I’m an artist based in the Pacific Northwest and my current work focuses on fantastical graphite creature illustrations and their ecology. I began my career in 2001 with commercial multimedia production, and since 2010 I’ve been teaching beginning to advanced multimedia and graphic design courses in the Media Arts department at Lane Community College. I feel our ability to create is one of the most important things we can exercise. When we create it has the potential to help us and others, heal us and others, and transform the world around us. It’s truly a powerful and amazing gift that shouldn’t be neglected.
The process usually begins with warm ups in my sketch book to relax the muscles in my shoulder, arm, and hand. Then, on a clean page, I may set up a compositional grid of my choosing proportionate to the size of the final drawing paper. The initial sketch usually starts as a single curving line or combination of simple shapes to use as a base for the forms of the creature’s body. The sketching process is loose and I let my imagination be free to see whatever it sees. The drawing can change as the creature’s anatomy emerges. I refine the sketch and transfer it to fine art watercolor paper using a light table. If needed, I’ll scan the sketch to reduce or enlarge its size, then print it and use the print for the transfer. Once the outlines of the primary forms are transferred I begin the rendering process. Most of the finer details (i.e.- markings, fur, whiskers, etc.) are added toward the end of rendering process, so that they best match the creature’s overall shape and personality. The name and story for each creature are usually created after the drawing is complete.
I draw on Arches 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper and use Pentel Graphgear 500 mechanical pencils (0.3 and 0.5 mm) with lead ranging from 3H-4B. I use Staedler Mars Lumograph wooden pencils to go above 4B, and a 4H to broadly fill in larger sections of lighter value. I usually put down five to seven layers of graphite starting with 3H and build up the dark values layer by layer. In my earlier drawings I would use blending stumps and tortillions to soften the tonal transitions, but now I do all the blending with just mechanical pencils.
“During a transition in my life I stumbled upon something unique and unusual, and was simply compelled to record it. I was seeing the world in which my creatures lived for the very first time. It was so beautiful and exhilarating I just couldn’t stop. My only hope is that you can look past the inaccuracies in syntax and the roughness of my marks to enjoy the places and encounters I’ve experienced.”
– Excerpt from the Introduction of The Creatures of Holanium 1