illustration

The Problem with BIG

How do you make dinosaurs big?  Easy right?  Thats what I thought, turns out its not nearly as easy as I thought.  Todays topic: Forced perspective and making things BIG.

WP_20131027_009After working on my previous drawing of a dinosaur for the last couple of weeks (an hour or so every couple of evenings), I began to think that the composition could really use some work.  I found it to be un-engaging, borderline boring even.

I have enjoyed working with the contour lines, and it has been fun working with colour, but it’s time to work on some composition.

So, sitting down, I began to sketch out some thumbnail ideas.

img019 copyI decided it would be a good idea to try and create a dynamic composition where the dinosaur is being viewed from the bottom up, full of dramatic size and imposing frame.  The problem? Every time I tried to draw the dinosaur as BIG he came out as FAT.  Check these out.

I went back and for the between drawing, and looking at these reference images below. These artists did a good job of creating characters that look large, without being overweight. Some even look skinny!

Below is an drawing that I’m starting to feel ok with. The front claws are off, and he still looks a bit fat, but I’m happy with where it is headed. Some things I found helpful:

  • Placing one leg in the foreground, with exaggerated scale, helps to really emphasize the forced perspective.
  • The hanging hand, narrowing as it rises, helps to show how tall the dinosaur is.
  • Adding trees and birds aids in adding a sense of comparison and scale to the image.
  • Showing the underside of the clouds helps explain that the viewer is looking up rather that from the side.

img018 copyLet me know what you think. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how to make this guy look LARGE without looking fat, post them! I would love some help.

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Uncategorized

Saturday Inspiration: Woodblock Prints

That time already! Today’s topic, Woodblock Printmaking. I have been looking at woodblock prints quite earnestly for the last couple of months, after seeing a kickstarter campaign where the artist Jed Henry and woodblock printer David Bull turn contemporary video game scenes into traditional woodblock prints. I’m not a huge video game person, but some of the pieces are awesome! David Bull uploads videos of him cutting and printing to youtube, I could watch it all day long. Here is one of them:

Here is a quick video about the process of traditional japanese woodblock printing.

Check out these other woodblock prints. I tried my best to find the links to bring you back to the artist, enjoy!

I love how the texture of the paper plays such an important role in the prints. Looking at how atmospheric perspective and backgrounds are handled in some of these prints was a big influence in how I handled it in this piece.

For a cool contemporary woodcut printshop, check out Tugboat Printshop, or if you area in the Edmonton area, take some time to visit SNAP.

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illustration

Dinosaurs and Atmospheric Perspective

Alright! After a week or so of trying some different things out, it’s time to get back to dinosaurs. After sketching out some initial ideas, and taking the time to render the dinosaur in a way I’m happy with, it was time to put him into an environment.

In a video titled The Biggest Mistake Beginning Illustrators and Animators MakeWill Terry (can you guess who I’ve been watching lately?) mentions the importance of being able to put characters into a scene or environment. Employers, clients etc. are not only looking for interesting characters, but for them to be acting within a world.

So, knowing this now, I decided to create an environment for the dinosaur I drew earlier.

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A cup of coffee is ready to keep me going! As I have done previously, I printed out the line-work from the previous piece so I could draw on it by hand first. I prefer working with a physical pen if I have the option.

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Here you can see the line-work scanned into my computer. Some of it will change a bit a little further down. I tried to carry the contour lines found in the dinosaur into the rest of the image.Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 7.08.29 PM

I was having some trouble figuring out the colours.  I wanted to have the stones ‘sit’ on the the surface of the paper, and I also didn’t want them to take too much focus away from the dinosaur himself.

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Here I am starting to find something that I’m happy with.  The cooler blue helps to remove some of the focus off the rocks. Because I want this image to appear to have a foreground, middle-ground, and background, there are a couple things I tried to do to create some depth.

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I thinned out the line weight on some of the rocks in the image above. On the left you can see thick black outlines around the rocks in the middle. On the right I trimmed those lines down, and faded the black out a bit to push them back into the page. By having the most saturated blue in the foreground, and moving into progressively paler blues as the image moves back, hopefully I was able to start to create a bit of depth. I tried to make the mountains in the very back quite pale, and removed the outline from them completely to hopefully show they are way back in the image.

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 11.18.34 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-23 at 8.01.46 PMSo here it is so far, not quite complete. I have a lot of work to do in terms of composition! This picture, while a good exercise, isn’t really as engaging as I think it could be. The dinosaur is just standing there, plopped in the middle of a rocky land.

I have some more work to do on this image, namely all the rocks in the middle-ground and background. They could really use some shadows to put them on the ground so they don’t appear to float as much. I’m trying to decide how to approach the contour stripes on the middle rocks.  Any ideas?

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design

Saturday Inspiration Dump: 3D Type

Oh man! What a cool dump today, Three Dimensional Type. (Though much of it is not true typography I suppose.)  There are so many more things I wanted to include in this post, I will have to do a second round in the future. I really recommend checking out some of these sites individually, there is some excellent work being done here. I love going back to designers sites to see how individual pieces fit into their whole portfolio.

Hover over to see the artists name, click to find the url to their website, and enjoy!

Feeling the 3D type yet? If you are, play this video and watch these gifs, that should keep you in the mood.

32_amandinealessandradancewithmetumblr_mituupax5G1qh0381o1_400 And finally, if you STILL haven’t got your fix, check out this book.   

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Uncategorized

How to Draw a Shrew

So I tried a bit of an exercise I saw done by illustrator Will Terry in a video he put out on designing characters for children’s books, and you should try it too!  Will shows a neat trick that works well when drawing animals, no matter what the shape, size, or animal type.

He says that while drawing if you are able to pick out important characteristics of an animal, (a cat for example has whiskers, a tail, a set of round lips, pointy eats, etc) then you can draw those characteristics on any shape and your drawing will be recognizable as that animal.  If you press play below the video will jump to the relevant section.


After watching him, I decided to give it a shot on my own, but instead of using the characteristics of a cat, I would use those of a shrew.  I pulled up some images on google to get an idea of what I was looking for, and came of with these traits:

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I then sketched out a series of different head and body shapes on to a large piece of paper, and added the shrew characteristics afterwards.  Pretty fun!

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Please excuse the poor quality of the images below.  I captured the work-in-progress pictures on my cell phone, rather than scanning them in, so the colour is quite off.  

 

I found it really interesting that even shapes I was sure wouldn’t look like a shrew, did after all the characteristics were added.  (Although some maybe were a little shaky.)

WP_20131015_032 copyShrew b&wSo, a neat exercise to try on your own!  Choose an animal you find interesting, give it a shot and let me know how it goes.  If you actually try it out, send me a photo and I will upload them!

Oh also, I have some more dinosaur work to put up here in a little bit, maybe around this time next week, so stay tuned!

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Saturday Inspiration Dump

Saturday Inspiration Dump

Thought I would try something new and post a few things I’ve been looking at over the last little while.  I gave credit to each image wherever I could find it.  It’s actually worth checking out some of these designers websites, there are some pretty inspiring bodies of work!

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illustration, photoshop

Dinosaur Work Continues!

Back to work!

Screen Shot 2013-10-05 at 6.14.48 PMI’ve been working the last few evenings on tightening up the ideas I had presented in a previous post. With the help of some home made espresso, I printed out a rough outline of my earlier dinosaur sketch and sat down to draw!

WP_20131005_003Something to drink of course.

WP_20131005_005Here is the printed outline filled with pencil lines.  I really am using these contour lines for two reasons.  The first is to add a bit of interest and diversity to the image, allowing for some variety in colour. The second, and possibly more important, is that it allows me to create the illusion of volume and depth.

Click to enlarge any of these images.  These show a bit of my process, and help illuminate a couple of decisions I have been making along the way.

Photoshop Screenshot

So here it is so far.  There are still some improvements to be made, and I’m not 100% happy with some of the contour stripes, but it is a good proof of concept.  Next stop, some environment and context.

Let me know if you like it, or if you have any suggestions.

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