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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Last of The InkTober Drawings

Although InkTober is over I still have seven more pages to fill up in my InkTober sketchbook. I will continue with the ink drawings until that sketchbook is full and then I think I will take the month of November to get back into watercolor painting.

The last of the InkTober drawings on the upper left was done on Halloween so I thought Frankenstein was an appropriate subject.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

InkTober Coming To A Close

InkTober is almost over. Its been fun although a bit of a struggle to keep up with. There have been some drawings that I never posted because I wasn't entirely happy with them, like the two drawings on the left,

What I liked most is being able to do these drawings while trying out different techniques and still thinking there is more stuff I would like to try.

Doing the ink drawings was fun but it's been a while since I did any kind of painting. I did this quick watercolor sketch on one sleepless night.
I wonder if I should make the following month a time where I concentrated on watercolor painting.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Some More #InkTober Drawings

I have been enjoying taking the time this month to do an ink drawing a day and post it on social media for InkTober. The frustrating thing is that I am always pressed for time.

There were times when I scraped the drawing I started and began working on another one. They weren't terrible, just maybe uninteresting. Or maybe they weren't that great.

I think that after the month is over I may have a second look at the batch of drawings and do some over.

The two drawings on the left are ones that I never posted.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

From Sketch To Final Illustration

The illustration on the top left started out as a thumbnail sketch done in Sketchbook Pro which I used for a pen and ink drawing for InkTober,

Because I had originally intended for it to be a colored piece I scanned the drawing and colored it in Sketchbook Pro.

This is the thumbnail sketch done in Sketchbook Pro.
Sketchbook Pro is a great program to use to sketch out ideas and of course to complete the illustration. I could have done the whole thing digitally but part of the fun of InkTober ( the month of October is used to make an ink drawing a day and post it on social media with the hashtag #InkTober- the brain child of Jake Parker) is to make these drawings with a brush, pen and ink.

There were four big artistic influences for this illustration. William Stout, James Gurney, Ricardo Delgado and Hokusai.

The Ink drawing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

InkTober 2015

All though InkTober has been going on for sometime this is the first year I've heard of it. Thanks to posts on social media by artist friends eagerly anticipating the start of the month of October I was able to learn about it.

Started in 2009 by artist Jake Parker InkTober is a month long commitment to draw in pen and ink everyday and post the drawings online via blog or social media with the hashtag #InkTober. It is an event in which artist from all over the world participate in.

I am having a great deal of fun making these drawings and keeping with the schedule of posting them everyday on my Facebook page.

Pen and ink was a favorite medium as a kid. At first I was trying to imitate the drawings I saw in comics, especially the drawings of John Buscema inked by Alfredo Alcala in Savage Sword of Conan for Marvel Comics. Other artist influences followed like Bernie Wrightson and several of the artist from the Warren Magazines. Then I discovered the pen and ink artist of the past like Franklin Booth, Charles Dana Gibson, Joseph Clement Coll,etc.

Although I don't use the medium as often as I used to It is still one that I love to this day.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Warm Up Sketches

There are lots of warm up sketches that I make in-between deciding what to do next. Some are really silly, some are pretty bad and some become a little bit more involved then intended but all are fun, not taken seriously. Pretty much they were done to keep my hand moving and my mind thinking. I obviously used reference on the sketch of Captain Kirk..

All of these were done in Sketchbook Pro because its pretty easy to sit in front of my monitor and just start to sketch- no set up, no clean up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Digital Painting Civil War Scene

One day I am going to be able to afford a 21 inch screen Cintiq tablet. Until then I will have to struggle with the 12 inch screen that I work with. The great advantage to the Cintiq is that you can draw right unto your monitor with the pen that comes with the tablet. But it becomes a challenge for me to zoom in and out of the image to work on the details. I would rather look at the whole image at once as much as possible. This is not such a problem when doing portraits or sketching but when I work on a piece with several figures in an environment it becomes a bit more difficult. Not impossible but annoying.

I have for the most part avoided anything to complicated in my digital work for this reason. Then I get the urge to want to do a bit more. I could work the painting out with oil or gouache (might still do that) but that is a matter of time and space and both are in short supply at the present.

So I tackled this Civil War painting on my little Cintiq. The painting came about as a result of spending some hours watching Ken Burns Civil War documentary and reading the novel 'The Killer Angels' by Michael Shaara.

The following images show the progression from the beginning, middle and end stages but all in all there were about 23 different sessions on the computer as I worked on the painting as time permitted. I include also a time lapse video showing the work at the end of each stage,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Having Some Fun With Self Portraits

The self portrait does not always have to be introspective, it can be fun and silly. It can be serious or a caricature and either way you can always learn from doing one.


John Singer Sargent
Rembrandt made many self portraits showing some kind of emotion or posed as some sort of character as in the etching of a beggar.

 The painter John Singer Sargent also painted a wonderfully simple caricature self portrait onto an wooden cigar box lid.

I decided to have some fun with doing a few self portraits myself. I painted myself as a pirate Top,left), as a cowboy and I also did a quick cartoon self portrait. All in fun and all for practice. They were done in Sketchbook Pro. Included below is a video I posted on my YouTube Channel showing the process of painting the Pirate Self Portrait.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Works In Progress

Every now and then I leave a trail of unfinished work that I try to make time to get back to. Although it's annoying to not finish what I started it's a better problem than not working at all either because I have no clue what to do next or there are too many of life's distraction preventing me from working.
I would still like to bring these things to completion though and not finishing is a bad habit to have.

The following are some works in progress which I hope to finish by the end of this month.

These were started in ArtRage, except for the Civil War painting which was done in Sketchbook Pro.