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Friday, February 5

Rotofugi - Robot Envy Show

This is my first showing at Rotofugi in Chicago. It's one of the best places in the windy city for pop art and wickedly cool artist designed toys! I've gotten lost for hours there peering at all the fun oddities!

"Robot Envy Zenith" is a combined art showing and book launch for fans of awesome robot art! curated by artist Dave Pasciuto (davpunk). My piece, "A Robot's Best Friend", celebrates my love of dogs, and is is on the sweeter side of 'bot love. 

2780 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago IL 60614
Opening Reception Friday February 5th, 7-9pm


"A Robot's Best Friend"
10"x10"
Acrylic on Birch Board


Above is my starting sketch - an innocent unboxing of a bot companion. There are certainly elements of the sketch here that I absolutely love - which is why rough art is just as great or sometimes better than final. The looseness goes a long way here for me. Done on the iPad Pro.


With the printed rough in view, I lay down the paint on the birch board. Thin layers as I apply and try to do a gradient of the tones towards darker shades on the farther edges. Not really perfect - but it's got that painted "quality".   I go in on the silhouette a bit since mixing the exact gradient again will be tough if I want to go over the characters with background tones - I try and get the background finished in one pass.


 Here are flat color layers painted in - really just concentrating on edge coverage. I leave a few areas blank where I know I want to get in there and add creases between the robot coverings.



Further along - getting to the dog-bot's box - I ended up recoloring it based on the nose as a light source. Going into the painting, I hadn't committed yet to painting the dog nose as glowing or just an unlit lightbulb - but as you can see, I chose a lit-up nose. I really liked the idea of yellow reflecting in the orange robot's eyes!


OK - here is where things got clever. I hadn't originally considered a dramatic cast shadow for this piece, but as I worked on it, the nose-light made it seem very appropriate to add it in. Now, I had already painted the background gradient, and If I screwed up the cast shadow, it would be a pain in the chassis to re-paint. So what I did here was take a photo of the painting and "test" out the cast shadow in Procreate to see if it's what I wanted to do, and to try and place the cast shadow in the right spot. Above is the procreate digital render/test (see a hint of my original sketch in the background behind it?)

I've used this technique a few times before - a great tool for those unplanned decisions or just trying something radical before committing to the real deal. 

Ah,  and you can see my re-pained dog box with highlights now on the inside to better showcase the lit dog nose. 


Here is the finished piece with the sketch on the side. The cast shadow painted in, and a corny techno name for the dog - "5P07 v1.0". Maybe this is the orange robot's first companion ever - these guys are at the very beginning of sharing a special bond!

Hope you enjoyed my process story here - thanks much for reading! Until next time! - Dave

Friday, January 22

EAG Winter Art Show - "The Meeting"

New artwork for the 2016 Elmhurst Artist Guild Winter show. This is one of the bigger group shows we've installed in a while - over 70 pieces. Here is some process on my painting - a fun one to do celebrating the cooler Chicago months. The reception for the show is Friday January 22, 7-9pm at the Elmhurst Modern Art Museum. All are welcome to attend!


Rough digital painting done on the iPad for rough color and layout.


Setup of the canvas, with the digital rough in view to copy, nestled tight underneath. look closely to see the guidelines in place. A nice clean plastic plate waits to get messy!


Laying down the teal blues is a delight! So silky smooth with the Golden paints. A bit of a battle with how soft the mountains in the background turned out. One of my bigger challenges is how to replicate the feeling of the rough image into the final - here ending up with a fairly sharp landscape with just a hint of rounded mountaintop. 


Getting some final detail in there, I finished this off on the flat desk with tinnier brushes and more light. Little itty bitty footsteps, some complementary scarves, and human peepers - all this packed into a modest, medium thickness custom black frame.


"The Meeting"
24"x8" - acrylic on canvas

So, what's the story here? Some kind of negotiation about a broken treaty? Long lost brothers seeing each other for the first time? I think it's better for the mind to wander on this one. This piece will be on display in the Modern Art Museum until February 26, 2016.

Sunday, January 3

2016 - Happy "Chew" Year

During the Holiday break I had a bit of time to do some animation for fun. Here are a bunch of breakfast characters packing away 2015 and celebrating the arrival of 2016! Hope to have delicious days ahead - filled with butter and syrup of course!


