Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot Metal Bridge and Manifestos

well, I haven't posted in a little while, last month was soaked up in a project for Hot Metal, and moving our new roommate in and re-arranging our now bachelor pad. and so here is that hot metal project. it is a artistic rendering for their vision of the new building renovation they are doing in the spring (hopefully).

other than that big one, I've been working on some traditional commissions for christmas coming up. I also figured since we finally decided on an album name I'd re-vamp the album design. so here it is.

In other news, the circumstance of old roommates leaving has left some bare walls. which has inspired me to do some original art, so within a few weeks I'm hoping on posting those. well that's what's been up with me lately. hopefully I'll find time to actually do some of those original paintings... haha we'll see

Monday, November 24, 2008

Zeus shall have his vengeance

well here's a project i just completed for a band called Hyperion. they are a fantasy metal band from Pittsburgh. and here is my interpretation of a greek god having an epic battle with a gryphon with the mountains as their footstool. enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Website overhaul!

well after a good 18 hours straight, I have have successfully overhauled my website. After i had uploaded the first rendition over half a year ago, there was much that need fixing. However after spending a week teaching myself CSS and applying it i simply had no drive left to tackle any such problems. Well it's done now and I'm happy with it. I hope you guys enjoy the new look and such. suggestions are always welcome awell, so feel free.

check it out here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Evolution of Denman's Dream: Past and Present

Alright, to begin this post I have to admit one thing. believe it or not, deep down inside, I am a nerd. It took a while for me to come to this realization. there was the obvious reason that as I was growing up I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be popular, at least with the culture of kids i grew up with, the punks. Even more so this culture breeds the ideas of being tough and cool. consequently, I buried this idea of enjoying fantasy related things hidden (at least to most people). And about the time I went into high school it so happened that the Lord of the Rings trilogy started. this was and still is one of my favorite movies for better or for worse. and incidentally caused more hype in my life towards fantasy, dwarves, and elf related things.

High School brought about the best in me in a few different ways. first of it encouraged me to bridge out and meet new people and also experience the world of public school as i had been brought up first home schooled and then christian private school. Yough high school was a new place to me, the real world. and with this real world came real opportunity. which in my case knocked and then opened up to many art classes with a now personal hero of mine Bob Weaver. In Mr. Weaver class he inspired me to be creative and think simply about art. kids would say things like "Mr. Weaver! how do i draw hair. i can't quite get it?" and he would reply simply "make it look hairy." Some might say this was an idiotic response, but others say the line between idiocy and genius are very thin. and in this way they're right. Most questions were answered with a response very similar to, or precisely "draw what you see." It was a way of him simplifying the idea that we, as humans, relate memory to objects in front of us. and so instead of drawing exactly whats in front of us we draw what we think, or remember a hand (for example) looks like. Anyway, it's this sort of inspiration that encouraged me to be inventive and start sketching things that excited me, like dwarves and elves at the time. here are a few sketches from that time, pulled straight from some old sketchbooks.

It's sketches like these that evolved and grew into a stronger desire to paint them and as i was learning how to oil paint at the time i figured this would be a perfect way to inspire myself to learn better and be creative at the same time. So in turn I started this painting which has been masterly named "Denman's Dream" by my friends and is currently and probably will forever remain unfinished.

There are a couple of reasons this painting remains unfinished. the first reason was I had started it in the spring, so sadly what you see now is what I had finished at the end of that school year, which I believe was 10th grade. And as a youthful teen, 16 at the time, I didn't want to do anything related to school, or plainly anything that didn't involve skateboarding 24/7. I had got my license that summer so my twin brother and I would be out anytime we had a chance. which left no time for art. I believe it was this freedom, this release of myself from my isolated house to the open streets gave me a reason not to indulge in the ideas of fantasy and other geeky things. I dived head first into skateboarding. something so much more cool, acceptable, normal possibly. It was this freedom that when we came back to school in the fall, I took one look at that unfinished painting, and with the aching span of 3 months, i simply had loss the drive. So there it lay unfinished. dormant on the desk, longing for me to return. but I abandoned it.

