Thursday, May 31, 2012

Robert and his friend Heron

Robert and his friend Heron got a little cozy with each other at the party.

Original photo by Patrick McMullen

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peekaboo 8

I can't believe I've been twiddling with this drawing or 8 different sessions now (possibly more). But I went into it determined to finish it tonight and clean up all the lines and make the edges sharp, so I started actually tracing things with paths to make the lines solid. But a funny thing happened... I didn't like it. It looked too clinical from the reduced state (as my friend Geoffry says, you don't need to clean every line because when it's printed, no one will know that that corner is a perfect vector). So I kept undoing my work and actually went back and forth between vector and 'hand-painting' the lines in Photoshop. It's interesting how you think you're zooming in and making everything perfect, but then when you zoom out, the 'trees' may have looked perfect at a granular level, but the 'forest' looks odd.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Digital Graphite, 2

I didn't really plan on how this drawing was going to turn out, I merely drew as best I could simulating pencil. It's turning out a little better than I planned, but I didn't plan on it being printable, which means I'll have to alter the size of the faux graphite brush if I plan on printing any of the finished drawings. Anyhow, lots of hair. A little controlled for me, but maybe not controlled enough for how current fashion illustrators like to render hair. Perhaps, again, if I had something to follow I could make it more tight.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Digital Graphite

There's been a very strong trend toward graphite/pencil rendering that's taken hold of illustration in the past several years. Yet I don't want to abandon my digital rendering because it is so much cleaner, so I was looking for effective Photoshop brushes to simulate pencils. I ended up asking an artist on Behance what he uses, and then went tutorial hunting and experimenting with brushes. This was a trial, which I think looks pretty encouraging (although her pupils look weirder reduce in the preview. Hunh.). It might be even more interesting if I tried drawing from a photo reference. Maybe I'll try that next.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Abba Dabba, Page 1

I was tooling around through old files and found this old nugget. Back in the late 90s, I worked again briefly for my old employer Muffin-Head Productions, and met a comic book artist who was working at Muffin-Head's new parent company. He asked me if I would take part in his Abba Dabba web series, which was something like an exquisite corpse serial comic book created by various artists who would write and draw parts of the story. You got the 2 - 4 pages done by a previous creator, then continued the story however way you wished. The set-up I received from the previous artist involved two secret agent types stealthily running thorough the hallways of an apartment building, stopping at a door and silently signaling to bust in on the count of 3, guns blazing. Well, I thought that it was all so trite as can be so I, clearly post-Buffy, thought I'd subvert the setup by having the woman inside the apartment open the door for them, much to their surprise.

The finishes are so different from how I would handle them now (heck, I imagine I draw much better than I did back then) but I do like the layout for the action. I was also rather timid with the way I colored it, 10 years ago. So I thought I'd try coloring it in. I did two pages, this was the first.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I really shouldn't be starting new piece with so many others I haven't finished yet but I'm going with where my inspiration takes me. A friend of a friend told me that that was a mark of an artist... although one could argue I just have ADD...!  I thought about finishing up some pieces that are really close to being done, but I really prefer to do that sort of detailing when I'm in that kind of mood. I know myself enough that if I try and work on it when I really am not primed for it, I can just waste my time and/or ruin the piece. And with all the Photoshop work I've been doing for a client these past three days, I just don't have the wherewithal to "work" again. So, here's the start of a piece I had planned over a month ago. It joins the growing list of things I will hope to finish soon (ish). Maybe I should make a list instead of keeping them in my head.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Naive Landmarks

Well, I had planned on not posting the really naive U.S. landmark drawings I did for a client, but I ended up designing all day so I really didn't have much energy after I got all the layouts done, so here they are.

On another note, two days ago was my 2000th post!  Holy cow! This is my 2002nd. Man, time flies!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not So Rushed More

I got a quick freelance job yesterday retouching some old drawings as well as adding some new ones to match. The style involved is pretty naive, and nothing I can't imitate. I'm such a mynah bird that way. Anyhow, I need to create some American landmarks so I made a very slapdash Mt. Rushmore to match the style of the drawings I'm matching. It's so easy I'm not even worried... I suppose I should be grateful the job isn't taxing, but I do want something I can really get into designing...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gareth and his friend Heron

Gareth and his friend Heron know how to go with the flow.


