@davepryor72 - the latest on Instagram

Monday, January 15, 2018

Guillermo Del Toro Art Show - Gallery Nucleus

I am excited to share some step-by-step process for my new piece, "The Asset", part of the Guillermo del Toro art show - "IN THE NAME OF THE MONSTER, THE ROBOT, AND THE BLEEDING GHOST" - Curated by Chogrin at Gallery Nucleus.

"The Asset"

Having just come off a visual high from seeing "The Shape of Water", I knew that the amphibian man was going to be my subject for this tribute show. Exploring the design of the creature was what I first started with - and in my sketches I was toying with boxing him into a cage with geometric shapes. Seemed appropriate alongside that thick chain neck-leash they placed this poor creature into.

At this point I'm thinking either digital or acrylics - but after a while of pondering (or was it procrastinating), I was excited to try this out in paper form. After an successful excursion for supplies, I felt even more stoked to move forward with paper. I printed out a line only image from my Procreate sketch and planned it's use as shape templates. 

The main "skin" is a textured cyan paper - which worked out really well as the amphibian man's base tone and texture.

Using the line art as a template, I cut out the main shapes and used Mod Podge to glue the base layer to a thick card layer. as a precaution and to keep the layer stiff, I secured wood to the back of the card so that it would prevent curling. 

A combination of flat and other textures, the additional layers are glued on one by one. The shimmery ones were left at the topmost layer since they were sketchy at best in terms of a layer that could be covered. I reserved those layers for the eye and some shimmery scales pieces. 

I abandoned the background geometry idea for s single golden pattern. I did try a few attempts, but in the end I felt that the interest of the creature itself was enough, and other background shapes were not really needed. I had a palette that included much more orange, which gold replaced and provided a regal feel for the creature.  The underside of the creature art was separated from the background with a thick foam block. I was encouraged by how well it all came together - I have a great respect for folks who make this look easy! And...off to LA it goes!!!

Living in Chicago, I can only experience most shows through social media. This opening proved to be a very special one - attracting crowd of Guillermo Del Toro enthusiasts! So honored to be invited to participate in this show! Thanks to everyone who posted pics on Instagram - you make me feel like I'm there! Image credits - Al Ortega and Winifred

Doug Jones - the Amphibian Man himself - made an appearance and was extremely gracious at the show opening. Image credit - Galley Nucleus on Twitter.

The show runs January 13-28 2018, and if you are not in the Los Angeles area, you can see all the pieces online. Some rediculously stunning work!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"BEGINNINGS" Digital Art Book

I recently had the privilege to be part of a wonderful art book project called "BEGINNINGS" - a collection of illustrations from talented artists depicting images that showcase the start of each of our creative journeys. The idea for this emerged from Dreamworks artist and all-round great guy, Paul Schoeni.

BEGINNINGS is now available for purchase! Go to www.crowdrise.com/BeginningsArtBook and by making a $10 donation to the charity @savethechildren you'll receive an e-mail to download the book. More than 80 pages long, it features artwork by over 60 professional artists, plus a few step by step process demonstrations. Please donate today and help us spread the word about this good cause! #beginningsartbook #charity #donation #artbook #pdf #savethechildren

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Muppets

Today is Jim Henson's birthday, and on this special day I illustrated an homage to my favorite Sesame Street Muppets, Bert and Ernie, and puppeteer/creatives, Frank Oz and Jim Henson.

I had the chance to talk a bit about the Muppets recently on the SquaredCo podcast, hosted by Mark Morris and Jerrod Maruyamma. The roundtable talk included fellow creative Luke Flowers, and it was so fun to have a conversation about what Jim Henson and his creations meant to us, and share how they influenced us to become the artistic individuals we are today.

You can listen to the SquaredCo podcast on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

A few more illustrations for fun this week for some classic Muppetshow characters!

And a few of my puppets - one is a "Whatnot Muppet" that my wife designed when FAO Schwartz offered them through their store - and the other is a homemade puppet of "Tuna Sammich" a character from the animated pilot that was created during my days at Startoons Animation, and dreamt up by me and fellow creative Phil Gullett. Check out the link to the cartoon in the sidebar.

Enjoy the podcast and please share your Muppet memories on one of my social sites!

