Barbarian with Sword & Shield: drawing exercise
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
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)
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
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…
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
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
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
“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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Zombie Slayer: an Animation Exercise
Another rough animation done in ‘Pencil’… this is a great tool for these quick exercises.
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Heroic Leap: an Animation Exercise
I’ve been playing a little bit with this (forgive the pun) “sketchy” freeware program called ‘Pencil’. I cranked out this scene of a figure leaping into the foreground to reveal himself as a superhero… I converted the frames to an animated gif for convenience of posting here.
The Pencil program is a bit buggy, and can be frustrating to work with – but then again, it is freeware. It’s fun to use for quick little roughs, like this one… though given the number of times I’ve lost considerable amounts of work (either from glitches or straight-up crashes) I wouldn’t want to try and use it to do anything more significant. Animation is far too labor-intensive to deal with losing your work.
I’ll probably keep using Pencil to do little roughs like this, to work out ideas… I’ll post them as I get the time.
The Beatles on iTunes – The Apple is Whole…*
I’ve been really busy at work lately… but even I couldn’t avoid hearing that The Beatles are finally on iTunes.
I may be a little late with this – like I said, I’ve been REALLY busy – but I thought I should post one of my Beatles drawings to mark the event.
This is my original sketch/study, which ended up being the basis for my current work-in-progress, When They was Fab.
Got Walking Dead? Kill the Head!
The Walking Dead on AMC. Sweet.
I was turned on to the comic (or graphic novel, I guess… I’m never sure) around a year or so ago. I loved it right away.
The combination of the brilliant story written by Robert Kirkman, and the striking illustrations by Tony Moore, just really does it for me. Both the story and the drawings in The Walking Dead are direct and efficient, without ever appearing to be anything less than Kirkman’s and Moore’s very best effort… on every page and every panel.
Maybe it was foolish of me, but I was a caught off-guard when Frank Darabont’s TV version chose to use a different opening sequence than the one from the comic. I guess the opening sequence in the book worked so well for me that I couldn’t imagine anyone feeling the need to rewrite it in any way. I mean the screenplay AND the storyboard/shotlist were all right there… why wouldn’t you just USE them?
But once I got over my surprise – and reset my expectations – I was able to thoroughly enjoy watching the show.
I mean, when was the last time any of us had the opportunity to watch a TV series about Zombies? And this series is going to based on some top-notch source material… it would be a real waste not to enjoy the ride.
Here’s another Zombie drawing, in honor of the Walking Dead on AMC. DVR – RecordSeries – Check.
Remember… always kill the head.
Homemade Matching Couples Halloween Costumes
It’s almost Halloween, and all procrastinators are hurrying around trying to get a costume together.
So I figured I’d share the design I made for the super-cutesy, matchy-matchy homemade costumes that Kim and I put together last year. Worker Bee & Queen Bee.
The real costumes came out amazingly-similar to the drawing – with the addition of big, oversized sunglasses… yellow frames for me, and rhinestones for Queenie – and were well received at the party. Kim found a yellow shirt with black stripes, and I put the stripes on mine with hockey tape. The yellow hardhat was just a few bucks at the Home Depot, and the jewelry was easy to find in the kids’ toy aisle… I already had the tool belt.
So there you go – if I’ve saved one procrastinator’s Halloween, then I’ve done my job.
UPDATE… I’ve been meaning to upload a photo of the finished costumes, but have totally forgotten… until now…
This isn’t the best photo, but it’s the only one I’ve got handy… and don’t ask me why I’m standing like that… I blame the steps :)
When They was Fab… (work in progress)
The Beatles are a great story… ever since I was a kid I’ve had a fantasy about being there with Paul, Ringo, George & John scrappin it out on stage way back in those early days in Hamburg. Here is my interpretation of that fantasy.
This is a scaled-down version of the work in progress – the actual drawing is 19×25 inches… looking forward to having a print made and framed.
Here are some close-ups of the Boys (where you can see a little better how unfinished this is just yet)…
iF i WeRE KInG
If I were King…
I’d wear this crown…
And do great things…
And have a lot of fun…
…so I’d think.