Many years later after I had tried the college thing, dropped out, joined a band and moved to the Steel City, I had somehow brought that unfinished painting with me. It was accompanied by various other half finished projects. I had possibly brought it along to eventually paint over it and then re-paint something else to use the beautiful canvas. This would have been a great idea, and very resourceful, until this painting for some reason became immortalized in a song.

It started when my good friend and brother Justin "Skull" Miller saw it standing up in my closet amongst other various abandoned canvases and art supplies. He said, "I remember that from high school! why don't you finish it?". I laughed and said something about how he had to be kidding due to the fact of the obviously nerdy content and time-span that it had last been worked on. He was humored at the idea and since he had just recently started up a side project called "Wrestling Secrets" in which he sang and played guitar, he told me that he had just decided to write lyrics based on the very idea behind the painting. The songs obvious title "Denman's Dream". the lyrics to this band have been described as very unimportant. usually something funny or just plain weird (as in the lyrics to Denman's Dream). the words are pretty incomprehensible while played due to the fact that they are joined by loud guitars, blasting bass, powerful drums and overall dirty, raw, garage sound. Here are the lyrics he wrote.

Denman's Dream by Wrestling Secrets
no one ever understood why he never came out to play.
the boy just stayed inside and painted his days away.
they thought he was crazed,
that sterling was insane,
but no one ever took the time to aynalize his dreams!

he can't escape his dreams they're his reality.
the land of elves and dwarves is where he wants to be.
at nite he rules the land with a sword and a shield.
but when he awakes a paint brush is what he wields.

and here is the link to the song itself
feel free to read along.

As that was the past and i find myself maturing and caring less of what people think about me. I've come to the realization that it's ok to be a little nerdy it's ok to embrace some sort of 14 year old Denman that's in love with elves and wizards and Mordor and the like. I've come to terms that deep down there's that desire to paint and create that kind of world. Do I let it consume my life? no. But it's ok to be existent. So Denman's Dream is still apparent in my life, and it's aloud to flourish and grow if it wants. So consequently, as I allow myself to embrace such ideas I'm fine with joining fan art contests. And that's just what I did with this next piece. I joined this contest mainly for the money aspect (as the winners receive cash prizes up to $500), but also for that desire inside to join with Frank Frezetta and paint the Sci-Fi and Fantasy worlds that lay in all of us somewhere. Anyway here it is, titled "The White Wolf and His Prey"

So in Conclusion, is Denman's Dream alive today? Yes. Perhaps it's not just my dream though. Maybe it's a dream of all of yours. maybe it's trying to get out and express itself. Needless to say if it's a dream deep down in you or not, it was in me. and so let the jury stand. Somewhere in between my efforts of being a cool, masculine man, I'm a nerd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

busy in the Burg!

Hey everyone, sorry it's been so long. I guess in a good way it means I've been busy the past few weeks. The past two weekends have been particularly great. the weekend of the 13th was spent with my family at "Thistle Dew" (the name of my parents house. my mom's side of the family enjoys naming things like their houses and such). to each their own. Anyway It was nice as the whole family was there brothers and all, joined also by matthew's girlfriend lara. The days were filled with the usual sociopolitical discussions and Rooke brother football.
This past weekend was my good friend and brother Doug's wedding. Which was great. I got to hang out with friends i haven't seen in a little while and dance the night away during the reception.
In other news, like i said earlier, I've been busy with projects and such. here are a couple of tattoo shirt designs i did for the In the Blood Tattoos.

I've been reading lately which has been nice. For the most part i usually only read while on tour. It's just easier considering the circumstances. I'm sitting in a van with nothing else to do, so every waking hour seems like a perfect time to read. I've also been writing some lyrics for the Last Hope, as our singer Justun left last month. It's been awesome and challenging at the same time. with Justun's leave we divided up a few of the songs that needed lyrics, so It's been fun to experiment in that avenue of creativity and expression.
I just realized I also recently finished a tattoo line drawing for my good friend Chris Matrozza. He has a spiderman sleave in the works and this one fills in his inner forearm. This one was fun because, despite the fact that it's spiderman, it was an original piece. The pose was brainstormed by Chris and I to fill in the space on his arm effectively. And with Chris' knowledge was applied to fit spiderman's technique.

