#acrylicember pt. 2


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I’ve moved on from using the Zorn palette and I started using using a derivative of the palette I learned from Sean Cheetham. Honestly, I actually found Zorn’s palette to be extremely comfortable. It was super simple and easy enough to control in a portrait-type setting that I would go back to it in a heartbeat.

This time using Sean’s palette was actually significantly easier going in. Maybe it is that I have a significant amount more experience with paint walking into it… or that I understand why he lays it out as he does… but… wow. I could either control my color, or let it go intense if I felt like playing with it more. I feel like I still need a lot of work with it to really become fluent with it… but wow. I don’t feel limited to a gamut or value range with it, nor do I feel I have to put the brakes on the color too much, albeit, honestly to be more academic I should. But I’m having a ton of fun with it right now and I’m glad I had the opportunity to paint with him and learn from him.


Cory  Kage




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A friend of mine started a daily painting challenge inspired by #inktober called #acrylicember. Below is what I’ve done so far. Black and white are just black and white acrylic. All color are a Zorn palette (Titanium White, Ivory (bone) Black, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red dark). These are all in a 5″x8″ sketchbook.

It’s been super fun so far!

RigeimanAnthony CindyEugueneJJFryDia Jackalope      Profile Portrait Convict Portrait

Coworker Paintings – Gaurav, Nyssa and Christina


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Over the summer I had a little bit of an opportunity to do a couple drawings or paintings of friends and coworkers.


Gaurav- Great guy. He loves Ma-Po Tofu. We’d get food late at night and I drew this while we were at a Korean restaurant and painted it from memory.


Nyssa – Great artist. Always ready for a laugh. The best moment was when I showed the painting to her in person, she laughed and then said “Oh mee-anne…” Which was absolutely perfect.



Christina – Another great artist. Pretty fun to hang out with. We found a leopard slug while we were geocaching with a bunch of work friends on an island. She said it was cute.


These were all done in a grey paper sketchbook with my typical watercolor set-up, or my gouache set-up. I’ll have a few more posts spread out over the next week.

Process: Watercolor Heads


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I don’t believe I’ve had the chance to cover my full palette. It’s based around a lot of what I’ve learned from Nathan Fowkes and Sean Cheetham, and It is mostly a mud palette. It is a full palette, but the majority of what I use more or less hovers around yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson. Beyond that, I do have a handful of other colors that I find helpful, but for the most part they are convenience colors or accents or help me tint a color to be the exact temperatue that I’m searching for.


I do draw the drawing first and foremost. That’s why my paintings aren’t loose and painterly like some of my idols are. I keep the big ideas in my head and sculpt a note, or plane at a time typically. Maybe one day soon I’ll do a process set focusing as much on the drawing as on the painting.

But to give you an idea. I typically start off with a red pencil sketch on a mid-weight mid-tone paper. I like oatmeal and grey because they do a lot of the hard work for me and let me start from a neutral ground. And I use a red pencil because I find that, with portraits especially, if I use a cooler color it tends to make it a little bit more difficult to get a warmth to their skin and makes them feel zombie-like.

Thomas S

Next I mostly lay in my major notes… and I just begin sculpting from there. I typically start with defining my shadow shapes and my darkest darks and I move, slowly, towards the lightest lights in the painting. Depending on the stage in the painting I work mostly wet-into-wet to keep some of my edges fairly soft. I tend to work more wet onto dry at later points in the painting, but will re-wet an edge here, or there to have a dominant edge to a mark that I make.


To be honest, my process is very deliberate and fairly boring. And even a lot of the really spontaneous looking stuff is actually fairly designed and deliberate. On the one hand I know what the medium will do, more or less, and what it will end up looking like, more or less, but I also don’t have exact control of it and it can help keep it fresh and exciting for me as well.


Old Sketchbook 4!


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The final post of pages from my sketchbook from last year.

At this point I got back into using a ballpoint pen (I swear by papermate.) On the left are some drawings from the Bourgeois Pig. In the middle are some drawings from a drawing session organized by a layout artist from The Simpsons that I was happy to participate in in the height of the Christmas break season, which seems to be the only time of the year that it became difficult to find a drawing session every day of the week. And finally, on the right are some drawings from the Casbah Cafe and LAAFA. Most of these are anywhere from 5-20 minute drawings.

Old Sketchbook 3!


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A couple more pages from my sketchbooks while I was in Los Angeles.

These are from LAAFA, the El Pollo Loco near LAAFA, the Glendale Galleria, Art Center, CDA and the Sketch Club. Lots of amazing artists there! I would go back just for the fact that you can go to a different open life session every day of the week and draw with some really inspiring artists!

Old Sketchbook 2!


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All of these are from the end of last year when I was still living in Los Angeles.

The drawings on the left were from my friend Max` first solo show, open life at CDA and open life at LAAFA. I really like the color in the bottom-most painting, that one was pretty difficult as well as it was a 5 minute pose.

The drawings on the right were from CDA and the CTN-X, a networking event for the entertainment industry. I tried to stay fairly cartoony with these. The initial drawings were 5-10 seconds and I cleaned them up and colored them from memory afterwards. Lots of fun.

Old Sketchbook


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2012 Earthbound02sm
I realized after scanning these for my website that I hadn’t posted these before. On the left-hand page I had a couple hand studies from Hogarth. I really like the grumpy girl in the lower left of the second page and most people seem to really like the top drawing of the second page.

If there is one thing I can recommend to any budding artist: keep a sketchbook. Draw every day. Use them for everything. I like to treat every new sketchbook slightly differently. I like to experiment with them a lot, so I play with new mediums, new styles and I do a lot of studies in them. Keep a sketchbook and let it be a place to play!