Monday, September 30, 2013

September is at an end... is this month-long experiment. Originally, I was going to stop on September 29th, but I'd figure I would round out the month and make today the last day of daily blog updates. Hopefully, from this point onward, I will update my blog with new drawings and such at least once a week. More importantly, I hope this 30-day commitment had the positive impact for which I was hoping. I'll know in the coming weeks if it did.

To close out this experiment and this month, I thought I would try to get get some practice drawing with a pen and tablet so I decided to produce something completely on the computer. For all of my previous pieces, I had worked them out on paper, scanned them and cleaned them up; not so with this one. It was done entirely in Photoshop form start to finish.

I didn't want to make the task of drawing on the tablet too difficult so I chose a subject that I've drawn before and one with which I am reasonably familiar: myself. All in all, it's a pretty decent likeness.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mythological scourge of the skies

I was originally going to draw a cowboy today but, at some point in the day, the idea of sketching a harpy snuck into my consciousness and stuck.  The outfit is a tad derivative (or at least it seems so, as I feel like I've seen that ensemble on other harpies before) but, overall, I'm moderately satisfied with this rough sketch.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Do you fear death?

I always intended to post a drawing of Davy Jones, who is one of my favorite characters from "The Pirates of the Caribbean" film series, so today is as good a day as any. Bill Nighy turned in such a wonderful, often over-the-top performance and the the visual effects are still astounding to this day. Such a delightful character to watch!

I will admit that I did not plan this piece very well. Jones's body is a bit too large and, obviously, I cropped the image in a rather odd way. Perhaps I will return to this drawing (I will at least revisit the subject) at a later time and see if I can correct its mistakes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Defying expectations

This is Dr. Carl Hart, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Colombia University who appeared on today's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, primarily to promote his book "High Price" (there's more to the title but there's just too much to type). I wanted to draw him because 1.) I found his hair utterly fascinating and I just wanted to draw that and 2.) his appearance flew in the face of my expectations. When I heard his name, I would have never expected him to look like this. Despite some gray in his hair, he has a fairly youthful appearance which, combined with his earrings and a robust head of locks, give him a laid-back sense of coolness one normally wouldn't associate with someone who uses the title "doctor." 

Did I mention I find his hair unreal?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Basic Trinity

Earlier this year, I took a class taught by Stephen Silver and one thing he had us do a few times (primarily during the first few weeks of the course) was starting our drawings with an arrangement of three basic shapes: the circle, the the quadrilateral (most people would just say "the square") and the triangle. By varying the proportions and placement of these three shapes, you can come up with many different characters.

That is what I have done today. I have created three characters, each made up of each of the three basic shapes. Each shape varies in size in relation to the other two (e.g. the triangle will be noticeably smaller or larger than the square and circle), not only within the same drawing but in relation to the other two drawings as well. I admit the quadrilaterals in the drawings for the muscle man and short fellow are a bit too similar in size and shape for my taste, but at least I had the sense to orient them differently (vertically in the drawing on the left and horizontally in the middle one).

The placement of the shapes is different in each drawing as well.

The following image provides an overlay that shows the simple shapes I used when first constructing these characters.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thar be dragons in these parts

I've wanted to draw a dragon during this month-long experiment for a while now and today I finally acted upon that impulse. The idea was to make it look somewhat realistic (at least more than my usual work) but it didn't quite pan out. The head was a good start but it quickly went downhill from there and things become less detailed and more cartoony. I also shamefully admit to phoning in those rocks. 

Overall, this piece did not turn out how I wanted (this seems be a recurring sentiment) but, to paraphrase what others have said, you need to get the thousands of crappy drawings out of you before you get to the good stuff. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A semblance of sensuality in a scribble?

Here's another squiggle drawing, like the one I posted on September 5th. Here's what I started with:

After a staring at this scribble for a bit and a couple unsatisfactory attempts, I decided to turn it upside down.

Then, I saw the loose image of a woman's head, in profile. Thus, we have the following image:

Here's an overlay of the scribble to get an idea of how I arrived at the final image.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Politically Incorrect in Real Time

I admire great caricaturists because they can do something fantastic that seems easy but is actually rather difficult for me. While I don't necessarily aspire to be the next Al Hirschfeld or Mort Drucker, I do hope to improve my caricature skills so that I struggle less to capture one's likeness in a drawing.

In the spirit of that mission, I turn my attention to a subject I have attempted before: comedian Bill Maher, who was fresh on my mind after watching his HBO series "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday. I feel he is a good launching point because his features seem relatively easy to exaggerate but he's not the cakewalk someone like Edward G. Robinson is.