When the tattoo is done on Chris' arm I'll post a picture.
So i guess a lot of tattoo stuff went on this past week. It all goes by so fast sometimes. I'm still wanting to continue with those Digital Paintings, but we'll see if that works out with my schedule. the end of the month always seems busier, seeing as bills are due and time seems less expendable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Keep your eye on the horizon...

...lest you run aground.

Well it's 4 O'clock in the morning and i just finished my second digital painting and I LOVE it. I started just wanting to relax and do a speed painting for 30 minutes to an hour but since i liked it so much i wanted to finish it up, so that's how it came about. It started out as an old man and then I felt like giving it a little depth and story so I added the lighthouse and dock. I titled it "the Keeper" and here it is.

"the Keeper"
by Denman Rooke

This piece was done in Photoshop CS3 and Painter IX and took about 4 hours. Reference photo credit goes to Wouter Roosenboom for the excellent photo.

I think I might try to do at least one digital painting a week now, but we'll see how that cooperates with my schedule.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Going Digital

Well over the past couple months I've been slowly teaching myself how to paint digitally. It was an interesting struggle between knowing what i wanted to do with what i could do. I started out on Corel painter IX, because i figured it's a painting simulation program so obviously it will work best. and after getting a bit frustrated in not knowing the program and other things i gave up and started the project i was working on all over again but this time in photoshop CS3. this worked out ok for a while but still didn't look the way i wanted, I started doing some research on it and read and watched some helpful tutorials. eventually i found an artist, Chris Oatley, online who had some helpful personal tutorials and after messaging him on deviantart gave me a handful of photoshop brushes he used for his digital painting purposes. As a traditional painter i find it easier to sketch on paper and then scan it on to the computer, I then start a color composition in Photoshop and then moving on to more detail. right now I'm using Painter mainly for finishing touches, but who knows down the road maybe I'll lean more towards it rather than PS. anyway here's the digital painting i did from one of my terminal sketches last week.

As a first finished digital painting project I'm pretty happy with it. hopefully down the road as I practice more with the digital medium I'll learn to use it to it's full potential, but for now I'm pretty happy with this one. I kinda wish i could add some more elements to this painting to bring out more of the 70's feel i kind of see in it, but i figured I didn't want to spend much more time on it, as it was mainly for practice. I titled it "Waiting for the Call" because that's what she seems like she's doing. It looks as if she's waiting to go out on her date or something. kinda cheesy but oh well. i guess it's better than calling it "Digital Painting of model Christy"... maybe.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Terminal illness

On Wednesday night I joined my friend Erik von Gore for a new artist gathering of sorts called the Terminal club. He started it up a few weeks ago after a year or so of it brewing in his mind, and quite frankly I'm glad it finally boiled over. Terminal club is hosted at our friend and awesome artist Mihailo's studio in the terminal buildings off east carson st. here in the south side. Terminal club is simply a place where artists can get together and draw live models, a luxury i haven't had since college 3 some years ago. It was an awesome time, i got to freshen up on my live drawing skills and meet other local artist in the process. when i got there it was just me and erik and mihailo. Mihailo however was very busy at his comic work titled "back to brooklyn" coming out this september. We had erik's friend Christy model for us and as a first time model she did an excellent job. Another of erik's friends, Jen, joined us for the last hour or so. all around it was a great time and I intend on going to as many as possible. here are a few of the sketches.

