This blog...

...was initially for pieces done on a computer, but has since become a free-for-all. Here you'll find process work (digital and otherwise), sketch pages and studies, sometimes with commentary.

You can see the rest of my work here.

Remember kids : if you can't make pretty designs, at least make pretty lines!


Friday, April 30, 2010

More bed heads...

Also, I've noticed my blog's image resizing looks shit on Internet Explorer but mega-awesome on Google Chrome. Go, Google Chrome!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

simplified demo

I left out a few steps (most crucially low-pass contrast -- you'll notice my range is limited here), but someone just asked how I was getting the strokes to look brushy in P-shop.  Easy!  You blur (in this case filter>noise>median) and smudge!

I owe the smudge technique to Kieran Yanner who, of course, is leagues ahead of me with color.  But once I find a way to compartmentalize that, I'm comin' for ya!!!

bald dudes 'n' lizard things

brain on autopilot

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mo' quotes...

Pinned a few new girl-centric quotes on Babe Lab.

Some are from "Dames, Dolls & Gun Molls : The Art of Robert A. Maguire" and "Bettie Page : Queen of Hearts", both by Jim Silke.

....loooove me some quotes!

lifedrawing log - 04.24.10

It's a poor artist who blames his tools. In lifedrawing, the model is, in effect, a tool in creating a pleasing image. I'll abide many things, but when people start making lame, outside excuses for their own ineptitude, as Crabby Pants Pastel does by blaming the model for her artistic misfires, someone eventually needs to call them on it. So today I went off on a tear that will pretty much assure I won't be going to that session anymore. Congrats if you're reading this, Crabby! You finally made me lose all composure! I don't think it was worth it, seeing as I'll be missing out on some great models and a great moderator, but I won't miss you one fucking bit, I guarantee. Crabby Pants Pastel -- shirker of gesture, paper defiler -- your artistic development died a long time ago. I hope the rest of you isn't far behind.

applicable Simpsons .wav

AM session (cut short)

PM session

Total reversal of mood. This model got it. Has it. Whatever you want to call it. Totally fun session with no bullshit. And yes, at one point she wore a dinosaur mask.

...and a gasmask.

Friday, April 23, 2010

portrait 13

Source : cover art for Noisia's "Split The Atom"
I realized a lot of my heads/portraits/caricatures/whatever have closed mouths. Gonna focus on drawing more teeth 'n' gums!

Recent autodestruct playlist :

Noisia "Split The Atom" [Vision]
Hybrid "Disappear Here" [Distinctive Breaks]
Trifonic "Emergence"
Ent "Welcome Stranger" [n5MD]
Balmoreah "Constellations" [Western Vinyl]
Red Sparowes "The Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies The Answer" [Sargent House]
Blockhead "The Music Scene" [Ninja Tune]
Vex'd "Cloud Seed" [Planet Mu]
Starkey "Ear Drums And Black Holes" [Planet Mu]
Breakage "Foundation" [Digital Sound Boy]
Scuba "Triangulation" [Hot Flush]
Tribal Tul "Triple" [Tribal]
Sentient "The Space Between" [Zenon]
V/A "New Blood 010" [Med School/Hospital]
V/A "Are You Jiviin' Yet?" [Adapted]
V/A "Breakfast of Champions" [Morning Monster]
V/A "Haiti Appeal Project" [Organic]

Missed albums :
Tipper "Wobble Factor"
Way Out West "We Love Machine" [Hope]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

sketches - 04.21.10

These were done after sketch night, where I spent more time yammering and complaining than actually drawing. Inspector Kemp showed up (just couldn't leave him alone!), and so did a couple characters in the episode of Ugly Americans I had on in the background. Painfully unfunny show, btw. Thought it'd be remotely on par with Superjail since Augenblick Studios had a hand in it, which I guess was an unreasonable expectation to begin with. Few things are better than Superjail.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

portrait 12

Many thanks to Virginia Critchfield for showing me

He reminds me a lot of Inspector Kemp from Young Frankenstein, minus the monocle and screw-on hand.

