Friday, August 27, 2010

Cover for the Utne Reader!

I'm happy to be able to share my first cover for the Utne Reader! I did this cover a month or so ago, and if you remember, I did another cover that week for The Weekly Standard. Two covers in one week. It was a crazy week for sure! I really enjoyed working on this piece for various reasons, but mostly because the art director was great to work with and as I've said before, that goes a long way. What's not to love? Obama eating a cheeseburger with a cigarette behind his ear . . . as well as an angry Michelle Obama scowling in the background holding veggies . . . Oh yeah . . . tons of fun!!!

This painting had its challenges, but mostly because I only had 3 and half days to paint it. I had a difficult time finding the exact expressions that I needed for this piece. So in the end, I resorted to taking pictures of myself making the type of expression that I needed. This enabled me to create whatever expression I needed. It's not easy, but it can be done . . . I actually do this quite a bit these days.

This issue is on the news stands, so go out and pick one up!

My first version had smoke, but in the end the smoke got the axe for one reason or another. I'm only sharing it here because I personally like the smoke . . . and it was fun to paint!

Detail of face and burger . . . this burger took a long time to paint . . .

Some of the sketches and thumbnails that I did in prep for the mock up cover. Because of my time crunch, I had to find reference and sketch even faster than usual.

Mock of cover, working out the idea . . .

These were taken as reference for folds in clothing and so on. The model wishes to remain anonymous. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Article by Vademékum Magazine.

[Photos courtesy of Vademékum creator Diego Ante.]

I am honored to be part of a small student magazine project in Colombia called Vademékum Magazine. You can view the online version here.

Here is the article they did on me, translated from Spanish to English:

"Jason Seiler
When we see a masterpiece, or a great illustration, most of times we don’t think in the preamble that led to that success, most of times we consider that because that masterpiece was created by certain artist, we knew for sure that it was going to be successful and is like that, how we forget that those artists also struggle when they’re working, I mean, there are moments in which they also have to fight against the uncertainty of not knowing if what they are doing will end up well.
Is that how we find Jason Seiler, an American Illustrator which is only 32 years old, he has already had clients as MAD Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, among others and recently he worked as a character designer for Disney’s movie, Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton.
He explains that any person can draw, but this requires of hard and constant work, if there is discipline and joy about what you’re doing, you can triumph and furthermore of something that could be considered as “god given talent”, there is work. In addition to everything he does, he works as a teacher as well, he teaches through an online school and as he says “Everybody can do it […] as long as you are willing to actually do the work and listen to what I say, I can teach you how to draw, I can walk you through; The students that actually do that, they end up doing some great stuff … that’s why I keep teaching.”
It is precisely there where is the difference between the ones who succeed and the ones who don’t, while some are wasting their time in different things, or they simply don’t have the discipline to reach their dreams, those few that fought, worked and had the will to get what they desired, are who at the end will be able to triumph.
Jason studied fine art illustration in Chicago in the American Academy of Art, and his style reminds somehow renaissance painting for how he manages form; He is a modern classic because he expresses majorly through caricature, but achieving an impressive realism. His images are characterized for their vitality, from his sketches it seems as if they could talk, they have always one thing in common and that is realism. The colour in his pieces is another thing to highlight, in which independently of the medium, he always use a method similar to what he does with watercolours, through the variation of opacities and the superposition of colours he is able to communicate.
Jason leave us something to think about and it is that if we had reached certain abilities as artists but we are not progressing, it might be because we are not doing what we want, we need a change of attitude, if what we are looking for is to be renown but we work in something apparently small, we have to put all of our capacity, all of our endeavour in that small project as if we were working for the most important client, we should always leave the best of us in everything we do, because that effort will be rewarded through our achievements."

iPad Sketch . . . some hippie dude . . . I dunno?

iPad Sketch, painted with the Sketchbook Pro app!

I did this last night from my imagination. The iPad is fun to mess around with, but I wouldn't use it for my professional work.

I used my finger for some of it, but I also have a small stylus called a pogo stick which works quite well. There is no pressure sensitivity, and you have to go back and forth to re-size brushes and reset the opacity.

As I said earlier, I wouldn't suggest using this for "real" work, but it's great to have fun with.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The People VS. George Lucas - Chicago Wizard World

Robert Muratore, Me, and Alexandre Philippe.

I finally saw the People vs George Lucas last Friday at Wizard World, the Chicago Comic Convention. I also finally met "in person" the director, Alexandre Philippe who I worked with while creating the poster. That was nice because in my line of work, I rarely get to meet people in person. I also met Robert Muratore, who is the producer and director of Photography for the film.

The People VS. George Lucas is a great documentary, very fun and has a balanced view of the fans love/hate of Star Wars and George himself. Go see it if you can.

My friend Josh Helle who was my model for the angry fan, me, and Alexandre Philippe.

I was told by Alexandre and Robert that they just premiered the film at Pixar and that my poster was hanging all over at Pixar . . . man, I wish I was my poster . . . sounds like a fun road trip that they've been on? They also played the film for the folks at Dreamworks and are off soon to Paris and a few other places in Europe! The film will eventually play in select cities and then will be available on DVD, and when that happens, I'll be sure to let everyone know.



