Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Commission of 2013

The last commission of 2013! I finished a commission for a private client which I'd like to share with you. The story was set approximately 1860s-1880s, encompassing the Civil War. It was a lot of fun to research all the period references and had some great room for character development.

I did a lot of sketching to establish how the two main characters looked, amassed a plethora of accurate reference (thank you, Library of Congress!), and took model reference shots for the poses. Time to draw and ink away!

I had a lot of fun creating these illustrations. I've been establishing this one-color interior illustration style which I think works well. It reminds me a bit of screenprints or silkscreens with the texture. Goal of 2014: learn how to silkscreen and print my heart out!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pause and Draw: Mad Men, S6

Over the weekend I decided to start catching up on my Mad Men watching and do a Pause and Draw. Sometimes the show can get a little too dramatic for me (can no one be happy for more than two episodes?), but the ladies' dresses keep making me come back. ( *_* )

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sketches from the Train

I have quite a few hours of commute time daily now-a-days, and have been using the time to sketch--although, I must admit reading has often trumped drawing. Even though the Caltrain ride is pretty smooth, it's still a bit difficult to draw on the train! And curses to my motion sickness...but still I've gotten some fun doodles in the ol' sketchbook.

drawing what I wore that day has been a re-occurring theme...

and heads of course... still working on that last hundred for the thousand head drawing challenge!

sketches from Halloween times

Monday, November 4, 2013

900/1,000 Heads!

Only one hundred heads left in the thousand head drawing challenge! I'm thinking of amassing a giant pdf of the entire thousand to share once I finish. Time to start scanning!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


The best 15 outta the next hundred heads have been finished tonight! I'll be photoshopping these guys together and share them soon. Only one hundred left to a thousand!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Reference Informs and Inspires: I Love Cemeteries, Part II

Here is part two of my cemetery reference photos. It's started to get chilly this week and is starting to feel like Fall and Halloween times at last. I love October.

This is one of my favorite spots in Mountain View Cemetery.

There are wondrous sights of the cemetery below once you've climbed a-ways up.

Perfect Halloween trees...

There are many beautiful grave markers and statues throughout the cemetery.

I went to APE (Alternative Press Expo) yesterday and had a great time. Likewise to last year, it can be a bit overwhelming at first but there was just soooo many wonderful tables full of adorable, cute, fun, and gorgeous artwork. I was able to snag some comics, a slew of buttons, and a few magnets and small prints. As always, I wished I had a million more dollars to throw to the artists' winds, but took happiness in the purchases I made and amassed another massive pile of business cards. Hopefully it won't take me an entire year to go through these this time. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Reference Informs and Inspires: I Love Cemeteries, Part I

October is my favorite month out of the year, not only because it's my birthday month, but more importantly for Halloween. I've always loved Halloween and loved the autumn season. Living in the Bay Area means there really isn't the fall seasonal weather I'm used to, but there are still plenty of great places to adventure.

Last year I took these reference photos at the Oakland Mountain View Cemetery on Piedmont. I've always loved cemeteries and graveyards and have been immensely happy having this splendid cemetery so nearby.

This chapel/church is at the front of the cemetery. I love walking by it each and every time.

These magical, mysterious pillars ensnared in vines and leaves has been a constant inspiration. I have at least 20-30 photos just of this structure from a bajillion angles.

close up on the pillars and their vines

wonderful cracks in the walkway create a beautiful texture

follow the path ever deeper into the beyond...

There will be a part two of Mountain View Cemetery just because I have so many wonderful references from my visits there. If you're in the Bay Area, I wildly recommend checking out this cemetery, ideally with some lunch or snack break to appreciate the gorgeous views.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

War Days: Sketches and Development

War Days is a comic idea I've had for many years now since undergrad cartooning classes at Columbia. I've thought, wrote, and sketched about the idea over the years but am finally fully committed to seeing it through! The idea comes from my experiences (as well as my older sister's) going to a very strict Catholic grammar school as children. The initial drive for the story was to express how I became an atheist and my views about religion, but there's also a lot of other themes such as defying traditional expectations of girls and women and other's preconceptions and judgments of who you should be. It's a coming of age story at its core. Almost two years ago I made a comic for the project but then took a long hiatus, however I never stopped thinking about it. Now's the time!

