I’m not a big fan of using the IPad as a drawing tool. It’s the Styluses (Stylii?) that are the problem. I just want a drawing implement with a sharp point (Not a fat cigar-like thing). Despite this, I’m really enjoying using Autodesk Sketchbook Ink. It’s a really simple app, just seven ink brushes and two erasing brushes. It has the ability to create multiple layers. Brush customisability though, is limited to a size slider. Not a problem for me, as the two tapered brushes have exactly the line quality that I favour. It is potentially a major drawback for the user who likes to use a wide variety of brush shapes.
I’ve found myself using SBI primarily as a portable sketching tool recently and although I really only have use for the two tapered brushes, I love the line quality and the fact that there is a kind of simulated pressure sensitivity when using a basic stylus in that drawing the lines faster results in a thinner line. Something about that and the smoothness of the line just suits my drawing style. Sketchbook Ink also has the capability to export png files at a huge 101.5mp.
I don’t love everything about the App however. I like to be able to quickly clear my screen if a drawing isn’t working out. So I would like to see the “erase all” function, which is currently located in the layers submenu, instantly accessible as a top level menu item. I have to tap to open the menu, tap again on the erase button and then tap again in order to close the menu and continue drawing. Having to do that every time really interrupts my workflow, as I tend to clear my screen a lot. I’d also like to be able to increase the size of the brushes much more. A minor gripe, it took me a while to realise that the crosshairs that appear when touching the screen for while are a colour sampler tool it was nice to discover it but I didn’t find any mention of it in the user guide.
This video illustrates the 3 stages that I go through when creating a finished cartoon character design in this case a friendly dog character based on my client’s black and white Border Collie. The 3 stages are loose sketch in Sketchbook Pro, tight sketch using construction and colouring in Adobe Illustrator.
This video shows me in the process of creating a colour comp of a Pterodactyl character for a client, false starts and all. The video is speeded up for clarity and you also get to see the final coloured version at the end.
In my latest YouTube video I go through my process of creating this piece of pinup style art for a Zazzle Tshirt. In order to do this I start off by sketching in Sketchbook Pro and refine it, then bring it into Illustrator for digital inking and flat colouring and finally some digital painting in Photoshop.
I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for a looooong time. I can still vividly remember Jon Pertwee, and I may have even wept a little when he was killed by those giant rubber spiders (O.K. I admit it , I bawled) which kind of gives away my age doesn’t it? If you have no idea what I’m talking about take a look at this link. I can’t think of any other TV program that I used to watch as a seven year old that I still watch just as avidly. I really like Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor. In fact since the series has been revived each doctor has been better than the last. So here’s my tribute to Matt with my latest caricature of the day.
I’m really enjoying doing these quick character sketches/caricatures as a way of warming up and giving the cartooning muscles a workout. Todays sketch is of a youthful and significantly less gnarly, though not exactly fresh faced Keith Richards circa 1974.
I have tended to avoid calling myself a caricaturist or to offer this as a service in the past. But I’ve come to the conclusion that a character designer who is any good should really be able to produce a half decent caricature. so with this in mind I’ve been working on a caricature a day as a warm up exercise, from time to time I’ll post the ones I like up here. The previous one I posted was Lemmy and here’s one I did today, Tommy Lee Jones.
I was recently asked to come up with a rough design for a mean looking biker character by Interactive game company Betsoft. The character wasn’t used in the end but here are some of the rough sketches which were part of the design process.
This is something new for me but I’ve been asked to design a mural for our local cheese shop. The original inspiration was a birthday card which features mice looking longingly into the window of a cheese shop which you can see below. I wanted to do something similar while avoiding a complete rip off of the original, so I came up with the idea of a gang of “jewel thief” mice a la Mission Impossible except the jewels would be rounds of cheese rather than diamond necklaces.
So I came up with this initial rough sketch.
Keith , the owner of the cheeseshop liked the concept but thought the mice were a bit sinister looking so I redesigned the mice and made them cuter and more generic.
Here’s the final sketch and mock up, made in Illustrator and Photoshop
So now we just need to get on and do the hard bit, actually painting the mural, so I’ll keep you posted about that.
I posted a new 3 part video on my YouTube channel this week of me drawing a Jungle Girl Pin up. Instead of the usual time lapse videos that I’ve done before , these are in real time and I talk a bit about the process as I do it.
Here’s part one
To see parts one and two and to subscribe to my YouTube channel please go here
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy fired up my youthful imagination in all sorts of ways, so as it’s Carrie’s birthday this week, what a perfect excuse to draw a Princess Leia cartoon.
Apropos of nothing, here’s a colour sketch that I did of a cute redheaded girl. Not based on anyone in particular, but on reflection she does remind me a bit of the Kiwi singer Kirsten Morell http://www.myspace.com/kirstenmorrell formerly lead singer in Goldenhorse. I actually met her once and she was incredibly sweet and down to earth.
Welcome to my new blog. I decided to discontinue my blogger posts and start up a blog that’s properly integrated into my own website. For anyone interested in looking at the old Blog you can find it here. http://zengrenade.blogspot.com
The videos show me at my desk drawing away. Each one is speeded up a lot but shows my drawing process. All my characters start out as pencil drawings. The final coloured versions are scanned and coloured in Adobe Illustrator. The whole process can take between 4 to 10 hours or a lot longer if a client requires a lot of revisions.
The equipment I’m using is a perspex disc for resting on (This is a relic of my animation days rather than a necessary piece of kit). Blue and red Col Erase Pencils and a 3B Faber Castell graphite pencil. My process involves starting with light red rough drawings, firming up the line with a dark blue and then solidifying the character with a black pencil line.
I sharpen my pencils a lot, so I use a Dahle Automatic 00220 electric pencil sharpener, another relic from my animation days (I’ve had it since 1995 and it’s still sharpens just as well). It’s definitely a necessary piece of kit though, as I don’t want to have to stop every 5 minutes and spend 2 minutes sharpening my pencils, that adds up to 24 minutes over the course of a 2 hour drawing sesh and sometimes I’ll spend 8 hours straight drawing. Anyway as the Americans say, “You can do the math”.