Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The assignment for this month was to draw 3 to 7 furry characters with different types of hair.
Beauty Bunny took about 26 hours in Photoshop. (I think I'm going to limit myself to just 3 bunnies.)

Bob prepares taxes. I might polish him up a bit more. 12.5 hours so far

Biker Bunny is still in progress. 4 hours so far

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I was interviewed by a good buddy of mine recently.  
Here's the podcast if you'd like to listen.
Here's a link to the Chris Oatley podcasts I refer to that inspire me.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Nasty Habitses!"

Dang, I hate it when people are smoking outside my window in the summer.  No more fresh air for me. Here I've got Gollum (from The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit) courteously expressing my feelings. 86 hours in Photoshop.  Click below for my process.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Garbage Day

I've been mowing half of our community lawn for most of the summer.  The clippings fill our big city trash can nearly over the top.  A few weeks ago, I stayed up too late working on an art project and woke up after the trash truck had come and gone.  I figured I'd lost my chance to have an empty trash can for the week.  As I moped and prepared some lunch to take to work, Hope came calling through the back window.  I heard the garbage truck picking up the trash of the neighbors behind us!  In a split second, Crazy Matt kicked in and made me jump into a pair of untied tennis shoes, and run out the our front door.  It was kind of challenging finding the perfect balance as I sprinted with our overloaded trash can around the block.  After I rounded two corners, the truck came into view.  I ran straight down the lane on the street and barely caught the truck before it rounded another corner.  Phwew!  I didn't hit the gym that morning, but I got a workout in anyway.  And I was pretty dang excited to tell my wife the dramatic tale of her hero:)  Click to read the story behind the art.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Matt Watts Caricatures Facebook page

I've been drawing caricatures of my friends of Facebook for a few years and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from them.  So I started my own caricatures business and Facebook page!  Now I'm doing caricatures for hire and live events.  'Like' my Facebook page to see all the latest and hire me sometime if you'd like your very own caricature!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Commuting by Jetpack

Question: What do you do when all your brother wants for his birthday is a jetpack?  
Answer: 15.5 hours in Photoshop.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Perspective Study

A perspective study I did from the movie Van Helsing.  About 3 hours in Photoshop.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Turkey-toed Gorillaclops!

Photoshop.  15.75 hours (including development and reference gathering).  Inspired by an old sketch and Ted from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  Want to hear the story?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Testimony of Jesus Christ

Today and tomorrow, we'll be having fun doing Easter egg hunts with the kids.  But more than cartoon bunnies and candy, I think about Jesus and the hope we all have of life after death.  This morning, I watched this 3 minute video about Jesus and was very touched by it.  I have a firm faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and just wanted to take this opportunity to share my feelings...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Undead Rock Monster

2 squirrels fell in love and then died on top of a pile of rocks, creating a magical force that brought the rocks to life.  Now, the squirrel skulls (tangled in roots) coexist in a symbiotic relationship with the foul creature, roaming the desolate landscape in search of food.  Here again, I was just trying to surprise myself by coming up with some crazy creature.  I had a lot of fun.  2.5 to 3 hours in Photoshop.

Venus Bubble Zapper

Oh buddy!  This month we really get to have some fun in our class!  Chris encouraged us to let our imagination run wild and to try to surprise ourselves, creating random strokes and trying new design styles that aren't our normal go-to methods.  We were to create a character.  I just watched a really cool show on the web a few weeks ago called Cosmos (it's a high-quality revamp of an 80's space show).  You might enjoy it.  Anyway, my design became a deadly "plant" I imagine on the surface of Venus.  It's energy builds up within itself and releases in violent fury when a predator approaches (in this case, a toxic bubble).  1 hour, Photoshop.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

High Society Grizzly

 I'm so thankful for the critiques of my colleagues on the Magic Box.
I feel much more confident about this version of the image.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

High Society Grizzly

Sometimes I can't believe myself, but after a very difficult hour of working on the last iteration of this image, I decided to start over again.  Hey, I heard the famous painter John Singer Sargent painted multiple versions of his subjects for portraits before he painted the final.  Anyway, my last sketch was more of a 2d cartoony kind where I honestly didn't know how the anatomy was behaving.  My instructor Chris Oatley told us not to worry much about character design for this assignment, but instead to worry more about painting technique.  So I finally decided to listen and now I'm sticking with a single reference photo for the bear face.  Oatley told us that we can paint anything that we can truly draw and understand.  At work, I typically draw everything straight into Photoshop using my Wacom tablet.  I was getting frustrated with that the other day with my bear, so today I used paper and pencil (whoa, what are these dark smudge marks on the bottom of my hand?)  It was actually pretty relaxing.  I did a few more bear sketches from photos and I also decided to do a 1 hour Sculpey sculpt so I could see how the light was hitting the face of the bear (now I realize why they sell fancy little toy animals in arts and crafts stores). I also found a higher resolution version of the Sargent painting with more accurate colors to the original.  That helped a lot in getting the rest of the painting working the way it's supposed to.  I just couldn't handle that noisy magenta from the last iteration.  This painting is not done yet, but after 6.5 hours of work today, I feel like I'm finally getting my bearings;)

Friday, March 14, 2014


I tried out a new painting technique I learned from my class.  It was fun.  Now I get to apply this to my Grizzly Bear project!  Yay! 3.5 hours Photoshop.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

High Society Grizzly

This is the restart on my fancy bear assignmet.  I sketched a few more bears for reference, chose another John Singer Sargent image, and then drew a new character and did some new color comps the way my teacher wanted me to this time.  I'll keep you posted on how it keeps coming!  I'm having a lot of fun learning new Photoshop painting techniques.

