Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Archer

The new Avalanche blog topic is Zodiac and I'm a Sagittarius.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ana Lucia Cortez

In getting back to my LOST caricatures I'm following up my favorite character (Mr. Eko) with my least favorite. I can't stand her, I cheered when she died.

Friday, November 21, 2008


BOLT the movie opens in theaters today and the video game came out a few days ago. These are a few screenshots from the two areas I worked most on, the cave and the helicopter battle in the Yucatan jungle. I'm quite happy with the finished product so go out and play it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Halloween '08 Pumpkin

I wasn't going to post this, feeling the season had passed and it was time to move on, but I have nothing else to post right now so here was my pumpkin this year before it met it's eventual demise in our compost heap.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fun Shall Overcome!

I've had LittleBigPlanet for a few weeks now and it is genuinely wonderful. I've never seen a game with such ineffable charm. Whether it's the inspired art direction or the delightful narration by Stephen Fry or the marvelous soundtrack or it's sweeping accessibility- the game is just impossible not to love. My two year old son watches me play and frequently laughs because the game is adorably captivating. He likes to wave at the Sackboy on the screen (I, of course, always make him wave back). Heather wants a Sackboy or Sackgirl as a pet. When playing it with others, everyone ends up laughing. This game is for everyone and it's just plain fun.

I just finished and published my first created level over the weekend (and I think it compares fairly well to other user-created levels). It's called "Sackboy Jones" by kanyn. Play it, heart it, give me feedback. Thanks!

Right now I'm playing:
LittleBigPlanet - Endlessly fun!
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Better than I expected but not quite the home run it could have been.

I've recently finished:
Silent Hill: Homecoming - This ended up feeling like a montage of the most popular elements of previous Silent Hill games and the movie. Anything new it introduces doesn't fit the unique SH atmosphere. Ultimately it feels like a competent tribute to SH games instead of a real addition to the series. There are a few small additions that I love but they're too small to carry the game beyond the realm of mediocrity. The SH franchise is in real need of a reworking the way RE4 so successfully did with Resident Evil. Until that happens I just can't muster the enthusiasm I once had for this series.
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen - This is a must play for fans of old-school J-RPGs. I loved it.
What are you playing?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Evil Lord of Destruction!

I've never loved anything the way I loved He-Man when I was 5-7 years old. This was when I called Saturday - Cartoon Day. My brother and I would get up so early Saturday mornings that we would watch the color code thing until the broadcast would start at about 6 am and be swept away in a blissful haze of terrible animation and toy commercials for 4 hours. Smurfs, Thundarr the Barbarian, Transformers, Thundercats, Voltron, and, of course, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The 80's was a great time to be a kid.

Monday, October 13, 2008


"What manner of man is this,
or what manner of creature is it in the semblence of man?"
-Bram Stoker

I love the original Dracula novel, but, as is almost always the case, none of the film adaptations have portrayed the spooky specter the way the book does. Bram Stoker provides the following details:

-Dracula has a full mustache, but is clean shaven everywhere else.
-He is an old man with aquiline features and slightly pointed ears.
-He has bushy eyebrows and a full head of hair but is balding around his temples.
-He has stubby fingers and hairy palms.
-He dresses in black and has a cruel look in his eyes.

This is a far cry from the suave gentleman many picture when they hear the name Dracula. I decided I wanted to paint the famous bloodsucker and stay fairly close to the original description. I found that it's hard to make a mustache scary. Some of my sketches look like a hook-nosed Borat with a mohawk. I was convinced it could be done, however and I eventually ended up with the sketch that turned into this painting. I'm quite pleased with it, and it sorta creeps me out a little.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Within the last month two of my favorite video game franchises have had new releases. Dragon Quest IV hit a few weeks ago and Silent Hill: Homecoming hits retailers today. I figured there's no better way to celebrate than with a painting of everyone's favorite Silent Hill denizen, Pyramid Head! It's also a wonderful way to begin the month of Halloween. Few games can compete with the immersive atmosphere and interactive narrative most Silent Hill games have. I'm always looking forward to going back there.

Silent Hill fans (myself included) are fairly intense when it comes to the foggy town. Many are intelligent and interesting. But among any fanbase can be found the fanboyish whiners lighting up the internet with their self important observations and complaints. Team Silent out of Japan created and developed the first 4 games, the first 3 of which are held in the highest regard. SH4 was a bit of a departure for the series, it was more experimental and openly surreal. It was met with much criticism from the SH fanboys. I enjoyed it but fatigue for the series was becoming evident in Team Silent's work. When speaking of the future of the series the creators wanted to push it even further away from the traditional Silent Hill gameplay and atmosphere. Fans complained. So the next game (SH Origins for the PSP) was handled by another studio and some (myself included) found it to be a competent and worthy addition to the series. Homecoming was also handled by an outside studio and so the fanboys have been outspoken about their disapproval of this from the day it was announced. They all object to the series being handled by someone else, despite the fact that the original studio has all but said they don't want to make any more and if they were to they would be very different from what we've come to expect. Personally I'm happy either way, I like the original games enough that I'm fine with playing variations on the theme or letting the series evolve. I get irritated by those who just want every new SH game to be a remake of SH2 (rightly considered the masterpiece of the series though the first game is my personal favorite). Homecoming could very well be no good, reviews have been all over the map (some rank it as high as 95% and others as low as 60%) but that's beside the point. Making up your mind about a game before you've played it is unfair. Being so exacting in your expectations that you're nearly impossible to please does not make you an intelligent and discerning individual. I know the internet will never be lacking in pretentious people with unfounded opinions, but they still bug me.

Right now I'm playing:
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen - The DS is the perfect home for the DQ games, I'm enjoying every minute of this one.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - I've been enjoying this more than the original HL2 or Episode 1 -and I loved those!

I've recently finished:
Killzone - I played this because the sequel looks so cool. Unfortunately it kind of deflated my enthusiasm. It had some cool moments but overall...meh.

Anybody else playing anything good?

Friday, September 26, 2008


This is a protrait of my neighbor's kid I just finished. I've never really tried a portrait of a child before and in doing so I now realize why they are so rarely done well - they're hard! It took me 3 previous attempts and many long hours to finish something I was happy with. Thankfully, they also like it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mr. Eko

Mr. Eko is my favorite character (so far) from LOST. RIP.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The current Avalanche blog theme is Snow Monster. I decided to depict an encounter (not included in the show) between Yukon Cornelius and Bumble from "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I translated the characters into my own style, but left the mountains in the background essentially the same as they are in the movie. It may end up looking a little inconsistent but I like it for some reason. Hope you like it too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Claire Littleton

During the LOST hiatus I'm going to start doing the characters from the show who are either dead or missing or a ghost or posessed or brainwashed or a zombie or something. I have no idea which category Claire falls under, maybe none of them...I love this show.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Desmond Hume

Everyone's favorite "bruthuh."

I never got a chance to do a LOST caricature for the season 4 finale and I've been meaning to catch up. Even though the finale didn't focus on any particular character I felt that Desmond had the best moment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why So Serious?

More fan art for my new favorite movie.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Dark Knight

As is no doubt apparant by the lack of new content uploaded on this blog I am very busy lately. I have, however, fortunately found time to go see The Dark Knight. My wife and I saw it last Saturday and enjoyed it so much we saw it again last night (this time on IMAX!). This is not only the best Batman movie, but the best superhero movie. Period. I've never had the experience before where I'm completey in love with a film while at the same time annoyed with it for being so good that it's made a lot of other movies I like, in comparison, seem pretty crappy. So yeah, thanks a lot Batman.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Team Logos

These are a few logos for local sports teams I did for some people in my neighborhood. They were actually pretty fun.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

I've been extremely busy at work lately so my monthly video game post is a little late. I've also been feeling lonely on PSN, the newest firmware update raises the number of people you can have in your friends list to 100. I was amazed when I read that - I had no idea anyone was so popular, I have a total of 5 friends in my list. So please, if you have a PS3, be my friend. Just so I can feel good about myself. My PSN name is kanyn. Thanks.

