Saturday, December 31, 2011

Uberman - Some progress !

I'm back ! Did you miss me ?

With Christmas over - and the main story in Arkham City finished - I've been able to get back into some art. I would have liked to have this one done before the close of 2011, but that's not happening !

Here's some more detail on the dials, and the face of Uberman present. He's supposed to be wearing a monocle - but that could be on the side in shadow. I couldn't make it work visibility.

I figure this is almost done now. I have to resize, and get a background in.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Indoor Kids contest - Aftermath

On Tuesday a picture of my entry was posted on the Indoor Kids Face-book stream.

I was a winner.

Not THE winner mind you. I didn't get the Xbox - but, to be fair, I didn't think I would. Nor did I win a copy of 'Gears of War 3' - which isn't so bad, seeing as I don't have a Xbox on which to play it.

But I did win a book on the art and design of Gears of War 3 - which is what I had hoped I would win.

I was pretty damn happy.

Almost better than the prize was the short e-mail I got from the Indoor Kids hosts - saying that they loved that I had made them into a retro-gamebox, and the facebook person who said in a comment that my pic was his favourite.

So, that was a success !

I've been pretty busy with family stuff ( Lorenzo, for example, has been up for the last hour, and my attempts to get him back to bed haven't worked terribly well ), and Christmas is fast approaching - but I do plan on getting right back into the art, and finish of f the first of those cover pieces for The Dunesteef.

Oh great - Lorenzo is laughing maniacally now. That can't be a good sign...

Back soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Indoor kids contest - finished

It's done. I'm pretty pleased with it. There are things here and there I would like to have done better, but on the whole it's pretty good. As usual, I learnt some things about photoshop along the way, so that's always good !

Now I can get back to the podcast covers I'm supposed to be doing !

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Indoor kids contest - 1 day to go

Almost done now. I'm REALLY liking the elf's magic sword. The glow is really easy to do in photoshop.

Still have to :
- Add shade to the rogue's arms.
- Shade / highlight the chest.
- Get a background for the demon room.
- Add glowing magic power fireball thingies to the demon's hands.
- Add a spider to the wall.
- Maybe tweek the masonry colour.
- Add the 'cartridge' backing ( I want the whole think to look like an old atari cartridge box ).

It's going to be close !

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Indoor kids contest - 2 days to go

It's really picking up pace now ! I'm getting to the fun stage where I can add lots of colour, shadow and highlights.

I've also learnt how incredibly useful it is to have layers organized in folders and sub-folders so I can freaking FIND what I'm after. For example in the folder 'Elf Warrior', there's a folder for each bit of the body that's coloured - 'breast-plate', 'Sword', 'skin', 'hair', 'leggings' etc. These contain the base colour, highlight and shadow(s) layers. When the folders are collapsed, it's WAY easier to navigate the layers to quickly get to the bits I need to work with.

Having photoshop CRASH and make me re-do the colouring for the shoulder armor and the armored kilt / skirt wasn't fun though. Gotta save more regularly.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Indoor kids entry - more colour

Here's the latest version - it's starting to take shape now.
I'm not entirely sold on the purple stone - but it's better than the yellow !

Monday, December 05, 2011

Indoor kids entry - stone, chest, demon and colour

Here's the progress with 4 days to go :

I'm not thrilled with the colour at this point - I'll mess around with it via the 'hue / saturation' tool. Perhaps a cooler shade ? Blue maybe ?

The stone and wood textures were done by me as well - not ripped off real photos. There are all sorts of arcane secrets in Photoshop. Things involving channels and such. I don't even know what a channel IS precisely - seems to be something to do with colour, but apart form that I have no idea.

I really should find out some time.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Indoor kids contest - 5 days to go

With Viva and the boys away for the day - I was able to get a good amount of drawing done today. Here's the stage of play so far :

The basic outline of the elf-warrior is done, the rogue is almost done - I think I just have to do a more refined face. The masonry needs distressing, and the chest and demon need to be added. I'm not sure if I'm going to have the open door anymore - I was always a bit iffy on it.

Then I can get to the fun colouring stage !

