Although I primarily work digitally, I recently had the opportunity to create a small body of work to show in a physical gallery space. I themed the entire show around monsters and the show went over smashingly. More on that for a future post – it’s time to see a Warbear come to life!

My largest piece was a 3’x4′ portrait of a Warbear from Chris Kutalik’s Slumbering Ursine Dunes RPG product, which I was fortunate enough to illustrate. I shot some photos with my tablet along the way. Here’s the stages:


Stage 1: The Master and Me, or Selfie Alert!

As you can see, this is a full size piece – the bear head is roughly human-sized! Starting in charcoal on styrofoam board which I’ve gesso’ed with 5 layers of found latex house paint.

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Stage 2: Hands of Soot

Thirty minutes later I’ve wrangled some charcoal into a rough bear shape.

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Stage 3:  The Squid Layer

About another 45 minutes gives me plenty enough time to wash some ink over and into the charcoal. I then seal it up with some acrylic medium.

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Stage 4: Green Beans and Red Meat

Rough acrylic green background added with a stiff bristle brush. Translucent red washed over the bear – old-timers call that process grisaille, I think.

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Stage 5: Furtown

Another half-hour or so gives me time to lay in some golds and oranges for the fur. I start making sculptural changes to the face.

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Stage 6: Un-bear-ably Serious

Puns and detailing with highlight color abound in this phase.

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Stage 7: By This Pole Axe I Bear Arms!

Rawwwwrrrrrrrr!!! Reworking the background took about an hour and made all the difference in offsetting the bear. Darks and additional highlights, followed by framing, took around two hours. For this bear I’ve earned a beer. Huzzah!

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