Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Left Behind

My hand was still hurting quite a bit last night so I tried my friend PJ's suggestion and attempted to draw with my left hand. As you can see, not so great. Which made me realize something that became very apparent: while talent and ability is innate, developing it is skill and practice. Which I always knew intellectually, but not necessarily practically. I know I can draw, but yesterday's exercise just made me realize that while I know where certain lines may need to go mentally, my right hand is such a trained instrument in its strokes and nuances that it makes all the difference in the world. I might have the potential to do things, but it takes training and practice to really bring it out. I guess I sometimes take what I can and can not do for granted.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Hand Hurts


I think I've been drawing too hard. Or working out too hard. Or at the computer too long. Or all of the above.

Ow.

Tat Man, finished

I found a brush in Photoshop that looks like you loaded a brush with goache, and I really like the raw effect. I think this is another piece I can say is finished now. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tat Man, revisited

I was going through my archives and saw a drawing that remained unfinished, and my current projects involve details similar to what I had planned for this drawing, so I decided to go back in and continue it. Just the beginnings of the tattoo treatments... PJ, if you're reading, this one's for you. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yuuko, Outfitted

I just realized I was watching season 2 of xxxHolic when I did the first drawings, but just found the entire 24 episode run of season 1 on Veoh. Yuuko's spare purple number totally feels inadequate now, and demanded she be more extravagantly dressed. She IS a wish-granting sybarite, after all. I'm so geeky when drawing anime, but I can't help myself. I'll always be a kid at heart.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Golden

I love dramatic facial shading. If I recall properly, this shadow pattern comes from an old comicbook - Avenger's Annual 10, where the character Rogue was first introduced, in a book drawn by the amazing Michael Golden. He drew a panel where Professor X (I think?) was talking on the phone, in a dark room, and the light hit him from behind just so. I never forgot that panel, and to this day, everything from my illustrations to my photography is informed by that lighting. I don't even know if it's correct facial structure and for the most part, I still think I'm winging it, because I was never taught how to draw from the skeletal system. Everything I know has come from comics and observing people's faces, first in drawings and now, from observing in real life.

But I'll always remember how it was done in the comics and that's what I do more often than not. Ah, the formative years... I had no idea I was being so influenced.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Structured

I was watching CNN and was enamored of how structured Anderson Cooper's face and hair were. I didn't know if I wanted to do something very finished, or just opt to map out the form with a minimum of lines. I went for the latter.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yuuko

I think I'm bored with this drawing. I cleaned up the edges a lot and had all sorts of ideas about how to detail her outfit (because the character really dresses up quite a bit) but couldn't deal with the layering, so I think this is as far as she goes. I added more hair though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Anime, continued

Trying to keep that really clean, almost vector line, but without vectors. Maybe I'll put in a few paths later, but for now I'm just enjoying th color blocking.

New Anime

It must be a new anime season in Japan because there are so many new anime series online. One of my favorite new ones is something cryptically called xxxHolic Kei, which seems to be about a magic wish-granter named Yuuko and her employee who seems to have lost his eye. Anyhow, this anime isn't your typical fare, as the renderings are so stylized they look to my eye like Western versions of Japanese anime, redone by Japan. And the intro is Japanese Jazz Fusion, with a hint of Klimt. How's that for post-modern?

Yuuko is a gorgeously blasé character who's always changing her costumes and doing odd magical things. I had to try and draw her.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Walking Home

I went on an East Village pub crawl, the first in what seems like ages. Three bars, 4 drinks and Rainer, and an air of having seen it all before so whatelseisnew? What was nice though was waking home from the EV. It felt like I used to do back in the early 90s, which now that I mention it makes me realize how long ago that part of my youth was. Still, there was something about being out so late, being able to take my time walking the streets of New York at an ungodly hour, and to feel... at home.


Don't mind the quick sketch. I'm somewhat tipsy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sword & Source-ry

It was very satisfying to finally present John B. with his printed portrait. Beyond the fact that he said he loved it, it was more like removing a Damoclean sword hanging above my head for the past 3 years. Not that I think that art should be that kind of pressure and suffering (though I'm aware that people argue that should be the case, "we suffering artists," and all), but with the issues I was grappling with, it sort of was all about that for me, with this piece. The piece has gone back to the source, the model, and the sword is lifted. And now there's catharsis. And satisfaction. And a feeling of moving on to newer heights. And if I smoked, I would need a cigarette.

Storm, Colored

Well, she's supposed to be a black woman, but then she morphed over the years to an 'amalgam of many races.' I'm not sure what I drew her as but I do like the idea of her being black.

She still looks too long in the face, I think the slit-eyes are throwing my proportions off...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Storm Portrait


I spent some time on CBR reading threads like whether Storm is more powerful than Iceman, and the links to old scans of X-men pages made me remember how I used to draw her when she was one of my favorite characters. This was just a quick sketch... I tried to make her cat-like eyes that she had in the beginning, but I think they're a tad too high on her face....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dawn


I was watching old episodes of Buffy and was enamored of how iron-straight the character Dawn's hair was in many episodes, which popped this image up in my head. It's not meant to look like Michelle Trachtenberg, just inspired by.

Sketchy

I attempted to draw from one of my favorite shots from Sunday's photo shoot but I couldn't even be bothered with trying to draw it well. I think the photo is great enough as is and so there was no point in recreating it. I have to check first with my model before I can release my actual shots...

