Thursday, June 29, 2006

Meetings Bloody Meetings

I don't know what meetings mean in your world, but in mine they mean a lot of new sketches. Here's an undead alchemist from Tuesday's meeting:

I was going to draw another bored character blowing its brains out, but then I thought, "I haven't done poison in a while...!" I um... love meetings. Yes I do.

This bad boy is from a little later in the same meeting. He's very rough -- I may have to tame him in Photoshop a bit before releasing him officially:

All the sketches from today's uber-meeting will be going up as I scan 'em and clean 'em up.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This week's Caricature Jam is Uma Thurman:

I think I'm getting somewhere on analyzing facial features, but nowhere on actual caricatures.

Other than that, I'm working on some digital painting cheesecake this week. Hopefully I'll have something up soon. Actually, I should have lots of sketches to post by the end of the week -- we're having a staff retreat tomorrow, and I expect my sketchbook will be the only way for me to stave off life-threatening boredom. (Hey -- I might get so bored I forget to breathe! Could happen!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gamer Girl

I was going through my old-sketches drawer at work and the only one that really caught my attention or seemed like something I'd like to revisit was a cartoon of an angry gamer girl about to strangle her opponent with her controller cable. I thought I'd re-visit the concept with an updated sketch:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Teeth and Ruin

So I came home yesterday with a set of casts made of my teeth. Sometime last night, it came to mind that they would make an unusual object to sketch and might spur me on to make a paper journal entry. Earlier this afternoon I sat down and got to it:

One sketch of plaster teeth later, I decided that they would look a good deal better coloured, and that I had a set of markers which would do nicely. Always on the lookout for an opportunity to use my markers, I fetched them and got to work.

It was only when I was nearly done that it occurred to me to check if there was any bleed-through to the other side of the paper -- you know, the side of the paper on which I had half a beautiful sketch of Churchill Square that I'd spent most of the week working on.

My heart sank. It's always harsh when something one loves is ruined and I have no one but myself to blame for my carelessness! On the other hand, as I sat there and stewed, I realized that I finally had my journal entry. I guess there's no inspiration like the inspiration you get from your own gross errors. Also, now that I've made the inevitable horrible mistake, I can relax and get on with filling my journal.

Friday, June 23, 2006

On Finishing Art

I've been trying to work on some more finished pieces (for my "journal" and whatnot), but the result has been fewer sketches. I'm getting a bit burnt out at the moment.

I went through my stack of old art at work to see if I could find some inspiration, and quite frankly it's been a disappointing tour through unfinished faces and pinups. I've been looking at so much good art lately that all the fast sketches I've been used to doing have started to bore me. But designing and executing a finished piece involves days and days of slogwork, especially when you have both a day job and a gaming addiction. In short, I need to strike some sort of balance. Neil suggested I try doing in-between drawings -- sketches from real life, or more detailed sketches, but not finished pieces. However, after a drawing gets to a certain point, I get to thinking... "maybe I should just finish this damned thing!" and so get mired in another big project.

Anyway, don't mind my whinging! It's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. :)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I Gave In

I'm such a sucker. I ended up buying a Moleskine online to see if they're all that and a bag of chips. I tried it out today for the first time:

...and actually, I like it. It's got nice paper. It opens up flat so that it scans nicely. The paper is heavy enough so that there will be no wibbling if I choose to use watercolours. But I guess what I really enjoyed was taking it out to the garden and sketching some pansies in ink and pencil crayon. I used to work a lot with pencil crayons and I've had a nice Prismacolor set since High School. I abandoned them to work with digital colour and ink, and I was surprised how quickly I felt comfortable with them again, considering I haven't really used them in five or six years.

The picture turned out quite well, considering that the weather couldn't make up its mind about whether it was going to be eye-poppingly sunny or overcast. I ended up wearing a big-brimmed hat to shade the sketchbook because the paper was blinding whenever the sun came out.

I later took it to the Father's Day barbecue, where I did a couple of quick sketches of Neil and his parents' dog. Neither of them consented to sit still for more than a moment, so the sketches are terribly rough and not really worth posting.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Don't Love Shakira

Mostly because I've spent two or three days inking this picture of her:

Drawn from a photo reference (obviously).

I am of the opinion that she has entirely too much hair. I think celebrities and models should go for the easier-to-draw bald look. Also, they should eschew complicated pants and only wear black leotards. Possibly, they should just all go nude.

