Digital Painting and the Hudson River School

Chris Oatley has a wonderful blog post about how to create realistic texture in digital painting by examining the techniques of the 19th century Hudson River School of painters. It’s really important to open our eyes to history and see how past artists have tackled issues in visual image making and Chris has done a great job analyzing this particular period of realistic artists.

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Peanuts in 3D

Charles Schulz ink drawings of good ol’ Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are a joyful display of jiggly, wiggly lines and anxious slashes of ink. It looks like some of those lines are finding their way in the new Peanuts movie. Even though the movie is in 3D the film makers managed to kept the personality of the characters and gave them some dimension. It looks like a great way to respect the original artwork so we don’t get a creepy 3D reboot like Yogi Bear or Garfield.

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Whale Facts

I wish I’d seen this animation by Drew Christie before reading Moby Dick last year. Learn about whales and more in “Song of the Spindle“.

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Tom Law’s 1000 Self Portraits Animation

Animator Tom Law drew 15 minute self portraits over the course of almost 3 years and put them together in an animation titled “I Always Look Angry: 1000 Self Portraits”. It’s cool seeing the evolution of his drawings over time.

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Making a Maze a Day


In an attempt to keep from gluing my face to my iPhone on public transit I’ve started drawing little mazes in my sketch book. After realizing I’ve made one every day for the past week I figured I’d make it official with a hashtag. Follow #amazeaday to see if I can post “A Maze A Day”… for the rest of my life?

UPDATE: I started

Here’s a Flickr set of my first 12 drawings.

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George Washington’s Dentures

George Washington's Dentures
George Washington's PistolGeorge Washington's

Buy the above prints in my shop on Society 6.

I visited Mount Vernon a few weeks ago with my family and was immersed in the world of George Washington. Located near Alexandria, Virginia, Mount Vernon was the plantation home of the Washington family from as early as 1674 and was handed down through successive generations, including that of the first president of the United States of America. The estate is maintained well and includes the president’s home and gardens, as well as the tomb of George and Martha Washington. There is a museum on the grounds which includes a historical survey of the president’s life and artifacts from the estate.

I took the opportunity while visiting to draw some of the items on display in both the home and the museum. They don’t allow photography within the home so I pulled out my trusty sketch book and drew images within the rooms: a beautiful harpsichord, the presidential chair, the president’s pistol, and the key to the Bastille that was gifted to Washington by Lafayette after the French Revolution.

In the museum there is a prominent display of George Washington’s false teeth which, contrary to popular myth, are not made of wood. The display includes a fascinating timeline of the many problems with Washington’s mouth and the work of various dentists to alleviate his suffering and give him something to chew with. At the end of his life Washington only had one original tooth and the dentures on display have a small hole for that tooth to sit among the others that had been fabricated from human and hippopotamus bones.

You can’t take pictures of Washington’s teeth either so I drew an image of the lead and bone construction. I later brought my drawings into Photoshop and created the images that are posted above. I’ve included the key to the Bastille, Washington’s flint-lock pistol, and his dentures. All three are available as prints in my Society 6 shop.

Below is a photo of the ink brush strokes that I layered to create the texture of the teeth, metal and shadow.

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Drawing a Basket of Bread

bread 3-small

Buy the print at my shop on Society 6.

I drew this bread basket while having a coffee at Choc-O-Pain cafe in Hoboken. It’s a simple picture but I’m really excited about it because I was able to really nail a technique I’ve been working on the past few months. The picture incorporates a combination of ink line and sumi brush work with color in Photoshop. Below are some of the steps I went through.

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The Yellow Cement Truck

This yellow cement truck is my latest watercolor painting in my Trucks series. I’ll be hanging it along with other new paintings at The Dopeness in Jersey City later this week.

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Create RPGs Without Any Programming Knowledge

I’ve been exploring inexpensive ways to make games. A recent contribution to Hoboken Pudding outlines options to make role-playing games. – Jay

Simple programs can help translate your narrative into games

It seems that the market has now become congested with first-person shooters and survival horror games. RPGs, the genre that had dominated console gaming markets in the past, have been in short supply.

RPGs are known for their immersive, engaging story lines, and game play that resembles an interactive narrative. In many ways, the RPG is the perfect platform for the modern-day fairytale, as reports by The Guardian show that children as young as five already have access to mobile phones and other computing devices. The RPG hosts incredible potential for modern-day storytellers: they’re innovative, immersive, and in line with the interests of the current generation.
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My TEDx Talk: Let’s Make Games

For the past couple years I’ve been teaching game design to kids. As part of TEDx Jersey City I presented my work and some of the games my students created, explaining how the curriculum helps students develop higher order creative skills. Game design is an alternative form of teaching math, story telling and art and in the end, it’s a lot of fun.

Below is video of my talk, and the transcript (with images) is also available.

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