Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bom-Diggity

So my gift giving adventure with the painting I did for my sister was a success! She was very satisfied with the gift, and that was exactly what I was aiming for. Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner large enough for this or a nice camera so I had to take a photo of it with a simple point and shoot. I'm afraid my lighting's a bit off, too, but overall you get the idea of what the painting is "sorta" like. If I put this in my portfolio, I'm definitely going to have to re-shoot it.

While we're on the subject of gift giving, I have received a few things from my Secret Santa at work... This is my first time ever participating in an office/work place Secret Santa, so I'm curious to see who actually has me as their victim--er, I mean, recipient.

I am quite happy with what I have been given so far! We can make a list for our Secret Santa, and so far I have gotten two things I asked for: Pez (lots) and toe socks! The toe socks I just received today, and I think they are by far some of the coolest Christmas themed socks I have seen. Plus, they are warm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Roots of the Mission

I had promised a painting to my elder sister about a year ago when I was out of work because I could not afford to buy anything for her. Much to my chagrin, I finished it now (roughly a year later) in time for her next birthday. Life, it seems, is very mysterious...

Here is the initial sketch or under-drawing that I use to paint over on the illustration board.

My initial approach was to rely strongly on line and pattern, but somewhere along the line it just didn't feel like it was meshing so well. I eventually dropped a lot of the little embellishments on the ears and flowers. I kept them on the butterfly and the decorations around the eyes of the fox because I felt it helped create a little cohesiveness to that area. I didn't feel there was enough area on the blue flowers to create the same detailed dots the way I wanted.
 And some palette "peelings" that I created during this journey into my paint. I had so much that it just started peeling up by itself. This truly is the best and least messy method to cleaning off an acrylic palette; just allow it all to dry together and peel it off later and you will be left with a nice white surface on your palette. Well, for the most part.
I will be posting the finished painting on my portfolio blog later in the week, or at least after I have gifted it to my sister!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Some people have lots of food leftovers from Thanksgiving... I have sketches left over from Thanksgiving. ^_^

 I have happily indulged in some still life studies of some commonly used objects. I find that it always improves my drawing when I take the time to do a life drawing session or a still life. The pitcher, bowl of fruit and pen are some quick drawings I did during the holiday. The flags I did soon after, but I made them up since there were no puffy clouds or fun war-like banners flying at the time I drew this.

This one is a little older as you can see from the date, but I found it lying around and thought it would be a fun add on...Just a doodle for a potential logo I was thinking up.

Another fox! Surprise, surprise. ^_~

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Toy; Digital Toy

I recently acquired a tablet for my computer, but due to a busy schedule I have not been able to play with it for at least a week, much to my dismay. Thankfully, I had a spare hour to set it up with all its various software bundles and try out a few things.

Here is a sketch that I did quickly with some of the new software. I don't think it will ever replace my hard-copy sketchbook, but it's a nice way to sketch quickly without the mess of graphite on your hands afterward.

Thus begins my journey into digital art! ^_^

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Unexpected Gems

So something I've noticed over the years is the tendency to make little breakthroughs--gems of artistic value--on the humble scrap paper or test page. I purposely keep the left over bits of watercolor paper, Bristol paper, or any other type of paper I happen to be using for testing during the painting/drawing process. While I cannot boast that I have a lot of them, every now and then I stand back and notice something I really like about that piece of watercolor paper I used to blot my brush on, or the nice gradient I just did with colored pencil. I keep them in the hopes of recreating the effect for the piece I'm working on or to recreate it at a later date.

Scrap paper is the unsung hero of the finished master pieces in our lives.

Below are a few examples. The brown lined one you've already seen as more of a "finished piece" posted here. The other test page is the byproduct of a piece that is still in progress.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Yeah! Thumbnail sketches! I've been doing my best to carry on my obsession with foxes, and low and behold here's more sketches of a fox! Unfortunately, it's not very detailed or exciting to look at, but it's a sneak peek. Hopefully, I will have a nice clean sketch to show in the near future or even a finished painting.

