Thursday, February 11, 2016

UPDATE!: Sea Tea Time

UPDATE: Feb. 11, 2016
Image color touch-up and added a poem . . . officially FINAL!

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(originally reposted on Dec. 8th, 2015)
Was: Illustration Friday: Wet (aka Sea Tea Time)
Recently revisited this image over the weekend and added more detailing and color. I still feel the tone is too dark, especially with the water. It looks fine on screen, but when printing, everything seems toned down and the colors don't pop the way they do on a computer screen. Arrrggghhh!
Will probably play around with this image again in the future.

Cha-Cha-Changes: Colors brightened, background textured and added a little poem.
This is an old image I did last year* which I'm posting now for 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: WET

The digitally coloured image made in Photoshop

*Below is the pencil sketch I drew during the 2015's SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC in February. I had no reason for drawing this image, just random inspiration. I've already purchased my tickets for this year's conference in February and decided to also show my portfolio this year . . . looking forward to it.
The original pencil sketch that was drawn on the back of a sheet during the SCBWI Conference

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Running Gator

Testing out some new alcohol based markers. These aren't as good a Copic markers, but far cheaper. The brand is called Premiere, and they sell 2 for $5 in Michael's stores. Like Copics, they also have dual tips on both ends; one pointed and the other a broad flat tip.

Sketch made using new Premiere alcohol-based markers - then inked with a Jet pen

The colors are okay, but the ink doesn't spread out evenly the way Copic markers do. Instead, these markers clump up and cause streaks if you go over any area that's already been colored. In contrast, a Copic marker would allow you to build up and go over the same area many times to create deeper colors without causing streaks or clumping.

Image sans the pen/markers:
Note the unevenness of the ink, especially around the mid belly - causing a coffee stain effect
So I guess the bottom line here is: you get what you pay for . . . a marker for $2.50 doesn't come close to the high quality marker that costs $7. Overall, I'd give the Premiere Markers a 3 of 5 star rating. I wouldn't want to do complete images using just these markers, but if needing a specific color for detail or highlights - these marker will do the job for a great price. I plan on buying more Premieress that are missing from my huge collection of Copic markers. (Especially the lighter shades of color.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Follow-up: Using

I mentioned in a previous post about using and I wanted to follow-up on my experience using their custom product/printing service. I first tested them out by ordering a couple of t-shirts using some of my 2015 INKtober sketches: T.H.E. Walking Dead and Batman vs. Baseball. The shirts arrived in less than a week after the online order was made.

Image showing the high quality T-Shirt printing
The quality of the t-shirts was excellent. Tight coverage and spot-on color. The shirts are very comfortable and light, great for spring and summer wear. (My only issue was that some of my designs had transparent backgrounds, so those parts of the images blended into the color of the t-shirt. This could make the print look muddy if a dark colored t-shirt is selected.)

Metal travelling coffee mug using my image "T.H.E. Walking Dead", created using
Link to the T.H.E. Walking Dead product page CLICK HERE

After getting the T-shirts, I purchased 5 other items from Redbubble: pouch, travel mug and pillows. All of these items were very reasonably priced for the high-quality made-to-order products. It used to be, (not too long ago), you had to buy an costly minimum quantity to get this level of quality. 

A zipper pouch using my design "Ghostie Emojis" on
Link to the Ghostie Emojis product page CLICK HERE

I've added several other designs in the past few months, which have already been selected by other people to create their own products. There is also cash back sent to the artist for each item being made using their artwork. It's not a HUGE amount . . . but still, it's nice to see others enjoying the artwork.
There are so many great gift and self-promotional ideas that can be used with this service.
Imagine creating products using your child's artwork, creating a prototype sample of an idea or design or making personalized "inside joke" t-shirts for friends, etc.

I highly recommend
They often have discount sales from 20%-30% off . . . sign-up to get email notifications when these sales happen. (I suggest only purchasing when there is a discount sale. Usually their best dicounts occur around holidays.)

To see all my designs available on - goto: Arrrggghhh's Shop

Monday, February 8, 2016

UPDATE: #INKtober 2015 No. 7: T.H.E. Walking Dead

UPDATE to the Update:
You can see my follow-up post using this image to create custom products.

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Originally Updated on Dec. 3, 2015
I colored this image over the weekend to test out the website RedBubble. RedBubble is a company that prints customized t-shirts, pillows, mugs, etc. It allows you to easily use your own images, even sell your own work and setup is very easy.

I've ordered two t-shirts to test the quality of their product. The cost was around $50, which for two customized t-shirts is a fairly good price.

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Originally Posted on Oct 8th, 2015

#7 and I think it's my favorite so far, mostly because it made me smile as I drew it. This is a great example of writing a joke where maybe I'm the only one who finds it amusing.
INKtober 2015 image #7 inked with a brush pen then gray tones added in Photoshop
As I finished the image, I started wondering if my little play on words would go over some people's heads since the cartoon has a double meaning to it.
Some might just think it just "a DEAD character WALKING his pet" and that's as far as they'll see it. But those who read into the ghost's full name and dog's name tag should see the actual pun intended.
Inked on Canson marker paper with a black Faber-Castell brush pen
I'm sure it'll annoy some Walking Dead fans simply because there is no zombie in the image. That kinda makes me smile too . . .
The original combined pencil sketches.
This was actually made combining two sketches into one with the leash bridging the two sketches together.

Friday, February 5, 2016

UPDATE! Monsters and Bunnies: Hopscotch

UPDATE!: Background added
Finally added the much-needed background to this image. This is the image that will be used for my promotional postcard during the approaching SCBWI conference.
One of a planned 12-image package for a possibly calendar and board book - this is the month of June
UPDATE: Color!
2014 was a terrible year, mentally and physically. For over 9 months I dealt with a frozen right shoulder, my drawing arm, making every action and motion painful and irritating . . .
Even though that shoulder is still not 100%, 2015 is going to change for the better.
I plan to be more committed to art projects like this for 2015.

Exactly 7 months ago, I posted this image on the blog as a pencil sketch only. Then over the recent holidays, I added color to the sketch. It is one of a set of six images for "Monsters and Bunnies".

Because these images were all done at various times, with different techniques and styles, I intend to redo the entire set of 6 images again. Only this time, the style will remain the same for all of the images, along with a more limited pallet of colors. The style for all six images will pretty much follow the style of the image below . . . 

UPDATED pencil sketch with digital under coloring.
This is by far my favorite of the 6 images and it will serve as the style template for all six images.


Here's another of the 6 images I've been working on for the past several months; these images feature monsters and bunnies. I've been too busy lately to finish the coloring, but this one came out nice just in gray tones.
Hopscotch: Another Monsters and Bunnies image done in pencil.
I plan to make all six images fully digitally colored and then make several high quality prints of each to sell on my website. (But that won't be for a least a few months.) The current working size is 7" X 5", but that might change once all the images are finalized.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Golf Dad Mug Design

This one goes back many years ago when I worked for a giftware company designing novelty products. They wanted a humourous Father's Day mug related to golf. I started writing down as many insults and oddities that would be found on a typical Dad playing golf.

The mug sold well on the market, so I was asked to create 3 more for the following year. I remember the three follow-up mugs were, Fisherman, BBQ Chef and Couch Potato -- but this original Golf mug outsold the other mugs combined.

One thing I do remember while creating this design was that I originally did a very clean vector version, which looked very polished with solid clean lines. But this rougher and loose style seemed to work much better with the text humor.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Happy Dog

Recently, I wrote a picture book story that needs a dog character, so I started flipping through old sketchbooks to see if I had anything for the character. I came across this image which is playful and happy -- but it doesn't fit the story's character at all. I do like certain parts of the dog which I will try to morph into the dog character I need.

Happy dog pencil sketch from one of my sketchbooks

Monday, February 1, 2016

Goblin Week: Goblin Pirate Robbers

I just heard that Goblin Week came and went. Goblin Week is an annual Internet thing, where artists from all over the world draw and submit their Goblin drawings online to share for amusement. I drew several goblins for the past 2 years but missed this year's Goblin Week completely.

Better late than never . . . right?
Flat colored floater version of the artwork (sans background)

I didn't have time to fine tune this image, so I just flat colored it (without highlights or shading,)

The ink line digitally created in ArtRage Pro 4

If you enjoy seeing this type of artwork, check out other artists' Goblins sent during the week (and past years) by searching #GoblinWeek and #GoblinWeek2016.

The original pencil sketch for "The Goblin Robbers"

When I find the time, I'll finish this image's highlighting, shading and add a proper background.

Seen with a tan background: my late Goblin Week submission for 2016, called "The Goblin Robbers"

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Dragon Tattoo

This one goes back to the summer of 2001, when I was successfully freelancing (until 9-11 changed everything.)

I got word that a local tattoo shop near my home was looking for a large detailed flying dragon for his client's entire backside. The tattoo artist only wanted line work, but it needed to be made to scale to fit the gentleman's entire back.

GIF scan of the top portion of a pencil sketch made for a tattoo created circa summer of 2001

The instructions were to create a dragon with huge wings hovering over flames. I had to do the design on two sheets of paper to fit the dimensions needed. I remember wanting to scan a copy of the work to keep on record, but I had a hard time trying to scan such a huge image back then.
Now, I only have this small GIF scan of the top half; I've no idea why the bottom half isn't in the same folder.

I never got to see the finished tattoo -- but when I got paid, the tattoo artist gave me back the original artwork, which I quickly archived into my portfolio. Unfortunately, a few years later, that entire portfolio was lost when I applied for a job with Fisher-Price. They insisted that I send my portfolio to their New York office and then they lost it several weeks later. They claimed they never received the portfolio, even though someone signed for it when it was delivered. ( Yes Fisher-Price, I still remember how unprofessional that whole portfolio fiasco was . . . )

Perhaps I'll find that bottom half one day. But I learnt my lesson that year:
If you like an original piece of work, NEVER mail it out in a portfolio.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: A Graduation Card circa 1997

This one goes back to around 1997. A graduation card that I gave to several people back then. Like all work from the past, it could be better. So much of the card bothers me now . . . but I still like the sequential joke and pacing of the card.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Looking Back: Character Design circa 1998

Before the popular TV series of the same name, I worked for a place called CSI (circa 1998). I was an animator, hired along with a group of artists, coders and website designers. We were all hired to create an educational website called

Long story short, the project lasted about a year before the Internet bubble burst. Stock shares plummeted, our investor pulled the plug and our group of artists, coders and web designers had to be let go . . . all except for a handful of people who remained to do other websites. I was one of the few kept on the payroll. But the work just wasn't the same. After another year, I left CSI in 2000 and went back to freelancing.

But in that first year, I had designed many characters to be used for the SchoolKidsOnline website. This character, Chip, was never used for the site. He was one of about 25 characters I had developed to interact with the main children characters.

It's a shame the website never got to see it's launch. The idea was fantastic. It would have been a website that teachers could use to test their students, get automatic test scores, a database study of each child's progress and it was able to retrain each child on specific lessons they found difficult.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Asymmetric Lion Head

The beginning of the year is when I take the time to back-up, clean up and archive my computer files. It's amazing how time consuming it is to do all that with just one year's work. Whenever I do this annual task, I alway find hidden images I had forgotten, like the image seen below.

This image was my first attempt at drawing in an asymmetric mode, which is really just a mirror image reflected from the vertical center. This is a feature that is found in several drawing/sketch program; this particular image was done in Sketchbook Pro. 

An asymmetrical drawing of a lion's head, made using Sketchbook Pro

Its a weird experience seeing your drawing line being duplicated, on-the-fly, in a reverse mirror effect. The result is always different than what was originally intended. I don't recommend using this mirror drawing mode to create finished works -- but its a great tool for doodling (or just experimenting -- which can sometimes inspire new ideas.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Throwback Thursday: L.B. Monster sketch found

It's a strange feeling to find some of my work from the past. There's this sense of seeing it with new eyes again, as if looking at someone else's work. This one in particular really surprised me. It was hidden on an old hard drive I was cleaning out to scrap.This image was sketched sometime back around 2003.

An old pencil sketch of my series's main character, call The Lumpy Bumpy Monster . . . ( aka L.B.)

L.B. (short for Lumpy Bumpy) is one of my oldest and favorite characters to draw. It took me nearly a decade to mold him into the character he is today. Yet, while I have 100s of sketches and drawings, I've yet to ever really do anything with him (and his supporting characters.) L.B. was originally intended to be part of a series of books for children. I felt I needed to be established in the publishing world before I could ever do the tales I wanted with L.B. and Timmons.

I'm sure I will be finding more hidden works on old sketch pads, hard drives, floppy disks and CDs. If I ever get the time, I'd like to clean up and ink this image . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Happy Monkey Cheese Day

I created this sketch over the Holiday break. Pretty much just doodling.
I thought back to my childhood, a time when silly words and phrases could really make me burst out in laughter. Silly names and phrases always got my attention and it is probably the key reason why "The Phantom Tollbooth" remains my all-time favorite children's book.

There is an art to making silly names, words and sayings; it can not simply be gibberish.
A good silly name needs rhythm. It needs to be colorful and playful. But the most important element . . . it needs to make you stop, think and imagine. That's what weird, creative and strange things do -- they make us stop, think and imagine. The funnier the words are, the longer they stay with us.

"Monkey Cheese" was pencilled then colored with Copic alcohol markers . . .
and "No", I wasn't drinking the markers' alcohol when creating this image!

"Monkey Cheese" is a phrase that always made me laugh as a kid. It made no sense. It's also something I thought only I created, but if you googled that phrase today -- apparently many similar like minds have thought of the same saying.

So this is my visual image of Monkey Cheese. Does it make sense? No.
Doesn't have to . . . but having created this little sketch did bring a smile to my face.
NOTE: The Urban Dictionary even defines "Monkey Cheese" as: " Term often used to describe a random, pointless act or outburst. Commonly used in an attempt to draw hilarity where none is found. "

Happy Monkey Cheese Day everyone . . . 

Friday, January 1, 2016

UPDATE: Daily Quick Sketch: Happy Baby New Year

UPDATE: New Digital Version of New Year Baby for 2016

5 gooder than 3!

Did a quick digital ink version of my 2013 marker comp image of Baby New Years. This time dropping the top hat and making it a little more relative to everyone.
This is a much cleaner drawing process than the Copic markers version (see that one below.) I've decided to not shade or highlight this time too. This technique also allows a transparent background, so it nice to the option to place this image on or over any background image or color.

Can't believe 2 years went by so fast.

Black ink lines were created in my latest art program, Mischief -- and then colored in Photoshop.

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Originally posted on Monday, December 23, 2013

I know it's not even Christmas yet, but I had a vision of this Baby New Year in my head and needed to put it on paper before the image faded from my memory. (That happens often -- thinking/imagining a character (or idea) which I don't get down on paper in time - forever lost.) 

Baby New Year, kicking off the new year . . . 
I would like to thank everyone who visited this blog over the past year and wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year! There's more drawings to come in the upcoming year!
The original Pencil sketch of Baby New Year
Added a new sketch version of the baby for illustration Friday. The word of the week is "Reflect", so I created a "reflective" version of the New Year Baby 2014 with Old Year 2013. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Throwback Thursday: The Christmas Card Design of 2002

Just found this old Christmas card design from 2002. Back then I did an annual Christmas card cartoon which usually had bathroom related humor. I think friends enjoyed them, but family didn't quite appreciate the humor at that time of year. (Sorry, Nana!)
2002's Christmas card cartoon entirely digitally designed usig Photoshop

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Character Development: Charli

Creating a character is tricky . . . sometimes. When I doodle, a character might emerge that seems to have more appeal than other sketches . . . and that could inspire a story for said character. But it sometimes goes the other way around, where the story is created first -- then the characters have to be fleshed out. I find this to be the most difficult process because I'm searching for the right fit. Never satisfied until the correct character is created. I've some stories with "missing" characters . . . some being decades old. This character in particular simply appeared as I doodled one night.

I've written my wintry story of Whazzit about 2-3 years ago. It's been re-written over a dozen times and I'm close to what I feel is the final manuscript. In the story, the sister is a tween and is her baby brother is slightly older than a toddler. My main problem with her character's look was that I wanted a smart and mature yet playful girl, full of curiosity and wonder -- but everything I drew seemed silly, too old and goofy looking. Nothing seemed to fit the character I needed.

I find when I'm cornered with no idea where to go . . . the best solution is to walk away and let the project sit. There always something else to do. I didn't think of the story for several months and then in a moment of reflection, I started to doodle the image seen above. Half way through sketching, I knew this was the sister character, Charli, for my picture book story.

It can't be explained, but there are simply times when things all seems to fit.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Daily Quick Sketch: Skull-Belly

This image was highly influenced by the animated TV show Adventure Time. I've been a fan of the show since it first started 7 years ago. There's something about the stories, characters and style of the show's design that seems to really work. Its so original, yet it borrows so much from all genres. While it may have an overall cute and friendly appearance . . . the show is very deep on a dark and philosophical level.
Skull-Belly is a character I created that was highly influenced by the animated TV show, Adventure Time
While watching a recent episode of Adventure Time, I thought of this yeti-like creature.
Creating his name was simple, since his chest+stomach area looks like a skull. He's a very dangerous creature, but Skull-Belly turns docile when holding a red helium balloon. So every day, someone is in charge of exchanging a fresh new helium balloon in order to have the creature remain peaceful. Of course, one day the helium runs out . . . that's when Adventure Time begins!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Daily Quick Sketch: Christmas Mouse Rush

It that time of year, less than two week before Christmas and the holiday stress is starting to get to me. So when I doodle, I find that I tend to draw quite a few holiday related characters running around in a panic. This one I did without thought or reason. There's a story in there somewhere, but I don't see it yet.

A holiday related doodle made with a Sharpie fine point marker on a plain old piece of paper.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

1-Minute Doodle: I'm Batman

While testing out an ink setting in Photoshop for my Cintiq tablet, I did this quick doodle. Usually, I just delete these doodles, but this one I thought was a keeper.

Quick doodle in Photoshop that took about a minute to create