I'm freaking tired, I'll probably have a mixture of "Whenever Wherever" and Rammstein stuck in my head for weeks, and I think I must have used up most of three pigment pens on this bugger. Plus it looks rough because I started it at work, in my sketchbook, which is distressingly toothy.

All in all, one of the more fiddly projects I've undertaken, but good practice, I guess.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Lumps" Damon

I'm still plugging away at caricatures. They all end up looking either like Michael Jackson or too much like a portrait. The nice people at the Drawing Board forums told me to work on someone lumpy, and I've been repeating it like a mantra -- so much so that when I started trying to caricaturize Matt Damon for the forum jam, my husband started referring to him as "Lumps" Damon. Anyway, here's "Lumps":

I have no idea if this looks like him. When you look at someone's photo that closely, it starts to lose all meaning, much like repeating one word until it's just a funny sound.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


A sketch based on a Lucy Liu pose.

Still having either scanner or sketchbook problems. Lou-sy.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Just slapped on some colour. Experimenting with transparent shadows & highlights. The hair turned out all right, but otherwise unremarkable.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Still trying to do at least one sketch a day, if for no other reason than because they sometimes turn into finished drawings. Yesterday I inspired myself:

I don't normally look this big a freak, it's just that they air-condition my office to the point of numbness, and since it was raining I only brought a rain shell and not my usual, warmer jacket. By midafternoon I was frozen stiff, so I thought I'd dig through the pile of clothes I keep at the office (as I usually cycle in and need to change, but don't want to drag clothes around on my bike all the time). In my pile of clothes I discovered some useful things, like heavy socks and a winter hat, which I wore all afternoon.

Back in the day when I was a student here, I had even less of a sense of fashion and decorum. I remember a late night programming session where I wore a bathrobe over top of my clothes, and once I borrowed a flowery blanket and wore it like a poncho with someone's scarf. They didn't waste the heat on us back then either.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Today's sketch is from a photo reference of a scream that I ended up turning into a surprised vampire in its death throes.

I wish I'd had the room to draw in the stake -- maybe now that I've scanned it, I'll add some clothing. Assuming I can figure out what I've done with all my pens and erasers -- they have all disappeared.

I'm still trying to figure out whether my scanner issues stem from my scanner or from some sketchbook ritual that I have unwittingly neglected. I guess I'll see how things scan once I've lit the nine candles and sacrificed the goat.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pre-colour Inks

Sometimes (mostly?) I ink things very simply so that I can add colour later and not worry about the colour competing with the inks. Here are a couple scans that will probably get some colour soon.

Kung Fu Grandma:

And a character from a fantasy story I've been working on since I was in junior high, Sharne:

I'm not sure what I'll do with Granny, but Sharne was going to get the marker treatment until I started fooling around with her face in Photoshop. I'm very happy with what I've done with it so far, so I guess I'll keep going. Sometime soon I'll post whatever progress I've made on her.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tiny Warlock

I needed a new sig for my guild's forums because I've deleted my Horde warlock and the Tauren isn't even inked yet, much less coloured. So I took one of the sketches I'd posted here before and vectorized it in Illustrator. I thought about what sort of kid my warlock would have been, and "creepy as all get-out" seems to work on her.

I knew what sort of effect I was going for, but I found the colour scheme to be difficult to work out. I ended up getting the skin tone from photos of people in public aquariums and screwing around with everything else until I got something that looked reasonable. I'm pleased with how the picture turned out, but I keep wondering whether I should have toned down the deeper shadows, or put in dimples or hair strands... When is a drawing complete, anyway?

I'm tired today, and cranky. I ended up not making this into a sig after all -- I wanted to put in a border of letters exported from Illustrator to Photoshop, but I couldn't fade the layer the way I wanted to and still have antialiased letters. I'd like the left side of the layer to be completely opaque and the right side to be transparent, so that the border fades evenly into the background behind the figure. I spent a lot of time in the help files without effect. What a pain in the butt!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


My scanner may be ill. I'm getting oddly blurry spots on my drawings where no blurry spots should be (as in, the pencil/ink hasn't smeared and the paper seems to be lying flat on the glass). Is this the end for my faithful (yet cheap) Canon? After so many years of service is it time to put it into the Closet of Diseased Electronics We Can't Quite Part With?

More Random Flickr People

I was going to post a few of them, but this picture may very well be my scanner's swan song. I had to scan it four times, lined up four different ways on the scanner, before I got a decent result.

Nice bit of inking as far as I, an ink noob, am concerned.