Art Blog


Art Blog

Stories about making things out of nothing.

Sketch: Girl on Vintage Motorcycle

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Sketch: Girl on Vintage Motorcycle

What started as a little warmup sketch became a more involved drawing that took about a half hour. Note to self: don't choose to draw a motorcycle with detail when you just want to draw something quick.

This drawing has been added to my digital sketchbook.

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New: We Bare Bears Backgrounds

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New: We Bare Bears Backgrounds

Cartoon Network's newest animated show, We Bare Bears, premiered July 27th. I was fortunate to freelance background design on several of the first episodes. The show takes place in San Francisco so it's a great fit for my love of drawing cityscapes.

I was trying to get a job on the crew but was their third choice out of two available positions. Oh well. But that made me their top freelance background designer and the work was steady for a few months.

These were designed in autumn of 2014 when We Bare Bears was early in their production. It took 10 months from when I drew some of these until they aired on TV.

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Development Art for Virtual Reality Animation

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Development Art for Virtual Reality Animation

Since these concept drawings were scrapped from the project, I'm going to show them off. They were part of animation storyboard for virtual reality. Y'know, the technology where you wear screens over your eyes and you feel like you're someplace else.

These location drawings are distorted with multiple perspectives to emulate the experience of looking around inside the virtual reality world. It was fun to work with the challenge of a technology I hadn't worked on before. The storyboard itself focused on the character action and not the framing of the scene, since what the viewer sees is up to them. That's why these backgrounds have no sense of cinematic composition.

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Drawing: Woman, Man, Dog

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Drawing: Woman, Man, Dog

I did this drawing to practice rendering more tightly with digital pencil, yet maintain a sketchy, hatched line. It took a long time to finesse the shading and I think a less polished style gets a similar look for much less work. But the point of technique experimentation is to find a mix of comfort zones and boundary pushing. I learned a lot with this one.

I'm quite happy with the final result, especially the character stylization and composition of dark and light shapes. I posted this drawing to my sketchbook gallery.

The rough sketch.

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Jafar as Michael Jackson in Thriller

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Jafar as Michael Jackson in Thriller

Yesterday's topic on Sketch Dailies was Jafar, who happens to be one of my favorite villains. I decided to play along and do a drawing. In looking at his design, his clothing reminded me of Michael Jackson's famous jacket from the Thriller video. An idea was born. A drawing was done.

I posted it on Twitter with this caption:

Though you fight to stay alive, Sketch Dailies starts to shiver.

For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of #Jafar.

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Sketch: Couple Walking Away

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Sketch: Couple Walking Away

I've been sketching a lot of people lately but most have been of a single person not doing much. I want to step it up a notch with more than one person. Character interaction means at least something is going on... like, say, walking arm in arm.

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Web Illustration: Interactive House

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Web Illustration: Interactive House

This piece was commissioned by a company called Simple Energy that helps consumers track their home energy usage. For publication on the web, it is an interactive illustration with parts that when clicked, display more information about that element. In order to design this functionality, the illustration has 2 views: a grayscale version with the clickable parts in color, and the full color piece.

It was complex to design and took a lot of planning for the details to work right. Sections like utilities and entertainment needed to be visually grouped. Small elements had to be made big enough to be clickable. Large elements like the van and pool couldn't be too attention grabbing. I didn't want buttons or other graphics to mess with the artwork which is why color is used to signify where to click when the cursor hovers over it.

I kept the palette simple as not to overly clutter the piece and give it a modern feeling. But I also wanted it to be warm and inviting. It turned out quite slick. While I've illustrated a lot of architecture, the new challenges of this interactive piece made it an exciting project.

The details up close. Click to enlarge.

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Cybill Shepherd Drawing

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Cybill Shepherd Drawing

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a clip of the 1980s hit show, Moonlighting. The nostalgia hit me! I watched the show as a young teen but didn't remember just how striking Cybill Shepherd was. Enter inspiration. This was drawn in Photoshop and is posted in my sketchbook.

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Summer Drink Girl

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Summer Drink Girl

Here's another figure sketch done for practice and fun. I'm quite happy with the digital pencil work on this one. It's got a good balance of outline and shading. More pencil drawings can be found in my sketchbook.

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New: Sketchbook Gallery

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New: Sketchbook Gallery

A new art gallery has been added to my site: the sketchbook, a collection of pencil drawings.

The new sketchbook gallery section.

For several years, I fell from the practice of frequent sketching, something I had always done. This was in part due to becoming more of a digital artist. The use of my paper sketchbooks slowed until I eventually stopped using them. I flexed my creativity and skills in other ways but had ceased to practice much with a pencil.

That changed when I discovered sketching on my iPad, which lead to drawing on my Cintiq. Even though I can create amazing painterly illustrations in Photoshop, I've been focusing on the basics of pencil style drawings. I have a few favorite digital pencils that I've been using for quick sketches and more refined drawings.

I will keep the sketchbook section limited to pencil drawings, both created digitally and on paper. While it is currently mostly figurative work, all digital, I hope for it to grow with a diversity of subjects, styles, and levels of polish.

I photoshopped my digital drawings into a photograph I took of my blank sketchbook.

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Redrawing a Drawing

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Redrawing a Drawing

I originally sketched this girl from a photograph because I liked her hair and pose. The first sketch was a quick one where I didn't even bother to draw the full figure. I think I just wanted to draw her hair. But as I started to get a grasp of the style I've been chasing, I thought to redraw her with a more careful rendering in a more caricatured aesthetic.

Click to enlarge.

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Chasing a Style

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Chasing a Style

For many months, I've had a certain stylization of characters in mind but I've been having trouble capturing it in a drawing. (Who said being a cartoonist is easy?) Chasing this unknown style what many of my recent pencil drawings have been about.

This guy is the first sketch that makes me think I'm finally zoning in on it. I like the combination of the strong cheekbones, nearly non-existent forehead, and protruding lips. Applying a sculptural quality to these graphic stylizations is what makes them work for me in this drawing.

The drawing below was a precursor to the one above. I was figuring things out about facial proportions but I don't feel I pushed it far enough. But I still like the pencil quality and the character overall.

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