In my experience, subject matter is hard to come up with when there is no criteria for an art project. At least, it's hard when you don't know what interests you. That was something I struggled with during my last two years of college when the projects started to become more vague and the professors let you do what you wanted. "What's that? We can do what we want?!" It was so foreign; my brain had been trained into doing only exactly what the project required for at least two years. Then all of a sudden I was given this wonderful freedom that I had no idea what to do with... It wasn't until the last half of my senior year that I really started to get a grip on what I was interested in. It took a lot of trial and error and some serious research, but eventually I found some things that really clicked. It's a journey that continues to this day.

It's such a simple solution really. It's hard to make something beautiful that you dislike. If you had the choice to do anything, why wouldn't you draw something you felt passionate about or were really attracted to? For me, at the moment, it's foxes and the occasional deer. I like things that are whimsical, so I draw and paint things that are a little crazy and semi-fantastic. That being said, it takes a very skilled artist to make a subject beautiful that they find repugnant, insipid or uninteresting.

Enough talk! Here's the sketch. Enjoy! ^_^

Friday, October 15, 2010

Coffee and Creativity

I'm not sure what it is about a cafe that spurs creativity, but I'm glad that it works on me to some extent. Maybe it's the thoughtful consumption of caffeinated beverages or the mellow tunes and easy atmosphere that allow the creative thoughts to rise to the surface. It's always nice to bring a friend to help with that creative flow as well. Something I could definitely stand to do more often.

If there's one thing I've learned about being a creative, it's that you can't operate in a vacuum; you need to be around other people that are doing things that interest you, whether it's a buddy playing the guitar or a pal who likes to sketch like you do. Some could argue that it's distracting to work with other people around if they aren't directly related to the project at hand. My response would be, yes, they definitely can be, but you don't want to avoid opportunities to be exposed to fresh ideas or your work will get stale. Perhaps you can't count on that time to produce quality work. Some people don't operate that way; they need solitude to put the pieces together. Make time to work on the serious stuff later, but don't forget your drawing buddies! It's a wonderful, low pressure way to unwind and gain new perspective.

The caffeine also helps the energy level. ^_~

Here's a sketch that came from a recent session with a friend:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Splashing Around in Puddles

It's been a while since I've played with watercolors, but it felt so good to get back into it! Here's a doodle I did very quickly. I also love brown ink. It has some wonderful properties. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thumbnails that aren't on your thumbs...

It's been too long since I've done a decent couple pages of thumbnails. It's the best way to try out composition and shading to get the right mood without spending inordinate amounts of time on a layout that looks like crap. The below sketch is a sample (small scale) of what I usually do. My professors in college would always stress doing exorbitant amounts of thumbnails (like 100) before we picked three ideas and developed them further. It's an excellent practice.

This one could still use some work. The more developed sketch still has some problems with interest, but it's getting there.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Critters That Own Your Home

It's about time I posted a sketch of my cat!

Some people like dogs. That's OK. Let them like dogs. In my opinion, they're not as fun as cats. While owning one or the other has it's own distinct advantages and disadvantages, I'd rather opt for a cat simply because they are more interesting and easier to mess with. The house I live in has three total, two males and one female (she rules supreme), and they all have vastly different personalities. I've never met a cat that didn't have some striking "character" trait or personality; whether it was just being extremely laid back or spunky, each one came off as an individual. I also happen to find them superior in visual aesthetics compared to a dog with the exception of the greyhound and it's cousins.

It's been an experience owning a cat. You find that certain things aren't safe anymore, like hair ties or plastic bags. Or the trash can. Sometimes it's funny, other times... well let's say I've had my fair share of cleaning up hair balls and it's not so much fun. I still enjoy them immensely, despite the occasional issue or two or three... ^_~

So here's the sketch I did just the other day of my hug-able kitty!

And here's a bonus image I thought I'd throw in. So cute! (When he's not jumping into our trash can)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dino Girl Returns!

