Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kristin Stewart Sketch

One thing I need to do all the time in order to keep up the artistic muscles is sketch. Either pencil on paper, or in this case, all done on my Mac in Sketchbook Pro and Photoshop. If I don't sketch constantly I grow rusty really fast and it makes it that much harder to get going when I have a client with a job. I keep a folder full of celebrity photos on my computer for whenever I have some down time between projects where I'll grab some reference pretty much at random and practice. This time it was "Twilight" actress Kristin Stewart (or "K-Stew" as the tabloids seem to be referring to her). She's got a great face for caricature because of her really prominent forehead and chin, which is what I chose to exaggerate here. This is after about two hours of work. I'm at that stage where I could turn it into a finished piece with a couple more hours of polishing and smoothing, but I think I'm going to leave it where it's at. It was just practice, after all, and I really like the roughness of it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bob Redux

 A couple things were bugging me about the likeness. I tweaked the nose and chin and I think it improves the likeness overall. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bob Dylan Sketch

I spent a couple hours tonight painting over a ballpoint pen sketch of a young Bob Dylan. Here's what I was able to accomplish.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Keith Richards

I'm not sure anyone should attempt to paint Keith Richards other than Sebastian Kreuger, but I tried anyway.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sketchbook Dump

I finished up a new sketchbook. Here are a few of the better things in it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I've been a big Sherlock Holmes fan ever since I was a kid. I've read all the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories and many, many of the pastiches that have been written over the years. I've seen dozens and dozens of movies and TV shows, including all the Basil Rathbone and (my favorite) Jeremy Brett movies. So when I heard the BBC had aired a new version set in the modern day I was, to say the least, skeptical. It turns out, Sherlock is pretty brilliant. It's funny, exciting, smart, and just plain fun. Here's my take on the two stars: Martin Freeman (Tim from the British Office) as Watson and the remarkably named Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes. BTW, if you haven't seen the show yet, I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Painting Tutorial

For anyone who's interested, I wrote a digital painting tutorial to accompany the Clint Eastwood painting I posted below. It can be found over on the very excellent blog Illustration Pages.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Finished this up tonight. I'm putting together a tutorial on how I painted this one. I'll post the how-to soon.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Clint Eastwood - WIP

Working on a Clint Eastwood painting for a tutorial I'm putting together.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Me and Stan Lee

Anyone who follows my work knows I paint a lot of famous people. This is the first time I ever was able to give one of my paintings directly to the person. What made today especially gratifying is that the person I painted just happened to be Stan "The Man" Lee, creator of Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man and the vast majority of my childhood heroes. Today at the Detroit FanFare show I was honored to be able to present one of my signed prints to Stan Lee. Even better: he seemed pretty blown away by my work ("Brilliant," was the exact word he used). Today was a really good day.

Detroit FanFare 2010 Limited Edition Print

I'm excited to announce that the folks who running the Detroit FanFare Comic Convention this weekend, in honor of Stan "The Man" Lee attending, are going to be selling limited edition prints of my Stan Lee painting at the main convention table. Each print measures 9" x 12 1/2" and is printed on a very nice glossy stock. This is a limited edition of 300, and each one is signed and numbered by yours truly. In the words of the infomercials, but wait...there's more! This little beauty can be yours for a mere $15. So if you're planning on attending the show and you've got an extra fifteen bucks burning a hole in your pocket, please pick one up. Gracias.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Another one of my illustrations is in the new issue of ImagineFX Magazine (issue #62, for those keeping score). A few months ago IFX announced they were having a zombie themed issue with a contest that involved painting their Editor-In-Chief Claire Howlett as one of the walking dead. I didn't win the contest, but I was among the four runners-up, which meant I got my illustration printed in the book. It's an honor being recognized, especially considering how fantastic so many of the entries were. And yes, if you look close you may notice for some reason they cut half of my last name off and printed it as Mark Hammer. Oh well, you win some...

Monday, October 25, 2010

They like me!

