Sunday, July 31, 2011


I wasn't feeling like drawing at all today, so you get this dumb-looking cartoon. Although after that scathing review, I must admit I like how I delineated the bottom of her skirt...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Altered States

I spent most of today waiting to hear back from the client and finally got word back on direction. He actually wanted my first idea for the hair band, which was to have the model looking almost completely away form the camera. But because i waited so much, my mood was altered and I didn't even want to draw. I've lost a bit of my momentum but maybe after a weekend of drawing something else I can get back into the swing of it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spa, Part Number Next

Well, Phase 2 officially, but it's always fun at the beginning because the possibilities for the drawings are all so fresh and open and new. These are a two of my favorites of the 10 'thumbnails'/rough sketches I did as new concept ideas for the poses. I like these two in particular because they're very casual and natural, especially the profile. I'm definitely channeling Stephane Manel with that one. I also love the sitter because the pose had no reference whatsoever, and I think it turned out fairly well and easily, which isn't always the case for me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Phase 1, Done!

The files have been delivered and accepted, and now I just need to start Phase 2. Well, that, and receive payment. That would be first and foremost!

Toweled Off

This towel drawing has probably been the most problematic one for me, since , as I mentioned earlier, the form was drawn more with linework in mind. Last night I went to buy a muffin to have for breakfast this morning, and as I waited for the elevator I found myself posing in the lobby to see how overhead lighting created the proper shadows. I'm so used to drawing comic book style, where all sorts of made-up lighting effects can reign, and I wanted to be a bit more (although not strictly, since the proportions are still based in fashion illustration, i.e. looooong) true to form. I think this is as good as it's gonna get, and as said before, "Done is better than perfect." I might need to embroider that on a pillow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gotten My Mitt On Another Project

Phase two of the Spa illustrations begins now. Ah, just what my few viewers want, more blue ladies in various forms of undress (note the sarcasm). Ah well, having work is good. This is one of the thumbnails for the next batch...

Monday, July 25, 2011


I spent much of the day vegging out in front of the tv, watching old DVDs of Buffy. Gawd, how I love that show. And as a tribute, this is Kendra's, and subsequently Buffy's, stake, Mr.Pointy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Look of the Moment

Fashion has become clearer again for me, at least in menswear. I was looking for the next look of the moment, and while I had been feeling larger, pleated pants with tapered, rolled up ankles, and bigger shirts, I wasn't necessarily thinking of them together. Ironically, I was already doing them together, because the proprtions just seem right, but it was never something conscious. I recently debated over buying some Christopher Kane shirts on sale, because I really loved the print (something else I championed over Fall last year that has burgeoned into a full-blown fashion statement), but I could not bring myself to buy a small size despite it being my normal size for the past several years, because it was too slim and short. Well, I purchased the large, and with the way it hung off of me, I couldn't be happier. Gone are the days of body conscious fashion - it's all about a sense of ease that, while harking back to the 80s, is a bit more lived in. And seeing my friend Robert at his birthday party dressed in a similar way (as was I, with a loose, blousey shirt tucked in to a pair of carrot fit pleated jeans), and seeing a waiter dressed up so casually in the above getup, but in a way that was just so effortless, cinched it for me.

Also, SO glad to not draw spa women for once!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Alvaro and his friend Heron

Alvaro and his friend Heron are trying to get your attention.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Damn Elbows

The problem with drawing anatomy without a proper reference is fleshing out the volumes. I can definitely outline the shapes, but especially when I have to add a dramatic light source (or two), it's hard to get the proper volume. I opened this file again a day after I sent it in, and was horrified. It just looked... wrong. I retooled the body, and shortened all the elbows, which looked fine in a fashion-y illustration-y rendering, but when shaded to be more finished, just looked like I didn't know my anatomy - too long, and deformed. Don't know if I've proven that point wrong with this one though. Damn, I need a proper reference...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I've been drawing allll day and I don't know if I can be objective anymore. Or even subjective enough to know that what I'm doing is good. I need to step away from it all but opening up some of the files to add here to my blog, I started finding things I wanted to fix, and it's driving me as mad as if I were still trying to meet a deadline! Arrrgh. I need to just go to bed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can't See The Shadows

I'm having trouble applying the shadow work to this sketch: I didn't draw the figure to be fleshed out with shadows. I find that sometimes I draw things for their line, and this figure is definitely one of those. As I fleshed her out with shades, I found the figure just awkward. Even the profile wasn't made to be given dimensionality - it was always about the line. So I'm struggling finding the shadows for this piece.

