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!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Color H

Revelations from today :

-A grayscaled photo can be manually re-colorized with a single color layer, making use of 'select -- color range.'  This means that, if you're pulling color from a photo into your grayscaled painting, the values should be in a similar (if not the exact same) range.  I often tried doing this with weak-valued paintings of mine, and wondered why I wasn't getting the desired punch.  Dur!

-We read pictures like we read letters.  No one prints letters light on a light background.  The pattern is too vague.  You don't want to make people struggle to see things.  More contrast = better read.
-Shae told me about the joys of value grouping, using the cutout filter, and how to make alterations so as not to be a slave to what's in the photo.  

-Albert told me to put the background color into my shadows (in this case green).

-Finally, AJ shared some great high frequency noise brushes!  I showcased the ones I'm making tool presets from.  Thanks, man!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Color G

Dan Beaulieu kindly called me out on my obnoxious, oversaturated reds. In future, I think a dusting of desaturated color is in order.

Albert thought likewise. "Watch your saturation."  I guess you save it for where it will have the most impact.

Also, gotta make my grayscales as punchy as my art heroes'. Makes a big difference.  Kenneth taught me a trick using curves.  Imagine that -- an art director who can direct art!

Shae mentioned something important about "grouping values" which, basically, means keeping the integrity of your shapes while painting, so it doesn't become a garbled mess.  He also steered me away from putting contrast by the gorilla's butt, which I had done while being arbitrary.  NOTHING ABOUT THIS SHIT IS ARBITRARY.

Gabo was all, "Make that other eye darker, and make that other nostril smaller." -- a subtle but important depth cue.

Thanks, art friends.  I don't know what I'd do without you!  

Color F

Congratulations, self. You now know how to make a blacklight poster.
Maybe I should make a rule for myself : "If you can't make color look at least 30% authentic, don't bother."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Color E

I'm unsatisfied with this color glaze, but I can't tell why.  That's the most unsettling thing about this exercise so far : going wrong, and not knowing what went wrong.


Fail theory : I went off-reference in an effort to "free up my color choices."  Emu's eyes are orange-y, and that's about the only thing I kept. Background color choice may have been poor as well.  Maybe less improv and more planning next time...a color thumbnail.  I've seen people do those.

It could also be my values are still too nebulous.  *shrugs*  It looked good to me in grayscale.  Fucking color...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Color D

A necessary shift is occurring : when I look at something now, I'm not just trying to identify the colors that comprise it, but the relationships between those colors.  If there's a strong color in something, I'm now asking myself, "What's setting that color off?" rather than merely guessing that color and laying it down.

It's color relativity 101, but trying to remain conscious of why something is working/not working seems like a path to success.  If I'd wanted to make the blood on this dagger look more red, I could have put it next to a lighter, more greenish gray.

Lifedrawing Event -- 'Motive8'

To those of you in the Seattle area, I'm going to be moderating my very first lifedrawing session at this beautiful venue in Capitol Hill.

"Motive8" is an action-focused lifedrawing session aimed at working/aspiring illustrators, animators and concept artists who desire more narrative in their figurative work.  Our model, Mirel Jones, will be coming up with 8 scenarios -- "purposeful poses" -- for us to capture over a three hour period.


When :
Saturday, June 23rd
11 AM - 3 PM

Where :
Fred Wildlife Refuge
127 Boylston Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102

$15 - cash only

Parking info here.
Meetup link here.

Questions about the event?  Contact djunderfoot (at)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Color C

Today it was pointed out that desaturating an RGB image doesn't give you accurate values, but converting to grayscale does.  All these years I thought it was the same thing.  Thanks, Tom.

...and the more idealized version.  Because cantaloupes should look happy.

Dave Guertin (of Creature Box fame) kindly wrote in confirming the grayscale trick :

"Saw your recent blog post and thought you may get a kick out of a little photoshop tweak if you haven’t stumbled across it yet. Under 'View -- Proof Setup -- Custom' you can set the device to simulate to Gray Gamma 1.8. Now, whenever you hit 'cntrl+y' you get a realtime look at your values without the need to make any conversions. Hit 'cntrl+y' again and you’re back to color. You can also make adjustments in this mode."

Effing sweet!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Color B

The fight against flatness continues...

(Again, pay no heed to the drawing --Just slapped something down so I could resume aforementioned color exercise.  I have NO patience.)

Wins : saturation gradation employed on skin and background, efforts made to make upper body brighter than background and lower body darker than background

Losses : still lacking strong contrasts, needs a splash of something "other" -- a green or something to make it less homogeneous.  I hate to say "rimlight" but that's probably what's called for.  It should be a new rule for me...  "It ain't shit if it ain't contrasty."

I found a few images on CGhub that I thought had good contrast and watched the HSB sliders jumping around near the edges.  The edges in my color experiment above had slight jumps...not acceptable!  The jumps on my fix below are slightly bigger.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Color A

My friend Vince Aparo and I are on a quest to get cozier with color.  We're going through the alphabet, which will act as a randomizer for subject matter.  One a day for 26 days.

These exercises will be less about the drawings and more about color selection and application.  I'm trying to be decisive about which colors I use (or at the very least have a loose plan) and work on a single layer.  

Today's takeaways (Thanks Shae Shatz) :
-Determine neutrals (base) -- Must be there for poppy colors to pop!
-Reserve saturated color for focal areas
-Pick a compliment
-"Stained glass" filter works well for color picking
-Don't start on a white background (if you can help it)
-Play with hue jitter on brush
-Play with noise layers set to soft light

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Peter Konig

So Peter Konig is kind of an extreme badass...?

And today I drew him at lunch.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I have cool art friends.

Because I've been so mopey on the Facebooks (sharing tales of mixed success in the dating world), Helen Rusovich drew me a virtual girlfriend.  She looks like what I'd look like if I were long-haired, super hot, Ukrainian and a woman.


Thanks to you, Helen, I'll now be on the lookout for a wig, some bracelets and a seahorse earring.  

lifedrawing log - 05.19.12


Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arabian Nights

Caught myself looping it up in loopville.  Gabo loaned me this cool book, Arabian Nights Illustrated.  Did some studies from it.  Smoke plumes and genies are fun to draw.

Monday, May 7, 2012

evening pshop

Yeah, I know...trashy. Gotta flush it from the system periodically, like so many things...


In line at the movies...

Oh, for something real...

Some of these are from a hair magazine.  A few aren't.  The girl with the arrow was a civilian -- found her comparatively imperfect hair far more beautiful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

(Not really.)

Albert dared me to draw an armor plated fish dick, so an armor plated fish dick he received!

Don't ask.

I was in a pretty rough spot this morning.  Thanks for cheering me up, Hellstern.