Wednesday, January 27, 2016

From Roughs To Finished Illustration

How did I arrive at the finished illustration on the upper left?

First it was a fun story to illustrate about a rescue mission gone wrong in the amazon and how the rescuer was able to complete his mission and survive. It was like a pulp adventure story based on a real life story. I was asked to illustrate three scene's, in this one I had to illustrate the main character evading a charging crocodile.

I provided three rough sketches for the scene. All of them were done in Sketchbook Pro. I had a tight deadline and the fastest way I could work this sketch is by doing it digitally.

The editor picked the rough in the center (B).

I took that rough and enlarged it in Sketchbook Pro and began to develop the drawing further. I had more reference for the crocodile than I did for the male figure so a lot of this was from imagination.

I took a few tries at refining the mans pose.

 After I was satisfied with the pose I placed the figure on a separate layer from the crocodile and the background and began to paint.

I painted the illustration in the manner I always paint using Sketchbook Pro. I did not save the steps in the painting from start to finish but I have many videos on YouTube like the one bellow where I show and explain how I work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Sketch Before I Fall Asleep

One of the things that I am determined to do is draw everyday. Some days are harder than others though. Sometimes after a long day at work, I come back home to see my son in my chair on my computer,  or I have to  help my son out either with his Spanish homework or some other need. I also need to spend some time with my wife and my other son. Then I'm exhausted.

I know whatever I sketch at that point isn't going to look very good and that I would be relying on imagination and memory rather than drawing from observation or at least a photo reference. Some of these just look awful, but I need to do it. My drawing is better when I do it consistently. I also begin to grapple with my weaknesses in drawing which I can't do if I don't draw everyday.

So these are my emergency end of the day I got to get this in before I fall asleep sketches.

I used a photo for this watercolor sketch of my wife.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thumbnails and Warm Up Sketches

I am currently working on an illustration assignment which promises  to be a lot of fun.
First off it's a three part story which requires one illustration for each part. Secondly it takes place in the Amazon so it reminds me of some pulp adventure story ( even though it's based on real life events).

The first illustration finds the main character in a helicopter on a search and rescue mission. What I was asked to do was to have the main character in this helicopter with a chainsaw and the pilot passing a gun to him, the lush Amazon jungle in the background. As I read the story I saw that someone other than the pilot had handed him the gun. I let the Art Director know this and he said I was right and he would get back to me. As I waited I did another thumbnail sketch of the pilot pointing out to the forest and the main character looking in that direction (top left), I sent it off and the Art Director responded with a lets go with that.

Next step was to make a bunch of warm up sketches where I would try and determine their poses and the style I was going to use for the illustration. I don't worry about a personal style so much as I am concerned  with a style that looks right for the story. In this case I'm thinking of some type of pulp or adventure illustration- dry brush or pen and ink. Similar also to the Marvel Comics black and white magazines (Doc Savage, Savage Sword of Conan, etc.)

The first group of sketches I made I numbered each sketch to show the changes in styles that I had made. I also needed to do these warm up sketches to shake the rust off of not having drawn like this for a little while as well as to get some direction as to how I was going to do this assignment- pen and ink and water color or pen and ink and digital color. I have not decided yet on either approach.

I'm already working on the final illustration. This stage has proved to be a lot of fun already.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Making The Most Out Of The Little Time I Have

  The holidays have kept me away from my paint brushes so that all I've been able to do are a bunch of sketches here and there. Some done on the train, others from a photograph or my imagination. I have only a couple of hours a day to do something so I settled on doing these sketches to make sure that I don't let the day go by without drawing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Watercolor Painting - Elation, Deflation and Moving On

I just took a seventeen day vacation from work which I happily spent painting several watercolors. One of the challenges that I face is the inconsistency of my work which I blame on three things 1- needing more discipline as I work. What I mean is the basics, looking, working slow and deliberately, measuring my drawing, just thinking everything through., 2- Lack of time. Having to work a 9 to 5 as well as dealing with challenges at home make some days too difficult to overcome the shortage of time., 3- Its just where I'm at in my growth as an artist and the only way to get pass that is to keep working.

Having these seventeen days off helped to take away the problem of not having enough time. I decided to work in watercolor for the time I was off from work. I decided on a series of family portraits working first on a painting of my wife then my two boys and myself. After I finished those I painted a nude and another portrait of my wife, In these paintings I solved the challenge (for the time being) of the lack of time, I struggled with the discipline and in the end I was initially excited with the results then after a while I wasn't sure how I felt about the paintings. Maybe the drawing was slightly off or the washes of color were too purplish or I tried to render too much. I started to feel a bit deflated, like my best effort was wasted. But I can honestly say
it was my best effort  so I have to settle with this is just where I am at right now and have to move on from there. That helps me to feel better about the work and look forward to the next painting, another opportunity to do better.

Monday, November 23, 2015

My Book Of Pen And Ink Drawings

 I have neglected this blog a bit because I have been putting a book together collecting the ink drawings I did for the InkTober challenge. In the book I also included a number of drawings I did before and after InkTober.

I waited till I got a physical copy to review before I posted about it. I was very happy with the print quality and also happy I was able to keep the cost down to $14.99.

The book is available on the Blurb website. You can click the link below to view the entire book.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Putting On A Teachers Hat

I made the sketch of the little bust on the upper left to show what I have been using as a drawing aide for my son. My youngest son want's to go to the high school I attended, Art and Design in New York City. Up until now he has been drawing manga and video game characters as well as making short animations using ToonBoom software and an app on his Nintendo 3DS. He has really taught himself how to animate, reading books and watching videos on the subject. But now the challenge for him is to draw from life. One of the the things he will be doing in order to get into the school is, along with presenting a portfolio, drawing from a model which the school will provide- he has to audition to get in to the school. We're on shaky ground here. Cartoon characters is one thing.... well this is going to challenge and help develop his ability, so I put on my teachers hat.

Here is an example of the type of drawings my son loves to do. He got this far by buying books on drawing manga characters.

What I had decided to do is use that little bust to start off. With it I had hoped to show him how to observe big shapes. First observing and understanding the shape of the head and the approximate placement of the features and then describing everything with light and dark. Not being concerned with details but describing what he sees with broad patterns of shadow. In this way we study proportion, placement of the features and light and dark values to describe the object.

He didn't do to bad for his first time drawing like this. On the bottom left I have the first two drawings he did in his sketchbook of the bust. I placed the pages side by side. On the drawing labeled 1 I gave him a lot of help. I drew over his drawing, showing him  how to look at the objects shape and direction of light and to avoid relying on line to describe detail. On the drawing labeled 2 I let him draw on his own. He's headed in the right direction.

My plan is to repeat this everyday using other objects as well and also having my wife sit for us and I can also sit for him. At some point propping up a mirror and having him do a self portrait would be a good idea, but that will be on the third week.