Wednesday, March 30, 2011

STRIKE! by Sheralyn Barnes

I've drawn yet another sheep this week. It seems that most every posting I've done here lately has sheep. I do draw other's just been a bit of a labor of love with the little guys lately.

I love my characters, but lately I've been taking note that they tend to be a lot like me.... a bit passive and reserved...even when they are getting into trouble. They don't tend to overreact or have emotional outbursts. So, I've decided it's time to really study the fine art of character design, with hopes that I can learn to give my guys a bit more of a voice and an attitude if the right situation should arise. At least then they might be prepared. And who knows, maybe if I can teach them how to be excited and ready to dance at the drop of a hat, maybe, just maybe, I'll follow suit!

So here is my first attempt. I decided to challenge myself to try to draw a character simply, with no shading and just lines to show action and emotion. I still have a ways to go before they are dancing on the tables, but bowling seemed like a decent start. I was trying to draw on some form of excitability from my own past. Being a kid who enjoyed long walks in the rain, drawing, watching my fish, and reading, there was not a lot personal action-packed experience to draw on. However, I used to bowl on the Saturday morning kids bowling league (mainly so I could eat pizza at 10 in the morning). By twelve-year-old standards, I was a pretty good bowler. In fact, put me in a bowling lane or in a good game of table top air hockey and I can still get a bit competitive and have even been known to “whoo whoo” and cuss here and there.'s a start. Maybe I'll have them dancing soon! 

 Thanks so much for checking in!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Characters! by Fred Koehler

So... my 3-year-old daughter asked me to tell her a story last month and we spent the next hour rolling out a wonderful yarn about giants at the grocery store. The concept was simple, the story was sweet, and I was inspired, so I wrote it. I was hoping to have the finished concept illustration to share today, but I'm not quite ready to let it out the door. I will, however, share a little of my process in developing two of the characters for this story - giants named Puck and Pickle.

I started with really simple sketches - size, blocking, how they filled the space.

From there, I roughed out a concept.

Next came some color for the rough sketch.
Then I went back and studied the characters. Lots of sketches - some good, some terrible - all compared side by side. In this case, I wanted one with hair and one bald.
 I really did like the red-head, but in the end he didn't make the cut. 
Meet Puck and Pickle, or at least something pretty close to final concepts!

-Fred Koehler
fred @

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Earthquake Survivor: iPad Sketch Process - by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I do a lot of sketching on my iPad (no, I don't have an iPad 2 yet) and I thought I'd share the process for those interested.

As I've mentioned before, I do daily sketches; it's the equivalent of my morning cup of coffee in terms of drawing creativity. Today's sketch was inspired by the recent tragic events in Japan. My family has many relatives and friends in Japan, including Sendai, and we've been worried about them all.

Just found out yesterday morning that my friend and her young daughter in Sendai are fine, which is a huge relief. Their building is damaged and they have no water or gas, but they do have electricity. My heart goes out to those who are still waiting to find out if their loved ones are all right.

I created today's daily sketch on my iPad using Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro app and a PenGo stylus. I took some screenshots along the way. As you can tell from the screenshot above, I don't tend to do much sketching before my sketches. ;-)

On the iPad, however, I usually start with a basic shape outline to help me properly place my sketch, else I might end up running out of room -- and on the iPad, there isn't a drawing app yet that will allow me to add pixels.

I like the fact that you can create layers in the Sketchbook Pro app. I generally my sketches with the ink outline first, then add color in other layers.

I fiddle with the opacity of some layers:

And I use different brushes to add textures:

I can use the pinch/zoom gesture to work on individual bits of the drawing up close:

Because there are very limited number of layers permitted in Sketchbook pro, I also keep merging layers so I can create new ones:

If I wasn't constantly taking screen shots for this post, the sketch would probably have taken me about 15 minutes. I added the small figure on the right side of the sketch at the last minute because I found the drawing too static/boring. Adding the little figure immediately creates an underlying story, making the viewer ask more questions about what's going on.

I've always liked trying to build in some kind of story in every drawing, even if it's just one of my daily doodles.

The final sketch is above. If I was going to turn this into a "real" drawing, I'd lighten up the colors a ton (it's way too dark right now) and make the sky textures more varied, maybe add some moody clouds.

Anyway, I hope this inspires some of you iPad owners to do more drawing using your device!

-- Debbie Ridpath Ohi
(@iPadGirl and @inkyelbows on Twitter)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dancing In Painter - Russ Cox

© 2011 Russ Cox |Smiling Otis Studio

This past weekend, I decided to dive into Painter and begin learning how to use it. The above artwork was my first piece using the software. I am going for a more natural style with the illustration. The line work is looser and closer to my sketches. I also want more textures in the final art. Some have told me it is more kid friendly with its looseness and overall feel. You can see the process on my blog. I am excited about the direction my style is going and cannot wait to do more.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lost and Found - Hazel Mitchell

I have been concentrating lately on getting more emotion into my illustrations, enhanced by mood and lighting. I have also trying out a looser style, working to get the drawing down in the first try to keep the spontaneity of line and thought.

So this piece is pencil with minimal colouring in photoshop.

And this is the original sketch.

Below is a sketch with a more light-hearted feeling. Perhaps suitable for a magazine.

I finished this one in hand dipping ink pen and tinted in Photoshop.

Right now I am working on a book for Charlesbridge Publishing called 'Hidden New Jersey' and chapter book illustrations for Kane and Miller Publishing. 
Looking forward to sharing those with you in the future here on Pixel Shavings!

See more of my illustrations on Facebook