Monday, November 11, 2013

CTN Animation Expo 2013 is coming....

This Friday I'll be attending CTN Animation Expo again but this time as an exhibitor. I'm a bit nervous to be showing a side of my portfolio that only a few agencies, children's book publishers and animation studios have ever seen. Since my passions are equally split between realist painting and animation I didn't know exactly how or where to show art that wouldn't comfortably fit on my website until I went to CTN last year. This is a sample of the prints I'll have at my table XT11 on Nov 15-17 in Burbank CA. Looking forward to visiting friends at Dreamworks, SCEA, Riot Games and The HUB. Time to test the waters and share what's been sitting on the hard drive.

Visit for some of the never before see robot art I'll have to offer at CTN and a quick interview I did with the Robot Envy team.  Looking forward to a great time in Cali!  For those interested in going, visit for details.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Oil on Panel 24"x36"
This is a recent commission for a fantasy book cover.  “God of Another World” by Chad Michael Cox is the first in a potential series of new books.  This should be in stores and online next year.

The author gave me extensive notes, character descriptions and passages of text to review.

I was given free reign to design the characters’ wardrobe based on the color palette for each person mentioned in the notes.  This turned out to be more challenging than I thought.  To switch gears from robots and space suits to ornate fantasy robes was a nice change though.  A fancy style guide packet full of prepared concept art would have been helpful.

I chose to heavily infuse cultural influences from Japan, China, Morocco, Greece, Italy and India into the overall painting just to visually ground the piece in some kind of reality for me. Starting with...

Faunride – strong Caribbean influence dressed in traditional Japanese inspired garb.

Maldinado – More of a Spaniard in appearance/ facial hair.  Basically I was inspired by Duncan Macleod from highlander dressed in ceremonial samurai armor.

Adow -  Adored with Indian gemstone jewelry, robes inspired by Roman and  Moroccan design
alternate idea
Approved digital color sketch
final line art
This was fun and I look forward to the opportunity to paint these characters again.  Up next...Dark urban fantasy.  Switching gears from scifi is a fun change of pace.  Happy to be busy doing what I love.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Earlier this year I decided to revisit the design process for the Ender's Game cover I did for Science Fiction Book Club.  Since I still have 3 years worth of concept work I can't show, I wanted to work up something quick that I can. The following is basically a more thought out view of Ender's flash suit I designed for the cover. 

 Ender is basically playing laser tag in zero G. My approach treats the flash suit as more of a child sports uniform with protective padding for collisions with other teams or the battle room walls.  I'm eager to see if this approach was thought of along the concept pipeline for the film.

Since Ender seemed kinda dark and Emo, I revisited what he might look like as an adult in Speaker for the Dead.  Would he keep up with the fashions 3000 years from the events in Ender's Game?  Would he embrace various tribal rituals of those he speaks for (tattoos, piercing etc).  What if he was constantly getting into fights with people who disagreed with how he spoke for the dead. These were fun to do.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


"INVASION BEGINS" Oil on Panel 13"x18"
Good News Everyone!!  Here is the first of 3 new collectible cards I painted for TOPPS revival of the Mars Attacks card series.  Here is the official press release.  “To jumpstart the release of their forthcoming revival of MARS ATTACKS trading cards this fall, The Topps Company, in conjunction with IDW Publishing, will give away an exclusive, limited edition tie-in card at San Diego Comic-Con, July 17-21.   This exciting exclusive will be distributed only at San Diego Comic-Con and will feature brand-new hand painted artwork by science fiction artist Eric Wilkerson.  

The card, entitled "Invasion Begins" will be card #0 and will include an all-new story that will kick off the upcoming Mars Attacks: Invasion card set, the first all-new story-based MARS ATTACKS card set in more than half a century, due in stores this October.  

The upcoming set will include all-new artwork by some of the industry's top talent, including Earl Norem, Joe Jusko, Greg Staples, Glen Orbik, Alex Horley, Manuel Sanjulian, Dan Brereton, Jim Nelson, Jeff Miracola and others.  The story will tie in to current and upcoming MARS ATTACKS comics from IDW.

During San Diego Comic-Con, fans will be able to pick up the exclusive #0 card at the IDW booth (#2643).  Quantities will be strictly limited and supplies are expected to go fast.”

For fans of the series, if you are not able to make it to comic con this year, I will be getting a ton of artist proofs of card #0.   Proofs, prints and original art are available. 

