Tuesday, April 18, 2017

"The New Day" WWE Concept and Wardrobe Designs

I've gained permission to show some of the "The New Day" WWE designs from the recent Wrestlemania 33.

It's interesting to see the direction evolve from costumes true to the art direction of the new "Final Fantasy: Storm Front" video game, to the upbeat and festive demeanor that is so crucial to "The New Day's" identity. You can see the progressions in the costume designs, the entrances, and the ice cream cart that the WWE Superstars ride down the ramp and into the ring.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Color Sketches - Down and Dirty

I was in the mood to do some quick Tarzan studies tonight. Once again I lost track of time, so I can't say exactly how long each took. It's safe to say I did them in about 90 minutes total. What a realization that occurs each time....either I am pleased with the quick results, or horrified. I would say a mix of both tonight. The monkey in the last frame (Nkima) is particularly bad. From one of my favorites - "Tarzan and the Lost Empire."


Thursday, April 6, 2017

It's a "New Day" at Wrestlemania 33


WrestleMania 33 exploded in Orlando Florida this past April 2nd. As expected, the performances were bigger and better than ever, viewed by 1.95 million to become the most watched event in WWE Network history.


With A-List Superstar matches, captivating story-lines and a few surprises, the City of Orlando, Florida exploded in spectacular entertainment.

I had the privilege to work with the talented WWE Creative team to design the wardrobes and entrances for the WWE Superstar Hosts of Wrestlemania 33, "The New Day." In a viral-style cross promotion with Square Enix's "Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood," Superstars Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E made their debut in Final Fantasy inspired costumes while riding a Final Fantasy-themed Ice Cream Tricycle. Assignments like this are a blast for an Artist like me!

Every detail of the wardrobe was meticulously planned. In an iterative process of design, ideas evolved from conventional to more daring and dazzling. The results were successful, and full of paintings, model sheets, concept art and storyboards.  Final Fantasy fans will notice the decor of Chocobos and Moogles on the Ice Cream cart and the cartoon caricatures branded on the Jumbotron. As WWE Superstars, "The New Day" can showcase anything with their outrageous presentation and lively charisma.

I helped design Triple H's entrance, one where H drove his custom bike down the show ramp with wife Stephanie MacMahon on board. Orlando Motorcycle Police provided them a regal escort into the ring.

I'd like to express my thanks to WWE for giving me the opportunity to work with such talented colleagues - artists, writers, and creative directors - on the spectacular pre-production of this titanic extravaganza.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Practice, Practice, Practice with "Tarzan and the Lost Empire"


Last year I nearly finished reading the entire series of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels. Burroughs wrote 24 novels about his greatest character creation, starting with "Tarzan of the Apes" and ending with "Tarzan and the Castaways." Along the way aside from my freelance schedule I began designing rough illustrations from one of my favorites - "Tarzan and the Lost Empire."    


As with most Tarzan novels, Burroughs quickly establishes empathy for his characters. There are plenty of newcomers to enrich the plot, as Tarzan is captured by an ancient Roman civilization hidden deep in Africa. Every gladiator movie or Biblical epic film I can think of must have come to life here first.  As Tarzan is forced to fight alongside other prisoners in the Colosseum arena, we are introduced to violent battles, a scheming emperor, secret romances and a colorful finale.                             



These rough sketches were created in pen and ink, dry brush, charcoal and a variety of pencils. I was inspired by the pen and ink methods detailed in Henry Pitz's classic instructional book "Ink Drawing Techniques." My efforts do not reach the depth or fidelity of Pitz's examples, but I gained a passion for experimenting with ink and other media while attempting to visualize details of Tarzan's story from "Lost Empire." 


An artist needs to persevere in his personal work, and I find that illustrating books is an easy way to thumbnail, conceptualize and create story moments, while constantly providing an opportunity to try new mediums. I am not sure if I will ever complete my Tarzan illustrations, but I'm excited enough to continue trying.