Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sketches from Oz

So I haven't been doing much Oz lately, but that's because I haven't been doing much art lately. My life has been a small whirlwind in the last few months. I got married, went to Greece, work has been insane, and recently I suffered two major ear infections. I'm having an amazing year spiritually, but my physical body is taking a lot of damage.

Anyways, I have been able to do some sketching recently. Not sure when I'll find the time to colour these though. Could be weeks, could be tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Scarecrow needed no sleep, and so often at night he would keep watch. Now, camped with the hastily assembled Royal Army of Oz, the Scarecrow often wandered the perimeter at night. He thought every little bit helps, and his button eyes saw just fine in the dark.

It was now, the night before the assault on the Witch’s land that the Scarecrow came upon the Wizard of Oz. Oscar sat on a small perch above a cliff, a clear view of the west, it’s dry rocky terrain different shades of blues in the light of the moon.

“Ah Wizard, it is late, I did not expect to find you awake, and out here at the edge of our camp.”

The Wizard looked over to the Scarecrow coming out of a tangle of bushes, clumsily getting his clothes snagged on brambles.

“You. The Scarecrow.” He did not look happy to see the Scarecrow.

“The only name I know of to be called,” said the Scarecrow. He pulled himself free of the bush, and took a seat on a flat rock nearby. “My understanding is that old men like you should be very much asleep at this hour. Is something wrong?”

“Everything is wrong Scarecrow. I see why you ask for brains. “

“In my limited time of knowing you Wizard, I have come to understand you’re not a very nice person, and out right rude at any given moment. I understand this though, as you have been a man of great position for a long time, and such power drifts you away from manners towards the common people.

But with me, you are always rude. Always quick to anger. Am I wrong in sensing that you have a stronger dislike for me than most others?”

“No. You are not wrong.”

“Ah, as I suspected. Why?”

“You have seen that I possess no magic. I am not a Wizard of Magic, but a Wizard of Machines. Of science. But you; well I look at you and my mind screams. You make no sense. You are purely a creature of magic.”

The Scarecrow nodded, “The man of science does not like the man of magic.”

“I don’t like magic period. Where I come from, one plus one equals two. Here, in Oz, one plus one equals talking chicken. It’s madness this land.”

“And yet you rule it.”

“Better to rule than serve. Grab power where you can Scarecrow. And never let it go. But I don’t hate you for being magical Scarecrow. I’ve been here so long, I’m used to the madness of Oz. It’s not hate that I feel towards you.“

“Then what do you feel towards me Wizard?”

“You know. Do not play with me Straw Man.”

“You fear me.”


“Because I am magical. You do not understand what drives this body to move, to talk, to feel.”

The Wizard pointed at the Scarecrows chest. “I could tear open your shirt, and find only straw and sticks. What scares me worse though, is not that you exist, but how you exist.“

“You are asking who made me.”

The Wizard nodded.

“You are wondering how I came to be, when magic is outlawed in your territory.”


“And you are making me think about how outside your borders, sat four Witches; women who control magic.”

“Life is the most powerful force I have encountered. To create it out of nothing is powerful magics indeed.”

“Of which only a powerful Witch could control. You imply one of the Witches made me.”

“And that is why I fear you Scarecrow. I hope to never know why one of the Witches of Oz created you.”

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm inspired by everything, and often in ways I find hard to explain. This poem has been in my head for days.


A leaf fell on the floor of
a subway car
all the passengers looked up at
the metal grill
the ceiling
every one of them expecting
to see the sky

Gary Michael Dault

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Protecting Dorothy Final

The Lion turned back to see that Dorothy had trouble climbing the steep incline. He bounded back down and in front of her. The terribe Khalidahs could be heard crashing through the thick brush nearby. "Go Dorothy!" roared the Lion. The Scarecrow and Tin man turned back to see the Lion, growling towards the the crashes that grew ever closer. "Get her to safety," cried the Lion to his friends.

"No," said Dorothy. She started to climb back down the root she had been using to climb up. "You won't face them alone Lion."

"I'm not alone," said the Lion. "Not anymore. I will hold them off. I will fight them here and protect you. I'll fight to the death if I have to. Go please," he begged.

A strong metal arm reached down the embankment and pulled the little girl up. She yelled in protest. It was too late, and the terrible Khalidahs came sprinting into the clearing.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Protecting Dorothy WIP (cont)

Here are some colours being laid in, as well as some textures. As always, I just lay stuff down, and if it works it stays. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Protecting Dorothy WIP

Here's a work in progress. It's the Lion protecting Dorothy from some off screen threat. Perhaps some terrible Tiger/Bear hybrid creature. Notice Toto also trying to protect her. Click on the image for a larger view.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Great Hall

This is the Hall of the Wizard.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

latest WIP

So I've been chipping away at this one for about a week or so. It's going to take me a long time methinks. And probably, I won't be happy with it. But am I ever happy with my art?

Anyways, here's where I'm at with it so far.

And here's a close up of the Witch of the West in the pic.

Be sure to click on the images to see a larger version.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jen: Great pic! Dorothy looks exhausted. Wha'ts she been up to?
me: walking around all day. surviving a tornado. fighting witches. all kinds of stuff
Jen: that'll do it

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Be sure to click on the image to see the larger version.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

While I haven't updated in a bit, don't be thinking I've given up. No, just been busy with work and settling into post wedding life. I also bought a new big screen TV and got HD TV to go with it. As well as a PS3. Not bragging, but you can see how my life is sudden;y filled with distractions, and I already had enough of those.

But when I have a spare moment, I think of Oz. I think of the blue skies, and the rolling green hills. Of the golden wheat fields, and such beautiful vibrant colours. I think of how to balance my more adult version with the beauty and wonder that Baum established. It's a struggle to try and limit how much of myself I want to put into it. I want to respect the author and the material.

I haven't been drawing much lately, but I have a back log of images to colour anyways. But we're getting into the busy season here at the ad agency, and when that happens my art and story suffer. But I hope to do some stuff soon!

That being said, let me leave you with a very cool song I found. It's a cool mix of old bluegrass and a touch of texture and darkness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

gone for a bit

Updates have been sparse the last few weeks, but for good reason. I got married!

So here's a video of my Honeymoon in Greece.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Conversation with a Scarecrow

My latest video. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Oz Sky

This is a new illustration I've been tooling with for about a week. I'm not that happy with it, but I'm tired of working on it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rough sketches

I want to give you an idea of where I sometimes start. It's hard for me to post sketches, because they often change a lot along the way to being finished.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tired Road

Sometimes, after days of talking scarecrows, lions, men of metal, and a brand new world, it can make a little girl tired. It can make her miss Kansas, and it's simplicity.

There's no place like home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Daeth of the East

The Wicked Witch of the East is the youngest of the Witches. She is not as powerful as her sister from the West, but just as wicked. This picture takes place moments before the Cowardly Lion breaks his shackles, and frees himself from her torment forever.

Here's the Lion saving Dorothy and himself.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dear Darkness

Here's the song I listened to on loop while creating the below illustration.

Dorothy and the Scarecrow

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Portrait of The Wizard of Oz

Here is The Wizard of Oz. A man burdened by his own lies and guilt. The ruler of a nation, but a con man at heart. He is a liar, and he hates himself for it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another picture of the Lion by Night.

Be sure to click on the pic to see the hi-res version.

The Lion stopped before the edge of the woods and turned back to the little girl.

"There are no words for what you have done for me Dorothy." He looked back at the dark forest behind him, and then to Dorothy again. "Part of me wants to run from here. To never stop running."

"I know," said Dorothy.

"But I can't," he said with a sad smile. "I can't leave you here. Not so close to her. Tell me what you want me to do."

Dorothy looked up at the manor of the Witch of the East. "There is a Witch there. I want to bring her house down on her."

The Lion nodded. "Then I will help you. I will always help you Dorothy. Even if it means the end of this life," said The Cowardly Lion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Tin man of the Woods

Playing some more with my new brushes. Don't forget to click the images I post to see a good hi-res version!

The Witch Making a Tornado

This picture makes no sense, as water would kill the Witch. That being said, I like the visual. This is just me messing around in Photoshop, trying out some new brushes.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Music from "Death of a Sister"

Here is the music from the previously posted video.

I discovered this song when I saw Black Hawk Down. I don't know what the song is actually about, but it's a beautiful piece that still creates a lot of emotion in me. It's haunting, sad, and probably shouldn't be listened to if you're incredibly depressed. That being said, it captures a lot of tone and feel for the world of Oz I'm trying to create. Dark, haunting, but with a feeling of magic.

