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Post It Note Doodle #4: So Smokey

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I can’t seem to stop doing these Post-It Note Doodles.  This has been an interesting and refreshing exercise – actually putting pencil to paper, which I really haven’t done in a very long time, since I’d become so reliant on my Wacom tablet and Photoshop.

So here’s the latest installment in this series.

This one is a somewhat androgenous character, inspired in large part by Tank Girl, but also bearing more than a passing resemblance to 2D from Gorillaz.


Post-It Note Drawing #2: Sly Smirk

Drawing on a Post-It Note of a girl with punk hair and a sly smirk expression on her face

I liked the way my last Post-It note doodle came out when I photographed it at high-resolution and posted it here larger-than-life sized, so here’s another one.

I really miss doing Photoshop drawings, and I hope I’ll get my hardware/software setup back up and running soon.

I picked up a used Macbook Pro recently, which I’m hoping will be a great new tool for me.  I still need to get it loaded up with the programs I use… and that could take a while… hopefully not too long.

At least I’m posting drawings again! :)

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Post-It Note Drawing #1

Post-It Note Drawing #1

The computer I’ve been using for my drawing and animation for the past 5 years or so finally succumbed to an unceremoniously-abrupt death….

This happened several months ago, and as luck (or the lack thereof) would have it, my life became very busy right at the same time…

Suffice to say, I have not replaced my dear old friend yet… which explains why there’s been such a gap since my last posts to this site.

At any rate, I’ve found myself doodling a lot lately… mostly on scraps of paper… backs of envelopes, etc… and now… Post-It notes.

They look really interesting (to me anyway) when photographed at high-resolution with my phone, and then posted at larger-than-life size.

More to come…?


Shocking Doodle!

female girl face shocked surprised ballpoint red pen doodleThe other day, I had to call a client to discuss some work, and I borrowed an empty office to get some privacy.

While we spoke, I absently picked up the only writing implement on the abandoned desk – a red ballpoint pen – and started doodling on an old notepad the desk’s former occupant (or most-recent squatter) had left behind.

When the call was over, I had this drawing.  I kind of liked it, so I snapped a picture with my phone.


Margin Doodle Drawings from Old Notebooks

Drawings and sketches from my notebooks

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I often doodle when I’m thinking… particularly when listening to another person or group of people talking about a project I’m involved with…

While I’m listening and making notes, I’m also usually filling up the spaces around the notes with Margin-Doodles.  So if I’m doodling while you’re talking, don’t think that means I’m not paying attention… it’s actually just a part of how my brain works… part of how I synthesize information.

I’m sure this sounds strange to some people… and I’m equally certain that it makes perfect sense to others.

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So I’ve recently been working on improving my personal workspace… and this has included a good bit of long-overdue housekeeping.

While sorting through old paperwork and notebooks to toss in the recycling bin, I culled a group of Margin-Doodles that I really liked, and didn’t want to lose…

So here they are for safe-keeping… with the added benefit that I now have a handy place to look at them when I want to see them…

Teh InterWebz is good :) 

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Girl on Fire: A Drawing Exercise

Hunger Games drawing Katniss Girl on Fire bow hunter

The Hunger Games trilogy really surprised to me… when my wife & daughter told me I should read the books a year ago, I smiled and said “You know, maybe I will” but in my mind I was thinking “I really don’t have time to spend reading a teenage girl romance novel.”  And so I didn’t end up picking up the first book until about 2 or 3 months ago… and then it was only because I was incredibly bored, and figured at least this would pass some time.

Once I started reading, I was almost immediately caught up in the premise, and the story moved at such an easy pace that I was 1/2-way through the book before I knew it.  I ended up burning through the triology in about 4-5 weeks (which is unusual for me, as I tend to read at a more leisurely speed.)

By the time I finished reading the books, the teaser-trailers for the movie had hit the Internet and I had a few weeks to digest what I’d read, and to wonder what the film interpretation would be like.  I’m not going to review the books, or the movie… all in all, I’ll just say that I really loved the books, and thoroughly enjoyed taking my wife and daughters to see the movie, so the Hunger Games is ‘win’ in my book.


Year of the Dragon: A Drawing Exercise

Year of the Dragon Drawing 2012
2012 is the Year of the Dragon. 

