Friday, November 30, 2012


 In my subject's defense, his proportions are highly exaggerated, though I was kind to the burrito.  I witnessed this in the Wilk today.  I'm not sure what this guy's major was, but I'll venture to say sword swallowing; most units of measure have a fixed standard, but "bite-size" is a relative term.

Walt Stanchfield once said "let your sketchbook take preference over your camera."  At first it seems harder to capture a moment, an emotion, a character on paper than it is through a lens.  However, the point isn't necessarily to capture a likeness– it's to capture life.  Too many people treat a sketchbook like a curated exhibit.  It shouldn't be; if it is, you're losing most of the benefit.  Sketchbooks are for practice, to be sure, and they can contain nice drawings, but more importantly they are to stretch your imagination and capture life. Life isn't always likeness. Have you ever shown someone a photo of an experience and said "I wish you could have been there, the picture doesn't do it justice"? Now, technically the camera captured the scene with complete technical accuracy.  Due to the miracles of modern physics and chemistry, everything you pointed the camera at is represented with exactness.  What then is missing?  It's life, it's heart, it's emotion.  A good photographer will capture all of these things in an image– but not every time, and they will certainly not make every passerby stop to set up lights and have a 2 hour studio session.  No, they move in and through the experience, never stopping. They open their eyes wide and try to find the story in every moment.  A good photographer will snap hundreds of pictures in ravenous pursuit of the one that will immortalize the experience.  A good photograph isn't just for the eyes– you can hear, smell, and taste every element of the experience.   It's the same with drawing.  If you are seeking to capture life, it can't be done by mere likeness; there needs to be something more.  To catch it, you have to keep moving, and I mean moving. Too often I think we pick our subject based on who is sitting still long enough to draw.  That shouldn't be the deciding factor.  Try looking instead for where the life is, for which subject has the most interesting story.  Draw those people, even if your pen can't keep up with how fast they're moving.  The point isn't how pretty your sketchbook is anyway— it's whether you've caught a bit of life in your mind to breath into future characters.  At first these drawings will be nasty, as in pull-a-paper-bag-with-eyeholes-over-your-sketchbook-and-another-one-over-your-face-nasty.  This is a good thing.  It means you're stretching yourself.  And every so often, something nice will come out.  As you gain more experience, as your sketchbooks stack up, the number of nasty drawings between the good ones will shrink.  Best of all, your drawings will start, in some inexplicable way,  to come to life.   
     Remember, your job isn't to create an ink-jet likeness.  It's to "animate"– to bring to life. Sometimes you will want photographic accuracy, but often the most emotionally accurate drawing will be a caricature.

I've ranted long enough, but before I take off my "self-appointed-guru fez" I want to share one thing:
If you are at all serious about sketchbooking, buy this book.  The above link is a free preview on google book, which is a taste, but I would highly recommend getting the 2 volume set on Amazon. Best drawing book ever.

Ok, i need to sign out, my fiancee has confiscated my fez lol.  But no joking, get the book!  You will be happy you did.

Sketch Prompt

This one was a sketch prompt from a fellow student: "Disoriented Ocean Kangaroo of the Wasteland"

Those were a difficult few concepts to combine, but eventually I decided that 26 million years in the future kangaroos have evolved to be the dominant sentient life forms on earth,as well as becoming semi-aquatic. They can hold their breath for extended periods of time and grasp things with their baseball glove-like tail/fin (an adapted  "heterocercal" tail fin, which is a new word i learned the other day!). Far more technologically advanced than our society, they build futuristic atlantean cities in the deep. As for "disoriented", i put a GPS in his hands. My Dad's GPS always does a good job of disorienting him :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A quick sketch

Just a quick sketch, I think it has something nice though.  I'm working on the cover for a recipe book entitled "Eating Our Words" with my English class, and this is one of the development sketches.  I thought it would be fun to play off of the old elementary-school procrastination excuse "A dog ate my homework".  Maybe that's why they don't allow pets in college dorms . . . :)

I don't know that this is the direction I'll end up going, but it was a fun idea

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monster of the Week Nov 28 2012: Tapioca Golem

 Lol I was inspired this week upon review of one of my favorite childhood TV shows to try something new.  It struck me that the Power Rangers had fought a brand new villainous monster every week since I was 5– and I was curious if a list had ever been compiled.  It turns out that a certain self-sacrificing, saintly geek has been laboring for years, like a limner monk in a monastery, to compile a complete Power Rangers bestiary.  The resulting tome can be found HERE.  It turns out that in 19 American seasons (ie not including the Japanese show, which dates back to 1975) the effects artists on the Power Rangers shows have designed and fabricated 1026 separate monsters. Mind. Blown.

I thought about all the monsters in my sketchbook that never see the light of day, and how some of the earliest ones I ever drew were inspired by the Power Rangers'   "Monster of the Week" formula.  So here's one from this week :)

This first monster, true to Saban camp form, is based on my culinary arch nemesis: Tapioca pudding.  I always had my suspicions about tapioca; though I am not a picky eater I could never manage to stomach more than a few spoonfuls.  Maybe it's the texture, maybe some long forgotten traumatic childhood experience, or perhaps it's the uncanny resemblance tapioca has to this guy from the aforementioned show.  However, tonight after scanning the drawing I looked up tapioca on Wikipedia out of curiosity and felt justified.  Did you know the Tapioca plant is a natural source of cyanide?   Lol it's perfectly safe for human consumption, but I bet my 8-year old-self would have taken that bit of trivia and run with it.

Monday, November 26, 2012


(Digital speedpaint, wacom tablet and photoshop)

Happy thanksgiving! Random question: have you ever tried a guava? No, not mixed into a Sobe or fruit drink– have you ever eaten a plain-jane fresh-sliced guava? Okay, so between you and me, methinks it's an escaped strain of fruit from the inner sanctum of Willy Wonka's candy garden.  I'm not even kidding– this thing would make Gene Wilder flip out.  My fiancee's Uncle brought some that he had picked fresh near his home to Thanksgiving last week, and it was like eating bubble gum mixed with sweet tarts in a fruit. I'm no connoisseur, having been known betimes when in haste to eat unthawed hot pockets, but– amazing.

Okay, enough ranting about food, it's time to rant about painting.  Justin Kunz was kind enough to review my portfolio this last week, and was kind enough to give me a few suggestions.  The main one was to think more about my stroke, the way I lay paint down.  I like energy in images and tend to lay things down sporadically, which in my early drawings lead to a lot of "hairy" lines.  Gradually I learned  that the right, thoughtful, one line could contain more energy than the most frenzied six lines.  I think I may be starting to learn that same lesson in painting.  This painting doesn't necessarily have the most refined technique, but I was definitely thinking about stroke and massing shapes with stroke as I worked.  Thanks Justin!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Surgeon General

Lol as a kid I remember hearing about warnings from the surgeon general and imagining something of this nature . . . oh the wonders of the English language :) Look out man, he'll hunt you down, blow you up, and then give you a shot!  Of course, if you survive all that he'll give you a grape flavored lolipop . . . :)