Happy "Chew" Year 2016 from Dave Pryor on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 24

Apple Pencil Drawing and Thoughts

I just received my Apple Pencil after waiting about a month for it to be shipped. My first impression of it after doing one drawing (using Procreate) is that it's a major step up from the Wacom pen I was using with my iPad previously. There are some minor crummy things too, but I wouldn't say it's enough not to give it a solid recommendation.

Putting it through a bit of a typical drawing test, I just fell back on my traditional roots and "drew" in the Warner Bros. style I'm most accustomed to.



Yeah - this little bear in pajamas does look like an Ewok - but we are in the heat of Star Wars mania, so it makes sense where my head was at (but yeah - regardless I like to draw Star Wars a lot). Here are my thoughts in a stream on consciousness order:
  1. First off, the Pen is super smooth feeling on the iPad. This is kind of a plus from the Wacom Creative Stylus (version 1) that I was using before, which tended to feel sticky against the iPad glass on occasion. That rubber would also smudge up the screen something awful. 
  2. This smoothness is a bit of a minus as well. If you like a tactile feel - you might want to stick with your traditional pencil or your Cintiq. There are no nibs to exchange out for different feels.
  3. Speaking of Nibs, this one has a replacement (1) and in the instructions, they say it will wear down and "may" damage the iPad glass over time. I wonder how long this will take, and how I'll know it needs replacement - I assume it's much like the Cintiq in terms of wear and tear. We shall see.
  4. The Apple nib seems sturdier than anything Wacom has. It's a big chunk of plastic - not a tiny nib or a rubber cover (in the case of the Creative Stylus), Appears to be built to last a while.
  5. The accuracy on the iPad - above all else - is the reason to get an Apple Pencil. For the first time, I felt like I could work a line - not perfectly, and not like traditional medium or a Cintiq, but much better than previous. 
  6. Unfortunately, the Pencil only works with the iPad Pro. I will still hang on to the Creative Stylus for use with the iPad Air. 
  7. The Apple pencil does not come with a case or anything to "protect" it. The Wacom Creative stylus came in a nice place case that held batteries and extra nibs. The Pencil comes with only the box it's packaged in, which can work as a case if you like, I haven't decided if I'll store it there. Otherwise, it's very prone to rolling off of things.
  8. The Pencil does come with an adapter to power it up via USB. Very small - keep an eye on it if you need to unplug it from the cord to power your iPad or phone. You can also power it by plugging the back end directly into the iPad, but it seems so prone to snapping the back end off if you're not careful, so I'm glad it has an alternate powerup option. 
  9. The pencil is a little heavy. Didn't bother me much, but my wife said it was bugging her when she was drawing with it.
  10. The pencil makes a bit of a "clackety" sound when lifting up the pen and placing it on the glass. If you are doing a stipple technique or something, that might bug you. By comparison, the Creative Stylus is whisper quiet because of it's rubber nib. 
  11. The Pencil supports having your hand lean on the screen without screwing up your drawing. This is a huge perk. I got so used to keeping my hand lifted, I need to remind myself that it's OK to lean. 
  12. I've only tried it with the Procreate app. It may feel better or worse depending on your personal preference of iPad app (check for support first). 
So, I'm happy and excited with this stylus overall. As much as preserving the iPad and the Pencil are legitimate concerns, we know there will be a new one in a year or two that will make this one seem like a hunk of junk! Truthfully, I need to test it further and play with the angled shading and all that - but thumbs up for now.



Here are the pens in "best to worst" order, with my vintage R2 for size comparison. Nothing beats the full Cintiq for feel and accuracy. Apple Pencil is the way to go with an iPad Pro for drawing wherever you want (which for me, is the biggest perk). I can be in any room of the house or out in the world - Freedom! The Wacom Creative Stylus is now last - but heck, I drew a lot with it and I appreciate the flexibility it did offer me. Sure it has a rubber nib the size of R2-D2's head, but if you can look past that, it's a fine option for those with iPad Air models.

Thanks for reading and feel free to shoot me any questions!



Wednesday, December 9

Console Wars - Gallery 1988

This is Gallery 1988's last show of 2015 and it's gonna be a buzz with electric delight. "Console Wars" features art from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis era of video games. There is sure to be something there to delight your old school video-game needs! 

