Sometimes more than just retouching is in order. The original photos simply do not do the job, so something extra needs to be added.

A personal piece, The Lady Astronaut of Mars
I first read of this story just after it won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novella. This came right after the death of my step-father. His relationship with my mother was so much like the one portrayed in this story that I had to find a way to give it to her as a gift. So I wrote the author, Mary Robinette Kowel, and she was kind enough to say yes. Then I illustrated the eagle you see here in photoshop, which was a major PITA. Finally I put it all tougher in a book, and had paid for a very limited print run. I think I ended up with six books because it was cheaper than four. Anyway, this is the original illustration, and then it’s placement in the book cover.







Master of Sex

My friends at Switch designed the campaign for Master of Sex, and were kind enough to ask me to help them out. The first piece, featuring the lovely Caitlin FitzGerald, was a photo which was too soft. This required a lot of work to match the sharpness of others. The hair alone was probably 2-3 hours worth of work, but I think it came out pretty nice.


The second shot, one of Michael Sheen, was trickier. They had a nice photo of him from the first season, but Michael had grown a beard since then. I was asked if I could draw a beard on the photo. I’d never down something like that before, so we did a kind of fun test drawing in a faint beard (your typical Hollywood 2 week growth beard) that he has worn in several photoshoots. The client liked it so much they asked for an even fuller beard, matching the one he wears today. I ended up drawing the beard on him twice.



Slow Kiss
I’m very proud of the piece below. Generally my job is to make someone better looking. Occasionally I get to do the opposite. This one was a real challenge. The project included a dream sequence shot which required a pretty lady to reveal hideous burns on her face.  The makeup burns from the shoot just didn’t meet the client’s standards. The initial illustration I did was a bit too much burn, so the it was pulled back for the final. It took me something 20 tries until I found an illustration technique I really liked. The final burns are actually the skin of a cooked chicken, blended in with a speckly black texture from an old piece of concrete. The muscles underneath are part real, and part raw steak.



Run Fat Boy, Run
This was part of a larger poster that needed some work. The original shot was VERY soft, but had the exact expression the Creative Director wanted. Working from other shots which were more focused I was able to piece together some of the hair, the nose, the ear, and the jaw line. I think the eyes are entirely illustrated. A lot of  lines and skin texture was added to the  face to capture the expression. The last bit was adding that nice red spot to his cheek.



Vikings Season 2 Subway Wrap
This was a massive project, wrapping the entire interior of a subway car. The shots of the people we had were lovely, but all of out background images were unit shots that were soft and crappy. I really loved this project and wanted to take it to the next level.

The first thing done was to build the wood panels that ran along the edge of every wall. Then a square corner plate was made based upon the initial panels. Finally the woven leather wall screens were added, and that completed most of the wall parts.

Wood_trim_Detail_2Square Detail Woven_Leather_Wall_2

An alternate door was made with a village scene outside.


These next 5 images are from the construction of a horn lamp chandelier. As you can see the initial lamp photo was very soft.

1_Original Shot 2_Horns Source 3_Horns_Unretouched 4_Horns Retouched 5_Complete Lamp

The complete subway walls can be seen on my Finishing Page.


The client on this project designed an arm on a stock photo of a statue. They rendered an arm in a 3D program and we went to work. Alas everything I tried looked like crap. The textures and the colors just weren’t working. I finally had to take pieces of texture off the stock photo, and wrap them on the arm in Photoshop. That got us closer. Then I noticed the arm was too distinct, too detailed. I not only had to blur the 3D image, but reshape it so there was less detail in the fingers and the hand. Only then did it start to look like part of the statue.




The Captive
This started as a comp based on a video screen grab blown up to poster size. The shot was soft, soft, soft. I had to do quite a bit of illustration to make it look half-way decent, especially on the hair and the eyes.



Before Tomorrow
A similar problem came about with the one sheet for Before Tomorrow. I did a lot of work to cover up a soft piece of art, which you can see when you compare the finish with the comp.



Tennis Channel
Sometimes you have to make a photo look like something else, in this case a statue. For the US Open campaign this required changing the body of the lovely lady quite a bit, and then adding in different arms, complete with lines for the edges of the metal plates and other details to make it more believable.



Harry Potter
Sometimes is something simple like getting Voldemort’s nostrols correct in a 30-sheet for Harry Potter 5.



Fox Family Channel
Sometimes it’s making a Christmas version of a popular logo like the Fox Family Channel.


Pixelectomy. YellowJacket design by Antbag.