Friday, December 30, 2022

2022 End of Year Message

Here's my 9 most popular images of the year #top9, and what a year it's been!

I had originally wrote a tome about my concerns about AI, as well as the industry's move towards remote work which may spell the end of my entertainment career. But it just ended the year and began the new one on a sour note. So while I had to mention the elephants in the room, I revised my message to this shorter and more positive one.

I love making artwork! And regardless of how I end up making my living, I will continue to make art until the day I die. And as long as there continues to be an audience that can find and who appreciates my stuff, I will continue posting what I'm up to. And I will try and focus on the good things of 2022 like my Megastructure book finally shipping and meeting so many awesome people at the various cons I did this year.

So despite all the incredible setbacks of 2022, may you all have a most excellent 2023, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming on this journey with me, may you find your own happiness anywhere you can!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

New Logos

Made brand new logos for some personal IPs that I hope to continue to explore this coming year. Dusting off some old favorites and continuing to explore some universes created in last few years. “Space Baroque”, “Lith”, “Starship Hulls” and “The Reaper”. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Yearly Traditional Roundup

For all of you wanting a break from AI, here's some of my favorite spaceship and robot head doodles from this year, 99% traditional pen and ink, 1% photoshop tweaked.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Floating Creatures

Only time for doodling these days, freelance work keeping my ultra busy. These are a set of floating alien creatures I've been adding to over the years. Here's the first 8 gathered together as silhouettes.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Robot Doodle

A quick robot doodle I did on sunday while listening to a podcast. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Lightbox Expo Sketches

A bunch of pen & ink sketches I did while attending Lightbox Expo.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Physical Editions Of Megastructures Sold out; Second Printing?

Hey everyone!

So it's been quite a ride for Megastructures, the Visual Encyclopedia! The book got 1500 copies printed after a wildly successful Kickstarter, it managed to ship during a world wide pandemic and supply chain craziness, and last week the final few copies were sold on my gumroad store, which are now on their way to those last buyers.

So the question I'm most asked is will there be a second printing? So the short answer is yes, but not now.

The longer answer. First I am so happy that my little project has been received so well, and I'd love to do a second printing immediately. But right now the world of printing and shipping books is still in a very bad spot. For some reference, the price to print books of this sort has almost 2x since my first book in 2017. And the cost to ship books overseas is almost 3x what it was. As just a simple example, the cost of shipping a book to Australia is almost 2x the price of the book itself. So all of a sudden that $35 book is closer to $100. Covid really did break the world, and the covid lockdowns in China have not only made printing books erratic but costly. I assume the really big book publishers have found ways to deal with things, but for small book publishers like myself, the climate is all wrong.

So to make the economics work for both my US and international customers, we need to see the printing and shipping industry come back to earth. I'm hoping a year or two wait might be enough. And the plan is the moment I see the prices come back down, I'll do another kickstarter to fund the reprint of the book.

In the meantime, the digital version of the book, while maybe not as good as a book on the shelf, can be easily distributed and is available here for $15:

One final huge thank you to everyone who made this book such a success. Every nice email I got, every excited person I met at a comicon, thanks for making Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia such a hit. I hope to continue building on the project in the future, so follow me on social media to see any and all new developments. In the meantime, onto a better future to all humankind among the stars!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

New Video: Using AI To Make A Tileable Texture

You may remember a month or so ago I did a video called "What would concept artists want from an AI tool", and one feature I didn't think about at the time was tileable textures, especially if you're using 3d as part of your concepting process. But since that video's release, AIs like DALL-E and midjourney have added the ability to do this, and I can certainly say making a texture tileable was a boring job that I have no issue seeing automated away. So here's an example of the technique using Dall-e. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

New Video: What Is Kitbashing, a Kit, and a Prefab?

In my continuing quest to answer student questions, here's a short video explaining what kitbashing or prefabs are for film and videogames.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Lightbox Expo is done!