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Indoor kids - my replacement

I'm not great at drawing female figures either. This is a decent start though for my replacement body, based on my pose / proportions :

It's already imported into the main image - and I've started re-sketching / vectoring it. The sword is done, breast-plate, and I'm working on the face.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Indoor Kids contest - getting bodies better

I find it hard to draw bodies in the correct proportions from my mind. It's probably why I tend to draw a lot of monsters and robots and things which don't have traditional proportions. I wanted the body shapes in this drawing to be a bit better than they currently are. What to do - what to do.

I decided to use some break time at work to take some photos of myself in the approximate poses in the sketch. I was able to use some of the props and costume pieces from the department, a tripod and a digital camera to capture these :

From there I erased out a bunch of the backgrounds, and imported the images into the current re-work of the original sketch.
I also changed the orientation of the sword arm on the left 'me'.

From here, I dropped the opacity of the photo images so I could sketch out the vague outlines necessary, with better proportions, with a tablet.

Better already !

It's going to be a little weird turning that left side 'me' into a armored sword-woman though.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Indoor Kids Contest - Sketch 1

A cool / funny video game podcast I listen to is having a 'do something cool for us' contest with Gears of War 3 things up for grabs. I thought I'd give it a go ( even though I have a bunch of other creative things I need to be doing ! ).

I did this initial sketch today while in a staff meeting. I've done another couple, but I think this idea is the best. It's only part of the overall idea ( though a fairly central part ! ), but it's a start at least.

The figures on the left and right of the door are going to be the hosts of the show, or as close as I'm able to draw them anyway ! The next step here will be digitally drawing in the line work. I'll keep you posted on how it's going. The entry has to be in by the 9th of December - so I need to get cracking !

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dunesteef cover #1 - Uberman - more things / small changes

This thing is progressing like a glacier - small, but inexorable advances :

Some colour shifting on the main chassis, so that the 'hood' can stand out more.
Moved all the 'dial' and detail stuff up more.
Mask-layers out some of the upper pipes so they slot into the 'hood' thingy.
More details.

Still excited about how this is going !

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dunesteef cover #1 - Uberman - stage 1

Haven't updates for ages. For that I apologize to my legion of rabid fans.

So, I recently got in touch with the Powers That Be from the Dunesteef podcast ( which is really cool - and you should totally listen to it ! ) and offered to do them some cover art work, and they said yes !

I'm starting off doing some for past artless-episode, the first one for the 'Uberman' episode. It was a really cool story which had the Nuremberg interview of a Nazi super-soldier, who was being held in some sort of containment device - which was described as looking like a cross between a deep-sea diving suit and an iron maiden. That image really hit me - so I volunteered to do that episode almost right away.

I'm trying a very different style for this piece - more pieces of block colour, which I'll shade slightly later on. This is a very early stage composition :

As I said - it's at an early stage so far - but I'm excited at where it's going so far !

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Me and my boys

Me and my son Angelo ( 3 and a 1/2 years old ) and my son Lorenzo ( 5 mths ).

Thursday, August 04, 2011

New sketches

These are mostly what I was doing at the Swimming Sports today. Good to use the time constructively !! :

Kinda a Jedi

Scary Ghost


Killer Robot Ape

That must catch me up a little with my 'Thing a Fortnight' backlog !

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Coverwork - Drabblecast Art Reclamation Project

Hey there - thanks for stopping by ( possibly again ! ).

Here's what I've been working on lately. It's something for the Drabblecast Art Reclamation Project. They're trying to get a bunch of art for old episodes that didn't have any, so I signed up for an episode. This is for episode #52 I think - 'Eggs'. It came out on the day Angelo was born, so I thought that would be fitting in some way.

It's SUPPOSED to be like an electron microscope picture. It's about as good as it's going to get in that way. Not perfect, which is annoying, but there you go. I had a heck of a time with this one. I had to ask a very talented friend for advice on the texturing process ( which I then promptly ignored when I discovered the 'texturalize' filter option in Photoshop ! ). It's vaguely successful I guess - and it looks alright. I'll try and tart it up a little more - but I don't think I can make it that much better.

Monday, June 20, 2011

More rehearsal sketches - Thing a Fortnight

Some more drawings from production down time :

Power Armour #2

Alien Armour Suit

Knife Grrl

Monday, June 06, 2011

Encounter Suit - Hightlighting and background

Highlighting done ( pretty much ) and a new background added. I like the circuit board pattern ( though I might need to have a different eye colour now ! ).

Encounter Suit - first round of shading / eye highlights

Really liking the new techniques I've learned. I mean, they're nothing amazing - but clipping layers are very useful !

