Shark Cats - Portraits of Terror

Hey folks, quick announcement! If you've been following my work online then I'm sure know about Shark Cats. You also probably know that I've been compiling them into a calendar for 2015! Well they are just about ready and I am offering this calendar for preorder to get a head start in time for the holidays and New Year! 

This is a desk calendar measuring 5.5x4.65 in. It features full color printing on heavy weight paper and comes packaged inside a hard plastic jewel case, perfect for displaying on your desk! Each month is laid out with a different species of Shark Cat. 

Example of layouts

Preordered calendars include a signed, mini giclée print of the Helicoprion Cat! (5.5x4.65in) While not technically a shark, the extinct helicoprion is characterized by it's unique spiral toothed mouth. It's been long been considered to be one of the more iconic of extinct shark-like fish so I've decided to depict it.

Helicoprion Cat

Here are a few images of some of the species included: 

This preorder ends November 1st! If you'd like to preorder the calendar head on over to my store!

Redesigning the Peryton

Hey folks! Here's a quick look at the process of redesigning another Dungeons & Dragons monster from the newly released Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons. One of the many creatures I got to play with was the Peryton. This creature was first featured in the original edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 1977. For 5th edition, Wizards pulled from it's rich history of monsters to feature a few old favorites and I had the pleasure of reimagining this one in particular.

The prompt for this design was pretty straightforward: large eagle-like body with the head of an elk. I wanted the new version of the Peryton to feel more like a cohesive creature rather than a chimera with pieces of animals stuck together.

 This was one of the first sketches I sent over to Wizards for approval. I wanted to capture a raptor-like stance, with the head held back and chest forward, as well as keeping the elk apparent in the head design. This monster is known for ripping out the hearts of its victims so its mouth needed to reflect that.

After receiving feedback, I moved on to add teeth and a more aggressive forward facing eye to the final design. I looked to bearded vultures and eagles for reference and ideas. From here it was on to color and a few other poses to better realize the creature. I always strive to add a few additional views and a bit of written information to better showcase what the creature looks like. Because I wasn't sure if I'd be illustrating this monster for the final manual, I needed to make sure the artist doing so would have sufficient information. 

The final monster ended up being a success! The illustration in the manual is gorgeous and I recommend finding a copy to take a look at all of the incredible art. I have lots more to share about the design process of a few monsters from Dungeons & Dragons. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stages of this monster. 

Re-designing the Kraken

In October of 2013, I was approached by Wizards of the Coast to redesign a variety of classic monsters for the newest incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons. One of those monsters was The Kraken, a legendary sea monster that has been a part of D&D since 1st edition. The Monster Manual has just hit shelves and I am busy sharing all the work I contributed to the project. 

The Kraken has taken many forms but it usually resembles a squid. When working with Wizards on this monster, they made it clear they wanted to take a different direction for this edition. These were the first sketches I sent in for approval: 

They wanted the monster to feel ancient and enormous. I pulled from extinct animals including dunkleosteus and coelacanth. The team at Wizards took a liking to the monster on the bottom right. From there, I was able to flesh out more of the monster.

Even though these concepts were for print and will probably never be animated or modeled, I strived to add a few drawings of the creature in motion as well as written information for the artist who might be assigned with illustrating the monster for the manual later. I felt it would help flesh out the look of the beast.

After a few edits to the head design, the Kraken was later illustrated by Christopher Burdett. He did a beautiful job of capturing the attitude and enormity of the monster. You can read about his process illustrating it here. Special thanks to Jon Schindehette for Art Directing the concept stage of this monster. I have many more concepts to show off in the coming days so stay tuned for more! 

 

Shark Cats

Lately I've been wanting to brush up on my gouache skills. I've always really admired the medium and I used to work almost exclusively in watercolor when I was younger. I tend to like a theme when I practice technique. It helps keep me focused on just the tools and not to much the concept or composition. 

Shark week has come and gone but I remember sitting down to sketch some sharks. I was super inspired by my Drink & Draw friend, J.P. Vine and his incredible paintings of different sharks. I was excited to draw some of my own! I'm not sure what was up that day, but I was having a terrible time. Things just weren't working and I couldn't get the sharks to look the way I wanted them to. I remembered that I had yet to warm up for a bit so I grabbed a sketchpad and began to doodle to loosen up. What came out was little scribbles of a horrible little creature: the Shark Cat.

The initial design was based on the thresher shark. I found that the short face and extremely large eyes worked well with the cat aesthetic. However, as I kept sketching, I noticed that almost any shark species could be adapted.

I had found my theme. Lately I've been working to paint more sketches of the Shark Cat variety. The Shark Cat above isn't really focused on any sort of species but it was my first little painting of one. In my more recent drawings of the creatures, I've been looking to reference of sharks to really represent the different species. It's been so much fun as they are such a diverse and amazing group! 

Here are the Mako and Lemon Shark Cats I've just completed. I took these poses from the initial doodles I did when I first started. They are common poses I've seen my cat(s) take from time to time and are pretty iconic of cats. 

working cover

The Shark Cats have been really popular online so far and I'm really excited to share the others I've come up with since these last two. I'm going to compile them into a small desktop calendar (and probably a larger wall calendar) for 2015. I'll have the calendars ready by the end of October. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll be the first to know when they are available. You can subscribe here, if you're interested. Otherwise, watch this space and my social media accounts for when they go on sale. I will also have them available at CTN this November. :)