Turtles and Designs

There’s something really cathartic about doing very simple line/shape designs. They build on themselves very easily, so they can end up looking very complicated, but really they are just a series of tiny little line strokes with little to no active thought involved. I have pages and pages of images like this in my sketchbooks. When I’m bored and don’t really have any ideas, this is my go-to. They begin with a simple design, sometimes just a random shape and then build and build and build. Here’s one in pen of some turtles.

This was an old school project that I used the exact same technique on. The project was to illustrate a word and mine was “Trivialize”, so I did something so graphic and detailed above the word that it’s completely overwhelmed. It looked great next to all of the other projects in the class that were very focused on displaying the word.

I created a mock up of the image with pen on 11×17 paper to get the idea of the amount of detail to go into it, then I created the final image in Illustrator. It took me hours and hours to do, but I just put on music or a movie in the background and let my hands do all the work.

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Beach Sketching

I have this habit of sketching people wherever I go. Usually I’m pretty good at hiding it, but every once in a while I get caught staring at somebody, or someone notices my drawings and it can be a little awkward. Especially when they want to see what I’m doing…! I don’t sketch people “pretty”, or at least I never make any real effort to, so they’re often disappointed (sometimes even offended!) by what they see. So I’ve become pretty good at lurking…

Hahaha I loved this sketch… she looks like a drunken passenger on a magic carpet. I should put some stars around her and give her Jasmine’s harem pants.

This was a father taking his daughter out into the water for a closer look at some of the boats tied up just off shore. The beach in this area drops of so steeply that even fairly large passenger boats can anchor very close to the beach.

Palm trees on the shore.

More Hair

I mentioned I really really like hair…

Another one out of my sketchbook. I think I did this around the same time that I was doing those large portraits, because I definitely used the same .005 microns that I was using then to get those teeny tiny hair wispies.

Wall Murals

Only in the last few months have my eyes really opened up to wall murals and graffiti. I’ve seen it around before of course, but I never really paid attention to it. I always thought of ugly tags when I thought of graffiti, or cheesy wanna-be-Bob-Ross landscapes in dentist offices when I thought of murals. I had no idea how wrong I was and now I’m making up for lost time.

I finally went out and bought a couple cans of spray paint and damn it was way more fun then I thought it’d be. But before that I tried my hand at painting with regular house paint a very simple image on a wall next to my house… with mixed results.

Here’s the image I drew on my computer first.

Here’s an absolutely amazing video I found yesterday to give you an idea of the pure amazingness happening on walls out there. So you can see the image on the wall didn’t translate very well haha. I ran into a few problems while painting; the texture of the wall was crazy. It took me hours just to get the base blue on the wall, and it never really filled in very well. The colors that I had my local paint shop mix up weren’t exactly what I had in mind. They turned out more baby pink and blue… oops. And then there was actually transferring the image to scale. Way tougher than I expected it to be! But hey, despite all that I’m pretty happy with it for a first try.

Oh, and here’s my color test for the spray paints =)

Now to make up for my sad mural skills, here’s a mind blowing video of MadC’s Jurassic Park wall in Germany.

Pen Work – Wunmi Fadipe

My favorite medium is pen. When I sketch with pencil I tend to erase and nit-picked and tweak constantly. A professor of mine noticed and mentioned how much it slowed me down and made my lines too stiff and unnatural, and he gave me an assignment: sketch 3-4 times a day, everyday for one week, and only use pen. I immediately noticed a difference in not only the speed of my sketches, but also the style and quality. I enjoyed the assignment so much that even now almost all of my sketches are in pen. I also went a step further and created a penned portrait series of 4 as my final work from that class. Here’s one of them

The original is about 3ft x 4ft and is based on photography by Andres Serrano. (Careful browsing through his work, he can be graphic/disturbing. Definitely NSFW) The entire piece, sketch to finish, was done with .005 micron pens. The texture and gradient was created with light squiggly patterns layered and layered… and layered and layered. The whole thing took me about 32 hours beginning to end.

Ninja Birds

There are these really funny birds that hang around the house every now and then. They’re obviously pretty intelligent, they get into everything and I’ve even seen them playing a few times. I heard an odd noise coming from a some boxes full of old wood pieces one day, and when I looked a bit closer it was one of these guys swinging on a broken wooden leg. He’d swing upside down and toss some of the wood bits below him from side to side, then swing right side up again, much like the way parrots play sometimes.

They also have a really interesting look to them. They’re shaped a lot like a black bird or grackle, but their beaks are enormous and take up most of their face! Also, they can easily fly, but I’ve noticed they prefer to run along the ground when they can. They lift their wings up a bit, put their heads down low and sprint and hop along. The first time I saw them their was a small group of them doing just that between the razor wire on the fence outside. That, plus the fact that they’re all black, makes them look just like ninjas on a mission.