High Society Grizzly

I just started taking an awesome online art class by a guy who used to work for Disney.  Chris Oatley is the instructor and it's very inexpensive.  Check it out here: Chris Oatley's Magic Box.  He's also got a lot of inspiring podcasts.  The guy is so positive that I'll turn the podcasts on just to brighten my day sometimes.  Anyway, our first assignment is to choose a famous portrait (I chose Lord Ribblesdale by John Singer Sargent) and draw an animal in the fancy portrait clothing.  First, we sketch lots of reference photos to understand the anatomy of the animal.  Then comes the character sketches.  Finally, we do some color comps.  The first color scheme is taken directly from the original portrait, then we experiment.

At first, I sketched a cartoon bear in the exact same position as Lord Ribblesdale.  To me, it was okay, but I wanted to add more story and more fancy stuff to the bear, so that's what I ended up with on the right.  My classmates liked the last version, so I started painting.

I let my imagination run a little bit wild here.  I wanted to tell more story instead of just having the bear looking at his watch for no real purpose.  I got to the point of Smokey the Bear's Evil Brother, where I imagined my diabolical bear, backlit by a campfire, lighting up his cigarette and then getting ready to drop his match in the dry brush below.  Some day, I think I will finish the Evil Bear picture, but when I got feedback from my class, and then watched another online tutorial, I discovered I was kind of doing the assignment wrong.  It was a hard decision, but I decided to scrap this direction and start over.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Worms Mayhem!

Christmas break was awesome!  I finally got to do some art for the fun of it.  I used Sculpey to portray the epic battles my brothers and I hammer out monthly on the PC.  Worms is a video game that's been around since the 90's.  You take turns controlling a customisable team of worms.  You can dress your team with 3d glasses, facial hair, crazy hats etc. You also get an artillery of humorous weapons (like mad cows and concrete donkeys) to unload on each other.  Worms Mayhem is my favorite version, where the levels are all 3D, as opposed to the classic 2D and revisited 2D versions (which are also a lot of fun).  So much of our brotherly bonding time centers around Worms that I wanted to capture the fun in a piece of art.  I've also got to advertise to you that you can buy Worms Ultimate Mayhem on Amazon for less than $4.

This is Star, the leader of my youngest brother's team.  He claims the highest lookout points in the game by constantly using jet packs. Once atop his perch, he delights in throwing gigantically explosive banana bombs.

Don't mess with Cheeks, he's my main man... err, worm.  I start almost every round using a ninja rope to push toxic canisters up to my opponents.  The barrels amp up the strength of a shot from my bazooka.  Once I pull the trigger, I prove that worms can fly without jet packs.

Leemur #1... for now.  My middle brother (let's call him Al--short for Alien) renames his worms almost every time we play, so I can hardly keep track of them .  Al is the king of random.  Once upon a time he witnessed his worm get abducted by aliens.  His worm came out of the spaceship completely blue and naked.  Al laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair.  I will forever remember him as a blue worm, no matter how many crazy hats, night vision goggles, handle bar moustaches, or bling bling rings he sports.  In the image above, we see Alien winding up with a giant tail nail hammer.  This weapon is typically used for smashing an opponent into the ground, but today the reaction will probably turn this worm into a shooting star.  As long as Al does something crazy and entertaining, he feels like he wins the game.

This is the first time I actually did some concept art before jumping into the sculpting process.  When I was younger, I used to sculpt lots of things with Sculpey.  It's great because it cooks in the oven at 325°F and it never gets hard until you cook it.  

I used dowels, balsa wood, bailing wire and a 1/2" thick wooden base to provide the structure I needed.  I was super excited to sculpt the jet pack fire and smoke.  To avoid some difficult painting details, I used Adobe Illustrator and simply printed out glasses, moons and stars for the wizard hat etc. 

I used a spray can of white primer as an undercoat for the worms.  I painted them with some leftover acrylic paints from my college days, and then I glued on the printed graphics.

Originally, I tried to follow the concept art background sketch by putting the worms against a night time view of Doom Canyon.  I painted the image in Photoshop and printed it out.  When I saw the paper in the back of my shadow box, it was way too dark to compliment the sculptures, so I painted a day time version instead.  The complete project (sculpting, painting, digital painting) took about 25 or 26 hours.  I had so much fun!