It’s been a long time since I drew a dragon.  I used to draw them quite a bit when I was a kid, but it’s been a while for sure.  I heard that 2012 is the year of the dragon, and a friend at work suggested I draw a dragon for the blog, so… here it is.


Jack-O-Lantern: A Drawing Exercise, Halloween 2011

Comic drawing halloween Jack-o-lantern 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!  

I didn’t get around to carving a real pumpkin this Halloween, so I figured I’d at least draw up a Jack-O-Lantern instead.


Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: an Illustration

drawing of a shy boy and cute girl sharing a dream of innocent love

When I’m asked to create illustrations for themed blog entries, the process – and the result – can sometime be pretty sketchy.  But this time, when asked to do an illustration for a Dreams-themed blog, the idea and the image came together really nicely.  That’s not to say that the idea came immediately… it didn’t.  But when it did come, it was clear and complete, and I could see it in my mind… which really helps the drawing process.

There are a lot of ways to represent dreaming… but I really liked this one.  It’s that innocent – and I think pretty universal – dream of just wanting to be with that person who makes your heart feel like a brightly-colored crayon drawing.

And that’s what my honey does to me… she makes me feel like a crayon drawing :)

I’m just living the dream ;)


Vrooom – BEEP BEEP! Best car drawing evar ;)

awesome drawing of a really cool car

Craig @ Cutting Edge DJs asked me for another drawing… to go along with another blog he wants to publish… a list of his favorite car-themed songs…

When he asked, I was really busy… and really tired…

But rather than saying “No” or “Maybe next month” I decided to have some fun with him… and I sent him this :)

He wasn’t impressed!

It still makes me laugh, even as I’m writing this.

LULZ


Chasing the Rabbit 3: Character Design Exercise

white rabbit

 Another version of the White Rabbit character design.

Here I think I succeeded in eliminating the “creepy” feeling of the previous version (which seemed to really bother some folks) and he’s still more sleek & charismatic than the original “dirty bum” version… and most importantly, there is definitely the sense that he’s not at all safe or sweet… but somewhat sinister and dangerous instead.

I think this is a good base for me to move forward with this character design… more to come soon, I hope.


Zombie ‘Nom’: drawing exercise

When the Zombies come, I plan to be ready.  I’ve read the books… I’ve watched the movies… I’ve played the video games…  So armed as I am with all the necessary training, I fully plan to survive.

But you know what they say, Zombies laugh while men make plans… And I realize that even after all my intense preparations, there is always the chance that one of the filthy Undead will catch me offguard and put the bite on me.

In that event, I go to my backup plan… to be the most awesomest Zombie evar.

And yes, I will eat your brain… but it will be your honor.


Leather & Stone: Character Design Exercise

drawing of native american with spear and club

This drawing began as an exercise in creating my own background textures.  I was shooting for something that evoked a pre-industrial, living in the wilderness feeling.  Leather and stone were the words in my head while I worked on it. 

Once the background started to take on its own character, my mind started to project the image of the man standing in front of it… so I had to go ahead and draw him in.

The feel and flavor of the whole picture matches my sense of what early Native American life would have looked like.  Though I realize I’ve got some mixed “time signatures” in there… I’m really not sure that the style of the man’s clothing and club would have existed at the same time as the type of “cave drawings” on the background… but hey – I really wasn’t trying to think too much about it… I was just shooting for a flavor that was in my mind.


STOP!

Drawing of a traffic signal aka stoplight

Quick – without thinking about it… what would you call the device in this picture?  A “Stoplight” – right?

But that’s not really the correct name, is it?  To be accurate, you should really call it a “Traffic Light” or something similar.  Yes, it does signal “Stop”… but it also signals “Slow Down/Caution” and “Go” just as well.

But still, most people I know would instinctively refer to it as a Stoplight.  Why is that?

I mean, it certainly isn’t a big deal.  It’s nothing that I’m going to lose any sleep over.  But it is kind of curious, and frankly, I needed something to write to go along with posting this picture that I drew ;)


Paul McCartney: Good Day Sunshine

The Beatles' Paul McCartney Good Day Sunshine Drawing

Did you know Paul McCartney used to have a mustache?  Actually, I think he spelled it “moustache” since he’s English.  Here I’ve redrawn Paul with the mustache/moustache… this look & style for Paul would have been somewhere around 1968 I guess.

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In a related story – I was watching some footage of the Beatles last night… it was from their first American tour, where they played that concert in-the-round… where Ringo Starr kept hopping down off his drum kit every so often… so he could spin the little circular drum-riser to face a new part of the crowd… and John Lennon, Paul McCartney & George Harrison kept pushing their amplifiers around and moving the mic stands… all the while vamping and interacting with a crowd of screaming teenie-boppers who would periodically pelt them with jellybeans.

What a head trip… watching the soon-to-be-immortal Beatles schlepping their own equipment around onstage while being thwacked in the head with little hard bits of candy… pretty funny stuff.


Barbarian with Sword & Shield: drawing exercise

drawings of barbarian with sword and shield

 

As I try to maintain my self-discipline, I’ve been making a point to do some drawing every day… or as often as possible.  I won’t necessarily be posting everything I draw each day.  Some of these drawings will just be practice for my hand, and will be absolute garbage in every other respect… those drawings I usually won’t bother to save… and I really wouldn’t want to show them to you… so too bad. 

But whenever one of these drawings does show some promise… then I’ll save it, and look at it for a few days… and then maybe I’ll decide to post it here… either that, or I might decide to go back and work on it a few more times, and then post it here.  I’d like to see myself posting something new every other week at a minimum… once a week would be even better.

This is one of those “drawing a day” exercises that I decided to save and post.  I started out intending to sketch an exaggerated male superhero figure – ala Mr. Incredible (you can still see that basic shape here, with the huge barrel chest & tiny little legs)…

But pretty quickly, the figure I was sketching started to remind me of the terrible Northmen (aka Viking Raiders) from the animated film “The Secret of Kels” (btw – that film is one gorgeous piece of animation [IMDB page here]) and so I ended up morphing my drawing from a superhero into a barbarian warrior.  And then once I’d drawn the basic figure, I decided to try him out in a few action poses.

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Female Facial Expressions: drawing exercise

I’ve been trying to be more disciplined about my drawing and practice [almost] every day.  Like they say… if you don’t use it, you lose it.  I’m also trying to work on things that I usually find difficult.  Here are a group of female facial expressions that I challenged myself with.

Like most people – artist or not – the face I’ve studied more than any other is my own.  When staring into the mirror trying to understand how an eyebrow arches, or what shape the mouth makes when surprised… it has always been a guy’s face staring back at me.  And so naturally, I’ve always had an easier time drawing male faces and a bit of trouble drawing convincing female faces.

Because female faces don’t come naturally to me, I’ve always tended to stick to a very few expressions… and most of them haven’t been very animated.  Here I tried to push myself a bit with face shapes, expressions and hairstyles.  They’re still a little bit hard-edged (slightly masculine) but I feel good about the exercise.  It keeps me honest.

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Headshot, Zombie Down: an Animation Exercise

Animation drawing of a zombie killed from a headshot head blown off

 

Here’s another animation exercise done in Pencil.exe.  Yeah – it’s a bit gory… but if you’re gonna draw zombies, then you’re gonna have to scramble some brains now and then.

I know I’ve complained about the buggy-ness of the freeware Pencil 2D program, but I really love the rough, sketchy feel it allows you to create.  It’s like drawing with a PENCIL… lol.  If this program got some serious funding behind it, it could be straight-up awesome!

This is by far the most detailed animation I’ve done in the Pencil 2D animation program to date.

 

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When They was Fab: a drawing of The Beatles (finally finished)

cartoon drawing of the young beatles playing the cavern club in hamburg

I think I’ve finished this drawing… it’s always hard to tell.  I know I could keep working on bits and parts of it… probably forever.

But for now, I think this is what I will call “done.”

It took a long time to get back to this, but here is the finished (for today anyway) version of my Beatles drawing “When They Was Fab”.  I’d posted this earlier as a work-in-progress… you can see here.

The full-sized, full-resolution print of this image is  25 inches wide x 19 inches high.  Now that it’s finished, I’m really excited to have it framed… although it’s gonna cost me an arm and a leg, for sure!  I plan to hang it up in my man cave… whenever I finally get a man cave…sigh* Until then, it will go in my family room, alongside a nice print of a mural I painted in college, and comical collection of photos of me and my girls.

One of the characteristics I really like about this drawing, is that it reminds me of a diorama.

You remember dioramas – right?  Back in grade school, you would get an assignment to create a 3-dimensional scene depicting George Washington chopping down a cherry tree, and you were to build the whole thing in a shoebox using crayons, magic markers, bits of construction paper and a LOT of Elmer’s glue.  You remember – right?

So it occurs to me that if I had any gumption (yeah, I said gumption) I would print out the separate elements of this drawing, and construct an actual 3D diorama out of them.  I could frame it in a glass box and light it from behind.  That would be cool… I wonder if I’ll ever do it ;)

 

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Gunshot: an Animation Excercise

gunshot animation drawing image

gun shooting animation pencil test

Here is another quick animation exercise.  I did this one because I wanted to work out the shape of a handgun being held along with the action and rhythm of a handgun being fired.  I exaggerated the muzzle flash and the kick for effect.

Like the rest of the animations I’ve posted so far, this one was done in the freeware program, Pencil 2D.  One thing I love about this program is the awesome “sketchy” feel it allows me to get… as opposed to Flash, which has this annoying tendency to smooth out my lines too much.  The best hand-drawn animation program I’ve used to date, is Toon Boom.  But I fouled up my install many months ago, and I haven’t gotten around to repairing it.

Like I’ve said before, Pencil 2D is great for short exercises like this one, but it’s not at all suited for full-length scenes – let alone an entire film.  But as I churn out more and more of these little quickies… I start to wonder… what kind of short film could somebody actually create as a sequence of 5-second & 10-second clips?  Hmm… that’s something to chew on… for me anyway… *

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How to Eat an Elephant…

 

illustration for 'How do you eat an elephant...? One bite at a time'

Do you know that saying that goes “How do you eat an elephant…? One bite at a time.” ?

You may have heard this before… and if you haven’t heard it before, you can probably get the point… but just in case you don’t… this is a saying that people will use when they – or someone they know – is faced with a gigantic task to accomplish. .. when the job seems so big, that it’s almost impossible to imagine ever being able to complete it.

And so the point is that – like attempting to eat an entire elephant – the best way to complete such a monumental effort, is to take it in small “bite-sized” pieces.  Rather than looking at the whole – which could be overwhelming – you can look at one chunk at a time. 

A little while ago, my friend Kevin asked me to illustrate these words of wisdom for him, so that he could hang the picture by his computer, to give him perspective whenever a job started to feel too big to handle.

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Gnarly Scar Dude: a Character Design

cartoon vector drawing character design blonde guy with scar and earrings

 

I was poking around the harddrive of my laptop, looking to do some house-keeping… you know – clean up old files that I have no use for anymore, reorganize the stuff I’m keeping, etc… and I found this guy.

If my memory can be trusted, I’m pretty sure I drew this character in Flash using my Wacom tablet.  It’s possible that I did this in Toon Boom, but I don’t think so… this has the look of Flash.  It reminds me though, of how each program is like its own medium – and each one of them requires a different approach to be able to create satisfying drawings.  Yeah – I’m pretty sure I drew this one in Flash.

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Running Scared: an Animation Exercise, run cycle

hand drawn animation of person running through woods image

Here is my latest animation exercise.  Like my earlier ‘animation exercise’ posts, this was also done in the freeware program, Pencil.exe. 

This “Running Scared” animation is about as long and as complicated as I would dare trying with this program.  Once a project moves beyond a quick pencil test and gets to this level — which I admit, really isn’t very complex at all — it becomes too difficult to work with in Pencil.  But again, this is a freeware program… completely free to use… so I have no complaints.

This character is running through the woods in an apparent effort to escape from someone or something… it would be great if I could decide WHAT he was running from, and then have the pursuer enter the frame at the very end.  But I couldn’t decide if I should go with scary or comical.

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They wanted a Rock God… they got Jim: JIM MORRISON

jim morrison of the doors poster illustration drawing image

“I am the Lizard King… I can do anything”

About a month ago I watched the film “When You’re Strange”… an artful documentary about the Doors, featuring Narration voice-over by Johnny Depp.  The movie focuses on the Doors’ legendary singer-front man, Jim Morrison and it portrays him in a way that seemed new to me… I mean, I’ve been familiar with Jim Morrison for a very long time… but after watching this movie, I felt like all this time I had been missing something really special, and that now I finally “got it.”  I’d say that’s the sign of a really good documentary.

So inspired by my new feelings about who/what Jim Morrison really was… I drew this characterization sketch. 

Break on through, break on through – eh… eh.. eh.. eh.. eh!

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