Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dinner with Picasso

This acrylic work is based on the first chapter of "Life with Picasso" a novel by Francoise Gilot (mother to 2 of Picasso's children). While I don't feel that the style necessarily fits the tone of Gilot's writing, my interest was to complete an illustration in a graphic and curvilinear retro style.

A detail of Gilot:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Across the Universe

This acrylic work is inspired by the Beatles song of the same name.

View my portfolio at: www.spencerhallam.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seven Words: more than just gutter talk

The late, great George Carlin! If a picture is worth a thousand words, many of them would have to be bleeped to fully describe the man in this portrait. Carlin showed everyone who listened to understand how trite our culture's notions of profanity are. He was one of the first people allowed to swear on cable TV when HBO was new; and he swore intelligently. Censorship is highly political and hypocritical. Carlin valued language so much an we owe him so much to help liberate it. If you don't know who George Carlin is then do yourself a favor and find him on youtube or DVD.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Red Eye

Smaug again. This is an intended 3/4 head design as well as a style study for a future, full figure illustration of Smaug reclining on his treasure.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

the great worm

After a great character in literature gets slapped with a design in a big budget motion picture, it gets harder to see that character in any other way. Since there is a new feature underway based on Tolkien's Hobbit (one of my favorite books), I wanted to create my own interpretation of the dragon "Smaug" before another illustrator's fully fleshed out CGI monster could alter any vision I might have had. I don't want to look back and wonder "What would I have done?" Anyhow, this is my shot at it. Hopefully there will be a body design to come in the near future.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Ant and the Grasshopper...again

In the fable, Grasshopper is rebuked by Ant for his idleness and not given any food.  While I see Ant's point of view, isn't he being a little severe?   I wanted to leave some hope for Grasshopper, so I chose to depict Ant in the midst of his decision to give or not to give.  This gives the image it's tension and allows the viewer to consider his/her own point of view.  

This is the final version of the illustration I first posted in January.  I've done a lot more rendering on the computer since then and this finish represents many of the solutions I had to invent through trial and error.   This included adding texture selectively, careful layering, and better managing my digital brushes.  Most of the work was done with photoshop.

View my portfolio at: www.spencerhallam.com

Monday, April 28, 2008

on the bus

Some days everyone on the bus looks like this.


This is a character concept based on the goddess Kali for the graphic novel I'm working on.  It's a refinement of the photoshop style studies I've been working on so far this year.  I'm interested in ways to marry representational form with graphic pattern motifs.  This means I geek out on a lot on Klimt paintings.  The subject matter, a goddess, lends itself well to this since there's so much in Buddhist and Hindu art to draw on for inspiration.  

"Ladies of Dolores"

Sunburns aside, this was a seriously beautiful day at Dolores Park SF.  Some would even say "Dolorious!" You know who you are.  Thank god I have paintagenic friends or I wouldn't have gotten my work done that weekend.  Oh, and Nina, remember, you are not a giant, you are in the foreground. :)

Saturday, March 1, 2008


If I had a band this would be our album cover.

Many Styles

I've found myself attempting a range of styles.  These two early paintings were made within a year of each other.  The first was a Mary Cassat inspired pastel drawing.  The second is one of my early (and better) attempts at representational oil painting.


A fine art piece from my undergrad.  It's oil paint over mesh screen and collaged strips of canvas.  I did this years ago and it still stands out as one of my best.

Figure Study

My friend Audrey posed for this some time ago and I recently used it for this oil study. 

Monday, January 14, 2008

On Giant Gondrills...

This is a creature design I completed recently.  It combines my study of real animal anatomy to create a more mystical creature.  Animals with strength and/or intelligence have always inspired me.  They give me a sense of reverence.  

Being an illustrator gives me the opportunity to imagine and then create images which convey or satisfy a certain emotion.  It's difficult to quantify, but, with time, you can come close.  It's something an artist chases but never catches.   My development, process, and technique are vehicles to keep the chase exhilarating. 

Below is a similarly massive creature.  The hanging adventurer and the japanese manga style speed lines create the sense of momentum.  I originally named this one "Titan's Canary," but it became a "Geier" (a german word for vulture).  Exotic, no?

The Ant and the Grasshopper

A work in progress!  This is an intended for a children's book version of Aesop's fable.  I'm sure you know the one.  It seems crude as it's missing cast shadows and the modeling I would have liked to have finessed for another day or so.  However, I'm pleased with the characterization and cool light/warm shadows scheme.  This was also my most ambitious project using Corel Painter.  Though unfinished, this piece represented a leap in understanding for me.  

Below is a detail of Ant's anthropomorphized face.  Some wondered if this is a self portrait.