Sunday, August 2, 2009

Illustration Friday - Modify aka I Spent My Weekend Drawing Elephants

Former circus elephant Elvis will quickly learn that he needs to modify his behavior if he wants to be accepted into the herd.

Truthfully, when I first saw this topic I considered linking to my previous Polar Pals post. Since modify and adapt are synonyms, I thought I could get away with it. Then I realized that I would only be cheating myself, so I spent the weekend drawing elephants.

As a personal goal, I try to outdo myself for each Illustration Friday drawing. I think I've succeeded here. Three characters, a goofy costume, and an honest background that includes a ridiculous amount of grass and faded trees in the distance. I also have wrists and fingers that are killing me right now. Hooray for progress?

In case you were wondering why I picked the name Elvis, I figured that an awesome circus elephant would need a show-stopping name. I also like alliteration, and I couldn't think of anything cooler that started with E. Edward the Elephant just wouldn't do, not that Edward is a bad name or anything.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Illustration Friday - Idle Sloth

Real sloths look much creepier than this.

I think sloths are a perfect representation of the word idle. They are lazy, slow-moving animals. Their grooming habits are questionable, which means they probably stink. Algae forms on their fur after it rains. I added the mushrooms for fun. I also tried to make this sloth look pleasant, since real sloths are scary-looking, hairy, algae-covered blobs that hang in trees. They also don't seem to resemble any other animal I've ever seen, although some sloths look vaguely like hairy mutant koalas without ears.

I must admit that I'm idle as well. I finished this picture days ago, and didn't post it until now. I was just too lazy to type this post and push a button. I'm not as bad as a sloth though, since I bathe regularly.

When Polar Bears Rule The World

I'd watch out for the calm looking one with the club if I were you.

According to people who like the environment, polar ice caps, glaciers, and other huge bodies of ice are melting. Soon, polar bears and other arctic animals will have nowhere to live.

Personally, I would like to believe that polar bears are smart enough to adapt to their ice-house crisis. With limited space, polar bears will be forced to team up and create dangerous ursine gangs. Groups of bears will float on tiny icy territories, getting into turf wars over prime fishing spots. In time, these polar bear gangs will enjoy technological and cultural advancements, such as wooden clubs and cool sunglasses. Eventually, they will float their way into human civilization and will exact their revenge. They will also have fun alliterative names, such as the Polar Pals. Hide your fish and lock your doors, because the Polar Pals are coming. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you see this face at your door, call an animal control officer right away:

Please don't laugh at his bowtie to his face.

Stay safe, and beware the bears.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Illustration Friday - (Hippo) Tango

So the topic this week is Tango, which made deciding what to draw pretty easy. It was either dancing, or a fruit that's a mix between a tangerine and a mango (a tango? Get it? HA!) Dancing seemed like a better choice. Dancing hippos seemed like a cooler choice. I checked out a bunch of Tango videos on Youtube so I could get a feel for how the dance looked, since I'm no dancer, and it's better to have a reference in mind. I'm happy with this, and found that it wasn't as tough to draw as I thought it would be. This is possibly my shortest art post yet.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

7 Minute Sketch - Nervous Circus Bear

I was watching TV and got bored during a commercial break, so I grabbed a nearby pen and started to sketch. Earlier, I found myself looking through a bunch of old drawings, and I wanted to see if I could redo them somehow. A lot can change in a couple of years, right? I found an old picture of a circus bear I put on a t-shirt and decided to redraw it in a different way. This is the old picture, which was made in February, 2007:

I slapped a background on it so it wouldn't be so boring to look at. The outline was made using a Sharpie marker. At the time, I didn't have my tablet, so there's no fancy shading or anything. In my seven minutes of boredom, I drew this:
The Amazing, Nervous, Plate-Balancing Circus Bear

For a quick sketch, this isn't too bad. I added some color to the paper after I scanned it in, since the paper was eye-blinding white. I also adjusted the line color to make the picture easier to see. I made a point not to care about the end result, so I wouldn't waste time agonizing over the lines and such. There's a lot I'd like to change, but since this is a sketch I'll try not to beat myself up over it. Now that I have a tablet I'll be able to use the "fancy inking and coloring skills" this time around. I'll also be able to undo, which I couldn't do two years ago (unless I wanted to draw with the mouse, which I actively avoided doing). For some reason, I can't wait to finish this, or should I say start this?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Illustration Friday - Hollow

"I guess you won't be getting me today, Mr. Cat."

