Digital Dabbling

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This is a cross-post with Muddy Colors — An Illustration Collective

Captain Midnight #1 Variant Cover. 2013.
Photoshop, ~7 × 10.5″ @400 ppi.

While Photoshop has always been an integral part of my workflow, I have nonetheless rendered all my finished pieces with the classics: pencil, ink, and paint. I am often asked why I don't do everything digitally — the easy answer is that more than half of my income is from original art sales. (That's usually all people need to hear.) The more nuanced reply is that I prefer the resistance, texture, and trials of real materials, not to mention the final look.

But in the past year, as I've taken on my first non-Marvel clients (I was more or less exclusive for 10 years), I've gotten the chance to experiment stylistically, even incorporating graphic design and lettering elements, a whole new challenge for me. The first 3 images were created for Dark Horse Comics, featuring their characters Captain Midnight, Ghost, and X.

Ghost #1 Variant Cover. 2013.
Photoshop, ~7 × 10.5″ @400 ppi.

The bulk of the work was done in Photoshop, but the more complicated shapes, like design elements and lettering, were constructed in Illustrator and imported as vector paths. I had recently come across a collection of Swedish posters (via 50 Watts) and wanted to try my own contemporary take on them. Aside from general color schemes and airbrush effects, I was particularly interested in the hand-lettering, and even lifted some of the letterforms.

X #1 Variant Cover. 2013.
Photoshop, ~7 × 10.5″ @400 ppi.

My first all-digital piece was for Mondo, an Austin-based gallery that specializes in screen printed movie posters. So even though the image was created bit by digital bit, they turned the file into a gigantic, limited-edition art print. The photos below are of the actual posters, courtesy of Mondo. (For those interested in buying a print, I will put them on sale in a month or 2 through my blog.) I'm currently working on my second poster for them, this time for one of my favorite movies of all time. I can't reveal the subject yet, but I can say that it won't be all-digital. I missed my inking brush.

Precious Cargo (Lord of the Rings). 2012.
Photoshop, 24 × 36″ @400ppi.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I've got just over 20 of them, so stay tuned to the blog (and the social networks) in about a month or so.

  2. I feel like eventually I'm going to be a stubborn old man who always talks about the good ol' days of pencils, paper, and oil paint.

  3. I've been following the blog religiously for a while now, but I still have yet to see any mention of Precious Cargo going back up for sale. Do you have any idea of when it might be available for us poor folk who did not anticipate the Mondo sale taking (if I remember correctly) something like 24 minutes to sell out?

    1. Hi, Kevin — sorry to say but I still haven't gotten around to it. I keep pushing it back because of other events, both professional and personal. I still plan to do it before this year is through — I'm shooting for November. Either way, I'll put the word out at least a week in advance so you'll have some idea of when it goes up. Thanks for keeping an eye out!


Copyright © The Self-Absorbing Man
Design out of the FlyBird's Box.