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Encounter Suit - first colour application

I've been working on this little drawing for a wee bit now.

I've been learning how to use solid colour layers combined with mask layers to quickly colour a picture. It's a really good technique for a couple of reasons. First - you can tweak the colours REALLY REALLY easily afterwards. Second - it's VERY easy to colour in areas efficiently via the fill tool in the mask layer.

I know it doesn't look like much now - but it'll pick up once shadows and highlights are in.

More as it happens.

Monday, May 16, 2011


With this and that ( read - new child and school production ) I've had precious little time to do any drawing. I have been doing some stuff on my 'encounter suit' pic - but that's not ready for publication just yet.

As a bit of a catch up - here are some sketches I did during rehearsals over the last weekend or two when I had a second :

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Late for a good reason this time.

You might have noticed there is no new 'Thing a Fortnight'.

This is largely because of the birth of my second son, Lorenzo Alexander Moretto.

He was born on the 24th of March, at 7.51pm.

He is healthy, and a good deal more relaxed than Angelo was at his age ! Which is good.

More soon - but I have started a new blog for Lorenzo ( largely to facilitate picture viewings by grandparents who - for very good reasons - don't want to deal with that 'Facebook nonsense' ). You can check out the little guy here :

Lorenzo : OMG - ALMB !

Thanks for your patience !

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

SSS Cover - More colour, more reflections, a reg.number

The latest version - quite a few changes. Some feedback for the last version was that there was too much gray, so I colour shifted the robo-cat to a more orange / coppery tone. Also added some darker patches via a new layer and reduced opacity. Mice are now a range of tones too ( that was a bit of a pain to do - had to re-colour a number of layers. Kinda finicky ). There are some more reflections, and the cast shadow of the cat is darker to help ground it ( looked like it was floating a bit before ). There were a couple of other things I did too - but I can't be bothered talking about them here !
This may well be the last one - we'll see what the art-director for SSS says. :-)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Thing a Fortnight #4 - Flying Robot

Just a quick one this time to keep up with the quota ! Quickly did this tonight while watching an episode of Fringe. I think I'll have to do more giant robots.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thing a Fortnight #3 - Frost Wyrm

Fairly late ( I think that'll be a theme with this ) but here it is - a sort of dragony thing. The name 'frost wyrm' jumped to mind when I was drawing it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thing a fortnight - teaser post !

I have yet to scan the official thing-a-fortnight ( it's coming ! ) - so here are some things to keep you going !

I loved loved LOVED my magna doodle thing when I was a kid ( until some idiot acquaintance of my folks split beer on it at a Christmas party - which ruined it ).

I was having a play with one on the weekend - here are a few ones I did :

Robot with guns !

Spider with bugging out eyes !

Stripy thing !

Damn I love magna doodle !

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Some actual writing !

So - I tried to to write a drabble today. The first draft came in at around 500 words instead of the required 100. Still - for the first thing I've written for ages, not too bad an effort. It needs redrafting - but here it is, just to prove I did it !


I know what you’re thinking.

I’m not insane.

She’d asked me to scrape off the old wall-paper to help the renovations. It was a old house, and it needed some attention. Insulation. Double-glazing. Keep out the cold – keep the little guy from getting sick.

Sure, I’d said. I like the simple hands-on monotony – kinda zen-like.

It was slow work – taking me well into the late night. It was downstairs though – I didn’t disturb her, or the toddler, with the gentle splash of sponge into bucket or the grind of the scraper in my rubber-gloved hand.

The first thing I noticed were the numbers. Penciled into the drywall, hidden under the layers of garish wall paper. But there’s nothing usual about that. Measurements. Tallies of construction material perhaps. How long to cut the wallpaper. How wide the next piece of dry-wall needs to be. Practical.


But then the other things crept in, revealed piecemeal as the sodden paper sloughed away.

The symbols.

Circles. Triangles. Spidery stars – slanted hexagons – spirals.

Interlocking and eldritch.

But they were only shapes, right ? In pencil. I mean – that’s normal. Right ?

Perhaps a child. All those years ago – when the house was new. A son or daughter. Whiling away the long stretches of tedium, while dad is busy papering. And dad doesn’t mind – it’s all going to be hidden soon anyway. Hidden away. Under the paper.

That’s normal.

