Saturday, September 19, 2020

Samus Aran, Once Again

A more finished Metroid piece from this past week. Full image and sketches below.

[I ended up doing all of these after the finished piece above. I guess that's the part of my brain telling me I didn't push the pose or shapes far enough the first time. I'll probably do another version based on these sketches later on, something more cartoony and less contained. But we'll see.]

[Closer to the original. I think these were the first sketches before I started messing around with simplifying the design.]

[Quick preview of another piece coming soon.]

Friday, September 11, 2020

Animation Hellhole Memories Part 4.3

Another set of studies for night scenes revolving around the old Animation Hellhole courtyard over at Allan Hancock College. Full image below.

Not much to say here other than I wanted to get a better feel for how the scene would look at night, so one obvious method was to include the skyline along with some major silhouettes like distant trees or the roofline of the building.

[Some exploratory sketches I did around the same time. Most of these are pencil undersketches with ink on top, but a a couple are just loose pen. Lined Moleskine notebooks are a good mental escape from "finished piece mentality" and are more of a launching point for ideas and further drawings.]

[Only when I see these sketches in thumbnail form do I start to realize how much further I need to go with pushing shape choices. Maybe the inking or the smaller format is limiting my decisions or just reinforcing my bad habits? (One reason I've stayed away from Inktober.) I keep telling myself that these notebooks are to just mess around and that nobody is going to see them, and yet here we are. I need to benchmark myself somehow though, and like I said once I see my drawings like this it gives a good overview on how I'm approaching shapes or poses.]

Saturday, September 05, 2020

More Metroid Illustrations and Sketches

As the title suggests. Nothing super innovative, but full versions below.  

Was original a throwaway sketch with Colerase pencils on a Moleskine while I was working on a commission for a friend (yup, the same one from last time). All the inking and color is Photoshop. Cheated a bit and threw an image in the background as a color palette, worked the coloring up from there. Knowing the surrounding colors early on not only helps with choosing how intense your base colors and highlights are, it also helps give ideas for secondary light sources. 

More workup sketches, both Moleskine and digital, which got a color treatment much later. The ones below were from more than a year ago. I think I approach character faces a little differently now.

This was just me playing around trying to get a feel for general shapes of facial features, how far I wanted to push or simplify them. It ended up turning into figuring out how the Metroid Fusion Samus suit would actually work if it had to move.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Metroid Illustrations and Sketches

My versions of Samus Aran. Full image below.

 And a few older sketches and illustrations I did of Samus, based on a friend who asked for an original. Goes without saying that she likes her her video games, so I played around with making her the star of the show. The first set were work up sketches for the pen & ink version, the latter were for prints for a charity show we were both a part of. So in effect she's famous now, at least for the half dozen homes where this art is framed on the wall (hopefully).


Monday, August 31, 2020

Kolyma Tales Book Cover


Mock up for a book cover, full image below. 

Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales was rereleased sometime around the end of last year. New publisher, new book cover. But I liked the old Penguin Books design with the photo of two prisoners working at what looks like a gold mining operation. So, I combined the two designs, used a couple of filters, etc. 

Was kind of bored with just that, so I added an additional layer of art and commentary. Hence the wily prisoner contemplating philosophical about the nature of Gulag, just before he suggests to the viewer that survival comes at any price, to avoid general labor, to get yourself set up with a cushy administrative or storeroom job, to grab whatever scraps of food that you can, and to stay out of the way of both bosses and criminals. You know, like the modern corporate workplace.

Sunday, August 23, 2020



Full image below. And no, not the great graphic novel by Gipi. Just an illustration of a bouncy metal girl, courtesy of Albert Campillo Lastra (@he_perdut_el_llapis over on Instagram), along with her backup band, the Allan Hancock Animation Hellhole Quartet. Yes, that's a capybara on guitar and a tetrapod on a six-string bass. And a yokel on drums. 


Friday, August 21, 2020

Blue Collar Acanthostegids


Some random character design and digital painting pages. (Yup, plural.) Not much to say other than I really need to figure out why I keep adding tetrapods in average everyday settings in my drawings. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Animation Hellhole Memories Part 4.2

 [Close up of a naive overworked kid at the studio. Larger and colored 2 panel version below.]

