A new way of making art

So a couple years back I figured out a neat way to have a sign company print my sketch straight to primed masonite. This made setting up a painting way easier than projecting my sketch to the board, mounting a sketch, or other tedious methods. This worked extremely well. The printed image, which was meant for store signage was lower resolution, but it was great for an underpainting.  I told others about it, and soon people were sending in art and the company was sending out printed panels all over the US. 

Then I started having doubts. We have all heard horror stories of paintings peeling off of canvases because of bad gesso. So I looked into the media that was being printing on these boards. It was UV reactive and weather sealed. Seemed ok, but of course nothing stated it as archival. Who gets a sign made for their shop and asks if it is archival. We had a couple of signs we made for the Ren Fest and that’s what made me start to worry even more. The first year the signs looked great. I had added some acrylic flourishes to them and coated them with Spar Urethane. The second year they started to look cloudy. I looked up the sign printing information again, and saw that a benefit of the UV treated inks is that it is hard to stain. Nervousness started to sink in.

By the third year both signs were peeling and unrepairable. So I though, what is going to happen to our paintings over the next 10 years? Look at what happened to Davinci’s Last Supper. So I immediately started looking for a more archival way to basically do the same thing. 

The solution

I had started looking at the fine art papers for our Epson printer. I ordered in some of the Epson Watercolor paper, and planned on using it on my next project. At Dragoncon, I spoke with Todd Lockwood, telling him my ideas, and he told me that is how he did the cover for his first book, The Summer Dragon.  In fact he pointed me to this great video of him mounting the paper, which was very helpful.


So I just recently got to try out my new process. I had a small monster who needed some color. So I scanned in the pencil sketch and did a quick digital underpainting. I then printed him out (9×12 as my Epson can do a max of 13×19) and mounted it to a Birchwood panel. A day later after the acrylic medium dried, I was able to knock out some glazes and brought him to life. 

How to finish digital painting oil paints - Make your digital painting an oil painting

Not too shabby huh?

The next project is the cover for Shonn Everett’s book The Crossing, a Dark Return adventure book. It will be a little more involved, so I will be sure to post updates!

Until next time! -Mike

New Ink Art!

Here are some illustrations I did for the “Of Gods and Heroes” RPG system!

The Sorceress, ink on paper 9×12
Braving the Western Seas, ink on paper, 9×122
The Game, Ink on paper, 9×12
Octofight!, Ink on paper, 9×12

Art Pact – A new way to help illustrators.

So anyone who knows me (or has spent anytime after hours at conventions listening to me), knows my strong feelings about the state of the art world. In the world of fantasy and sci fi illustration, we are often used, abused and tossed away. Now there are a group of guys who are trying to do something about it.

From Art Pact’s Facebook page:

artPACT is an organization dedicated to improving the working standards for illustrators. Check out an audio of its inception athttp://drawntoday.blogspot.com/2012/12/podcast-episode-41-illustrators-unite.html.
artPACT will be an online resource for illustrators, at first focusing on the fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and comic book genres. Once up and running, the artPACT website will have information for artists of all experience levels regarding contracts, copyrights, and alternative income solutions.
Most importantly, the artPACT website will feature an anonymous ratings system for companies. Members of artPACT will be able to log on and grade companies overs a variety of criteria such as amount of pay, timeliness of pay, granting of rights, and ease of work. These will be compiled into what will be an overall score for that company. This will allow artists to see, based on a companies rating, if it is one that they want to work for or not.
So right now they are running an Indiegogo campaign to help get the site going. I have already contributed and  hope you will as well!
Click here to help fund artPact!
Click here to help fund artPact!

Update to the Watcher Kickstarter

I spent last night painting and listening to tunes and got quite a bit done. At this stage it is a lot of smaller things, adding highlights, making sure that things sit right within the space, adding glazes, ect.

Here is a quick photo after last night:

Also, I added a small bio of myself on the front of the kickstarter project.

Thanks, and live the fantasy!



Silicone Mask Cast – The Demon

Some of you may remember this guy from a few months ago when I first sculpted him. Ok, ok, it’s been almost a year.

Well, we have been so busy at the shop that we have not had time to get photos and get him on the store for sale. Today I decided to use some old Ecoflex that had been in storage for a while, before it went bad. I did a quick casting and it turned out really nice! I have just enough to make 2 more masks, so I figure I will pop a couple more out and get them up on the site. Hopefully next week we can get some photos of them being worn and then posted up for all of you to see.


Demon Mask "Darkness" 2013.
Demon Mask “Darkness” 2013.