Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wait - What? #4: Big Hand

This sketch is screwed up because it wasn't fully sketched out before inking. The hand was drawn separately before finishing the character. It's only through sheer laziness that the hand was connected to his body without an arm - which makes a very strange looking image.
Inking before properly correcting a sketch = a very strange large hand
The blue line bunny head sketch seen in this image was not intentional. The page this image was scanned from had many doodles and sketches on it. The cropping of this image makes it look like the bunny is peeking in . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wait - What? #3: Rabbit Thingie?

Here's another strange doodle, seems Rabbit like but also has a Chinchilla feel to it too. This was drawn quite some time ago, so looking at it with "new" eyes this character could easily be changed into a Jackalope by adding antlers on its head.

Weird looking character sketch made with ink pen

Overall, I find this to be a disturbing character -- it's just too weird looking.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Dinosaur + Caveman

Here's another sketch that I had drawn on the back of a checking account printout. Again, I don't really remember doing these characters, just a random drawing. These characters are good enough to keep in my archives, but they still need some work to make them a little more interesting.
Prehistoric characters draw with pencil, ink with brush pen and colored with markers

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wait - What? #2: Cat Dog Mouse?

Here's a sketch without a true identity. Sketching this character without a true plan or direction -- just looking for a different look. The face has a bit of a Snoopy look to it. (The big spot on the back, it's tail and feet too.) There are some aspects of the character I like, but overall, this character needs a complete workover.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Lil' Turtle

Found this little doodle in the back of one of my sketch pads. I don't like this image. It's a great example of what can go wrong with using markers without planning.

The major reason I don't like my sketch is the color. The tone is too dark and muddy. That is a major problem with using markers, you must work light to dark colors. Once that color is down on the paper, that's it. In this case, I was just doodling and experimenting with several new marker colors. Usually, creating a quick color comp or studying a color chart would help prepare for which colors to use.
Quick little marker and brush pen doodle found inside a sketch pad

You can try to paint over and correct a marker color, but my experience is that usually makes a huge mess and ruins the entire image. You could also correct the work in Photoshop or similar programs, But the amount of time it takes for me to clean up an image like this is usually wasted - since re-drawing the image from scratch often improves the overall look and design of the work.

Example of a self-made color chart, one of many I create for each set of markers I own
This chart is a small sample grouping of Premiere alcohol markers

Even the line work bothers me. It's too busy or the head is too angled to be truly cute. The most this doodle will ever be used (if ever) for is for some subtle background, 

One word of advise: If you are considering to try/use markers, especially alcohol based markers, be aware that is it very costly and hard to maintain a good grouping of colors. A typical marker is said to have a 2-year shelf life. And of course, the colors you use the most for backgrounds or characters will need to be refilled often.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Zookeeper Earl and The Burpy Bear

These characters are a part of a silly little poem/story I have about a burping bear in a city zoo. The story needs to be longer and several other characters will need to be developed. That'll take time which I never seem to have anymore.

Zookeeper Earl and Burpy Bear inked with a pen brush and gray toned with markers
I tried to alter my usual style a little here, especially with Earl who is very inspired by The Far Side cartoonist, Gary Larson. I think the Burpy Bear needs some work. He needs to be more comical and likable (and the big tooth just isn't doing it for me.)

The inked version of Burpy Bear
Inked version of Zookeeper Earl

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Smilin' Lion

Today's quick sketch is a smiling lion. If you want kids to laugh at your character, simply add a big toothy grin -- it seems to work every time. I was looking for a new style of lion's mane for this design, inspired by palm tree leaves . . .

A brush pen and marker drawing of a lion with a big smile
I drew a sketch of this lion several weeks ago when submitting an image for Illustration Friday. I decided to use another lion cartoon that was more comical and standing upright. The pencil sketch was on my desk, so I decided to ink and color the image using a new set of markers I just purchased.

I inked and colored over the pencil line this time, so there is no pencil sketch image this time around.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Another Happy Puppy

It seems the most hits I get on this blog are usually the posts related to dogs, apes and anything about the design process. I don't know why, but the monkey/ape posts are very popular with most hits coming from Asia. But the dog/puppy posts tend to be a consistent favorite and they pop up in the top ten very often.
Digital "Soft Wax Crayon" coloring made on the Surface Pro using ArtRage Pro4

This sketch was something I was playing around with on my Surface Pro. I added wax crayon coloring to the image.

The original digital pencil sketch of another happy puppy (made on a Surface Pro tablet)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wait - What? #1: The Office Monster?

Every once in awhile, I sketch something that I have no idea what it is or why I drew it. Can't explain why this happens. Probably a result of playing around or just looking to create something different. So this is a new category for the blog that I'll label as "Wait - What?"

A pencil marker image of whatever this is . . . 
This guy was in an old sketch book, I do remember drawing it . . . but I can't explain why. A robot head, tentacles and it seems to be wearing some office attire. Maybe an alien disguised as an accountant? Maybe it's a coffee robot? Or some traveling volcano simulator?
I don't know . . . your guess is good as mine. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Dog Dress Boat

This is another quick sketch done with the help of the children at Reynolds School. They were asked to name an animal, what is it wearing and what is it doing. The results were: a dog in a dress driving a boat. I had less than 10 minutes, so this sketch looked very rushed and unfinished. Last weekend, I cleaned the line work, erased the scribbles and quickly added digital color to the image.

Digitally colored version created with ArtRage Pro 4
Not having enough time, I added more details later and added several things to make the boat seem to have motion and speed; such as the dress ribbons, flag post and the dog's long ears all flapping in the wind.
The original pencil sketch created for the 1st graders at Reynolds

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old Sketch Found: Dog

UPDATE: Image colored with markers

Inked image colored using Prismacolor Premiere Markers

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I found this very old sketch of a standing dog in a pile of old papers. I have many of these scattered around my office, never really having time to archive my work. Now many of the sketches I make are not really worth keeping, some of it is just not good enough and usually winds up in the garbage. But when a sketch has something worth keeping, I'll be sure to tuck it away somewhere. That's what happened to this image.
The AFTER and BEFORE of a newly found old sketch
I have no idea how old this image is. It was drawn on what seems to be a manila envelope or folder. (Maybe the toll cost in Chicago could be a clue to the year.) Apparently it was the only image worth saving and was torn from the page (or envelope.) So I decided to quickly draw an inking of the sketch and scan it for possible future usage. I've no plan to use this character now, but you never know when an idea might arise and this character could be a perfect choice.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Premiere Markers Review: BlueBird

The hobby and art supply chain ACMoore had a recent sale on markers, so I decided to purchase a whole set of Prismacolor Premiere Markers. The markers usually sell for $3.99/ea but they were on sale, 4 for $10. So I bought 20 markers. The only markers I use are alcohol-based because their inks tend to blend better than the cheaper water-based markers. (Water-based markers leave streaks and uneven coloring.)
Just to note: this is not the first time I talked about these markers. You can see my previous comments here.


Pros: 
Premiere markers have good color, the nibs are well made and the inks go on wet, (or at least it seems wetter than other alcohol-based markers.) There are duel tips on both ends, allowing one side for broad strokes and the other pointed for detailed work. The price is reasonable ( Reg. $3.99 / cheaper in sets) when compared to Copic markers that sell for $6-$7/ea.

Quick color chart of the selected pens
Note: the 20th marker is a blender (not shown)

Cons: While these markers are good, they aren't Copic quality markers. The ink goes on very wet, which forces you to color faster so that the ink doesn't clump in one area. I also find I need to go over an area several times quick to get an even spread. This causes the ink to bleed through the paper, ruining the next page or two (which doesn't happen with Copic markers.) Because the inks go on so wet, there is more bleeding into other colors and spreading outside black lines.

The original blue pencil sketch of the blue bird

Finally, the only store I have found these markers is in AC Moore stores and they offer only a limited assortment of their colors. I tend to stay away from dark or deep colored markers because using markers one should work light to dark, (recoloring over the same area creates a darker tone.) This cuts about 50% of the colors off my to-get-list.

(Note: for some reason, Premiere markers are not displayed in the Art supply section of the store, they are usually displayed near the stationary area in the ACMoore stores I visit.)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Green Dog in T-Shirt Running

Another recent sketch made with the second graders at Reynolds School helping me create a new character. Three simple questions: Animal? Clothing? Action? Their answers for this image were: A dog, wearing a t-shirt and running.
The above image was cleaned up a little, lines darkened and then quickly colored on a tablet. 

After pencil sketching, the answer "green" was given for the question: "What color should the dog be?" 

Original digital pencil sketch which was cleaned up and added bold detail to the pencil lines

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Doodle: Horse Head

To me, a doodle is something drawn without any planning, thought or reason. Often I find that when I doodle I'm letting my subconscious create the image, allowing the drawn lines dictate what the doodle will become -- searching for the final image.

Doodle of a horse's head on a yellow sticky note -- drawn with several gray tone brush pens
I usually doodle on sticky notes for some reason. (Maybe because I'm on the phone taking notes or jotting down reminders of what to work on next.) The size is enough to usually do a full character or profile image. The size also restricts creativity, sometimes forcing the doodle to be drawn differently than it would if created on a larger sheet of paper.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Giraffe in Shorts Hanging Upside Down from a Tree

Recently, I had the privilege to draw for the children at Reynold School. All this week, I will be posting a few examples of these images made at various schools + library readings.

The sketch below was created by asking several children the following: Name an animal. What is it wearing? What is it doing? Their answers given were: A giraffe, wearing shorts and hanging upside-down from a tree.

With less than 15 minutes to sketch, the image was roughed out enough for the children to see their concept. Over the weekend, I cleaned up the original sketch, added a simple color layer and added the confused looking monkey.
The pencil sketch cleaned up and colored (with an extra character watching the monkey business)
I thought this one sketch was quite a challenge with the limited time, but everything seemed to work out okay. The biggest response from the children was when I added the banana in the giraffe's hand. I decided to add the monkey to give the image more of a story and action.

The original digital pencil sketch made using ArtRage Pro 4 on a Surface Pro tablet

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Lasso Dog

Another quick sketch made digitally (circa 2014). This image was originally created at a local library where the children helped suggest what I should draw. Their answers to my questions were: dog, big hat, lasso. They seemed to really enjoy how I created the rope using a simple pattern technique.

Digital sketch made using hard pencil setting in ArtRage Pro

Monday, April 25, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Stealing Honey Bear

This sketch was created some time ago (~ spring 2015) with a group of children at a local library supplying these three subjects: Name an animal. An article of clothing. An action.

They gave me a BEAR wearing a HAT and he's STEALING HONEY. (Pretty sure "hat" was picked after "bear" because of the very popular Jon Klassen picture book at that time: "This is Not My Hat". If you don't know what that means -- look it up!) 
The revised version of the first sketch below after being revised -- more of a stealing action

I'm showing these now because it has been awhile since I drew images with a group of children. I usually try to get the children involved in helping me decide what to draw as I explain a little about the thought process of creating something new. Originally I finished with the image below, but then the child who gave me "stealing honey" insisted the bear was just holding honey -- so I quickly made changes and made him running -- that seemed to make everyone happy.  (That kid's probably going to be an art director or critic one day.)
The original pencil sketch of a BEAR wearing a HAT and STEALING HONEY

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Dancing Dino

This year so far has been a mental drain on my creativity lately, at least for drawing. I'm going to try to get back on track of submitting more images to the blog. I've also have been sketching more on my Wacom and hand-held tablets. I still prefer pencil and paper, but that usually means having to prepare and sit at one of my desks. Tablet drawing can be done anywhere, even lying down.

Dancing Dinosaur, colored and drawn on Surface tablet using ArtRage Pro4

This week, I'll be uploading several sketches made using ArtRage Pro 4 on my Surface tablet. These are usually an animal (or creature) wearing something and doing something -- these subjects are usually given by children. (More about this in my next post.)

The main difference with tablet drawing is that the feel of the stylus is much smoother than a pencil on paper. This causes me to sketch far lighter and  shakier lines than I usually draw. Sketching lighter loosens my sketch hand, so I create far more light lines which eventually need to be cleaned via eraser.
The original digital pencil sketch

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Guster: Re-Covering a cover video

I usually only post stuff related to my character designing or drawing. But this is something I want to archive on the blog for future viewing. Guster has been my favorite band for over a decade now. I've gone to see them perform more than any other band. It's not just the music. It's the band members. It's the fans. It's the humor.


It's the fun things they do, like:
• Firedrills! Where all members of the band switch to the instrument on their left.
• Having their drummer Brian (who is the worst singer) sing an old pop song from the 80's.
• Playing an acoustic set of their songs with violins.
• Doing surprise "pop-up" sets in public, (like when they performed by the rear gates of the Mann Theatre or in front of a dumpster in Pittsburgh for 12 people.)
• Hiding free tickets for a scavenger hunt and giving video clues online.
• Tweeting fans to bring strange items to their concerts to dress the stage up (like potted plants and strange lamps.)
• This video . . .

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Teddy Bear

Just trying to get back into submitting stuff to the blog. This sketch was a simple teddy bear image I was doodling with a brush pen. No pencil sketching, just directly drawing on a pad with a brush pen.

Teddy Bear sketched with pen brush and colored with Copic Markers