Monday, July 25, 2016

Testing Out Some Custom Photoshop Brushes I Recently Purchased

Finished an illustration assignment this past weekend and I thought I knew what I wanted to do afterwards but when I sat in front of my drawing board I drew a blank. Hate when that happens.

In order to not waste away the weekend I started drawing on my tablet using some custom brushes I purchased on a website. They were Photoshop brushes and I got them from a site put up by an ex Disney animator named Aaron Blaise. He has a wonderful site where there are both paid and free tutorials and you can purchase custom brushes for Photoshop.

It's been a while since I've used Photoshop. The new brushes were a nice experience.

You can check out Aaron Blaise's website here

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Sketches In Gouache

During the work week there are two times I reserve for painting or drawing. During my lunch hour at work and the few hours I have before I go off to bed when I get home.

The timing does not always work out. Sometimes there are things to get done or other needs but it is a schedule I try to stick to.

Unfortunately that schedule (as well as limited space) has kept me from working on something more than small color sketches in watercolor, gouache, pencil or pen and ink. Would love to have the time and space to use oil paints and work on something larger. I like using the gouache medium because it is somewhere between oils and watercolor in that I can use water as a thinner like watercolors and I can also work in layers covering the paint underneath like oils. Its also quick to
clean up.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Random Sketches

Wish I had time to do more but it seems all that I have been able to do of late are these sketches done either on my lunch hour at work or at the end of the day before I've turned in. On the weekend I was also taking a coding class but that's done with now.

At one point I really felt that it was important that I do something daily- a painting or a drawing even if it only amounted to a sketch. Now I really feel that I want to do something more but all that I have managed so far are a bunch of sketches.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Some Suggested Paper And Boards For Gouache

This was painted on Arches 140 lb. cold pressed

Buy the best materials you can afford. That was what I was told when I went to the High School of Art and Design in New York City. I keep that practice up to this day accept that sometimes I do go beyond what I can truly afford or sometimes I stock up on brushes, papers and paints when I catch a sale. The best materials don't make one a Rembrandt of course but painting is hard enough already without having to struggle with cheap supplies.

When to the ideal paper for painting in gouache I want to work on something that I feel I can fully exploit the medium. I like a surface with some tooth. I want to be able to apply the paint in thin glazes or stains  as well as thick enough to coat the colors underneath. The paint allows for some glazing and scumbling or dry brush but you have to be careful not to reactivate the area you are painting over. The paper should also be a bit heavy or thick.
This was painted on Arches Art Board

The following are some of the papers I really enjoyed using for painting in gouache. The also contain links to where the product can be found on line.

1) Arches Watercolor Papers. Any good brand of watercolor paper would do. I usually paint on cold pressed 140 lb. or 300 lb. weight paper.
2) Arches Art Board. Basically a quality rag illustration board.
3) Rives BFK Paper. A really great print making paper that works equally well for painting and drawing.
4) Stonehenge Kraft Paper. 100% cotton (rag) paper.
This was painted on Rives BFK Paper

This was painted on Stonehenge Kraft Paper

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lunch Hour and Late Evening Sketches

I work a 9 to 5 and occasionally get freelance illustration work. Finding time to paint at home (personal work) can sometimes take some tweaking of time and I have to watch don't allow myself to get distracted. But at work I am guaranteed two fifteen minute breaks and an hour lunch break and I almost always make the most of that time.

 I either take out my sketchbook or grab some loose paper and sketch either from imagination or reference that I have on my computer. Also I've taken to doodling while I am on the phone or waiting as some work is printing (I operate a digital press).

Mediums vary but I mostly use a pencil or a pen. Sometimes I take the drawings home and finish them up there. A good many wind up in the garbage though.

Once I get home I also like to work in either watercolor or gouache before I turn in.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Starting A New Sketchbook

That first page in my sketchbook can be a bit intimidating. I guess it helps my confidence to start with a good drawing on the very first page. Then of course it makes the next page a bit of a challenge to follow up.

 These are the first two drawings in a brand new sketchbook. I used a photo for reference on both though I exaggerated and changed the one of the old man a good deal. The other is a photo of my wife that I took.  They were done on my lunch hour at work so I spent about a half an hour on each. I used water soluble pencils and a brush pen filled with black ink on both drawings.
They are not perfect drawings of course but they seem like a pretty good start to continue to return to my sketchbook and try to out do what I did on the previous sketch.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Some Character Studies For An E. A. Poe Story

I am an illustrator. The title includes being able to do a lot of other things that have become a specialization. The title of character designer has become one of those specializations but if one is illustrating a story character design is one of the preliminary steps in finishing a project. Of course you have to design the character and it must be consistent through out the story. The more drawings or paintings you have to do for a particular project the more important this becomes.

As a personal project I wanted to illustrate some of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories. I am starting with The Tell Tale Heart. Just two characters I have to flesh out (plus some minor characters) and I've nearly filled up a sketchbook trying to pin down what I think they should look like.

First problem is that I haven't decided if I'm going to make it sequential art or individual illustrations or maybe even motion graphics (limited animation). I am leaning towards comic panels.

Then I haven't decided if I should make them realistic or cartoony. As a cartoon I can exaggerate and be very expressive pushing beyond what it would appear like realistically. If I choose to do it realistically I think there is more of a connection or nearness that makes it seem more horrific and gritty and,I think, more of the stories original intent.

Here are a number of the sketches I did for the two main characters in the Tell Tale Heart. If you like to comment on what you think of the different versions please do so.