'Til next time! -Dave

Saturday, September 9, 2017

BoJack Horseman - Gallery 1988

Hi Everyone!

I am pleased to announce that I am part of the Official Netflix BoJack Horeseman Art show with Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles! The show is now up to see and artwork is available on their website for purchase.

Here is my piece, "The Dark Truth", which explores the dysfunctional relationship of young BoJack, and his parents Beatrice and Butterscotch Horseman.

"The Dark Truth"
Acrylic, Pencil, and Ink on wood board

Painting in progress in this picture - working from the digital drawing as a guide. 

The Show runs from September 8 to September 30, 2017 at 7308 Melrose - Definitely check it out if you love the show!

Monday, July 17, 2017

People I think Are Cool Podcast

I had a fun time chatting it up with Liz Reed of Cuddles and Rage during her podcast "People I Think Are Cool".

Here, we talked a bit about Animaiacs and the ways I animate now opposed to how I animated then; and then dig into my current gallery and independent artwork. Give it a listen and also follow her podcast for more interviews with creative folks!

Lastly, I will be at San Diego Comic Con again this year, where I will debut "Unicandycorn" as a print (the image you see above). Drop on by booth F5 in row 800. I'll be doing free print raffles this year and have a selection of new things to choose from!  See you there! - Dave

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Squared Co. Podcast

Hey Everyone! Today I am featured in The Squared Co. Podcast that is just starting up on Sound Cloud - hosted by Mark Morris, Creative Director of Squared Co. and co-hosted by freelance Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama.

I had a great conversation with these guys, ranging from my early years in the Animation industry, working on Animaniacs in my Startoons days; to my current work with licenses at Scientific Games and illustrations for Galleries.

I've started doing a few movie specific pieces for Squared Co. pop-up screenings and gallery shows with Cinepolis Theaters recently. You may have seen my pieces for the Aliens 30th Anniversary last year, and this year's art for the 30th Anniversary of "The Princess Bride".


In this podcast, we tease the next Squared Co. Show - "Tasty Real Estate", which opens on Saturday July 8th at Rose City Pizza in Rosemead CA. Here, I and 4 other artists have done a series of pop-culture eating establishments. A super concept by Mark and what is sure to be a great show. More reveals to come on this but here are some sneak peeks!

Also of note - The Now|Then Childhood revisited book is fully funded on Kickstarter (Thank you Thank you), and you can still get in on this preorder for 4 more days! Ready to ship in July!

If you have any questions for me after listening, or just want to have a conversation on anything about the art/animation biz, I'm super happy to discuss!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Then | Now : Childhood Revisited Vol. 1

Hey everyone, I am pleased to announce that a project I'm a part of has launched on Kickstarter - "Then | Now : Childhood Revisited" is a collaborative book of artists that have chosen drawings from their childhood and reinterpreted them today! The project is being spearheaded by my friends Adam Hoppus and Bob Rissetto

This book was created because of our love of childhood drawings. Looking back at that developmental, awkward, yet charming phase of our lives when we drew because we loved it. We all agreed with Bob and Adam that this was a terrific idea, taking a sample of our past and seeing how we might visualize these same kiddie "masterpieces" today! The results are extraordinarily fun and nowhere short of inspiring. 

This was a blast to be a part of and I'm excited to see it all ready to go! If this is up your alley, and you'd like to preorder a copy of the book, head on over to Kickstarter and search "Then | Now", or use the link below! 


Beautiful Cover art by Adam Hoppus

So - we are not revealing everything quite yet, but here is a teaser for one of my pieces. Bask in all of it's awkward glory and discover just what I might have been thinking when I first drew this guy years ago...

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Stephen King - Gallery 1988

A Spectacular new show has just opened at Gallery 1988 - a tribute to the works of horror author Stephen King. Be sure to check out all the pieces on G1988's site, and if you live in LA, be sure to check it out in person. Show runs through the May.

7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046

"It's That Damn Road!"
11"x17" - digital

My piece is inspired by "Pet Sematary" - the road that no one in their right mind would choose to live next to - and the cause for many a critter to get the life squished right out of them. There is a way to have them live on, but as you know, "Sometimes Dead is Better."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Princess Bride - 30th Anniversary

The Princess Bride is a film that has captured the hearts of so many (it's a movie about the power of true love, so how can it not)! If you are into fairy tales, sword fights and people in giant rat costumes, this film is for you!