I actually had attempted to clean this drawing up several times but I'm terrible at cleaning up my own work (I suppose another skill to try to improve) so not only did the piece look stiff and flat, but it looked even less like Maher. So, here he is in the rough.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Drawn from memory

Here's another memory sketch. Not only is the subject different from my previous sketch (last time it was the old woman with strange arm fat) but much less time had elapsed between first observation of the subject and realizing that mental image on paper. When I had drawn the old woman, a month or so had passed since I last saw her. This time, I drew this young fellow about 3 hours after spotting him at a local McDonald's restaurant.

I'm not quite sure why he captured my interest. Perhaps it was the sense of weariness his facial expression, attire, and posture projected. Perhaps, more likely, it was because I thought he looked a bit like Che Guevara wearing a rather ragged backpack and what appeared to be a charcoal-colored, floral pattern knit hat.

I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't capture his likeness as well as I would have preferred. However, the outfit seems about right and I think he looks about as scruffy as I remember. Overall, it's a more successful memory sketch than my first one of the elderly woman is.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Smooth pasta

A rendition of a ravioli man I had drawn on a carryout container a few years ago. I ordered ravioli that evening (surprise!).

Friday, September 20, 2013

A grab bag of doodles

I am a frequent doodler. Often I will create quick sketches on paper that is to be discarded: unused forms, flyers, and envelopes are just a few examples. Sometimes I do this to explore ideas before I commit to one and move onto better paper. Other times I do this just as a compulsive activity (because I just NEED to draw). Today, it was the former.

I was trying to find a suitable subject for today's blog post but after several pages of doodles, nothing satisfactory materialized. I then decided that to just post those drawings. Proportions may be off, tangents might exist, and sometimes sketches are incomplete but that's okay: these drawings are more about function than form. They help me visualize an idea quickly and see if something warrants further exploration. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sagittarius serpentarius: a brief look

I think my introduction to the secretary bird was at a young age, seeing King Leonidas's majordomo and soccer referee in the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, although I didn't know the character was a secretary bird at the time.

I would reacquaint myself with the creature decades later in college when I stumbled across it while searching for a subject for a lithograph I had to produce in a printmaking class. I just found it visually striking and its behavior is fairly interesting as well. Ever since then, I've been fascinated with this elegant raptor.

These are some quick, somewhat loose studies of the bird. The same creature isn't depicted in each drawing as I wanted to focus more on capturing the essence of the pose or emotion and less on consistency.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The motorbike goes VRRRROOOOM!

When this month-long experiment began, I decided that I would use it as an opportunity to draw things that I rarely draw or have never drawn and I knew early on that I would draw a vehicle at least once. Originally, I was going to draw a car but then I realized that I have done motorcycles with even less frequency. In fact, this piece may be my first "serious" attempt at drawing one.

All in all, it's a decent effort but the process of producing this image reinforced my opinion about drawing vehicles: I don't particularly enjoy it. The require a degree of technical draftmanship (even when the designs are relatively simple) that I neither possess nor have the patience to develop or exercise.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roly poly elf: rough cut

I wanted to draw something that wasn't in my typical style so I drew straight-ahead and came up with this pudgy little fellow. While I feel the stylization of this character could have been pushed even further, it's a decent attempt at producing something outside of my wheelhouse.

Today's image looks horrendous since I did not have access to a scanner when it was ready to be digitized. I had no choice but to take a photo of the drawing using my cell phone's camera. To make matters worse, my tablet was misbehaving so I was not able to use it all when cleaning up the terrible photo.

I will post a better version of this drawing at my earliest convenience.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tea time

Here is my depiction of the Batman villain, The Mad Hatter, for whom I have a certain fondness. Not is only his "schtick" is somewhat appealing ("Alice in Wonderland" obviously informs many aspects of the character) but, like some of the best Batman villains, his operates more effectively as a psychological threat than a physical one.

My favorite version of the character is the one from the landmark program Batman: The Animated Series and its related works, primarily because of Roddy McDowall, who supplied his voice. There was just something about McDowall's voice and performance (and probably the writing too) that fit that depiction so well.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

He of the prodigious schnoz

I wanted to make the type of character that I see in various forms of children's entertainment (books, films, television, etc.) that is so unusual that it doesn't seem to be based on any (one) existing creature, person or object. I think this drawing is a modest attempt at achieving that goal.

I shall tentatively call him "Mumford."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prehistoric pipsqueak

Here's a pint-sized dinosaur with an enormous head, large feet and small arms---my favorite proportions for dinosaurs. I did a very quick and dirty paint job because of time constraints so I'll probably update this fellow later with some better coloring.

Friday, September 13, 2013

You know you've seen this guy

A large, overweight and hirsute fellow, usually of Eastern European decent, who always sounds and appears disgruntled.

