Thursday, April 24, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Go Fish! (UPDATE)

I've been working on a theme of monsters and bunnies for awhile. I've a tale to tell with that theme, but it'll have to wait for some time. (Too many other stories already in progress.) 

Original pencil sketch of "Go Fish" - part of a series of images with bunnies and monsters

Since I'm currently in the middle for designing products for next Easter, the bunny/monster theme keeps popping up in my head -- so I came up with this sketch. I'm going to try and do a watercolor version of this image when I get the time. 

We'll I finally colored this image -- but not with watercolors as I previously mentioned . . . instead I used Copic markers. I find markers tend to go on heavy and too dark . . . this was the case for this image. Most of the time, I purchase the lightest tones I can find in Copic markers because I can always go over a given color again to darken it's color.

Revision of the original sketch "Go Fish" - now in color
Unfortunately, the blue Copic markers I own were still too dark.

Copic markers are very expensive, usually they cost $5 - $8 dollars each, so I tend to be very careful on which colors I purchase. Copic markers are cheapest if purchased as a set, (there are sets of 4, 6, 12, 36, etc.), but I find most of these sets usually contain too many dark/bold markers. I may get more markers for the price with sets, but then I also have many extra colors that I don't have any intention to use. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Sword Fightin'

Been a long time since I posted something here. Work is getting stressful and I'm having a very hard time getting the work done lately. It's probably a combination of burn out and simply doing seasonal concepts over and over again. The market is still in a big recession, and no one is risking on ordering anything remotely new or different. This makes it hard to do postings here, since my creativity for this type of work usually comes from less stressful times. But enough with my belly aching . . . 

The revamp version of  an old pencil sketch I call "Sword Fighin'!"
This is a revamped version of a very old sketch I did of Timmons, L.B. and Hairy. Back when I worked in New York City, I would often sketch my characters while commuting on the train to/from work. It was a nice way to practice fleshing out and fine tuning my characters.

The original sketch with all it's gritty and fading pencil lines

I hope to one day compile all of the trial and error it took to create Lumpy Bumpy to what he looks like today. (FYI: He's the big alien dinosaur laying down in the background.) L.B. is totally different from then when he was first conceptualized many, many years ago.

I also hope to start posting more images here on the blog again.
I can probably handle posting pencil sketches, but coloring images is too time consuming at this point. Hopefully things will slow down in the upcoming months and most posts here will be back on track.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Spidey Leap Frog

Today's daily sketch is a little marker comp I did of Spider-man leap frogging. I had the pencil sketch for a very long time - probably over year in my sketchbook. Looking to test out my Copic markers, i decided to color the sketch and add highlights with a Gummyroll white pen.
Marker comp of Spidey leap frogging
I've always thought Spider-man had the best superhero costume design which was always tweaked and improved over the decades. He is probably the most fun and challenging hero when it comes to drawing him for Marvel comics. There is so much detail that must flow well with the costume -- or it doesn't look right.

Original Pencil sketch

No matter what your opinion is on the character, you have to give credit to Steve Ditko for such a unique costume design . . . so ahead of it's time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Babbly Bear and Tuscan

I found this very old, rough pencil sketch -- one I barely remember drawing. 

Original pencil sketch on plain printing paper - probably from the late 80's

I have no idea why I drew this, nothing comes to mind to why I would draw a bear in a pink tutu talking to toucan. You're guess is good as mine. (And if I'm being honest, this happens a lot when looking at old sketches.)

Either way, I thought it would be a good subject for a daily quick sketch exercise.

Digital Ink sketch using Art Rage Pro 4.0.6

I wanted to stay very loose with the pen lines. Often I feel I get too clean and worry about open lines or lines crossing over. I hope to develop a more artistic free flowing holding line . . . to get pen lines that looks similar to my pencil lines. 

Digitally colored in ArtRage Pro using waxy crayon settings

Trying something a little different than the usual, I used the waxy crayon setting for coloring in Art Rage Pro. There's a nice subtle blending of colors with this setting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Bunny

Been extremely busy these past two weeks with work. Gearing up now to start designing for Easter. I drew this bunny a few weeks ago, trying to make a simple generic rabbit. 
Inked version of generic bunny sketch
Then, I made the mistake of re-drawing on a sketch pad with markers without testing the paper first. I saw the ink was starting to spread, but thought I could control it. Then the ink kept spreading . . . and spreading . . . until I wound up with this.

Muddy version of a failed attempt to use markers on paper that absorbs ink like a napkin
So, I went back to coloring this bunny digitally instead. Can''t go wrong with good old digital color. (Actually, I take that back -- you can go wrong with digital, especially if you lose power.)

Simple and clean digital coloring -- ala Photoshop

Friday, March 7, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Lil' Lumpy

I've been trying to get my office organized and in doing so - I keep finding old sketches long forgotten. Most are not worth remembering. Many are just scribbles or half drawn characters. But a few are worth bringing back to revamp or update. This image is one of those scribbles that I feel needs more attention.

Lil' Lumpy drawn with digital inking and color pencil crosshatching using ArtRage Pro 4.0.6

Lumpy is one of my oldest children's book characters from a story over 15 years ago. The story's characters were fleshed out over years of redrawing and tweaking. Today, Lumpy looks totally different then what I had originally created so many years ago. I think what happens is subconscious editing, where the focus on what works is emphasized; while eliminating or changing the parts of a character that don't work.

Lumpy's story is part of a 10 book series I plotted out years ago.
I always felt that the story's characters would do very well with the children's book market. But for me to create the series, I would need a good publishing house to support it. I always felt I needed to do other stories first before bringing this character up to the plate . . .

The original rough pencil sketch of Lil' Lumpy recently found among a stack of papers

At least, that was my thinking for last decade and a half. Now publishing has changed drastically. Publishing a book is now the "easy" part - it's the marketing that will exhaust a new writer.

I've not found the answer to getting noticed yet. It's still a mystery why some succeed -- while others fumble. Perhaps it's all about who you know. Or it's just luck. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing if I can finally discover the answer.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Struttin' Puppy

Sometimes, the character doesn't come out the way I envisioned it in my head. This is a good example. While it's not the worst dog I ever drew, it's lacking something. Perhaps it's too weird looking to be cute; and too different to be anything but a supporting character.
The original light brown version of Struttin' Puppy made with alcohol markers and white pen

I think it's body works well, the stringy legs and tubular body is funny looking. My problem with this cartoon is it's head -- or rather the downward looking angle of the nose and the head. The eyes resting on top of the head don't help either.

I thought my dislike of the character could also be the brown coloring. This light brown tends to be too neutral a color and doesn't makes the character stand out. So I thought I'd give it another try -- by changing the coloring.

Cool gray white version of Struttin' Puppy.

 This second cool gray/white version still didn't do it for me. In fact, this color scheme is very close to the Peanuts' Snoopy. Too close to be honest. 

For now, I will keep this character in my sketch archives - but under a lower priority for future reference. Perhaps I can use it as a background extra or supporting character one day.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Illustration Friday: SPACE

Illustration Friday: Every Friday a word is given on the website, Artists and illustrators then submit an image that represents that word all during the week.
This week's word: SPACE

SPOILER ALERT: The big climatic ending to my first children's book: Bobby's Biggest Bubble
Thought Process:
A no-brainer this week.

Space makes me think of the space scene I drew for the climatic ending of my first children's book: Bobby's Biggest Bubble. Of all the terrific comments and kind emails I have received about the book -- this 2-page spread was usually the fan favorite, especially for boys.

I like to think it's the coloring that made this page "pop" . . .
Knowing the amount of pink bubblegum coloring the pages would have, I boosted the night sky's blues and even made the meteor a brighter blue to counter the pink; balancing the warm coloring on the left with the cool coloring on the right. 

This page was the greatest challenge I had when making the book. It was the part of the story I worried about the most. Even though this 2-page spread was near the end of the book, other then the cover, it was the first page I completed with full color.
Once I had this part of the story behind me, the rest of the book fell into place.

You can see more about this comic strip at this link here and more recently here.