Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Daily Quick Sketch: Dragon

Below, I'm showing half of a dragon character. I'm trying to find a strong simple dragon for a story, but the character's look isn't there yet. With most of my character sketches, I try to play around, doing things differently than I usually would for a dragon. (e.g.s: wings attached to the upper arms, finned ears, and a large underbite jaw.)
Right half of dragon character design
Personally, this character doesn't fit what I want yet, though there are several features I do like. I will carry those details over to my next attempt drawing the dragon character I want for my story.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Daily Quick Sketch: Even More Monstas and Bunnies sketch stuff

I've been sketching this image on and off for a few months now. Another image for my grouping of Monstas and Bunnies, (I'm thinking of switching to Monstas & Bunny instead, since I've been using the same bunny in all the images.)
Pencil sketch for GO FISH, another image for my collection of Monstas and Bunnies images.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Looking Back 2000-2001: Bobby's Biggest Bubble supporting characters

Way before the book was printed, I would often come back to work on Bobby's Biggest Bubble, in over a 2 decade span. My career made it too difficult to focus on making the story, especially with so much travel. While I did have a laptop with me when travelling, I found it difficult to really work/design under those conditions.

I was an animator/web designer back in 2000 and most of our computer design department was let go after the Internet market bubble broke. Only my friends John Biank, John Kowalczyk, and I remained. I stayed on for about 7-8 months, but the work wasn't the same. Our work room was empty and depressing and the projects became too corporate with less and less design needed. Eventually, I left and started freelancing again in early 2001.

Character sheet of the townspeople for Bobby's Biggest Bubble

Freelance work was good. I first got many small projects from eLance.com. This led to several companies finding and hiring me to animated their websites. I was animating for several Japanese online English teaching courses. The pay was decent, tno deadline pressures and they pretty much let me direct my own work (and others.) This provided me with some spare time and I started to go back to doing the book. Above is the image that I pulled over 11 years later to help create my picture book.

Unfortunately, 9-11 changed my career, as it did with so many other people. The freelance work dried up. I was not getting paid for work completed. I was forced to leave freelancing and go back to working under a steady full-time job.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bobby's Biggest Bubble: about 5 years ago

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since I used Kickstarter to help publish my first picture book. On June 1, 2012, the Kickstarter project reached its goal thanks to friends, family and the many strangers who were generous to help me create something I had envisioned for decades.
The start of Bobby's picture book began about 5 years ago, but his story is decades old.


I had no idea how much work was involved. I spent every weekend working around the clock to make the deadline. Learning the process of creating a hardcover book was surprising too. At time's I felt overwhelmed, and I became my own worst critic when the work hit a few snags. When all the work was finished, the proofs were approved, and the order to go to print was confirmed, it was the highpoint of my career.

Today, the books still sell online, though at a far, far slower pace than it did in 2012. I still donate books to schools, libraries, and charities whenever I can. I'm down to the last few boxes of the books of the original 1st print.

I'm also trying to get more of my stories published, but this time I'm going the traditional route. Many of my stories are currently in submissions to various agents and publishers. Time will tell . . .

Friday, May 12, 2017

Daily Quick Sketch: Zombie Kitty

Today's quick sketch is a little walking dead cat. I know the season for me to start designing for Halloween is fast approaching, so this came to mind.

Zombie Kitty, colored in Photoshop CC

The original inked image that was hand drawn using brush pens and then scanned into Photoshop.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Daily Quick Sketch: Perched Owl

Today I was trying out some new brush settings I created in Photoshop. I have been looking for a good inking brush for Photoshop, but I still find other programs do a better job of the line control and point tapering when creating an inked image.

Final image after eliminating some of the background leaves and branches

As I was playing around, I found a waxy crayon setting I really enjoyed and decided to do a quick image using this and several other brush settings. To do this, I started with a scribbled image of an owl that I had drawn some time ago. I decided to not create the outline like I usually do, but to paint and build up on the highlights, shadows, and textures.

Here's a little step-by-step shown below:

The scribbled image of a barn owl on a branch

I quickly brushed on a tree trunk, branches, and leaves on a black background.

I filled in the gaps with a neutral shade of green and blurred the image to create depth
Added a branch for the owl, giving it darker and crisper lines, making it appear to be closer.
Finally, the owl character is drawn on a layer over the branch layer.
(While the tail is drawn on a layer under the branch layer.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Daily Quick Sketch: Three Lilttle Kittens

During the weekends, I've been playing around with developing characters for a story idea I've had for the past few years. In this tale, I use characters from the classic Nursery Rhyme the Three Little Kittens. I want to develop a unique style.

I wanted the kittens to look like triplets, with slight variations. This was simple to do via scanning the colored image (seen far below) into Photoshop. In Photoshop, the character was duplicated twice onto separate layers, then each layer was altered with size, shape, and color.
The final compilation of all three kittens crying ('cause they lost their mittens!)

First I wanted very simple features, to make a minimalized version of a cat.
This version lacked character,

The is a marker/ink sketch, which was scanned into Photoshop.
Then duplicated/altered to create two more variations
Original pencil sketches of kittens

UPDATE: Cowabunga Donatello!

Originally posted on 6-12-2012

Still testing out the digital inks and color styles that I will use for my kid's book, Bobby's Biggest Bubble. So I thought I'd do a cartoon with my version of one of the Ninja Turtles, Donatello.
(He was always my favorite, mostly because of his nerdy persona and I like that bo stick.)
The digital ink + colored version of Donatello created in ArtRage Pro

As far as digital painting programs go -- I'm leaning more towards ArtRage Pro again.
Painter is powerful, but its interface is just too #$%* clunky.
Photoshop doesn't provide the line and palette control I want.
Sketchbook is nice, but it just doesn't have the extra bells and whistles I need.

UPDATE
Found the original pencil sketches which I thought I lost. This reminds me, I should do the two remaining turtles I haven't drawn yet, then compile them into one scene together. You can see my version of Raph here.

The recovered pencil sketch of TMNT's Donatello

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ramblin' On: Digital Artwork vs Physical Artwork (Image: Pirate Dreams)

Ah, the conflicts between digitally and physically drawing.

Personally, I never liked to paint. Painting is punishing when you are unsure of your finished image. This is the reason I think most paintings are portraits, landscapes or still life; they are usually based on reality and what the artist physically sees.

Pirate Dreams: Originally created with color pencils + watercolors, then I digitally recolored the night sky

Growing up, I was always more driven toward things that weren't real. The mysteries and unknown. Imagining what could be out there but never found. When I started drawing, a pencil and eraser were the only way I could explore my imagination; So much more forgiving to changes than using crayons, ink or paints. Because of this, I became an Illustrator/Cartoonist and not a Painter.

Then came the digital world. Programs like Photoshop/Painter allowed one to paint with an eraser. Layers allowed one to experiment. As time went on, these programs became more and more expressive at mimicking mediums with Wacom tablets and other technological advances.

Pirate Dreams: The original pencil sketch

Today, I find myself mostly creating pencil sketches and then finishing digitally. (If I need physical coloring, I always go to alcohol based markers because they provided great color blends and control.) I strive to change my heavy cartoony line style to something more painterly and loose, to better fit the picture book market. When painting digitally today, I still struggle to "see" what that final image will be. (Oh, it's easier to paint now, but my traditional methods still get in the way.)

One thing I'm sure of: a physical piece is more challenging, a better representation of an artist's process and therefore more rewarding since there is an actual finished piece of artwork. The same can not be said of digital art.