In other news I've been busy working on some t-shirt designs which I'll post here shortly and some signs for Hot Metal. furthermore I'm taking one of the live model sketches i did in the studio and turning it into a digital painting. I've been teaching myself wiht some online tutorials in digital painting the past few months and it's coming along pretty good. I got excited about trying it and blasted through most of it today. I'll be gone the next couple days, but hopefully I'll post it early next week. I think that about sums up the past couple days.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


here's what i worked on the past couple days. It's the cover for the new album from the Last Hope coming up this fall hopefully (the album name isn't totally settled yet, but I figured I'd post it anyway). we have 13 songs written so far and hoping to record the first couple weeks in September. other than that I'm currently working on a t-shirt design for Flatfoot 56 which I'll post up here in a few days, and a couple tattoo designs for some friends. well tonight me and the boys are heading down to polish hill for some good ol' pixburgh pierogies and some iron cities. so I'll see you all later.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Paintings this past month

by Denman Rooke

"Bride of Frankenstein"
by Denman Rooke

well here is Frankenstein and his bride, commission work for Justin Kunis and Samantha Lennox. I very much enjoyed doing these too pieces for a few reasons. first off the subjects are awesome, i love to do monsters especially traditional ones like these. there's just something raw and elegant about them that is perfect. secondly Justin (like the perfect client) when asked what style or colors he was looking for said. "do whatever you think would be cool". so without argument I said "OK!". and that's what i set out to do. a prior frankenstein portrait i had done for my good friend Justun was done with some greens and purples in a more realistic view of the late doctor's monster. so i wanted to do these with a very vibrant lively feel. BOLD COLORS was my verdict and what pops more than some simple primary colors (and i guess a secondary aswell if you want to get technical). All in all, I was pretty pleased with how these one's turned out, and i hope you guys enjoy them aswell.

by Denman Rooke
Oil on Canvas

And here's the most recent work. this one was done for a good friend of mine from a few years back, John Lario. little interesting fact: John recorded my first band's (the Ranks) first record back in early 2002 in his basement with a little 6 track mixer on casette tape I believe then converted to CD which is an interesting listen to if you get a chance, maybe I'll post the songs up here someday. anyway this project was done for him and for his love of the king of the monsters. I kept the background loose so that Godzilla would pop out of the painting a bit and I think it came together pretty well. I've also been on a bold color kick lately as you can see, so i figured I'd keep Godzilla his cool blues and burning Tokyo it's red's. nothing too crazy, but it looks cool. anyway there's some of the stuff I've been working on lately, if you want to check out other stuff I've done in the past go to my website at right now the website doesn't display properly in firefox or safari, which i apologize for. I'm new to the website design thing so come on! give me a break. hopefully I'll get off my butt and fix that soon.

the Beginings of well... something

hey friends, here's the very first post. well i guess i'm starting into the world of blogging now, and quite frankly i don't know how well I'll keep up with it. or if anyone else out there will keep up with this or read it none the less. anyway I was talking to a friend today about blogging and decided why not try to start one for myself so i figured I'd give it a go and see where it leads me. now the predicament I'm in is what to blog about. i guess i could start by posting up some recent artwork here in a little bit and let you know about projects in the works and such like that. this will probably be mainly an art related blog, but I'm sure I'll be posting music related items in here aswell seeing as I'm in a band and all and consequently music takes up alot of my time aswell.

i just got back from a mini tour with my band (the Last Hope) on sunday. we headed out for 5 days and it was quite awesome, although it was a tease of the awesomeness that is a tour. i struggle with even calling it a mini tour simply for the fact that it was nothing more than a jaunt out to Grand Rapids, Chicago, South Bend Indiana, Rock Falls illinois and back. I'm not in the least bit saying it was less than fun, just simply too short. other than that i worked on some pretty sweet fine art commissions this past month and a half which I'll post up hopefully today. the one was for a friend of mine Justin Kunis and his girlfriend Samantha Lennox: two airbrush portraits, one of frankenstein and one of his bride. the other peice was for another friend of mine John Lario: an oil painting of Godzilla destroying tokyo. I'll post up some pics and talk about the peices themselves and look forward to comments and such.

Well I look forward to this relationship with all of you here in the world of blogging on the internet and I hope it continues to flourish and grow.
-cheers, Denman