This didn't quite come out like I had hoped (for one, the pose is tad unimaginative) but I think it does a decent job of conveying the type of person I had in mind.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Feminine countenances

Generally, I find the female form difficult to draw (well). I drew these womens' heads as a way to sort of assess my current ability to render the female head and just to get some practice under my belt. I will definitely return to this subject in the future, with drawings of the full figure and studies based on photographs and illustrations by others.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Strigiform gazer

Since I like owls, here is a fairly simple one that I conjured up from the ol' noggin.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Good hand, bad hand

Today I thought I would try drawing with my left hand, as it's something I haven't done in a while (I'm not left-handed) and the results can be surprising...or at least amusing.

I designed a cute bear character (which seems unintentionally evocative of an Animal Crossing villager) to see how my left hand could handle creating a relatively simple image. I drew the character with my right hand ("the good hand") first, then I tried to replicate it with my left ("the bad hand").

Surprisingly, the drawing by the left hand looks much better than I expected. Sure, it's rather crude compared to my pass with the right hand, but the general construction appears fairly solid and the overall image looks considerably better than previous attempts at drawing with my left hand.

Also, I didn't really clean up the drawings because I wanted to see the underlying construction, although this doesn't seem apparent in the left-handed version. I'm can be a very heavy-handed sketcher when using my right hand, but the lines by my left hand are thinner and much more faint.

Interesting stuff.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An oddity of the deep

When I discovered this bizarre creature, the goblin shark, during this year's Shark Week (the actual week, not the block of programming on television), I immediately knew I wanted to draw it....but I did not draw it immediately. I didn't act on that impulse until now.

I feel as though there's more room for me to play around with the goblin shark design-wise so I'm putting it on my "Revisit List" for further exploration at a later time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Book buddies

I was rather fond of the film The Pagemaster when it was first released in 1994. In particular, I liked the three anthropomorphic book characters, (from left to right) Adventure, Fantasy and, my favorite, Horror. I still like this trio today so I decided to try my hand at drawing them, which I haven't attempted in over 15 years.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cold-blooded blue blood

This is a character I created at least 6 or more years ago. I think subconsciously I was channeling Mr. Toad from Disney's The Wind in the Willows, at least as far as his head is concerned.

Anyway, I enjoy drawing this haughty reptile so I'll continue to return to him and refine his design. 

I didn't have the time to splash some color on him for today's post but I will in a later update.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Los manos

Here are some studies I did of my own hands. No, my fingers don't quite look like that. Naturally, I put what I observed through a "cartoon filter," if you will, and these drawings are the result.

Hands are notorious for being difficult to draw (well) so I will certainly draw more of them in the future, whether they are in dedicated studies like this one or part of a larger image (like the bearded fellow I posted a few days ago).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nosferatu in Squigglevision

Today's piece started with the following simple, random squiggle.

From that, I produced this bubble-headed vampire.

Here's an image to see how the original scribble relates to the final piece.

This is an exercise that I have done in the past but not lately. Recently, I was inspired by similar attempts by other artists and I felt it would be a good fit for my daily challenges. Expect to see more of this exercise in the future.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Whole hog

Here is a wild (and furious) boar loosely drawn in the visual style of Hercules, the 1997 animated film from Disney.

Both the film and the television series derived from it feature boars but, rather than replicate any of them faithfully, I decided to just draw my own interpretation of one using the the general aspects of them that I remember. Why? Simple: I find it fun.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beardy head

I thought I would draw one of my favorite subjects: a bearded man. Don't ask me why I enjoy drawing guys with beards: I don't really know why I like doing that.

I was a bit busy today so I left the drawing in a rather rough state. Perhaps I'll return to this one after the 30-day challenge is over and refine it.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Fascinating Fat

This is a sketch, done from memory, of an old woman that I've seen a few times. I was less concerned  about creating a perfect likeness of her and more focused on producing a caricature that captured her general essence. 

What I found interesting about her was (and I admit this sound odd) was her upper arms. I've seen flabby arms before but never quite like this. The fat had accumulated considerably around her bicep while her forearm was relatively lean and "average" for a woman her age. It made her arms resemble two rather worn pencils, each shoved into a mound of putty. 

I didn't think the drawing above adequately depicts her arms so I provided an isolated view of one below that is slightly more successful.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Post numero uno redux

After over 3 years since my first post, I'm going to give maintaining a blog another try. I'm going to commit to post at least one different drawing everyday for the next 4 weeks (until September 29th). Hopefully, by doing this I will not only become more accustomed to posting here but, more importantly, become more comfortable drawing regularly and frequently.

Here is the first drawing in this month-long experiment:

For my initial piece, I wanted to produce something straight-ahead, meaning that I spent little to no time exploring different poses, styles and designs and I essentially made it up as I went along. I was curious to see what I would come up with through this method of drawing.

The head looks more or less how I wanted it to, but as I kept building the character he looked more and more like a minotaur, which is not what I wanted. I gave him lizard feet but I don't think it helped much.

Perhaps I will revisit this drawing at a later time and see if I can improve it (and there IS room for improvement in this case).