Thursday, June 20, 2013

Daily Quick Sketch: Laughing Dog

This is an old image I used for several projects.
Originally it was the cover illustration of a greeting card. It has since gone on to be used for a pet toy website logo and part of a design for a European nursery rhyme book (Hey Diddle Diddle)
The original pencil sketch
Recently I inked the image for printing, replacing the shading with lines. I kept the pen work very loose to give a playful feel to the overall image.

Image redrawn with ink lines (for printing)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Daily Quick Sketch: Lil' Hippo

Had this little guy made quite some time ago, finally had it colored.
"Percy" was a character that was made from random sketching and doodling
No reason for creating this character, he was just developed from random sketching and doodling. I will archive "Percy" away until a character like this is needed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Illustration Friday: WORN Darth Vader

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: WORN

Remember: Even Darth Vader had a few bad days . . . 
Thought Process:
The first thing I thought with the word WORN, was someone tired . . . exhausted. That made me think of characters you never really see portrayed that way. Darth Vader came to mind. The thought of Darth Vader looking fatigued, slumped shouldered, dragging his light sabre on the ground (while it's still on) seemed like a good image to do.

For this image, I wanted to stay very loose and sketchy.
It took about 20 minutes to finish.

The original pencil sketch

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Drawing Process: Bobby's Biggest Bubble

I've recently had quite a few people asking about how I did the artwork for my children's book Bobby's Biggest Bubble. I'll try to explain my process below:

I used a great small (and inexpensive) program called ArtRage Pro to do my line work and coloring. My story was very whimsical and funny, so I wanted the book to have a Saturday morning cartoon style, using solid black outlines and vibrant flat "cel"-like coloring.

The finalized kitchen scene from a page of Bobby's Biggest Bubble (sans type/lettering)

I found ArtRage Pro was the best program for the line control I needed. (Other more popular programs, like Photoshop and Painter, just didn't have that feel or line control I wanted.) Using the program's default "Round and Smooth" ink pen setting and adjusting it's Smoothing setting to about 40-50% gave me just enough control while keeping the line smooth and clean.

The image was first pencil sketched, scanned and then placed into ArtRage where I traced in the ink lines (using about 9% pen size).

The original pencil sketch scanned into ArtRage Pro to be inked and colored

Each element (e.g. kitchen background, the bubble) and character were drawn on separate layers, allowing composition/size adjustments.
The "inked" layers all seen together without coloring. Note: many background items were extended in more detail from the original pencil sketch. Doing this allows more control of placement and making adjustments if needed.

For coloring, I used the Watercolor setting of Wet on Dry to get the solid color fills.
I created separate layers for 
highlights and shades and placed their layers over the color layers. Then I drew in the highlights and shadows using the same smooth Ink Pen as before, only at a much larger size (about 15%). For shading, the layer's Opacity was turned down to 15-20% using black as the color. For highlights, the layer's Opacity was turned down to about 60% using white as the color.
Lowering the opacity creates a transparent coloring control that allows me to darken or lighten the colors underneath.

The image shown w/o highlights/shading, but includes the word balloon and outer framing (via Photoshop)

When the image was finished, it was exported to a Photoshop PSD file (with layers) so that I could compile and convert all images (and layers) into a high quality TIF files and place them into Adobe's InDesign for publishing. Final touches like text, word balloons and outline frames were done in Photoshop.

FYI: I plan to use ArtRage again for the book's sequel . . . love using this program!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Illustration Friday: Children

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: CHILDREN

Too busy with work, so I have to go to the archives for this week. And since I never posted it to the blog, (and it features two children,) here's the front of the bookmark for Bobby's Biggest Bubble.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Post-It Note Sketches

Post-It Note Sketches 

Occasionally, I'll simply start sketching on post-it notes. These sketches come out my head without rhyme or reason, almost in a meditative state. (Like the alien guy with a baseball cap - no idea what I was thinkin' of at the time -- I have no idea what he is either . . . ) 

Here are a few of those pencil sketches . . . 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Arrrggghhh! It's Another Quick Sketch Video: Illustration Friday SWEET

A video showing my technique sketching, using ArtRage Studio Pro 4.0.2 . This image was created for the website,, where artists and illustrators submit artwork based upon the site's word of the week. The word for this image was SWEET.

Illustration Friday: Sweet

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: SWEET

Thinking of the word SWEET, I immediately thought of candy.
That made me think of popular characters related to candy. Willy Wonka, M&M's and the cartoon Adventure Time came to mind, but I wanted a contradiction to the word SWEET. Something sweet that wasn't being sweet.

This instantly made me think of the classic ending of the original Ghost Busters movie with the fantastic character: Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The sweet and lovable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man tapping the city into oblivion.

I originally thought of an image of Stay Puft fighting the Michelin Man (the famous tire company mascot) since they both looked very similar in size and shape. I was going to do a Godzilla-like side-by-side fight overshadowing a city . . . but while it might have been a good image - it didn't focus enough on the word SWEET.

Going back to the concept "sweet not being sweet", I instead decided to focus on just Stay Puft tap dancing like Shirley Temple -- and in doing so -- destroying the city behind him.

The original pencil sketch of the IF: SWEET concept
I wanted to originally have a dramatic image looking up under the belly of Stay Puft, from the point of view of people being demolished below. But it was hard to convey that Stay Puft was being "sweet" and tap dancing from that angle. He would just look too menacing. So instead, I did a spotlight focus with Stay Puft tap dancing with his telephone pole "cane". Doing this makes a "sweeter" and cuter persona -- and eliminated seeing people being trampled on (which would be too dark for some people and make the cartoon less "funny".)

RE: Illustration Friday
If you would like to join in on the fun, head over to Illustration Friday. It's totally free, no need to login or sign up for anything. You can view all the submissions from this week (and past archives of previous words.) Have a sketch to show? Send your own artwork up for others to see.