More Sketchy

I did another from the Figure and Gesture drawing website:  Figure & Gesture Drawing Site The site spits out random pics, which is great for when I am at work and want to spend a little time at lunch doodling and noodling.

I spent more time on this than I am “suppose” to, as it is really no longer a gesture drawing but a full blown study.  But, hey, once you know the rules of art, then you can break ’em.  <g>.  This was 20 mins and I spent more time, because I am trying to work on my folds, especially when I have to put a figure in some action pose than no once can pose for.  So, the more I can put in my visual memory of how fabric falls, the better.  I used to hate doing folds and clothing, having cut my teeth on super heroes in my younger days.  But now, I absolutely love doing cloth and folds.
So my advice to young artists, do what you DON’T like to do…. if you avoid hands, or horses, or cars or perspective… tackle those subjects!  Make it fun for yourself, learn from it and you might then find a weakness is slowly becoming a strength.

I might color this one up for my fantasy clip art series.  What do you guys think?

 

Sketchy

Someone on facebook, I forget who, but thank you very much, pointed out this website:  http://artists.pixelovely.com/practice-tools/figure-drawing/

So, here are a couple of sketches I did, each are 10 mins, during lunch break. Well, guy with gun was more like 11 mins, I cheated just to hit a couple of details.

 

Putting it out into the universe…

So, tomorrow I move into Millie and my new house.  After Thanksgiving, I will have my studio up and running.  And while I am working at Ehrhart Energy as a marketing and customer service rep, I do want to do illustration on the side, but lean more towards passion projects.  I am *REALLY* missing doing work in oil.

One project that I came up with is because I have been reading some old sword and sorcery stuff.  Just finished the first collected volume of Kane by Karl Edward Wagner available as a ebook.  I was also reading some of Lin Carter’s sword and planet stuff this summer.

I have never really had any huge desire to follow in other’s footsteps, but I have been thinking a lot about doing a series of paintings… each painting would be the great character(s) of sword and sorcery.  So, obviously, Conan, Elric.  And I would be stepping into the shadows of Frazetta, Buscema, Whelan, Boris, Schultz and so many others.  Very daunting.  But perhaps at this time in my career, I should do a series like this.  Would folks want to see my Tarzan (which is blurring the line for sword and sorcery I admit) or my Belit or my John Carter?  Maybe I could do a gallery show in a couple of years?  Maybe folks would want prints?  Can I put my stamp on these characters that would be interesting to others?

Some of the ones I thought of really wanting to do:  Of course, Conan, Elric.. especially Elric, who might be my favorite fantasy character…. here are some others:  Tarzan, Jane, Deja Thoris, Red Sonja, Thoth Amon, Kull, Kane, John Carter, Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, Corum, Hawkmoon, Erekose, Eric John Stark (especially! never thought he was correctly depicted, he is dark skinned, not white!). Conn, (I always liked Conan’s son too).  What others would be fun to have done?

I finished this pic awhile ago, but kept forgetting to put her up.  The underpainting was posted in this blog back a few posts.  I think this series of “Maori” inspired characters also got me thinking of the Sword and Sorcery vibe.

 

Sometimes the road ain’t straight…

So, the pic of Medusa as a super hero didn’t quite meet Death Tribble’s request.  I missed the part that she was to be a patriotic super hero.  So I did another version, but I admit, I was pretty subtle with the flag motif on her outfit.  DT wanted it to be pushed a bit more and I came up with the final version for him.  I will present all three for your viewing curiosity.  Showing that sometimes, you have to sneak up on a concept.

Also, I did a crossbowman for yuks.  I had doodled him awhile ago.

Version 1.

Version 2.

Version 3.

Crossbow guy!

A return to super hero art

My long time patron Death Tribble gave me the challenge of doing Medusa as a super heroine.  Seemed like fun and it was.  I gave her a jaunty pose and smile.  He asked for a long, slinky outfit, but I felt that was kinda in the vein of a villain, so I gave her a skirt, semi-grecian, instead.  Hope he doesn’t mind.  What do y’all think?

Next are a couple of images from Green Ronin’s Cosmic Handbook.  Got to trout out my Kirby homage and my love of sword and planet motifs.  I went with some super vibrant colors on these both, trying for “alien and cosmic” after looking at a lot of what Kirby did back in the day.

 

Keep on smilin’ Smilodon!

Last Saturday (just scanned this yesterday), I went to Barnes and Nobles in Ithaca, NY.  The Museum of the Earth was there, promoting John Gurche’s talk at the museum on the new hominids recently discovered in S. Africa.  The talk was last night, and was incredible.  John talked about the process of coming up with the visuals based on these bones they found.

Anyway, the Museum of the Earth was really there at B&N to entice young kids to learn about dinosaurs, but I saw this skull on the table and asked if I could sketch it.  “No problem”… so I sketched this in about 40 mins and it was a blast.  I was told it was a smilodon skull…. but I’m no expert on that.

Happy with how it turned out.

