Surly Eleven

Having wrapped the art for Darkness and Surlyfest, Surly’s anniversary beer, Eleven, was the last project on my plate.

I was introduced to lead brewers Jerrod and Ben months ago at Dangerous Man, and they shared some thoughts on what they were working on for the anniversary beer. As they spoke, I tried to take useful notes (below).Notes

Eleven-headed peacocks and dragons crossed my mind, but Janus was right away my favorite idea. A god that looked to both the past and the future seemed appropriate for the transition that Surly was in the middle of. Also, having a two-headed creature representing the new two lead brewers seemed a logical choice.


Step 1: Sketches.

Above we have a loose thumbnail of composition. Dinosaurs representing the past, and space exploration for the future. These are not revolutionary design choices perhaps, but they did allow me to draw dinosaurs.


Step 2: Press the Art Button

The sketch was taken into Illustrator where I traced things, tightened up some strange bits, and picked colors. After that, the art was emailed to Surly and I was done. They got the image onto bottles and posters, and I am pretty pleased with the results.

Bottle1 Bottle2

Tomorrow, I get to work signing posters.


It’s been great working with all of the good folks at Surly. Everyone was very professional, and I got a fantastic amount of creative freedom on each project.

Also, I got a bunch of fantastic beer.

Darkness 2016


The good people at Surly Brewing Co have chosen me to be their 2016 artist, which means I get to make illustrations for Darkness, Surlyfest, and this year’s anniversary beer, Eleven.

Now that the art for Darkness has been leaked, I am allowed to share the design. I’ve included some process images as well, for those that are in to that sort of thing.


1. I made a bunch of thumbnails in my notebook, different creatures, demons, etc. Cerberus was the best idea out of the group, and this little thumb has a lot of the things that made it into the final piece. Snake tail, three heads, and the gates of Hell.


2. Modeling this fella in ZBrush was very useful, as it allowed me to play around with different compositions, poses, and perspectives. It is also therapeutic.


3. The rough ZBrush sculpt only went so far, so I still needed to do a couple of paint overs in Photoshop to make things come together.


4. I took all of those things into Illustrator, pressed the Make Art button, and that was it.

Darkness is coming.