I'm home! Lightbox Expo was a huge success, sold a ton of books and prints, met a lot of new people, and finally got to meet a ton of people who I'd only ever spoken to online. Thanks to all the organizers, had a great time, looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Visit Me At Lightbox Expo 2022

Come visit my booth #606 at Lightbox Expo 2022 in Pasadena CA Oct 14-16th 2022. Signed copies of Inc and Megastructures for sale, plus fine art prints. And a special 18"x9" print of the space baroque royal palace makes its debut at the show, my print studio did a fantastic job with the colors. Come see it in person starting friday!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

New Video: Job Hierarchy In The Film And Videogame Industry

Over the years I've gotten questions such as "What's a Principal Artist" or "What's the difference between a Lead or a Supervisor?" For those looking for their first job it can be tough to figure out the industry hierarchy, and for those who already have a job, it might be nice to know how other companies handle it as a way to improve your own. So this lesson will discuss a little about company hierarchies, what different job titles mean, and how having both a management path and an individual contributor path can improve the hierarchy of a company tremendously.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Rose City Comicon Sketches

A bunch of pen & inc sketches I did while attending Rose City Comicon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

New Video: What Is Greyboxing?

A greybox, also sometimes known as a blockout, is where the game's Level Designer creates a super simplified version of the environment to test the layout for gameplay purposes. When creating a level, there's a lot of important questions that need answers, like is this hallway big enough for a vehicle to travel along? Are these platforms close enough that your character can jump from one to the next? Are there large areas to travel through that are boring? This lesson will give you a brief overview of what makes up a greybox, and then focus on how a concept artist is most likely to interact with a greybox environment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

New Video: 10 Things To Check Before Calling A Painting Done

Posted a written article on this in June, now recorded a full video on the subject! Art isn't finished, it's abandoned, but before you abandon it, give these a try 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Paper Girls

If you haven't checked out the amazon series Papergirls yet, it's a lot of fun. Got a chance to concept one of the robots, thanks to Refuge VFX! And check out their reel for the series that has the final bug in action:

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Spider Time!

Andre Richard @Refract3d on twitter has made a fan 3d model of one of my recent concepts. Such an awesome job, love the flames. Check out the images below and the short video here: Thanks again dude!

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

New Video: Making Variations Of A Design Using AI

Wasn't planning on making a new video tutorial this soon, but Stable Diffusion added a new variations feature that's exactly what I was asking for in my video last week on artist friendly AI. Check out the update!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Rose City Comicon 2022 Wrapup

Had an awesome time at Rose City Comicon in Portland, sold out of all the Inc and Megastructure books that I brought with me, and sold a ton of prints. Got to have some great chats with people, was surprised the number of people who were knowledgeable about megastructures, its not every day you find people who know what an Alderson Disk is! Also enjoyed doing some traditional sketching, will post some doodles in the coming days. Thanks to everyone who bought something, thanks to the people who just came by to chat, had a great time!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

New Video Tutorial: What Would Concept Artists Want From An AI Tool?

A lot of the current work I've seen in AI Art Generation has been about replacing artists. But what about tools that help an artist to work faster? If the AI field could be anything a concept artist wanted it to be, what would that look like? This discussion will explore some of the things I personally would like to see from an AI tool that helps our work, as opposed to disrupting it entirely. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Spider Walker Robot 38

Another combo of photobashing real world elements, AI elements and photos of scale model kits.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Rose City Comiocn 2022

Will be doing the Rose City Comicon in Portland OR in two weeks time, if you're in the area come by to get a book or just to say hi!

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Is the Megastructures Book Sold Out? And Other Answers

Hey everyone!

Getting pinged a lot on this, so decided to write one big Q&A post on the Megastructure book.

First off, a huge thank you to everyone who bought the book, this has been a tremendous success. I was blown away when we funded the Kickstarter in just over 24 hours, but then the presales on gumroad afterwards were also tremendous. And every positive comment I've received from people who got the book and are enjoying it just brightens my day.

So for those who don't have a copy of the book and still do, here's the current situation. We have sold and shipped almost 1400 of the 1500 copies of the book that were printed. So there's approx 100 left. I have tables at both the Rose City Comicon in Portland on Sept 9th-11th and Lightbox Expo in Los Angeles Oct 14-16, and so the current remainder books are reserved for those two shows. I also have a couple extras I'm setting aside for now in case a book gets damaged or lost during shipping so I can get the kickstarter and gumroad people replacement books.