So you might remember Dino Girl from a previous post. It was about time to pull her out and dust her off a bit. What? No gun slinging?! I figure she needs to take a break sometime. Why not climb into an abandoned building and sit in the window for a while? This time I'm experimenting with a little environment and mood. Besides the fact that the window is "floating" in space, I enjoyed this sketch. Unfortunately, I haven't exactly made up any playmates/diabolical villains for her to interact with. Perhaps in a future post...

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Silly Approach to Stress Relief

Stress is an interesting thing. It has different levels, different names (depending on the person) and different ways of being relieved. Some people like to scream, others box, some read, sing opera, etc, etc. I like to draw silly things. While this isn't the primary way I relieve stress, I find that it is helpful to draw ridiculous things to put my worries in perspective; it gets my mind off my own troubles and forces me to think about something other than... well stress. Knowing that other people might find it silly is also nice and gives me incentive. I find that being helpful to other people or just doing something nice can not only lift the spirits of the receiver but the giver as well. True story.

So I suppose you can thank my stressful week for the following sketch. These lovable doodles were created in lieu of a drawing that I started while shopping at the mall (I was bored while waiting outside a fitting room). I think I might have been tired when I drew them later in the day... ^_~

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Late Birthday

Well, I just realized that my last post on August 14 was the one year anniversary of the start of this blog! It's a shame I didn't notice ahead of time, or I would have planned something special. Well, hopefully the continued posting of new sketches will be celebration enough!

Here's a sketch I particularly enjoyed drawing. It focuses more on pattern and form than any actual realism. Again, this is reminiscent of Art Nouveau, and I don't mind one bit! I enjoy the simplified organic shapes and forms that Art Nouveau uses; if I can use it more in my work then that would be great. I've always had a love of simple - but not boring - line work. It figures strongly in my watercolor pieces and even plays an important role in my acrylic paintings as it makes the skeleton that all of the colors sit on.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Flower Picking Adventure with Wizlewaud & Cropall

I finally got around to drawing two of my favorite characters! Wizlewaud and Cropall return with a few sketches of them picking flowers and enjoying the outdoors.

Summer is that wonderful time of year when people can leave their cocoon-like existence during winter and actually experience the phenomenon of fresh air. It's unfortunate so many people run from air conditioning to air conditioning when the weather gets too hot (myself included). Most of the working world is stuck for eight hours inside, and then when they leave, it's to run to the air-conditioned car to get to the air-conditioned house! Tragic. I understand the need to do this when people live in areas with extremely high humidity (nearly tropical in my area once in a while), or in areas where temperatures are well over the 100 degree point, but at least try to get outside when the weather's good, even if you've had a tough day at work! You'll feel better for it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Owl See You Soon Enough

I have recently acquired a new subject of fascination in the realm of wildlife. As suddenly as my addiction to foxes came on, so did this recent frenzy for anything I can find on barn owls. It's not just owls in general, although I find them all intriguing, but the barn owl holds a special place in my interest mostly because of the aesthetic of their faces. Their faces are so simple and distinct compared to the other species that you commonly see. Their distinctly black eyes set in a white face accentuate the strangeness of their movement. They are visually cleaner in this artist's opinion.

The barn owl is the bird of choice for the below sketch. It is also sporting a flowing robe and a lantern over a swirly well of water. 

Apparently, there is a bit of a cult following for one specific owl named, Molly. You can watch a live web cam of her here as she and mate, McGee, raise a clutch of eggs. One just hatched on the 7th. The blog has some wonderful photos of the owls as well. I had no idea this was such a big thing until I started hunting for footage of barn owls, and there pops up a web cam maintained by Carlos Royal and family!

There seems to be quite a trend for owls in fashion as well. I have seen several large pendants, watches, warm hats, and t-shirts with stylized owls on them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First in August

First post in August!

Here's the logic behind this drawing for those that are interested (I don't really recommend working this way, but this is how did this particular doodle):

1. I drew a face for the heck of it. The funky hair was a nice touch.
2. I drew the body and randomly decided to use a kimono because they flow nicely. I was feeling lazy, so I made the bottom of the skirt flow into a smokey, ghostly curl.
3. Added some strange face paint for interest and the necklace.
4. Then I had to decide what to put in the background, and what's my favorite creature to draw of all time besides deer and/or monsters? That's right class: foxes. Floating foxes to be exact, which is about %62.41111 better than the walking model.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Holding Out for Sherbert

Thankfully, I've had a productive couple weeks on the personal drawing side of my life. That and a little inspiration by some friendly deer and the Art Nouveau movement (again). I was getting a little tired of the plain old black and white theme of this blog. Who says sketches can't be in color? Or fun sherbert inspired colors. So I changed the banner using this fun design I did. It is not a master piece, but I am happy with how the antlers intertwine. It would serve well for a cute greeting card or thank you note, which is what it is displayed as below.

It was another one of those drawings that worked well as a copy-and-flip deal. This time, it wasn't due to lack of paper, but more or less, I just didn't want to go through the effort of trying to draw it exactly the same on the other side. It was also another fun opportunity to see what I could do with a little creative Photoshop filtering, etc, etc. I also needed to edit a few *ahem* mistakes. ^_~

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

March of the Doodles

There were several pages of doodles laying around on my hard drive, so I thought I'd pick out some nice ones to show. What does a turtle and a bunny have to do with a volcano? Who knows! Done at various times, these pages have a wide range of subjects.

It's hard to keep up with drawing since my full-time job has really picked up pace, but I try to use it as a way to decompress.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kitsune Returns!

This image was colored, corrected and cropped in Photoshop CS4. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the outcome, but it is still considered a sketch in my opinion and not a finished work. The whole image didn't make a lot of sense as it was so I decided to leave out the parts that could cause confusion. I used a very simple filter over one of the beige layers I had to create a canvas texture. It's rudimentary, but it gets the job done.

Here is the original pen drawing that I did. I had plans to put in some stool, bench or chair for her to be sitting on, but I just had so much fooling around with the color in Photoshop I had to post something about it!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Too Many Samurai Movies...

A couple weeks ago, I felt the need to watch several movies by Akira Kurosawa. I happen to like some Clint Eastwood movies, and when I heard he had been inspired by one of Akira Kurosawa's films, specifically, Yojimbo, I had to take a look! I have since watched Yojimbo, Sanjuro and Seven Samurai. Ok, so I only watched Yojimbo all the way through, but Sanjuro and Seven Samurai were at least halfway finished when I became distracted by some event in life (probably sleep). However, I had seen enough to be pleased, especially in Yojimbo (which I did see in its entirety). Kurosawa's movies are violent, yes, but nowhere near as graphic in its violence as some movies I could mention; no blood was shown despite much slashing about with a sword. The below sketch is the spawn of watching so many samurai flicks in a row...

For those of you who have watched these types of movies, you'll know that there is much brooding and of course when you brood, you must drink sake to facilitate it. Having had the privilege to sample some sake at a local Japanese restaurant a while back, I became interested in repeating the experience by purchasing some from a local liquor store. I tried two types which were both splendid, but I enjoyed one more than the other by far.

One Half Makes A Whole

Sometimes when inspiration strikes, there simply isn't enough room on the page to contain it. I was looking through some old sketches in the month of May and found one that I felt would fit this scenario. Having a pocket-sized drawing pad tucked safely into my purse is a boon, but sometimes, you just need to have a larger piece of paper to begin with.

The image above is a sample of what I took from my small sketchbook. I started the eye on a whim and then started expanding the face, but, alas, the scale was too large to complete the face. Later, I decided to construct a whole face by copying and flipping the image on my computer. Thanks to some handy work with the clone tool in Photoshop, I was able to get rid of the binding edges and some imperfections, like the dates I had scrawled into the corners. The below image is the result.