"No, not today...but you'll have to come out of that tree sometime, Mr. Bird."

For Mr. Cat, a hollow tree can lead to an empty stomach.

This was the first idea that came to my mind for Illustration Friday. I wanted to tell a cute little story, and what's better than a pair of friendly foes? When I made my first sketch for it, I thought it would look nicer in black and white. I wanted to challenge myself a bit by not using color this time around. It was different trying to explore how to make lines work for me, instead of relying on coloring skills. I tried to make sure each "mass" in the picture had something different happening in terms of line direction and such. I left the cat and bird "empty" so they would stand out. When I look at it now, I think it looks like a comic strip you'd find in the newspaper. It really looks like a Sunday comic strip when you add a splash of color to it though:

For the technical stuff, I drew this on an index card, and inked it using a Staedtler pen. Some of the tiniest lines were made using a Helix .1 technical pen. The thicker lines were made by just going over the outline a second time. I noticed that the index card soaked up a bit of ink, so the lines weren't as smooth as I had wanted them to be. I guess that adds to the "Sunday newspaper comic" feel to it, though. Incidentally, the insides of a hollow tree don't tend to look like that, as I found out later on a trip to the park. They tend to look much more boring.

I had this finished on Friday, but I got a bit ill and didn't post it until now. I notice I have some new comments too, so I'll definitely get to those in the morning. It's late now, so I'm going to get some sleep.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bird Family Illustration and an Important Lesson

A year ago I designed this illustration of a family of birds for some people who wanted to wear it on t-shirts for a family gathering. At the time, I regularly drew things for my Cafepress store, so I figured this would be a great opportunity. The whole thing fell through, since the people never contacted me again after my initial sketches, but I liked this enough to finish it.

Looking back, I should have realized that things wouldn't have worked out. I heard about the job through someone else (person A), who insisted that the people were fine to work with. Not being particularly business-savvy as far as commissions went, I figured it would be ok since person A was vouching for them. When said people emailed me, there was only a subject line, and nothing more. Imagine getting an email called (hypothetically) T-shirts. You open it up, and there's nothing else written. What are you supposed to do with that!? That's not useful at all. The people managed to tell person A what they wanted, and person A then telephoned that information to me, but it was such a convoluted way of doing things. Argh.

I finished the sketching and some inital colors based on what Person A relayed to me, and then I emailed the potential clients. I sent them a link to a Cafepress shop so they could see the design on the shirts, as well as the pricing. I mentioned that I would be willing to offer them a discount if they were buying more than X number of shirts. I also let them know that I would be willing to change the colors, posing, etc. of the illustration. Since each character was drawn individually and then placed together, any changes would have been simple to make.

After sending that email, I never heard from them again. I have no idea if they even had the reunion. Maybe they dropped the idea after seeing the pricing. Maybe they decided to put some Sharpies on white t-shirts and call it a day. Person A never mentioned it, and I didn't feel like bringing it up, so I guess I'll never know the truth. I can look back on this as a learning experience now, but I wasn't so happy about it back then. I guess that's where the saying "live and learn" comes in.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Illustration Friday - Shaky

Badger relationships can be shaky at best, especially when you consider their moody temperament.

If shaky can mean unstable, then both relationships and badger behavior certainly fit under this definition. Relationships can change over time, and badgers can go from mellow to mean in a millionth of a second. At least that's how they act on nature shows. It's amazing that they still exist, since they're always so grumpy with each other.