So I've been starting with a lot of sketches to define the characters and the style before diving into the comics this time. I also plan on making some short animations as well since I've been getting the animation bug the past few months. In the meantime, here are some development of characters.

the main character will be myself, but there will also be teachers, fellow students, my family, and possibly my stuffed animal Brownie will make an appearance or two.

This is the principal, the strictest sister of them all. I feel like the teachers and priests still need a lot more work...

lineup sketches to depict the character's development

I started a full time contract position at VUDU about two weeks ago so that's why posting has dropped. I'm going to get back into it and will update weekly (instead of twice a week) and the day will fluctuate, but I still want to keep this blog alive. It really helps to ensure that I keep drawing and working even while having another job. On another note, I'm a mere five heads away from hitting 900 in the Thousand Head Drawing Challenge!!! So there will definitely be some heads in the future....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goths Are People, Too.

Another speedpaint from The IT Crowd. I absolutely LOVE the character of Richmond and captured a few good screenshots to paint from episode four, "The Red Door" from season/series one. I also spent literally three hours yesterday organizing my brushes in Photoshop. Although it was quite the effort, I am now much more efficient and can get to brushes a lot faster with MUCH less confusion. I used just chalk brushes for this one to experiment with a different texture and look.

One difficulty I've always had with digital work is drawing; I am absolutely terrible at drawing digitally from scratch. I always do my drawing traditionally in pencil or inks, then usually only color digitally. I've been thinking of incorporating line in the speedpaints, but it's so rough. I'm guessing that a Cintiq would possibly change the feeling of drawing, but since that option is a ways away from being a reality, I'm going to keep practicing to adjust to sketching digitally. If anyone has any tips or tricks for getting used to drawing digitally, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Speedpaint: IT Crowd

I did my first tv/film screenshot speedpaints today.... and they are pretty awful, haha. But that's the point of the exercise, eh? Practice, practice, practice! Cause man, my speed painting skills are not up to par...

I chose screenshots from The IT Crowd since it is one of my top favorite tv shows of all time. I'll have to revisit IT Crowd several speedpaints down the line to do them justice. Gah!

Moss from It Crowd (Richard Ayoade deserves better... lol)

"FAATTHHEEEEEERRRR!!!!!" I listened to copious amounts of Matt Berry while painting...

Several times I almost stopped throughout painting these--especially the Moss one--because it was just too awful. Man, I need to work on my digital painting skills. When my precious lineart isn't there I get a little scatter-brained. Also, I need to organize my Photoshop brushes like whaaaa.... it's a bit of a hot mess in there.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reference Informs and Inspires: Jellyfish are Awesome

Another post in the series "Reference Informs and Inspires!" I have quite the collection of reference photos I've shot over the years in various places and I thought it would be fun to share these. Reference is so important to artists and illustrators, both for specifics and inspiration.

Today's reference comes from my trip last summer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is a pretty sweet aquarium. If you're anywhere near Monterey, it's totally worth the drive (although I'm not sure if I personally would travel a very long distance JUST for the aquarium). If you're in Northern California or plan on visiting anytime soon, make sure you take this place into consideration!

beautiful sea anemones... 

There are plenty of exhibits and displays in the aquarium, but I was really there for the jellies. They did not disappoint.

their color and movement was beautiful to watch...

I hadn't realized how many different variations of jellyfish there are...

I loved the squashiness of this one, especially how it changed in appearance when it moved.

These were super transparent and gorgeous. I'm pretty sure they were called ghost jellyfish or something.

It was a great experience and I took a ton of reference photos--although I still feel like I could have taken more. I was visiting with family so I felt a little bad dragging behind taking my 90th picture... but there's just so much to see!