Another astute officemate pointed out that I'm making these guys less weird than they actually are. I'm subconsciously trying to "fix" them when I should be going in the exact opposite direction. For example, I could have played up his ridiculously high collar, deeply inset raccoon eyes and bushy, bushy chops-- formed more of an opinion about him before I plunged in. I think opinion is what separates lively portraiture/caricature from dead reproductions. Only so much is actually important about people, and the rest can just go away or be downplayed.

portrait 11

Some curly haired girl. Blending cheek lines and the area where it meets the muzzle and chin is stupid-hard.

420 doodles


A few things from the portraits have started to bleed into my head-sketches, I'm happy to say. The more I can think in planes vs. nebulous shapes, the better.

recent Babe Lab post edit :

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

portrait 10

Cop from Mark Laita's photos. Thanks to Grace Liu for cluing me in.

portrait 09

Keeley Hazell
This one's for you, Billy.

lifedrawing log - 04.19.10

Model last night was new. She shifted a lot during the 2 hour pose, but I didn't complain. It was pretty much impossible for her not to look good, no matter how her hair or body settled.

The drawing at the upper left is the first attempt -- made her too rigid. She needed to be sinking into that chair more (even though she wasn't).

The drawing at the far right is me trying to remember as much as I could when I got home later that evening without looking at what I'd done.

As you can see, consistency is (and I expect always will be) an issue with me :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spot the rictus.

I learned a terrifying new word this weekend. In the latest issue of Hi Fructose (good James Jean article in that, btw), Al Columbia mentions how Jim Woodring* pointed out that he draws the rictus (or "death smile" -- not sure what the plural of that is) a lot...where the eyes roll back and the mouth grins wickedly.

Try it sometime.

<--*Name droppy post, no?

portrait 08

Peter Cushing...sort of.

I kinda flub it at the drawing stage, so likeness is shot from the start (once again proving that drawing is everything and rendering ain't shit). What I get instead of "Oh hey, Peter Cushing!" is "That sorta looks like...who's that one dude in Star Wars? Grand Moff...something." or worse, "Neat old guy."'s a tough angle.


portrait 07

Monday morning warmup : Miss Teen USA. We apparently never run out of these.

Economy is my deal right now. Getting it down to as few strokes as possible. Still a ways off...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

portrait 06

Michael Smiley is anything but in this atrocious stab at caricature. The more I fussed with it, the worse it looked. I should have just drawn him as Tyres from Spaced...teeth and crazed expression and all.

Happy birthday, Posy Peppernewt!

You know who you are :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

lifedrawing log - 04.17.10

FOUR Vigil artists at lifedrawing this morning. We're taking over...

Friday, April 16, 2010

portrait 05

Nudder one.

I'm tending to elongate. Bad. Bad, bad, bad. Like, that last dude's head was obviously more squareish. Making this mental note as

portrait 04

Thanks to Vinod Rams for showing me Least Wanted on flickr. Freakin' treasure trove of uglies!

Did this one over lunch break, but kept the lines in. Going any higher-def than this is physically painful for me, but I'll overcome that as I hone this shit.

Since someone asked, the lines I do with a standard round hard brush (control : pen pressure, value : 1), and the tones go in beneath with a large, square brush (control : initial direction, minimum diameter 100%), which forces me to focus on planes. When I want to appear fancy, I use an organic smudge tool to add brushy flourishes or blend edges. I also use smart blur and median filters to knock back areas that look too noisy, as I'm training myself to be more deliberate and less fussy.

portrait 03

Hayden Panettiere -- played around with her expression some

Thursday, April 15, 2010

portrait 02

Today's guilty subject...Aletta Ocean.

tv head conglomerates

Drawin' heads in bed as they flash on the tv screen! Some of 'em only appeared for a few seconds, so they were genetically spliced with the next one.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

portrait 01

Thanks to Vigil animator Jeremy Pantoja for sharing this link of English drunkards!

