I’ve been trying less and less to clean up the gesture lines I use to construct these characters in order to maintain a feeling of energy and movement. The wildebeest I think is a good example of this. You can see the lines are more chaotic and less precise than any of the previous characters and I think that adds to the overall aesthetic of the piece. As well as maintaining a sense of movement and energy this process is also training me to work in an almost traditional “pencil and paper” manner. I’ve said before that I’d like to start working using traditional media, be it pencil, charcoal, or ink, and make some originals, so these characters and this style of work would be a nice gateway to that.
It’s a nice change working on animal because they offer up so much variety in shape and character. I’ve found that I’m more prone to seeking out basic shapes and exaggerating proportions, whereas with human characters I’m always a little more cautious.
Since starting the daily characters I feel I’m able to get my eye in much quicker, though I still think I’m looking for something that I can’t quite see yet. What that something is I don’t quite know; a new process; an evolution of style, maybe? I think I just have to keep going and hopefully whatever it is I’m looking for will appear through repetition, like training any skill.
The amount of time it can take to draw these characters can really vary. The cat, for instance, was a quick 30 minute exercise that started out more proportionally realistic, but was stretched and simplified over a couple of sketches. The lines were kept intentionally loose and sketchy because of the speed of the drawing, and the same can be said of the colour application.
The lumberjack was a bastard. I originally intended to only spend about an hour on him, but I just couldn’t seem to get the look right, so I ended up doing multiple versions (different poses, face, beard, clothing, etc…) which took about four hours in the end. I still don’t really like the design which makes it worse, but I realised I wasn’t loose enough with the initial sketches and I think that stumped me.
The old hag was a fun character to work on. I took inspiration from an photo of a young girl backpacking. I sketched her out and then just exaggerated the shapes, added an octopus, a weird cat-like creature, and aged her up about a thousand years, and voila!
These dailies are flowing out of me a bit quicker now, and think the speed and looseness shows up in the line-work. I quite like how rough the lines look though I might have a look and see if I can discover some new digital brushes to play around with. I quite like the Roman legionary out of these three characters, he looks like he’s been through hell and back, especially with that thousand yard stare. Honesty, imagine having to go into battle wearing some tin-foil and a skirt! No thanks!
I feel like there’s a nice progression here in terms of colour use, line work and texture (images read left to right). It’s taken a few days to get my eye in and develop a style that I’m happy with, but I think things are starting to click. The work flow is speeding up and the shapes are getting pushed and simplified more and more. I think simplifying shapes and creating a strong silhouette for the character is going to be a focus going forward!
I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a character study everyday if I can. Typically I’ll have a look on Pinterest and find a candid photo of someone and work from that, so it’s a little similar to sketching in a coffee shop or doing life drawing. The study on the left is a little bit too real for my taste and lacks interesting shape, line and gesture. I was a little looser with the guy on the right exaggerating the proportions and pose which lends a lot more character.
Anyway, sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ll be better.
UK lockdown feels a bit like this. There’s an awful lot of just waiting around while you’re stranded on a desert island. You have a means of getting off the island, but there’s nowhere to go when you do, so you just come back. You can meet up with another person which helps keep you sane, but all you talk about is how great it’ll be when you’re finally rescued. And so you wait. And wait. And wait some more. And just like that a year has passed since the first lockdown began. Hopefully there’s a ship going to appear any day now… hopefully.
This took waaaay longer than it should have. Annoyingly I kind of got lost in drawing and redrawing the lines, and then deciding not to use lines, and then going back on that. It was frustrating to the point I almost abandoned it all together. I surmise that I am my own worst enemy.
If I’m honest I feel like this piece is missing something but I can’t work out what?! I do however really love the smoke coming out of the tug boat.
I moved away from using a perspective grid for this (for anyone not in the know, a perspective grid helps you to draw in perspective). I made the decision to do this because I often feel like it gets in the way when I draw and I end up focusing so much on the grid, and getting everything perfect, that I lose what makes an illustration interesting. Using the grid also makes things too rigid and lacking in character in my opinion.
Some basic house designs here for my visual development portfolio. The images are in order (top to bottom) of how the work flow tends to happen in visdev, starting with multiple thumbnail sketches, refining an idea, and then fleshing it out. I’ll do a more refined colour version of this tomorrow.