I also felt that tone was appropriate for when the Witch discovers her sister is dead. The Witch remembers love, she remembers happiness, and though her heart has been black a long time, she remembers once when her sister and herself played in the fields of Oz, and they loved one another. And despite the centuries of animosity between all of the Witches, as they grew more enclosed and lonesome in their own kingdoms, there is an old love that still resides there. Enough that even the Wicked Witch of the West still has tears to spare for little sister.

Anyways, hope you love the song as much as I do.

The Wicked Witch of the West Part 2

The Witch was never given a lot of depth in the original story. She's really just one of the many obstacles the Heroes have to overcome, and she's taken out pretty swiftly. I wanted to explore her more though, try and create a reason for why she is "wicked".

I know this has already happened in the Gregory Maguire book "Wicked". So why am I trying to write my own version? Because I can. I didn't really like Wicked a whole lot. It had some pretty interesting parts to it, but overall I felt like it wasn't something I cared for.

To get into the physical traits of the Witch, it's commonly known that water can melt her. So I incorporated that into my design for the Witch. If she can live for such a long time, surely she's cried. And so wouldn't tears actually burn her? I took this little idea and ran with it. In the original story the Witch only has one eye. Why? Well what if because her tears eventually killed that one eye, and the other has heavy black scarring around it.

Here's a video to help illustrate this design concept.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Wicked Witch of the West Part 1

There's one thing I immediately love about the Witch of the West. The alliteration. Oh lordy, I love how it rolls off the tongue. I think a lot of her popularity can stem from this ingenious naming of her character. We don't care what her actual name is, nor does Frank Baum ever give it to us. Truth is, she's not that major of a character in the original Oz book. She dies half way through the book.

But I love her. And the more I draw her, the more I love her.

I don't believe in evil from birth. Nothing is born evil, unless it's a demon I suppose. The Witch was once a little girl. And before that, she was a baby. Like any of us, she was shaped by the world she lived in.

She was born into this world as innocent as any of us. She wanted love as much as you and I. But when you can live forever, things can go wrong. You can be a saint for a hundred years or a thousand. But you cannot avoid doing evil forever. And that is how the Witch came to be wicked. And sad.

Please listen to the song below. I'm not sure how much the words actually apply, but the tone the song gives, the emotions it brings out, stirs in me perhaps how The Witch felt as she lost innocence, and the darkness pulled her further and further away from love and the Light.

I'll often post songs that I listen to as I draw and write, and maybe it could help give you an idea where some of my inspiration comes from.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The music from "The Witch"

Here is the music from the Witch, fully and completely. It's from the video game Silent Hill if you can believe it. In some ways, it was my anthem for a year or so.

The Witch

The video below is my most viewed upload on Youtube, with over 16,000 views now. What's very funny, is that this is the video without my voice over on it. It's just a collection of images I've illustrated of the Witch, set to some very nice music.

I'm not sure why this video has so many more views than my others. Something about it must resonate a little with people.

Either way, I'll be talking about the Witch for the next little while. She gets the best reaction from everyone when I show them my Oz illustrations. I'm also excited to talk about how I've altered her to fit my Oz, but how in some ways she's truer to the original Oz story than the movie was. In some ways.

Enjoy the video!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 4

A friend of mine recently said "So, Dorothy is a zombie?" Well that depends on your definition. If it's as loose as "Returned from the dead," then yes. But when I think of zombies (and I think about them all of the time), I think of ravenous mindless hordes of decomposing undead.

Dorothy is not undead. When she returns from her grave, she continues to age again, grow, and all the things other little girls get to do. She has a second life.

She wakes up in a field, somewhere in Oz. Roughly between The Emerald City and the Land of the East. She immediately encounters some Munchkins who take her with them to the East, not wanting to leave a little girl out in the wilderness on her own. Along the way they meet the Scarecrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Music from "Once Upon a Time..."

Below is the music I used in the video I just posted. I really recommend giving it a full listen a few times. It's a great ambient track by one of my favourite bands.

Once Upon a Time...

This is an old video mine updated with some new music and some minor editing tweaks. It's the first part to Dorothy's story that I've been talking about here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 3

So Dorothy dies in Kansas; killed by a tornado. How does she come to Oz then? Wasn't the tornado supposed to carry her there? Well that part of the story is something I changed. Growing up I always thought that she had died, and that Oz was Heaven. Weird I know. I guess I never paid attention.