I'm really only playing 1 game at the moment:
Metal Gear Solid 4 - I've come to the conclusion that this game is worthy of the great deal of the praise, and also some of the criticism, that it has been attracting. Fan or not you can't deny the significance of this franchise nor can you not respect what (MGS creator/director) Hideo Kojima and his team have attempted to build here. MGS4 is a masterpiece. The game is bursting at the seams with exhilarating game play, a compelling story, and production values that rival many Hollywood blockbusters. I'm nearly through the game for the second time and I've enjoyed an almost completely different experience than I did my first play through - the depth of the game play is staggering. There are moments so exciting and intense and fun to play that afterwards I had that adrenaline pumping, heart pounding, awe struck feeling you get after riding a good roller coaster. That said, the game is by no means perfect, some of the plot twists are absurd, dialogue is still poorly written and preachy, most disappointing is that the last act is probably the weakest in the game but these complaints seem petty when weighed against the wealth of entertainment the game provides. In a way too, the absurdity of certain plot elements and the silly dialogue adds to the fun of the experience and helps maintain the identity of the franchise. The MGS titles never take themselves seriously enough to make these elements unpalatable, in fact they add to the overall charm of the series. It's a fine balancing act to make a story, characters, and gameplay that are simultaneously silly and serious, but MGS does it and this 4th installment in particular does it well. It has moments of genuine emotion and deals with some deep issues, but never forgets that it's just a video game. A very, very good video game.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mr. Hopey Changey

It looks like Obama is the Democratic Nominee for president...so I thought I'd paint him.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Old Snake

I'm a pretty new Metal Gear Solid fan. I played the third not long after it's release but have only recently played the first and second. Their ridiculous plots and unforgettable characters are pretty addicting and totally awesome. I am very excited for the 4th installment of the series being released in a couple weeks and thought I'd try my hand at a little Shinkawa style art. I recognize some of the anatomy is off, but that's also in keeping with the Shinkawa style...also I just sketched it out quickly with a brush pen.

Right now I'm playing:
Dementium: The Ward - So far a very fun DS FPS/Survival Horror game. Something I never thought would exist on the DS (let alone be successfully pulled off).
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness - I've never played a Tactical RPG before so I thought I'd try one. I like the character designs and it got good reviews and so far it's pretty cool.
Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb - This is a relatively old PS2 game that I picked up just because I've been excited about Indy lately. I wasn't expecting it to be very good but I'm actually quite surprised by the fun gameplay, solid story and quality voice work. The graphics, however, look like something from the PS1.

I've recently finished:
Resistance: Fall of Man - Awesome! I can't wait for the sequel.
MGS2 & 3(again) - As I said above, these games are great. There's nothing else quite like them.

You playing anything good?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

James "Sawyer" Ford

Tonight is the first hour of the three hour finale "There's No Place Like Home." There is no character in particular that this episode focuses on and I got a lot of requests for Sawyer so here he is. I'll be out of town for the finale so I might have to catch it in a small low definition hotel room TV, which sucks! I probably won't be able to do another Caricature for it, which also sucks, but I might do some more when I get back.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

John Locke

Tonight's LOST episode is called "Cabin Fever" and focuses on Locke. Next week we get the first of three hours for the finale, but then have to wait two weeks after that for the rest. Apparantly the final episode focus on no particular character but I'm so enjoying these caricatures that I'm open to suggestions on who I should do next.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Jack Shephard

Tonight's LOST episode focuses on Jack and is called "Something Nice Back Home." I'm hoping we get to see more Daniel Faraday. He's my favorite new character.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It's my monthly video game themed post! I think there's no better day to do it on than today, the day when the biggest video game ever is being released (that's Grand Theft Auto IV by the way). Which means that for today and the following weeks we'll all enjoy the numerous news stories about how this game turns kids into homicidal drug dealing criminals. I will not be playing it. At least not for a couple months. I'm under a self imposed game buying freeze. I was buying a lot of games and not playing them because my "to play" pile was getting bigger than my "currently playing" pile could ever catch up to so I'm trying to exercise some self control and finish what I've got before I get more. My gaming embargo will be lifted on June 12th (coincidentally in time for Metal Gear Solid 4) but until then I've got plenty to play.
Right now I'm playing:
Resistance: Fall of Man - Why this incredible FPS doesn't get more attention than the very average Halo series I'll never know.
Metal Gear Solid 2 - This is the last of the previously released Metal Gear Solid games I've not played. This is one of those video game franchises that tells the type of story and has characters and situations in it that really could not successfully exist in any other medium. They are all so weird and wonderful.
Rock Band - Still Awesome.
I've recently finished:
Zack and Wiki - I actually liked this game less when I finished it. The early puzzles are short, fun, and solvable, but near the end cease to be any of those things. I'd still recommend it, just not as glowingly as I did last time I posted.
Metal Gear Solid - Fun, engaging, challenging, rewarding...I love this game.
Chrono Trigger - Frog is a character from this game (in case you were wondering why I painted a frog with a sword and wearing armor), he's a warrior cursed to look like a frog and he speaks in old english (how cool is that?). He's my favorite character from the game and he's also got a great musical theme. If you like JRPGs and retro games definitely track down a copy of Chrono Trigger.
Games I started to play, but didn't like very much, and stopped:
Devil May Cry 4 - This is a good game, the DMC series is just getting stale. I highly recommended it if you haven't played any of the others or you just loved the others so much that more of the same sounds great to you. I just got a little bored.
Super Smash Brothers: Brawl - I tried to get into this series with Melee and just didn't get it. I tried again with Brawl and I still don't get it.
Anyway, what are you playing? Anything good?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Benjamin Linus

