Today I realized that I was a couple days past a deadline: I needed to do a couple of sketches that would be added to copies of a Kickstarted comics anthology I was part of. I don’t do physical work very much any more, so I figured I’d document my current process.
- First: sketch. I pulled up some inspirational imagery by duckgoing for “classical portrait”, pulled out a small sketchbook and a brown pen, and scribbled this rough out pretty quickly.
- Then I photographed it with my iPad and went into the bedroom closet (the darkest place in the apartment) with the piece of marker paper I wanted to do the final image on. Tablets work great as small lightboxes in a pinch, with the added power of scaling an image!
- I took the drawing into the studio, and masked off the edges with some masking tape. Spent like ten minutes trying to find my kneaded eraser to knock the rough back, ended up just using the eraser on the Col-Erase pencil I’d traced it with.
- And then I pulled out a couple of Prismacolor markers and went to work. I laid down most of the yellow, then the brown – starting with the face, so that I didn’t lose too much work if I screwed that up – and then picked up a golden paint pen I had hanging around for the wrought-iron.
- A little touch-up with a white paint pen, and it’s ready for a signature. I chose to leave the pencil lines that’d been hidden by the masking tape to keep it feeling like a sketch.
Now that I look over the whole process, I might go back and add the earring I had in the rough and forgot about. I should also either do the other sketch I have to do for this Kickstarter, or get some work in on Parallax – I spent half the day procrastinating on doing this drawing!
click this tiny thumbnail for a definitely NSFW image
Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice cup of tea next to a hot tub on a nice evening? Especially when you’re sharing it with an old friend.
Another one of those commissions I took at the beginning of the month to try and get my work habits back in good shape. It’s been working. This one did interesting things to my attention span; it felt like it I was making no progress for most of the time I worked on it, despite it actually going at a steady pace. I’ve gotten so used to cranking out a full figure for a comics panel in a half an hour that drawing someone with enough limbs to make for two and a half characters felt like it took forever, even though it only actually took about two and a half times as long. Worth it, though; I’m pretty happy with the results.
Also, to save you some counting: eight.
click thumbnail for full NSFW image
Rub bottle furiously for genie. If no genie is in the bottle, one will be drafted. Aim with care.
Last week, I opened up for a few commissions to try and rebuild my work habits. This is one of them. The request was to focus on the precise moment of transformation from “fox” to “fox genie”; I of course went for a certain amount of animation smear stylization and multiple images because that’s how I tend to think. And enjoyed being cheerfully cartoony and suggestive because that was sort of the whole point of doing some commissions.
I’m pretty happy with how quickly this one came together. I used some of the same methods I’ve been exploring in my comics, and was able to take advantage of prior art – I’ve draw Peganthyrus a lot before, and Phorm multiple times, so I could just open up previous drawings as graphic style libraries and skip a lot of setup. And skip a lot of fiddling with stuff in the drawing process; if I ever start giving my little Illustrator For Artists 101 talks at cons again, I really need to amend it to talk about how useful graphic styles are.
(My work habits seem to be coming along, too. I’m actually getting up and making a to-do list in the morning again, which helps a ton. Even if I don’t always get to everything I write down.)
So lately when I’ve been feeling unmotivated to work on the huge, complex backgrounds of Parallax, I’ve been trying to at least make myself open up Illustrator and do some drawings of my cobra character Kalinda. (Who is also sometimes an archaeopteryx, it’s complicated.) I have been referring to these drawings as “#dailysnek” even though they are not a thing I do every day.
Today, I went out to the Meowtropolitan (a coffee shop with a room full of very very jaded cats) with Nick. On the way I decided that it would be nice to work on a bit of design I need to do for Parallax but it was by no means necessary; if all I did was to do a color version of a Daily Snek, that would be perfectly fine. I’ve generally been sluggish and unproductive lately, and I figured actually finishing something would be a nice change from “slowly picking away at complex two-page spread backgrounds”.
Worth noting: the smoke coming off of her cup is one path, with a moderately complex Appearance stack on it.
The bottommost stroke has an asterisk next to its weight because it’s got a variable width profile applied to it.
And here are all of the #dailysnek doodles thus far. Will I keep doing these? I dunno. It’s been fun so far, and people seem to like them. Click them to embiggenate.
the is is the only one that involved looking at an actual photo of a real snake, I should do that more often to figure out how to properly pile up her coils.
