Saturday, October 15, 2022

2022, The Year I Made Contact (with custom brushes)

So almost a year has gone by. Which means, time to update with a post full of recent illustrations and sketches. Rainy afternoon, so why not.

- Been trying to get away from linework on some pieces and just letting the color do the walking. 

Which doesn't mean I didn't use an undersketch. Just that I didn't rely on it as the final product. Though I did rely on custom textured brushes for both sketch and color, despite my kvetching about it last post.

(As you can see, I had to tone down the shape dynamics on the forearm.)

- Did a whole series of workup sketches beforehand. These are pretty much sequential in the order I drew them in from top to bottom. I may have reused the BG a few times but otherwise the poses were all drawn from scratch each time, no underlayer draw overs. Not that this is that impressive (or the iterations above), but given technology allows folks to trace photos and CG models for their digital work, it's probably worth pointing out when something isn't cheated copied, or redrawn on trace paper or an overlay layer. 

The latter two aren't cheating, but it sometimes feels like it hems in the drawing and compounds the drawing issues that led to a redraw in the first place. Just basing that on (too much) personal experience.

 - Some more exploratory sketch pages:

- And some more non-line finished pieces:

(The piece that sort of started it all, back from a few years ago.)

(One of the first attempts at trying this. This was before I realized how to reign in or group together properly color intensity.)

(Some shape or design choices changed or got lost from the sketch to final piece. One of the results of the digital color and paint process, tending to be fiddly and creating tunnel vision. Losing some aspects of what makes a quick sketch work I think when you get too caught up in fine tuning the coloring. I don't know.)

(The usual sketching around when I felt unsure about some of my drawing decisions beforehand.)

- Some linework and color getting together again:

- I did some sketches for another Draw This In Your Style over on Instagram. But I never got around to posting any of them for whatever reason. The reason being that I'm not all that happy with some of them. But, dirty laundry and all that. You have to air it out some time:

A few of the poses turned out alright. No photo reference for poses, never photo reference. Just so that I have a record somewhere of having said that.  

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's better than tracing. 

This is also one reason why I've tried to switch over to traditional sketchbooks over the past few years. It never occurred to me that doing purely digital work raises that sus red flag for anyone that looks at your work, because... well, cheating tracing over photo reference is pretty ubiquitous online. There. F*ck it, I said it.

- Speaking of which, some random sketch pages. Mostly colerase in Rhodia sketchbooks, but there's one digital at the end:

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Great Revisioning of 2021

So it's been awhile. In the meantime, I took a bit of a break from drawing digitally and focused on just busting out the sketchbooks and Colerase. I'll upload some of those soon enough. 

For now though, I wanted to post what I did when I finally came back to the Cintiq and decided to approach some older pieces to revision. Some of these are from scratch, but most I did previously, whether a few months before or a few years, sometimes more. Stepping away from... well, not the comfort zone, but from one method of drawing... it really gave me fresh eyes to see what bad or weird habits I was getting into when drawing specific things like faces or whatever digitally.

These were from a year or more ago, so relatively recent. Besides a couple of the fuller thumbnails the rest of it got a draw over, both minor and major. (Based on the music department rehearsal space in Building E over at Allan Hancock College. Across the way from the Animation Hellhole / art department in Building F, coincidentially enough). 

Above was the file that started the whole revision process.

And the latter from scratch, hopefully with some improvement. This was the last in this music rehearsal series. There were more images I redid, but there were the better of the lot. 


I found the above as a rough undersketch I did a few years ago that I never got around to completing. Well, til now. So partially from scratch I guess.

I posted the first versions of these on here like 3 or more years ago, so go dig for those if you want to compare. One on the left was from scratch, one on the right were drawovers on the original image. I don't know if I got the quadruped run for a biped thing, but I definitely approached silhouetting the poses differently than before. That and the facial shapes, as always.


I went even further back and dug up some ugly ancient history from the archives.

If you can see in the inset images, the originals were done with graphite on (probably) Strathmore paper, scanned and colored in Photoshop. The newer versions are purely Cintiq.

Even though I wanted to color the one and haven't finished it yet, I didn't want to rush over the drawing part just to get to the eye candy phase. Which is what I did with the originals. 

As always, these are benchmarks to see how or where exactly I needed to improve, or where hopefully I have already. As far as color... Eh, I think I'm more efficient with my choices now and maybe more knowledgable, but the general palette still feels a bit the same. Not as heavy on the darks. Coloring's not as much the focus anymore, for good or for ill. 

