Beaver With Hockey Stick Drawing
drawing, illustration, sketches

(Very) Rough Sketch Sneak-Preview

Here is a bit of a secret look at the next project I am working on. These are a set of character sketches for some upcoming work.  I’m trying to find some characteristics that I like enough to put into my next composition. After spending so much time last piece on a composition I wasn’t crazy about, I’m going to be planning much more!

I can’t say too much about this now, but more to come soon!

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Elephant Lino Process
illustration, Printmaking

Dr. Elephant Eyepatch (Giveaway at Bottom)

Elephant Lino 6img026 copyDr. Elephant Eyepatch

Elephant Lino 4Elephant Lino 7WP_20131102_010 copyElephant Lino 3Elephant Lino 5Elephant Lino 2img027 copyWell! I made so many of these I’m going to give five away for free. The first five people to request one will have it mailed to them. Email me at vanvliet.dave@gmail.com, or comment below. Thanks for viewing!

**EDIT** Well, thats all 5, thanks to everyone who commented, posted, and sent me emails. These went fast, they were all gone in about 7 hours. I will try to do something like this again in the future. Thanks!

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illustration

Dinosaur Completion

Alright! So it has been a busy week this week, but it’s time to (finally) conclude this piece. Tiny-Legged T-Rex, it is time to be done.

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If you remember last time, I left off with the foreground rocks complete, but the middle and backgrounds were flat empty shapes. I had to enter a zen state of mind to finish these stripes, because no matter how cool I think they look, they get boring to draw!

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I draw each line out by hand, scan it into the computer, and then trace over it again in photoshop. It got a little tedious, if I were to explore this style more I would have to find a more efficient way to achieve the same effect.

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Here is a quick look of the pencil lines used for the rock stripes.

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Above you can see the rocks pretty much filled in. It might be hard to tell, but I thinned out the black outlines on the rocks in the distance to try and give the effect that they are receding into the back.

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I made the tall vertical rocks red to balance out the image a bit. I didn’t want the only red in the image to be in the dinosaur, but I also didn’t want them to compete for attention. The eye is drawn to bright reds really quickly, so I dimmed the red in the rocks.

Dino Nearly Finished
I also noticed that the very distant mountains, the faint blue shapes in the very back, might be drawing the eye toward the rocks and not towards the dinosaur, so I changed them to flow towards the dinosaur and tightened up their shape a bit. It’s a pretty minor change but I like how it worked out.  I also added some shadows to the rocks in the very front.

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A few minor changes, the addition of a rock in the bottom right that had been cropped and had escaped my attention until now, and it’s all done! For now… ahhhhh. There are still some things I’m not quite happy with, but this will do.

Here are some things that could be addressed:

The color of the grass might be a bit off, there is probably a better color to pull together the whole scene.
The shadows below the front rocks and the dinosaur itself don’t quite work. They don’t fit into the image as well as some of the other parts.
The entire composition could be re-done  to make it more engaging.

Well, if you have been following this since the beginning, thanks for checking in. I’m happy with how this turned out, and I learned a lot. Now to figure out what is next!

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illustration, Inspiration

Saturday Inspiration: Papercut Illustration

From woodcut to paper cut, here is another illustration style that would be great to try out in the future! There is something I find so endearing about paper cut illustration. I love how flat illustrations can look really amazing. I love how there is an element of hand work and analog fine motor skills.  I love the idea of using only texture and color to try and create an image with depth and character.  As you can see below, it can be done quite effectively.

Hover over the image to find out the artist/studio.

This post wouldn’t be complete without showing you the work of Bomboland. (Check out their work here) Based out of Lucca, Italy, they do some of the best paper cut-style work I have seen. When I first stumbled upon their pieces I felt completely torn, do I love it because of how wonderful it is, or hate it out of jealousy because I don’t think I could ever produce something like it? A bit of both I think.  Below are some illustrations from a book they did, but check out their website, you won’t be disappointed.

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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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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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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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