New Works, Works in Progress, and General Thoughts
The earliest drawings most of us do are based on the simplest of shapes—a circle with some dots and a few lines can become the Mighty Thor summoning lightning, or a rectangle with a triangle on top might be a suburban dream home. The longer I draw and paint, the more complex these shapes become, but I still start with the basics.
This illustration started out as a bunch of blocks stacked randomly on one another. The rescue shuttle in the foreground is a flattened cube with the corners shaved off. Details make these things look like more complex objects, but at their core, all of my paintings are boxes, spheres, cones, and tubes.
Being able to paint anywhere using my iPad is fantastic, because I never really know when inspiration will strike. I started this painting outside my doctor’s office while waiting for an appointment. While the medical building in San Francisco is certainly not as severe as this hospital in space, both are just a collection of boxes.
What are the basic building blocks of your art?
Where Do the Ideas Come From?
I’m often asked how I come up with ideas for my paintings. Sometimes they come from unexpected places (like seeing a mouthwash bottle as the perfect shape for the hull of a starship), and sometimes, as Athena emerged from Zeus’ head, they just come out of my brain, fully formed.
This piece was one of the latter kind—I woke up one morning with this image very clearly in my imagination. It’s obviously inspired by the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan books I loved as a kid, mixed with a dash of Disney’s take on the Lord of the Jungle. I started sketching right after rolling out of bed, so I wouldn’t lose the image. (For me, morning images are like dreams; if I don’t record them in some way, they vaporize.)
Over the following several days, any time I had a few minutes, an hour, or a few, I worked on the illustration. After a few days, I had this finished piece. One of the reasons I love working digitally is that I don’t have to carve out a long stretch of time to paint, because there’s no setup and cleanup time—just turn on the iPad, make sure the Pencil is charged, and start painting.
As usual, I’ve added mock text to the image to help the gentle reader imagine what it might look like as a book cover. This image is available to license for your own book. When I have two more new fantasy pieces ready, they’ll go up on the Fantasy Covers page.
If you’re an artist (painting, drawing, writing, video, photography, music, or any other medium), where do your ideas come from?