Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rising Stars : REMINDER

Don't forget, if you want the chance to win FREE DISPLAY SPACE at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2, your submissions need to be in by the end of the day tomorrow! More info HERE.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Are You In?

The official SPECTRUM 20 ARTIST LIST has been posted! Congratulations to all who made it in!


Kate Adams
Jason Shawn Alexander
Mark Alfrey
Christian Alzmann
Richard Anderson
Kalman Andrasofszky
Mia Araujo
Steve Argyle
L.D. Austin
Tohru Patrick Awa
Chris Ayers


Tom Babbey
Daren Bader
Volkan Baga
Ana Bagayan
Scott Bakal
Andrew Baker
Anna & Elena Balbusso
Armand Baltazar
Paolo Barbieri
Jonathan Bartlett
Shaun Beaudry
Kelsey Beckett
Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Julie Bell
Steven Belledin
Rob Benevides
Rasmus Berggreen
Rick Berry
Ed Binkley
Pascal Blanché
Florian Bo
Paul Bonner
Sam Bosma
Noah Bradley
Andy Brase
Aleksi Briclot
Laurie Lee Brom
Tim Bruckner
Scott Brundage
Sam Burley
Chris Buzelli


Rovina Cai
Martin Canale & The Gore Group
Lauren K. Cannon
Antonio Caparo
Bill Carman
Chrystal Chan
Jason Chan
Soi H. Che
Colin Christian
Henry Christian-Slane
Bobby Chiu
Frank Cho
Donna Choi
Dan Chudzinski
Kali Ciesemier
Sam Wolfe Connelly
Gordon Crabb
Kinuko Y. Craft
David Crust


Matt Dangler
Galen Dara
Michael J. Deas
Michael Defeo
Bastient Lecouffe Deharme
Cam de Leon
Mélanie Delon
Camilla d'Errico
Peter de Sève
Eric Deschamps
Brian Despain
Joe DeVito
Zelda Devon
Peter Diamond
Sara K. Diesel
Julie Dillon
Daniel Dociu
Terry Dodson
Dave Dorman
Devon Dorrity
Dan dos Santos
Lee Dotson
Allen Douglas
Boris Dubrov
Jonny Duddle
Chris Dunn


Jesper Ejsing
Craig Elliott
Tristan Elwell
Jeremy Enecio
Jason A. Engle


Jason Felix
Aly Fell
Tom Fleming
Eric Fortune
Jon Foster
Tom Fowler


Randy Gallegos
Phroilan Gardner
Alex Garner
Mark Garro
Matt Gaser
Jesse Gee
Justin Gerard
Donato Giancola
Gary Gianni
E.M. Gist
Cory Godbey
Lucas Graciano
Lars Grant-West
Burton Gray
Tanner Griepentrog
Gris Grimly
Rebecca Guay
Scott Gustafson
Feng Guo


Wayne Haag
Brian Haberlin & Gierrod Van Dyke
Brian Hagan
Nils Hamm
Randy Hand
Ryohei Hase
Michael C. Hayes
John Hendrix
Kelley Hensing
Christina Hess
Stephen Hickman
David Ho
Johannes Holm
Bruce Holwerda
Levi Hopkins
Edward F. Howard
Te Hu
Zhao Huanhua
Kurt Huggins
Adam Hughes
Gus Hunter


Tyler Jacobson
Bruce Jensen
Arantza Jimenez
Android Jones
Jaime Jones
Patrick J. Jones
Eric Joyner
Lee Joyner
Joe Jusko


Ingrid Kallick
Jakub Kasper
Aldo Katayanagi
Agata Kawa
Nick Keller
Brian Kesinger
Paul Kidby
Tom Kidd
Edward Kinsella III
Ed Ko
Victor Koen
Michael Komarck
Karl Kopinski
Stefan Kopinski
J. Anthony Kosar
Kekai Kotaki
Vance Kovacs
Thomas S. Kuebler


Thierry Labrosse
Raphael Lacoste
Stephan Lambert
Herman Lau
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Vanessa Lemen
Matthew J. Levin
Travis Lewis
Yang Liang
Andris Liepnieks
Xiang Ling
Fabio Listrani
Francis Livingston
Todd Lockwood
Jerry Lofaro
Lindsey Look
Yoann Lossel
Melene Reynolds Laugesen
Travis A. Louie
Jeffrey Alan Love
Rodrigo Luff


David Mack
David Malan
Serena Malyon
Gregory Manchess
Michael Manomivibul
Alexandra Manukyan
Maurizio Manzieri
Andrew Mar
Stephan Martiniere
Jonathan Matthews
Brian Matyas
Bill Mayer
Dan Maynard
Chris McGrath
Sean McMurchy
Meats Meier
David Meng
Fiona Meng
Petar Meseldžija
Jennifer L. Meyer
Chris Miles
Aaron Miller
Kurt Miller
Jeff Miracola
Bruce D. Mitchell
Christine Mitzuk
Christopher Moeller
Mark Molchan
Peter Mohrbacher
Jean-Baptiste Monge
Goni Montes
Sho Murase
Scott Murphy
Chris B. Murray
Sean Andrew Murray


