Great 8 - 20th Anniversary

The 20th Anniversary of the Great 8 disc golf tournament was among us! The Great 8 encompasses endurance, grit and sure will to navigate and play 8 disc golf courses in ONE day. It's a grueling but rewarding endeavor. I was asked this year if I could do something to commemorate the achievement. I didn't have much time to work with but I knew a few things:

• Keep it within the marine/animal subject I've been doing the last few years (except the Fibonacci stamp)
• Involve "8" somewhere
• Serpent-like
• Involve both doubles partners into the stamp somehow


Going into this stamp, first thing I had to do was figure out how in the heck to fit 8 hydra heads on one stamp without clogging up all of my space. That in itself was rather difficult, to say the least. I probably spent 6-8 hours with my sketchbook mapping out different solutions. Either quick gestural flow mock ups with heavy line weight from the brush pen or continuations and ideas I couldn't shake. It came down to indecision. I wanted in my mind for all of these to work and be successful. I took the battle scene and a few others a bit further into Adobe Illustrator. Knowing what I had in my head was a bit clearer than what was sketched out, I wanted to give them an honest chance. Receiving real honest critique and suggestions may be hard for some people. When it's offered to me, I'll listen.

Backing up and restarting isn't easy. It's happened quite a few times in my few years of doing stamp art. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut and not try to force anything. The end product came out amazing and I hope the attendees appreciated it. I want to give a huge thank you to Jay Pontier and Capital Area Disc League for giving me another shot at this. 

Schrocktopus

With the 2018 disc golf season among us, it was with great excitement that the first tour stamp of the year leaned on my love for the octopus. I was given pretty much open freedom to come up with a stamp for Tyler Schrock of Team MVP. "Schrocktopus" is his nickname, so we ran with it. 

Going into this project, My focus was on giving Tyler Schrock the real estate I thought he wanted. I went to the sketchbook and used the octopus within his name plate. The ideas resembled something he could take and use on other applications or patches. The feedback I received from the thumbnails surprised me a bit. While most Tour Discs have the sponsored player either written somewhere in text or with a signature; Tyler didn't want that. He wanted his stamp to focus more on the art and his nickname. Going into the rough draft, I had a pretty clear picture of how this artwork was going to finish out as. There were last minute changes that needed to be made, though. It's a valuable lesson on logo use and the end solution was to insert the official Team MVP seal. It replaced the MVP "Orbit" logo from the initial final.  The stamp lost a little bit of playfulness (in my opinion) but I still think it came out great!  

It was a pleasure being asked to work on this for him. Contact Tyler Schrock through this link for inquiries on availability. 

Limited Edition-Streamline Pilot

I received a task to assemble a Limited Edition rendition over a short period of time. A Limited Edition run refers to a design that has a specific number of discs available for purchase. MVP Disc Sports Headquarters usually runs a thousand of these designs and then retires the stamp art. 

I knew that one day, whether it would be for my employer or as a separate release through my freelancing opportunities; this idea was going to happen. The short film called "Paths of Hate" by Damian Nenow had a renown affect. I remember watching this film for the first time and being so taken away by the sheer beauty of the clouds and flight of the planes. The look of the film was rather inspirational as well. Another huge influence was the "Aces High" art created for Iron Maiden. With these two fantastic references and a nice sheet of helmet and stylistic goals, it was off to the races. 

The only challenges were the hands, yoke and overall look of the pilot. I scoured through countless old war plane movies to help improve the drawing overall. The way the thumb pads are putting weight on the triggers from my initial drawings, was the reason I left them be. In the  "Aces High" example, the thumbs are exaggerated; as if "Eddie" was quickly willing to fire. I feel they were an important part of the story but the main focus and action lines went more toward the pilot's piercing menace. Halftoning is a popular method of shading using one color, but sticking with clean heavy to light parallel lines kept the overall design less chaotic. This method also allowed me to take focus on the curvatures of the hard surfaced elements. Goals for the look of the fighter pilot were to mix old and new. Keep the overall style clean with a slight retro feel to it. The use of initial symmetry in the vectorizing process, helped keep this stamp balanced. In the end, I actually really like and recommend this disc to players. That enthusiasm and the chance to create a limited edition, really helped me pull through to get this stamp ready for production.

