Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leather Jabot

I love the idea of a leather jabot - the big ol' bow is so prim and ladylike, so to do it in black leather adds a fetish-y twist. I'm not into fetish even if I like drawing it - I suppose it's just edgy super-heroes in my book; although fashionistas in their 20s might mistake it for a Steven Klein/Nicola Formichetti influence - not so much, since I've been drawing fetishy things since I was a child. This is an idea that was inspired by Thom Brown's latest menswear show, but with my spin on it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Perfectly Imperfect Storm 2

Okay, it's official: I quite like this retro-new style for drawing comics characters. The inks remind me of Tom Palmer, whose inks I never liked in the past because they were often too gritty and alterna-looking, but I'm liking this more 'indie-cartoonist' style for me. Adding a bit of a graphic edge to it makes it more my own. All my life I've tried to draw like other artists, because that's what I saw online. I'd been most compared recently to Marc Silvestri because my lines were rougher, but this is a nice diversion from when I try to draw more realistically. I recall Stuart Immonen, whose tight pencils were often imitated in his heydat, but then he did Next Wave in a completely different style that was style wonderfully his own. I suppose I can own more than one style.

Perfectly Imperfect Storm

I realized why I have such a hard time drawing Storm like I used to - I try to draw her just like I did, as a child, and I'm well beyond that. So I thought, if I just tried to make something graphic, and not try to resuscitate the formulas (the particular shine used in her cape by Dave Cockrum or John Byrne) and try to draw something that harks back to the old yet is new for me... well, that works.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lucien and his friend Heron

Lucien and his friend Heron were given to impulsive, literally traffic-stopping fits of posing.

Imperfect Storm

I drew a sketch of Storm late last night, trying to just draw what used to be a character I loved drawing, and whom I could always render to my liking. But I hated the sketch - it was downright ugly. I staved off posting it last night, but kept retooling it the next day for fear of embarrassing myself. It's still not great, but I wonder if that's because I no longer care for the character (or the X-men in general) like I used to?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wolverine Poses For An Art Class

I imagine Logan went through hard times as a young man and posed for art students to earn extra money, and this is one of those long lost canvases, haha!

I don't quite know why I decided to draw Wolverine stark naked, but I kinda enjoyed doing it. I based it on a nude photo I found on the Yerrow Asian Tumblr site, but I can't remember the exact model so I can't link to the reference. Still, aside from the pose and anatomy, I changed his proportions a lot, as the original gay was leaner and lankier, while I made Wolvie's body stockier and shorter per the character. Plus I just went reeeeally rough with the pastel technique in Painter, which was really enjoyable because all I had to do was delineate braod strokes and not be careful about anything. I think it turned out okay. I added his old yellow costume on his right arm just to add a bit more context. Should I have Scott naked on a bed behind him, kind of worn-out looking? ;)


I think I was going through too many gay Tumblr pages and imbibed a cocktail of comics and gay nudity... resulting in some slashy naked Wolverine drawing. Well, I imagine, when Wolvie was young and experimenting... maybe I draw some scene involving a man behind him, and Wolvie getting up to go to the bathroom or something, haha...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year of the Dragon


Crude, Done

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to finish more work, and this little piece has been bugging me since June 2010 when I started it. It's a reaction to the Gulf Oil spill back in early 2010, so it's over a year and a half old now, since I started it sometime in June. But I could never be satisfied with the rendering, or the style, as it was something that I just did organically. Anyhow,it's done now. I had images of sea gulls doused in crude oil, and sorta made it glam, but not quite.
I can't quite decide which version I consider the final one, so I'm posting both. This is a make-up drawing, though, as I was out late last night celebrating Chinese New Year at my friends' place for dinner.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It's the Men's FW2012 shows in Paris right now, so the fashionable me is looking for fresh inspiration and/or confirmation of my own fashion instincts, but the illustrator in me is looking at line and form. I've always loved well-drawn walking figures, both male and female. I think it's the hardest thing to get done naturally, to make it feel like you capture just the right motion of the body, and do so in a way that looked natural and effortless. I always admired Paul Smith's ability to do so in his oh-too-short run on Uncanny X-men decades ago. And in the late 90s, I got a taste of how difficult it was to animate a walk cycle (and I wish I kept those animated pieces from that Lancaster Suncare disc I designed). So when I see a shot online where the walk just looks normal, I need to use it as a reference. This one is from a shot from NowFashion, from the Hermes FW2012 show. I changed a few details of teh man's features, but tried my best to capture the walk.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Being a Virgo sucks sometimes. I cooked what was arguably a lovely 3 course meal for 5 people all by myself (albeit with a little help from some pre-packaged Trader Joe's items) but while waiting for latecomers I ended up blackening my brussels sprouts more than I should have, as I kept them in the oven way too long to keep warm. But the whole meal had some really lovely parts to it, and all I can remember is the mistake. Ugh, so critical. It's like an oterwise lovely face, and all you can see is the honking red zit in the center.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Post Mortem

I thought this "Post Modern" (get it, Modern Post, Post Office? Okay, never mind) envelope would turn into a fun drawing experiment, but this super-hero outfit is just all kinds of wrong, and I doubt I can fix it (nor do I want to). So this doodle dies here and now... maybe I'll just toss it in the recycling bin.

Taking Shape Now

Tuesday I went to the Man Show, a trade show that happens concurrently with Capsule, the main menswear trade show in NYC, and I visited the booth of Hope Stockholm. I'm a fan of their clothing style, as it's easy, urban and still fashion forward without being too in your face - great for everyday when you don't necessarily want to make a statement, but will appear forward to anyone in menswear who'd be in the know. Oversized tees, relaxed, carrot-fit cropped trousers and softer, almost unstructured jackets all read Easy. Dennis, one of the sales people, was wearing an outfit I just wanted to live in, head to toe. They're presenting the look for next Fall but I've already been looking for pieces and silhouettes like this since I went for more relaxed, silhouettes back in 2009 - 2010. I already have a few pieces like this, just need to round out the outfits...

edit: I just remembered I had already taken note of this silhouette earlier last year, here and here. I suppose I'm nothing if not consistent.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sometimes when I look at things quickly, I fill in the blanks regarding what that image might be before I've actually seen it in full. It's just one way that inspiration comes to me, and when what I thought I saw wasn't what was in the photo,then I end up with something more original and from my imagination. I do like those occasional mind slip ups.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ridge and his friend Heron

Ridge and his friend Heron - fierce rivals in the underwear modeling scene - realize too late that they'd been double-booked.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year, New Meetup

Our first Fashion Illustration Meetup this year featured fab/fave male model Ridge. I decided since I always feel it's a bit easier to do menswear (there are fewer iconic menswear illustrators out there in my vein, so less pressure) that I could play. And what playing translated to was using watercolors directly without any pencils - I was getting my Bil Donovan on! It translated to a chunkier style, and while I didn't finish everything to satisfaction, I did get one painting I really liked. Its funny, without the experience, I would be afraid of ruining a painting by laying down too much color, and in fact, I sort of did, when I decided to go back and shade in the nose in the profile with a bit more pigment, but it's allowing that kind of 'mistake' that I realize ow allows for a firmer understanding of the medium, and hopefully an emergent watercolor style.


Trying to do a more African black man's features, but from memory. It's not quite right so I may have to get a reference.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I bought an entire magazine the other day just for one editorial in it, featuring Raf Simons suits. As I was walking home I got an idea for a drawing, and this is the pre-sketch which I ended up doing today instead of yesterday because I got home reeeally late.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ode To Manel

I didn't realize I was channeling Stephane Manel until I was well into it. I combined my skin and hair layers then turned it off by accident, and I liked what I saw. As I continued to work in the monotone greens, I realized why I liked it: it reminded me of my Frau Napoli that hangs in my apartment. Sigh. Unconscious channeling.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rachel Grey

I decided that the face I started drawing a few days ago didn't need to become some sort of pin-up art, and perhaps it could just as easily become a comic book head shot. Inspired by the simplicity of some of the work of John Paul Leon (whose style doesn't look like this at all, mind you, but it was inspired by him nonetheless), I retooled it into Rachel Grey, whom X-men fans would know as the second Phoenix.

My digital drawings are feeling rudimentary lately, as I get used to Photoshop and acclimatize myself to the newer painting features, at the same time as I reject the non-responsiveness of my older programs which seem sluggish now in comparison.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The show, Natsume Youjin-Cho, that I've been watching a lot reminds me of Buffy in a way. The demon youkai aren't all bad just like in Buffy mythology. I got some bad news today that could actually be bad, or could prove to be nothing worth fretting over. But in the meantime, it's unknown and scary.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Post Modern

I received a beautiful invitation again from a furniture gallery that recently redid their branding, and while I'm not going to the show they sent me an invitation for, I did get the idea that I can draw on the envelope they sent me and reuse it. Although I'm not quite sure what the envelope will ultimately look like, but this is the beginnings of it, which I dubbed a ninja.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Photoshop Test

You know, I pride myself on knowing my programs vary well, but Photoshop 5, which I delayed upgrading to forever, is leagues different from the versions I've been using. This was a trial, and as I sketched, I loved how immediately strong the brushstrokes were, but I noticed, hey! they don't fade out! So the new Painting functions are intriguing, but I'm finding they don't have immediately accessible pressure sensitivity. I have to figure out how to make my linestrokes fade into nothing, which I'm sure can be done, I just have to find the right preference setting.

Francois and his friend Heron

Francois and his friend Heron trust each other only so far as they can throw each other... which apparently, in Francois' case, is quite far indeed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Natsume Takashi

I've been watching a lot of the anime Natsume Yūjin-chō. A friend turned me on to the series and I'm really enjoying it - there's a sense of melancholy to it that took some getting used to at first, but I really began to appreciate it after a bit. The opening and ending sequences for the second season take place in the Fall/Winter time, and the characters are shown in cold weather garb. I took a moment from watching to do tonight's sketch, and I had originally attempted to finish a watercolor fashion sketch from a session I attended last month. But I wasn't happy with following a photograph that wasn't even in the same view so after a few more strokes, I figured it was done. That sketch is below.

One thing that the instructor/moderator of the session had told me was perhaps I should consider painting directly without initially doing pencils, so with the image of Natsume in mind, I tried to paint the main character, in my own (non-anime) style. I rather like what happened: I layered really light tones first to lay the foundation of the face and body, then slowly built it up with depth and detail. It's still somewhat tentative, but because I went in without any preconceived notions of what I should really do, it turned out rather nicely, I think. Natsume himself looks like some real boy - I gave him a very particular mouth with upturned corners that I've been favoring lately. I may have to do more of these exercises.

Oh, and having good paper helps.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I have been MISSING OUT!! I just got CS5.5 in the mail today, and the latest version of Photoshop is SO responsive, I'm kind of completely taken aback! Just the tools and how quickly they paint... I've barely scratched the surface, but I think this is gonna be a reeeeaally good thing that I upgraded. Even this (ugly) trial sketch just happened so quickly, it was so.damn. FAST.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Joyful New Year

I thought it was appropriate to do a Zenaida for 2012. She's as much a cipher for me as anything, and she's always happy, which is what I would love the New Year to be.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clean Face

Earlier today I was looking at my friend Stephane Manel's work, including the piece of his that I own and have hanging on my wall. What's interesting is how, without thinking of it hours later, I got a strong image in my mind that, after I started sketching it, I realize was inspired by his Frau Roma piece that I love so much, and by his clean, heavy brushwork. While the eyes of this face are mine, the lips are definitely inspired by Manel. It's funny how that works, subconsciously.

My other thought is how fun it is to draw a face you never saw, and to have it form before your very eyes. I don't like copying faces for my original artwork - if I use a reference, then in my head it's not really my work completely, unless I composed a pose first then sought out similar references to flesh it out later. But when one draws spontaneously, and sees how one line affects the next and the next until something forms that you like, it's soooo satisfying. It feels mine.

Even if I can point out where I was influenced. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


You know, I often say that I only have enough creative energy in me for a finite amount of effort, and after spending the day baking yet again, I found I had no energy to draw. Of course, I could still be in the throes of a post-holiday letdown. Hopefully I'll feel inspired to do better illustration soon. This one started out as a costume design sketch that later just got left half baked, possibly because I spent the evening baking.

But hey, at least I'm still drawing everyday - and I didn't celebrate it, but January 1st marks the 5th year of this blog! Can you imagine? I've posted an entry for every day of the past 5 years! I don't know many (if any!) blogs that can say that. Granted, it's not always quality work, but I daresay I've had some nice pieces over the past 5 years.

Anyone following this, I'd love to hear back about what you may want me to draw. Sometimes it's more fun to do what other people want to see. Can't promise I'll get to all requests, but some of them might be interesting challenges!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Crude 5

One of my resolutions is to finish more drawings - I have quite a few images and series in my head, and some already started, that really need to be tackled and dealt with. This Crude drawing is a one-off, but I am unhappy with the shading, which is based on arbitrary lighting which I have no reference for. Also, I wasn't happy with the shoulder and arms, especially after seeing Karlie Kloss' amazingly fashion-illustration-like form! So this was the first I tackled this 1st of the year... although it's not done, I do believe I made some headway!