Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yellow Springs Brewery presents: Imaginative Realism

My friend Travis Lewis is putting on a show for Imaginative Realism at the Yellow Springs Brewery in Yellow Springs Ohio.

Some of the amazing artist include:
Fred Fields
Chris Seaman
Mark Pool
Aaron Miller
Travis Lewis
Jim Pavelec
Dan Chudzinski
Amy Kollar Anderson
J. Anthony Kosar
Tom Taggart
Matt Tisdale
and more... and me ! !

Its going to be a great show thats worth a drive to see.  I may or may not be there for the opening (fingers crossed) but I encourage all to attend. I keep hearing how great Yellow Springs Brewery is too. Art and beer. Win, win!

Full details here:

Monday, June 23, 2014

DIY display panels.

Im branching out and starting to do shows this year and needed a professional way to display my work. After a good deal of looking around on the internet and checking out other artist both set ups I figured out what my needs were. Pro Panels seemed to fit what I wanted but were out of my price range. After talking to my friend David Pancake about the panels he had made, I decided to make my own but a little different. It was easy, and turned out well. Here is how I did it.

Supply list:
• 4 Hollow Lauan Doors
• 6 black Hinges
• 1 Gallon of black primer
• Outdoor Carpeting
• Carpet Glue and plastic trow

Prime the doors with the black primer. A paint roller works great and takes no time at all. The primer seals the wood and gives a good surface for the carpet glue. Now let the primer dry overnight.

Prepare your carpet by cutting it down into strips about 5 to 10 inches wider than your door. Next roll them up so that you can place the lead edge down onto the glue and unroll with the carpet backing side down.

Next we started applying the carpet glue with the plastic trow that the sales associate recommended. You have about 20 minutes before it starts to set up so take your time and make sure the coverage is good and even. Get the edges good so that they do not peel up later.

Applying the carpet comes next. With the glue ready, my wife and I placed the lead edge down and slowly unroll the carpet, smoothing it out from the center as we went. Once we reached the end we would go back and press the carpet down and work the edges to get a better bond. I would then cut the excess carpet off with an exact-o-knife. Repeat for each door.  I would let these have a day or two before hanging anything on them too.


Last step is to attach the hinges. I did this before priming and it was fine but waiting till after the carpeting would make it a little easier.  For the center two hinges I cut out a spot for the hinges so that the doors could come together without a seem in the middle. This took a little more work but I felt it was worth it. Here are the tools I used to accomplish the task.

• Velcro patches
• Hooks
• Rivets
So the panels are complete but you need a way to hang your work. I was a little short on frames so many of my pieces I used little sticky back velcro squares on the back of my illustration board. If you try this route, put a peace of painters tape on your illo-board and then put the sticky back velcro on the tape so that it does not tear up the back of your board.

The larger framed pieces required a hook so I made a velcro hook. You can find these for purchase online but again I made my own and for less. The velcro patches, hooks and rivets can be found at most Michaels stores. I used an all to poke a hole near the bottom of a small 2"x2" or so sized piece of velcro, next placed the hooks over it and then put the screw together "rivets" in place. I real rivet gun would be preferred but these turned out great. They support the weight of my framed pieces quite easily. If you have a large piece, you can use larger velcro or double up a couple smaller ones.

There are al kinds of nifty brackets and things that can be found at a hard wear store. This bracket for example is made to fit over a 2x4. As it so happens, it fits snuggly on my panels. It acts as a brace to sturdy up the doors and is great for attaching a sign to that extends above the panels.

Thats it. These four panels and 10 hooks cost about $300 total and were made over a weekend. If you have any question, IM me on Facebook or send me an email.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Spectrum and Kickstarter

Cthuhlu's Vault came to a triumphant close on Kickstarter yesterday. Over 500% funding raised. With that comes 13 new cards for me to illustrate and some other backer goodies too. Such a fun project!

Spectrum Fantasy Art Live 3

So many of my favorite artist and people in one place. Some of my show highlights included:
  • Seeing old friends and making new ones.
  • Portfolio review with Dan Dosantos and Gregorie Machess. Wow!
  • Drawing workshop with the Grand Master, Iain McCaig. Again, Wow!
  • Attending the awards ceremony at the Midland Theatre. 
  • Bringing home an original painting and sketchbook (complete with custom sketch) from Jeff Miracola.
  • I got a sneak peak at one of Chris Seman's  personal projects. Yup, its awesome.
It was a great experience again this year. Thanks for recharging the creative batteries and refocusing my efforts.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Who let the snakes out… sss… sss…

The job at hand is Cthuhlu's Vault and its finally on kickstarter. As of now it has hit 200% funding and still has two weeks left to go. Please check it out and spread the word. This is my baby and I want to see it do the best it can.

The above piece, Yig, is about 50% complete. It shows Yig emerging from a Mesoamerican style temple with alien looking snakes featuring extra eyes and frightening mandibles. Im looking forward to adding the glyphs on the temple walls and adding in the jungle to the background. I have been looking at a lot of Wayne Reynolds art lately and want to try some of his foliage techniques in the background.