Monday, April 14, 2008

At War

So, a day ago, I was so elated to have all this creative energy, to have finished John's portrait, and to start several new projects. Tonight, I had an amazing photoshoot with a model that will be a new creative outlet, and will be fodder for new work. But I'm feeling oddly isolated and empty. I'm not sure why. I almost want to cry. I was working on this sketch absent-mindedly but all I wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position and let someone else take the reigns of my life for a while. I know I'm doing my own thing for the first time in ages, starting new work that will hopefully be the fulfillment my creative life hasn't been for a while, but I think I might be afraid to take matters into my own hands.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

OMG, IT'S DONE!!!

After almost 4 years, I finally finished my portrait of John B.! I've been working and reworking this drawing since October 2004. I was never satisfied with the direction and found myself changing backgrounds, changing approaches, changes techniques. But with my recent disillusion with my work, both personal and profession, I decided, dammit, I was going to DO some work, and finish pieces!

It really gelled a few weeks ago when I discovered some new brushes in Photoshop, and tonight, I decided to scrap the darker, moodier background that the photo reference seemed to suggest, and just go clean. It doesn't look as dramatic as the older image I posted last month,(with the better contrast of the olive background, which made the colors of the face pop), but this feels more right. Sure, it's a little Peter Max-y and 80s, but that's my style, I have to accept it. I've always eschewed backgrounds in favor of form and figure, and reducing the background to a single color so that the colors in the individual linework stood out, was the direction I needed.

Damn, I'm so excited to be finally done with this, now I can actually present it to John! I hope it's worth the wait.

note: by the by, since I posted three items yesterday, I'm totally claiming this drawing for Saturday's piece. It was finished after midnight, after all - I mean, check the signing date!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Modelled, part 2

Modelled

Sometimes to get past drawing blocks, I use other parts of my psyche to get me revved up. In the past I've used sexuality to inspire me. I can also use social regulation to get new work done. In that context, a muse can be the social reason I'll want to get a new piece finished, so I can show them and hopefully, impress them. I wasn't born with abilities that gain accolades with the immediacy that performing arts like dance or music do, but there's definitely something to be said for the ego wanting to be stroked. Even if it's as simple as someone saying they like their portrait. What part of that is just a plea for validation versus a sincere contribution to your ouevre is debatable. I think this might be the former.

Lackadaisical

As both an illustrator and a designer, I'm able to do two totally different things - I can plan and draw images as an artist/illustrator, but I can also design things and solve visual problems, whether graphic/web design or otherwise. What I think is less apparent is that this flexes creative energy in two totally different ways, but that if I'm doing one thing specifically, I may not be doing the other (although they can definitely happen simultaneously in a project).

I've been drawing a lot more, and I've been using this site as impetus specifically to keep me drawing, but I've been having a block lately, design-wise. I haven't been able to focus properly on design projects because of my work sitch. I think things came to a head Wedneday and I broke through the block specifically because I was so tired of being uninspired by work. But what that means is, if I suddenly can pour creative energy into design work, then there might not be enough left over to be inspired to draw. I draw creative energy from one well, and need to focus on flexing one part of me or the other, otherwise both things might suffer. Which is just a long-winded way of saying the illustration part suffered when I drew this, as a result of my wanting to design more than I wanted to draw.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One of those days

It was... Went to see my doctor about my wounds and got some results that left me feeling worse the rest of the day. Here's hoping tomorrow is better.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nebula


Well, here it is, for better or worse, my reinterpretation of Aljira's 'Golden Age' Galaxy Girl character design, done up for present day. It looks like a character DC comics would do, what with the primary colored costume, but there's not too much I can do about the scheme at this point. I do like the hair/galaxy manifestation.... but damn, I really didn't want to have a head-dress. It's soooo dated looking, methinks. I much prefer the Cyanide...

Aljira's Galaxy Girl, pt. 2


Here was yesterday's sketch, as I tried to develop the concept further. It was looking way too 90s (oh, the armored shoulders), way too DC-looking, and I didn't like the direction at all. Knew it would be a bitch...

Aljira's Galaxy Girl


An online acquaintance, Aljira, asked me to redesign his entry, "Galaxy Girl," like I did for Cyanide. I didn't want to at first but thought I'd give it a try. I realized why I didn't want to - keeping the intrinsic elements of the character's look and updating it were going to be difficult without changing it entirely... this was a rough draft with elements I really didn't like, save for the hair....

Backlog, pt.1

I didn't post because I wasn't pleased with the drawing anyhow but here's a sketch for April 4.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cyanide

I decided to do a Play Along for the 5th Challenge of CBRunway, and I chose a character by an online acquaintance, Hi-Fi, whose character Madamoiselle Cyanide was done as a 40s Femme Fatale. The challenge was to do a modern re-imagination of the 'Golden Age' character from the previous challenge, which Cyanide was a part of. So I took elements I liked from the original and updated them, and made her Madame Cyanide instead... so she got a little older. Heh.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Not There


My face is so swollen and I'm so distracted by all my accident symptoms that I can barely draw.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Slammed

Earlier tonight I was beginning to exercise at the gym and used a pair of Therabands (sp?), not unlike the ones I did before for the very same back exercise Iused to do with my former trainer. They snapped, and slammed into my face, and within a minute my cheek and temple started swelling to the size of embedded golf balls, blood everywhere. I spend three hours at the ER. And I look like Quasimodo.

Weird, I took a pic of my face and tried to draw from it, and I look so much like my mother when she died.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

That's Better

Bunny just needed to be fleshed out a bit.