16 April 2016

Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva

Bigfoot is a huge specimen who has to cut weight to fit under the upper limit of the heaviest weight class in the UFC. his large size and distinct look are at least partially due to a tumor putting pressure on his pituitary gland which caused an overproduction of growth hormone. This causes the hands, feet and face to grow larger than usual. There have been many prominent figures with a similar tumor and the proportions that come with it. Among them wrestling and film star Andre the giant, 7'2" Korean fighter Choi Hong-man and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins.

Bigfoot has been in some amazing wars, heavyweights with their heavy hands punishing each other round after round without stopping. The bloody battle with kiwi star Mark Hunt springs to mind. Thanks for all the amazing fights!

Other fighter caricatures:

Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on Wikipedia and UFC.com

15 April 2016

Give me back my Preschusss!

Here's one I did a while back for the rematch between former UFC champion Renan Barao and the man who dethroned him. Barao had been on a tremendous tear, unbeaten for nearly 10 years. Then he met TJ Dillishaw who had the perfect skillset and a very specific game plan to completely shut down Barao and dominate the fight.

It's hard for a successful veteran of any skill to reinvent themselves on short notice. When they met again a year later it went much the same way as many had expected it would.

TJ remains one of my favourite fighters to watch due to his unusual stance switching style and aggressive presence.

Other UFC caricatures:
'Cardio' Cain Velasquez
Nick Diaz

Renan Barao on Wikipedia
TJ Dillishaw on Wikipedia

01 April 2016

Cardio Cain Caracature

Here's one of 'Cardio' Cain Velasquez. He has a great look with the feel of a predator, something in the rounded lines of his face making me think of a bull terrier or a shark.

Despite his distinct look and intimidating face he was really tricky to capture. He has many strong features; the cauliflower ears, the scar tissue around the brows, the strong jaw, a rounded feeling to the bones of the skull. Yet these features are shared by other fighters, especially those in the heavier weight classes. I couldn't really find any one feature that defined him, and exaggerating too much often looked good but it quickly began to look like another fighter.

Ultimately this one ended up closer to a straight portrait because of the difficulties I had. I'm happy though, because I believe I captured the likeness and that predator feeling!

30 March 2016

Nick Diaz Caricature

Some of those who know me personally will know I've been following the UFC for a while now. Yes, I know that seems odd, a lanky, arty type who likes watching cagefighting? Well yes, it's true. I love it.

With my newfound interest in caricature I noticed some interesting faces in the sport. Years of combat results in crooked noses, buildups of scar tissue around the brow and hard lumpy ears from all the wrestling. Add to this the pronounced, animalistic look of the mouth once there is a mouthguard in and you've got some pretty amazing faces that all share some common traits. Possibly there is also an underlying genetic component defined by testosterone levels, or functionality for fighting. Whatever it is, I find it fascinating. So I decided to draw a couple of them.

Here is the first fighter caricature - Nick Diaz.

Nick Diaz on Wikipedia

29 March 2016

Star Wars Caricature

Now that I spend a lot of my daytime hours working on environments, I've taken to working on my figure work in the evenings to keep things interesting. I watched some tutorials and sketched a whole bunch of naked people. With a growing stack of life drawings gathering dust in a wardrobe I wanted to start applying the learning to create some new things.

I developed an interest in caricature when I met Gil Rimmer. He was working for the same company at the time, albeit on a different show. I really liked the clear, bold statements he made with his art and I became curious to try out caricature for myself.

My first attempt came with Secret Santa at work. From the hat, I pulled the name of a production coordinator who is a huge star wars fanboy. So for his present he got this painting, along with the note: "For Deacon. In the Cantina or the bedroom, he always fires first".

It was created super fast and is far from perfect. I was happy with my first attempt and I really enjoyed doing it which made me want to keep going and create some more...

You can see Gil Rimmer's impressive animation portfolio here.

If you want to work on your own figure work, the tutorials I have been watching are available for free on proko.com. Stan Prokopenko does a fantastic job of simplifying the process; explaining the thinking behind the learning and keeping a great sense of humour throughout. I highly recommend his videos, and watching them in the order that he suggests here.

