Saturday, January 29, 2011

Facebook Poking Gone Too Far


Here is my submission for Illustration Friday topic Surrender.  Its a whole world where people use their hands as real guns.  My wife thinks I'm very silly.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lil Riders - Rachel And Dusty


So here is the second pair in my Lil Riders series.  Rachel and Dusty.  I approached this thinking I was going to do all kinds of crazy detail but ended up making everything pretty loose. I like the way it looks and feels. I'm definitely getting more confidence in mixing the colors I want to produce.  I think in my next painting I'll try inking out stuff first and then coloring it.  We'll see how that looks.  On to the next one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Metro Sketching Part 2.

So from Metro Sketching Part One we learned why we should sketch on the metro now we will explore a little more of the process and some tips.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Watercolor, Pen

This is based off an older sketch I had in my sketchbook.  I thought the idea was still cool so I decided to redraw it, add the eagle, and paint it up.  This idea was sparked after seeing Across The Universe.  I love the Beatles.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lil Riders - Jesse And Jake

LilRiders - Jesse And Jake
Watercolor, Pen And Some Digital Enhancement

I've been playing with a short story idea I call Lil Riders. It's basically about people riding on ordinary animals that are giant size and they race each other.  These are the main characters (Jesse) and her pig friend (Jake).  This idea was inspired  by seeing my 15 month old daughter riding a rocking pig (like a little rocking horse but with a pig instead).

 I had a easier time painting this one out. But I did have a mess up with the pig's ear and had to fix with some white gauche. My wife (whose also an artist) reminded me not to piddle,play, or putter in which I think I did all three especially the putter part.  Lesson Learned. I have to be more confident with the strokes and have to leave them alone even if its wrong, watercolor is very unforgiving. I would also like to mention that after reading a wonderful watercolor article and watching a couple tutorial videos at I felt really geared up to go and paint. And I encourage everyone whose starting out in watercolor to go visit. That girl definitely knows her stuff.

 I think watercolor and pen is going to be the right combo for me.  Drawing has always been my strong suit and I really like how it combined here with the color.  So there you go.  My plan is hopefully is to finish out this illustrated story and get it published. Well See.  Here is some of the process below.
Pig Studies

Pencil Drawing 

And some of the other Animals I had in mind were
            * Elaine and a Crocodile (protagonist)
            * White haired boy with a White Rabbit
            * Red Head Girl with a Rooster
            * Peacock
            * Frog
            * Tortoise
            * Giraffe

The initial idea was to draw a racing scene with all the riders and animals racing but I decided to explore the characters a bit more and break them out into separate paintings. Stay tuned more to come soon. Thanks!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lessons Learned #1 - Watercolor

Christmas Unicorn - Watercolor
Arches cold press 140lb 12x16

So here is my attempt at watercolor of the Christmas Unicorn I did earlier.  Some things I did like and  a lot of things I didn't like.

 Pros:  I like how the colors turned out. The camera I used didn't do it justice. If anyone has suggestions on good cameras and photographing art let me know.

Another pro and probably the biggest one is actually finishing a piece from start to finish. most of my work usually start off strong in the development stage (thumbnails, reference gathering, to even a value study) but usually it stops there. I usually get hooked on another idea I have to paint and push my current one to the side. Even though this piece is not as good as I would have liked it to be I think it's a huge accomplishment on my part to follow through with it.  There still could be a lot of work that could be put into it but I'm going to leave it as is and take what I've learned to apply it to the next piece.

As for the cons.  Honestly I like how my Christmas card turned out better than this one. It has more detail and the values are way better.  With that being said the colors were done digitally and for this piece and pieces going forward I'm trying to get into more traditional art. Watercolor is very tough to master (at least for me) and I think maybe I'll try to combine it with colored pencil or ink since I will be able to get more detail in.  

   Here's a little bit on the process I took.  To start out I practiced drawing horses for a good while to understand the construction. I referred to my trusted Weatherly Guide To Drawing Animals by Joe Weatherly (best animal drawing book out there). 
And also did some gesture drawings from images off the web.  An awesome gesture online drawing tool can be found here

 So after I gained a little confidence in my horse drawing abilities I went to Michaels and bought a toy horse and wrapped it up in wrapping paper. And drew it out a couple of times.  One thing I should of done here was to practice drawing it in the living room with natural lighting vs in the basement at night. I'll be sure to get better lighting conditions for my next piece.

So the drawing was all done and it was time to move on to the watercolor phase.  I've only messed with watercolor a few times to so I took some time to pratice a little before attempting to paint it out on the final paper.  Below you will see a study I did of Petar Meseldzija's The Legend of Steel Bashaw.  It came out pretty good and boosted my moral a lot.  I found that by mixing your colors before hand and laying them all out painting is a lot easier. That is easier said than done of course. But for the unicorn piece I didn't do that and found myself creating colors on the fly often resulting in muddied or unwanted results. I think in the future I will be investing more time into color studies.

