Thursday, October 31, 2013

Daily Quick Sketch: Halloween Jacko

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Having a hard time making new costumes for Target's toddlers for 2014. It especially difficult when redesigning something so traditional like a pumpkin costume. I believe I have designed over 20-30 pumpkin costumes for babies, toddlers, adults and pets over the past 8 years. Coming up with something fresh, new and cost efficient is a big challenge. 

Jacko, sketches in pencil, colored in marker and inked with a black brush pen
When trying to clear my mind, I usually create new characters in hopes that doing so it may inspire a new look for Halloween costumes. I feel it's important to step away from the work when faltering and look elsewhere. Sometimes the slightest things can help inspire new concepts and great designs.

Because of this sketch, i'm thinking of making a Jack O' Lantern design for toddlers . . . hopefully it'll look interesting when I'm finished.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Daily Quick Sketch: Scare D. Kattz

I've been working on Halloween designs and also just purchased a set of 24 color markers from Spectrum. Like Copic markers - these are alcohol based. Unlike Copic markers, these were 24 color markers for about $40. So, since Halloween is approaching, I did a black cat character to test out these new markers.
Scare D. Kattz
There is a quality difference with the Spectrum markers. The blend/bleed of their markers isn't as fluid as the Copic markers. The ink does blend, but they seem to go on dryer. Also, a big difference is that the Spectrum markers simply have a fine point end and a chiseled flat end; no brush point, which sacrifices a lot of control.

Comparing the high quality + costly Copic markers with the low-cost Spectrum markers
Note Copic's brush tip; this provides much more control for the ink and line 
I found if I color in small areas and also use a circular motion with the pen, I can fill an area evenly.  Not as easy as using a Copic marker - but doable. Then going over the area again, once it is dry, allows making layers of shading.  I still need time to really get the control of these pens, and while they aren't the best in the market, they are affordable and well worth using for color comps and sketching.

Comparing the Gelly Roll vs. SoufflÄ› white pens for highlights and touch-ups


After seeing many great artists using this white pen, I had to try Mitsubishi's White pen. By far a better quality white pen than the Gelly Roll 08. Major reason is the ink flow. Gelly Rolls eventually start to dry out at the tip and the flow of ink starts to clot. The Mitsubishi pen flows with ease. So, while Gelly Roll is a good white pen -- I recommend the Mitsubishi White pen (UM-153, available at

Some example scribbling and signatures using the Mitsubishi White pen on a black surface

Also, I may have mentioned this before. For final highlighting and touch-ups, I use the Gelly Roll White #08 pen. This is a very impressive pen and the coverage of the white gel ink is fantastic. But be aware, the company also makes a similar looking white pen with another line of their pens called SoufflÄ›. These pens go on very wet and are not opaque at all. (I have a color set of these pens and have no idea what to use them for -- pretty worthless. Be warned!)

Added witch hat to Scare D.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Illustration Friday: Creature II

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: CREATURE

I usually never submit two images to the IF website, but I couldn't help also send this "monsta" from over a year ago. This creature was made by playing around with the fur brush in SketchBook Pro -- so it's really just a doodle.

This creature was made on June 9th, 2012, which was before I created my eBook character, Bladimir Blarfarg around Dec. 2012. Though I can't prove it, I think subconsciously this little guy was the inspiration to creating Bladimir.

Close-up cropped image of the the original doodle sketch "Fuzzy Monsta"
There's are definite signs of Bladimir here; the horns, blue fur, wide mouth, stocky body with small arms and legs. But you have to admit, he's got too much of a creepy factor to be used for a children's story. Kids probably would still like this creature -- but to properly market a book for success - you need to appeal to the parents, since they are the paying buyers. You also need a universal appeal and lil' Fuzzy here just wouldn't work on that level. So ol' Fuzzy Monsta here was never considered for the eBook. (Sorry dude)

You can see the complete original full body doodle of Fuzzy Monsta here:

Illustration Friday: Creature

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: CREATURE

As previously mentioned, I've been swamped with work lately, so I haven't been submitting illustrations to the website Illustration Friday for weeks now.
Fortunately, this week's word is easy for me to submit past works.

Bladimir, the Blogdunsta from the upcoming eBook "Bladimir Blarfarg and the Worm Wire Glasses".

Thought Process:
Not much thought process to this submission, my first thought to the word CREATURE is obviously going to be the creature I've been working on for the past year. I simply submitted one of my illustrations from my eBook, 
Bladimir Blarfarg and the Worm Wire Glasses".

(Sidenote: Noticed that the font I picked has a "y" that looks like a "g" - I'm constantly seeing "Tiny Legs" in the lower right corner read as "Ting Legs". Even though that does bother me, I like this font's style since it goes so well with the mood and character of the story.)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Update: Current Situation with Publishing

Bit of Background Info
As you may notice, I'm way behind on posting anything lately due to my current workload. As a designer for products that are mostly geared for the seasonal holidays, tis' the season when I lose my mind.

Because of this heavy workload: I haven't posted here, I haven't had time to work on my books and the deadline was missed for getting my ebook completed in time for Halloween. I should have realized I couldn't handle everything at once.

The work continues, but just at a slower pace.

Delayed - pushed back to Spring 2014

eBooks: Like it or not, this is the future of publishing.I still want to print my 2nd book, Bobby's Ginormous Jelly, as a softbound edition. But currently, the financial cost of doing so is not the best strategy.
So, the printed sequel is now on hold and I'm looking at doing the Halloween eBook first as a better solution. 
Doing an eBook is not only cost-friendly, it is also storage, distribution and inventory friendly.

Missed deadline - release expected in a few months

For the sequel (Bobby's Ginormous Jelly): I have the story written, sketched and story boarded, but I'm no where near inking and coloring the finished pages. So I'm delaying the book until Spring 2014. Hopefully I can also save enough money to publish the 2nd book by then without feeling it in the wallet.

For the eBook (Worm Wire Glasses): I've several pages finished, but many other pages are still not completed.

To be honest, I need time to really decide how the eBook will look and work on various tablets, phones and iPads. Then there finding the markets (Amazon, iTunes, etc.) that will carry the eBook, each having their rules, pricing and formats that need to be applied to published the eBook online proplerly. It's a learning process which I should be taking more time to study.

Once the eBook is finished and ready to go online, I will post it right away.
Though it's a story that happens on Halloween, it's really a fun story about a monster that'll read well year round. My plan is to release it first as a standard ebook, at a low retail price (or possibly free) and then later develop a deluxe version with animation, sound effects, narration and interaction for next Halloween.

Enough talk . . . back to work!