Check it out, my work is featured on the very cool website This site was listed as one of HOW Magazines Top 10 Websites for Designers in March 2010, so this is quite an honor. Please click over here to read more.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nosferatu - Final

I tweaked a few more details, sharpened up some lines and added a few color tweaks. Here's the final. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I think I might try another monster or two in this style.

Nosferatu - Now With Color

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nosferatu WIP

I wanted to do at least one monster before Halloween. I'm still working on it, but here's still one of the coolest makeup jobs in film history, Nosferatu.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ms. Marvel

After painting Stan Lee, I got on a bit of a comic book kick. Here's Marvel superheroine Ms. Marvel. This took about six hours in Photoshop.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Nashville City Paper

I had the opportunity to illustrate the cover of this week's Nashville City Paper. The article deals with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and his choice to govern by surrounding himself with a series of "Task Forces" that consult on everything from public safety to the water department (read it here, if you're interested). City Paper Art Director Bret Pelizzari had a very clear vision of what he wanted to see. BTW, the model for the shadowy figures in the back are all me. I had my wife shoot a whole lot of reference photos of me trying to look tough. This is painted in Photoshop over a pencil sketch.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm in ImagineFX!

I had a nice little surprise today. I picked up the October issue of ImagineFX and what you know, one of my paintings is in it. I did this about a year ago for a contest the magazine was running to paint the cover for the issue. I didn't win the contest and, truth be told, when I look back at my entry I can see about a million things I wish I'd done differently and/or better. But when I checked out the magazine I was pleasantly surprised to see my painting ended up among the runners-up. This is pretty gratifying considering they apparently received over 300 entries. It's an honor just to be part of such an amazing group of artists. BTW, this was done by flip-flopping between Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stan Lee

I finished my painting of Stan Lee. I wanted to add a few ironic touches to the painting, so I put the Marvel Comics legend into a classic Superman pose, showing off one of his famous catch phrases. I also wanted to make sure I gave it a bit of a Jack Kirby flourish, so I added some Kirby-style crackles to the background. I painted this jumping back and forth between Photoshop and Corel Painter (with just a bit of Adobe Illustrator for the background).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stan Lee - WIP

I'm still working my way through this, but here's a sneak preview of a painting I'm doing of Stan "The Man" Lee, creator of Spiderman, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk and much of the rest of my childhood. I've been doing this jumping back and forth between Photoshop and Painter.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Maggie Q

I just watched the new show Nikita on the WB and my review is it was totally meh, and doesn't come compare to the original French film. That being said, I was still supremely impressed with the uber-hot star Maggie Q. I painted this while I was watching the show.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tilda Swinton

Here's the final. I always thought Tilda Swinton has kind of an outdoorsy, natural look to her, so I decided to place her outside in a field. The lighting just kind of followed naturally.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tilda Swinton WIP

I started this one as a personal challenge. Tilda Swinton has quite unique features, but she's definitely proven to be one of the trickier caricatures I've done. After sketching her over and over again numerous, I finally like where this one is going thus far.

New Portfolio Website!

For a while now I've been wanting to redesign my portfolio website. One of my primary goals was to remove the Flash image gallery I'd been using in order to make my site more accessible to mobile users and others who don't have access to Flash. I also wanted to make sure all my images were easily accessible right from the main page. I decided to go with a WordPress site, for its ability to easily update and customize. I used a really great free theme called "Gallery" by Chris Wallace. I'll probably be making some tweaks to it here and there over the coming weeks, but overall I'm really happy with how this looks and functions. Check it out at

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rihanna - Final

I decided to take the sketch I did earlier all the way to a finished piece. If you compare to my earlier sketch, you can see a lot of the changes I made along the way. I widened the jaw, moved and resized the eyes and did all sorts of other things that improved the overall likeness. One of the best ways you can tell if your image looks right while you're painting is to flip it horizontally every once in a while. This will reveal all sorts of inconsistencies and places where things are just "off" that are practically impossible to see otherwise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rihanna Speed Paint

Just practicing. This is about 1 hour of pushing pixels around in Photoshop.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eminem Progress

I'm slowly tightening up the details. I decided to ditch my original background and am planning something entirely different.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Eminem WIP

Thought I'd try painting my fellow Detroit native. Still working on it.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Zombie Claire - Final

I tweaked some details here and there. Now I'm calling it done.