She looks a little cross eyed, but overall I'm satisfied by the exercise. When dealing with a symmetrical subject and an insufficient drawing space, this is a nice trick to remember. It is far better to get the supplies you need to complete an idea than to use inferior tools, but sometimes it just isn't possible due to the constraints of time and space.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vintage Waves

At first this seemed like just a quick doodle... now it feels like more and begs development. I was thinking it would make a perfect perfume or soap label done in a vintage style. Early brainstorms into what kind of fonts to use on this have come up with empty nets so to speak. I feel an Art Nouveau inspired font would work nicely, yet my library of fonts is lacking the proper characters. Apparently, the hunt is on.

For now, this is merely an interesting doodle. Perhaps it will come back as a more inspired design piece.

Initial searches into what vintage and Art Nouveau labels look like revealed an interesting market. I can't imagine wanting to buy an old label for two dollars let alone ten, but if that's what you are into collecting, I imagine that it would be worth it. Still, selling old labels to the masses seems odd. Why not keep old garment tags and sell those, too? It's possible some one is doing just that.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Gangsta Tattoos, Poses, Phrases

So a while back, I started watching Prison Break, and being artistically inclined like I am, was fascinated by the detailed tattoo that the protagonist wears. This spawned a whole foray of research into the world of tattoos. Most of what I learned can be summed up in one word (exclamation really): OUCH!

Tattoos are pretty neat though. Well, except that fading part, and the painful hours in the chair part... and the inevitable sagging of said surface with age. Yeah. Not really something I would do, but really neat to see people who have planned out elaborate patterns and have done rather well for themselves as far as being a walking piece of art. Major kudos to the tat artists who spend hours inking up clients.

Here are some that I found through a quick browse:
Direct Link to Artist from White Tiger Tattoo
Direct Link to Artist from Lucky Lotus Studio

So this sketch is really just a fun spin-off of those thoughts. I was actually trying to design my own tattoo at one point so I was also thinking of some fun phrases.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just Fun

Today is an offering of leftover sketches that I meant to post a long time ago. Some are pretty old (about a year ago), but I felt they were suitably entertaining.

This was a sketch I did either during or soon after a visit to New York City. I was trying to capture the overwhelming nature of that bustling place as it was experienced by myself.

This was a product of boredom while working at my college library (it was a late shift).

I don't really remember where I did this one, but it was a personal sketch that didn't have any requirements except that it contain foxes. ^_^

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amphibious Oddities

So a while back I decided to research all sorts of swamp flora and fauna. Among some of the interesting things I found were the horned frog and milk mushrooms. I did my best to recreate them from my memory one day. Here they are immortalized in pen and paper.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Support Your Local Library!

Having worked in two libraries over six years, it's safe to say that I know kinda what I'm talking about when I say weird crap happens in libraries. It's funny how one of the strictest institutions made for the general public can be turned into the staging ground for stupidity.

College libraries are even better for this kind of thing. Especially if you work a late shift. Everything from people on crack trying to steal plants to people making out on the 4th floor. That's not even the half of it. Try Googling "library flash mob." Fun stuff.

If you want to have a job that is normally quiet (haha) but still has that little spark of insanity required for surviving college, working at a library is where it's at.

As you can see from the date on this sketch, it was done a while ago, but I was saving it for a rainy day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Family Outings and Secret Agent Class

Here's a doodle I did during an oddly boring family outing. Seating was bad, music was too loud (couldn't hear anyone) and everyone was a little tired. It was probably one of those times everyone should have stayed home, but if I had stayed home, then how would I have drawn this charming picture of a feline secret agent?

Jim Cat, Jr: He started out as a funky mouth on the far left (you know the one with the flames coming out of his mouth) and then mutated into something a little more sophisticated. I believe that is red wine he's toting there.

I made a few more attempts at hashing out what he looked like with not a whole lot of luck; I still prefer how the first two doodles of him came out on the top page.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Thousand Words

Graphite on copy paper.

Something funny is going on with his arm, but overall I am satisfied with the proportions of the figures. Foreground could use some work.

Not much to say today; I'll let the sketch do the talking.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Shallow Pool From Whence It Came.

