Sea of Solitude Fan Art Maze

Maze-themed fan art for the video game Sea of Solitude. Follow the path to the boat in the lower right, then return by water to the open sea.

Even though this piece is digital, I wanted it to be painterly. I used a nice rough, oval brush in Photoshop set at about 92% opacity. Since I was not relying on black outlines to define the shapes, it was important to add the cast shadows. Once I picked my shadow colors though, I would also lay those in opaque (92%)  The buildings continue under the water, like in the game. I only reflected the sky, which seems to work well. Many of my decisions were based on eventually making more maze oil paintings.

Even though this piece is digital, I wanted it to be painterly. I used a nice rough, oval brush in Photoshop set at about 92% opacity. Since I was not relying on black outlines to define the shapes, it was important to add the cast shadows. Once I picked my shadow colors though, I would also lay those in opaque (92%)
The buildings continue under the water, like in the game. I only reflected the sky, which seems to work well. Many of my decisions were based on eventually making more maze oil paintings.

Sea of Solitude the game is both lovely and haunting. It is a string of interactive puzzles overlaid with dread, anxiety and childhood trauma. It is somewhat linear and story-like, but also beautiful and cathartic. I enjoyed the game very much. The game’s creator, Cornelia Geppert at Jo-Mei Games saw my maze on Twitter and kind of dug it, which is kind of awesome.

You can see purchase the game or watch the trailer on the Sea of Solitude website.

Silkscreen Prints Available

I was invited to collaborate with Brooklyn based Kayrock Screenprinting on a limited edition screenprint. Karl Larocca and his team are friendly and knowledgeable. The final prints are available in my online store as well as Kayrock pop-up art print shows.

Gabe mixed colors and helped me pick the opacity. She also pulled the prints!

Gabe mixed colors and helped me pick the opacity. She also pulled the prints!

This is the tiny test print. You get a good idea of the detail and how the colors overlay.

This is the tiny test print. You get a good idea of the detail and how the colors overlay.

Signing day! Limited edition of 185

Signing day! Limited edition of 185

You can see some other pieces they produced behind me. There is a lot of great work at  Kayrock.org

You can see some other pieces they produced behind me. There is a lot of great work at Kayrock.org

The final print. Hand signed and numbered edition of 185.   For purchase in my shop —>

The final print. Hand signed and numbered edition of 185. For purchase in my shop —>

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Kayrock Screenprinting is the way to go if you need art prints, art books, concert posters, shirts or other screened products. They also have great work for sale on their website.

Larry Evans Books

I've mentioned often how the Larry Evans maze books influenced me as a kid. His first two books were  published in 1976 and 1977. I was 10-years old. The introduction said to not solve the puzzles with pen or pencil, so I was able to run the mazes over and over again. I would practice drawing my own mazes. When learning perspective, I would attempt rectangular tube mazes similar to the works in his books. Hose mazes, landscape mazes- I have been drawing mazes ever since. 

My original Evans books were lost, probably to my younger siblings. Recently, as I was finishing my first book for Chronicle, I thought it might be fun to see those early books again. Once I shipped my final work, I hit eBay to see if I could find those books from my childhood. 

eBay finds of the books I grew up with. That’s my pencil work in the background.

eBay finds of the books I grew up with. That’s my pencil work in the background.

Evans professionally made architecture renderings and most of his mazes were ruled with strong one-, two- or three-point perspective. Needles to say, it was all manual pen and ink. No computers. How badass is that?

Evans professionally made architecture renderings and most of his mazes were ruled with strong one-, two- or three-point perspective. Needles to say, it was all manual pen and ink. No computers. How badass is that?

Evans did a few landscape mazes like this one. These were a huge influence!  I have since met a collector of Larry Evans originals. He sent me some photos of the works in his collection that included pieces I've never seen.

Evans did a few landscape mazes like this one. These were a huge influence!
I have since met a collector of Larry Evans originals. He sent me some photos of the works in his collection that included pieces I've never seen.

If you want to read a cool article about Evans's publisher Troubador Press, I linked it to a post here-->

The book 3-Dimensional Mazes is also available at the Open Library —>

More Post-Its

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Six new PosIt mazes for the Sticky Show in Vancouver! by Hot Art Wet City . Curated by Flavia C; IG@catscanpuke and Jeff Chiba Sterns; IG@meditatingbunny . Inspired by the Giant Robot Post It show, it is a great way to score tiny, original art from local and international artists!

So, while you’re in Vancouver on Saturday, March 30, go to the show. Buy Flavia’s art. Maybe one of mine. Snap some selfies.  One night and cash only.

— April 11 Follow up: 5 of these cuties sold!!  

Ballpoint Commission

Working on a fairly large red and blue ballpoint commission based on the maze from my December post. It’s too fun! 

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Any larger, I’d have to work on an easel or wall.  

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The maze is created in the red ballpoint. I did use light pencil guidelines for the isometric grid. 

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Though I used a grid, I still kept the buildings and paths kind of loose.  

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Cleaning the pens as I draw. I love my Zebra pens!

