Friday, September 10, 2010

Brushes App - Color Studies

Studying color is all about being observant wherever you are. Anywhere you look you can find inspiration and understanding of how color works. The Brushes app on my iPod Touch has proven itself invaluable for translating this observation to speed paintings on the fly. It's a lot of fun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Hall Monitor - Color Studies

Six months ago I decided I was going to re-color all 75 pages of The Hall Monitor, which I had 'completed' back in 2008. My first step was to try to actually learn how to color! I hit the books and here are my first attempts.

I read that a good way to make colors work together is to give them a common base. I started each study with a light blue and laid new colors over top with a low opacity brush in Photoshop. The result were greens that had blue in them, reds that had blue in them, yellows that have blue in them, etc, etc.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Discovery - Media with George Pratt

From week 1 - George Pratt's watercolor demo really got me excited to crack out the brushes so here are my first 3 attempts. I wanted to keep subject matter as close as possible to his demo so I plucked some reference from the handy character design website. Here are the specific images I worked from

And here are my attempts with a few minor photoshop adjustments (I couldn't help myself). They are a little blurry in areas from the scanning. For the first one I followed closely along with the video. The next 2 I was experimenting within that process a bit more. I definitely like the last one the best! Can't wait to try more. Thanks for the inspiration and wisdom George!

Discovery - Storyboarding with Coro

Jumping ahead to week 4 of Discovery. Here is my process for reverse storyboarding a film sequence as suggested by Coro.

I have broken down a scene from Christopher Nolan's Insomnia (around the 24 min mark).

To start I did some quick thumbnails to try to figure out what best describes the scene.

Next I took some screen grabs and began to polish compositions. I tried to combine information from multiple screenshots into a single frame in some instances. While laying down my initial drawing I tried my best to understand the eye level and perspective for each camera setup. I found this tricky because of the forest backdrop. Here are some screenshots that I marked over to try to get an idea. Not sure if I got it right? Anyone?

And here is what I came up with. I felt pretty good up to the coloring stage. I think I got a bit heavy with black levels (as Coro had warned). I will try to watch that in the future.

Discovery - Figure Drawing with Mark English

Day 2 of Discovery we had the honor of watching the great Mark English work and teach.

His figure drawing method stresses light silhouette on a dark background - using pastels on a midtone paper.
Here are my first attempts working from photo reference provided by Brent Watkinson


In February in March I gave myself a much needed refresh by attending the online Discovery Program. It was 5 intense weeks and just what the doctor ordered. The faculty was an all-star lineup of illustrators, painters, and entertainment artists. I'm going to post some of the studies I have been working on as a result of this program. First up: Conceptual Portrait assignment which was led by Anita Kunz and critiqued by Chris Payne In between I received great feedback from other instuctors and the amazing community of students at the forums.

Here is my process:
My subject - Stompin' Tom Connors.
My concept - Tom blowing smoke at the Olympics.

The first element about Tom that I wanted to play with is the fact that he supposedly smokes a 108 cigarettes every day. The man doesn't fly because he can't smoke on a plane anymore! The second element that I came across in my research is that he would have been all aboard for being a part of the Vancouver Olympics but he wasn't holding his breath for the call.

So from their I wanted to playoff the olympic torch and the lighting of one of his many many cigarettes. I was pretty excited about the concept of the olympic torch carriers obliviously running past Tom on stage as he juts his head forward - His cig being lit in the process. (bottom left thumbnail) In the crit the feeling was that this would be too much of a scene and less of a portrait. I tottally agreed and took Jon Foster's concept of the 'smoke olympic rings' into my second round of thumbs.

I struggled to make the rings work as if they were billowing across his face. I think I was trying to keep the composition of the thumb I liked from before and this was ultimately futile. After simplifying and tilting the angle a bit I landed on something I liked.

Ok this is the embarrassing part. I couldn't be farther in appearance from Tom but I went ahead and shot this quickly to help get a sense of the Frankenstein lighting that would be coming from his cigarette.

Struggling on tracing paper trying to hit the likeness.

Still wasn't feeling like Tom.

So I did a couple studies from some of the ref I have gathered.
That got me feeling pretty good and with a lot of tracing paper and photoshop layers I've arrived at:

At this point I was willing to accept that I wasn't going to nail the likeness. The fact that he was in profile was not helping.

Tommy Krueger - I got way carried away in Photoshop and I ended up transforming my drawing into exactly Freddy Krueger. Yikes!

So that obviously wasn't gonna cut it (bad pun)

And here is where I landed. Not a big success likeness wise - but I learned a lot!