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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

UPDATE: #INKtober 2015 No.22: Batman vs Baseball

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 23rd, 2015
For #22 of the INKtober drawings, I couldn't help but go back to Batman.
Intober #22: Inked with brush pen and digitally toned in Photoshop

The original pencil sketch

The inked image sans type and gray tones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Daily Sketches: Sweet Tooth Reaper and Post Inktober Comments

Well, I wasn't able to complete the entire month of Inktober. This is the most stressful and demanding time of the year in my line of work. I actually worked several 18+ hour days to reach deadlines. It's mentally and physically exhausting, especially when considering that the same similar holiday designs are needed over and over each year.

In times of a better economy, designers can experiment more, take risks and do ideas never seen before. But it's the opposite in our current poor economy. Retail store buyers want the same price and quality products as their previous years - while the manufacturers face inflation to materials, labor, safety regulations and shipping costs. As a designer, I must help create sensible high-quality designed items that don't cost more to create.

Anyway, my job took over all of my spare time and pretty much burnt me out. I have many doodles and sketches that could have worked for Inktober, but for legal reasons I can not share those on the blog. But there are a few loose images that were not used for my job. I will throw a few of these sketches up on the blog as I get the time; like the one seen below. Many of these are related to Halloween given that it was around that time when they were created.

This image was created using pencils and Copic markers with light highlight Gelly Roll pen

Thursday, October 22, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.21: Iron Baby

For this drawing, #21 for INKtober, I wanted to experiment with a few new brush pens I bought on Amazon. I've been seeing other artists' using different pens and I wanted to try a few and compare them to what I've been using. 

The image below was a pencil doodle of a baby Iron Man. I inked over the pencils using a Tombow N15 brush pen and then colored with a Tombow N60. Note: The pens have two ends, one end is the brush tip and the other end is a normal fine point marker tip.
INKtober image #21: Pencilled and then inked using TomBow N15 and N60 brush pens
For most of these INKtober images, I have been using a Faber Castell SB brush pen.
The ink in that pen is solid black, good coverage, ink dries instantly and the brush nib is very flexible.

The Tombow N15 I used for this image had several issues. The ink was not a solid black as with the Faber-Castell SB. The ink didn't dry quickly, smeared and when used with a second marker the black line blended into the lighter gray marker. These pens also create bands and lines when coloring, typically seen with most water-based markers. The Tombow brush pens are definitely not the quality level of Copic markers for coloring.

The lower two pen brushes were used to create the Iron Baby image seen above

The only plus to the Tombow pens is that the brush nib is very long, extremely flexible and durable. It can definitely take more pressure, allowing more control for thin to thick lines. It seems like the tips of these pens are made of a strong poly-fibre and will hold it's point much longer than the Faber Castell SB. I really like the line control with these pens, but the ink needs a lot of improvement.

Comparing the two brush pen nibs

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.20: Zombie Meets Mummy

I wasn't into doing this drawing today, too much on my plate and I'm not really feeling that well. BUT . . . I pushed on and did this quick drawing anyway.

The classic Hollywood mummy is really the first zombie-like monster in my memory.
There are many similarities: being undead, groaning, groping, limping, feet shuffling and of course all the killing. Both are chemically stimulated back to life: One via mystic embalming fluids while the other through radioactive disease.

The differences? One is based on science, the other is mysticism. One chokes people, the other eats people.
INKtober image #20: using a new brush pen Tombow N15 and toned digitally via Photoshop

So what would happen if a zombie crossed a mummy? Does the zombie ignore the mummy just like it ignores all other undead? I figure since the scent of the mummy's blood would not be the same as a normal human's blood, I think zombies would ignore all mummies.
The original image of just the inking

In turn, the classic mummy would probably attack any zombie within its sight. The classic mummy seemed to have that desire to simply choke anything in it's path. Modern day movies have made mummies much smarter and more powerful through magic.
For me . . . the ol' limping, stiff-limbed mummy is still my favorite.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.19: Batman Bat'room

For the 19th image of INKtober, I decided to do a day-in-the-life cartoon of Batman.
I believe some of the best cartoons about Batman have been the ones from the perspective of Batman doing everyday common things. And who doesn't like a little bathroom humor too?
Inktober #19: Drawn with a pen brush and colored with Photoshop
I had a little problem figuring out the composition for this cartoon. Most of this image was done in parts, so that I could move them around in Photoshop until I found the right layout that worked.

