Wednesday, September 09, 2015

New Website

Hey gang,
You can catch up with my more up-to-date art exploits over at:



Saturday, December 08, 2012


TEMPO , the newest short film from Seth Worley is online!

(I helped with art and costume design)  Go see it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Just a little off the top please...

Like zombies?  Then have I got the book for you!  
'Just in time for the season of giving...('nothin says Merry Christmas! like Zombies right?)

I did the cover for this great new compilation of Zombie themed art and stories titled  "Dead Anyway: Stories from the Zombie Apocalypse".  And you can check it all out here!

Friday, August 24, 2012

All about the Benjamins...

...the Alien ones, that is.

Hopefully by now you've seen some of the incredible short films directed by Seth Worley.  If not, you really should.
Recently, Seth asked me to help contribute to his latest opus:  Order Up.  If you want to avoid spoilers, go see it now,... then come back and I'll give you a little step by step of my meager contribution.

Spoilers to follow..;

Needing a graphic UI for the Alien spacecraft that "detains" our put-upon pizza delivery guy...  Seth sent me the rough footage of the guy inside the ship, reacting to the alien scans of his body and the pizzas.  After that, we would need to see some UI interaction with the pizza as it's removed/levitated away from the guy.  We knew that we wanted it to appear alien and organic, but we'd also need to understand what was happening (IE: don't make it too unfamiliar).

That being said I mocked up a few ideas, using a still from the footage:

My thinking was that as the UI unfolds/comes to life, that tiny "tendrils" could extend from the main interface and "touch" the various points of interest (his body, head, pizzas) and deploy tiny info "blocks" at each interaction.

I wanted to create some symbology that would represent numbers, letters, etc.. that would pop up and roll over as needed.  (Seth would be doing the animation in AE and I would be feeding him the elements- in this case vector based).  I also thought it might be fun to briefly show a mri type image of his brain as the aliens are quickly running through their various diagnostic scans (don't blink or you'll miss it.)

At the same time, I was pursuing the other designed element--the "alien money" (which appears at the end of the film).  The direction was to create a bill for our actor to hold that would represent the legal tender of our pizza loving visitors.  With tongue in cheek direction ("MIB-ish, 6 eyes"), I went about sketching up possible "presidents/emperors" who would occupy the place of honor on the piece.   Here's a few of my favorite runner-ups and the two finalists;

In conjunction, we were using the South African Rand as our base inspiration- and I went about suggesting layout variations with our prez.

Next up, I did a much tighter rendering of El Presidente' adding lots of shadows & contrast (before hitting him with a standard halftone filter to deliver an "etching" effect to further communicate "It's MONEY"):

Finally it was time to take the portrait, along with some of the elements/symbols that I'd already developed for the interface and integrate them into our bill.  I did several color variations based on our SA rand reference:

In the end, it was felt that the coloration of U.S. bills would probably be the quicker read.
Here's the final:

And a last minute alternate!...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'And a Happy New Year too!

From all of us here at SRM Industries,
'Wishing you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Hey folks,
This last summer, I had the pleasure of helping out my friend filmmaker Greg Pope on his new Monster movie short film. I was asked to contribute some art pieces that support the big muguffin of the film, but also really had a great time assisting on the set, and even helped out with a bit part..... watch out Leo D. Without giving away too many of the details here's a short synopsis of the film:

"After receiving and opening a mysterious package, a young boy innocently plays with it's toy monster contents. Simultaneously a gigantic beast appears, bent on the destruction of his own small town. The boy's older brother discovers the connection between the two and realizes... only he can stop it."

Ooooh SCARY right?

My job was to create the box art for the toy monster that the kid opens and plays with. Our thoughts were to pattern it after the Aurora monster kits and Famous Monsters covers from our youth- that had such heightened and dramatic cover art... you couldn't help but drool over the wanton distruction and saturated colors!

At the time that I started, Greg already had a strong idea of the creature design and was still building the action figure that would be used in the film- so to start I had some of his early sketches and then photos of the unpainted-un "furred" creature to base my art on.

We also knew that at some point in the story, he was going to be holding a train with a tanker car--that and a confrontation with the military (both in the air and on land).

Early color blocking layout.

Final pose sketch.

Full near-finished box illustration. 

Simultaneously I was developing the "toy company" logo- which comes into play not only on the box, but also on the mailing label and elsewhere in the story. As well as creating a wrapping paper for the mailed package that would nod to the monsters' hide- as well as serve a dual purpose in the sides of the box art packaging.

Logo variations with the "winner" asterixed lower right.

Package wrapping paper.
Full box art graphics for the printed toy package.

Package stills from the film.
After all was said and done, we needed to create a one-sheet for the film, and we decided to use the toy packaging as the tease.
And finally...Here's the official trailer!

The film is currently under consideration' at several film festivals and depending on what happens there we will release the film online and on DVD. Check the official blog for updates:

Remember, whatever you do...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hoping everyone has a safe and joyous holiday with family and friends,
Merry Christmas from the Conrads.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Mother Hen Project

I had the honor of contributing this artwork for the Mother Hen Project which is a charity auction, benefiting the Chicks in Crisis, Saturday, Nov 20 4:00p to 8:00p at The Galleria, San Anselmo, CA.

