April 22, 2009

Earth Day

This image shows a brand new steamin' Earth emerging fresh from the mold. We've become more aware of how easy it is for us to screw it all up, so I thought this would be a good image to revive.

Originally painted in acrylics, I scanned it and reworked it digitally using my Wacom Cintiq. Wacom is known for making "Intuos" tablets that allow digital artists and designers to use a digital pen instead of a mouse. This makes painting a more realistic experience on the computer. For years I had used a large Intuos tablet but the drawback was that you move the pen around the tablet area while you're watching the cursor move around the monitor. It's an awkward hand-to-eye experience to anyone who has spent a lot of time drawing with pencil and paper. But their latest Cintiq technology allows you to use the pen right on the computer monitor. For the serious digital artist, this is a must. The hand/eye coordination is more true and very sensitive.

I've sold several prints of this image which I reproduce on Ultra Premium Photo paper by Epson. The dark black and blue areas of this image needed to be deep and rich and this paper really gave me what I was looking for (after several failed attempts on other papers).
Available on my website at MarkAstrella.com

April 10, 2009

Celebrity look-alikes

Ever look at a person's face and think to yourself, "He's got a face like a weasel!", or "She looks like a frightened deer in the headlights"...?

Well, I do.

The great thing about Google is that with a few clicks, one photo of a face can be coupled with a critter for a comparative giggle that can be emailed to friends.
The following images were shamelessly ripped off for satirical use only.
For example,

Based purely on looks and demeanor, I'd say there's some odd resemblance, but any other comparisons to personality are not intended.

How about these others...?

April 07, 2009

Andy & Sandy

This pair of Palmate Geckos are from the deserts of Namibia and have the strangest coloring. Their skin is somewhat translucent and one of them is shown wiping grains of sand from its eye with its transparent tongue.

To paint the sand I masked off the geckos and airbrushed the background with layers of yellow and brown. While I wanted to show the detail of the sand grains I wasn't about to paint each one by hand. So one method was to lower the pressure of the airbrush tank until it caused the paint to spit from the airbrush. It worked but the drops were still too small, so I grabbed a toothbrush, dipped the edge in paint and began flicking the bristles using my thumb.
This image was published in The Desert Alphabet Book and also shows a desert snake hidden in the sand that usually hunts these geckos. The original painting is available on my website
and there are limited edition prints available by contacting me.

April 03, 2009

Cartoon -Biketoons

Stony's Pizza is a mobile pizza business owned by a long-time friend of mine, Steve Cohn, with his son Tony. These two guys make the BEST pizza in Austin, TX. Steve had me do a cartoon of himself riding his home-made motorcycle while delivering pizza which he uses on t-shirts and promotional material.
You can check out Stony's Pizza here. Steve just loves that I made him look like a PSYCHO HILLBILLY.

And speaking of "billy", Steve recommended me to a friend of his who wanted a caricature of a well-known chopper builder to put on t-shirts. He wanted me to put this tough biker on a one of those Big Wheels for laughs. This is fun stuff to do, so I agreed and came up with this...
Actually, the tricycle says "Big Whine" on the side.

Recognize him? The guy made up a batch of
t-shirts as a joke to wear at a chopper show where the famous biker was appearing. I think he gave a few to his friends but became squeamish to carry out his original idea to sell these shirts at the show. Maybe he wasn't really sure how the guy would react. (Was the puddle of pee-pee going too far?)

Satire sometimes has consequences so you gotta be careful. Hopefully, this Billy has a great sense of humor!