Inception - Alternate

Tried a more traditional color scheme on my Inception painting.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Zombie Claire

Over on, they're having a contest to paint their editor Claire Howlett as a zombie for a future issue of the magazine. Here's what I've done so far. I think I'm mostly done, but I'll probably give it another day and check it with fresh eyes tomorrow to see if it needs any tweaks.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Waits Alternate

The rather brilliant French caricature artist known as Maester made some suggestions as to how I could improve this caricature. I messed around with it for a bit, including dramatically shortening the entire skull. Now I'm starting think it's turning into more of a caricature of Ron Perlman, rather than Tom Waits.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Here's the final. I wanted to create an off-kilter color scheme that had the dual purpose of implying a dreamlike atmosphere, as well as allowing me to put some additional focus on the top, which, if you've seen the movie,  you will understand is very important to the story.

Leonardo Dicaprio - WIP

I saw Inception over the weekend and liked it a lot. I couldn't help but notice while watching it how much Leo Dicaprio has a face that's just made for caricature. I'm still working on this one, but here's a part of this work in progress.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tom Waits Final

I think I'm finished. I sharpened up some details, including the jacket, which I really wasn't happy with.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tom Waits Continued

I tightened up the rendering here and there and added some textures. I think the jacket could still use some work.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tom Waits Sketch

Just messing around in Photoshop. Usually I don't sketch directly in the program. I usually sketch on paper, scan in my sketches and paint over them. Not this time though. This took about 90 minutes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Captain Kirk

I started out trying to turn this into a caricature of a young Shatner, but as things went on I realized the more I distorted his features, the less it looked like him. I think I'd have an easier time with an older, lumpier Shatner, which I might do sometime in the future.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Morgan Freeman

Here's my latest painting, in my humble opinion, one of our greatest American actors, Morgan Freeman. This one had a strange process to it, that went like this: 1. Draw a colored pencil sketch of Morgan Freeman. 2. Scan sketch in and paint over it. 3. Decide the aforementioned sketch really didn't look much like Morgan Freeman at all then paint over the whole thing until it no longer resembled the original sketch, but ultimately looked a lot more like the actor.

Monday, June 28, 2010

HOW Magazine

I'm extremely honored to have been selected to paint the contributor's page for HOW Design magazine's July 2010 issue. I've been reading HOW since I first went to design school a million years ago, and now here I am with my work up front and center in the book. Art Director Bridgid McCarren was remarkably open as to what approach I should take to painting the contributors. Not only that, but I got to paint my own ugly mug and list myself among an amazingly talented group of contributors. These were all painted in Photoshop over pencil sketches. Here you can see each of the images a bit bigger:

They are, from left to right, yours truly, AIGA President Debbie Millman, David C. Baker, Principle of ReCourses consultancy, web designer extraordinaire Jason Santa Maria and Nelnet Director of Marketing Jackie Ostrowski.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sofia Loren

My wife and I had a new baby a little over a month ago. Since then, I've been finding ways to occupy my time in the middle of the night when I'm usually sleeping. I did this last night, painting over a sketch from my sketchbook. It's actress Sofia Loren, in case I blew it and you don't recognize her.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Teddy KGB

I had kind of an odd request with this one. A friend of mine is a huge fan of the movie "Rounders," and he asked me to turn my John Malkovich painting into one where he's in character as Teddy KGB.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Locke - Final

I think I'm pretty much finished here. I'm sure I could always go back and tweak a detail here or there, but sooner or later you always reach that point where you throw up your hands and say, "looks good to me." Well, here I am.