Hang on for Life

I hope he doesn't lose his grip, or it's certain doom. I like the cartoony feel of this sketch. I found that adding a tiny bit of narrative does indeed help me complete a sketch.

There are some anatomy issues going on around the shoulders. While there is nothing wrong with being abstract, you first have to know the rules before you can break them.  Repetition will correct a lot of those issues. Or I could just fix it in Photoshop.  

Bamboo Warrior

Here is a quick sketch of a warrior with a bamboo weapon. There isn't a whole lot to explain here.  The hair style is a bit unorthodox. I've seen styles where the side is shaved, but the rest of the hair is long. Sometimes your character's hair is just as important as the face. Also, I try not to be too gratuitous when drawing women. I want to see variety in shapes, sizes and ages. You know... because the actual world is like that. 


Here is a sketch of a speedster making a hard stop. I'm trying to focus more on good poses that show action and thought. Static poses are fine, but they don't always tell a story. Perhaps if I write a brief, one-sentence bio before I start drawing, that can get the creative juices flowing.  I like that better than having a happy accident. 


This one started off with a few shapes and lines. I added a little detail and it turned into a character. I still have a bad habit of drawing close to the edge of the paper.  Even simple mark making needs to have clear direction of where I want to go. Happy accidents are cool, but I want to be more intentional with my sketches. She reminds me a little of Ororo Munroe. Instead of Storm, I'll call her Breeze. (I'm sure there is a character who already has that name though...)

Tattoo Face

This started off as a simple face sketch.  It looked cool enough to add color.  I snapped a photo of the sketch and brought it into Illustrator.  For anyone that works in vector art, Illustrator added a width tool to CS6.  So instead of having a fixed 1pt stroke, the width tool can make the middle of a stroke wider than the ends.  This gives you the look of a tapered brush stroke.  A word of caution though:  If you use live paint to drop color, do that AFTER you adjust your stroke width.

Glove girl

Here is a quick sketch done with a mechanical pencil and ink.  Now that I look at it, the hands are far too big.  I'm not a big fan of the facial expression either.  I need to spend more time focusing on capturing a full figure that tells a story with the pose.  I may have been hindered by the scale as well.  This was a small area, which makes it hard to get in those facial details.  


In this piece, I am doing more studies on value and tone.  That will also give me a better understanding of foreground, middle ground, and background.  I did a simple Gaussian blur on the landscape to see how that would work.  It's cool for starters, but I would need to add more to it.  I also found out that putting effects on vector art doesn't always work well.  Illustrator can do it, but you'll run into issues trying to open the file in a different version of illustrator.  I think that Photoshop will work better for raster effects.  

The shot at the bottom shows the color version of Tinker Bell.  I like the vector art.  I will probably try working raster next time though.

Tinker Bell Process

The sketch in the top left is what I started with.  As you can see, the lines are really rough and I really didn't know what it would become.  Once I added the wings, I thought that she looked like an edgy, post apolcalyptic Tinker Bell.  The other two sketches show the progression.  In the next version, I want to turn this into vector art and add color.  I know that most artists prefer Photoshop.  However, I use Illustrator every day and like working with vector art.

My Take on Tink

This started off as a figure sitting on a cliff. As I kept adding on the detail, she reminded me of TinkerBell. I'm not too sure about the clothing, particularly the shorts. I may change that by the time I get to a final sketch. 

In this sketch, I added a little more detail.  Gave her a skirt and some boots. The next step will be ink and color.  She will need a nice background as well. 

Cave of Solitude

I wanted to challenge myself to do more studies on value and tone.  It's not enough for me to simply know how to move a character.  I have to understand the environment and how a character moves within it.  It also helps me to plan better shots.  Before starting on a mega-huge-epic matte painting, you have to understand the fundamentals.  This started with a simple sketch I did that looked like an underground cave.   Why not expand on it?  Don't let it sit there in the sketchbook. 

Cave of Solitude

Here is the sketch I started with.

Original Sketch


I was doing random shapes and they turned into a extraterrestrial life form.  He reminds me a little of E.T., at least with the head shape.  The body features were left undefined.  It could turn into something better down the line.  The creature in the bottom right is a weird one.  It has all sorts of different joints.  Trying to figure out what kind of creature I could compare it to just makes my head hurt.  

Wild Hair

In these sketches, I decided to try anything with the hair.  It can look realistic or not at all.  In 2D animation, character designs can be pushed far outside the realm of reality and still work somehow.  I see this a lot in anime.  Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragonball Z, and Pokemon all have these ridiculous hair styles that are nowhere near realistic.  It has become the signature of cartoons like these.  Somehow it works.  I'm glad that its limited animation.  There is no way a traditional animator would want to draw that repeatedly.  The series would never get done.  Most of the hair styles in these sketches are not animator friendly.

Heads To The Sky

Keep Your Head To The Sky is an old song by Earth, Wind & Fire.  It is inspirational because it talks about keeping hope through adversity.  That is how I feel when I look at these sketches.  What are the issues that these characters are dealing with?  It could be fear, depression, or curiosity.  Then again, it doesn't have to be all gloom and doom.  Some of these feelings could be of hope and optimism.  I'm not always conscious of what comes out on a page when I sketch.  Perhaps they are mirrors to what I am feeling at the time.