Deviant Art’s Eugene, from Russia

In continuing my series on exposing some of the tremendous artists I’ve come across on, here is Eugene, from Russia. He goes by the handle “soft-h” I wish I had more, but you can dig around his gallery here.


Transformers are never far away from a sponsorship or two. It’s what keeps them going when the energon runs low.


Ooooh! Aaaah!

Lighting so soft you could fall asleep in it.

In keeping with the idea of sharing some of the favourite pieces I have found on, here is a piece from Mike Azevedo.

A cute turtle and gorgeous lighting. How can you go wrong with this one?

Videos for illustrators: FZDSchool


I love watching the videos that FZD School of Design. Even though these are no substitute for following an art class, I learn so much every I watch one of these videos. I suggest adding this channel for anyone interested in illustration.

This particular video is about getting values right in black and white painting. I’m going to have to re-watch this a few times.

On sharing inspiration – Ripples in the pond

Rise of the Redshirts

Rise of the Redshirts

I illustrated the image above back in 2009 as an entry to the “Be the Hero!” Game Career Guide challenge . I did it rather quickly, but am still quite pleased with the image, as I used it as an opportunity to try some new techniques with a Wacom stylus and Photoshop. The entry didn’t get picked up, so I may re-post it later for reference’s sake, but I did end up posting the picture on I forgot about the image up until recently, when I was cleaning some files up in my computer in an attempt to speed my aging beast up.

I smiled as I remembered that in 2012, John Scalzi published Redshirts, a novel where one of a starship’s intrepid security staff decides that dying for the captain isn’t for him. As I sat there and thought about it, there certainly is some similarity in the concepts between the story and my image above. I started looking around the internet to see whether anyone else had caught on to the idea. I found that in 2011, a youtube channel called Star Trek Online: Rise of the Redshirts saw the light of day. The similarity between the titles does catch the eye. There is now a very cool game in development called Redshirt by the Tiniest Shark. There are certainly some similarities in the general layout and theme between the two images.

Redshirts game image

I am certainly not arrogant enough to believe that I am solely responsible for the ideas these highly creative people have developed. After all, if I had an idea, there is a high likelihood that someone else may have had the same idea before or after me with no external help whatsoever. In fact, I drew on inspiration from other short stories about the Redshirts always getting whacked to come up with my game pitch and illustration. There are only so many ways to illustrate a game cover, and there are some narrative illustration short hand techniques and tips of the hat that tend to ensure that there will be some similarity in imagery for science fiction posters. However, I do like to believe that the picture I tossed out without a second thought on the internet kicked off some spark in imaginations I’ve never met and ultimately served to enrich each of us. Like a stone cast in the pond, the ripples of inspiration can travel far and wide, touching distant and unseen shores.

So share your ideas. You never know how or who they’ll help.

A little D&D soup anyone?

D&D cookbook

A fantasy spin on tomato basil soup

Good grief! I pulled my Wacom tablet out for the first time in an eternity. The last time I’d used it was for texturing some 3D models so very long ago. The last time I’ve used it for any sort of illustration was even longer.

It felt good to let the stylus flow a bit. I guess I should find the time to keep this up, since this reminded me that drawing is lots of fun, and is a great way to blow steam off from a long day churning through reams of paperwork.

Maybe I’ll revisit this chap some time to see how I can tweak the concept to make it more interesting.

On collaborating with artists

My first project is progressing despite some personal challenges which make the work more challenging than it otherwise would have been. I’ve collated the notes, passages, and drafts I’ve collected over the years and formed them into a somewhat cohesive plan. It is now time to flesh out the bones.

I’ve hired a wonderful artist, Arthur Corod, to help illustrate the cover as well as fifteen in-book images. You can see a small snippet of his talent in the entry above. I am truly blessed to have found him. He has a fantastic eye, an innovative vision, and loves to tell stories through his drawings. What’s more, though, he comes up with suggestions for the storyline. He has internalized the project, and believes in it. He’s providing suggestions on improving the story line, and even offering ideas to take it in new, totally exilerating directions.

These are the hallmarks of a strong team, one I am glad to be part of. It will be interesting to see where this adventure takes us.