Friday, March 29, 2013


The battle room is such an integral part of Ender's young life.  His actions in that room shape the man he is destined to become, so in all the sketches I thought why not hint at what the room looks like or at least the entry corridor.
 I went through numerous roughs while listening to the audiobooks of both stories.  I did a few throw away ideas of Ender floating in front of the battle room door but since this is an Omnibus I had to find a way to represent both stories with one cover.  The challenge here is that Ender is an adult in the second book.  Here are two of the 3 sketches I sent off for approval.

Sketch 2 – this wraparound pitch is a conceptual approach that encompasses both stories. The somber contemplative young Ender in front of the bleak dimly lit battle room, the weight of the world on him. He's standing back to back with his older self.  A stronger more confident pose, holding the last of an alien species he completely destroyed.  The palette would intentionally move from dark to light.  From the cool sadness and misery of battle school to the warm hope of a fresh start on a new world.

Sketch 3 - In the first book there is a scene where Ender is playing a game and looking into a mirror only to see his older brother Peter gazing back at him.  I thought that might be an interesting way of introducing the Speaker for the Dead into the composition, except with holographic displays surrounding a huge gaming console.  This ended up being the approved sketch with 2 minor adjustments. I was asked to put Ender in the flash suit from sketch 2 and get rid of the frame around the hologram of the Speaker.
The book really didn't portray the battle school as a positive place to be so in both sketches shown here I felt the corridor should lean more cold gritty gunmetal than porcelain white with lens flares.  Knowing that some of the same designers from Avatar worked on the upcoming movie it's my guess that they'll take the same approach.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


    Good News Everyone!! Recently I was commissioned by Matthew Kalamidas at Science Fiction Book Club to illustrate the cover to a collection of the first two books in the Ender’s Game series, “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead”.  Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is a Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel which has inspired a Marvel Comics series, a video game and forthcoming movie starring Harrison Ford and Sir Ben Kingsley coming to theaters this November.   I was surprised, overwhelmed and then really excited by the potential image I could create for this beloved novel. 

After seeing all the past covers for the series I decided to treat mine more like a pre-production illustration for film rather than a stand alone book cover or theater poster style image.   Something I could hand off to a production designer.  I really wanted to get in and play with a little environment design and costume design for Ender's flash suit as well.  This however meant a ton more work than what would normally go into a sci fi cover illustration.
Matthew Kalamidas was kind enough to do an interview with me about the cover on his blog. Check it out when you have a chance.  
I had so much fun developing this painting that I figured I’d share the steps in its creation.  So for any students or Ender Wiggin fans out there, these next few posts are for you. Check back for updates....

Lastly, a close up of the kid with my initials proudly wearing the colors of Dragon Army!!!  The Enemy's Gate is what?!!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blue Man Group... Theatrical Costume Designing

Good News Everyone!  Finally a little bit of proof of the work I’ve been doing for blue man group.  I just got permission to show some art since the Monte Carlo show I mentioned 2 years ago is now a live and thriving event on the Las Vegas strip. 

In the summer of 2011 I split my time between designs for Show Creators Inc and prep work for the new Blue Man Group Monte Carlo experience.  The task was to redesign the band costumes for the current vegas show.  This is what they looked like. 

The request was to make something new inspired by Afro-Brazilian tribal, cave painting, and radiating energy type patterns.  It had to be something that read as a character in black light.  Each individual costume design needed to have a similar level of reflective light so that they all have a consistent look on stage.  Symmetry and connecting patterns went a long way toward achieving a stimulating and appealing look.   I came up with over 3 dozen options for the new suits.
Here are some photos of the band in full costume, close ups of the individual pieces and an assortment of pics from the live show.  All photos used with permission of Blue Man Productions 2013.  Stephen Joseph Photography.

Check out the video interview about the new show and some of the insane stuff that was created for it. 

This represents like 1% of the work I’m doing with them.  The bulk of what I do with BMG and Show Creators Inc/ formerly with WETA will hopefully be released before the end of the year.  Until then I’m happy to share my contribution to the new BMG world tour and beyond!!!
me and da boss BMG Founder Chris Wink

Me and my friend Andrew Probert in the BMG rehearsal studio NYC
If someone told me back in college that I would one day get to work with the concept designer from Star Trek TNG and Back to the Future, my head would have exploded!!!