I've been inspired by Matt Dixon and Milenko Tunjic's awesome stylistic portraits. Gonna jump on the train, just because I need the practice doing painterly value stuff. Will try to get color into future ones. Everyone likes color!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Matt Dixon on Babe Lab

Matt Dixon, one of my favorite industry penpals, was goodly enough to be my first interview-ee on Babe Lab. I'm of course honored and thrilled.

SC trip -- sketches

Here's a mixture of inlaws, tv personalities, babes and random airport mutants! I'll let you decide which are which.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Babe Lab Mascot -- color pass

Splashed a little color on, or too much...I can't even tell. Less than stoked about the washed-out end result, but what did I expect from such an overly methodical, automated process? If I can't finish it in a couple sittings, it's just going to lose that freshness...period. I guess I'll use a cropped version of this in the banner and call it a day.

It was good trial-and-error practice. I'll learn how to do this shit if it kills me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

lifedrawing log - 04.05.10

This dude looked like he was going to duke on that chair.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Playlist

Music for kicking up pollen in muggy springtime Texas...

Emancipator "Safe In The Steep Cliffs" [unreleased]
Bonobo "Black Sands" [Ninja Tune]
Jaga Jazzist "One-Armed Bandit" [Ninja Tune]
Reso "Temjin" EP [Civil Music]
Green Nuns On Ice "The Pan Electric Variations" [Absolute Ambient]
Kaya Project "Desert Phase" [Inerchill]
Slackbaba "Perverting Mankind" [Liquid Records]
Alienopia "Goapocalypsis" [Space Baby]
v/a Vital Signs mixed by Androcell [Celestial Dragon]
v/a FabricLive 50 mixed by D-Bridge & Instra_Mental
v/a Sub:Stance mixed by Scuba [Ostgut Ton]
v/a Tokaloshe Tales compiled by Daksinamurti & Gata Freak [Timecode]
v/a Energy Waves [Suntrip]

Looking forward to :
v/a Sick Music Vol. 2 [Hospital]

Babe Lab Mascot -- tonal pass

Okay, I think I've gone far enough with tone where I can start introducing color. I don't typically take illustrations this far, so all of this feels very clinical to me. (I guess she is a nurse...)

Here's sort of how I arrived here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

lifedrawing log - 04.03.10 / The Art of Digging

"I honestly never got too into life drawing classes." a friend of mine admitted in a recent chat. "Like i never saw someone go in bad and come out incredible."

I think there's some truth to that. It helps to come to the table with something -- an agenda, a hunger, a quest.

I'm reminded of the documentary Scratch, where DJ Shadow talks about the art of digging.

"There's the promise in these stacks* of finding something that you're going to use. ... It has almost a karmic element...I was meant to find this. ... Just being in here is a humbling experience. ...I honestly feel like the people that dig don't stop digging 'cuz it's a part of who we are. People that don't, you don't have to. It's not going to make a bad dj good, but it'll make a good dj better."

*lifedrawing sessions

You never know what you're going to find on a dig. Last week I learned a neat thing about calf muscles and ankles. This week I locked in on something I do that's damaging : I'm stretching the figures out too much, like taffy, and not letting them overlap and bunch up where they need to. The result is something like butterflies under glass. There's a subliminal urge, especially coming from a concept art background, to show rather than obscure. Push overlap! That's my new mantra.

The moderator was kind enough to lend me a book "The Undressed Art : Why We Draw" by Peter Steinhart. In it, the author says "We are less engaged in producing than we are in practicing. It's a refrain that runs through the work of even the best draftsmen and draftswomen. We do it not because we're good at it, but because there's some prospect that if we keep doing it, eventually we may be good."

The dig continues...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Babe Lab Mascot -- pass 6

More corrections and tweaks... a shit-ton of tedious selections. Thanks, path tool!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Babe Lab Mascot -- pass 5

Cleanup...guh...this takes forever, and I'm still not nearly there. Face is bugging me, too. Like, really bugging me.

Babe Lab Mascot -- pass 4

Final thumbnail. I start on the cleaned version tonight.

Before anyone starts in on supplying feedback, I changed it up to get some differeing elevations. It's not too far removed from what I initially had.

I suspect I'll have less fun completing this than I did during all this deliberation!