7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Friday December 11, 7-9pm


"Playing for Keeps"
10"x30"  
limited edition of 15 signed and numbered.

My show contribution is inspired by the gaming juggernauts of the time, Sonic and Mario. Here they are slugging it out to see who will reign supreme as they go head to head for the crown of the 16-bit era! Sonic has the speed - but Mario has the hammer. Choose your side as you celebrate the fun and excitement of gaming at it's best!




First Snowfall

Illustration of our home with us digging out for the first time this winter. I do the shoveling while my wife does the snowplowing. Dogs Ham, Waffles, and Piglet frolic happily.


Friday, November 20

Crazy 4 Cult 9 - Gallery 1988

This year's Crazy 4 Cult show is called "Let's Go Out to the Movies".  It's the 9th C4C show in the Gallery 1988 collection - and if you love pop culture, you are sure to enjoy the eclectic offerings that this show presents.

7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Friday November 20, 7-10pm
Show runs through December 5th, 2015

My work this year is inspired by (as one might expect since I love it so much) "The Wizard of Oz". In this piece, a bright "alternate reality" vision for Emerald City being constructed as the Wizard looks on from above - a cheery view of his rulership, which ironically is simply rulership by fear and trickery. Gotta give The Wizard credit for seizing an opportunity!


"Building a Better Tomorrow Today!"
18"x24"
digital limited edition of 10


Saturday, October 17

Art Post Catchup

It's been a while since updating the ol' blog here - lets see... hmmm... what to say...

How bout just a smattering of stuff that I have been too lazy to place here until now? Cool?

"Choobakka Wants All Da Medalz"

"Gertrude's Secret" 
Inspired by "Rudy" from Funhouse Pinball
"Gorgar Speaks"
Inspired by Gorgar talking Pinball


"The Last Joust"


"Hellboy with Kittens"


"Holding Her is Dangerous"


"100% Mutagen Ooze"





Sunday, May 31

Tom Hanks Tribute - No Sad Stuff - Gallery 1988 West

The next show I'll be participating in is called "No Sad Stuff" - with all artwork inspired by Tom Hanks films ranging from 1984-1994.

Gallery 1988 West
7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Saturday June 13th, 7-10pm
Show runs through June 20, 2015

I chose "Big" mainly because, well, Tom Hanks is just a giant kid in this movie. I myself feel like I never grew up - so there is really no better match. I painted this piece inspired by when Tom's character, Josh Baskin, first steps foot on the giant piano in the toy store. Overtaken by childlike curiosity, all Josh can do is  proclaim "Neat!"

I chose to make this one a little wobbly/shaky - stuffed into a tall canvas - capturing the awkwardness of a man in a kid's body.  Zoltar - the "Godlike" figure in this scenario - observes stone faced in the background as good 'ol Tom parades a carefree smirk.



"Neat!"
10"x30"
Acrylic on Canvas


Monday, February 16

Is This Thing On? #4 - Gallery 1988 West

"Is this Thing On?" is back for their fourth show at Gallery 1988 West in LA, celebrating our favorite comedians once again! 

My choice for this one was to capture SNL superstar Kenan Thompson as DeAndre Cole - the overzealous musical host of "What's Up With That?"  So happy to see him reprise his role on the SNL 40th anniversary special - just wish there was more! Maybe next time Lindsey!


"What's Up With That?"
12"x9"
Acrylic on Canvas

Gallery 1988 West
7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Friday February 20
7-10pm
Show runs through March 14, 2015


Studio shot with some awesome inspiration/reference - we're all pretty excited!

Friday, December 12

Gallery 1988 - Crazy 4 Cult 8

Crazy 4 Cult is back on at Gallery 1988 West in LA. My new piece for the show is inspired by "The Dark Crystal" - with the Skeksis and the Mystics hugging out their differences. The movie was one of my favorites as a kid - I always lamented that they didn't have any toys of these characters when the movie came out. I had to make my own out of cardboard!

The show starts TODAY! December 12th, and will be going until December 28. Be sure to check out the awesome work by all the artists on their site!



"Let Bygones Be Bygones"
10"x10" Acrylic on Birch Board


Some WIP on the painting - my reference next to the board itself.