I went on a mission to find the name of these birds, but no one I asked seemed to know much about them. The locals around here call them “Sanates” or “Zantas”, but I think that’s used as a generic term for small black birds. After a few frustrating hours on the internet and about a hundred google searches later I finally found them. They’re called Ridge (or Groove?) Billed Ani’s. Unfortunately I don’t know much more about them than their name, but here’s a good image I found of two of them, since my sketch is so sloppy.

Did you notice their feet?? Two toes in front and two in back!

I LOVE hair.

More then just about anything, I love to draw hair. There’s just something so fascinating and delicate about the way hair moves and forms, it’s a lot like drawing water but with stronger lines.

While I like parts of this image, unfortunately sometimes I work on images for too long. I nit pick and fiddle around so much that the idea behind it eventually just deteriorates and there’s no saving it. It’s a lot like saying a word so often it just becomes a sound… spoonspoonspoonspoonspoon ssspoooon.

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Side note – I also love the movie “Hair”… but for completely different reasons.

Kokoro Cafe – Step by Step

This was a commissioned image especially for Kokoro Cafe, an Otome gaming forum. The owner of the website approached me to do a commission in the same style as my “Scarf” image, and requested that I illustrate two similar characters on a date outside of a cute and romantic european-style cafe with the name “Kokoro Cafe” above them. So I started out with a rough sketch thumbnail…

The important part was to rough out the composition in a space that would fit the dimensions needed for the piece, as well as to get a good idea of what the scene would consist of. When I was happy with it I scanned the thumbnail onto my computer and into Photoshop (I like to do super rough thumbnail work in my sketchbook… it’s just easier to be messy I guess), then I started rearranging the bits and pieces to fit into the exact dimensions.

I miss-judged the dimensions in my thumbnail just a bit! So I added a few extra details to stretch the composition out; another tree, longer window display, two more tables, as well as a few little details just for fun. I also cleared up some of the sketch lines. You can really see it on the guy-formerly a man shaped blob, now with a winning smile. And a little cup’o tea.

Next comes the lines. As things clear up I go back into the sketch a few more times and add or subtract details. I also moved a few things around, like the tree. After seeing the clean lines it was obviously way too close to the door. A few more little tweaks and adjustments, as well as cropping the right edge a bit to help the composition out, and finally it’s time for some color.

This is the “Ugly Stage”. It looks finished enough to be complete, but the colors are all flat and boring. Also, what you can’t see in this are all of the color adjustments I went through to get to this point. The first color version had the wall baby blue… Don’t judge, I thought it could be cute… It’s also important to note that there are probably about 20-25 different layers for the colors. It makes adjusting and tweaking color/hue/saturation/texture/everything! so much easier! Someone once told me “You should never need more than three layers MAX”, but I completely and strongly disagree. The Layers function is one of the most useful tools in photoshop, hands down, and I use it shamelessly. The final image probably has around 50 layers.

So that brings me to the final image! All of the colors in the previous image are exactly the same in this image. The only difference are shadow, gradient and texture layers over them. I decided to keep it clean and as clear as possible because of the small size of it’s display (which you can see for yourself here), so while I normally would have added a lot more light and shadow I stuck to only some super basic shadows in the trees and plant. I also added two simple textures to the wall and concrete. The brick was one that I pulled off of Deviantart‘s Resource Stock a long time ago (I think), and the concrete texture is actually high resolution bread overlayed with a super low opacity… So then I just added in a bit of a gradient and shine to the window to make it look more windowy and voila! All done =)

I hope that wasn’t too obscenely long. For my scarf image I uploaded each image one by one, but I thought for this one it was better to see the whole thing together. Oh! and don’t forget, you can click on the images to view them full size.

Beach Babes

There was a pair of women walking along the beach together (sisters I’m pretty sure) and they were just so cute! I drew a bunch of little sketches of them and these two were my favorites.

They even had matching swimsuits!

This is my favorite body type to draw btw. Skinny people have more sharp angles which has never really been my style, whereas fat people (is that not pc?) have nothing but curves. It just flows so much easier when your sketching.

Gujarat – Watercolor

This is an older piece of mine. I did a whole big series of portraits a few years ago and this was one of my favorites. I haven’t used very much watercolor since then, but I’ve been considering picking it back up. Oils and acrylics are bulky and so expensive it’s sometimes difficult to make myself pull them out… I think it might be about time to get over it and whip up another portrait series. My painter hands are itching =)

And for those of you wondering, the swastika in this image is a religious symbol. No affiliation to that short guy with the unfortunate facial hair.