SquaredCo - a company set on creating high quality art and events, celebrates the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride in a big way, with film screenings and an art gallery, featuring great giveaways and some fantastic artists such as Andrew Kolb, Cassie Hart Kelly, and Leire Martin.

I am so excited to be part of this show with these other talented artists. You can see the whole gallery of offerings on their site. Such wonderful pieces - be sure to take a look and pick up some of your favorites! If you are so inclined, my piece can be purchased here.

Now a little bit about the creation of my contibution to the show.


"He's Gaining on Us"
12"x36" print

I love working in vertical dimensions. When I was watching the film doing my research and getting inspired, the Cliffs of Insanity scene came up I said "That's It. That's what I need to do". It came very easily.

The question was how to portray it and what rules to break. In the movie Fezzik wears a harness that Inigo, Buttercup, and Vizzini attach themselves to as he climbs the rope. For the sake of seeing faces, I re-positioned everyone and concentrated on just making a fun silhouette. 

Here is my initial sketch on the iPad (using Procreate). Not much changed in the pose from the initial drawing. This shows 2 levels of refinement - I worked in a loose black color and then refined the idea in red. The biggest amount of noodling happened with Princess Buttercup, where I tried an option where her hands were tied together before going back to this. 

Here is a view of the initial cleanup line - still working in Procreate. The "brush" I use is custom made and simulates a felt pen. It has a slight fade on the edges and a smooth clean look. I prefer to work the lines, giving it a more hand-done quality rather than constructing the lines in vector. I have done a lot of pieces in vector for linework (using Flash), but lately I have settled in on simply enjoying the process and not worrying too much about exact line perfection. Also - if I can draw on a tablet, I push that pipeline for all it's worth!

On to color. Everything is manually filled as I also generate self-color lines. I tend to pick the palette based purely on my instincts rather than selecting from reference. The beige colors mixed with muddy greens and vivid oranges and reds, gives that feel of classic fairytale book mixed with royalty. The Princess being the prize in this case - you can't pass up an opportuity to showcase a red dress.  

The self color lines offer a cartoon look with softness. I didn't place shadows everywhere, but they do offer a tad of dimension and help with those big Fezzik arms. In the image above you can see the flatter stage before some of the self color and shadows are added. 

The color decisions are made pretty quickly, but for some reason, Westley, with the black robes, threw me for a loop. I went back and forth on his line color about 3 times, coloring everything before changing my mind and doing it all over again. 

The colors and costumes are loosely referenced from the film. I didn't force myself to stay too true to those verbatim, especially on Vizzini. Speaking of which, he was the biggest challenge of me out of all the characters. You can see here if you compare the images, I changed the shape of his head quite a bit and moved around the facial features well after finishing the coloring. I made him look more creepy than goofy. The idea was that he was indeed angered by noticing "The stranger" climbing the rope and challenging his plan. He's really more of a little monster here than a smug genius. 

The image above shows progress further along. I'm working in Photoshop at this point because layers are beginning to add up and texture comes into play. I added bit of a "stained" look over the characters, and used it even more on the background. The background plan was to place the feeling of rock cliffs made of graphic shapes, and just enough vegetation to add interest without overtaking the characters. I added airbrushed areas of "mist" to tone back areas, and even more-so at the bottom of the art to promote the feeling of climbing up into the clouds. The bottom could be endless - this is a dangerous predicament.

The ornate frame was a last touch to cement the "storybook" feel - choosing colors on that was also tricky - about 10 or more options, balancing the line color and base color against the background with different tones. Also, because of the frame design, characters got slightly repositioned, offering a tad more distance between Wesley and the rest. 

Here are 2 alternate ads created for the event. The Fezzik one was used, but I did make 3 just for fun and variety, utilizing the SquaredCo layout provided.

That just about wraps it up. Special thanks to Mark Morris (@emm_squared) for selecting me to participate in this great collection of art, and of course Rob Reiner for making such an epic film!