Mike Nash
Mark A. Nelson
Winona Nelson
Victo Ngai
Tran Nguyen
Cliff Nielsen
Terese Nielsen


Tim O'Brien
William O'Connor
Walter O'Neal
Dan Orizio
Karla Ortiz


John Jude Palencar
David Palumbo
Lucio Parrillo
Eduardo Peña
John Picacio
Natalia Pierandrei
Shane Pierce
Jerome Podwill
Mark Poole
Inga Poslitur
rk post
George Pratt
Dave Pressler
Jeff Preston
Theo Prins
Vincent Proce
Liz Pulido


Joe Quinones


Chris Rahn
Frederick Rambaud
Patricia Raubo
Omar Rayyan
Corinne Reid
Kirk Reinert
Wayne Reynolds
Paolo Rivera
John Rocco
Forest Rogers
Denman Rooke
Virginie Ropars
J.S. Rossbach
João Ruas
Greg Ruth


Lauren Saint-Onge
Steven Sanders
Ruth Sanderson
Dominick Saponaro
A.M. Sartor
Marguerite Sauvage
Marc Scheff
Lara Schneider
Dan Scott
Chris Seaman
Don Seegmiller
Dave Seeley
David Seidman
Cynthia Sheppard
Brandon & Jarrod Shiflett
James Shoop
Marc Simonetti
Jeff Simpson
Andrew Sonea
Soutchay Soungpradith
Nick Southam
Craig J. Spearing
John Stanko
Greg Staples
Matt Stawicki
Annie Stegg
Derek Stenning
Jim Steranko
Ivica Stevanović
Jason Stokes
Gus Storms
William Stout
Paul Sullivan
Raymond Swanland
Justin Sweet


Steven Tabbutt
Erica Taguchi-Newton
Katya Tal
Shaun Tan
Ben Templesmith
Thom Tenery
Andrew Theophilopoulos
Heather Theurer
Paul Tobin
Brian Thompson


Jan Urschel


Christoph Vacher
Charles Vess
Jeff Victor
Vincent Villafranca
Olivier Villoingt
Raoul Vitale


Jeff Wack
Ryan Wardlow
Sam Weber
Tony Weinstock
Steven Welter
Steve Wheeler
Michael R. Whelan
Patrick Whelan
Bruce Whistlecraft
Eric Wilkerson
Allen Williams
Jeremy Wilson
Ashley Marie Witter
Richard Wright
Bayard Wu


Min Yum


Jianbang Zhang
Lu Zhang
Pally Zhang
Chuan Zhong

In Progress Demo: Zombie

-By Mike Butkus

On this project I started on a Crescent cold pressed illustration board that I prepared with a mid value mixture of paynes grey and gesso. I applied the mixture using a 2 inch nylon brush. Once the ground dried thoroughly I projected my drawing using a black prisma pencil for everything except for the girls face and hand. I used a red prisma pencil for those to keep her features softer. At this point I use my sketch as a guide making adjustments on the board as I need to.

At this stage, I make sure to keep the painting very transparent. That means using a lot of water in your acrylic pigment. The key is not to lose your drawing. The opaque paint should be reserved for the highlights. The colors I started to lay down with both brush and airbrush are blue greys and reddish tints. A medium sized round white nylon brush will do if you don’t have an airbrush, just be sure to keep the paint transparent.

For texture I splatter the zombie with reds, blues, and greens with an old toothbrush. This tool works great for this.

After laying in a little color and texture I start to define the shapes using transparent flesh tone washes with nylon brushes. A blow dryer always comes in handy to dry the layers quickly as you start to build them up.

Once I have enough transparent layers of paint down, I follow up by drawing back on top with more prisma pencils. They work great on top of the acrylic washes. To create some of the translucent washes I mix gesso with acrylic to give it that creepy wet look.

Finally, I add the finishing details with small nylon brushes and well pointed prisma pencils. For opaque highlights you can use white gouache or acrylic. Hope that helps!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Fhtagn: Part 1

-By Serge Birault

Here's the first part of my next personal work.

Here's my photo reference. Once again, my wife and my muse, Chloé, is gonna be my model.

The sketch is quite simple. I'm not sure for the design of the little Cthulhu ...

The sketch is on a Multiply layer (about 20% opacity) . I'm painting under the sketch.

I'm starting to work on the volumes and the contrast. The black parts are another layer. As usual, I'm working only with the soft round brush and very low opacity.

Finding the good contrast is the most important part when you try to achieve realistic rendering. I'm adding a little bit of red in the darkest parts and and a little bit of cyan on the brightest ones.

I'm creating a lot of layers, at least one for each part (eyes, mouth, ...).

The eyes are finished.

First step for the lips.

I'm adding the glasses.

I'm painting a flat black area on another layer for the hair.

I'm fixing all the little details : the freckles, the skin texture (with the "dry brush"), the reflection on the hair, the edges of the face, ... For the colors adjustments, I'm creating four different layers on the top.

Next part in 15 days :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Trip to Middle-earth

by Donato

I have been reading and rereading passages of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion over the past few months for various reasons, from research for work on private commissions to explorations in the freedom of expression to inspiration for drawings within my limited edition books.

Over the course of my career, I have created very few images along a single theme, preferring to bounce from one concept to another as I seek out challenges to keep my interests fired.  But as I began to draw and paint more from Tolkien's world of Middle-earth, the issue of inspiration was never lacking.  A large body of work has now been generated which a few years ago I never thought to undertake!  A series of images was born with out my awareness.

I  share with you here the work created for the limited edition version of Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth .  Each book features a tipped in toned paper plate upon which I have filled with a drawing, one for each letter of the alphabet.. With 22 now finished, there are just a few more to go!

What I have thoroughly enjoyed about these creations is that they need never be brought to full tonal color.  I am free to explore the lines and designs restricted only by pencil and chalk.  Of course a few of these will see a color final as I find myself falling in love with more than just one composition!


Limited Edition 'B'  Eowyn

Limited Edition 'D'
The Departiure of Boromir

Limited Edition 'E'
The Phial of Galadriel

Limited Edition 'F'
Inside Information

Limited Edition 'G'
Flight to the Ford

Limited Edition 'H'
Eowyn and the Nazgul-Swift Stroke

Limited Edition 'I'
Gollum - the Debate

Limited Edition 'J'
Gandalf and the Balrog -you cannot pass

Limited Edition 'K'
Aragorn on the Trail of the Uruk-hai

Limited Edition 'L'
Nienor and Glaurung

Limited Edition 'M'
Zirak-zigil : I threw down my enemy...

Limited Edition 'N'
The Ents Roused

Limited Edition 'O'
The Greatest Deed - Beren and Luthien in Angband

Limited Edition 'P'
Riddles in the Dark

Limited Edition 'Q'
Beren and Luthien

Limited Edition 'S'
Aragorn in Arnor
Limited Edition 'T'
Escape from Orthanc

Limited Edition 'U'
Legolas : On the Banks of the Anduin

Limited Edition 'V'
Earendil and Elwing approach Valinor

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Comic Con Curves

By Jesper Ejsing

Image © Andrew Hickinbottom 
I fell over this 3D image and it kind of settled in me. It is a personal work called "Comic Con Curves" by Andrew Hickinbottom. I am his new fan.

Well its funny and sexy and its got boobs right in your face. That is an obvious "like" in my book.  But what really impressed me was the perception and setting of the scene. I instantly remember all the time I have stood in lines waiting to talk to one of my idols at a comic con or an art show. Being from Europe and most of my idols being Americans also meant that I had travelled very far to meat them. Standing there in line with my pre prepared portfolio eager and at the same time afraid to show it to anyone is a real sore feeling. the first time I attended a convention I was blown away by all the people who had taken the opportunity to dress up. First I thought it was childish and ridiculous but when I noticed the reaction of the crowd as someone, wearing a greatly put together costume, I realized that it wasn´t stupid at all. these guys were behaving like kings of the world, staying in character acting it out, for a day or two. And I had to admit, it would take a lot of guts to dress up like that. I wouldn't dare it.

Back to the 3D. I simply love the stylized style. it looks so much like a cartoonist drawing turned real life. The super naturalistic pens lend credibility to the scene. The best thing is the card board material used for her check armour and weapon. The attention to details and setting up the scene makes this the true homage to Cos-players.

Check out Andrew's blog, to see more of his work.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hanging With the Pros

Spectrum Live is less than 2 months away, and I am very happy to say that Muddy Colors will officially have a booth there! At the booth, we will be exhibiting art from our contributors (even from some that can not attend), doing demos, and even doing some portfolio reviews.

Photo © Irene Gallo
We've spoken on Muddy Colors before about the great importance of conventions. How presenting your art in a professional and public manner is very important when trying establish, maintain and expand your career. I know a lot of artists who have gotten their big break thanks to their exhibiting at a convention.

But conventions can be really expensive, especially for those just starting out. Dishing out $500 for a table, and shipping all of your stuff (both ways) is not always financially feasible for a budding artist who is still trying to land their first job. It's a bit of a Catch 22... you need to advertise to make money, but you need money in order to advertise.

So what is an aspiring illustrator to do?

Well, we here at Muddy Colors would like to help you get the exposure you need. As such, we are proud to announce our first ever 'Muddy Colors: Rising Stars' showcase.

Muddy Colors will be awarding FREE display space to three lucky would-be illustrators. You can have your painting hang in a professional setting, for thousands to see, right alongside our own.

And the best part... it doesn't cost you a thing! There is no fee to submit, no fee to exhibit, and no commission will be taken should your painting sell. The only cost to you is getting your painting there, and back. You don't even need to be there, you can ship it to us!

Here is how to submit:
-Send an email to:
-In the header, place the subject: Muddy Colors: Rising Stars
-Attach a single scan of the work you wish to submit for consideration.
-In the email, also include: Your full name, a phone number, and medium/dimension info for the attached image.
-(You may submit up to 3 pieces of art, but each entry must be submitted in separate emails.)
-Deadline for Submission is April 2nd, 12:00 am EST
A panel of Muddy Colors contributors will view all the entires, and select their three favorite pieces for inclusion. We will personally contact the winners no later than April 8th.

This showcase is open to artists from any country, and artworks of ANY medium. However, the only stipulation is that there must be a physical piece of art to hang. That means if you work digitally, you will need to print, and frame your work in a professional manner. Please be certain you are capable of framing and shipping your work prior to submitting.

Monday, March 25, 2013


by Arnie Fenner

I was talking about Lord of the Rings art with Tim Kirk and Michael Whelan over dinner one evening during the Spectrum 20 judging. John Howe, Alan Lee, Donato, and many others were enthusiastically discussed, but I kept returning to my belief that Tim's "The Road to Minas Tirith" (which he says was inspired by the classic painting of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow) and Michael's "The Eagles Are Coming" are two classics for our field. Both are incredibly different in technique and approach and yet both are so "right" that I can't imagine either scene being improved upon by other hands in other interpretations. Why do I feel that way? Take a look for yourselves.

Below: I'm not sure which of these inspired Tim's painting (which was originally done as part of his Master's thesis and which subsequently was published in the 1975 J.R.R. Tolkien wall calendar): I'll have to ask. Update: From Tim. "It was, indeed, this [the second] painting—'Napoleon, Campaign of France' by Ernest Meissonier—that inspired my composition for 'The Road to Minas Tirith'...there was just something about the foreground/background relationship that appealed to me."

Below: I believe Michael originally painted this for a calendar, too. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Kiss: Part 3

-By Tim Bruckner

With all the parts cast and cleaned of seams and flashing (See: The Kiss: Part 2), its time to prime to give the paint a good foundation. There are a number of types of primer. I use Model Master, white primer, made by Testors. The droplet pattern is very fine and results in an even surface-less coating. Hardware store primers spray a droplet patter much larger and results in a slightly textured surface which is amplified with layers of top-coat paint. If I have the time, which is rare, I like to let the primer dry overnight.

A word about paint. Cel-Vinyl. It made by Cartoon Colour ( In the old days of paper and pencil and hand drawn animation, cartoons were made up of hundred of painted acetate cels. Inked and painted on the reverse and photographed one at a time. Same paint. The advantage of using cel-vinyl over other paints is its opacity, ease of application and flat-finish. Its water based and brush friendly. Best applied in a series of washes. If you’ve used water colors, you’ll have an edge in starting out. When dry, it accepts a variety of varnishes willingly.

I always paint the heads first. It’s the first thing people look at and takes the most concentration. DC needed two sets of Paint Masters. Each statue was made up of fourteen parts so, twenty-eight painted pieces. Two long days. Thank the Gods for audio books!

With all the parts painted, they all get a seal coat of Model Master lusterless-flat. And they ain’t kidding about the flat part. Cel-vinyl travels. It has a wanderlust that likes to hitch a ride on your finger tips and deposit its stain on other parts. Black is the worst, but certain reds and the infamous magenta are almost as bad. So a good coat of flat keeps everyone in their place and makes for easy handling. Then, its selective top coats. The lips and certain costume details get a gloss coat. The hair gets a dry brush of gloss for highlights. Other costume details will get a coat of satin. Lastly, the metallics.

The cloud base was cast in a translucent off-white resin, airbrushed with a light blue and sealed with the flat varnish. The bodies were assembled in order, kind of like a 3D jigsaw puzzle. With both figures together, time to position Wonder Woman into the base. In production, its likely the figures will be cast in self-colored resin, resin tinted to match the flesh color. With these Paint Masters, I had to be careful not to scrape off any of her leg paint in positioning her. One of the benefits of thermal-cure resin (a resin that generates heat when the A and B sides are combined to cure into a solid) is a little external heat like a hairdryer, will soften it up and allow for repositioning. I softened the cloud section, opened it up a little, slipped her leg into it, ran a few beads of superglue here and there and closed it up around her leg nice and tight.

Two and a half months later… The Kiss.