Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Improved Sarah from the Labyrinth

Hey there, Labyrinth fans! Thought I was done with those drawings, eh? I talked to my girlfriend Jen and then got to looking at the Sarah drawing and wasn't satisfied by it. I noticed the previous drawing made her look a bit like a snot nosed little kid. She's 15 in the movie, so I wanted a character that reflected the transitional age. I also like in this drawing that the hair is noticeably disheveled by the orb, which was pretty understated in the original. Finally, I wanted to give a hint that the dress is threatening to swallow her up from being so big and puffy.

Thank you Jen for staying up with me to work on this (she was super tired). <3

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's a Crystal, Nothing More.

...but if you turn it this way, it makes two drawings (had to be done). I think I have a pretty strong foundation here with the drawing and the values. Sarah was definitely the hardest to develop into a drawing, partly because I had trouble getting a likeness that was still in my style. Jareth came naturally because David Bowie is always around me, haha.

I'm imaging a melange of pinks, yellows, and navy blues for the color scheme on both. I think the palette will be the unifying element.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daily Paintings- Giraffe Plush

After being bogged down in my teaching job, I decided to start painting on a daily basis. I made a list of 40 objects around my house with different textures, shapes, and colors. I'm going to try to paint at least 2-3 of these a week. I'm not spending a whole lot of time of them, about an hour for drawing and blocking in color and then an hour for more in depth painting.

Observations on this first painting after my hiatus: I rely on line a lot to define form and I need to kick the habit. I'm pretty good at spotting vibrant colors but have some trouble with subtle variations and more neutral tones. Overall I'm pleased with this two hour painting and look forward to getting better.

Add: these paintings will be done in Photoshop CS4 to begin with, though I'm open to exploring Corel Painter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This is a Pika.

Last year I watched 'Kung Fu Panda' and found that the sensei, Shifu, was a red panda. Red pandas are relatively rare, but my theory is that this animated film sparked interest in the conservation of the animal. All of a sudden I saw red pandas at zoos and my natural science center. Not a coincidence, in my opinion.

So my idea is to read up on animals that are threatened with extinction and create a cartoon version of them. I found this little guy, a relative of the rabbit, called the Pika. The pika thermo-regulates quite well so he doesn't hibernate in the winter. Pikas live in the Rockies on the highest elevations, necessary because they are so warm internally. Global warming is causing them to seek higher elevations to find the cold. The pika really is the canary in the coal mine that is our environment.

I don't have the clout of Dreamworks Animation, but I do think it's good practice to find an animal, do reference sketches of it (see above), and start the design process. My favorite sketches are the ones that abstract enough so you're left with a few basic shapes. I chose my favorite and gave it the color treatment. This painting took about an hour, maybe a bit more.

I plan on finding new animals and going through this process each week, kind of a break from projects I'm working on.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Life Drawings

I draw in a cartoon style, but I don't forget that cartoons are an abstraction. To do abstraction, you have to know the real thing. That's why I regularly draw from life and take reference photos of what I can't draw from memory. My sister and my brother's dog consented to be models. Let me just say that small dogs are very difficult to draw because they don't stay still! He did well, though, and I gave him a treat after.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

iPhone Game Concept Renders (someone donate an iPhone to Tim Mitchell)

Been doing some character designs for an untitled game for the iPhone. Since this is primarily a student project and the production staff is quite small, there's no NDA and I can post these sketches. The premise of the game is a dragon teaching children foreign languages. Here are girl designs. I was told to work simple, geometric, and in the style of flat, cut paper animation.

Here are the boy designs, which were actually done first and show me getting my feet wet and experimenting with form more than character types.

Finally, the big draw of the show. A DRAGON!!! See? Even the caps lock function on my computer is impressed. I like drawing dragons, my girlfriend loves dragons, so this was a fun assignment.

Finally, the project director TJ Liedel decided on these versions of the characters. He made a good decision, these look good as a group. I'll be playing around with minor details to unify the characters and create some strong contrast.
Next up: polished version of the characters as a set and then individual character studies (turn-arounds and action poses). Stay tuned, comrades!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thar's Jello in Dem Hills - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

Do you know that fantastic illustration I posted earlier this week? Well, it's now under consideration over at Threadless for a week. However, I want you to vote now! You know it's good karma to rate my submission and leave a comment. Thanks again!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thar's Jello in Dem Hills

And that's a wrap on this one. A few things bothered me about the original sketch, including the ibex, the spoon, and the giant's expression. I feel satisfied with the drawing now and I'm proud of myself for being very economical with color (seven colors!). Thanks to Jen and my brother for some really nice feedback. This should be up for voting on Threadless in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Probably the last of the caricatures for now (besides some ones I'm bringing into Photoshop to paint). I'm going to be doing editorial cartoons in their place as I need them to submit to magazines. Go figure :).

