Skull Man Progress 3

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Starting to work in some color/form now… I think I’ve decided to go with a little bit more of a painterly style, but with a very restricted color palette.



Skull Man Progress 2

Part 1

Part 2

The line work is finally just about done! It’s been a while since I did anything so textural, so doing his guy’s hair and beard was pretty fun. The next step will be the smoke, then color… I’m still not sure how I want to color it. Either something flat and stark, or maybe more painterly… I’ll figure it out as I go.


This guy’s got one helluvah jaw.

Skull Man Progress

Just about half way through inking that sketch from yesterday. After I get his neck and shoulders done, I still have to adjust the lines of his face a bit more, then his hair and beard, and then finish up the smoke lines.


That blue line down the middle of his face is a just a ruler marker that I’m using to keep my center line straight.

Skull Man

Something I worked up real quick in between work today. I was going in a very different direction when I started sketching, but I like how it’s turning out. I think I may ink him tomorrow!


I always try to give myself at least a day in between sketching and inking… After a few hours away, it’s a lot easier to pick out all those mistakes that were hard to see with my nose glued to the screen.

Japan Trip Day 8

Day 8 was mostly a travel day for us, since we were heading back to Tokyo from Osaka, but we got up early in the morning and headed out to fit just a couple more things in. Our first stop was Osaka Castle. It’s a beautiful structure that pops up over the trees that surround it. I can’t imagine what it must have looked like when it was still in use; it must have been incredible!

The interior has been turned into a museum and each level is different. There are letters written by Hideyoshi Toyotomi himself, clothing worn by the people who lived in the castle, there are even little models mixed tiny live action reenactments (they’re adorable and Lan and I were hooked for a good 30 min even though we were in a hurry). When you get to the top you can walk out onto the balcony, and the view is beautiful.

The castle was great, but the best part was when I was suddenly mobbed by a group of school kids on a field trip. A girl was saying something to me (VERY LOUD) and I couldn’t quit understand at first. It sounded as if she was asking me where the bath was (“ofuro”)… then another girl whispered something to her and she said, “Where are you from?” (again VERY LOUD). I told them I was american in english and then japanese and got a chorus of “Woooooooow!!” and clapping. They practiced their english with me a little more, telling me things they liked and disliked. One girl said, “I am Japan.” then asked to shake hands. It was so cute! I wish I could have talked to them longer but we all had to move on so I shook a couple more hands and waved bye. Lan snapped a photo of the kids while they were asking me questions.

This was the first time any kids had actually stopped to talk to me, but throughout the whole trip we’ve passed by groups of school kids on their way somewhere to a chorus of “Hello! Hello! Hello!”. Almost always little boys, and almost always sounding more like “Herro!”

So we decided we had time for just one more stop after Osaka Castle before we headed out, and it would be the Osaka Ferris Wheel. It was a quick stop; a short train ride and we ran right over and hopped in line. There was almost no one there so we got right on. The view from the top was really pretty and we got to see the whole harbor .

That done, we hopped back on the train (after grabbing some takoyaki real quick) back to our hotel to grab our bags and make our way to the Shinkansen for one last trip back north to Tokyo.Here are some more train drawings and doodles.

The train ride wasn’t that bad and we were still hopeful that we’d make it to that movie we’d now tried twice to get to… but then there was the trek to our hotel… We got in at Tokyo Station, which is a beautiful station but nowhere near where our directions told us we needed to get onto the subway. Of course, we didn’t know that, we just followed the signs… for about 5 city blocks, with all of our luggage. Up stairs, down stairs, outside then back in. Finally we made it to the subway station we were looking for and had to walk another 2 city blocks just to get out of the station and to the hotel in Nihombashi! By the time we got there it was so late and we were so gross and tired we decided to just call it a night. Oh, and here’s the lovely view from our hotel window.

Yah, that’s an office. I could have reached across and stolen some of their pencils if I’d wanted to…

Portrait of a… some random guy actually

I always entertain myself on long flights by drawing the people around me, so I have pages and pages of 3/4 view profiles of bored looking sitting people. This guy in particular I felt like I had to draw because I was absolutely convinced that he was one of my favorite authors (Brian Jacques, who has since passed away)… until he stood up at the end of the flight and I realized he actually looked nothing like him. I was all ready to nerd out and ask him for a sig too; pen and napkin in hand.

I did see him pick his nose quit a bit while I was drawing him though, so maybe it’s a good thing it wasn’t really him. Would have ruined the “author’s mystic”…

Pen Work – Mangal Singh

Another part of the Portrait series I did a while back. If I’m remembering correctly this guy took me the longest out of the four (shocker, right?). His beard alone killed about 6 pens! I think I timed myself around 45 hours from start to finish on him.

With the previous portrait I used a sort of “squiggly” technique, never really lifting my pen but using very light and even pressure to build layers of shadow, but that didn’t seem to fit this image. I started out using that style after loosely sketching the image, and you can see it in his right eye.

I quickly decided that it was too messy of a look for him; that I needed to find a way to separate the texture and shadows of his skin and his crazy-enormous-beard so instead I began using cross-hatching. On his skin, since that was the first part that I did, I was a bit looser with the type of lines I used, changing from long to short and not grouping them very well.

By the time I got to his coat I had realized that cleaner, more ordered lines were much better and I began grouping the lines into rough pairs of 4 or 5 letting them get larger and farther apart to create the gradient.

To give myself a break from the straight ordered lines of the rest of the piece I went into his beard bit by bit, section by section, as I did the rest of the shading on his coat, face and turban. To get the look of hair (and not just a crazy squiggly mess!) I used clumping. First I roughly sketched out the overall shape of the beard, then used long overlapping strokes to create smaller shapes within the beard. By going in and deepening the shadows where those strokes crossed each other it created the effect of overlapping hair.

By the time I got to his turban, you can see how much stronger and more confidant my pen strokes were, and how much more evenly the cross-hatching is used. The best part though, is that you can still see the original loose sketch underneath. It may seem sloppy to leave something like that behind, but I really enjoy being able to see the stages and growth of an image, just as much as the rendered final product. Without those mistakes this would be a fairly boring portrait, but with them it tells a story.

More People-Watching

Here are a couple sketches from a party I was at a while back of the guys providing the music.

Somewhere in my old pile of sketchbooks and papers I have an old spiral notebook that I had with me the day I went to an amusement park with some friends. I was feeling a little queasy after three roller coasters so I sat down in the shade and completely filled the notebook with sketches of all the people at the park, and I couldn’t have had more fun =)

(I had a little trouble with my post not showing up on the main page yesterday… hopefully today it’ll work, but if it doesn’t I’m sorry ahead of time for any double-posting!)