These are available online on April 20th from most major MVP and Axiom retailers. What do you all think? Please like, share this with your friends and comment! 

The Beat Doc

Mike Murray is The Beat Doc. Beats and percussion are his lifeline. When Mike came to me needing help, I couldn't turn him down. Friends have to help each other out in times like these. Since Mike plays drums for many different artists in and around New York City, it only seemed fitting to create a brand around his drumming using a graphic logo. The initial idea was simple, assemble drumsticks into an EKG line play. The idea is simple yet fits so well with his Beat Doc branding. 

Mike had a previous concept ready for viewing. The concept lacked clarity and looked so oversimplified that the scale/ length of the sticks didn't make too much sense. This image was to 1: Create an image for the background of his website. 2: This image would also have the possibility of producing shirts. The first challenge: How to improve upon this design he was set on? How can we have these drumsticks make sense being different lengths of the EKG heartbeat? We break them.

"One man's trash is another man's treasure". I feel that saying fits Mike perfectly. Mike walks his dog, Pistachio daily and discovers the coolest items. Discarded drum pieces that could be brought back to life.  Using the broken sticks and assembling them into something that makes sense and beautiful was the ultimate goal. Attached is the pipeline and work it took to get the graphic at its final state.  Make sure to check out The Beat Doc at https://www.thebeatdoc.com/

2017 Carolina Hurricanes Homegrown Series

2016-2017 was a crazy time. I was glad to be a part of the first Homegrown Series put on by the Carolina Hurricanes. The fact that I was offered an opportunity to assist on more than one occasion had me above the clouds. The Homegrown Series is an idea that started last year that introduces fans to enjoy local food, beer, As their 20th year anniversary as a hockey club was approaching, I wondered if they were going keep it going for this anniversary year. I wondered how much it'd change based on last years reception. I was reached out to by Kyle Fowlkes (Carolina Hurricanes Graphic Designer) and was asked if I'd be able to return and contribute a poster design alongside this year's new lineup of amazing artists.

This years design is quite similar to direction as last year's PNC Arena poster. The concept this time around was to bring more of a personal approach to the design. The idea was to bring in the teams Captains and leading goalie into the eye of a storm. I wanted it to be intense, powerful and convey the team and fans unwavering spirit. I used a few symmetrical composition tricks to help set up the poster for the most impact.

Below is a timeline on how this poster came to fruition. I want to thank Kyle, the Carolina Hurricanes and everyone who had helped with personal critique of this poster. As one of my close friends said recently: "We operate in a profession that contains constant critique. Our world is much different than a traditional artist who sells their skills and particular image. Sometimes we need to step back and realize not all people want to be critiqued." 

I gladly took it and tried to better this design. What do you all think? Does it succeed? Does it improve upon the work from last year's Homegrown Series?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! Come out and see the poster with your own eyes on March 31st, 2018 when the Hurricanes play the NY Rangers at PNC Arena! You can check out the Homegrown Series page here

Carolina Hurricanes-Homegrown Poster #2

I can't say enough about the first poster experience . The Hurricanes were super accommodating and a absolute joy to work with. It was such an honor to be a part of the Homegrown Series not once but twice this year. As an artist, I really appreciate the concept that The Hurricanes have incorporated into their games. Reaching out into the public and calling on local musicians and artists to be a part of the games really showcases North Carolina's diverse talent and creates a sense of community, that is something that I love being a part of.

Kyle Fowlkes gave me another ring and invited myself and another artist by the name of George Hage to have the opportunity to do one more poster for this year. I wanted to stick to something I've really enjoyed over the years and that's more of a scenic landscape type of painting.

My goal was to create a calm yet uneasy feeling as you're looking toward the iconic PNC Arena. I wanted to convey the energy of the storm brewing. For me, this also translates into the energy of the players and the fans, those pregame jitters. I also wanted the opponents to look at the poster and feel that same energy, that determination that our players will exude once they step onto the ice.

What do you all think? Please leave a comment and feel free to share!

Exeter "Non Sequitur" Album Art

The last opportunity I had to design an album cover was from Exeter's "Prolepsis" album in 2007. I was still in art school, still learning the many things about digital painting and one of my side kicks since, Adobe Photoshop. My friend came to me this past spring and wanted to know if I'd love to design their album cover for their upcoming album "Non Sequitur". 