22 August 2015

Hey guys, 

I have some exciting news to share. WCW Volume 3 is coming! The art has been submitted and vetted and the layouts are done. This is the biggest, baddest volume yet! Paul and the team have decided to launch this one through Kickstarter. The book has been self funded every time, but with the added size and therefore costs involved this time the team are looking to get the fans in on the goods a little earlier. 

This is probably the cheapest you will be able to purchase the book, I will be buying a few through here as Christmas gifts (love you mom!). There are also a heap of purchasing options, including a set of all three books, some copies of Volume 3 bundled with prints, original art and even custom portraits from Paul Tobin himself. If you want to get a copy of the new volume, this is a really good time to do so! The bundled options are selling out fast though so go have a looky!

I've got a couple of pages in there again, and there is a tease of a new piece I did if  you scroll down the kickstarter page (hint: watch out for the cowboy image...). 

Please share the kickstarter with any you might think are intereseted! Here's the link:

02 April 2015

Sketch Dailies!

You may well have noticed a tendency towards environments and landscapes in my work in general. Recently though I've taken part in a few of the daily topics posted to the character focused twitter group Sketch Dailies. Here are a couple of the better ones!

If you want to follow me on twitter you can find me here:


"Dick Tracey" done in the style of J C Leyendecker.

"Scarecrow" - I was really focusing on colour transitions in this sketch.

19 March 2015

'Doorway' sketch

Here's a wee sketch I did. Inspired by a very famous John Singer Sargent painting, Fumée d'Ambris Gris. A special thanks to my buddy Chad Weatherford for being a sounding board on my sketches lately. Your advice is always awesome sir!

Chad Weatherford on blogspot
John Singer Sargent on Wikipedia
Fumée d'Ambris Gris on Wikimedia

04 March 2014


Here's a blast from the past. Quite a while back I had the pleasure of working with a band I first saw in my own backyard - Supermodel. Well not literally my own backyard, I havn't had one of those for a long time. Lots of apartment living you see. But this band, Supermodel, are great performers. Mark Hanify later contacted me to do the cover artwork for their then upcoming album 'Rimu & Roses'. They were great to deal with, and were very decisive when it came to what they wanted. I was really happy with the piece of art that came out of working together. At the time the album was yet to be released so I wrote a blog post and saved it into my drafts folder, and always thought I had posted it. Here it is at long last.

The art needed to work in a few different formats, primarily the square format for the album cover itself (above). It also had to be flexible enough to work in vertical and horizontal poster formats.

Mark initially remarked that he really liked the matte painting work I had been doing, and I tried to push that level of detail and realism in the artwork. However I still wanted it to feel crafted so I didn't use any photography in the work. Here are a couple of closeups

This album was a big step for the band, produced by a legend in the industry, Reinhold Mack (who has worked with superstars including Queen and Muse).

They have since released several music videos if you are interested:

UPDATE: I'm adding in an additional music video they released in 2015.

Here is the bands website.
Here is where you can get the album on itunes
Here is a review of the album

24 February 2014

Architectural Visualisation

Here's a fun little job I completed recently. My client purchased an apartment in the spectacular Clyde Quay development on the Wellington waterfront. However her situation has changed and she is now seeking to sell the apartment. The unit is still under construction so she needed some visuals to accompany her advertisements, which is where I came in.

It was a really interesting task for me. I've done a lot of environment design for the entertainment industry though the subject matter tends to be quite different. Instead of the alien hives, epic temples and pock marked battlefields I've drawn for various projects in the past, I had to tackle modern sophistication instead. Luckily it's the same basic process and relies on the same foundational skills.

While the pieces were requested as 'artists interpretations' of the apartment, it was really important to still be as accurate as possible. We did not want to mislead any potential home buyers. In the interests of speed and accuracy I imported the plans into a 3D package and rendered a basic ambient occlusion render. The rest was good old photoshop. All of the ornaments in these images were from photographs supplied by my client of her current home. She thought that personal flavour would add some feeling of her personality and a kind of homeliness to an otherwise anonymous image.

I hope you enjoy seeing something quite different from me!

If you want to move into the Clyde Quay development, you can check out the apartment listing at realestate.co.nz

If you'd like to read some earlier posts of mine that contain somewhat similar work done for the entertainment industry you should check these out:
The Anchor Bar for Tintin
Another bar, and a few other things for Anthymn

If you've never heard of Ambient Occlusion before you might want to have a read about it on Wikipedia