Inked version sans the type and color

It might seem simple, but much had to be considered.  The toilet needed to be seen enough to instantly know it was a toilet, all of the text had to flow a certain ways and I toned down the wackiness of Batman so that he was more simple and easily identified.

The original pencil sketch of Batman sitting on the throne
Originally I was going to add pupils to his eyes so that his eyes would direct the flow of reading the cartoon. But leaving the eyes blank seemed funnier since it creates a more brooding expression. Brooding on the toilet = more funny.

Monday, October 19, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.18: Lone Ranger VS. The Wolfman

The 18th image for this year's INKtober is my childhood memory of The Lone Ranger.
Maybe it was just a coincidence that I found out around the same time that: #1.) The Wolfman could be killed with a silver bullet, and #2.) The Lone Ranger used only silver bullets.
I guess in my head I thought, "Why would the Lone Ranger use such bullets unless he intended to hunt down the Wolfman?"
Inktober image #18: inked with a pen brush and toned in Photoshop

Funny though, the recent Lone Ranger movie starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, originally had the Ranger fighting werewolves in the script. Those werewolves were eventually replaced with train fights. Knowing how the movie flopped, I'm guessing the movie would have been more successful if those original werewolves were included!

The inked version of the drawing, sans type and tones

Original Pencil Sketch

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.17: Peanuts Confidential

This INKtober image is yet again inspired by my thoughts as a young kid. It always bothered me that the adults in the Peanuts cartoons were never seen. I was freaked out whenever the teachers spoke on the cartoon shows. Sure it was funny . . . but also quite eerie, especially when as a child one would try to envision what those teachers + parents looked like whenever they spoke.

INKtober image #17: Using a SB brush pen on Canson marker paper and digitally toned in Photoshop.

So this was my conclusion . . . a very rare skin disease that occurs during puberty. I would imagine the entire Peanuts' community was under quarantine and under the watch + care of the U.S. military. If fact, I'd imagine it was the US military that gave these sick people the cruel and heartless code-name: "PEANUTS".

The inked version sans all the type

With this theory, it all made sense. It explained why the adults were never seen on the cartoon shows and why all of the adults spoke so strangely due to their enclosed and hardened mouths. Makes total sense to me . . .

The original pencil sketch

#INKtober 2015 No.16: Moon Ride (Halloween in 2 weeks)

No joke today for INKtober #16.
This was an image I sketched quite some time ago for a Halloween Trick or Treat bag. It was a very rough idea that I decided wasn't going to work for my client. I have made many sketches like this just laying around. Even though this might be a nice concept image - it just doesn't fit into what retailers want to sell on the market.

INKtober #16 using a very soft bristle brush pen and Photoshop digital toning

 I used a much softer bristle brush pen for this image. Notice how the lines are more flexible and loose since the bristle tend to bend much easier with the slightest pressure. The result is a more interesting line that feels much more playful and relaxed. Just for added effect, I decided to add the burst of orange tone in the background to make the image stand out.
Inked version of the image

The original rough sketch that was done in pencil (and bit of gray marker on the hat)

Friday, October 16, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.15: Pumpkin Head

For Inktober image #15, I wanted to do something a little different.
I wanted to demonstrate how the meaning of words can be altered by associating them with an image. In this case, the lyrics from a popular Christmas song, which in my opinion always had a creepy vibe.

So the next time you hear that Christmas song, maybe you'll remember this little experiment -- and hopefully I haven't ruined that song for you . . . (snicker).

The original image sans words.
Inked with a SB brush pen on toned paper and colored with markers and highlighted with a white opaque pen.
The original pencil sketch

#INKtober 2015 No.14: Godzilla OOPS!

Continuing with this year INKtober images and my childhood thoughts about monsters.
I LOVED giant monsters! I can still remember rushing home after school with my best friend Joe to watch the 4:30 movie on ABC (Channel 7.)
Several times a year, Channel 7 would run Monster Week. Sometimes it was the classic Universal Pictures monster movies like The Mummy or Frankenstein -- but the best was Giant Monsters week!
One thing that confused us as kids was why in some movies Godzilla was good and in others he was bad. In the original Godzilla movie - he's bad. In Destroy All Monsters - he's good. In King Kong vs. Godzilla - he's bad. Godzilla vs. Ghidorah - he's good. So confusing . . . 
So my friend and I came to a conclusion that Godzilla is never bad, he's just misunderstood. His size is threatening and causes damage, so the military has to step in. If Godzilla just stayed home on Monster Island, none of this conflict would have ever happened. So he is basically guilty of having a curiosity that has made him wander -- which got him into a whole lot of trouble.
One last note: If you haven't heard -- there is a re-make of King Kong vs. Godzilla in the works and set for 2020. I'm not a fan of re-makes . . . But I have to admit that is something I would like to see.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.13: Dracula - Sans Cape

Next in my line of INKtober 2015 submissions is good ol' Dracula. Like many of these inked cartoons I have been doing, this one goes back to my childhood where I wanted to absorb all stories about monsters, aliens, mythology and the unknown. I believe it's what drove me to be creative, to ponder and question the impossible and somehow make it seem like it could be real.
INKtober #13: using Ink brush pen and digitally toning in Photoshop
I still remember images of Bela Lugosi's Dracula holding out his cape and transforming into a bat. It was a very impressive visual effect for the time. But then came the questions . . . so the cape melds and becomes a part of his biological bat form? What is the cape made of? Can any cape be used in this fashion? What if Dracula decided to transform into a bat but forgot to wear his cape?

Inked version without gray toning
Notice below that I changed the angle of the original sketch. I felt rotating the bat so that he was looking and facing downward was better to convey that he was in fact falling.
Original light pencil sketch

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.12:T-Rex Hand Satnd

Here's submission number #12 for INKtober. This one I had in the back of my head for some time. It simply follows the comedic formula of T-Rex + Small Arms = Funny.

INKtober 2015 12th submission, draw with a pen brush and digitally shaded
I wanted to add a prehistoric background, but I have been very busy with work. I might return and update this image when I get the time. This image needs just a little bit of background to give it proper placement which will help identify the character better.
The Inked version without shading
The original pencil sketch. Notice the tongue was left when I was inking since
its placement was not the best for the composition (and just didn't look right.)

#INKtober 2015 No.11: Pumpkin Spice

Almost didn't post this one. It didn't turn out the way I imagined it. Somehow it seemed funnier on my head. I feel this could have been better, but my workload is getting very heavy lately - so it shows in this INKtober submission.
I like the character, but my idea of a joke is definitely weak. If I had the time, I'd do this one all over again.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.10: Half-Lit Lantern Fish

This No. 10 image for INKtober is inspired by one of the creepiest looking fish in the world: the deep sea Lantern Fish.

I've always imagined that a lantern fish would probably lose its mind having a bright light shining in front of its face, deep within the dark ocean depths.

INKtober #10 submission with digital shading

INKtober #10 submission with just the Ink

Original pencil sketch, notice the fish looked too long, so the height was adjusted when inking

Saturday, October 10, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.9: Hunchback of Dingleberries

INKtober submission #9:

Thinking of monsters from my childhood past, I started thinking about the popular breakfast cereal monsters of the time . . . Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Boo Berry, etc.  So I started to imagined what monsters were rejected from having their own cereal.

 INKtober's submission #9 including some digitally coloured grey shading via Photoshop

Just the inked image for INKtober's submission #9 using a brush pen

Those paying attention might start to notice the repeat appearance of the little space gnat/fly. I'm planning to use this little character in about 1/3 of the images throughout the month and then end the event with an image feature this little insectoid character. 
The original pencil sketch (including the written text)

Friday, October 9, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No.8: King Kong + the Empire State Building

For those keeping counts . . . Here's INKtober No.8!
This one goes back to my childhood memories of watching all the big ape movies around Thanksgiving. King Kong is often portrayed hanging from atop the Empire State Building -- that image is as iconic as the film itself. But let's face it, the radio antenna on top the Empire State Building is not made of titanium people!
INKtober 2015 image #8 inked then gray tones added in Photoshop
For creating this image, I needed to work in several steps.
First, I needed to make a picture of the Empire State Building in cartoon form. The goal here was to try and capture the characteristics of the building that make it instantly recognizable. If the building is drawn too stiff, detailed or mechanical, it doesn't work with the cartoon. Inking the lines freehand (without a ruler or straight edge) gave the Empire Building a more playful look.
The original inked image without gray tones.
Once the building was sketched, adding the cartoon of King Kong became easier. I also tilted the building to the right to give a better perspective, movement, and energy to the overall image.
Original pencil sketches. Originally two separate images which were combined to create this look.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

#INKtober 2015 No. 6: Darth Vader Gnat Force

No. 6 for this month's INKtober drawing is good ol' Darth Vader. Vader is alway fun to draw since he is such an iconic figure of evil. So this image shows Darth in one of his weaker moments, dealing with an annoying insect.

Inktober 2015 image #6 inked with a brush pen and digitally gray tone coloring

This image above is just the inked lines without digitally coloring

The original pencil sketch