After this, I took my value study scanned it in the computer and blew it up to match my proportions of my watercolor paper. Printed it out and used transfer paper to put it on the final paper. It took a couple tries to get it right as this was my first time transferring a drawing like this.

Then it was time to paint. It took about 3 to 4 hours. Most of it was me being hesitant to make a mark on the page. I think the hardest part for me was matching the values that I had established in my study. And some of the pencil lines didn't transfer properly to the paper so I was making some stuff up as I went (Def know better next time) I think I just need more patience in trying to match a color note. And if you don't know what I mean by note check out the Munsell Color System. So that's it; my process for my first watercolor only painting. It came out better than what I expected but not as good as I would have liked.

Here for bonus is the thumbnail that started it all. Drew it on my commute to work.

As always I welcome your comments and critiques. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Metro Sketching Part 1.

Apparently when I sat down to write this post I had a lot to say on the subject so I'm going to break it down into  two parts.

So what has become a part of my daily life (... again) for the past year or so is the almighty DC Metro Commute.  And it's not just any commute it's a big whopping hour and half commute (that is if things go smoothly and the train/bus is not delayed). I know a lot of people in the area make this huge commute into and out of the city.  And I wanted to share with you what I have done to help make the commute a little more tolerable.

A lot of commuters like to sleep, play on their smartphones, or try very hard not to make eye contact with any one else. But for me I'm an artist so I pull out my sketchbook and begin hammering away at this life drawing gold mine.

What could have been a very painful, horrendous, scarring, recurrence in my daily life I have turned into a dare I say pleasurable and almost looking forward to (notice I say almost it still is the DC Metro) daily routine.  I'm going to share with you what I've learned over the year about ... METRO SKETCHING!

Any artist knows (or should know) that daily drawing (even better life drawing) is good for the artistic soul and will help you tremendously in becoming a better artist.  And what better opportunity to get your daily quota in than riding for a hour with complete strangers who don't move or go anywhere for at least 30 seconds before the next stop.  This is a prime opportunity to mark something down in your sketchbook. And I have learned to take advantage of it.

discovered that as I'm sketching that my commute seems to be immensely shorter.  If your focused on analyzing and drawing your subject you'll be less focused on your watch.  Time will seem to fly by.  Just be careful not to fly right by your stop.   After a while though you'll develop an internal clock as to when you need to look up and see which stop you are at.  I have come in tuned with the turns and bumps that the Metro car makes that I know that when I feel a slight shift to the left that I'm two stops away from my destination.

It never ceases to amaze me of all the different shapes and sizes that the figure can take. And you view a lot of them when riding the Metro. Drawing all these different characters and personalities will help you recall them later when your back in the studio and drawing from memory.  

It's also fun to alter the characters to get your imagination going.  Adding speech bubbles, putting them in surreal places, drawing them as an animal that they resemble.

  Some more awesomeness for ya.  Give yourself  +20  to your confidence for drawing in public.  When starting out drawing in public can be a  very dreadful task. "Oh no! some one will see my horrible work! And laugh at me and tell everyone around him to point and laugh as well!" 

     To be honest I have never had anyone ever say anything bad or hurtful about my sketching.  After all your sketching is a learning/relaxing tool for you to explore and understand the world around you.  It helps you express your feelings/thoughts down on paper.  Your not submitting these for a professional review but rather using these as a sort of artist workout.  For the most part people will ignore you.  To help get over this drawing in public hump the use of music can be a great asset.

  Variety of characters but not poses.  People are either standing,leaning, or sitting. Not very exciting unless you happen to get on the car with the weirdy who likes to dance.  Occasionally  you will get a seeing eye dog or baby that might give you a change of pace.  But still with the lack of poses people still stand in a variety of ways.  So it helps to push their pose to reflect their attitude and what you think they are feeling at that time.  Good ol Gesture Drawing can you help you out here.

     Even though your subjects are usually static that means you are too.  So if the subject catches you drawing them it can get pretty awkward pretty fast.  Its usually best to change subject.  People don't like other people staring them down especially strangers.  

So I've talked about why I like to sketch on the metro and what I have learned from it.  In the follow up to this series I'll go about specifics of how I sketch. Such specifics could include but not limited to:  scoping out prime locations for sketching, materials, choosing a subject, what I'm thinking when I'm sketching, and what I draw when I'm not sketching.

I hoped you enjoyed this little insight on what I do on my daily commute.  

Thanks for reading and Happy Sketching!