Plus repeating sketches and constantly changing them when you think they're done, well that kind of anti-climactic activity isn't easy to jump into. Ah well...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Recipe, Spiced Up

While I didn't copy a face the way I would do portraiture, it always helps to have a photo reference in a similar pose, because then you can see where shadows fall. I had a pic from a Bazaar editorial that had the perfect angle and shadows, so I extrapolated some of the features of the model on the face I already drew. I always find that it improves the realism of a drawing. I don't know if picking and choosing features can be considered lifting blatantly, but I imagine being able to blend details together can be claimed as part of my talent and ability. I hope.


I think I've come upon the formula for this Spa reboot: one part Shephard Fairey, one part Stina Persson, and a splash of Bob Peak thrown in for retro brushy flair. Of course, the more pieces I do the more the style will evolve. Curious to see how this works out, but I have the process now and should be able to keep recreating it...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bare Minimum

I went out to see Harry Potter's final installment tonight, and didn't get home until after 3 am. So I just popped a few strokes on this turban drawing, as I have to update it with the newer, less outlined direction.

Spa Rebooted

So this is the updated look and feel for the sketches I've been working on. There's definitely an homage to the techniques of Stina Persson going on, as well as the harder edged facial shadowplay she and Jasper Goodall are known for. Sigh. I'll have to work hard to try and make it into a style of my own, but this is definitely where the client changes/feedback have led me...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Intense Washes

I had been planning on doing actual watercolor washes for the background image I was commissioned to do for all these spa illustrations, so I picked up a couple of bottles of Dr.Martin's watercolors in the shades I was working with. Amazingly enough they were almost the exact same Pantone color that the client is using (I'm patting myself on the back here) so they worked out well in that aspect. I had heard of these colors since the 80s, when I read that my favorite comic books were colored using these really very concentrated inks, but have never bothered working with them until now, almost 35 years later! I always wondered how Antonio got his colors to be so vibrant, and now I know. They're intense! And idiot that I am, I left the bottles open and spilled some on myself, my floor, and my brand new shirt!
They were great for the wet-on-wet technique I had to do, with all the bleeds and fades, while maintaining intensity. I just attacked my sheets with a big ol' brush and let the colors go everywhere. After I did a few I selected some to scan, and left the others to play with. Above is a study in layering the colors using silhouettes, something that illustration master Mats Gustaffson is known for, a style which a few newer illustrators have adopted as well. I always envied how those bleeds suffused the insides of the solid silhouettes in some of these sketches, and now I know it's just a matter of letting the medium do its thing. This shit isn't anything but an experiment, however - so please don't fault me for the figures or the fact that some of the bleeds are terrible, haha!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Major) Revision 3

I knew when I finished the lot of the Spa drawings that we had veered away somewhat from the original brief even if it was by the client's choice of the samples I presented. But after my second revision, it seems we have to retool and soften up all the hard-edged lines I put in. So tonight and tomorrow, I am changing the finishing to become looser and more chunky. Kinda not looking forward to all the reworking, but ehh, such is life...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Joaquim and his friend Heron

Joaquim and his friend Heron, while initially elated to solve the mystery of the village's disappearing blankets, were frightened to imagine what could possibly be building a nest of that size.

Turban Renewal

Well I finally reworked the face that was bugging me last time I put it together for presentation. She's not perfect, but done is better than perfect, I'm learning. Plus she looks at least a bit more contemporary than the previous incarnation, especially in that turban. Turbans just age you, I think.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Facing Fantasies

Part of my problem with retooling this sketch so much is trying to reconcile drawing somewhat realistically (i.e. faces) versus very stylized (aside form the hair, the exaggerated body proportions of a fashion illustration). I got so caught up with retooling this drawing I spent nearly 2 days on it, forgot to post it last night... and I can still see things I need to improve. But damn, I need to move on to finishing the other sketches first. I do like the face better now - it's still a little stylized but not as "snouty" as I had in the previous version, but I may have to reconfigure her limbs a bit more...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Overdoing It

I just spent the last 4 hours adjusting the profile on a drawing I already finshed before, certain I could improve it, but it just got more and more overworked. Whenever I would open the original file I was trying to improve to compare (since I kept a copy intact) I almost always preferred it. Man, sometimes I'm just to anal for my own good. But after 4 hours, I don't think I can see any improvements - if any. Ugh, I better stop now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Ink I Like This

After yesterday's use of the ink-like sable brush tool, I wanted to see explore it a bit more. It's funny how a different tool will make you work differently, and I found myself allowing strokes I normally wouldn't allow with other tools, just to see how the piece would evolve. I didn't restrict myself to whatever I laid down like yesterday's sketch, but I did undo strokes very rarely. The thick-and-thin lines made it more cartoony, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The Gay Brush Stroke

I was more exhausted than I thought yesterday, which is why I think my no-undo exercise in drawing resulted in such a lame piece. This is tonight's drawing, where I didn't erase or undo a single stroke either, and I think it turned out rather nicely. And I think it turned out lesbian!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Erasing

After working so hard on all those project illustrations, I must confess I'm a bit burnt out. Must be why I started writing and, shopping. SO I had to force myself to sketch something tonight, and I gave myself a challenge: draw with an ink tool in Painter, and use strong strokes... and NO erasing. As you can see, the results aren't that good. Ah well, can't win 'em all.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Let me just go lie down for a bit...

This was the last of the newer drawings I had to finish for today's 9:30 am deadline. It's nowhere near as realized as I wanted it to be, but since I didn't really stop working until 4 am, I was gonna stop while I was ahead. And now that I'm posting it, that jawline needs work.

Get Your Spa On

I was working on the freelance job until 4 this morning since Saturday night, but by about 3 am Monday morning, I wasn't seeing clearly anymore and making grave mistakes, so I just had to get files ready for emailing. But yesterday the piece I was happiest with was this towel wrap illo, since the face turned out rather nicely, I thought. I wasn't copying any face in particular, rather I had a few similar faces on hand as reference, but after doing the initial face freehand, I started referring to the photos for details, like a wider mouth and bigger eyes as I tend to make my facial features small for some reason. Referring to modern models helps make her look more current, as well as more realistic. Of the four that I was doing for submission, this is easily my favorite. I still need to clean up the line work in her hair, but that's no big deal.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

John and his friend Heron

John and his friend Heron believe in life imitating art.

Turbans Are Old

I told myself I'd redraw the turban because I didn't really feel like it fit into everything, but it doesn't fit in because there's no hair showing... so it's hard to add a flowing element. And you can't really do too much to it but have the model give face. I may actually have to do a makeup face pose for it... which was what I was trying to avoid.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Eye Mask

I did quite a few illustration sketches/proposals to flesh out the product line I'm working on, but this is one of my favorites. It just came together really easily. I was wondering how I would incorporate the flowy hair elements to what is essentially a sleeping aid, and the idea of having her lying down but coming in from the side just worked, especially with the added element of her arm. I particularly like how casual her hand turned out, considering I didnt really stress ver drawing it as I got it in the first try. I will have to figure out the arm position though. I think maybe it should be lying behind her head more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Toweling Underwater

The original art direction for this product line was done by a more junior illustrator, and she didn't really flesh out how she would handle the hair, but there was a lot of movement going on because otherwise the drawings were very static. Well, I decided, as is my wont, that all the hair and fabric should look like they were flowing about underwater, for that piece-y movement that you get when your hair moves while you're swimming. I like it, but I'm wondering if I went a bit overboard. She looks like she's ready for an Alphonse Mucha painting.