I don't remember what the intent was with these, but if this was going to be one of those notebook drawings with narration, the top panel probably would've been: "Thinking about the future, he probably had no idea that that very moment, lost in thought inside the confines of that hidden college courtyard, would be the time he'd look back on nostalgically while stuck in a cubicle, pulling OT with little to no air conditioning." 

(Which would've been at a studio called... Phlegm Romain. I laughed when I came across a news article from back then playing up all the great new shows Phlegm was looking to do, with an anonymous comment at the end; "What a joke, that place is a sweatshop." In hindsight, I can't really argue with that. Maybe that's why they up and moved down to Mexico, deep respect that Corporate Animation Management has for the domestic workforce and the Animation Guild.)


[I realized after the last post that most nighttime settings use cooler colors for anything either outdoors or not under direct light. So, I played with the color levels to reflect that while trying to keep it from being too dark. I've done this sort of scenario before, so you'd think I'd have remembered the process.]

[Last minute addition: Here's a recent redux of an old piece I did back when I was at said studio. Sort of an anniversary present to all the time spent there. As you can see, a happy worker with the proper motivation. The original piece is still somewhere on here I think, but I'm not one to show off old underwear if I don't have to. Good luck finding it.]  

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Animation Hellhole Memories Part 4

Part of a sketchpage that I started a few months ago but got around to finishing up recently, playing with the lighting and colors a little bit. Memories of the animation department over at Allan Hancock College, in the wee days before "official" art college and even more Official industry jobs. See below for more panels.

[Night version panel. Most of my memories are of fall semester, so the days would get dark at around 5 or 6 pm, by which point one half of the class would bail. The half that stayed behind were the ones near the animation test station (the janitor's closet in the background that Julio's stepping into). Drawing, flipping paper, a group of 3 or 4 people making dumb Monty Python cutout animations on the test machine at the same time and being generally stupid. But usually the main focus revolved around deciding where to go eat afterwards.]

[Alternate take on one of the poses. Doesn't this kid know how to sit properly? In fact, he'd tend to sit like that more often than not most everywhere, as well as cross-legged. Still does. Dumb hippy.]

[Second page, uncolored. I'll post the finished version next time.]

Monday, August 17, 2020

Revised Older Piece - Beta Euthynus Redux

Close up of an older piece (see below for full view). 

From the Instagram post:

Dug through the archives and found an older piece - alot of older pieces actually - and decided to do some revisions. Alot of these were pretty rough around the lines, and I caught myself cleaning some of them up on this one. But then figured, what the hell, at some point at least some aspect of your old work is what it is regardless of whatever fixes you make, or regardless of whoever had a problem with your approach beforehand ("Not clean enough!"). A person can always improve, but parts of how you used to approach art shouldn't be completely erased either. The industry, Instagram, the internet - as lame as it sounds, they can't provide your art with you. 

Which is just another way of saying: Don't let the studios or the Internet Commons erase your thumbprint or signature on your own work, warts and all. Trends have a way of flattening both concepts and art, and eventually the people who come up with them, if they let them. 

(And yeah, all of this grandiose stuff on a post that's basically an upshot on a girl's butt. I get it.)

Cosmonaut Sketches 01


Couple of pages of work up sketches for a larger piece of cosmonauts battling it out on a lonely planet with the natives, which I'll post later.
Not especially happy with the latter one, but when you showcase your underwear drawer, you show all of it, worn out bands and all. The latter sketches I'll post ended up better than these.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Random Character Design Sketch Page

Not much to say here, just a random sketchpage I did a few months back while listening to comic book industry talk on Youtube. It's probably what got me to drawing the characters doing typical super hero crap in the background. I know it's what definitely got me to add the Google Streetview images: The person talking mentioned his old comic book hunting grounds as a kid, in... I think it was somewhere in Ohio, some little town. I like the storm cloud atmosphere in the pics near whatever freeway, so I thought: Why not have some superhero / UFO shenanigans going on there?
I have no idea what I was thinking with the Bond / Get Carter-style character with the gun arm though. The foreshortening is probably correct, but it doesn't totally "feel" correct. Meaning that it isn't jammed in your face Terry-Gilliam-style enough.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Random Sketchbook Pages

As the title suggests, completely random drawings. First one's a bit of an inside joke, which is going to be obscure to anybody outside the immediate circle. I figure this is less autistic and more fun than fanart humor.