When I first thought up this idea, I knew I would have problems trying to draw it. One of my artistic weaknesses is making characters interact with each other. By interact, I don't mean just looking at each other, I mean physically interacting. Since I tend to draw single characters or groups of characters that are each doing their own thing, drawing a pair of "loving" badgers was really difficult. I figured if I wanted to get over this artistic hump, I'd just have to work through it, as frustrating as that was. I made 15 sketches before I settled on the final picture. While I'm happy with it right now, I'm sure I'll hate it in two years and find a ton of things wrong with it. At the very least, I gave it an honest try.

In other news, I hope you can tell which badger is the girl. I tried to make her feminine looking without sticking a bow on her head or giving her eyelashes. For full disclosure and honesty, I've been guilty of doing those two things in the past.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Demon of the Desert – The Camoose

An artist's rendition of the elusive Camoose.

First sighted about 24 hours ago, the Camoose is quite possibly one of the greatest animal discoveries of this century. Found in the highest parts of the desert, this elusive camel/moose hybrid appears to live secretly amongst the sandy hills, camouflaged by its brown fur. While data on this creature is limited, it is important to note that if one comes across this rare animal, one must not engage it in any way. The Camoose has a mighty temper, and will spit on you, trample you, and then ram you with its antlers. It will also take candy from babies. It's that mean.

This character has been in my head for a while, so I'm glad I was finally able to draw him the way I pictured him. For whatever reason, I think camels and moose look like they could have been related once, maybe as really, really distant cousins. I guess the Camoose would be the missing link between them, but don't ask me to explain the logistics of it, because I have no idea. What I do know is that I'm planning on staying out of the desert, just in case.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Illustration Friday – Worn

No one warned this shark that biting metal boats is a bad idea. He now has to resort to begging for his food because his teeth are so worn.

This wasn't the idea I had in mind when I first saw this topic, but this is what formed when I started drawing, so I decided to go with it. I like this idea better because it's much funnier.

To cover the technical, artsy stuff, I inked the lines using the scratchboard tool in Corel Painter Essentials 4, and I colored it in GIMP. The original sketches are on pieces of cheap copy paper, and were created using a plain #2 pencil. I tried not to copy the sketch lines too closely, since things tend to look forced when I do. The scratchboard tool was fun to use, since you can make thick and thin lines like you can with a brush pen.

Drawing the tiny fish was tough, since I tend to stick to mammals. I drew quite a few of them before I came up with the final fish. I also did some quick research on sharks so I could get the fins right. When I first sketched this, I forgot to put the back fin on the shark. That's the most important part. How did THAT happen!? I forgot the gills too. How horrible. I'm 99.999% sure that sharks don't have belly buttons, but I thought it would be cute, and I'm easily amused by silly details like that.

Overall, I think my first attempt at Illustration Friday went well. It's really fun, and it got me to draw something I probably wouldn't have. Hooray for artistic challenges!

Hello World

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I had thought about starting a blog for a long time, but was always too shy to start. I see a blog as a way of sharing parts of yourself with the world, and that can be a scary thing. What if the world doesn't like you? What if you don't like yourself? What if adding these additional bits of data to the digital world destroy the internet, and it's all my fault? Ouch!

Seriously though, I want to share my art with people, and that's why I started this blog. I want to keep track of my artistic progress, both successes and failures. I'd like to one day get the courage to share all of those hideously bad drawings that tend to be pushed under the rug and forgotten, because those terrible drawings are important too. Finally, I'd like to look back on this blog in a year or two and see how I've changed as a person. Hopefully, it'll be for the better.

As for the title of this post, I couldn't think of anything clever to say. I remember a programming class I took, and our first assignment was to create a program that said “Hello World.” Considering the global nature of the internet, it seemed like an appropriate title. So Hello again, and I hope I meet some awesome people.