Seen below is the final card. The TOPPS banner for IDW booth #2643 and facebook promo banner.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"I,ROBOT...ZOMBIE" Process

   The "Zombie" show at Last Rites Gallery starts tonight.  If you are in the area come check it out. 
Today we continue the behind the scenes look at making a robot zombie.  Here is my rough sketch.  
The palette wasn't worked out for the painting at this point. Mainly just working with values and playing with thoughts for the overall concept. 
A photo shoot with a model was scheduled soon after completion. 

After the shoot I realized I would need much more information to pull off a painting of a robot with splayed open flesh.  The next day I started sculpting a reference maquette. 
A proper level of imaginative realism was needed for this to look somewhat convincing. So I believed my painting would succeed or fail based on the level of finish given to the sculptural details.  Way too much unnecessary pressure!
resting in a pile of miniature garbage bags

With the sculpt baked, lights were set up to re-shoot my reference for the painting.

Half way through I realized that there was no info for how hue changes from 3 light sources would affect the flesh or metal finish I wanted for the chest.  I could have made it up while painting but I’d already come this far…

So after getting some advice from a professional sculptor for DC comics, and a bit of nervous procrastination I started painting a maquette for the first time. There is a great anime model kit shop near my house that had all the needed supplies.

I sprayed an even flat base coat over the maquette and painted the flesh in acrylics.

The metal parts were painted with gold and silver metallic paints.

Once dry, I sprayed the whole thing with a clear semi gloss coat.  Clear nail polish was used for a more glossy liquid look around the eye. 

 This was almost a second option for my composition. I loved the hue changes across the skin from the light sources.
                                              I'm no Jordu but I think it came out ok.

With all this information, combined with many photographs of intestines, zombie faces and scrapyards, I proceeded with the final line drawing and then the painting.
 Thanks to artist, Brian Despain for all his advice while developing this image.  Every once in awhile it helps to have an objective eye look at your art.  The reception is tonight so I'll post pics for those interested. 

Hope all this helps someone out there. Questions, comments? Drop me a note.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


ZOMBIE Opening Reception at Last Rites Gallery
Saturday May 25th 7pm -11pm

                                                                              I, ROBOT... ZOMBIE
                                                                             16"X20" oil on panel

"It can be hard for an android to find love...
One day Henry the Labor bot decided to pay for a low end model Hooker bot
and contracted a nasty trojan horse virus known as Cerebus.
Cerebus rewrote his operating system and reprogrammed the lonely android with an insatiable desire to kill all humans.
The virus spread quickly from mecha to mecha, all turning on their owners, murdering humans by the masses.  After a long bloody human resistance, the city of Newburgh, New York was quarantined as a techno-biohazard zone and has become a dumping ground for infected robots.  Somewhere in the twisted remains of his positronic brain, Henry spends his nights wishing he had paid for a human hooker instead.  Sadly, Robosexual relations between humans and robots are illegal."

Good News Everyone!  This original oil painting was created for the upcoming Zombie show at Last RitesGallery in New York City.  When guest curator, Travis Louie invited me to participate in the group show I knew exactly what I wanted to paint.

My idea of painting a zombie robot lurks in a largely untapped sub genre within the popular zombie craze.  I thought if I go this route, it’ll be on the fringe of what is considered a zombie but it should also be pretty cool to paint.

I’ve never done a gallery show before so I got really excited and maybe a little carried away with the prep work for the piece.  Since this could be the only gallery show I ever get invited to I didn’t want to phone it in or do something half assed.  The next few posts will chronicle the making of this painting leading up to the opening reception this Saturday night.  

Here are a few details.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

ENDER'S GAME / SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD #3 Final Drawing and Rough Color

Presented here is my final line drawing and first wash of color for the painting.

There is an empty spot in the background drawing because I couldn’t decide if I wanted a second gateway door or a simple wall.

The color palette and lighting scheme from the movie Prometheus were very inspiring.  While researching the work of the design team from Prometheus and eventually the Ender’s Game film, I wanted to try and use the same visual look for my illustration only a bit more saturated.

After the base color was filled in I had to make a little quick model of the background.  No fancy 3D modeling, just a good old cardboard cut out and a clip lamp on the floor.  I felt more confident painting the background once I had a basic idea of how the light source from a nebula would shine through the space station windows.

close up of final background
And again with a bit of that chromatic aberration gimmick that’s all the rage right now among concept artists.  It's a pretty neat way to add quick depth of field to a digital painting without the permanent effects of blur filters.