One of the frequent comments I get from other artists is that they'll go back into their sketches that they took from the Meetup or whatever live sessions we attend, then re-work them, whether in natural media, or digitally. I can't seem to get into tat. Sure, I've done it a couple of times, but as throwaway pieces. I like to finish pieces when I go to live sessions, or they're at least as finished as they're going to get when the session is over. I just went over a croquis from yesterday, and I can't get into finishing it up digitally. It feels like stepping backward. I can totally accept it as part of someone else's process, but I just can't do it: I want to see the person I'm sketching and take the rendering directly from the reference. This sketch, for example, is driving me mad now... !

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fashion From Day Into Evening

This might be the most successful of my sketches for the session. Which isn't saying much but better luck next time, I suppose.
This was an awkward pose from the views I had available to me, so it became more about painting and getting it down regardless.

Today was an exciting day. I had the monthly Fashion Model Meetup to attend which was particularly fun this time. Not only were there fewer people for some reason (and more room to move around as a result), but the model had the most amazing hair (great for wet on wet bleeds in watercolor) and we had a visiting professor from Otis in L.A., Miguel Angel, as a special guest. So the energy was decidedly different. I really took more risks with my watercolors and while I didn't feel like anything was perfect, I did feel like I made some strides forward from the last time I did watercolors for fashion illustrations. I'm waiting for one of the moderators, Christopher, to send me the shots he took of my pieces, because he has a better camera than I do and they always turn out better than when I take them. This is a preview of one of the pieces that I used markers on after I painted, an experiment since I never ever used markers after painting something (I usually use a Chinese brush to outline things).

After, I hung out with Miguel, Christopher and Geoffry, the other moderator, and we talked about illustration and how they teach at their respective. It was such a high that I decided to attend another fashion illustration session up at F.I.T. that evening with Miguel and the the group of Steven B.I was in an experimental mood and definitely just played with techniques and just laying down color without fear, which is a really good thing to learn (and apparently decades in the making, for me). But it's about learning to trust that you can make something of a painting even if things go awry, and perhaps you actually want that imperfection.

I hate how the legs turned out on this one, but it was the experiment with the markers so at least I have an idea what to do with them now.

Anyhow, I didn't stay long as I had to meet a friend that evening, but I haven't had a chance to photograph everything, so I'll upload more when I shoot them all and/or get them from Christopher. But I was doing fashion illustrations basically all day until the evening, and it couldn't be more enjoyable. Well, okay, if I got some pieces I was really in love with, that would be better. ;)

2 minute contour sketches

Ugh, of course now that I've uploaded the shots all I can see are the mistakes, but hey, I'll hopefully get something right next time with more practice!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Birthday Boy

My birthday gift for one of my dearest friends, Rainer, is a portrait. His birthday was two weeks ago, so it's a belated gift. He doesn't follow my blog so I'm fairly confident with posting it and not ruining the surprise. But I've always put it off (for over a decade!) because I didn't have a shot of him that inspired me, and I didn't have an image in my head that I could seize upon. But his Facebook profile pic is really one of my favorite shots of him, and it finally hit me that I should do a portrait based on that. If any of my friends who know Rainer see this, please don't tell him - he already asked me not to ruin the surprise (I usually ask people if I can tell them what their present is if I don't give it to them on the day itself). It's gonna be a while while I tinker with it, but this is the first pass with color blocking.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday, Charlie L!

It's my friend's boyfriend's birthday tomorrow, so I thought I'd do a little jpeg greeting. :)

Tomo 3

I'm hoping I'm done with this portrait. I might need to send it to her just so I can be assured I shan't twiddle with it any further. Anyhow, here's a detail of her face... funny, but I was less concerned with drawing her in the photo and more concerned about making it look like how I know her, in a stylized, simplified way. Pleasepleaseplease let me not think it needs tinkering with the next time I lay eyes on it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tomo 2

Little details, niggling little details, like the shape of the eye, and the width of a line. Argh, 'simple' is so hard to do... I'm wondering if I'll need to go back into this later...?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Our Meetup model Tomo and I had become friendly after I ran inter her at a the Capsule men's show, and she had asked if she could get a simple portrait from me. So the other day she posed for a few photos. I started out really detailed but kept reducing and reducing... it's very hard for me to get Tomo's features, which are distinctly Japanese I feel, but full of nuances I'm not used to drawing. So I kept reducing the line work. Hopefully this - perhaps with a few alteration tomorrow ore the next day - will prove to be something she'll like. I'm always trying hard to please my models...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I wasn't feeling like drawing tonight - had an idea for a cowled woman that didn't pan out so here's the sketchy result.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shift In Focus

I was sorting through old drawings and spewing them about my apartment, and when my apartment is a mess, I tend to think, why not add more?  So I had a few magazines lying about opened, and the latest issue of New York had an article on the trend for 60s-ish shift dresses. So I decided to draw one, but really focusing on a spare look and emphasis on the silhouette. I think it turned out rather nicely, and I'm clearly on a minimalist streak. I wonder if I can render the model's face in a more realistic manner if I drew this from a model reference?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Michael and his friend Heron

Michael and his friend Heron firmly believed that life should imitate art... even if you have to painfully squeeze yourself through holes to do it.

More 50s Redux

Yesterday's quick brush sketch was fun, and while the subject matter is rather unoriginal, it was so enjoyable to just quickly sketch out, without any planning whatsoever, just a few quick strokes here and there, with some correcting (the joys of digital media) yet hopefully still maintaining the immediacy of the line. So here's another.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Faux Quick Brush

Inspired by the immediacy and wonderfully-edited reserve of the work of Chuck Nitzberg (click, beware of intense male nudity), an image popped into my head (not of a male nude). Sure, it's a bit trite, the 50s style reductively minimal fashion sketch, but I wanted to see if I could get the energy I saw in my head but using digital media. All things told, I think it doesn't look too computer-y.

Gay Birds

Following Obama's announcement today that he was in support of gay marriage, I thought I'd just do a quick sketch of the first gay animal I could think of. Did you know that penguins have been known to have homosexual pairings? Among a slew of other animals, that is. And since it does happen in nature, it's only natural.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5 Minute Croquis, Refined

Well, not by much, if she's equipped with an 80s Lioness do!  Haha. So I decided to do one without as well. At this scale and without any painting it looks like a cheapo drawing, but I don't feel like actually drawing anything on them to get them beyond that stock illo look... ah well... some drawing days are better than others.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5 Minute Croquis

I used to design mannequins, and a good mannequin pose is like the best croquis - somewhere between editorial and catalog, so you can feel like you're doing a fashion illustration with all the practicality of a regular sketch. A Flickr feed I'm part of introduced me to the wonderful Atrezzo mannequin collections out of Barcelona, and this was one of my favorite poses, which I timed myself to render in 5 minutes. I got it, but spent a few more minutes just fixing up the face a bit, but the body and stance I did all in 5. I miss mannequins. Makes me want to go back into display...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Yellow Turlee

I found an old photo of Christie Turlington from back when she cut her hair short, and it reminded me of how beautiful she was (and still is), and why she was always my favorite model. There's a pixie-ish quality to her features, but I never studied them enough to draw them. This is the first time I'm actually trying to artistically assess her face. This was a very quick sketch.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tomo and her friend Heron

Tomo and her friend Heron were experts at holding long poses: Tomo because of her zen calm and Heron because of years of standing motionless in lakes and marshes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Masquerigami, Two

I was inspired by the Gotye video to do naively painted polygons (And carried over the naive drawing style to my portrait, to make it seem like a bad tracing of my photo), and I used the 80s-cum-crafty-twenteens motif to decorate my Facebook page.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


There's an 80s trend going round in graphic design, and after watching Gotye's videos twice this week, I decided to channel the rawness of the latter with the inspiration of the former, coupled with the origami trend that was making the rounds in the past several years when I had to cover crafts for work.

I had to do my drawing early today because Im going to a midnight showing of Joss Whedon's Avengers movie! :D


I thought of a possible companion piece to the Peekaboo girl I've been retooling for a while. I was working out at the gym and saw a guy in an outfit that was just the right amount of revealing. I'm still trying to finalize his pose so for now I'll just post the initial face I've sketched.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Impala, Done

I figure I should ink this like a comic book drawing... but it's been so long since I did a comic book style sketch, it seems I'm a bit rusty. Still, I suppose adding other influences just makes the final style interesting... I like the costume design enough, but methinks I'll need to redo her face a bit later on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I was very inspired by a fellow artist, Carlos, whom I met last night at the male physique drawing salon, because he has a very linear, clean style that I admire. I know that being that clean is so not my style, but it doesn't stop me from aspiring to it. I always have, as I told my friend Senen yesterday when we recounted our mutual love for Patrick Nagel. So when I didn't want to draw tonight (I mean, I drew a lot over the past few days, having multiple entries per day even!), I picked up the chalk tool in Painter thinking I might just do some throwaway animal sketch. But as I channeled Carlos and a few other artists, it got interesting. This is by no means a final new piece, but it's certainly an interesting experiment that I might dabble with again in the future.