Bad Hair Day

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I took a shot at painting some human hair today.  It didn't go so well.  I think I need to go study a bunch of hair styles to see how the volumes of hair fall.  One of my big mistakes this time around was treating some volumes like snakes rather than thick planes.

I'll take another whack at it tomorrow and see how it goes.  Hopefully, with what I've learned tonight, I'll do a little better next time!

Last night, I painted up a furball with mange.  Could've been better, but I don't think it's too bad.

Paint Chat

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yeah, so I gave pchat a whirl today.  It's... Different.  Being limited to only 2 layers makes me much more cautious about laying down "paint" and experimenting (there's also no Undo button!  Oh noes!)  It's not bad, though.  I just wish I could draw better with a tablet!

Anyhoo, I did this right quick just to get used to the application.

Go go, cheesy sunset scene!

Furball #4

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Took a little time out of my afternoon to paint another furball.

I seem to have a habit of making the shadows between fur clumps too dark.  Aside from that, I do think this is an improvement over my previous attempts.  A friend, Jason, has suggested I make a furball with mange, which sounds like a fun challenge.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hello, ladies and gents!

In my on-going journey to become a better artist, I've begun a series of studies.  It started with a meatball.

I thought, "What would a steak look like if you squeezed it into ball form?  How would subsurface scattering affect the appearance of the ball, and what sort of textures would be found on its surface?  How does fat marbling actually look?"  And so on.  I decided to add on top of it a translucent skin in order to study how translucency works, and on top of THAT some clear slime to help me understand how reflections work on liquid surfaces.

So, here's how it started:

After receiving a few helpful comments from friends, I set off on improving my meatball.  I also took a swing at some translucent skin.

Top left: old version, top right: new version, bottom: new version with skin.
Again, friends came to my aid and provided some excellent observations with which I could further improve my meatball.  It seemed like most people were mistaking the skin for ice, which turned out to be because of the high amount of specular.  The meatball itself seemed to please people, but I felt the specular pattern on the meat's surface wasn't quite right.

Which brings us to the most current attempt:

I'm pretty happy with the meatball at this point, and the skin.  However, the veins could use a bit of help and the slime could use a LOT of help.  Fortunately, my friends have once again come to the rescue.  I'll be making corrections once I find the time and the itch to work on the meatball again.

In the mean time, I've decided to start on practicing fur and hair.  Saving hair for later and starting with fur, I've made these three attempts.

My first try wasn't horrible, but definitely needed help.  I'd managed to grasp the idea of fur forming into clumps instead of remaining a bunch of individual little hairs, but the size and spacing of the groups were too uniform.  In a way, the first attempt came off to me as feathers more than it did fur.

The second try was an attempt to overcome the even spacing/size issue... But failed horribly, probably because I did not remain focused while painting (yes, artists have to use their brains!  My goodness!)  I felt that the fur looked striped, rather than appearing to be rings of fur on top of one another.  I believe this is because I did not blend the shadows properly into the fur.  Alas.

The third try is... getting there.  I clearly still need to work on my fur painting skills, but I feel like I'm starting to get a grasp on certain properties of fur.

Anyway, I'll still be working on the meatball and furball again when I find the time.  Once I am happy with my fur-painting abilities, I will start trying out hair.

A Random Find

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do you ever go looking through your old files and find a piece of artwork that makes you think, "When did I make this?  And why did I forget about it?  It's kinda cool."

I found one of those pieces today while selecting my new 2D portfolio collection.  Not sure if it's worth putting in the ol' portfolio, but I figured it might be fun to show here:

Some of the color choices could've been better, but eh, I like it.  Maybe I'll make a new version of it sometime.

You Might Be a Visual Storyteller If...

Friday, April 9, 2010

So, I went on a family outing this evening to attend a somewhat historically significant hockey game (if you're at all interested in hockey, anyway).  Three renowned, record-holding players (Mike Modano, Marty Turco and Jere Lehtinen) played their last game for the Dallas Stars (or, in Modano's case, his last game in professional hockey, period.)  It was a very emotional game for players and fans alike.  And best, of all, the Stars won!  What a wonderful final game for some of the finest lads to whack a circular flattened thing with a stick.

At any rate, I didn't really even pay attention to the game until it was almost into the last period.  What was I doing during all that time beforehand, you ask?  Playing games on a mobile device?  Reading a book?  Staring blankly into space and pondering the meaning of existence?



Here are some samples of gestures I drew during the game.  You can see a few places where I drew the same poses more than once in attempt to get a better read/silhouette/line-of-action.  I'm going to get better at these things, dang it!

They're roughly in chronological order from top to bottom, so hopefully you can see a gradual improvement and gaining of confidence as you look down the page.  I'm terribly out of shape, though.  I really need to do this on a daily basis.

Caricatures, part deux

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

So, here are the caricatures I drew for the second half of March.  Some of them aren't too bad, some of them are a little off the mark, and some of them are just... Aughghgh.

I'm better than I was when I started, but I've still got a long way to go.

And, dadgummit, eventually I'm going to find an appealing way to draw eyes.  I couldn't draw eyes with appeal even to save my life. ... Not without copying someone else's style, anyway.

 April's challenge is focused on drawing poses.  Rather than drawing them straight from life, I'm attempting to develop skills in drawing "from the gut" - taking my knowledge of anatomy into account, but drawing how the pose FEELS rather than just slight exaggeration of real life.  I've been studying cartoonists and the old Warner Bros animations, and realized that many of the drawn poses aren't anything like their real life counterparts.  There's... Something more there.  An essence.  Like drawing pure emotion.

I want to be able to do that.

A Little Side Project

Monday, March 15, 2010

... Sheesh, it's been a long, long time since I posted here, eh? I promise I've been drawing! I just need to get better at the posting part. Dur.

At any rate, I've started a small side-project for myself that I'm calling "Ugly Vamp" until I can come up with a better name (I guess you could call it the production title).

Generally speaking, vampires are considered very attractive or charismatic creatures; this is a trait necessary for luring in victims (or stalking insecure teenage girls, if you're in the Twilight universe - blech). So, I thought, what happens when you get an ugly vampire? How would he be treated amongst his peers? How would he feed himself? And so on.

I've already been developing some back story for the character and the world he lives in. I don't have a name for him, though, so I suppose I'll call him "Ugly Vamp" for now (or "U.V." for short).

When I first started sketching ideas the other night, I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take U.V. in visually. I originally considered making him a wretchedly skinny little thing, on account of his inability to lure in prey. I also thought about making him a bit nerdy/emo.

... It wasn't really working out, though. 'Course, I was warming my hand/mind up, too, so I suppose the drawings were destined to fail on some level. Alas.

"Okay," I thought, "this isn't working. I need direction. What does the typical vampire look like?"

"Alright... Tall, slender, long in the face, extraordinarily well-kempt, yadda yadda... What's the opposite of that?"

So, I'm starting to get somewhere. I haven't nailed anything down, yet, but I feel like I'm headed to the right place.

Here are some little odds and ends. I want to give U.V. buck teeth or something along those lines. There's also a small thumbnail showing the shape differences between U.V. and a couple of average vampires. Finally, a couple of small sketches in preparation of the first story.

 U.V. has a vampire dad and a mom of Igor decent.

Okay, enough vampires and such!  Now for the werewolves!  That's right.  You heard me.


Say hello to The Gang!

From left to right, they are Biggs, Fumes, and - last but not least - Fronds, the Gang leader.

Each of the characters have their own little quirks, and aren't what they seem to be at first glance.  For example, though Fronds looks like your typical jerk-face jock...

 ... he's actually a drama nerd!

And Biggs, well... Okay, yeah, he's more or less your typical nerd, but when he goes into wolf form...

It's a whole other story.

Poor Biggs is at that time of life where a boy begins to become a man - that is, he gains his shape-shifting powers.  Unfortunately, like many hormone-based growth spurts, his changing abilities are a little out of control.  Nearly every time he comes back to human form, there's some remnant of the wolf that sticks with him!

As for Fumes... Well, we'll let him remain a mystery for now.


So, I started a monthly sketch challenge thingamagigger for myself to help facilitate improvement in my drawing abilities. Basically, I set up a topic/subject for the month, and then every day that month I have to draw something based on that topic.

This month's topic is caricatures. I'm at the halfway mark, so I figured I ought to post the sketches here as a collective. I started on the 2nd of the month, so there are only 14 drawings at the moment; I may do two drawings on the 31st to make up for missing the 1st.

I had a number of friends volunteer themselves for this project through Facebook. All of them have my thanks!