So now, all grown up, I decided to add this twist to the story we know. I think it helps place the story into the young adult section of the book store. I know, when I say "Young adult" people roll their eyes, but you may do well to recall the stuff you may have been reading at 10-14. I know I myself was reading Christopher Pike, RL Stine (Fear Street, not Goosebumps), and the Dragonlance Series. All of which have some pretty adult situations in them, without getting too explicit.

I don't think I want to go as far as Maguire did, and get really into the adult stuff (like making the Wizard a rapist). But who knows, the story evolves from one day to the next.

Back to Dorothy. She is buried by her Aunt and Uncle. A long time passes. Like a REALLY long time, and Earth isn't called Earth anymore. Four Witches come to a point, just by coincidence it's where Dorothy is buried, and they name the land around them Oz. And underneath them, Dorothy starts to come back to life.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 2

So you see I've changed Dorothy a bit. Most importantly, I've killed her. Which I know for some will take a little getting used to. But don't worry, she comes back! You see, through death, she resurrects in Oz. How she comes back, I'll get to in a later post.

Right now I'd like to delve into how I've altered the essence of the character in some ways. She and the Witch are probably changed the most out of all the characters in my story, compared to Baum's. Dorothy is a lot braver in my story. In the original, she spent a lot of the book hiding behind her friends, or gasping or crying a lot. This was written in a time when a little girl was seen as pretty weak, and of course she couldn't do much on her own, except for the odd bit of being clever. Of course.

I want a young girl (not too young though) to read my story and say to herself, "Yep, I could do that. I can be brave." Dorothy isn't scared of a thing, and in my story she meets many creatures and dangers that would leave me running for the hills. That's one of her powers.

Her other power is helping her friends realize their own strengths. When I use the term "power", don't think I mean she's a mutant. I mean she has a deep strength in her that makes her powerful. Strength of character and spirit, and in Oz, this gets her pretty far.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dorothy Gale Part 1

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Dorothy, and she lived in Kansas during the the Great Depression. Things were very hard on her Aunt and Uncles farm, which she called home. Her days were full of hard work, and by night she would have to attend local sermons.

Her life crafted her to be a very strong little girl. All was not bleak though, as she found much joy in her dog Toto.

Then one day, while enjoying some rare play time with her dog out int he fields around her small farm, a tornado came down out of the sky. She ran as fast as she could, scooping up her dog on the way. Her house wasn't far, but the tornado was too fast.

Dorothy Gale died on July 8th, 1934.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Tin Man Meets the Wizard

I'll actually get to Dorothy in a few days. I'd like to follow this little bit with each character meeting the Wizard.

To the Tin man, the Wizard appears as a giant monster.

I started this illustration by sketching it about a week ago in my sketchbook. Just a simple mechanical pencil there. Then today I scanned it at work, and coloured it in Photoshop. I grabbed some cool textures from, and laid them in behind and over the image. It helps give my pictures that extra punch they need.

The white effect in the bottom corner is just me playing with the white brush at like 2000pts, and then dotting around. The original image is 600dpi.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dorothy Meets the Wizard

So we'll step away from the Tin man's story for a bit. i think the next character I'll go into a bit of depth on is our heroine Dorothy. For now, here's my latest Oz picture. It's part of a small series of pictures I'm doing. In the movie the heroes all met the Wizard at once, but in Baum's book, they meet him individually; and the Wizard takes a different form for each of them.

To Dorothy he appears as a giant head.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Tin Man Part 5

"The Tin man" was a bit of a mocking term, and almost ironic. Nick often worried about his metal parts rusting, but tin doesn't actually rust. He never bothered correcting people though. He was made of metal now, an incorrect nickname was the least of his worries.

But even more worrying than the fear of rusting, was the growing poverty in the East. The Wicked Witch of the East was slowly strangling the Munchkin land of it's resources, and in turn once simple commodities like household electricity was becoming uncommon.

Nick, the crazy metal man in the woods, found it harder and harder to find replacement power cells for his body, and one day he ran out. His body was found years later slumped up against a tree, the rust caking his cold frame; powered down.

Who found him? Oh, a little girl named Dorothy Gale.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Tin Man Part 4

How could you be happy, once a man, now trapped in a mechanical body? Nick got very down on himself. His munchkin love didn't care though, and when he arrived back in the East, she rushed to him, many tears in her eyes. She said that his metal body was not important, and that she loved his heart.

Nick Chopper got very angry at that, and yelled at her in front of the entire community, "I don't have a heart!"