Next week Im off to Spectrum (attending only). Its going to be a blast!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Making Cthuhlu part 2

"Awakening in R'lyeh" 2014 Jacob Walker

Mr Squid face is complete. Like most paintings, this one felt like a roller coaster ride. Started strong, going up the tracks and them free fall, I lost sight of where it was going and threw my hands up, aaaahhhh. I've been painting long enough to know how to handle this, just hand on tight and you'll make it through. Only this time I wanted to be a little more in control, and faster. 

This is one of my working shots. I was losing focus on where and how to proceed so I took a pic and dropped it in photoshop. I would show that but seem to have deleted it. I painted over it and pushed and pulled value and hue for about an hour. This gave me a road map. I felt in control and shaved hours off the painting. This is a new practice (at least for me) that I think will be handy.

Also along the way I threw the image up for a quick crit got some good feedback from Jeremy McHugh. If I had taken a little more time to step back away from the piece I think I would have seen the lighting issues that Jeremy pointed out in his supper fast paint over (right). Big thanks sir. I always helps to have art friends look at your work, especially when they are better artist than you are. I should also thank Mr. Steve Prescott for some pointers on how to seal a printed image and your paper. For this painting, I printed my sketch on art paper and used some clear gesso to seal it and the paper. Easy!

Here is the art in the final card layout that I designed. The project should be hitting kickstarter in March. Thats all for this time.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentines Day

Last friday was Valentines Day and a good reminder about what makes being self employed worth it. Besides the joys (and pitfalls) of owning your own business, you can have a somewhat flexible schedule. This means getting to go visit my boys at school for their Valentine's Day party, giving me a better glimpse into their daily life (the part that happens while Im at home drawing monsters and such). It made them happy and made my day. I was also able to spare a couple hours and make the boys valentines. New Super Mario Bros 3D World Land something or other cat power for the win. I will save you all the sappy love stuff and just say that my wife has been great, helpful and patient as I started my freelance career. She is the best.

Since we are talking about V-Day, you should check out the Month of Love blog. Carly Janine Mazur is one of my favorite new artist finds from Illuxcon last year and she has a few pieces on there. Check it out.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I am the Overlord!

It is always fun to get a book or game in the mail that you contributed work on. Having samples are great. But when those samples happen to be beer from one of your favorite breweries, it can't get any better. Today my buddy and collaborator Matt Wagner ( was in town. He brought these…

Matt and another longtime friend and colleague, Aaron Tanner ( have won numerous awards for their branding and design work for Tin Man Brewing Company. I have to say, I truly love the beer. Their Alloy IPA is one of my all time favorites. When Matt asked if I would like to help make the Overlord can, I had to say yes. Its a robot. Its called overlord. Its beer. All winners in my book. 

Here are two of the half dozen sketches that I started with. I recreated it in Adobe Illustrator using a scan of the sketch that Matt and I felt worked best with the can's vertical constraints. These are tall ones! Once I had a good start on it I sent it to Matt who worked on it a bit and then returned it. Back and forth it went several times till we felt we had it. I have always enjoyed working with Matt on creative projects like these. The next flavor may still be under and NDA but I can say it is already off to the printers and I can wait to see it. Matt and both feel its better than the first.

If your in Evansville, stop by Tin Man and give their food and beer a try. Don't forget to say hi to the life sized robot too. 

Now, time to open one of these fellas up… Cheers!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Making Cthuhlu

Its 2014. Lets skip the resolutions and jump right into the work.

I've been working on the Cthuhlu's Vault project for quite awhile now. I've been art directing and working with a couple other artist. I have been doing the design work, making cards, logos, icons, etc. I'm getting started on a video segment for the Kickstarter that will follow. All this and I have not touched the most iconic monsters from the game. Now I am, starting with Cthuhlu himself. 

I started by doing some thumbnails. Lots of them. I even chose one and started painting before deciding that I still did not have the image that I wanted. Two nights ago the image popped in my head and I sketched it out, as seen below. My drawing needed a little help on the perspective so I dropped it into   Adobe Illustrator and used the 3 point grid. This is way faster than drawing it out the old fashion way. I blocked in the plains of each of the building surfaces. Here is a quick tut on youtube that was helpful.

I try to figure out the colors before I get into the painting stage. Sometimes I do color studies or find another piece of art and steel colors from. In this case Im going to try using a color gammet. More info on that can be found in James Gurney's book Color and Light, or in this video from Sycra (who has a ton of great instructional videos)

I mash my grid and my rough sketch together in photoshop, print it out and throw it on the light board. What I have next is this sketch, ready for painting. Hopefully I can print it out (I have a very poor printer) on art paper, seal it and paint on top. If not I will be transferring it onto illustration board, via homemade tracking paper.

Next post, some progress shots of the painting as it takes shape. 

Cthuhlu raises from R'lyeh. Card art for Cthuhlu's Vault (by Jim Dietz and Richard Launius). Jolly Roger Games

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Another year is nearly complete. Have a safe and happy holiday. See you in 2014.