I love what a user on CG Hub said about caricatures. They look at the person's distinct features and then make the person in their personal style. So much cooler than, "let's ultra render a face and stick it on a tiny body for kicks." Noooo thanks.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's Better than a Mountain Full of Gold?

A mountain of jello! Here's a new shirt idea for Threadless. I'm really determined to win over that fickle crowd. :)
Anyway, the emphasis on this design was character and placement. I want the right balance of hidden and shown information. Before I actually did the rough drawing I took a thumbnail and arranged it on the shirt. My girlfriend says I should be designing with the shirt in mind, so this time I did (and felt better about the design going in, thanks!). Also here are three color passes (my gut says go with option 1). Also, that's an ibex on the peak. Google that guy; his horns are amazing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Really high quality animation has been taking over my life at the moment. Thursday I went with Jen to see the senior animation show for the Savannah College of Art and Design (www.scad.edu) and Friday was Pixar's UP. So it makes perfect sense that I drew two animation directors today, one from the west and one from the east. It's really great when, as my brother puts it, some is already a caricature and you just push the edges a little bit. I'm curious to see how I'll do with a real bland face (maybe offset the face with some explosions and tigers?).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

These two are for my girlfriend Jen :)
And I'm fully aware of the second one's resemblance to Count Orlock from Nosferatu, haha.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More caricatures! I have to say, this is a good way to loosen up in preparation for more involved pieces. The first two were done on Wednesday actually. The last one (I sincerely hope you know who it is) took 3-4 attempts before I got one I was comfortable with. Check the comments for the names of these people and thanks to those who commented for the last ones!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer's here for most of the college going population and that means caricature artists are in demand! Summer doesn't really mean that, but it's relevant to my post. Anyway, craigslist frequently throws up special events that are in need of an artist for one day to do caricatures. Up until now I've only done a handful of distorted celebrities and I would like to have a wealth of them under my belt to get some work.

I'm doing 2-3 of these a day and trying to keep in mind the circumstances that a normal caricature artist would have. Fast and loose is the name of the game, with each of these taking 20-25 minutes. For now I'm using Prismacolor markers in 30% grey for blocking and black for a final pass. I'm leaving the names out so you can guess who they are, or you can be a filthy cheat and read the comments section ;).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

LOST Caricature

This is a caricature of Daniel Faraday from LOST (who I sincerely hope the writers didn't kill off last week). Faraday is a physicist who comes to Magic Island to study its unique properties and, thanks to some time-traveling, tries to alter the course of history to prevent the crash of Oceanic 815. Yes, now I'll stop talking about the show because I sense the non-fans are annoyed.

The actor Jeremy Davies has a very unique face and definitely contorts it in amusing ways when he's thinking or perplexed. This face in particular is my favorite, the "oh crap this island is going to kill us all" look. Check out the images below to get an idea of what his character looks like and compare to the drawing. That's what I've been doing for most of yesterday, haha.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



Hey there, sports fans! I have admired the t-shirt site Design By Humans for some time and I finally got around to a design that I thought would fit in with their current line. The shirts are chosen daily so it would please me and be a big help if you could vote on it.

Also, my fellow illustrator Andrea knocked it out of the park with her latest shirt design for Threadless. Good karma abounds for those who go to that site and vote right now!

Japanese Maple - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Real Catwoman

Special post today! Today (actually, April 8th) is my girlfriend Jen's b-day. She's a real trooper in that she's working hard on her animation projects on her birthday. I'm getting into caricatures so I thought I would start with my favorite person....Jen! The whole process is really fun for me; I start with reference sketches of the subject until I can draw the person easily without resorting to copying a photograph. Then I start to notice parts of the person I like and that have great design potential. Finally I choose a pose and push those features to make it a solid design. This isn't nearly finished yet, but I like the drawing and hope to polish it soon. Jen, I hope you like this! <3.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A robot scarecrow! In my mind he would probably run on corn ethanol because it's right there on the farm. Ideally, he should run on electric because most farmers are already hurting the environment with pesticides such as DDT. And I've been thinking about this too much, haha.

I've had this guy in mind for a while, I just had to get off my duff and flesh him out (notice the irony?). This is the first sketch, which I will then blow up about 150% to get a nicer, more detailed final drawing. Then I'll color it and submit it to either Threadless or Design By Humans. I'm leaning towards Design by Humans because they favor illustrations that take up the entire canvas that is the shirt. As always, input is desired! Ciao.