Non Sequitur: a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

I learned quickly that the general sentiment of this album, vastly different from their first effort (hence the album title), was to express the band's strong libertarian leanings, and in particular showed an anti-authoritarian bent.  The cover itself was intended to critique what the band sees as an overt and perhaps overly aggressive and reactionary militarization of American police forces.  These are, according to the band, POLICY issues, not intrinsically policing issues.  The first thing he asked was if I was going to be comfortable doing album art with such strong political meaning. My job as an artist is to give the client what they want. I wanted to push the bar a bit more than they were expecting. The design process took a little bit to finish but I'm glad they were patient and let me finish this for them. 

I experienced some challenges during this illustration. The direction was to show the protagonist/antagonist (depending on one's view) center screen with his class peers in uniform garb, looking on from a distance. It had to be clearly read that the kid only had a super soaker-like squirt gun. The victim, in this case a faceless administrator, had to be shown that he was dowsed in water and have them surrounded by a police presence.  That's a lot to fit into one image. I focused on the kid first and came up with a composition that would work to facilitate everything they wanted in the main image. The background reference I gathered came straight from a school I attended from 4th to 10th grade. It's not meant to be a message to my hometown but the band wanted a rural, low key type of school yard setting. These older school that were built in the 40's-60's had a certain type of charm and aesthetic that I wanted to portray in the background imagery. 

Working through a thumbnail to rough pass, I was able to show different angles and quick lighting scenarios to the band. The reference helped show the real world influence. It truly helps bring in a more accurate human element that would not of been achieved by purely relying on memory. Your memory can only remember so much and I urge other artists to always have reference. I can't stress that enough. 

Halen, Luke & Dave, thank you very much for the opportunity to design this cover. You can purchase the album through these venues: 
https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/exeter3
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/non-sequitur/id1150069777
https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Exeter_Non_Sequitur?id=Blmytyabwcyqjolsye6ci4uzy4a&hl=en
https://www.amazon.com/Non-Sequitur-Explicit-Exeter/dp/B01M02LK8E

Mercury Lounge

The beginning of the year has started off strong and I apologize for the lack of updates. Here is one of the many projects I can share from January.

I've been working with the band Mighty Kind for the past year. I've helped them through their logo design and various show posters. Starting 2017 right, I was offered the chance to created their first show venue poster of 2017. The common theme up to this point has been the "MK" logo smashing into either the venue or something that relates to the showplace. Mike Murray (drummer for the band) states that "the band always jokes about how our sets are going to destroy the venue, because we feel that we pack a whollop of rock n' roll punch into each set and performance."  He goes onto state that the smashing theme helps to convey the power that they bring to each show. 

As soon as I got the go on a space theme and Mercury. I couldn't wait to jump in and paint some destruction. Illustrating an impact of this magnitude took a lot of reference gathering and it's something I don't paint often. I wanted the viewer to be drawn to the arrow tip impacting the top of Mercury. I wanted the lighting of the earth's core and spray to feel real and contain the energy the band thrives on. I am super stoked on how this came out and again, can't thank Mighty Kind for trusting in me to do this work for them. 

I am always willing to grow as an artist. I'd love to see your comments and hear your thoughs on what you like or dislike about this poster!

Carolina Hurricanes-Homegrown Poster

It's crazy how brief conversations turn into potential gigs down the road. To be able to be among other elite Raleigh artists and contribute to the new Homegrown Series, feels pretty freaking cool. It's Carolina's way of bringing together different local artisans, beer, design, music and food to each of their 8 Homegrown Series games. I think it's a great idea. 

Here's the process on developing a poster for the Hurricanes vs Blackhawks matchup on December 30th. From the get go, I wanted to do Stormy the Ice Hog (Carolina's mascot). I've seen pictures but knew if I wanted to make this poster appealing, I'd have to change up the design and approach a bit differently. I started out a character design that I thought I was going to take to the end. Late one night, I pulled a 180 and designed the Ice Hog rendition that seems more up my alley. 

The "REDVOLUTION" is their motto this year. I wanted to illustrate Stormy out front, leading the charge. Hurricane winds brewing in the background. I knew I wanted to get some dynamic lighting as well. 

