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.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Sketchbook Pages Fresh Off The Press

Well, not off the presses. More like fresh off the Cintiq. Recent series of digital sketches below, like literally from the past few days. Plenty of storybook vignettes and random character pieces.

...And here's a redux of an older piece from... 2018 I think? 8-bit characters hanging out at the old Chinese takeout place we'd hit after class at the local JC:

I guess at the time I thought the shapes were pushed enough on the first version (small inset picture on the left). But in all likelyhood I just wanted to get the color and lighting done, and didn't take enough steps back to see if I actually liked the overall feel of the poses or the drawing itself. And as usually the case from back then, I didn't really push the concept or character interactions either, so... here you have it. More characters, a little more activity, including burping. Hopefully some color soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cosmonaut Sketches 02

As promised some months ago, here are the rest of the sketches for the cosmonaut girls in combat, and a somewhat finished version or two below. 

Exploratory sketches:

I don't exactly remember which order I did these in. I'm pretty sure the latter two below were later, though all of this was months ago so who knows. 

The 2nd pic above has the most recent revisions with the black lined character in the foreground (3rd or 4th pass each). Not exactly proud of that, but it's better to be honest about methods rather than saying "I can hit everything perfectly 1st pass in 20 minutes!"  Yeah, maybe a small subset of things I obsess over, but definitely not everything. I still have to put the legwork in just like everybody else.

 All of the above I of course did in my basackwards way, after the first or initial version which is below.

Added some Gaussian blur for a little depth. Even this wasn't the original version; I did some slight revisions even after I'd posted it over on Instagram. In fact the first version of this got the Learnuary treatment by me (or the "How NOT To Draw Like Me" lesson plan):

 At the least and as I always say, my mistakes are to your benefit my tens of viewers.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Animation Hellhole Memories Part 5

Full two page spread below. Some story ideas and more memories from the Animation Department over at Allan Hancock College.

The one page was loosely based on when friends would skate over at the Oak Knoll Bowl / Orcutt Bowling Alley shopping center. I don't remember if they ever tried to do tricks off the elevated foundation and walkway. Either way it probably wouldn't be possible to do what I drew as he'd land straight into the railing after clearing the steps. But maybe that was the point.

The other page on the right was a memory I had of a bunch of us jammed into the Animation Hellhole, working on lame Monty Python-style cutout animation on one of the test machines. This was probably late November or sometime in December, before winter break and all of us going our separate ways til the next semester, so it has that bit of a holiday nostalgia filter for me. All of us laughing like idiots making dumb cutout characters doing even dumber things, improvising most of the action and voicing over the dialog whenever we'd play it back on the crappy little tv they had in there. Sometimes good memories are hard to come by depending on what transpires after the fact, but this was one I was able to hang on to for whatever reason. 

Another redux of stuff I posted earlier. Wasn't happy with some of the poses I did in the previous version - I'm not totally happy with what I have here either - but well, what can you do other than try to not get too lost in nostalgia while drawing and to keep going. 

That was always something that tripped me up, up until maybe a few years ago, the excitement of having an idea or wanting to finish a drawing (or just being under some arbitrary deadline), but not having the patience or discipline or time to really look at what I was doing and think "Maybe I should do a couple more takes on this drawing or pose and really figure out what the hell I'm doing or trying to do." Anybody from the Animation Hellhole days can tell you that I locked myself into the testing room more than a few times to try to finish a scene. I instinctively knew like most everybody else would in that kind of situation, I needed to block things out in order to get things done. But that realization would get lost later on down the road once I started going to a "real" art school and doing time at studios. Alot of intuitive things would get muddied during and after the Hellhole days.

 [Older sketch from a few years ago.]

Haste makes waste as they say. I'd say being overwhelmed in whatever way you can imagine while simultaneously trying to "make it" is another surefire method to totally miss the mark while being blind to your own mistakes.