Little Oven Mural

March 19, 2016


©2016 Darick Ritter

I’ve been working on this new mural since early February. I’ve been giving it one day a week to break up my time with my comic work. Just finished it up today. Some of you have already made it to the new hotspot of Merced, Little Oven Pizza, where you’ve enjoyed the best slice in town and my monumental work in progress (seriously, this is the largest mural I’ve ever done). But just in case you don’t know what you’re missing, here’s a quick view of their sexy “new” wall. Go take a look and give the owners lots of money.

For details, visit:

(Note: I’ve had so much fun working large again I’d be interested in offers to do other murals around the Merced area. Shoot me an email – – and lets chat.)

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See Men & Flame

July 17, 2015

Finally updated my painting gallery with these two beasts…

00684_See Men_RITTER

See Men
acrylic on hardboard
31 x 32 inches


acrylic on hardboard
31 x 42 inches

© 2015, Darick Ritter

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August 18, 2014

A website called Political Violence at a Glance has recently posted an article by a colleague of mine named Christian Davenport, a political scientist at the University of Michigan. I’m currently collaborating with him on a project entitled Contention that explores our perception of how protest works through comics. One of my sketches for Contention (seen below) was used as cover art for his article, Seeing Contention in Black and White: Protest and Protest Policing.


Aside from my art, the article is definitely worth taking a look at at. Especially at this time while we watch a community that some of us might belong to (I grew up just 60 miles outside of Ferguson) divide on our TVs and Facebook streams.

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Sketch: 091009PG108-9

December 5, 2013

Sketch091009PG108-9 © 2013 darickritter.comSketch: 091009PG108-9 | ink, digital | © 2013

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Colossians 2:18

November 17, 2013

Colossians 2:17

Colossians 2:18 | digital | © 2013

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into these things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind…

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She Watches

October 7, 2013

She Watches © 2013

She Watches © 2013

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October 5, 2013

Sketchbook: 131901PG63 © 2013

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Sketch Pages 52-53

October 4, 2013

Sketchbook: 130119PG52-53 © 2013

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Bio-Mechanical Sketches

October 1, 2013


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I’m a dad!

August 16, 2013

Sketch © 2013 Darick Ritter

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Smiles Upon Us

July 31, 2013

Smiles Upon Us © 2013 Darick Ritter

Smiles Upon Us / acrylic on paper / 18×24″ / © 2013 Darick Ritter


My sketching turned a little serious when I stumbled upon a couple strokes on a piece of paper:




I felt like I was on to something in my painting while I was looking terribly hard at a much better artist than myself: Robert Hardgrave. I particularly scoured his painting Sublimate, from 2009. His paintings are what got me to begin using flat brushes in the first place and I had to lean upon that painting a lot to take Smiles Upon Us to its end.

The painting is still distinctly mine, the color reaching wider intensities and I’m very happy to see that after all that work. But I’m going to continue peering into Mr. Hardgrave’s pieces and picking his mind as I follow this trail towards a voice I have yet to completely uncover. Somehow, his work seems like a beacon from the future.

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Studio Work and Color Tests

July 26, 2013


I’m in the process of developing a strategy towards creating a new, updated body of paintings for exhibition that I’d like to have on display around 9-12 months. I have no idea, really, if that’s feasible with a new baby on the way. But I’m optimistic.

I’ve built a couple surfaces that hover around 4′ x 4’… a little too large and time-consuming to make to just let myself arbitrarily run above them with overly-improvised painting. Improvised? Yes. But not without a plan or some sensible momentum.



So I’ve been sketching a lot for the past few weeks, experimenting, seeking out a plan to use when I tackle those bad boys sitting out in my garage.

I’ve learned a few things about myself in the meantime while doing this:

I’ve learned that I’m naturally very slow on the macro-level of the decision-making process when making art. Answering questions like Where am I going in my art? and What are my big plans in creating a style? take some grinding inside my head. This is good, I think.

But with micro-level decisions, such as when to lay down a brush stroke, what color, and where, I can often be a bit hasty with those decisions, especially with color.


sketch 0719-2

I’ve learned that what helps this problem is just better focus.

Making decisions about color is like riding the line between science and art. Certain colors do certain things, and they do these things differently on different surfaces, and look completely altered under certain atmospheres of light, and on and on and on.

Symbolically, we, as a species and culture, can sometimes be in agreement about some colors and their combination; like red is warm and symbolic of fire, blue is cool and symbolic of water, etc.. Most of the time though, color remains extremely subjective. Like, I think pink is a “powerful” color, while I’ve heard somewhere – I can’t remember where – that orange is “whorish”…

… or was it green that was “whorish”?.