...and the final painting compared to the original concept sketch. These basic colors really changed once I started mixing the palette. Warmer purples won out - and the background swirls became a red/gold tone as I wanted them to be reflective, but not demand too much attention. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, December 5

Gallery 1988 - Thirty Three and a Third Art Show

Tonight is the BIG OPENING of Gallery 1988's Thirty Three and a Third Art Show, which features "covers" of album cover art!

I was honored to be asked by Dana Lechtenburg to work up a piece for the show. Timing is everything - so I was currently deep into Vampire Weekend music and chose to be inspired by them.


"Modern Vampires of the City"

So the story here is intentionally vague. Perhaps this is a couple parting; or a couple embracing after being apart - the lives of your modern day vampires are complex. This is what I was thinking when working up this image, loosely based on the misty photography from their album cover of the same name.


If you are in LA this December, be sure to check out Gallery 1988's exhibition which features 100 artists. Or check their online Gallery and pick up a few of your favorite pieces! A blurb on the event in the Huffington Post.


Saturday, November 8

Pop 2 Action - Hero Complex Gallery

“Pop 2 Action” opens this weekend only at Hero Complex Gallery in LA. This is a charity art event put on by the Gratitude Collaborative, where 50 artists present something from pop culture we’re grateful for. 



"Masters of Childhood Battle"
digital - 18"x20"

Masters of the Universe was always HUGE for me. My toys were worn down to the bare naked plastic with play; arms were ripped off; rubber leg attachments snapped; and weapons were lost in couch cushions. Thank you God for blessing me to grow up in the 80’s!

Here is a bit of process to share for fun


He Man in the background for reference


A rough color study on the iPad


Concept Sketch

Monday, November 3

Popzilla - Tim Burton Tribute Show

Popzilla's Tim Burton Tribute Show is now in full swing and will be ongoing every weekend in November. Be sure to check it out live, or visit the online gallery. Special thanks to Sam Carter and the entire Popzilla crew for getting this whole thing set up!

Rothick Art Haus
170 South Harbour blvd
Anaheim CA

This was a hard show to select subject matter for because Tim's catalogue is so rich with imagery. I chose Batman characters in the end because these films were the ones that most influenced me in film school.

Each one of these is based off of film dialogue - although Batman exclaiming "Let's Get Nuts" was actually said by Bruce Wayne outside of the cowl - still my favorite Batman film line.

"Busting Batman makes me feel all...dirty"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

"Let's get nuts!"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

"Naked sexual charisma"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

Here is a snapshot of some of my development. Below you can see the thumbnails worked up before painting started (all printed out for reference); sketched on the iPad with rough color and composition. I started with The Penguin, thinking that if I only had time for one of these, he'd be the one I'd want to see completed in all his grotesque glory. As I went on, I felt too compelled to complete them as a set, so I pushed forward with the three. I did have a Joker in there too - but as much as I love him, I felt the least compelled to include him. Three just seemed better than four at the time, so I pressed for the with this trio as the set.


Here's my pencil line on the canvas for Batman prior to painting


...and a bit of mid-development painting on the Catwoman


All three were drying together on the easel - awaiting their frames.


Well, there ya go Burton/Batman fans - a little homage to these characters after having them reside in my brain for roughly 25 years! 


Monday, September 1

Popeye 85th Anniversary Art Show - Hero Complex Gallery

"Stong to the Finich! - the official Popeye Tribute Art Show"
Celebrating 85 Years of Popeye  
Friday, September 5, 2014


My piece, "Burgers, Bruisers, and Brawn" will be part of the show, along with a very limited print run of this illustration. This was originally conceived from the topic "Deformed Popeye" from a daily drawing blog. I didn't sway too much; I just pushed the huge arms a bit further, having such respect for the old black and white Popeyes that I'd love to watch late at night. Here in Chicago, one Popeye cartoon short would help fill the half our gap along with a 20 minute 3 Stooges short. What a great pairing of physical violence!


"Burgers, Bruisers, and Brawn"
8"x10" Giclee print

As an extra bonus, here is my original sketch of the work - kept this idea pretty close as I went into Flash for cleanup of the linework.


There should be some great artworks as part of this show - be sure to check it out if you live in the LA area.

In addition to the show, here is my "bonus" tribute illustration - amongst the Goons from Goonland, Popeye is truly one in a Millionsk! Let's all eat a can of spinach in his honor!