Illustration done as commission for Cutting Edge DJ’s blog
The Z Team
Wow – it’s been a busy summer/fall for me in my non-artistic life! I’ve only recently started doing some drawing again… and it’s been a reinvigorating experience. Creative expression really does help my state of mind.
I’ve picked up on the Zombie project idea again, and started designing some of the non-Zombie characters who are going to have to survive in the world of the living dead.
So, here are a couple of pics of * THE Z-TEAM *… work in progress.
1ST DRAFT w/storyline & dialog ideas overlayed
CAST OF CHARACTERS + a bit more definition
BACKSTORY w/WORKING NAMES:
college student… was on a canoe trip when the Zombie outbreak swept through the cities, towns, and well… campuses. He got back to the dorm… had a look around… and decided to head for the hills… literally;
art-school dropout & vagabond… was crashing at an acquaintance’s hunting cabin when the dead came to town… and that’s right where he was when Marcus found him;
biker/mechanic… stays on the move riding with his motorcycle club and kicking Zombie asses along the way… “Live to Ride, Ride to Live” has taken on new meaning… while running for their lives from a pack of TEETH, the boys are saved when Hoops and Co. happen on the scene… suffering a broken ankle in the scrum, Hoops decides to stay with the boys for a bit while he heals;
USMC Combat Rifle Company squad-leader whose team was eviscerated when a call to “quell a riot” in Trenton NJ put them in the path of several-hundred Zombies tearing through the city… after barely escaping across the river, Val comes looking for provisions at the mall.
That’s it for now… look for more… sooner or later.
And remember – Kill the Head!
The dog says “WOOF-WOOF”
Call me a dog… go ahead. Won’t bother me none.
I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better.
They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death.
~George Bird Evans, Troubles with Bird Dogs
Have a Hoopy Towel Day!
May 25th is Towel Day. The holiday was established by fans of the late, great Douglas Adams … comedic-writer, satirist, and author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘ (in all it’s many published forms.)
Why ‘Towel’ day? See this excerpt from the ‘Ultimate Hichhiker’s Guide’:
Towel: Just about the most massively useful thing any interstellar Hitchhiker can carry.
For one thing it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth on the cold moons of Jaglan Beta, sunbathe on it on the marble beaches of Santraginus Five, huddle beneath it for protection from the Arcturan Megagnats as you sleep beneath the stars of Kakrafoon, use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy river Moth, wet it for use in hand to hand combat, wrap it round your head to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, and even dry yourself off with it if it still seems clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase which has passed into hitch hiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Life is filled with endless challenges.
They just keep on coming at us… day after day.
Resolve to meet them face to face… give them your best effort… and never allow yourself to be beaten into submission.
Whatever the outcome of today’s challenges… tomorrow will bring another opportunity to take on the next.
“Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure.”
~ Edward Eggleston
Don’t Mess with this Chick
So all things considered, it’s a pretty damn good thing that I’m not the type of guy that’s put off by strong women – and neither am I the type of guy who gets pushed around by them…
Maybe it’s because I was raised by one… or maybe it’s my Irish roots… but I just love them.
Well OK… maybe not ALL the time… they can be tough… ya know? ;)
A Deviant…? Why, yes I am! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . also: Cleaning up after fake-antivirus malware
A little while ago I found the DeviantArt website, and staked out a page for myself.
Little by little I’ve been adding some drawings to my DA page. I haven’t attracted much attention, but I haven’t really been trying either. Just dipping in one toe for now.
One caution before you bop over to DA… I have gotten hit with that crap-ass phony Windows Antivirus Pro spyware several times while browsing their site… which totally sucks, but it’s the only site of its kind that I’ve found, so I’ve put up with it.
By the way – if you have gotten whacked with that fake Antivirus horseshit – the best tool I’ve found for cleaning it up is a freeware version of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware… you can download it through CNET/Download.com
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UPDATE: I’ve pretty much abandoned the DeviantArt website… at least for now… after getting infected AGAIN while visiting their site… both my personal home computer AND my office computer got crapped-up :(
Oh well…moving on, I guess…
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