Saturday, January 26, 2013


Some more FireAlpaca practice. Since a HD remake of Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was announced recently, I thought this would be appropriate. While I had sort of played Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask (my first Zelda games) before, I don't think my love of this franchise was really cemented until Wind Waker came around. Of the Zelda games I have played*, it may not be my absolute top favorite now, but it's still one of my favorites overall (behind Majora's Mask and Skyward Sword). Tetra's also a pretty a cool character, and maybe because I didn't know much about the Zelda universe when I first played Wind Waker, it made the revelation of her true identity far more surprising to me.

*Yes, I realize it's probably unforgivable I haven't actually played the older games yet.

This was also a pretty fun piece to work on, overall. I mostly drew her from memory, but then had to check an official illustration or two to get certain details a little closer to the original. Something I'm learning is to not commit too early to my roughs. My first pass inking and coloring came out really sloppy and details just didn't look right, so I started a new layer to tighten my "pencils" layer and then re-inked it. The final result is overall much stronger because of that.

The first pencils and inks didn't seems all that bad to me to be honest, but once I started coloring and taking away the underdrawing, I started seeing problems with it. There's something off about her face and it's just not all that specific in some areas. After getting a few helpful words from the homie Jaime Hernandez, I went back into it and fixed up the pencils and inking to something far more satisfactory.

Overall, it's a better drawing that feels more like the character, and I'm happy with it.


Oh right, and I've joined the rest of the 21st century and started a tumblr blog... there's not much on there yet, and I imagine that and this blog will share some contents (though this one will have more writing/process stuff), but I'll see what I can do to separate the two further to keep people interested (sketch weeks? Comics? Let me know... the two of that are reading this).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Playing with Fire...

Er, FireAlpaca, that is... heh, heh...

About last week the homie Jaime Hernandez told me about a freeware drawing and painting program called FireAlpaca and I've been practicing with it the last few days. I'm a total newbie when it comes to drawing/painting digitally and FireAlpaca seems like a fine introduction for me. I got my tablet only about a month ago and I've had some trouble adjusting, but with a little practice I'm getting better.

A while back I had found a great reference via the Muddy Colors blog that I had been wanting to use for a long time, but instead it sat in my pictures folder almost forgotten. After fiddling around with FireAlpaca for a couple days, I found the image again and decided I was going to do something with it. My original intention was to paint it, but I ended up with a slightly different, but overall more satisfying result that more closely matches what I'm trying to aim for in my drawing. How'd I do?

Original reference and "penciled" layer. Photo by Greg Manchess.

Final "inked" result.

I had quite a bit of fun trying to work this out. It took me several tries to ink the linework to a point I was genuinely happy with it (not really too different from inking normally for me, sadly). But once I got that, I ended up trying to do block shading using a much darker color. The darker color was really flattening out the image, so I messed with the layer settings, and I really liked how "overlay" gave the color a lighter shade and tone that actually worked better with the drawing. I think the more graphic look I ended up with would clash a little too much with the original "painterly" look I wanted to go for, so I abandoned some initial painting I started before I did the shading. As I said already, I'm quite satisfied with this result.

All in all, I'm really liking FireAlpaca so far, and for a newbie like me, it's perfect to get me started.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The Ninja Turtle, I mean.

Had this one sitting on the blog space for a couple weeks, so I figured I'd put it up.

I was watching the original movie a few weeks back (shortly before the new cartoon premiered) and decided I wanted to scrub through parts of the film, take screenshots, and draw from a few scenes. So far, I've only done this and one other that I haven't scanned yet.
The tones, at least on the coat, didn't quite come out as I wanted. Well, on the plus side, I sorta got down the mood...

Here's the source frame that I based this drawing on:

I had some fun working on this one, so I threw it into GIMP and put some flat colors on top. Here are my results.

The coloring kinda hides some of the problems with the inking... The brighter yellow-orange version was inspired by the coloring in the comic book adaptation. Afterward, I felt like I needed to tone it down to more neutral color, so I ended up slapping another color on top. I might go back and fix some of the values in the coloring, but I'm happy with these as they are right now. It was a fun change-up, anyway.

I've really been trying to put in some work with brushes and ink, making smoother, more confident and deliberate choices whenever I ink. I still need some work, but, I am definitely feeling better about it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Been Away Awhile

So it's been a long minute since I last updated this thing, i thought I'd throw up some things I did recently for a couple gallery shows.

First up:

Graphite, 11"x14"

Little figure sketch I did at a local Dr. Sketchy's branch a few months ago. Probably my favorite I'd done after almost a year of attending these drawing events. I was originally going to do an ink version of this for the Dr. Sketchy's show... but something about my hand refusing to do it made me decide I'd save a little time (and ink and vellum) by framing up the original drawing itself. There's a few things that could've been done better on this one, but I sorta liked how the gesture and composition came out.

More recently:

Pen and ink, wash, 11"x14"
Piece I did for a recent Bear and Bird locals-only show. The creature came out of a usual doodling session from when I'm usually drawing in a sketchbook or scrap sheet of paper while watching TV. I'd also been drawing trees a lot the last month or so it was quite fun to actually find a way to incorporate that into a piece.

The main aim with this piece was to really work on composition, something (among so many others) that I usually have a problem with. I was pretty pleased with the final result, especially how the tree in the foreground came out. The value is kind of all over the place though and the creature's pose gave me a lot of trouble. No matter how many times I drew it, it still didn't look quite right! Ah well. Still a lot of fun to work on. I have some process drafts and the thumbnail that I'll put into another post soon.

So yeah... that's what I been up to. I'm starting to jump back into the game and draw a bit more. I want to complete a few comics pages and maybe another piece by the end of the month. Let's see how it goes...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ink is My Drink

Been working on some new stuff lately, slowly but surely. If you follow my boy Jaime, then you probably know we're working together on a project. He's getting his stuff together, as am I. Not sure exactly when we're launching, as it's currently hinging on me finishing up the last few drawings on my end. I figure posting something resembling an announcement on here will keep me on track. Maybe... Anyway, yesterday did some ink practice in a new sketchbook I started a couple weeks back, with some OK results.

These are the first two sketches I did, getting really loose and crazy with my inking. Initial sketches were done with my trusty Hunt 512, and then I went crazy with some brush work. I sorta like the mood these tones, coupled with the color of paper, create.

This is the final sketch I did of the same character. I decided to just go in with my brushes and try and push the values a little. I rather like the "rawness" of this type of inking. There are some errors, but I like the mood of it at least. I think if I do another drawing of this detective-type character, I'll probably age him up a little to fit into the role. Don't know what I'll do with him ultimately, but hopefully I'll come up with a story for him eventually...

More to come! Until then, later!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Cloud Man and His Dog

This weekend is the Bear and Bird Gallery's newest local artist show, "Be There Be Square 2" and I've once again entered (making this my third entry). The piece is an idea I've been messing around with for over a month or so.  It took me forever to get a composition that I was completely happy with, and a little longer to get the drawing "just right". The final result came out alright, with some typical nitpicks from me, but it was a goofy, fun idea to work on. I think I might do another piece with the same character.

12"x12", Ink, Pastel and Acrylic

I have a ton of process stuff for this that I have to sort out (most of it is already scanned in) so I'll come back later in the week and throw them all up. For now, got any comments/critiques? Drop 'em in the comments section.

Also, check the flyer for the show here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Last year, the Bear and Bird Gallery had a call for local artists for their "Creep Cinema" exhibition. So, naturally, I got excited at the possibility of submitting something for a second time to the gallery. Since the theme revolved around horror/monster movies, I decided to go in with a piece dedicated to the true King of the Monsters: GODZILLA.

I've been a fan of Godzilla ever since I was a kid; I spent a few months researching the Godzilla/Toho universe and re-familiarizing myself with the world of giant Japanese monsters. This included watching a few of the movies (the 90's Heisei films in particular), reading a few scattered Godzilla comics (Dark Horse and the more recent IDW books), and even looking at an outdated reference book (The Official Godzilla Compendium by J.D. Lees and Marc Cerasini) for inspiration. You could say I became a fan all over again.

While some can argue that "Godzilla isn't horror," well, let's be honest here, the concept of Godzilla is pretty scary on its own. And, hey, the gallery took it with no complaint, so... who cares?

Here's the final:

I don't think IDW's gonna be knockin' on my door anytime soon....

It was a fun piece to work on. Though, looking back at it now, there are things that bug me about it, but I'm convinced I'm never going to make something I'm 100% satisfied with... It does make me want to learn more about creating larger scenes and more interesting looking backgrounds though. Also, I just like drawing monsters.

On another note, I have tons of sketches and material I built up over the course of making this piece. I think I might gather them together and make a little showcase of them... Later.