This blog represents the work and thoughts of Howard Lyon, Artist and Illustrator

The Sign Painter

I love things that are made by hand.  You will see me feature work from many different artists here, like this post.

Here is a very quick little video about a sign painter, Mike Langley.  When I walk by a shop and they have a hand painted sign, I am automatically more interested.  It says a lot about a company when they go through the expense and effort to have something like their name and brand represented with tradition, skill and class.

Products that I Love

I am often asked by students or parents of young artists what tools I use or if there are books that I recommend, so I put together a page on my site with links to the tools I use and the books I have found to be indispensable.

You can find the 'Books and Tools' page in the 'Store' section of the top navigation bar on this site, or follow the link below.  I hope you will find it useful.  I have more to add, so check back in periodically!

The inspiring art of David A. Smith - Traditional Ornamental Glass Artist

David A. Smith created the album cover for John Mayer's album Born and Raised as well as a couple other pieces for the album promotion.  I love the dedication David shows to his chosen craft.  He is very connected to the work he is doing and approaches it with a wonderful ethic and expertise.  The results are amazing, but the process is more so.  

Watching the video inspires me to excel.  Take a look and let me know if you feel the same way:

Maurice Sendak passed away today...

My earliest memories of art come from the "Pierre: A Cautionary Tale" story by Maurice Sendak.  After that, his wonderful book, "Where the Wild Things Are".  I recall, even has a child, the texture and lines of his pen.  I was thrilled and terrified to see Pierre stick his head into the mouth of a lion.  I remember feeling anxiety at Pierre's "I don't care" response to his parents and the lion, but also being excited at the same time.  Did he really not care!?  How could that be?  I also remember being terrified of the Wild Things, but being jealous of Max at the same time.

I almost named my youngest son Max, after Sendak's Max.  It would have suited him too.  His mind is often tearing through the wild on his own adventures on some "wild rumpus".  You can see it in his eyes!

The very first art book that my parents bought for me was "The Art of Maurice Sendak".  If there is a spark that lit my imagination on fire and then fanned the flame, it was his masterwork, "Where the Wild Things Are."  Mr. Sendak tapped into a deep and common desire of all kids to have adventure.  To swing in the trees and be a wild thing.  As an adult, I still feel that call when I read his books and I live much of that out through my drawings.

Here is a sketch I started, but never finished.  It is a detail of a larger drawing.  Maybe I will finish it now that Sendak's work is done.

click to enlarge

Thank you Maurice for scaring me, inspiring me and leaving the door open to the cage of my wild things.

"Let the wild rumpus begin!"

Heroes of the Fallen Lands - part 4

The last of the paintings for Heroes of the Fallen Lands.  This was my favorite of the four paintings, for a few reasons, but mostly because it has my father in it.  I exaggerated his features, added the beard, tattoos, changed the hair, but it is my dad under there.  I am a sucker for painting details so filling it up with jars and books and scrolls was a lot of fun.

I neglected to mention that Kate Irwin was the Art Director for the Heroes pieces.  Thanks Kate!

click to enlarge:

Heroes of the Fallen Lands - part 1

Here is the first my images from the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book release by Wizards.  For Lyriel, I used the daughter of a friend of mine that I grew up with.  She is also the model for my Joan of Arc painting from the Illustration Master Class.  She did a great job, I am sure she will show up again!  I have three more images that I will post of the course of the week, so check back in.

Magic the Gathering - Crusade

Recent Magic the Gathering card.  Loved painting this one.  My daughter is the model for the gorgeous lady in the painting (made to look a little older than she really is) and I am the model for all the other the poor souls rushing into battle, most likely to be maimed or get their heads smacked in by a grumpy troll or ill-tempered ogre.  At least they have this snapshot to send back home, pre-battlefield maiming.

It even managed to make it as the MTG Wallpaper of the Week!  Wahoo!

5 limited edition giclee prints are available of this image.  11 x 14 on stretched canvas for $200.  Photo prints are also available.  Email for more info.

Here there be Dragons

Surprisingly, in the few hundred paintings I have done for Dungeons and Dragons, I have painted many dungeons, but very few dragons.  So, when I was asked to paint a couple new Dragons for the release of the Draconomicon 4th Edition, I couldn’t help but be a little excited about that.  Below is a new dragon to the mix, a cobalt dragon.  I thought it would be neat to portray the dragon in its natural setting looking for prey.  A dragon can’t always have a tasty damsel or gristly knight to feast on, sometimes it just has to get out there and chase down an elk.  It helps to keep the love handles in check too.

Runelords Greenman

This is an image that I created for David Farland’s Runelords property.  I have had the pleasure of working with David on several occasions and it is always a pleasure.  I hope there are many more opportunities to come.  His Runelords series is one of the most unique fantasy settings I have read.  Check it out if you haven’t yet.
Here is a rendition of the Greenman from the Runelord’s world.