Friday, August 20, 2010

Imaginary Places: The Art of Marco Bucci

Hello everyone! It's my pleasure to share with you my friend Marco's first book, "Imaginary Places". Marco is an awesome painter, and a digital painter after my own heart. His foundation is in traditional painting and he spends a lot of his extra time outdoors painting from life using traditional mediums such as oil and watercolor. This book is a great collection of digital paintings that were created from his imagination.

- 45 pages of full color artwork
- step-by-step painting demo
- essay on painting light and color

BONUS: The first 250 books will ship with a DVD containing 4 painting lessons. Each one focused on a different aspect of painting, including a video on custom brushes. Approx. 1:30 hours of video!

And, I gotta say that the DVD is well worth it, I learned so much from watching and enjoyed every minute of it! So what are you waiting for . . . support my bro Marco!!!

Click here to order Marco's book!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bad Bets Obama

"Bad Bets Obama" for The Weekly Standard. Another two day turnaround . . . I was called Wednesday night for the job, and like all jobs for TWS, the final is due Friday. There is a lot to consider to be able to pull off a job like this in such a short amount of time. I've learned to remain calm, and work at a steady pace. The first thing is to get the idea right, and make sure the sketch is working. Then it's all about painting.

After arriving at my studio Thursday morning, I spent the first hour or so gathering reference and working on sketches. For lighting, clothing, and expression, I set up additional reference in my studio and took pictures of myself. Thank God for digital camera's, timers, tripods, string, and duct tape! I needed a specific look for Obama but couldn't find the right pictures of him online. So, I had to create an Obama from scratch using a couple pictures that I had of him for basic shape and so on, and then I had to take additional pictures of myself making the expression that I wanted to see on Obama's face. It was a real challenge to get the likeness just right, but was totally worth it in the end. This way I was able to control and create my own lighting and expression.

I think the most challenging bit about this piece was painting the poker chips. I thought they would be easy . . . I was wrong. I thought I could just simplify them and suggest, keep it really painterly. But as I began to work on them I realized they required more attention. I kept Obama and the table somewhat painterly but real enough that if the chips were too loose they would just look unfinished. So I decided as time was running out that I would focus on painting the top chips and then simplify or suggest the remaining chips, this way creating an illusion of sorts. This seemed to work . . . ?

All in all, I feel great about the final result. There are things about every painting that I do that I know could be better, and if I only had more time . . . blah, blah, blah . . . the bottom line is that you've got to do what you can with the time given to you and do the best you can with it. You have to know what you are capable of . . . I have no regrets, I had a great time working on this piece, and I'm grateful for the work. Part of the fun is figuring out how I will be able to pull it off in the amount of time given to me. I love setting up reference, and creating images, and then seeing them in print. It's a blast!

Detail . . . I prefer painterly over photo realistic . . . I love seeing brushwork in a painting.

This is my first quick sketch, just trying to figure out everything, expression, composition, and so on . . .

This is my mock up that I sent before starting the actual painting. Done rather quickly. I prefer to make changes and adjust while I paint.

An example of one of my reference shots.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Chicago Premiere for The People vs George Lucas!

Come and join me August 20, at 8:30 p.m. at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, for the premiere of the documentary The People vs George Lucas. After working with the director on the film and painting the movie poster for them, I am excited to finally see the film for the first time!

Director Alexandre O. Philippe and Producer Robert Muratore of THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS will be on hand to talk about the new independent film that has been getting a bit of notice for its creative approach to looking at how fans have reacted to the famous film franchise over the past three decades-plus. Wizard World Comic Con is hosting the Midwest premiere for the film on Friday, August 20, at 8:30 p.m., at the convention center, separate admission required. The event will also feature a debate and a George Lucas look-a-like contest. Fans can learn more about the film at

Friday, August 06, 2010

Quick sketches . . . The Black Keys

For something I'm working on . . . these are quick studies. The Black Keys on the top of my list of one of the best bands ever!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Leonardo Dicaprio

For my own amusement . . . I loved Inception and wanted to paint Leo. The point of this painting wasn't to paint everything hyper-realistic, but rather to develop my illustration style a little bit more . . . intentionally keeping areas loose and more painterly, but mostly to have fun.

Detail . . .

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Digital Art Masters Volume 5

I am so honored to be included in the new book, "Digital Masters Volume 5". This is a great book for those interested in digital painting or for those who are interested in learning how different artists approach the medium. There are some great pieces in this book . . . top notch work from top notch artists!

Click here to preview and order "Digital Art Masters Vol. 5.

I have a brand new NEVER YET SEEN BEFORE step by step that I did for the book, "Digital Painting Techniques Vol. 2" which will be out shortly. I will be sure to let all of you know when it will be available.

Click here to read a review of the book on

Look, they put NATHAN on the back cover of the book! So cool . . .

Humbled and honored . . .

I should also mention for those of you who have bought my book "Seiler 2008-2009) This is the same step by step that is in the back of my book, but a little more involved . . . but pretty much the same one.
All artwork © JasonSeiler 2006 unless otherwise stated. All characters are copyright to their respective owners