maze

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.

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 —>

Ballpoint Commission

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

FullSizeRender.jpg

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 —>


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.

FullSizeRender.jpg

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.  

IMG_1938.JPG

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”. 

IMG_1969.JPG

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! 

Ballpoint Practice

Here’s a little maze I did in ballpoint pen. Unusually, I didn’t lay it out first, just started in the uppper left and worked across the page. Real iRobot plotter style.  

The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

The squiggles at the top are cleaning my pen. I still get globbies though. I’m not sure how the pros avoid it.  

I’ve been playing around with ballpoint for a few weeks now, practicing patience and control. I’ve posted a some on my Instagram, but most I will hide until I get better. I have a ways to go!  There are several artists I follow who do ballpoint work, like Nicolas Sanchez and Guno Park

IMG_1685.GIF

This Brutal Maze

It's been a while since I've posted a maze. Here I'm playing with Brutalist Architecture- which has been quite the internet trend for a bit now. I am happy with how the maze turned out. It is simple, a little tricky, and has very clear paths.  

IMG_0507.JPG

If you want more cool buildings every day, follow @BrutalHouse on Twitter!

UPDATE: This is now available as an art print on my Society6 shop
UPDATE: Also as a shirt or other apparel in my Threadless shop!

Watercolor and Ink

Still playing with ink and watercolor.

I'm really into the artists Cinta Vidal and Sadi Tekin right now. Vidal paints beautiful multi-perspective buildings and interiors. Like my cube mazes, but intimate and fully realistic. Tekin is a very clever illustrator with great line work and often gentle colors.

IMG_0350.JPG

So here, the maze is simple, but I wanted the paths to be on every visible side with the steps connecting them (Vidal). I also tried to use the least amount of pigment to emphasize the lines and space. (Tekin)

I quickly added the labels digitally for posting with one of my favorite photo apps, Halftone.

SingleFare4

  These are tiny mazes I made for SingleFare4, a fundraiser for the New York Academy of Art. Artists from all over contribute small scale paintings on NYC metro cards. I will also be attending the opening, to show my support and pick up some great work.

  It has been a while since I've worked with real brushes and ink, and it is a joy! Also, the work is SMALL! I'm still adjusting to the scale. Some of the miniature oil paintings submitted are quite amazing. Some color ballpoint work is just insane. It is open to all, but the deadline is August 23. 

  You can see more on Instagram -@singlefare and #singlefare4

IMG_5506.JPG

Acrylic with Micron pen. I gessoed the cards first.