LOST is on again tonight (woohoo!) and it's a Ben-centric episode (woohoo?).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Green Gore

I'm not sure how well I captured the likeness, but anyway, Happy Earth Day...yesterday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tutorial Thingy

This is a demonstration I did here at Avalanche for my fellow artists. Others have posted or may post their demonstrations as well. I talk mostly about shape-making and composition then start a sketch (which eventually became my "Wii Warrior" a few posts before this one) using those principles. It's pretty long but is hopefully informative in some way to those interested, if any, in my thinking process.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Seward Family

This is a new piece for a project I started a while ago. I didn't like the direction it was going then and dropped it. After some retooling I'm excited to start it up again. I've found I'm good at starting things, but not finishing them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wii Warrior!

I consider myself as much a gamer (I really hate that term) as I do an artist. I play almost every day (to my wife's dismay). I own a DS, Wii, and Playstation 3 (60gb). I don't know who visits my blog and plays games but I want to occasionally do some video game themed art and list what I'm playing in hopes that people can see what good games are out there and post suggestions for other games I might enjoy. I'm fortunate to have 3 brothers who are all gamers and I feel like we're in our own little game club, so I at least expect them to contribute.
Right now I'm playing:
Zak and Wiki: the Quest for Barbaros Treasure - If you own a Wii I would seriously consider getting this game. It is fantastic and one of the few 3rd party Wii games to really "get" the platform.
Silent Hill: Origins - A worthy addition to the series, and considering how amazing the series is, being called a worthy addition is high praise.
Chrono Trigger - I've wanted to play this for a long time since it is generally considered one of the best console RPGs out there. Younger players might be turned off by it's 32 bit presentation (it was originally a SNES title), but don't let that stop you. It has it's reputation for a reason, the story is great the characters are charming and the gameplay is really smooth. I'm really digging it.
Rock Band - Awesome.
I've recently finished:
LOST: Via Domus - Fun for LOST fans (like me), but I can't imagine anyone else liking it.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village - If you own a DS get this game!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I guess Totoro was grossing people out so I've updated my blog with another woodland creature. This one painted with watercolors about 20 years ago. I think I was 7 or 8 at the time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Alan Tew's Totoro

This is a painting I did from a sketch by my friend Alan Tew. Check out his blog here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"My Friends..."

I've been doing a lot of caricatures lately (as you can probably tell). They're pretty quick, plus I feel like I learn so much doing them. What is a group of caricatures without politicians like John McCain? I'm having fun with these so I'll probably keep doing them for a while.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Captain Ahab

"..the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey-more a demon than a man!"
-Herman Melville

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Heather

My wife's birthday is on Sunday and she loves to cook. She has a binder which she keeps original recipes, recipes off the internet, and recipes from magazines in and has expressed an interest in me drawing a cover for it. So I did this for her birthday and gave it to her a little early.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day from Chicago, 1929

I did this for the Avalanche Blog. The theme is 1920's gangster and, this being Valentine's Day, I could think of no more fitting a piece than a tribute to the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929. Al Capone's men took out 5 of 'Bugs' Moran's men (plus 2 others), execution style, in a warehouse on Chicago's north side. Al Capone was conveniently out of town at the time. My favorite part of the story is the dude who's full of about ten bullets telling the cops "I'm not gonna talk - nobody shot me." before dying. That's dedication!

Friday, February 08, 2008

"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

I can't help but get excited about the new Indiana Jones movie.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Knighty Knight

This is a concept painting I did from a design by my brother Josh. He's the main character for a little animation we're working on. Should be fun.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Queen of Snow - 2

I made some changes based on the suggestions of my fellow artists here at Avalanche. I took some of the warmth out of her face and simplified the background. Subtle changes, but I think for the better. Do you agree?

Monday, January 07, 2008