Hello and welcome!
At the end of each year I try to work on a recap of projects I worked on to highlight some of my personal favorites and give you a peek behind the curtain of my thought process and art evolution. I have done this in past years but sadly I lost those posts with the migration of my website to this space.
This year felt so different and so dark that I really pushed myself to start writing more and try and engage with an audience to explore out of my comfort zone. Below I have broken out each month to the projects I was working on, some for In The Shade Publications others just for my own sanity during quarantine. As in years past I like to end the post with a look to the future and the current state of projects I have planned.
Thanks for reading and here we go!
I started off the year with a return to long form writing on the blog here on my website. I really wanted to write short stories/essays to experiment with new content and really give perspective on feelings. If you missed out on the posts they are still available to read here
Additionally I really dug into working on more pages for Fenrir & The Escape From the Deep issue 3. I continued to really push the work digitally and force myself to really flesh out backgrounds and characters. Check out some of the pages below!
I spent February getting back to work in the studio at Raw. I was mainly focusing on a still life of two massive pumpkins in the studio that I felt particularly drawn to. The piece went through a number of revisions and weeks of adjusting colors. During this time I also continued blog posts and Fenrir pages to keep the momentum going. With the still life done I turned my attention to a larger canvas and decided I wanted to work more abstractly and loose to change the way I had been working for the last few months.
this dreaded month was really the beginnings of the quarantine and shutdown as COVID really hit locally hard. With the transition to work from home I continued working through blog posts to express the confusion and frustration at the world situation. During this time we also closed on our first home and began the transition to moving into a new house!
I also made it a point to create weekly tasks for myself to have a focus when everything else felt out of sorts. Thus started Watchmen Week on my social media channels. Every day I would post a different rendition of a Watchmen character. I really enjoyed this practice and started outlining future weeks to do similar exercises, check out the images from Watchmen Week below!
the next month was another transition for me in getting used to actively working from home, moving between two houses and trying to keep my sanity. To give a focus throughout the week I continued in weekly drawing prompts with Beyond Week (Batman Beyond is one of my favorite shows of all time) TMNT week (love the turtles and have not drawn them up until NOW! Crazy right?) and Death Of Superman Week (Love that storyline and I have been on a major Superman kick of late).
I also made it a point to keep working on Fenrir pages and gradually pushed through into issue 4, starting the conclusion of the storyline. Check out some more weekly illustrations from the month below!
this month in years past was always centered around Free Comic Book Day and RAW Art Works annual auction. Due to the pandemic FCBD was cancelled and the auction moved to a virtual bidding style. I was truly out of sorts for the month of May as I had also planned a local book tour to celebrate the release of the Legends Of Lys TPB which also needed to be cancelled. Instead I used the month to work on finishing my auction piece and delivering it to Raw to try and help in any way I could. Below is the finished piece.
It’s titled Exodus in honor of the millions of immigrants who flee an impossible situation hoping to find solace in a new homeland. I worked loosely with lots of water and allowed colors to bleed/blend into one another, I was being conscious of the progression in society in which different nationalities blend together to create a new and beautiful society.
the summer tends to slow down with no shows being held due to COVID so I took the time to wrap up issue 4 of Fenrir to gear up for the annual with Antanas. At ITS we tend to do 4 issue arcs with an annual to wrap up storylines and seed ideas for the future. Along with Fenrir I worked on new issues of Legends Of Lys for the second storyline called The Amber Festival. I made decent progress on those issues and during which I also started experimenting with digital portraits.
I chose to depict two Americans who died this year at the hands of law enforcement, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I was sickened by the details surrounding their unjustified deaths and wanted to spread awareness to their stories and honor their memories with portraits. Additionally the passing of Chadwick Boseman also deeply shocked me and I chose to commemorate his visage of power which you can see below
The fall arrived and I continued on working through Legends of Lys pages and new pages of Atlas Clarke with Cory. we have made decent progress and I have honestly produced some of the strongest comic work I have done to date on that title (coming soon from In The Shade Publications!)
Along with comic work I expanded upon portrait work and experimenting with digital brushes and techniques. I used different models and photo references to try and capture some emotion with figure work. I had some interesting results and hope to do more of this in the future.
Around this time I started creating portraits featuring podcasts that I am a huge fan of. Tell Em Steve Dave is one of my favorites and I wanted to capture all three of the hosts using the experimental techniques I had been trying out. Additionally I created several pieces based on the Bad Friends Podcast which were a blast!