Wall Art Test_0709_1_Ritter

sketch 0709-1

Anyway, I can’t possibly wield all of color’s capabilities. But it’s useful to know that even though I can’t make symbolic predictions, I can and should learn everything I can about its more consistent interactions. Red will always warm an adjacent color, while blue will always cool. And these ratios of effect are very consistent. If I can learn more about how color operates in this sense, I will make better predictions about its more objective behaviors and I will achieve the focus I seek.

One of the things I’ve done to help me do this is limit my palette in some of my works; sometimes down to two or three hues. It helps make the effects more easily observable, while also maintaining a consistency in the composition.


sketch 0719-1

One other minor, but incredibly effective adjustment that I’ve made is I’ve moved to using flat brushes more often. As you can see, above in 0719-2, there is not as much control with the edges of  strokes using the filberts I own. After buying a cheap package of flats from Michael’s has made a huge difference in what I sketched, as I hope you can see, below. The brush strokes are more consistent and give me a better confidence in drawing with the brush, which I think I’m going to need for the pictures I am planning for the surfaces you see at the top of this post.


sketch 0720-2

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Hat Fat Hip Hop

June 5, 2013

Hat Fat Hip Hop © 2013 Darick Ritter

This began as a challenge to “draw a pyramid”  and then morphed that challenge into a rhythmic dance of upbeat color and bright enthusiasm, with an explicit reference to the music that vibrates in my speakers most days. Admittedly, not very “gangster”, sure, but definitely emotional, and expressed with edge through color clashes and juxtaposition of pattern and style.

I used a lot of the FCP pens for the pyramid, background, and text. The tendrils and eye needed a much softer touch, so I used gouache to paint those. There is some digital touch-ups around the eye and a small bit of digital coloring for the lighter blue halo around the pyramid. The digital coloring was necessary because it couldn’t be created in that particular value with my usual FCP pens. The pens came out a bit too dark, I thought, so I used a previous scan and applied that light blue in Photoshop. I try to do things by hand whenever possible – but not at the expense of listening to what the image wants. I’m not a purist.

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I Know

April 28, 2013

I Know © 2013 Darick Ritter

It’s been a looong time since I’ve read Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. But I love the notion of the “enlightened ape”. I’ve always wanted to make a picture or two revolving around the integral irony and humor implicit in the image of the human apprentice seeking truth from a caged, yet wise gorilla. Continuing my daily grind I decided to explore that in this drawing, I Know, made on 11×14″ bristol board in FCP ink pens.

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April 18, 2013

TeeVeeple © 2013 Darick Ritter

Sometimes your so busy and the only times you have to draw are when you “relax” at night and watch your Cardinal’s baseball, or 30 Rock in mad succession with your wife in the evenings.

This is good and bad.

It’s good, because you end with something a little different than your usual output and you land on some interesting results because of the strange time frame and circumstances. It’s bad, because all your poor, pregnant wife wants to do is hang out with you after her long day at the office. But because you’ve been fiddling with moving quotes and looking for work in a new state (we’re moving to California next month), you haven’t had time to finish any artwork in the past few weeks and decided to cram some of it in during TeeVee Time.

Oh God I love her. For some reason she puts up with me.

This was transcribed on an 11×14″ bristol board using a light pencil sketch to get me going. Then I finished it up with two colors of FCP artist brushes in black and phthalo blue.

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Majestic Female

April 2, 2013

Majestic Female © 2013 Ritter

I liked Majestic Male enough to try and repeat some of the successes I found in that sketch. I knew that part of the reason why that drawing worked was because large portions of the original subject matter was dark toned and reflective. This caused an enjoyable “chop” in the surface gradations. I had a hard time doing the same thing with this image because I thought it would be interesting to see if I could repeat this effect with a well-lit, caucasian model. The answer was no. She Avatar-ed up on me a bit and for that I am sorry.

Drawing was accomplished with FCP artist pens on 11×14″ bristol board.

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Majestic Male

March 18, 2013

Majestic Male © 2013 Darick Ritter

My wife and I made a visit to the Musée d’Orsey back in 2008. The sculpture that this drawing was based on was made in 1856-57 by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier, called Négre du Soudan, or Negro from the Sudan, or also found called Bust of a Sudanese Man on sanitized poster sites, like this. It’s made purely of onyx and bronze and has hypnotized me ever since I saw it almost 5 years ago. My drawing of it is roughly based on a photo I took myself while I originally perused the gallery of d’Orsey. To make it, I used FCP pens on 11×14″ bristol board.

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June 26, 2012

“Emblematic” | ink, graphite on clayboard | 8 x 8 inches | © 2012 Darick Ritter

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