I hope you enjoyed reading! 'Till next time.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Magic Kingdom

For Christmas this year, I created an illustration/gift for my Sister-in-law of Cinderella's Castle from Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Truth be told, I was hoping to have it finished by her birthday only a few months prior - but this was something I needed to fit in with other projects and I didn't want to rush through it. Here is some of the work in progress and my thoughts throughout the way.

I started off with a Procreate sketch. I knew I wanted to exaggerate the scale of the towers, so I worked with the tall format dimensions that I have grown fond of. This felt like a followup to the Wonka Factory piece I created for the September's Wonka art show, and I really liked this concept as a followup.

A few of the towers around the gate lent themselves to some reuse to make it a bit easier, but there are a lot of subtle differences in the tower structures that needed to be handled independently as I worked through. 

I wasn't sure which characters to include. My main thought was for sure the main 3 - Micky, Donald and Goofy. But I also wanted to fill out the composition with some characters in the sky. You can see here that Tinkerbell, Dumbo, and Aladdin and Jasmine on the Magic Carpet were all possibilities, but in the end I chose Dumbo only since I knew I wanted to feature a lot of fireworks in the sky. I know Tinkerbell is a pretty strange one to drop since she's present in so many iconic castle representations, but I just wanted this to be a little different, and Dumbo is just too adorable. Minnie gets in there too since you almost never see Micky apart from her any more. Those lovebirds.

Actually, my Sister-in-law's favorite characters are from Beauty and the Beast - but I just couldn't imagine including them in this "classic" Disney piece - maybe in another illustration down the line ;)

The characters were all illustrated on the iPad using Procreate in large scale, and the first items I tackled after the initial sketch. I wanted to add my own take on these guys of course, so I played around a little as I researched their characters and moved forward. 

I didn't have the full palette in mind yet so I worked them up in steely teal monochromatic colors as I built them up. I think this is the first time I ever drew these characters outside of a scribble. Each completed character felt like a mini accomplishment on the road to the larger goal, so I rendered tome toned versions of each one as I went along and featured them on my social pages - fun little teasers of something bigger to come. 

These little vignetted versions of the characters are pretty fun in on their own, and I do enjoy how they turned out. Dumbo with Timothy tucked in the hat was probably my favorite from the group. 


I did also consider Daisy and Pluto at one point, and even started painting up Pluto, but scrapped that progress to move on to the castle, figuring that I could finish them later on if I wanted to include them in the composition. As it went, I didn't feel they were needed, and I didn't want to just cram them in. 

At this point, I migrate from Procreate to Photoshop simply because of the sheer number of layers I knew I was going to create with the tower work, and also to have the flexibility of selection tools and vector shapes. In this illustration above, you can see the early stages of developing the palette, and the rough inclusion of the monochromatic characters. 

I had thought of making the sky simple arc shapes in the beginning - thinking that maybe they would turn into implied clouds or something interesting - that idea was abandoned for the sake of the fireworks.

Here, those arcs became dithered, and elements of the horizon colors begin to emerge. Those golden trees really get toned back in the end, but those were a detail that I felt might balance the highest golden tower at the time. 

At this point I'm getting to just about final. All the Characters went through stages of color additions to harmonize and balance out the vibrant golds and pinks. At one point, the fireworks were also all different colors, but in the end,  I just didn't want them upstaging the castle and I felt they worked better as a background element. 

One of the trickiest things through all of this was creating something that felt somewhat symmetrical when things were not, and breaking my natural desire to make things as such. There was tons of "scooting" assets around - like exactly where the bottom characters get placed, and the design of the rounded staircases. Every tower placement was questioned, and there are tons of design calls going on with those caste details. What to include or not include - and trying to allow for flexibility in what does or does not need to line up from a construction standpoint when compared to the real castle. 

In the end, print colors did come out nicely vibrant and I had some great assistance along the way. When doing these big prints, I need to work with outside resources, so there is less time for "playing around". 

Thanks for reading along and I hope you enjoyed the commentary. I'm sure there are items I forgot to mention, so I may edit if something pops up. If you have any comments, I'd love to hear what you think - leave them here or use the social page that linked you here. Tell me that detail that you would have included or what characters you would have chose. Most of all, I hope you get a chance to see the Magic Kingdom with your own eyes very soon!

'Till next time! 
- Dave