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: The latest and last revision to this image (for now.)
Update Text: Keeping the elements I liked from below, I made changes that I felt were not working in the image below:
• Stronger texture highlights were added.
• I felt the sun didn't fit with the style, so I redrew a more textured pencil sun instead.
• The coloring of the sky and water were too similar; adding textured shadows to the water and toning down the blue sky helped create a stronger contrast between the two.
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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 colored 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 out of a 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 - this marker will do the job for a great price. I plan on buying more Premieres 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 traveling 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 a 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 gifts 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 discounts occur around holidays.)

To see all my designs available on - go to: 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.

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