Old movies are a hidden treasure of genius and mediocrity. They are the stock from which newer movies are pulled and remade into a more acceptable entertainment which is then regarded as a more "original" creation. Lately, it's been getting a little ridiculous. Seriously, we're remaking Spiderman? The Hulk has already had a do-over. Batman came back, but I have to say that at least that was a little warranted and timely. Some of these others though are a little too fast to tread on the corpse of bygone movies.

Notice the ones being re-rolled are usually superhero or action movies. I'd like them to take an obscure, nearly ancient movie and improve on the premise by combining it with something unexpected rather than puking out the same drivel. Take The Ghost and Mrs. Muir for instance. It's a brain teaser in some respects because the situation defies logic. That could be explored more. Even better, what about all those cheesy westerns that were a dime a dozen back in the day? Joss Whedon's Firefly does a gainful job of using this old archetype in an appealing way.

The point I'm getting at is mainly that the selection of movies being remade are deficient in variety; they all come from a homogeneous pool of thought, and a shallow one at that. They are reusing a story that you've heard in the same context, which at first glance is appealing because of special effects and actions, but other than those flashy techniques and a budget easily comparable to the national deficit, are generally stale. The story stagnates because the source is the same.

If it were easy everyone would make original movies. Their scarcity make them alluring. Wouldn't it be wonderful if instead of trying to fleece the masses with hype over an action flick, Hollywood actually managed to make some engaging episode both intriguing the mind and pleasing the sense? Although, they might suffer from a paradox in which the "original" movie then becomes the norm, thus not original and inevitably we are found in our front yard barking at the same tree all over again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wizelwaud Returns!

It had been far too long since I sketched her last, and it was time to renew the "bonds" of sketching happiness between artist and fictional character. One of these days I will have to actually use all the characters I come up with in a comic/graphic novel (whichever term you prefer).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ah, Yes Indeed!

The fox returns! With a fancy sunburst and the ubiquitous cherry-blossom petals to boot!

I actually did this a while ago, but I felt it was appropriate with the approach of spring coming. The lengthening days are also boding well for my outlook towards extra work on top of a full-time job. That and I will probably have to make an excursion to a park pretty soon and start taking as many pictures as possible of all the things I see. Reference is a wonderful source of inspiration, and I feel that I have been lacking that.

Sunlight. Chirping birds. Spring indeed! :3

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just Keep Drawing, Drawing, Drawing.

I wouldn't really admit to any obsessive compulsive behavior, but I have to say, that I have a problem with getting to places early, especially if I am nervous about whatever is going on in said place. For example, arriving at an interview, a performance, or work about 15 minutes early. Recently, I have been arriving for work about 20 minutes early. I'm not really complaining! I'd much rather be early than late, but sleep seems so scarce these days. With weather being bad it's hard to justify putting more of those minutes in the ZZZ-zone.

Finding time in my day to draw has been a challenge lately. I take my sketchbook to the couch, which is promising, but usually it ends up laying there while I let my brain turn to mush in front of the Glowing Box. Since I have so much free time before I actually have to start work, I decided to utilize it in a way that can only make me happy: by sketching. It's nothing grand, but it's definitely starting the day right in my opinion. I pick a spot on the page, doodle and date it. Then do the same thing the next day, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Amazing Imaginary Teahouse, Batman!

This isn't really anything specific; I conjured this more or less as I was doodling. I believe I was thinking of a teahouse though. Specifically, the wonderful Japanese garden at Sonnenberg Gardens which has a teahouse there. The plaque near it describes it as the "children's playhouse," which I'm sure it was, but I never grew up with any playhouse that had that grownup quality, namely the smell of money. The whole estate is very beautiful. It was merely a "summer cottage" in its day, but is now host to all sorts of tourist, artistically inclined and green-thumbed individuals. It seems to also be quite the popular place for weddings although I'm sure that also comes with it's own distinct smell of green... and not the type that grows over the lawn.

They also happen to have an impressive rose garden which has a wide variety of roses that bloom at various times during the summer. I always make a point to stop and smell a few whenever I visit.