Giant Robot Post-It Show 14

Giant Robot Gallery in Los Angeles has an annual group show where hundreds of artists are invited to submit small, 3x3” works on Post-It notes. The pieces can be bought for $25. It can be a fun way to score original art from your favorite artists and illustrators or discover new stuff. After the initial week or two, the unsold work goes online. (Now online for purchase!)

Here are some of the pieces I sent in for this year:

Here is the art I picked up last year:

My first GR issue! >sigh<

My first GR issue! >sigh<

You may remember Giant Robot as a magazine in the 1990’s-2000’s. The magazine was all about West Coast, Asian-American and Asian pop culture. I devoured every issue. The editor then, Eric Nakamura, created the Giant Robot brand and runs the current gallery in Los Angeles. The gallery continues to promote Asian-American artists and West Coast pop and street art. Everyone should follow.

Read this article about the Post-It show, Nakamura, and the artists at My Modern Met —>


Oil Paint Maze

So all my morning painting, ink detail drawing, IG following, and frame building has brought me to this. My first oil painting maze.. I am kind of super excited, because it is freaking awesome. That said, it is 10,000 miles from where I want to be.

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Frames

I made frames to hold my oil study panels. They turned out pretty great.

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Frames are pine edge molding, mitered and glued. Glued cloth strips for additional strength. Black acid free matte board sets the painting back from the frame. Glazing points used to hold work in frame. Framed primed and painted with several coats of semi-gloss black acrylic.

Morning Painting

I’m trying to paint every morning.   

All the paintings are oil studies and started around 6am. The scene is facing west toward the Whitestone Bridge and Manhattan. I adjust the horizon depending if I want to paint the foreground water, which is especially challenging. The short term goal is teaching discipline, and, in a couple of months, have enough to fill a really big wall. Long term, I want a better grasp of the medium so I can dump 50 hours on a painting (a maze?) and not be overly disappointed!

The panels are gessoed hardboard, 8”x12”

All these and more are now for sale in my shop!

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

In April, I visited the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach, Florida. Winding paths through palm gardens and monumental sculptures- it’s perfect. I took many pictures... Norton’s towering Gate sculptures loom out of the foliage or are revealed around bends of the path.

This summer I made a maze based on the gardens. Here is a detail.

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You can see the full puzzle on my Twitter!

Collaboration Part 1

I find making circular mazes a challenge. I have  designed a few flat circular puzzles and then redrawn them as steps and buildings, but the results are unsatisfactory. The final work feels heavy and burdensome. They are overly complicated. So when I discovered Henry Cheung’s Instagram feed @henryscheung I was inspired! He photographs the circle mazes he has elegantly doodled in coffee shops adjacent to lattes on warm surfaces of wood, tile, or stone.

After liking a bunch of his photos, Henry and I chatted about mazes. He was cool with me trying to convert one of his puzzles into my style! I printed out a few and got to sketching. The first one was a little lumpy. For my second attempt, I laid down some guidelines to keep the isometric under control. This was better.

The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go. &nbsp;

The guidelines help me translate Henry’s lovey shapes better. I loathe rules, but some structure in the beginning can really help. You can see me marking off parts of the original as I go.  

I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I’m happy with the puzzle, but I’d like more detail. My original is only a few inches wide, so the stairs are especially gnarly. Upscale the old-timey way!

I drew my version too small. I wanted more detail, so I scaled it up to ink onto larger watercolor paper. I will eventually paint it, but for now I’m happy with the digital coloring. This way I can play with color choices before laying down the real thing!

Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits!&nbsp;

Collaboration between me and Henry Cheung. The foundation is totally his puzzle. See if you can match how his fits! 

The final result is great. Collaborations are awesome! Follow @henryscheung on Instagram, your feed will be more beautiful.

Visit My Instagram

Want something new almost every day? Follow my Instagram! It’s much less formal than this blog. Sometimes I post mazes, but often I post other projects I’m working on. Here are my last three posts: 

I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

I made this especially for IG, you can tell because it is exactly 2:1, taking advantage of the panoramic feature. It’s simple but fun. The statues are based on IG NYC folks I follow.  

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Ballpoint practice with White House chief of staff John Kelly. I’m not a fan, just think he has an interesting face.  He reminds me of the cop played by Richard Burgi in the Firefly episode “The Message”. 

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Also getting into relief print. I was totally into woodblock as a younger man and have been carving again. You can see that my skills are a bit rusty, but my work translates well. Follow my progress on Instagram! 

Postcards

Last year I printed promotional postcards to share at signings and with bookstores and contacts. I used the online company, Next Day Flyers. One of the folks at the company liked the cards so much, they wanted to do an interview about the book, my work, and why I chose Next Day Flyers! Check it out —>

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Next Day Flyers did a great job. I had not had anything printed for a while and settled on them based on rating and price.  Since I had plenty of time, turn-around was not an issue. It was important that the card felt like a traditional postcard to be saved and not like a throwaway advertisement. I did a little research on card weights, sizes, and finishes and found just what I needed in their inventory. I designed my cards in Photoshop and uploaded my art into their template. The template is straight-forward with layers, guidelines and font choices. The cards arrived on schedule.

  I’m glad I did my research and the final product turned out perfect!

Oh, if you want a postcard, just send me an email. Be sure to let me know if you want it with a message or pristine in an envelope.