So I didn’t pay it any particular mind.

I carried on. Heaven help me, I carried on. Spash and scape.



By the time I noticed that the symbols had given way to language, to words, spiked with harsh consonants and coughing vowels, I guess it was too late.

I had read them. And then I couldn’t stop reading them.

And then I was saying them. Echoing the words with lips and tongue, the words rolling in my mind like a broken body down a cliff face – all snap and hiss and whispered, mangled scream.

And though I tried, heaven help me – I tried, I couldn’t stop saying them.
And when I finally did stop, stopped those terrible words – that abominable alien litany, and opened my stinging eyes – I could see them.

The things behind the walls.

Not the walls of the house, you understand. The walls of this world. This universe. This dimension. This reality.

All hooks, claws. Faceted eyes. Snapping maws. Sniewy quivering limbs and tongues.


Scraping against the walls. Trying to get in.

And in those last patches of uncleared wall, hidden only beneath a few breaths of glue and paper – traced in unearthly curving lines of pencil – I knew there was a door.

Did I start the fire ? You already know.

It had to be done.

I wasn’t thinking straight. I was so desperate, so out of my mind with terror. It wasn’t till the house was well ablaze that I remembered.

I tried to go in.

Look at me. Can’t you see the skin crafts I’ve suffered through ? I tried.

I’m sorry. I wish I’d gotten them out first. I wasn’t thinking straight.

I’m so sorry.

I know I deserve to be in here for that. I have to pay. There’s no need for the padding on the walls though.

I’m not insane.

And it doesn’t hide them. Heaven help me – I wish it did. I can still see them. Pressed against the walls.

Writhing. Undulating. Scraping against the barrier between us and them.

Trying to get in.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Bonus sketch : Ape vs Robot

A wee bonus sketch for you ! I found this in a clip board - I think I started it during a sports / cultural exchange with the sister school of the one I work at. Those things can be pretty tedious. I also fleshed it out more at the dance auditions for the school production last year.

Inspiration ? I saw someone else doing a 'monkey vs robot' drawing and thought I could do one too.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thing a Fortnight #2 - Weresquid

Second 'Thing a Fortnight' and I'm on time this time !

I posted a plea for help on the FB, because I couldn't thing of anything to draw - and one of my pals said something like 'Weresquid - circa 1910'. I don't think I got the '1910' bit - but the rest isn't too bad.

I tried to post this yesterday - but whenever I tried to add the pic, I kept getting an 'internal error' message. Finally I looked at the image - it was immensly huge ! The canvas size was something like 8000 cm !! WTH ??

Friday, January 21, 2011

SSS Cover - Generally darker / mice shadow

Had to knock out another draft. The other one was just too annoying. Like a torn-nail for my brain.

This one is better I think. Now that it's darker the lens flare looks better.

The mice are still bothering me. I think when I fix them this mess will be done. Yay !

SSS Cover - Thicker lines / lens flare / darker walls

Getting near the end now. I'm a little annoyed with it at the moment.

It took ages to go over the mice again - but the other ones weren't well scaled. I like the lens flare effect of the eyes. I'm not thrilled with how it looks with titles though...

Seems a bit too 'busy' now. Hmmm.

Might have to try and fix that...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thing a Fortnight #1 - Only three days late !

A new year's resolution of sorts for me this year is to publish a sketch or drawing here every couple of weeks. Y'know - just to keep me motivated to actually draw something !

Here is number one - some kind of robot thing.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

SSS Cover - Some highlights. Lighter walls.

Some highlighting on the cat ( which I'm not totally thrilled with - I might have to do it again ), and a different lighter colour in the background.

It's a bit better.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

SSS Cover - More shading and sci-fi eyes

Another few steps. Shading on the robo-cat and mice and wires.
Glowing eyes for robo-cat.
Slowly shaping up !

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Cool thing from last year - SSS Cover #1 !

Happy new year to you, faceless internet wanderer ! I hope this planetary revolution brings to you many victories against the vicious squid-men of the Atlantic trench.

I bear you this gift in accordance with ancient custom - the cover art I made for the Hugo award winning pod-cast Star-Ship Sofa !

And here's a quick mock-up I did to see how it would look with titles. The titles on the actual publication were a bit different.

I was pretty happy with how it turned out - and it was neat to see it used and published. A highlight of 2010 !