Once the shows are done, any books that are left over I will put back up for sale on my gumroad store, likely on or around Oct 18-19th.

So if you still want a book, your options are...

1) to follow my social media posts, and I'll post the moment those books go up for sale. 

2) email me at artofsoulburn at gmail and I'll add you to a wait list which I will email the moment those books go up for sale.

3) Purchase the digital copy of the book which is available here:

Will the book ever get reprinted? So I'd love to do a second printing of the book, but to make it feasible, I'd have to print minimum another 1000 copies of the book. Which means I'd need 10s of thousands of dollars up front to get them printed and shipped. That is not out of the question, but I'd really need hundreds of presales to do that. Or maybe a second Kickstarter. So it's possible, but logistically difficult. I'll have to do some thinking on this and see what the demand is like, and what's the best way to turn that demand into enough presales to get a new book made. 

Anyways, hopefully that covers most of the questions, again, I am equal parts shocked and happy there's so much demand for the book, I want to find some way to get a book into the hands of every person who wants one, so I'll do what I can.

Any further questions, feel free to message me.

- Neil

Friday, August 26, 2022

Heart of The Giant Poster 4

Here's a reworked teaser poster for a future project named "Heart Of The Giant".

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Space Ship 154

My recent combo of photo / ai generated elements heavily painted over. I tend to go with symmetry, so decided to expand my horizons with this one and go asymmetric

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

New Video Tutorial: Designing Robotic Joints

Made a new video about designing robot joints for concept artists. We've all been guilty of using "magic joints" before that don't actually work, this video tries to counter that by explaining a little on how they actually function.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Orbital Ring

Part of the "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia" book project, on sale now at

An Orbital Ring would be an artificial, ring-shaped structure placed around the Earth just above the atmosphere (at 100 km).

The structure would contain two rings. The inner ring would rotate at an angular rate slightly faster than the rotation of the Earth, and would have a current running through it. Then, a second ring would be created that would encompass the first ring, held in place by electromagnets. The second ring would be stationary, and in fact would have fixed tethers that would hang down to the ground. Due to the fact that it would be bound to the orbiting ring, the stationary ring would be held in place above the orbiting ring (this is called an active support structure). 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Spider Walker Robot 37

Another new technique. The shape was inspired by an AI image, but rather than doing the details using standard photobashing, I used photos I took of actual parts of a scale model kit, the kind they used in film for all the 80s spaceships. So almost a real kitbash :) 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Royal Palace

Since my previously posted alien royal palace image was mostly 3d, decided to move the camera and try a more dramatic camera angle for a second image. I like both views for different reasons.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Creeper 3

Always loved the "Orbb" skin in Quake 3. This is pieced together with bits of photos, bits of about 6 midjourney images, and a bunch of hand paint. Also channeling a bit of Wes Benscoter here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Megastructures Warp Gate 2

A Warp Gate would be a structure that would house the entrance to an artificial traversable wormhole, which is a distortion of space-time that provides instantaneous travel from one point to another in space, in time, or even between different dimensions. The gate would consist of two parts - one at the point of origin, and one at the destination.

Different sizes of gates could be constructed to allow for human travel through person-sized gates on a planet, or even objects the size of spacecraft through orbiting gates. Popular literature has even spoken of the possibility of giant gates large enough to transport a planet from one location to another.

Part of the "Megastructures: The Visual Encyclopedia" book project, on sale now at 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Video Lesson: Comparing DALL-E and midjourney

So I recently go DALL-E 2 access, & have just posted a video lesson comparing it to midjourney. If you're interested in adding AI to your workflow (photobash or inspiration), this may give you some ideas on which to use for what

Friday, August 12, 2022

Megastructure book shipping update!

Megastructure book shipping update! Over 1000 books have shipped out, the remaining 271 books should be shipping monday-ish, so we're in the home stretch. 

Here's just some of the books that have already arrived, keep those pics coming! Thanks everyone for your continued patience! 

There's about 200 physical books left for purchase, so if anyone wants to grab one, here's the link: