Illustration – Futurity Book Cover Design



I was recently contacted by a publishing company who works with authors to illustrate a book cover for a science fiction author. The book’s title was “Futurity” by Daniel Kuehn. The author requested that three of the main characters be incorporated, and provided a description of each and a brief synopses. The author had in mind a certain style and color scheme, and provided a few samples of that. He specifically asked that the main character be wearing jeans and a hoody, with their eyes hidden in shadow. They also needed the artwork done within 4 days. Fortunately I was able to deliver.


Cover_prev1Here is the first sketch I provided them. This took a couple of days of thinking about the brief.

I knew I wanted an ambiguous background, and that a reflective surface would allow for some shadow play. I started fairly monochromatic and developed color as I decided how I would handle the light sources in the image.


The main character (center) develops some psychic abilities in the story. The girl develops the ability to control fire, and the third character is the muscle in the story.

After taking a break from the initial sketch, I decided there were things that bothered me about it, the girl’s legs, for example, the stance wasn’t quite right, and I also felt it would be more intriguing if she was holding flames in her hand, which then introduced a secondary light source.


Cover_prev2Gradually I began to model the figures, adjusting the tone and highlights to make the light sources more logical and consistent. The author also gave me a better description of the third character’s hair.

I modified the shadows to make the surface they were standing on a little more glassy, and compelling. Then I continued modeling the figures.


Cover_prev4This stage involved continued modelling and refining. I wanted to try adding some special effects to the main character, to further disguise their expression, and add more interest to that character.

For that I used a greatly modified lens flare (don’t shoot me – it was appropriate for this kind of effect).


Cover_prev5At this point I began to work on the overall color, making sure it was consistent with the light sources. So the main light was coming from behind the characters, from the ambiguous background, which is what casts the shadows on the surface they are standing on. But the flames also create a light, and the highlights and color had to reflect that.

With a warm light you’ll have cool shadows, so I added a subtle cool tone to the front of the two male characters, while adding a warmer tone to the areas behind and next to them, closer to the flames. The flames also would affect the density of the main shadows.


Cover_prev6For this stage, I continued to bring the values together given the light sources in the image, darkening the tone of certain areas, with final touches to the modeling of certain areas.

I also added a cast shadow of the girl’s arm across her midsection. This had to be diffuse, because the flames were moving. This also meant darkening the underside of that hand. I also added some highlights and shadows to the jeans, and more refinement to the hair.


The last stage then required some overall color grading, to bring everything together.


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Real Estate Photography – 1930 E. North Avenue


I was hired by an out of state property owner to document the condition of a parking lot shared by an apartment complex, a bank and several businesses. The owner is in New York and wanted to plan renovations and planting that would be done later this year. He needed an exacting survey of the parking spots, painted arrows and lines, as well as the condition of the easements and the lot in general.




While not a very challenging assignment, the client requested some panorama shots, which was quite fun to do in Photoshop. This involved taking 10-12 images, panning about 180 degrees, then stitching these together to create a wide angle view. I also shot short video clips to help them get a sense of the space. All together I shot each individual parking space, details of the posts and painted elements, plus the panoramas.





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Retouching – Frequency Separation

Frequency separation is a technique used in retouching photographs that allows you to work on the color separate from the texture detail. What this means is that you can adjust the blotchiness or overall tonality of a patch of skin, for example, without losing the texture of that skin.

Essentially we create a High layer that has the detail elements, and a Low layer that handles the color. We can then bring in tools like the clone stamp, the Spot Healing Brush, and the Brush tool to affect each aspect of the image separately.

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Milo’s Upgrade – Cinematic Promo Poster

Milo's Upgrade Cinematic Promotional Poster

Promotional Poster for the upcoming film “Milo’s Upgrade” based on a story written by Ben Soto.

My writer friend Ben Soto asked me to do a promotional poster for the film based on his story “Milo’s Upgrade” – a Science Fiction thriller. I had done some storyboarding and a couple of digital wallpapers for this production in the past. Glad to see this going to the theaters. If you’re interested, you can use the QR code on the poster to visit their Facebook page to learn more about the film.


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Bugler Colorized

Bugler Colorized


Bugler Colorized - Original PhotographBugler Colorized - Stage 1This is another photograph I found online and colorized as an exercise. The first thumbnail shows the black and white original image. The second image shows the first stage, where I have a color fill for each area of the photograph. The third thumbnail shows the stage after I began to layer colors, making a richer skin tone, the color and texture of the bugle, and deepening certain values.

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Colorized Portrait

Colorized Portrait


Colorized Portrait - Original PhotographColorized Portrait - Final ImageAnother study using a rather famous black and white photograph. The challenge is always in finding the right amount of saturation. One of the things that I always consider when doing this type of work is the ‘depth map’ – that is: which areas of the image are closer in space, and which areas are farther.

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