Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hello. I am incredibly excited to be here on Muddy Colors and share a little of what I do. As a freelance illustrator and concept artist, I spend most of my time creating game art as well as character concept art for video games.

Since much of this blog is dedicated to traditional painters, I thought I would talk about my process as a digital artist. As I began to look through my artwork trying to find examples that best portray my method, I found myself eliminating a good deal of potential examples. I judged them not good instances of what I felt was indicative of my process. I hadn’t realized how much it varied from painting to painting, especially at the start. That is where most of my experimenting occurs. I approach each problem differently based on the assignment and also by mood.  These are some various approaches I have used in recent projects.
One comfortable starting point for me is using large positive and negative shapes. I use chunky opaque brushes to carve out silhouettes. This works especially well for complex commissions because I concentrate on the overall concept and composition, and avoid getting lost in details. I usually begin with three values: one dark, one light and the mid-toned “canvas." Once I am happy with a thumbnail, I hone in on the details.

Another starting point is the line drawing. Usually it is a simpler composition where I already have a solid idea in mind. After a few loose thumbnails I dive into a tight line drawing (at least tight for me). I paint my basic values underneath the line drawing, flatten it and paint the finish on top. This approach feels most traditional to me.

Recently, I experimented by using a photo of myself in what I thought might be a good pose and then heavily manipulated it and painted over it. Once I found what I was looking for, nothing of the original pose remained. It kind of felt like building with clay. Now that I had a solid direction, I went and took a new photo reference to help inform the new pose and lighting scheme. The end result was quite a bit different from what I imagined when I first got in front of the camera. This process was an instance where I had only a vague vision of want I wanted for the piece at the start and used photo-manipulation as inspiration.

Lastly, another approach was for a series of five ‘Magic: the Gathering’ artificers. I decided to thumbnail, sketch and paint all five on the same page, going back and forth between them tag team style. It was a lot of fun seeing them evolve next to each other. I just don’t think I could have logistically done this had I not been working digitally. I kept it going as long as possible until the file size just got too unruly and I had to separate them out to put the final touches on.


Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share with the group.

***A Note From Dan***
Eric has put together a phenomenal video capturing the creation of his 'Vesner' painting. Unfortunately, Blogger resizes large videos, and as a result, you miss all the cool details. So instead, please be sure to click the link below and watch this awesome video in all it's glory.


  1. AWESOME post, Eric! So much variety in a straight forward introduction. Thanks for adding the link, Dan! The video is killer.

  2. Thanks Eric and its great to see your work up here. Always an inspiration.

  3. Great post Eric! It's cool to hear how each piece is arrived at from different methods.

  4. I love looking into other's process, it really helps me build up my own creative process!

  5. This is just what I needed Eric! I've got a huge job right now and I needed some inspiration to keep me going. This post definitely did the trick. Thanks for sharing. Totally love those last 5 pieces by the way. :-)

  6. Hey Eric, thanks for guest blogging! I bet working on 5 pieces simultaneously helps make sure that you avoid falling into repitition; you know how one can go to the same pose or pallette subconciously.

  7. Eric thank you for your awesome work! If I may ask since you work digitally do you first thumbnail your work in pencil or on the computer?

  8. Thanks everyone! I am glad it was helpful in at least some small way.

    The last poster asked about thumbnails: I do both. Sometimes I'll print out an email with notes about the assignment and do pencil thumbnails in the empty space around the email. Other times I do them right in the computer. Kind of goes in waves.


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search