Anyhow, redid a few details in Photoshop. Putin's head shape wasn't sitting right with me.

Some random noir detective stuff from the same page. Am finding James Cain or Ellroy-type moments are my go-to if I get low on ideas.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Childhood Nostalgia - The Local Bowling Alley

(Did some revisioning on the original, mainly the one kid in the foreground. Shapes should flow or at least have some kind of balanced rhythm, no matter what the pose or clothing options.) 

Hazy memories of the bowling alley our sleepy little town had, off E Clark Ave if I remember right. Was torn down and replaced with an Albertson's and extended strip mall years ago, and as far as I know no pictures of it exist online. Remember it having a really nice arcade in an area leading down off the main entrance, and that me and several others spent an entire day in playing TMNT when our grade school class did an end-of-year trip there for whatever reason.

I also remember several of us stealing bowling balls out the side entrance during the high school years. Alley bowling mostly, though one of them ended its existence by being blown up with an M80 inside of a garage.

And as one of my childhood friends pointed out, endless prank phonecalls to the main desk. Half the time some of us would be hanging out there only to hear over the intercom "Ray Paguy. Mr. Ray Paguy to the front desk please."

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Forget Me Not - Art Against Alzheimer's 2019 Print

One of several prints made for this year's Forget Me Not - Art Against Alzheimer's, held in downtown beautiful San Luis Obispo by Allan Hancock Animation alumni Mr. Brandon Tokunaga. More closeups and full print image below.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Character Design Challenge - 06 - #skyfishking

The last one of the Sky Fish King series. Added the two additional post-script illustrations and reference pages at the bottom that were part of the original Instagram post.

I did a few more #drawthisinyourstyle's after this based on other folks' characters, but as with most things industry or internet it has its limits. Maybe I'll pick it up again at some point, but that well has been drawn enough from for now I think but blah blah blah.

Basically I got bored with it after while, and just... tired of seeing how clique-y folks from the studio system get, even when it's something online that's supposed to be fun involving other folk's art. Am not sure whether to blame them or the corporate culture they're immersed in everyday when they act like that. Maybe it's a generational thing, maybe an occupational hazard when ego meets millstone, but I doubt either one of those is the sole cause for people turning into insects and only recognizing others that occupy the same hive (and not even then).

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Character Design Challenge - 05 - #skyfishking

Technically the first version I did of @jakemorrisonart's Sky Fish King series. Added the extra dunkleosteus character (Dunkleosteoid?) on the side, as much to take up negative space as to add a little more character fun and an additional thumbprint of mine. And as always, @meekius' piece was also a factor in how this turned out.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Character Design Challenge - 04

(Full image below.) Another #drawthisinyourstyle using @jakemorrisonart's character design, as well as referencing @meekius' take for inspiration.
This was the first of three versions I did. (I'll post the other two soon.)

The fish's scales were probably the most difficult to codify since there are so many different shape choices going on around the head area. Should have taken a cue from the other two characters and simplified it somewhat. But, that's part of the fun of doing these character design challenges, reinterpreting not only someone else's designs but playing around with whatever you come up with, and not worrying about whether it'll work the first time or fit into some corporate animation production pipeline. Part of the process of designing should involve room to breathe and explore, to have fun, *and then* refine for efficiency's sake. 

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Character Design Challenge - 03

Another bit of covert fanart. #drawthisinyourstyle, this time using @porkbellyramen's submission of a moto girl getting her gear on. I wasn't all that happy with the forced perspective in the full piece below, but I think if there's enough abstract in the design with bolder graphic shapes, things that are more literal and fragile in a drawing like perspective or anatomy can be overlooked or forgiven.