"An exhibition and art auction to benefit Chicks in Crisis. Featuring over 50 works by artists in the fields of animation, illustration, graphic design and fine art. Including work by a host of directors, animators and designers from Pixar and beyond. Date and time details are for the auction itself, the exhibition will run for two weeks beforehand."

You can check out some of the really great artwork and artists featured at the Mother Hen Project blog Here.
If you can, please come to the event and contribute to this great cause!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Monster Maker!

This year I wanted some fun Halloween decorations for the Conrad domicile, but after doing some scouting out at the stores, all I could find were generally either the more "gory" representations of all that monsters and Halloween have to offer or stuff that was perhaps a little too "kiddie" in tone. Not that there's anything wrong with either....
But not exactly what I had in mind...I was looking for stuff more in the spirit of the classic Universal Monsters, The Mad Monster Party, The Munsters, Disney's Haunted Mansion etc.. Also for the actual decorations, what I was looking for was something along the lines of the old halloween mainstays; The cardstock witches, cats and pumpkins that folks used to tape up on their windows and door frames... but especially the printed/cardstock Skeleton with posable limbs, my favorite as a boy... except I always wanted it to be a FRANKENSTEIN!
(Yeah, I know...technically he's Frankenstein's monster, or creature... but c'mon, when we were kids, that's what everybody called him!)

So... I decided to MAKE my own MONSTER!

Starting out, I made his head (posted previously), and followed with his various body parts, (a lot like Dr. Frankenstein when you think of it...) Because of the size limitations of my printer, I had to divide some pieces that would ordinarily be "one": The forearms/wrists and hands, or lower leg, ankle and boots for example. After I created the pieces in Photoshop, I printed them all out:

Then, using an exacto, I cut along the edge of the thick black outlines that I put around all his parts. After I cut everything out, I took a black marker and ran it along the exposed white/cut edges...just to help it all blend a little better when assembled.

Next, I inserted black metallic "brads" for the posable joints (I bought mine at Wal-Mart in the craft section, but I bet you could get them at Michaels or Hobby Lobby too):

Taping the remaining elements to the backs of the forearms, lower legs, and the head to his shoulders, I taped a length of string to his back and then attached the other end to the top of the door frame.... add a little lightning from the storm ... and VIOLA! My Monster is Alive!... It's ALIVE!

I've included files below for printing, if you'd like to try this yourself at home! The format I printed on was 13x19... but you should be able to scale these down fairly easily for whatever sized printer you have. Good luck--and Happy Halloween!

Head & Hands
Upper & Lower Arms
Main Body
Upper & Lower Legs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Counting down...

..the days to Halloween!

The Count

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Happy Birthday Ray

A little late... as I'd hoped to get this out before Mr. Bradbury's birthday (being his 90th) on August 22. But due to numerous circumstanci at the Conrad domicile (What's the saying?, "Sometimes you eat the 'bar, and sometimes, well, he eats you.") it was not to be..
Hopefully there's still a piece of cake left in his fridge.

Now, let's see if remember how to work this blog thing...

B is for Bradbury

My mom was librarian of the small Missouri town I grew up in, and many a day after school I'd sit camped out in front of the science fiction section, pouring over the paperback covers and spot illustrations found within some of the older tomes. Greats like Virgil Finlay, Frank Kelly Freas, Richard Powers, Ed Emshwiller, Ralph Brillhart, Jack Gaughan and so very many other un-credited cover artists explored all of these fantastic themes before my hungry eyes.

In this piece, I wanted to honor both Bradbury's canvas and those "old school" science fiction book covers that I had poured over in my youth as well as "texture it" with physical wear, as many of those books I studied were worn from many readings. I thought it might be fun to use The Illustrated man as the anchor, with the titles of some of Bradbury's stories and books as his tattoos. R is for Rocket was my first experience with his work, and the "B is for..." seemed natural to include as the large central focus of the main figure's back. A Sound of Thunder being one of my favorites, I had to include the time traveling hunter's encounter with the T-Rex. I loved that story, and the twist ending was so surprising then, and has been aped by many since.

Here's to you Ray- You took this small town boy on quite a tour; The frontier of space, the planet mars...I met ghosts of ancient alien civilizations, fire starting firemen, went to mystic carnivals and prehistoric safari's all along the way. For the ideas you shared and all the many places that you led me to I thank you. Cheers.


The piece was put up alongside several others on the official Bradbury Week tribute FB page.
Besides the art gallery, if you scroll through the pages, there are great video clips and interview pieces from the week long celebration.

For those interested, an overview of the process follows.

Paperback Cover Reference

Thumbnail Sketch Ideas

Rough Color Thumbnail

Vector Color Layout

Finished Painting

Graphic Design for the "paperback cover" elements.
Including a publisher's mark.

Alternate Author Treatment

I toyed with this wonderful 70's style type for the title, but opted for something "plainer" to stick with much of the particular era style from my reference, and to also separate the "publisher's" graphic design from the Illustrated man tattoo type.

And finally again, with distress and wear added: