Thursday, December 10, 2009

Places to Learn Online and Elsewhere Part 2

I searched back into my older posts and found I never completed my thoughts on searching out places to learn about art. Keep in mind, this will to write something useful for a change was inspired by my teacher's and some friends' posts on their blog, which I always seemed to find enlightening and inspiring in some way. I'm sure my posts won't be nearly as helpful, but nonetheless, here I go to finish what I started.

Okay, so in this entry I'll try and make some comments on observing. Once again, I'm no expert and I got this particular idea from an old roommate of mine; he always had a fantastic frame of mine for art.

So, being an observer is different from just looking at things around you. Sometimes we are so bombarded with images and colours they all just blend into our surrounding and then are quickly ignored or forgotten. In my limited experience I find this frame of mind to be a waste of a perfectly good opportunity, after all, art is about translating the world around you into a 2D space so what better reference could there be then studying your surroundings?

So let me give a real life example to help explain why I think this is useful. Last summer I worked a boring old, questionable, factory job. Now, most people would drag themselves into work and trudge through the day in a dazed, reluctant manner, I know this because I knew some people who worked there that did this. Initially, I was a little unimpressed with the condition of the building I worked in, certainly nothing classy, but that's just where I realized something. What an old relic this building was, run down and some rooms filled with dusty machines abandoned on the spot. This building had character! What better place could there be for me to gain some reference into old machines or what old buildings had that made them look old. Or, even, what rays of light through dirty windows looked like. I had all the real life reference I could ever want on industrial atmospheres if I only would take the time to observe the place in which I worked.

Now, try and apply this to the places you see everyday, be it the public transit, your office, that quirky restaurant you pass by on your way to a friend's house. Anything around you could have character, could be unique to where you live and could be an excellent setting for a picture you many want to do. Heck, it could even inspire you to want to draw something with that atmosphere. If nothing else, always look for something in real life that you have trouble drawing in your work then break it down and see why it looks the way it does. What makes it work.

Some people, like myself, find it difficult to take real life objects and break them down into their technical pieces to figure out why they work so don't get frustrated. I try and start simply, first, why am I observing this? Usually it has to do with the lighting since I have a lot of problems with that or, more recently, reflective surfaces. So let's take this desk in my room as an example. I know it's brown because it's made of wood, but it's also highly polished so the light from the window is reflecting the things around it. So I start thinking about the colour, the desk may be brown but the light is a white/grey because it's overcast outside; the clouds are reflected onto the surface of my desk. Now, most of the top of the desk is this colour, except where the objects on it are casting a shadow, in them I can see the wood grain and colour coming through. And the shadows may reflect the object they are from, but you an hardly see that because of the grain of the wood. So, next time I do a reflective surface, I should really keep in mind the colours surrounding it (especially if those colours are creating the light) because I know those will be reflected back off the surface, also if the surface is dark or heavily patterned, the objects that cast shadows and are relfect onto the surface will have little detail. Now, I'm not gonna run off and paint a desk right now, but it will be good to keep in mind in the future and test out, if nothing else.

Observing things and breaking down why something works applies to people too. The attitude of people on the streets doing what they do, their character as it were. How do they act and what makes them convey the emotion they do? What is their posture like? What is their pet's posture like? Animals can convey emotion just as well as people and they have body language too. I think the key to storytelling is being able to convey emotion between people without words.

Keeping your mind interested in the places and things around could be an endless source of education without paying a dime for it. I've often taken up interest in advertising and graphic designs for the sheer artistic value of it rather then what they are selling and I know some friends who do the same. I think analyzing whatever you can and making notes about what you observe keeps your mind active and more inclined to see things to fix in your own work.

Now, think of something you have trouble drawing and go out and observe the world for answers.

New Styles

Hey there, posting yet again as I realized that I have tried some new things in this long span since posting.... sometime last month? Ah, I don't remember, but I'll just post some experiments I have been up to. I didn't find them... polished enough for my Deviant account. More cartoony and cute then my usual train of thought plus a series of sketches I did while I let my mind wander.

Animation - Flight

Been working on this in between life, which is slowly moving along. I still can't figure out how to export it from Flash cleanly and I want to have my new demo reel done for Christmas (a nice gift to myself I think) so I figure there will be many frustrating nights ahead before I can figure that problem out. Working in Flash isn't my strongest suit since I hate making models, but doing this in a sort of traditional way makes it easier on my brain.

Still want to finish a ten second dialogue piece to go with this so I'll need to get started on that a soon as possible.

In other news, I plan to get a new computer soon so being able to animate in Maya will once again be possible. I'm excited, but I worry I'll have forgotten it all.

More updates to come, just kept forgetting about posting.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grey's progression

Posted a new image up on my Deviant art and noticed I had a few progression shots laying in my Photobucket. I was just gonna delete them but I asked around and there was some vague interest in seeing them so there ya go. Also, totally easy post that makes me feel like I'm using this blog.

These last two look similar because they are. I was gonna have more detail on the mane and leave it like that, but after looking at it as asking around, I ended up reverting back to the original idea. It doesn't hurt to test things out though.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Okay, second post in one day. Whoa!

Ha ha, well it's just now I have some time to actually go through my stuff and find things to upload, maybe speak about.

That last post down there, let me make some mentions. It's on old printer paper from, I dunno, the early 90s or something. Anyways, it's that and a good ol fashion 0.5 mechanical pencil and a HB 2 pencil. Nothing fancy at all! It's turning out really good and I still don't regret using these seemingly lame materials. When it's done I'll be putting it up on my DA for all to see.

More to the point of these post, I noticed I haven't posted anything for a month or something. Whooops, I didn't notice at all! I dunno why that is. So, below I shall post some things I've been up to, quality or otherwise:

In other news, I picked up the November issue of Imagine FX and am totally loving reading threw it. The Q&A always has questions I have been asking myself for a while.

Guess that's it. Later.

Working in Pencil

Been missing, but still doing stuff. Just no time to organize my thoughts to write or time to upload my stuff in an organized way.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thoughts and Updates

Well, I finally got that picture done. It's okay, but I think I might have to come back to it and add some mentioned touch ups to it. If you want to see it, it's up on my Deviant account so feel free to go there and leave comments. I don't think I'll be back to touch it up for a while....

Next thing on my mind, I should totally get back to my little blurbs about learning to draw. As mentioned, it's not like I feel I'm an authority on the subject, but I thought I could help people find resources or at least get motivated to draw if they wanted to; I believe that is the hardest part anyways. I'll try to look into it when I can collect my thoughts better.

The real reason I thought to post (besides to mention I finished my piece) was due to me reading a manga (japanese comic). I have an artist whom I really adore for her style and story-telling. Today I was reading through a volume of one of her series again and found myself startled at some posing choices and details. I don't know if it's just my animator's mind at work and my own will to strive for more detail in my pieces, but some of the shots just didn't impress me.

There were times when the characters would be posed rather stuff looking in my opinion or even just one piece, most often the hand would look awkward and I would immediately notice it and think to myself, "Oh man, I've been there before and I'd never let that pass as complete." I would think to help enhance a mood, posing should never be left stiff, well it should never be left stiff anyways because if there is one thing I've learned, bad posing can't be hidden no matter how shiny to make it after that. It's the reason I'll sometimes have to go through 7 or so poses before I settle on a pose to clean.

I found the lack of details to be far less important since I know how annoying it is when you need to draw a million frames to tell a story or show what the character is doing. Still, I couldn't help but notice it, perhaps because the artist does such detailed clothing wrinkles (wrinkles everywhere, I swear!) and the real world does have a lot of wrinkles so it's kind of neat.

Hmmm, I guess what I'm trying to say is, everyone has things to work on. Haha, I dunno, I just thought it was interesting to point out. I'm sure all you people who don't like comics laughed reading this, but it does take skill to tell stories shot for shot no matter what the style.

Man, what a ramble...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working - The Wind 3

Feels like it hasn't changed at all but I swear I've been working on it for a couple hours today. Uploading this is my break, ya, not much of a break. Maybe I'll go out for a while.

Line Tests in PS

See spot run. People are gonna start to think I have this obsession with dogs, but I don't. They are just really easy to reference since I have two at home. I had this terrible tendency to make this guy look like he was limping. Ya, ya, it doesn't loop because I'm super lazytastic. Sorry guys.

And now for some thing completely different. I was gonna have a jellyfish, but after looking at real reference of jellyfish, they don't really move this much... so what does it look like to everyone? Should I add tentacles and make it a octopus or does it read as a jellyfish?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Working - The Wind 2

I think I like the brush strokes being visible. Anyways this is with the light rays out, I'll put them back in later. They will be hardest part since I've never done them before.
More than halfway done... I think

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Working - The Wind

Piece I started today.
Need suggestions for eye colour though any comments would be appreciated.

So far, gonna tone down the sunlight a bit. I'm not used to having things so messy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Demo Reel Sept 2009

Can't seem to get the Flash animation to look clear, it's very annoying! Looks fine in the original file, but uploading it makes it bugger up.

Not much has changed, but I am working on another piece. Thinking about doing some traditional animations in Flash, just have to think of some ideas first.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I'm trying to figure out faces. I would like to learn to do speed paintings for portraits at least. Just something I want to have a grasp on, I still have no intention of doing realistic or highly rendered work. I'm thinking I just have trouble using so many colours... perhaps I'll try some grey scale images.

Feel free to comment with suggestions.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's been a while...

... since I posted any of my sketches and work so this will just be a huge dump of stuff I haven't posted on Deviantart for various reasons. I think they are in order from oldest to newest. Almost all of them are requests of avatars from online so hopefully that will explain some odd costume choices. Feel free to ask me anything about them via comments.

All done in Photoshop with a tablet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Places to Learn Online and Elsewhere Part 1

I bet someone thought I forgot about this place again, but I didn't I just had some internet trouble.

Now, I've added some nice links on the side of my blog listing important places on the net I like to go or recommend other people go to when they get started in drawing. I'm not saying everyone will find them useful, but hey, give it a shot.

Speaking of those links, there are a ton of places online that can help you with your drawing skills. the few I listed there are for a variety of people as far as skill and interest are concerned, but I find the most interesting for me in the past few months when I was in school was ImagineFX. They release a magazine every month with tips on painting digitally including tutorials and interviews with famous painters usually in the concept art business. Now, that doesn't mean run out and buy them, I mean, they are pretty steeply priced at $20 a pop (because they come with some shareware programs) so flip through all the pages at your local book shop and see if the stories inside are going to be helpful to you. Once you're done that, take notice of their website. This is a nice little gem too because on there they have some old tutorials posted up for you to look through for free and everyone likes free. So, the website has some cool tutorials on it, but don't forget to actually try them out! I find I usually need to try a technique three times with the tutorial beside me before I start to retain it! You don't get better by just reading it.

When you have had your fill of the tutorials, they also have a cool forum section. And I don't mean cool as in flashy, the forums are pretty tame, but if you found intimidating to post on, these guys should be more comforting. On the forum they have monthly challenges and neat little "draw something every day" threads, which I find totally amusing. There are help threads (like the one I linked to) there and also book recommendations from other artists. It's like everything I wish I had time to participate in. Oh, and as a bonus, if you win the monthly challenges you could get your image posted in the ImageFX magazine. How is that for self advertising?

Okay, I think I went on a rant with ImagineFX and I'm not even getting paid for this shameless advertising. Jeez. So, forums, always a good place to get information. Like I briefly mentioned, you can also look into for cool art, but I'm not sure what exactly is on there besides people's personal art posting. I assume it's very much the same as ImageFX, but more professionals on there. Deviant art is also a cool place for art, but I'll be honest, I find it disappointing at times. It's easy to post work and that I like a lot, but getting comments, critiques or feedback is next to impossible without already having a network of friends on there. Now, I've looked into the forums on there briefly (yes, they have them), but I didn't find anything really going on that interested me. More calls to talk about general aspects of life or personal opinions on some fine artist I didn't know. So, maybe I'm just unrefined, but I was looking for more of a sharing of work and ideas thing. If anyone knows where that is, leave me a comment.

Oh, final mention, artist's blogs are a nice place to get the inside scoop on their working habits (sometimes) and maybe get to know them so they would be more inclined to help you... don't look at me like that. In my next post I'll try and talk about being an observer and hopefully more on places to learn.

Hope that got you thinking.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Keep listening

So my blog is usually a place I post my pictures I don't bother putting on Deviant Art, but recently I have been wanting to add a little more usefulness to this place (thanks to a friend of mine having a very educational blog). I think that is really important because I know I always get excited when an artist I like or just one whom is really good sits down and shares his or hers knowledge about their work.

Recently I have been watching ebas on Deviant art and I know he is a professional comic book artist so he is filled with useful information about the industry and how to set up a good picture. Now I originally started watching him because he drew some very idealistic women and hey, I could use some help in that department. I mean, sexy women always sells. Anyways I soon realized I had hit on a gold mine. Ebas's descriptions about his pictures are always fully in depth stories about how he designed the picture, why he posed it the way he did, where he was when he did and even the problems he had while designing. This, for me, is the perfect opportunity to learn about new techniques, what to pay attention to and , most importantly to me, how the artists' mind works.

Now, I'm an artist too, so obviously I know how I think, but I mean, you have to always be atentive to your seniors; you never know what you could learn. Learning a new approach to art can be very helpful when you start reaching out of your comfort zone, which I think is very important for an artist to do too. One should always keep learning to better their craft.

So that was a bit of a ramble, but in short I too would like to help artists out however I can. Now I am by no means professional, but I don't mind explaining my struggles with art because I have many. So hopefully I can post descriptions with my scribbley sketches or failed attempts at drawings/paintings, whatever here and write a little blurb about them and what I've learned.

I'll try and post art soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frustrations for the Day

Today has been met with frustration. The newest piece I wanted to tackle was to be a portrait of a Geisha, but I am starting to think it is beyond my means to portray. The problems arose in the simple, yet important step of collecting reference.

I knew from previous looks into Japanese culture that most traditions are very particular and have elborate details that are best no overlooked; the Geisha is no exception. From the placements of the ornaments in their hair to the way she ties her obi (sash or belt), everything has a very specific place and look. It took hours of research just learn how to differentiate between a full fledged Geisha and the trainees known as a Meiko. To top it off, in the end, it turned out their apprentices were the more elaborately dressed and ornate of the two.

Realizing this truth, I still spurred myself on to set up for an authentic looking Geisha. Somewhere along the lines I had to submit to the idea that I would have to copy an entire outfit, right down to the patterns in her kimono, from a single photograph. I simply lacked the time to learn how to match accessories' and obi's colours to a kimono, not to mention decorations and colours closely coincide with seasons and events so misplacing one object could make the whole picture inaccurate or confusing to someone who knows the culture better. These continual sacrifices for accuracy only seemed to suffocate the inspiration I had inside when I was initially thinking up the idea.

I currently find myself lost and lacking the resolve to finish or even start this piece.

In a culture so steeped in traditional etique, where does the artist draw this line between making something beautiful and creative and honouring the culture with accuracy to their art?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Job: I has one

First off, I have got a job doing designs for The company is really new, but I look forward to using this opportunity to make more varied designs and improve my skills. Anyways feel free to check out the site and see what's on there. It's a little rugged right now, but it's due up for a revamp sometime this week, which will include the addition of my work. I find it a very unique experience getting to work so closely with the person who runs the company and we talk often about future changes. It's a very cool mutual learning experience.

Oh, if you like the art or fancy yourself a designer/artist, we are looking for people to do some more work at so send me a note or email and I can forward you to my boss.

Secondly, with this work being in Simcoe, I'm moving back to my folks' place. I was originally upset I had to move away from my network of friends, but I know I can drive up and see you all for special occasions. Being at home with the trees and simple lifestyle is refreshing and seeing the backyard in the summer is always a treat. I will be up shortly to grab my stuff and move out so I hope I can see some folks so they don't wonder where I disappeared to.

Finally, a quick note. I'm still working on being an animator... I really don't think I can give that up, but I sure am being slowed down a lot by this new job. Hopefully I will have a new demo reel done for September.

Hope everyone else has found something fun to do for the summer or as a spring board for their future careers!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Hey all,

Yesterday I started to indulge in a rather informative gluten free diet book. I know that sounds corny, but as any of you many friends would know, I have a allergy to gluten. As I read through this book I realized that maybe I should be explaining my condition better to everyone around me so I don't have to feel so awkward when declining food from other people; sometimes I have to be quite picky.

My condition is called Dermatitis Herpetiformis and it's a form of gluten intolerance that manifests itself in the skin in the form of severe itchiness and blistering.

Now how about some more information on just what gluten is to help all you bakers out there. I am learning some new things from reading this book and I plan to be more strict on my diet in the future so don't be surprised if I turn down some things I have accepted from you before. Sorry.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye contaminated oats (oats that have been grown, harvests, or processed in a gluten-containing facility), and a bunch of other products I'll try and mention later. So basically, gluten is the substance that gives breads and pastas their elasticity and texture. Now because gluten is a stabilizer and thickener, manufacturers add it to a wide range of consumer products. Medication, marinades, condiments, coffees, packaged spices, envelop seals, lipstick, hair sprays, and even daily multivitamins can contain gluten.

Now before your collective heads starts spinning, remember there are things I can still eat. There are some things that are naturally gluten free and I'll list them below for quick reference and reassurance:

  • Quinoa
  • buckwheat
  • corn
  • millet
  • arrowroot
  • many types of rice
  • and many others
Meat (untreated)
Spices in their pure form

To jump back to the matter of things I shouldn't be eating, there are many foods that I have to watch out for that have more hidden sources of gluten. By that I mean, the labelling of the ingredients are not so clear as to label them with wheat or other allergens in them. In these cases, reading the ingreients is the best idea so when I'm out don't be surprised if I avoid a lot of things. A lot of foods I have to be weary of include:

Bacon Bits
Blue cheese
Brown Rice Syrup (this syrup usually has malt in it)
Dairy Substitute
Deli meats (sausages, hotdogs salami especially)
Imitation seafood
Salad dressings
Seasoning and spices (labelled to have declumping agents or are "ground spices")
Soy sauce
Soup bases

Now I want to make a little mention of cross contamination while I have your attention (if I still do). I had never thought about it much before, but avoiding using the same spacula or pot that has had a glutenous product in it and has not yet been washed is also important. This is just a an obvious example, but the more you think about all the things something with gluten could touch and then be used for something gluten free, well, it can get a little scary. Now this is something new for me, I want to try harder on watching out for cross contamination in the future so I'd love some help and understanding from all of you to get onto this more diligently. This being said, don't expect me to ask a lot of questions while we are out at restaurants, I know how dumb the general populace is so I won't waste my time explaining myself to every waiter that comes in contact with me. I'll likely eat out less often and frequent places that serve more gluten free foods, like Thai and sushi. It beats eating at a fast food joint any day so I'm not complaining.

As a final note, anyone who stumbles onto restaurants that serve gluten free foods, please let me know. I appreciate having a wider variety of places to eat out. Now I try and frequent (though I do it poorly right now) this blog called for my information on places to eat in Toronto and area. The blog is really nice and the person who runs it is obviously dedicated so anyone who wants to eat out sometime with me, just remind me of this list and let's try something. It will be an adventure!

I'll keep reading and the more I learn, the more I can hopefully teach you so dealing with me should become even easier.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Demo Reel 09

This took a little scouring in my back up files to find a size that was small enough to upload. It makes me wonder how I got so many copies of this in the first place. Aw well. It's a tiny screen, which makes me sad, but I don't think there is anything I can do about that.

I'm already working on a new lip sync to replace the one on here.

Squint and enjoy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

In my spare time I kill people

I joined a fun thread that has you pick one weapon and make a character design then draw pictures of you killing other people's avatars on the thread. Now this might make some people raise an eyebrow in confusion, but I find the idea kind of creative because you can only use that weapon. People on the thread are really nice too and no one take offence to being killed so no worries about offending people. To top it off it's great practise for testing different style of work, dynamic posing or even comic panels depending on your fancy. We just started a beach themed week on the thread so I'll see how that turns out (my beach weapon is water skis), but for now I'll just post all the kills I've done.
My regular weapon: A guitar.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

School over forever?

So I have one week left of school, of which I will probably only be there until Wednesday... freaky. Hopefully my transition to a full time worker from a full time student will go over well. There is really no way to tell at this point.
Anyways, I plan to keep learning even if I don't have classes. I think that is an obvious course of action for an artist. You can learn from everything all the time if you really look at things. Hopefully if there are any summer courses my teachers are setting up I can get in on that.

And now something I did this morning:

Too many martial arts movies? I think not.

I'll keep working on this.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Edder days

So this last few days I've been watching many, many episodes of Ed, Edd and Eddy. I remembered how much I love that show. It's funny in so many ways. Watch it if you can, some episodes may be a little dry, but some are just golden.
Anyways it inspired these fun sketchies... I know, I don't usually do fanart, but I actually had a lot fun with it and I think they are quick on model too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gaia sketch dump

Fun sketches I did with a little inspiration from Gaiaonline. I tend to go there to practice poses and quick work as well. It gives me some freedom to try some variations on styles. The two images at the bottom took way more time than my usual quick work, but getting absorbed into an initial idea and wanting to give it a more finished look is all part of the fun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More sketches

Few things are better then a good sketching day.

About Me

An animator who loves drawing. Feel free to contact me. See more art at