Truth be told, I don't want to hide behind colors or the patented custom grainy brush doing either flowy Glen Keane / Milt Kahl chinamarker line weight, or late 2000's Pixar portfolio quadruple sketch lines that have those nice little strategic gaps. That all looks good, and there's a time and place for that. And maybe I'm just too dumb to know how to use stylistic digital cheats in the main linework to give it that extra industry edge. But apart from a quick tone wash or dot matrix texture, I want to rely on as few bells and whistles in the drawing itself as possible. I want to keep it as close to the same fundamental choices I'd make if it were just pencil and paper. (And part of that has been keeping the brush size small and at 60 - 70% opacity, rather than the larger brush pen thing I used to do at 80 - 100% opacity several years ago.)


More random pieces that didn't escape the revisioning:

This last one was an incomplete sketch from the Circle Seven Drive days. I think I was listening to whatever song - probably either this or this - and got the idea of Phil sleeping on an animation disc with a soundwave dancing behind him. He'd be floating by a bunch of Marvel characters doing their thing, and the preproduction and storyboard staff doing theirs. A fever dream music video basically, because that's where I was back then the first few years, wanting to sleep my way through Office Space 2.0.  I like how Nate turned out the most, since he was all about that high hat sound. Sol was drunk at a party one time and kept going "One time! Open chest!," so that's how he gets remembered. I think Staggs is measuring Black Widow's design to make sure the proportions are right.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Story vignettes, starring Colin Fleming and Pendleton Ward

Once again, an older piece from a few years ago that I revisioned at the time, but never got around to posting the full final thing. Direct your eyes below to see this plus a bunch of other sketches:

I based the two main characters off of old classmates, Colin Fleming and Pen Ward (or Pendleton for all you animation cats in the know). The setting was the plaza next to the old Hilltop Store at UCLA, which may or may not be there anymore. Why are they running? Maybe they were backpacking food or just looked a little too out of place at the cafeteria next door. These guys were Calarts, after all; what the hell were they (or I) doing there? Either way, those UC kids and staff got uptight about things like pocketing extra bananas and cookies, or just looking like you were from another school. Or class for that matter. 

But really, let's be fair: When you (well, their parents) are paying for a top tier Uni education at UCLA or USC, it's all about priorities.

Some more stuff featuring these guys that I dug up and revisioned recently:

(The side notes were from reading about story structure, blah blah. It helped cement alot of these concepts in my mind if I did the note taking alongside concept drawings or vignettes / storyboards.)

Here's one from the sketchbook, Rhodia to be precise. Some digital revisions with some of the tone and the like. If it's difficult to tell, chases, surveilling, and exploration seem to be favorite themes for these characters. And snacks.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Between Classes

Random bit of character and color work I did back in September, as well as some character design sketches. Nothing too crazy.

Pretty sure I did the color with a back painting of just a random pastel palette, then worked up the core colors, highlights and shadows from there. Not the best placement of the backpack, but oh well. I had to thin out the one strap to try to keep it from being confused as the outer line for the one leg. Even looking at it now I can see other ways I could have gone about his pose to make it cleaner or more "correct," but again oh well. Character and atmosphere first, I keep telling myself. [Edit: Went back and moved the backpack out of the way of the leg's silhouette. That only took several days for me to scratch that itch. Hopefully it reads a little better now.]

Friday, January 08, 2021

Khylov's Daydream Moleskine Notebook

Some notebook pages out of the Moleskine. Very much budget Miyazaki's Daydream Notebook, except instead of WWII and planes it's ancient Byzantium with their tiny kingly hands. And featuring Theodoric and Odoacer hashing out their differences in aristocratic manner.

The color is Photoshop, but otherwise it's all pencil and pen. I also did a bunch of pages covering favorite comics I'd read recently, notably Fabien Mense's Agito Cosmos, Cyril Pedrosa's Portugal, Markus Mawil's Kinderland, Anthony Holden's Hard Boiled: Ace Detectives. I may post the full pages here next time.

I posted these over on the Instagram already, but since they're asking for people to log-in just to even browse the main page, here they are, along with a WIP preview of one of my more recent posts. Tens of viewers take note, I'm putting up with the stupidity of both IG's censorship campaign and Blogspot's broken formatting to bring you my table scrap sketches. If that's not love, then I don't know what is.

(*Time Traveler Khylov note: An extra series of pages posted much later:)

A preview of upcoming attractions: