Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Wrong Door

"The Wrong Door"

Watercolor, ink, digital.  

This painting is a intricately layered cultural criticism ingeniously disguised as a fairy tale about rediscovering our inner falcon spirit. It transcends social constructs, it defies human wisdom and confounds science. It launches the viewer to the outer moons of ...

Wait..  oh no, wait, that was for a different post.

This painting is about wizards and dwarves and dragons.

Most of the time I spend a great deal of effort on drawing and redrawing my figures several dozen times to work out different poses and outfits.  (Boots? Armor? Dresses? A fancy hat? Real investigation work.) However, for this one, I went more on instinct because I had the holiday MADNESS.
Does this ever happen to any of you guys? The holidays hit and you're traveling, and eating, and seeing family, and eating, and lighting Christmas trees on fire, and eating; and all the while, you are NOT DOING ANY DRAWING AND YOU'RE SLOWLY GOING INSANE.

So at the end of the holidays I had to do something and this was the first thumbnail on my desk.

I painted this on my new favorite old paper: Arches 140 lb. Hot Press.
The painting is watercolor and liquitex inks (ala Arthur Rackham).
I used much heavier pencil work this time this time than I usually do and I also didn't spray fix my pencils because I am a dangerous man and that is the sort of thing that dangerous men do.


My Sketchbook is finally finished! (I know it's 2015 now, yes, but 2014 was not a year to have a book printed in. Ask anyone. They all say sketchbooks should be printed in 2015.)

It goes live on our store Thursday morning at 10 AM EST.

Each book is signed and numbered.
We are also releasing the limited, special edition of Sketchbook 2014 at the same time. The Special Edition comes with an original drawing in the front as well as a signed 6 x 9 print available only for this run. IT WILL ROCK.

To see how the previous year's special editions turned out check out these posts:

2010 Re-Release


  1. Looking forward to the Sketchboks, any chance the 2010 Re-Release will make a come back this year?

    1. Yes it will! And we will also be adding the 2012 Sketchbook back in as well.

  2. It will be a devoted 2014 sketchbook then. Awesome work as always, can't wait. I too understand the holiday madness, I finally got back in the studio yesterday, and yes a lot of eating was required this year hahaha.

  3. Yer a madman! Also, wonderful work. The lack of art over the holidays for me was compounded by riding shotgun while the kids got to do art. Sometimes being a grown up isn't as awesome as I'd hoped at that age ;-) Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the book.

  4. Just stared at this drawing for a long time! There's a lot to take in - but I especially like what you did with that figure off to the left getting knocked back by the door. Great pose!

    140 Lb Arches has been my go-to for a while - how do you like it compared to Strathmore 500 series? And also, is that some oil-glaze type texturing on the digital final? I thought it was one of your oil paintings until I got down to the rest of the post.

    Good work, and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) leafing through your new Limited Edition book!

    1. Thanks Will!
      For the papers: I really like the Strathmore, and find their 500 series 2-ply does really well compared to the Arches HP for watercolor and pencil, but in the end the Arches feels a bit nicer for ink-work. Plus it comes already stretched in their little wax-sided pads, which makes it a bit easier to work with.
      For anything I plan to finish in oil or acrylic though, it's Strathmore 500 all the way!

      And I did use an old oil painting texture I scanned in to add a little interference and texture. Usually use watercolor textures, but thought I'd mix it up with this one.

    2. Cool! That's good to know. I'm getting ready to purchase some new papers to experiment on, and the Strathmore 500 is on my list. Interested to try it out & see what it's like.

  5. Tight piece with a fast, loose soul. Love it!

  6. Beautiful Justin! Save me a sketchbook!

    1. Oh we've got a special one set aside for you Paul... mwuha... mwuHahahaha MWUAHAHHAAHAA!!!

    2. And a good Mug-ta'Haag to you too!

  7. Is there a way to reserve one and to get the older sketchbook?

  8. Yes, Thursday morning is when orders go live and all the old sketchbooks will also be available at the same time! (Hopefully some new prints too)

  9. ...Very much looking forward to the new Sketchbook Justin, a PM is underway....


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