally scanned some of the pages from my latest sketchbook. I started the drawing practice couple months ago in Japan when I had more free time. Lately I got busier freelancing and taking care of the house so I stopped doing the routine of daily drawing :( 

This time, most drawings are based on the photo reference I found online. The credits of the original photos are written on each page. (Sorry for messy handwriting!)