If these photos inspire you I'd love to see what you create!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pause and Draw: The Lady Vanishes

There are all sorts of fun challenges and themes to practice drawing and painting. I've been working on a Draw-A-Thousand-Heads challenge for over a year now (around 830!) and really enjoy the habit. If you're new to the blog, there's not much to it. Draw one thousand heads and get better! I've noticed it allows me to experiment more since I'm not necessarily trying to brainstorm a specific story or idea. It's a fun activity that helps me practice drawing more consistently. I've heard of some other methods from fellow students and illustrator friends and decided to start implementing them. For this week, it's Pause and Draw! I found out about this from fun posts I'd see from Matthew Sargent, a friend from Columbia College days. Basically, watch a movie and every so often pause and draw. This also connects with another method I've heard about of speed painting based on film screenshots/stills. There's a cool blog where some Academy of Art grad students are sharing their speed paints. Another awesome animator lady out of the Academy, Sarah Barrie Fenton, is doing this on her blog (and tumblr), too. It's a good quick studies habit. This helps with studying lighting, composition, characters, and also drawing or painting quickly to keep the energy going. Time for me to start stretching those drawing and painting muscles more often!

Today I decided to watch Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes. I really enjoy Hitchcock's dramatic lighting, compositions, and story-telling. I've also been meaning to watch more since I've only seen a few: Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds. There's a lot more to watch. So two birds, one stone! I gave myself a 10-15 minute time limit for each and opted for good ol' pencil and pen.

It was really fun! If anyone has some Hitchcock priorities for me, please leave a comment! I picked this one since it was the first I came across on Netflix that I hadn't seen yet. I'm going to aim for doing the Pause and Draw and tv/film speed paints at least twice a week. I'll either share them here or on my Facebook page. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Speak with the Spirits

Tempest Brookshire, Lv. 11 Badass

And so it began two years ago when our new adventuring guild was formed on the West Coast. When moving from Chicago to the Bay Area three years ago I left behind not only awesome friends and family, but my previous adventuring party. I wasn't really too sure that we would play much once moving, but luckily the word of our DnD nerdiness got around and we met our wonderful members of our guild. A Guild Called Quest was formed and we've adventured ever since! I've been wanting to do some direct DnD-inspired illustrations depicting our characters since my Chicago guild's adventures. At last, the process has begun! First, of course, with my own character.

different pose sketches with notes on all my current equipment; I wanted to make sure I had everything!

I wanted to do an interior illustration similar to what I see in the Dungeons and Dragons books. I decided to focus on my character in a pose with minimal background. I started sketching different poses and concepts--either surrounded by numerous spirits of the dead or summoning spirit animals.

Add another five to the drawing challenge!

I then started drawing heads to get a feel for Tempest's character. I've sketched her out before but this time I really wanted to nail it. I liked the middle top one since it felt the most animalistic, was different from other ladies I'd drawn, and most importantly felt like Tempest to me.

They're watching you....

Next I knew I needed to design her totem. I am currently equipped with a Lv.8 Watchful Spirit Totem. I did research on Native American totem poles and then image research on the animals: I knew there had to be a raven since Tempest worships the Raven Queen, then went with two favorites: owl and wolf!

I did a rough sketch with little reference for the details just to get an idea for what all her equipment might look like and her position in the pose. It was time to get up!

Don't mind my hotmess of a closet back there...

I took a bunch of photos in the pose with different hand and head positions. When you need a staff, get a broom! One day I hope to have sweeter props: validate my cosplay and fantasy purchases as illustration costume pieces! Yes!

Then the tight drawing... I left the staff to draw once I transferred the drawing to bristol for inking. I did some research and internet browsing for armor ideas and was inspired by Leather Lore's designs. I haven't had the pleasure of purchasing anything from them so I can't speak on the quality exactly but damn does it look cool! I also wanted something that was a bit feminine/sexy but still made sense as armor--not just a bra.

There ye have it! I inked each wolf separately, Tempest and her equipment, then through the magic of Photoshop was able to manipulate the lineart like I wanted with ease.