All in all, I'm pleased with what I was able to brew up. I hope I get another chance to do this series for them. I want to thank Kyle Fowlkes and the Carolina Hurricanes for giving me this opportunity and complimentary game tickets.

2017 Fantasy Disc Golf Calendar

After seeing the 2016 Fantasy Disc Golf calendar with work of disc golf artists, John Dorn and Manuel Trujillo; I knew I had to inquire to see what it'd take to get on the 2017 team. the 2017 team of artists included John Dorn, Manuel Trujillo, Benjamin Hopwood, Duncan "Skulboy" Crawford, Steven Colatriano, Cooper Harkins and myself. 

I was assigned the months of August and November. I've always wanted to do more themed disc golf illustrations. I appreciate John giving me the chance. August (Summer) got me interested in revisiting some Tiki artists I found while I was researching for a mural project years ago.  Brad "Tiki Shark" Parker and Tom Thordarson really inspired this tiki piece. November early sessions had cornucopia themes in mind but as soon as I saw great fall reference, I switched to a forest scene with stirring foliage. I found these neat fire tornadoes while searching as well. One thing led to another. Really pleased with how both pieces turned out.

This is exciting and new for me. My prints are available here!!:
High Quality Archival Prints
More affordable option

2016 USDGC "Paul McBeth Commemorative"

This stamp is a staple to every US Disc Golf Champion in years past. The following year an artist will be chosen to commemorate the champion on a Collector Roc disc. I was asked this year if I'd like to take a stab at designing Paul McBeth's 2015 win. There will be 700 of these discs made. 500 available to the USDGC Partners and 200 available at the USDGC in Rock Hill, SC. The few limited discs at the event will be an opportunity for McBeth to sign if the buyer chooses.

If you don't know who Paul is; He's the #1 Rated Player in the World, PDGA World Champion 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, 2015 Innova Team Captain, 2015 Grand Slam (All Majors), 3x Memorial Champion, 2x European Open Champion, 2014 European Masters Champion, 2013 Copenhagen Open Champion, 4X National Tour Champion.

Going into this design, I've never been more nervous. Busting out page after page of thumbnail ideas, a couple different directions with the rough phase and then tweaking the final until it was ripped from my hands. I felt that this design, more than anything, could be my biggest opportunity to show what I can do. At the beginning, the intent was to create a design encompassing Paul's Grand Slam achievement last year (5 Major tour wins). So going into it, I initially thought about 5 sided shapes, Paul himself, and something that encompasses the names of the events he won. 

The end result doesn't feature what a lot of the thumbnails had in them. The idea to honor McBeth as the 2015 US Disc Golf Champion felt a bit more important and fit with past years winners. Innova previous produced a "Grand Slam" stamp so it seemed fitting to make this a nod to his win. 

I want to thank Adrian Southern, Jonathan Poole, DGU, INNOVA and everyone involved in critiques for giving me these three shots at 2016 USDGC artwork. What a ride. 

UFO Glow creation

Tim Robbins and Will Davis of Disc Hunt approached me for a product they were getting ready to market called UFO Glow. They loved the art I used for a disc golf doubles event last year called "Crazy Chain". I love creating that type of style and was happy to be aboard to help them all out.

After seeing early product prototypes, What instantly came to mind was something dealing with UFO's. There were also some other ideas to play around with like the Nuclear Power plant since we're based and live rather close to the Harris Nuclear Plant.  Not saying I've been abducted by aliens in the past but many of my family members can attest to my infatuation with Aliens. I knew this is what we had to do. 

I had to overcome a few obstacles after seeing that the low camera angle would not have shown off the UFO Glow tape like I was planning to. A friend of mine really helped me get it back to what really mattered. The product itself.  I had too much going on in the first initial roughs. Your eye focused more on the disc golf basket, and UFO while the intended focal point was left to be picked up as a secondary or third read. I took the idea into Google Sketchup, nailed the camera placement and took off from there. I needed to forced the field of view more and get the product and contrast working in the foreground. 

In the end, mixing the crazy chain style of illustration with that classic B movie/ Mars Attacks! influence was the right way to go. The customer couldn't have been any happier.