This month also marked the passing of RGB and I wanted to commemorate her with a portrait as well, as she was such a trailblazer and fighter for women’s/human rights.
the next month brought some time to continue working in this experimental digital style so I took some photo reference and constructed a scene from Harry Potter and The Order Of the Phoenix. I chose to depict the scene of Harry coming down stairs to find the order waiting at his front door. I worked loosely and with new blending techniques to create a different world feel. I also made a piece using the convenience store across the street from our new house as reference and an old photo of Walden Pond. I’m really digging working this way and was pumped when musician Donovan Melero(Hail The Sun) and I hooked up to work on a piece for his new single. I had such a good time working on this piece and received a lot of positive feedback look for the single That City on Apple Music, Spotify or wherever you listen to music!
The end of the year really forced me to slow down in terms of creating art. I felt so burnt out from using art as my escape during the pandemic and it really caught up with me. I was able to really take my time and work on comic pages as needed without any real rush. I worked again with Cory to plan out more Atlas pages and turn in finished ones, I made really decent progress on Legends Volume 2 and was asked to make another piece for Donovan for a new single! This time around the piece was more abstract and galaxy based, we worked together for weeks nailing down the final look of the piece. Check out Donovans single The Color Of Growth out now on Apple Music and Spotify!
Legends of Lys – My main title right now that I’ve been working on the last few years. Legends is moving along nicely with Issue 10 currently in progress, I’ve been chipping away and trying to deliver one of the most action packed stories I’ve ever worked on. Volume 1 released at the end of 2019 and I hope to have Volume 2 ready by either Spring or Summer 2021.
Current Status: In Progress (Issue 10 and Annual to follow with a release of Spring 2021)
Fenrir & The Escape From The Deep: The sister book to Legends of Lys made some good progress this year. Antanas Meilus cowrites with me and I draw the book which is a spinoff of sorts to Legends starring Fenrir from volume 1. This year I was able to get through all 4 issues and was very pleased with the transition to digitally working. Last week Antanas and I landed the plot of the Annual to wrap up the storyline and I will begin drawing it the start of 2021 with plans to release a trade in 2021.
Current Status: In Progress (Annual to be drawn, first trade paperback to be released in 2021.)
The Expeditions Of Atlas Clarke: The third In The Shade title that is written by Cory Lahue and drawn by me also made steady progress this year. Currently we are in the middle of the 4th issue, we just worked together remotely to thumbnail another set of pages and Cory has been lettering the book and reworking it as needed.
Current status: In Progress, we are working on issue 4 and the scripts for 5 and 6 have been completed. We are aiming to wrap the 6 issue story arc up in the 1st quarter of 2021 and a trade paperback planned for 4th quarter 2021. This timeline could change but we are on track to deliver.
Hypershock: The next In The Shade title that I have been writing and chipping away at. I have not revealed much at all about the project externally. In short it exists within the same universe as the other titles but on an alternate Earth with different current history. It is about a superhero named Hypershock that has seemingly returned from death and finds himself forced into employment from the United States Government.
Current Status: Pre-Production; still writing, developing the style and tone of the book. Look for it to be released as a digital comic on the In The Shade Website.
The Ten Rings: a novel I have also been working on in quarantine this year at my own pace, the story centers around a planet called Pharanx and the war with an evil alien race called the Brack. Its my first real foray into long form novel writing and I am enjoying the process, albeit more difficult than straight drawing a book. I am unsure if the final title will even be the ten rings but it is centered around these ten rings of power that are hidden around the planet and the magic users that protect them.
Current status: In Progress; I’m currently working on the 12th chapter of the book with a sprawling list of other ideas and brainstorms I need to work through. I don’t really have an idea of when this would be done or what it will look like. TBD.
Tendonitus Vol. 1 – Artbook that I have been teasing for a few years showing behind the scenes look and sketches of projects as I work on them. I did not make any progress with this in 2020.
If you are still with me, I thank you for taking the time to read my end of the year post. 2020 certainly had alot of ups and downs but I feel really satisfied with the amount of work I was able to produce this year. 2021 will see the release of 3 new Graphic Novels from In The Shade as well as hopefully an end to the current pandemic. As always I am reachable through my social channels or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you have a safe and healthy new year.