February 17, 2016

Master Chief – A Commission for Tony

Today I’m talking about a recent commission I did. I have turned down commissions like this in the past. Armor? No way. Cars? Uh uh. There’s no fucking way I’m painting anything technical.

And then Tony asked me to paint Master Chief from Halo.

Fucking hell.

But I couldn’t say no to this one because the painting is a special one. Tony is my trainer. The guy who got me to lift 838lbs last week. Yes, that is not a typo. I can move a freaking horse with my legs. Tony keeps me sane by letting me work out to the point of exhaustion to help keep the demons at bay.

And Tony just bought a new house he wanted to put his mark on. I was honoured to be part of a such a major life stage. No was simply not in the books. But I needed to make this painting in a way that worked for both him and me.

Now, I love Halo. Hell, I love a ton of FPS games. I’m more of a PC gamer than a console fan, but still Halo is awesome. We just won’t talk about how badly I play on the console. My poor Master Chief walks into more walls than he deserves!


I really needed this piece to work technically without changing how I feel when I’m paining. The reality is that I paint very organically, but I do have a shit-ton of formal training. I had to go back to that training for this one. Lines in place. Light source defined. And watch what happened.


Starting with the sky to set the mood. I knew immediately that I didn’t want to do a dark and moody painting. For one thing, Tony’s girlfriend wouldn’t like it, and I wanted her to like it. For another, every painting I’ve seen with Master Chief has been dark and ominous.  While I can do dark and ominous, I didn’t feel like this would work for this character.


After painting the sky, I started in with the largest colour. At this point, the painting came together in an unexpected way. You see, I thought I’d have to fight to get the armor to work visually. That the precision needed to bring it to life would be somewhat fussy or a slower process.

Apparently that was a load of crock.

And even more to the point, I had a butt-load of fun painting this thing.


So I started adding in colour.


And more colour. I really played with the sky tones here. Why? Because I’ve been playing around more and more with unexpected colours and finding that I really like the results.

Yellow in the sky? It just works.


Then it was a matter of a few more details. Refining lines. Adding some colour.

Yes, I know that the armor isn’t colour accurate but that’s not the point is it? The point is to have a painting that is recognizably Halo with my spin on it. And now… NOW… I will take the armor commissions. The Boba Fetts. The Storm Troopers. And even more. Quake 3 arena? Sure! Duke Nukem? Yeah, baby!


“Master Chief”


Acrylic on canvas.

The original has sold but there are prints! Contact me for purchase info.




So what’s next? I’ve got Toronto ComicCon to prep for. And…surprise of surprises: I’m PAINTING!