My cheap knock-off of the masterful painter Frank Frazetta and his iconic Death Dealer. This was a quick screw around image that I started this morning and ended up being fully painted by the end of the day. There were many breaks for cookies, ninja battles and fun with the kids.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Speedy Speedy

Speed is a crucial part of being an Illustrator (and of course quality). There are lots of other components too of course but speed has been a particular weakness of mine until recently. The average painting, like the two below in this post, used to take me a couple weeks worth of time to complete. These days I have been averaging about 2 days, sometimes less for small images like these. Why the sudden speed up? A lot of priceless advise has sunk in over this past year. Attending Spectrum and Illuxcon, speaking with the other artist and getting portfolio reviews really pay off.

Here are a couple new pieces fresh off the art table. Both images are for Jolly Roger Game's Cthuhlu's Vault. It is nearing the 1/2 way mark. More post (because its the only project I can share at the moment) with tentacled Lovecraft art coming up next week.

---- Also I was one of the few who were able to snag a showcase table at the Illuxcon 8! Wow, lots of work to do to prepare.

Disturbing Serum, 8.5"x6"Acrylic on illustration board. ©2014 Jacob Walker

Hungry Ghoul, 8.5"x6"Acrylic on illustration board. ©2014 Jacob Walker

Monday, November 11, 2013

Evil Hat

Awhile back I had the pleasure of doing a few black and white interiors for Evil Hat Games. Fred Hicks and the Evil Hat team are great to with. Of the images I did, I like this retro alien companion guy the most. The image called for black and white but I chose to do the original with a spot color behind him just for fun. The other images were done this way too. His feet remind me of Bossk, so don't let that smile fool you…

"Alien Companion"
From Strange Tales of the Century RPG
Evil Hat Games

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Couple Touch Ups

After attending many shows this year and speaking with lots of creatives I was shown and picked up on many things I have been doing poorly. The two images below are ones that I chose to go in and touch up after considering them done. Dan Dos Santos and Lauren Panepinto both gave me some great advise on how I treat edges. This was a major flaw for me. Most images were rendered at the same detail level from front to back. And oh the rim lighting was out of control. I was like a kid who just got photoshop and put lens flairs on everything. Sigh.

The Green Wizard
Touch ups included removing rim lighting around fingers, adjust the hue of the face and adding he Cthulhu medallion. Also I should mention I these were scanned on two different scanners.

The Haunted Woods
This piece also had a lot of unnecessary rim lighting as well. Steve Prescott was kind enough to suggest  adding some additional depth by extending the tree line into the background. He also suggested a few color shifts and again softening some edges. Spot on advice, though Im not sure I went far enough. I pushed the darks a bit more too, added some more details to the spooky ghost stuff. 

There always seems to be more that can be done to an image but you have to stop somewhere and start working on the next piece right? As I write this I see plenty more opportunities for improvement, all the way down to the composition, but….

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monster, Moving and Illuxcon 6

Moving is always a big undertaking. It presents lots of unforeseen snags and sometimes great opportunities. In August, my wife was offered a job just outside Indianapolis and we decided to relocate. That meant I had to leave a really good job and was unprepared for my next step. That step being freelancing full-time as an illustrator and designer. I have relaunched my graphic design site, The big lessen from all this was to always be prepared for an opportunity.

Image above is my rendition of Nyarlathotep, the Lovecraftian horror, done for Cthuhlu Vault card game by Richard Launius. Kickstarter campaign will be up soon and game release will be summer 2014. Love this stuff! More images in next post.

Unfortunately Con season is over but that means it is time to apply what I learned and push out some new work. Last month attended Illuxcon for the first time. I was happy to meet Pat and Jeannie Wilshire who put on the most amazing show! The quality and quantity of art was overwhelming. I am already looking forward to next year. After the show I was refueled and painting happily.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quick Monster

One of these might pop out of the ground at any moment... Be ready.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Origins 2013, "Best Color Art with Traditional Media" award!

I have attended Origins for many years but this year was the first time I have ever had a booth. It was great for many reasons.

Perhaps the best part of the show was the time spent chatting with the other artist, most of which I had not met before. In particular Charles Urbach and Ed Beard Jr. were great about giving me advise and direction.  I really enjoyed meeting Larry Elmore and his buddy Travis Lewis for the first time and chatting with Talon Dunning who I met at last years show and bumped into at Spectrum last month. I also had drinks and ate with Jim Dietz, the Jolly Roger Crew and Richard Launius.

At the booth I met lots of great people. I sold several pieces and had a couple commisions, which covered a good deal of my expenses. A few companies approached me about upcoming projects and art shows too.

The highlight of the show was winning "Best Color Work in Traditional Media" for the image above. The judges were Larry Elmore, Charles Urbach and Ed Beard Jr. Its pretty humbling to have your work judged by peoples whose work you have been enjoying for the past 20 years.

The first annual Origins gaming calendar featured a piece of mine too.

It was a great show and a wonderful experience!