Monday, May 30, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Baby Elephant

Few years ago, I created a story that needed a small elephant (and several other creatures.) This sketch was one of the first I created trying to develop a look for one of the main characters. While it is a cute elephant, I quickly rejected it because it just wasn't a proper fit for the character of the story.

Digitally colored image made with Photoshop
My overall feeling of this character is that it is too generic. In other words, if I needed to draw many elephants together, this would be the typical look all those elephants would have. A key character needs to have something more.

Original inking of Baby Elephant

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Farmer Pig

Here's a sneak peek at something I've been working on the weekends for quite some time now. This is one of many characters I need to develop for the next book I plan to publish. Of course, that's wishful thinking since it takes years to get anything published, (other than self-publishing which is a quick way to get publish, but a major task to sell books.)
Brush Ink sketch with marker coloring
This sketch is one of about 22 characters I need for the story to work. I'm not quite sold on if this is the style I want the book's characters to look like. I'm moving more towards a thinner line or pencil sketch approach. Still, I like the look of this character, so I think he'll work -- only with a style alteration.

Grayscale version of the sketch

Due to the nature of the story, I don't want to give away too much online. The story I think works on so many levels -- for children and adults. Also, I'm looking to boost the humor level of the characters so that the story doesn't just read funny -- it looks funny too.
Original blue line sketch, created while attending the NYC SCBWI conference in February 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wait - What? #4: Big Hand

This sketch is screwed up because it wasn't fully sketched out before inking. The hand was drawn separately before finishing the character. It's only through sheer laziness that the hand was connected to his body without an arm - which makes a very strange looking image.
Inking before properly correcting a sketch = a very strange large hand
The blue line bunny head sketch seen in this image was not intentional. The page this image was scanned from had many doodles and sketches on it. The cropping of this image makes it look like the bunny is peeking in . . .

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wait - What? #3: Rabbit Thingie?

Here's another strange doodle, seems Rabbit like but also has a Chinchilla feel to it too. This was drawn quite some time ago, so looking at it with "new" eyes this character could easily be changed into a Jackalope by adding antlers on its head.

Weird looking character sketch made with ink pen

Overall, I find this to be a disturbing character -- it's just too weird looking.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Dinosaur + Caveman

Here's another sketch that I had drawn on the back of a checking account printout. Again, I don't really remember doing these characters, just a random drawing. These characters are good enough to keep in my archives, but they still need some work to make them a little more interesting.
Prehistoric characters draw with pencil, ink with brush pen and colored with markers

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wait - What? #2: Cat Dog Mouse?

Here's a sketch without a true identity. Sketching this character without a true plan or direction -- just looking for a different look. The face has a bit of a Snoopy look to it. (The big spot on the back, it's tail and feet too.) There are some aspects of the character I like, but overall, this character needs a complete workover.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Lil' Turtle

Found this little doodle in the back of one of my sketch pads. I don't like this image. It's a great example of what can go wrong with using markers without planning.

The major reason I don't like my sketch is the color. The tone is too dark and muddy. That is a major problem with using markers, you must work light to dark colors. Once that color is down on the paper, that's it. In this case, I was just doodling and experimenting with several new marker colors. Usually, creating a quick color comp or studying a color chart would help prepare for which colors to use.
Quick little marker and brush pen doodle found inside a sketch pad

You can try to paint over and correct a marker color, but my experience is that usually makes a huge mess and ruins the entire image. You could also correct the work in Photoshop or similar programs, But the amount of time it takes for me to clean up an image like this is usually wasted - since re-drawing the image from scratch often improves the overall look and design of the work.

Example of a self-made color chart, one of many I create for each set of markers I own
This chart is a small sample grouping of Premiere alcohol markers

Even the line work bothers me. It's too busy or the head is too angled to be truly cute. The most this doodle will ever be used (if ever) for is for some subtle background, 

One word of advise: If you are considering to try/use markers, especially alcohol based markers, be aware that is it very costly and hard to maintain a good grouping of colors. A typical marker is said to have a 2-year shelf life. And of course, the colors you use the most for backgrounds or characters will need to be refilled often.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Smilin' Lion

Today's quick sketch is a smiling lion. If you want kids to laugh at your character, simply add a big toothy grin -- it seems to work every time. I was looking for a new style of lion's mane for this design, inspired by palm tree leaves . . .

A brush pen and marker drawing of a lion with a big smile
I drew a sketch of this lion several weeks ago when submitting an image for Illustration Friday. I decided to use another lion cartoon that was more comical and standing upright. The pencil sketch was on my desk, so I decided to ink and color the image using a new set of markers I just purchased.

I inked and colored over the pencil line this time, so there is no pencil sketch image this time around.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Another Happy Puppy

It seems the most hits I get on this blog are usually the posts related to dogs, apes and anything about the design process. I don't know why, but the monkey/ape posts are very popular with most hits coming from Asia. But the dog/puppy posts tend to be a consistent favorite and they pop up in the top ten very often.
Digital "Soft Wax Crayon" coloring made on the Surface Pro using ArtRage Pro4

This sketch was something I was playing around with on my Surface Pro. I added wax crayon coloring to the image.

The original digital pencil sketch of another happy puppy (made on a Surface Pro tablet)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wait - What? #1: The Office Monster?

Every once in awhile, I sketch something that I have no idea what it is or why I drew it. Can't explain why this happens. Probably a result of playing around or just looking to create something different. So this is a new category for the blog that I'll label as "Wait - What?"

A pencil marker image of whatever this is . . . 
This guy was in an old sketch book, I do remember drawing it . . . but I can't explain why. A robot head, tentacles and it seems to be wearing some office attire. Maybe an alien disguised as an accountant? Maybe it's a coffee robot? Or some traveling volcano simulator?
I don't know . . . your guess is good as mine. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Daily Quick Sketch: Dog Dress Boat

This is another quick sketch done with the help of the children at Reynolds School. They were asked to name an animal, what is it wearing and what is it doing. The results were: a dog in a dress driving a boat. I had less than 10 minutes, so this sketch looked very rushed and unfinished. Last weekend, I cleaned the line work, erased the scribbles and quickly added digital color to the image.

Digitally colored version created with ArtRage Pro 4
Not having enough time, I added more details later and added several things to make the boat seem to have motion and speed; such as the dress ribbons, flag post and the dog's long ears all flapping in the wind.
The original pencil sketch created for the 1st graders at Reynolds

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old Sketch Found: Dog

UPDATE: Image colored with markers

Inked image colored using Prismacolor Premiere Markers
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I found this very old sketch of a standing dog in a pile of old papers. I have many of these scattered around my office, never really having time to archive my work. Now many of the sketches I make are not really worth keeping, some of it is just not good enough and usually winds up in the garbage. But when a sketch has something worth keeping, I'll be sure to tuck it away somewhere. That's what happened to this image.
The AFTER and BEFORE of a newly found old sketch
I have no idea how old this image is. It was drawn on what seems to be a manila envelope or folder. (Maybe the toll cost in Chicago could be a clue to the year.) Apparently it was the only image worth saving and was torn from the page (or envelope.) So I decided to quickly draw an inking of the sketch and scan it for possible future usage. I've no plan to use this character now, but you never know when an idea might arise and this character could be a perfect choice.