Character Design Project: Pop Culture Crossover

Today, I wanted to write about the importance of fan art.  For the past couple of weeks, I've decided to do a mini project for my concept design portfolio.  After meeting with a Creative Director here in St. Louis, he expressed some interest in my character design process.  He suggested that I choose two pop culture icons and merge them together to make something new and exciting.  So, I chose the hit television show Empire (Fox) and the global titan, Star Wars. With my passion for concept art, I feel this was a cool and interesting way to show my creative range and digital painting skills. 

The significant aspects for the doing this project:

  1. Reaching a larger audience and demographic utilizing my design skills.
  2. Re envisioning beloved characters within a new genre.

Let's dive into it!  I present to you "Lyon's Empire."

I hope you guys enjoyed my character designs! Feel free to share this blog post on Facebook!

Stay tuned for future blog post.

Thank You for Supporting AR86 Illustrations!

I want to thank everyone who reserved a Commission Spot and purchased Prints from my AR86 Illustration store!  I also want to thank everyone who supported the store's opening.   The Week Long 10% off Black Friday Sale got a lot of attention.  Now, that the sale is over, I'm going to begin working on the Commission pieces.  Progress shots of the illustrations will be posted on my Instagram and Facebook accounts (links can be found on the bottom right hand corner of my website).  Although the first selection of prints are Sold Out, I will consider making reprints if they are in demand.  

As we all now, Christmas is right around the corner.  If you want to reserve a spot for a Commission or Portrait Illustration, confirm your reservation at your earliest convenience.  I will post a cut off date to ensure the illustration will be completed before Christmas Eve.  There will be new prints available as well.  Stay tuned for a new Promo Code for the Christmas Sale.

Thanks again everyone!

Stay tuned for future posts!

AR86 Illustration Store Grand Opening!

Hey family!  I am pleased to announce AR86 Illustration Store's GRAND OPENING!  My store is powered by Square, Inc.  The two (2) catergories of art for purchase are Commission Illustrations and Prints.

Commission Illustrations:

  1. Traditional Illustrations
  2. Portrait Illustrations

I have outlined the guidelines and pricing for the Commission and Portrait Illustrations in the link provided below:

For starters, Ink wash (Black and White) and Payne's Gray watercolor (Dark Blue) are the painting options.  New colors will be announced and added at a later date.

Custom Commissions:

For Customers who want a different project, I have created a Custom Commission option.

  1. Larger Size (Portrait Illustration only)
  2. Adding characters (a total of 2-3 characters) and minimal background (Commission Illustration only)
  3. Adding family members (a total of 2-3 family members) (Portrait Illustration only)

If you are interested in a Custom Commission:

  1. Visit my website,
  2. Click "Contact"
  3. Type "Custom Commission" in the "Subject" line
  4. Describe your desired size, medium (ink wash or watercolor) and characters/ family members (a total of 2-3 characters/ family members)

The Custom Commissions will be priced due to time, size, materials, and characters/ family members (respectively).  

Due to scheduling, spaces for commissions are limited.  Contact me at your earliest convenience to reserve a spot.


New Prints will be announced on my social media accounts: Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin. Links to my social media accounts can be found on the bottom right hand corner of my website.  These pieces will be available as they are completed. 

If you are interested in either category, feel free to visit my Shop page The link is provided below.


Thank you again for all of your support!

Stay tuned for future posts!

Turning Thumbnails to Finished Pencils

In a previous post, I wrote about my ideas for tackling a comic script (Oct 21st's Blog Post).  After reading the 24 pages from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre comic script, I'm ready to begin strategizing and executing said comic pages.  

Planning ahead with heavy concentrations in Page Layout and Panel Design will lead me to a successful comic page.  

Page Layout:

Being clear and concise with my page layout is crucial.  It's important to note the reader will only look at the page for a limited amount of time.  My job is to make their experience enjoyable and easy to follow.  To find the most effective page layout, I experimented with the following:

  1. Varying panel sizes and shapes
  2. Rearranging the panels to benefit the pacing of the action

After I've decided the overall design of the page, I begin to thumbnail each individual comic panel.

Panel Design:

It's important to have clear compositions when designing a comic panel.  The storytelling must be seamless.  When illustrating a comic panel, I:

  1. Established all of the information I will use on the page in panel one (1).
  2. Drew the most important element in the panel first then stage the rest of the props around it.
  3. Utilized perspective to lead the eye within the panel
  4. Chose the camera angle and height that best exhibits the clearest view of the action
  5. Organized characters, environments and props using the Rule of Thirds

Save the Dutch angles and extreme close ups when absolutely necessary.  This will give those storytelling decisions more impact if you use them sparingly.  

I tend to follow a few rules of thumb when laying out a panel.  I:

  1. Utilize framing to aid in focusing the attention on the important action
  2. Create one area of focus in the panel
  3. Limit the amount of weird camera angles

Here is the final pencils of the 1st page from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It's all about clarity.  If you are having trouble with drawing a scene using an awkward camera angle, don't draw it.  If the angle is difficult to draw, the reader will be equally frustrated with reading it.  My advice is to find a simpler camera angle that will clearly stage all of the necessary props and convey your message.

Stay tuned for future posts!