Smilodon Skull

Where I have been

My art production has gone down considerably the last couple of months.  I had a nasty summer bug.  My wife and I are looking for a house, moved into a month to month apartment that is small 1 bedroom.  That means my traditional art supplies have gone into storage.  But the biggest impact on my art is that I took a marketing job for Ehrhart Energy.  They/we sell propane, fuel oil, wood pellets and wood bricks.  I grew up with the daughter of the owner.  So… pure nepotism.

It was supposed to be a 3 week contract but it is now permanent.  I write radio ads, I do graphic design, I crunch numbers trying to figure out trends.  It is a cool job, steady paycheck and great people to work with and for.

I am still doing artwork, still accepting assignments, but I’m much more picky as my schedule is much more limited.  I am hoping to work on some of my own projects too, now that I don’t have to solely rely on my art to make a living.

Meanwhile, I did get this out the door to Paul, who has commissioned several things in the past…. hope you like!

Nightowl

 

 

Diversifying

As a white male illustrator, I hate to admit this, but I often forget to push diverse images in fantasy.  Often, I return time and time again to white male protagonists.  Eurocentric imagery.  And this is not only boring, it is a disservice to the viewers of my art, who are varied and global.

When this assignment came to me, it was a pretty standard descriptor of Viking imagery for 3 character concepts.  But before I could get started, my client, Robert Walz, chimed in and said if I could change it up.  He cited Maori and Aztec as my cultural touchstones for the 3 characters and that I had free reign to change weapons into sharktooth clubs from viking axes or what have you.

I was really thrilled to get this challenge!  So the bearcloak became a manta ray cloak. I made the necromancer a thing of a dead sea.  Chain or scale became made up of ivory shark teeth.  These are the underpaintings.  Done on gray toned paper, done in pencil, white color pencil, Pentel white color ink pen, and copic markers.  Scanned in and given a bit of a sepia tone.  I have not done the color versions, but will share those when I get them up.

This is work in progress:  I will do the queen’s spear digitally, and I ran out of room on the paper on the Necro, so I will extend him a bit, so he is not truncated.  (Getting sloppy in my old age and taking advantage of digital).

So, without further ado, 3 fantasy characters who I hope do not read as eurocentric characters.

Art for a Simply Superheroes Kickstarter

I did this cover for Simply Superheroes awhile back.  But didn’t show it til now because the Kickstarter is now Live!

Here is the link to the Kickstarter for Simply Superheroes.  Seems like a pretty interesting, simple system as it’s title suggests.  There are videos on Character Creation and Dice Rolling Mechanics too… which are two areas I often go to first when assessing a new game.

Simply Superheroes Kickstart link

 

Simply Superheroes!

Not sure what that storm signifies for who I called Crimson Cloak.  I got a description for him, but not any really defined backstory or character sheet….. but I’m sure it isn’t good.  What do y’all think the storm signifies?  What, who is coming?!?!

A bit of Process. Part 2.

To continue on.  The pic below is where I am starting to block in my colors.  I tend to work in three modes.  Either multiply layer, when I want darker colors (like the dark red).  Overlay layer, where I want something very light.  And directly on the “home” layer when I want to kind of wipe out the textures of pencil and paper, but combine it with the value structure I’ve built so far.  Often, I will lay in a Multiply or Overlay layer and before flattening it to the home layer, I will take it down to 90% so some structure remains.

I’ve blasted some background in there, trying to keep it in the key of the painting so far.

This pic is somewhat of a rarity for me as the ground is really quite close to what I wanted for the flesh color anyhow…. so this went really, really quick.

Really starting to use the paint

And this is the final.  I continue to lay in colors and maybe I should have saved a step showing that…but really it is now just working into the shadow and lights of the various areas.  Like I work in a bit of green light into the red shawl that is emanating from the book. I then use the Marker brush with a bit of a light purple to work in the shadow areas.  The Marker brush is a Multiply brush in Manga Studio 5, so it acts like a Multiply layer.  Blending here and there when I want to.

 

I decide to blow up the main figure a bit and let her shadow side sorta blend into the background.  Then I rim lighted the back of her to pop her out a bit.  The client requested triskeles flowing from the book of magic.  Those and the light are done on about 3 layers of Normal and Soft Light and Hard Light layers, all of them down to about 10% to 30%

Punch up some of the highlights on that Hard Light layer (which can be really, really harsh, which is why I keep it around 20%).  I blended a bit in the face, to make smoother the pencil structure that was there… and viola…here is the final.

One of the things I struggle with at times is when to leave some pencil structure underneath the paint and when to wipe it out.  Sometimes, I love the energy from the original drawing to come through and sometimes it is something that I really fight against.  Here, if you look closely, you can see some pencil texture still in the darker shadows of clothing…and I like that.  The spell book is pretty much the pencil entirely, just with a layer of Overlay of that yucky, spooky yellow green.  But I pretty much blended pencil in the skin tones and on the jewelry away.

What do you think?  Does the pencil texture distract?  Does it lose too much energy from the original sketch and I should have kept more in?

Final look