Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 74)

Mar 25-28, 2012

Some Behind-the-Drawings Thoughts:
3/25 - Didn't have a plan for today's drawing, so I decided to work on figures. I don't do that much, and I tend to draw very tight so I wanted to combine the practice of loose, expressive sketching with child figure poses.
3/26 - I decided to draw with a limited color palette today - three marker colors and and no pre-sketching with col-erase - and I just let the colors determine what I drew. I started out with the border and for some reason I felt a boat needed to be inside it… the boat led to the mermaid on the next page (that and I was drawing mermaids a few days ago … I'm toying with a more refined idea, and I think it's subconsciously coming out on these sketchbook pages).
3/27 - My neighborhood got new (massive) recycle bins today, that came with a specific list of recyclables and non-recycleables. So, in an effort to learn them, I started drawing and writing the DOs and DON'Ts here. Although I'm frustrated that I can't recycle glass anymore… that seems stupid.
3/28 - A long day left my mind blank today, but when I sat down to draw I flipped on a PBS show about new Mayan discoveries, it just inspired me to start doodling in that very distinctive mayan carving style.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Drawing Morning Pages (Doodle Edition 73)

Mar 21-24, 2012

So, on my last post I got some good questions from my friend John Lechner about my process on these sketchbook pages. So I'm going to try to answer them here…

How do you think of what to draw each day?
Well, usually it's pretty random. Sometimes I try to take the day itself into consideration… is it a holiday? Is it a special occasion? Sometimes I pull from things I heard or saw that day (on the radio, on tv, driving around town). Sometimes I start with a kind of theme in mind and just let the pencil go and see where it takes me… for instance, on 3/22 (the lounging girl above), I just started with a nouveau style border and NO IDEA what I was going to draw inside it. Sometimes I have an idea of something I want to practice, that's why I've been drawing a lot more people lately. I LOVE drawing animals, people have never been as interesting to me, but I'm trying to change that.

How do you decide what medium to use?
I really just try to keep things mixed up. I do admit, I prefer dry media - pencils, markers, etc. I break out the paints and ink jars from time to time… but I do have a tendency to be impatient with wet media. There's a certain lack of control that frustrates me… for instance on 3/23 I got the bright idea of drawing with some waste printer-ink (inkjet printers waste SO MUCH ink). I recently installed external waste-ink reservoir bottles on my printer because it's gotten to the point where the internal ones are filled and ink was regularly spilling out the front of it when I printed. These bottles make it really easy to see how much ink is being wasted and they're easily removed - so I can dip in brushes and fountain pens. It was kind of fun, but the ink SOAKS into the paper, have to be conservative with it on the page… it bled through in a couple places, so I was forced to use an acrylic foundation painting on the next page to cove up the spots. And of course, on acrylic I couldn't sketch out ideas first, so I just had to give a go at drawing some stuff out of my head in marker, with nothing to follow & no erasing (I'm listening to the Mansfield Park audiobook and went on a bit of a Jane Austen film binge over the weekend, LOL).

How much time do you spend on each one?
This is where things vary greatly… I can spend anywhere from 10 minutes to several days on each page. I think the average is between 1 & 2 hrs though. Guestimates for these:
3/21 - under 2 hrs
3/22 - 2+ hrs
3/23 - under 2 hrs
3/24 - under 2 hrs

What I find really interesting, is how I can develop ingrained associations with where or when or what I was doing while drawing some of these pages. Others I completely forget. When I reach the end of each book, sometimes I'll go back and make a little note on the pages that have strong memories of where I was or what I was doing (watching/listening to a specific tv show or on a plane, for instance) while I was working on it.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Introducing QiWi

What is a QiWi you may ask? Well, he's not a fruit… or rather, he insists that he is not (I beg to differ, on occasion)

QiWi is a type of chimaera, a blend of several animals that make one magical critter (like griffins, mermaids and enfields). His particular type is called a Tirsu (Tier-soo).

*He’s also my new mascot & studio helper. He doesn’t have an artistic bone in his body, but with that handy gripping tail of his, he’s always ready to hand me what I need while I work. QiWi, where’s that cup of coffee I asked for?!

QiWi does think himself rather handsome, so he wanted me to share a bit of the process of how he came to be. It all started seven years ago…

Pt 1When I initially started designing a brand for myself there were a few important elements I wanted to include: I wanted it to be something unreal (I wanted to make it up) and having elements that were drawn and designed (after all, I do illustration and design). I sketched a horse-like critter in my notebook, scanned him, created vector artwork from the sketch, and blended the two. I kept things black & white because I wanted to highlight the color in my artwork… plus I was tired of seeing white backgrounds everywhere. Whatever, I’m over it - I need color now.

Pt 2I decided I needed an update, I didn’t want to start from scratch. So I took the old icon and started tinkering. I’d never drawn that original critter any other way, so I started playing with showing him in different positions, and even facial expressions.

Pt 3Then I started getting down to the details, okay he’s still very horse-like (what can I say, I like horses and I’m really good at drawing them). But he’s also got a very long neck like a giraffe and a curved back like a dragon or a dog. I’m not sure about the mouth feature yet - but he does have a bit of a cow nose. I spent quite some time trying to work out his feet - it was one of the features I wasn't particularly not happy with from the initial concept. I didn’t want him to have hooves, and I didn’t want them to be just paws - I eventually landed somewhere in between creating a kind of toed hoof (which is somewhat ironic given that a hoof is a toe, that’s right, for those of you that didn’t know, horses have four single toes). I was going to have a tufted tail (as you can see from the rough sketches), but I went back to the flowy horse-tail when I decided he would have movement control of each hail - like a million extra arms that work together to grip like hands.

Pt 4Now that I had a good sense of his overall structure and details, I just started sketching poses again and I landed on a unique one I thought would work well to compliment my new logotype (hand lettered - I’ll share that in another post soon) and my branding overall. It’s a unique position (horses and giraffes don’t sit, but dogs and dragons do). After the initial rough idea, I added the elements that help him identify with me (as my mascot & helper - he’s holding some of my tools). I also liked the tilt of his head, it’s almost inquisitive.

Pt 5Next… color. Always tough when you’re making things up as you go. I never had to think about this in the initial design, but luckily I’d already decided on a color palette for my new website, so I had something to start with. I did several of color studies, but ended up sharing these four with some of my trusted advisors (i.e. my crit group) and the consensus was V4. I had to agree, it’s unique, has an exotic feel to it, and it’s the least real-horse-like of the group. And there are aspects of this coloring that are reminiscent of a horse character I designed back in the 5th grade for a class picture book project. I kinda of liked the nostalgia of it.

Pt 6Then, I admit, I felt a bit rushed. I was anxious to get something done that I could share and get up on my new website & blog. Working digitally allows for extra editablility in the developmental process - so I decided to go vector first. It allowed me to work out a couple problem areas without redrawing 50 million times, plus is gave me wild freedoms in developing design elements for the website and branding I need him for. It’s a good place to start. I will use this finalized vector art to help create a finished version in graphite (which will be colored digitally) and a colored pencil version (which everyone is going to like the best - they always do).

Pt 7And so, here we have it… final vector line art and color. With a couple silhouettes for fun. I like silos, but since he’s a critter I made up and people aren’t familiar with him yet, it’s a bit confusing so I probably won’t be using them any time soon.

I just love making things up, and it’s been a lot of fun figuring out QiWi’s look. I can’t wait to share more versions of him and more poses… and perhaps, one day - a QiWi adventure!