And then, having done this, I used the last half-hour of my Mac’s battery life to rough out a spaceship design for Parallax. Yay!
Still needs some work to turn it into something I can drop into Silo and use as reference to model. But there’s a good start there at the bottom, with some shapes that evoke assorted 70’s spaceships (mostly the Liberator from Blake’s 7, which always looked like it was going backwards, and maybe a little of the Vipers from Battlestar Galactica. Though I think I’ll try to downplay that as I work on them, as this is an eight-person shuttle with its own stardrive rather than a two-seat fighter that lives on a carrier.)
So the other day I was reading a book about astral projection when the back of my brain said “draw your dragon self in cool fantasy armor”. I was also very stoned at the time. I then worked on this on and off over the next few days.
Did you know that drawing cool fantasy armor is kind of a pain in the ass?
Technically, I’m happy with this one. There’s a lot of use of gradients in ways that come together quickly, that make it look a lot like a painstakingly masked out piece of airbrush art. Which ALWAYS makes ten year old me ecstatic to be able to knock out.
Somewhere back in August, I made a file titled “Peggy At The Con Of The Crimson King”, and meticulously reverse-engineered Roger Dean’s logotype for the 80s/90s computer game company Psygnosis. There’s a font out there that claims to be based on it, but half of the characters are swiped from his logo for Shadow of the Beast and they only sort of work together, so I just ended up making a bunch of art brushes based on his shapes and using those.
And then I let it languish in my working directory for the rest of the year because I didn’t like any of the sketches I’d done for the character. Today I loaded it up and did a decent rough, then did my best to pretend I was an airbrush jockey via a bunch of gradients and blurred shapes and masks.
Now I just need someone to do a furry con whose theme is “vaporwave” and I’ll have the perfect badge for it. But I probably won’t do badges in this style at the con because holy crap the typography took at least twice as long as the figure. I could re-use the brushes and styles I made but it’d still be like twice the work of “type name in a font, draw character” and I dunno if I really feel like seeing if there’s any market for $100 badges.
also here is a closeup showing the amount of detail I made Illustrator do in the eyes, because I wanted to capture a little bit of the INSANE STARING GLARE that Dean put into the stylized owl-head of Psygnosis’ secondary logo. There was also a bunch of angular bullshit around the eyes based on that but it got covered up by the chrome hair, oh well.
Someone on FA asked for this on a t-shirt, so I posted it on Redbubble. Go here if you want one too.
A few days ago I was in the space of wanting to draw and having no desire to work on big projects, and no other ideas. So I asked on Mastodon.
“Kalinda.” “Kalinda.” “Naked in a coffee house.” “Kalinda TFing someone.”
I didn’t feel up to an actual TF scene so here’s a snake lady naked in a coffeehouse. With sensibly-sized boobs, and with absurdly oversized ones, because I felt like drawing big cartoon titties.
big cartoon titties version, absurdly huge cartoon titties version
If you are curious, the book is part six of the Penwiper Saga, “The Curious Adventure of the Gyrobicupola”.
(click for full size)
This started as a group portrait of my D&D campaign. Which is made up entirely of characters with musical skills, so it only seemed natural to turn it into a fake album cover.
The band’s name comes from the campaign; the song and album names are all my fault, and mostly reference events in the story so far. The front cover and their logo is heavily inspired by early Ozric Tentacles releases because that just felt right, even though I doubt they sound very similar.
(Last session, the DM was insane enough to give us a Deck Of Many Things. I drew a card; the thieving kobold with the lowest wisdom in the party now has three wishes. I intend to do my best to make sure this Does Not End Well in the best way possible.)
The past few weeks have been pretty hot – Seattle’s been seeing temperatures up in the mid-nineties. There are all kind of doomful extreme heat warnings going out.
But those don’t apply to me. I grew up in the South. I know what to do: wear as little as possible, and carry shade wherever you go. So I’ve been wearing pretty much what you see in this drawing iRL. It works even better up here, where it’s not so humid that there’s only about a 2º difference between the sun and the shade.
(Bonus tip: get something designed to protect fabric from UV, apply liberally to bumbershoot, enjoy reduced chances of skin cancer.)
Would you like to see a picture of a cosmic unicorn lady with two penises standing on a planet while jerking off? Because I drew one.
Oh wait because that weird lady who draws just like me but has a different name drew one. Right.
Anyway. Birthdayish piece for Sigil, also because they just drew a picture of one of my characters doing some raunchy stuff as well.