Friday, March 29, 2013


The battle room is such an integral part of Ender's young life.  His actions in that room shape the man he is destined to become, so in all the sketches I thought why not hint at what the room looks like or at least the entry corridor.
 I went through numerous roughs while listening to the audiobooks of both stories.  I did a few throw away ideas of Ender floating in front of the battle room door but since this is an Omnibus I had to find a way to represent both stories with one cover.  The challenge here is that Ender is an adult in the second book.  Here are two of the 3 sketches I sent off for approval.

Sketch 2 – this wraparound pitch is a conceptual approach that encompasses both stories. The somber contemplative young Ender in front of the bleak dimly lit battle room, the weight of the world on him. He's standing back to back with his older self.  A stronger more confident pose, holding the last of an alien species he completely destroyed.  The palette would intentionally move from dark to light.  From the cool sadness and misery of battle school to the warm hope of a fresh start on a new world.

Sketch 3 - In the first book there is a scene where Ender is playing a game and looking into a mirror only to see his older brother Peter gazing back at him.  I thought that might be an interesting way of introducing the Speaker for the Dead into the composition, except with holographic displays surrounding a huge gaming console.  This ended up being the approved sketch with 2 minor adjustments. I was asked to put Ender in the flash suit from sketch 2 and get rid of the frame around the hologram of the Speaker.
The book really didn't portray the battle school as a positive place to be so in both sketches shown here I felt the corridor should lean more cold gritty gunmetal than porcelain white with lens flares.  Knowing that some of the same designers from Avatar worked on the upcoming movie it's my guess that they'll take the same approach.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


    Good News Everyone!! Recently I was commissioned by Matthew Kalamidas at Science Fiction Book Club to illustrate the cover to a collection of the first two books in the Ender’s Game series, “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead”.  Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is a Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel which has inspired a Marvel Comics series, a video game and forthcoming movie starring Harrison Ford and Sir Ben Kingsley coming to theaters this November.   I was surprised, overwhelmed and then really excited by the potential image I could create for this beloved novel. 

After seeing all the past covers for the series I decided to treat mine more like a pre-production illustration for film rather than a stand alone book cover or theater poster style image.   Something I could hand off to a production designer.  I really wanted to get in and play with a little environment design and costume design for Ender's flash suit as well.  This however meant a ton more work than what would normally go into a sci fi cover illustration.
Matthew Kalamidas was kind enough to do an interview with me about the cover on his blog. Check it out when you have a chance.  
I had so much fun developing this painting that I figured I’d share the steps in its creation.  So for any students or Ender Wiggin fans out there, these next few posts are for you. Check back for updates....

Lastly, a close up of the kid with my initials proudly wearing the colors of Dragon Army!!!  The Enemy's Gate is what?!!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue Man Group... Theatrical Costume Designing

Good News Everyone!  Finally a little bit of proof of the work I’ve been doing for blue man group.  I just got permission to show some art since the Monte Carlo show I mentioned 2 years ago is now a live and thriving event on the Las Vegas strip. 

In the summer of 2011 I split my time between designs for Show Creators Inc and prep work for the new Blue Man Group Monte Carlo experience.  The task was to redesign the band costumes for the current vegas show.  This is what they looked like. 

The request was to make something new inspired by Afro-Brazilian tribal, cave painting, and radiating energy type patterns.  It had to be something that read as a character in black light.  Each individual costume design needed to have a similar level of reflective light so that they all have a consistent look on stage.  Symmetry and connecting patterns went a long way toward achieving a stimulating and appealing look.   I came up with over 3 dozen options for the new suits.
Here are some photos of the band in full costume, close ups of the individual pieces and an assortment of pics from the live show.  All photos used with permission of Blue Man Productions 2013.  Stephen Joseph Photography.

Check out the video interview about the new show and some of the insane stuff that was created for it. 

This represents like 1% of the work I’m doing with them.  The bulk of what I do with BMG and Show Creators Inc/ formerly with WETA will hopefully be released before the end of the year.  Until then I’m happy to share my contribution to the new BMG world tour and beyond!!!
me and da boss BMG Founder Chris Wink

Me and my friend Andrew Probert in the BMG rehearsal studio NYC
If someone told me back in college that I would one day get to work with the concept designer from Star Trek TNG and Back to the Future, my head would have exploded!!!