Feeling very sorry for himself, Nick left the town, never returning to it.

So rumours grew of the metal man who wandered the words, crying and fleeing from anyone who tried to approach him. Many people would find fresh stacks of chopped wood outside their doorsteps in the mornings though. He came to be known as the Tin Man of Oz, and one day he disappeared completely.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tin Man Part 3

Nick's body arrived at The Emerald City, dangerously close to death. This is where his story intertwines with the Wizard for the first time. You see, the Wizard was not a bad man, but a true coward. He had sealed himself up in his city, deathly afraid of the Witches that surrounded him, in the outlying countries.

Still, when presented with the opportunity to save a life and flex his great mind, he went to work on constructing a new metal body for Nick Chopper. The Wizard had no magic. But he was a "wizard" of machinery. To the primitive people of Oz, the Wizard's great machines all seemed to be magic.

The people saw how great their leader was, Nick lived, and everyone was happy. Except Nick.

More to come!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tin Man Part 2

The young girl that Nick loved was named Nimmie Amee. Her family being of high social stature went to the Wicked Witch of the East and asked her to curse Nick's axe. The Witch, liking the idea, agreed. The next morning when Nick went to work, his axe betrayed him, and buried itself deeply in his chest.

Nick's family, desperate to save their dying son, raced his body to the Emerald City, where they were told that the Wizard of Oz could save him.

More later!

Below is the beginning of a commission I did for a friend Chris. It was for his daughter. Honestly, the colour scheme was his idea, not mine. I would have made it darker :P

The Tin Man

First is my favourite The Tin Man of Oz. I know, I should go with Dorothy first, but I've always held a special place in my heart for the Tin Man. Quite ironic really.

His is very tragic. Once upon a time there was a man named Nick Chopper. He came from a long line of "choppers", the woodsman of the eastern country of Oz. He fell in love with a young lass. Sadly, her family believed him to be below their social status.

More later!


Monday, April 27, 2009

Song from Funeral for a Little Girl

I used this NIN song in my latest Oz video. I thought it had a lot of the atmosphere I want to create for my Oz story. A mixture of dark orchestral and a bit of southern twang. Like a gothic western.

Funeral for a Little Girl.

Here is my latest video. I actually have a lot of these done now. I'll be posting them as this blog goes on, but I don't want to just post it all at once. It'd be a lot to take in.

This is a Postcard from Oz. Just a little snapshot of the story.


I often get asked questions about the legality of what I'm doing. Well, rest assured if I were to ever be published or anything like that, I'm safe. The story of Oz is well over a hundred years old. If you must, go look at Gregory Maguire's book "Wicked" and it's sequels.

Now there are some things I can't do. I can't for instance base my designs off anything from the Wizard of Oz movie. I can base off the book, but all those designs from the movie are copyrighted (as is the music).

You'll notice that my design of the Witch of the West is very different from the old Witch from the movie. The Witch in the movie is green for example. Mine is deathly white. My Witch also only has one eye, as that is what Frank Baum wrote. Now of course I go off and do my own thing with the Witch, but that's for a later post when I delve into how close I stay to Baum's book, and how I stray with each character.

Here's a closer look at the Witch though.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

what I'm doing

People often ask me what it is I'm doing. Or why work on a re-imagining of Oz? Well I'm not doing it to get famous or make money, that's for sure.

I'm doing this because it's fun. Really, it's a blast to come up with designs for old beloved characters. Or to really explore the origins of characters that are pretty much blank slates.

I'm not making this a darker Oz because darker is extreme and that's what the kids want these days. I'm not making this for adults only because I want to shock people. That is not what I'm trying to accomplish. The designs and writing are a bit more mature in theme, but that's just how I write and draw. I'm still trying to capture the essence of what Frank Baum first did though. I don't feel like I'm changing the characters souls. I'm just exploring them in a different way then Mr Baum did.

I don't expect to ever get published, or really anything to happen with all of this. But one day I can tell my children my own version of Oz. And hopefully they like it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is one of my first Oz videos. All the art is by me. The song is "Room of Angel" from Silent Hill 3.

The is called "The Tin Man's Last Stand".

This is a blog for fans of Oz. Part art blog/part writing blog I guess.

Mainly you'll see a lot of art and sketches being posted; all Oz related. I've been working on a re-imagining of Oz for a long time. Every so often I find the energy to make a video involving some of my writing and my art.