Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All the Hogwarts Ladies

A while ago, for whatever reason, I decided to draw a bunch of the girls from Harry Potter. When I'm reading the books I always picture them in uniforms like the movies, but I get a little bored drawing that same uniform on everyone. So I like to shake things up a bit, just for the sake of my own interest.

I posted them all individually on deviantart (Lavender, Hermione, Cho, Pansy, Ginny, Luna but here is the complete set. Lavender was a last minute addition, and she wound up being one of my favorites of the bunch.

(click to enlarge)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- Disneyland On the Brain

It has been over two months since our last post.  This is inexcusable!  So I won't make excuses, I'll just post some new Sunday Sketches.

We recently returned from our latest trip to Disneyland, and it was wonderful.  Seeing all those characters (and all that character-heavy merchandise) really inspired me to do a bunch of quick, small sketches of some of those "new classic" Disney girls.  I have drawn these characters SO many times, but it has really been quite a while, so it was good to go back to some of my old favorites.  (Showing here with a drawing I did of us a couple weeks ago to express the we felt anticipation for our upcoming vacation.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- A Series of Unfortunate Drawings*

At last, here is the culmination of several weeks' worth of Sunday Sketches!  As you  may recall, J and I recently finished re-reading Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in its entirety (including The Unauthorized Autobiography and The Beatrice Letters), so every Sunday for the past couple of months I did a drawing for each of the books I had finished that week.  Now I have finally compiled them into one massive collage, showing here (I would click on it to view it bigger for the full effect, there's kind of a lot to look at):

So they aren't all the major scenes or illustrations of the turning points in each book, but they were the scenes that stood out to me for whatever reason when I sat down to draw.  Fans will hopefully recognize which ones go with which books!  (Hint:  They go more or less in order clockwise.)  It was fun to see where I could fit in a few other characters here and there, besides just those dear Baudelaires.

I actually did a few for Book the Thirteenth, and I couldn't decide which to put in the collage, so, since I like this one too, I'll add it as a P.S.

* Or, Drawings of Unfortunate Events.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You know his name...it's Legolas

You know, in case you forgot about this guy. Since we got our new scanner I figured I should finally do a real scan instead of photos. I haven't added anything to him since I posted last. I've had some ideas but nothing really came of them, but I think I'm going mess around with a few ideas in Photoshop. Maybe at last something will come to me!

Anyway, here he is.
Today I discovered the exclusion filter and messed around with it on Legolas. I know it's just a filter but...I kind of can't stop looking at the result. I am, how do you say, fascinated.
So. That's Legolas today. One of my top goals for the year was to finish him and by golly, I'm going to! In some fashion or another! Mlarf.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- Baudelaires and Friends

It's been a while, but it's time again for more Sunday Sketches! My contribution this time around is based on a favorite book series that The Wife and I just finished re-reading together, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I just love these Baudelaires so much!  They are such charming and resourceful and reasonably attractive children, each one unique and full of personality, and they really care about each other.  Confidentially, this is also a tease for a possible future post featuring a lot more artistic documentation of the Baudelaire variety...
And The Wife had another foray into the world of Pen and did another batch of delightful pen people.  Some of them were inspired by recent movies and/or TV shows we've been watching (can you spot them?), and others are original characters.  I love her pages of little peeps!  They're so tiny but they have a lot of personality.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wee Little Pen People

This weekend we got a new scanner to replace the technological headache that is our old scanner. I tell you, Internet, that Epson does some beautiful scanning. Plus it scans wirelessly which means I can sit in the living room and direct my indentured servant/husband which pages to put in the scanner for me. In conclusion: Epson, you are mighty indeed and I will never betray you again in the name of getting a bargain.

ANYway, would you believe I haven't posted on here since June? What a sad sorry state of affairs. Luckily Mr. Gra-ham has been keeping up with things better than I have on here. Anyhoodle, one of my goals for this year was to a) draw people with bodies and b) draw people with bodies that move. If you haven't noticed, I tend to do a lot of heads and perhaps a little bit o' shoulder. One evening as I began drawing random heads and shoulders, I did some mental manhandling and switched gears. I did a few that night and some more in the weeks that followed. This is what I have to show for myself:
They are all pretty small, only like an inch or two tall (I made the one large in recognition of her being first), which is nice because they are quick and I don't get caught up giving them detailed faces. ALSO, I drew them all in pen. Not using an eraser is a big deal for me. I love erasers. Anyway.

Unfortunately when it comes to poses, my creative juices have run dry of late but STILL. Progress. Right? Right, Internet??

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Harry!

There's been a lot of Potter-related excitement in the Pen and Pencil household this summer, what with the final film being released (which we loved!), so there's understandably been a fair amount of Potter-related artwork done as well.  Some of it hasn't been worth posting, but yesterday to celebrate Harry's birthday, I thought I would try to do something that could be posted here.  (This doubles as a Sunday Sketches post, I should say.)  I have done drawings celebrating Harry's birthdays in past years, usually of Harry gleefully looking at a cake that Ron and Hermione have prepared for him, but this year I wanted to do something a little different, inspired by something Hermione said in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.  I was just a little disappointed that we didn't get to see Harry's birthday in the movie, but at least Hermione made reference to it.  And here you can see her and Ginny making their festive plans:
"We prepared a cake!"
I bet it was quite delicious.  Maybe they'll make another one for his 18th birthday.

And now, because a Harry post wouldn't be complete without a picture of Harry, here's a quick sketch I did a couple weeks ago inspired by the penultimate scene in the last film.  Big decision you had to make there, Harry.  Well done.  Though you might have fixed your wand or repaired some of the castle first... Just sayin'. (Though I guess the wands of the survivors could probably handle a good deal of the repairs, except of course Filch's...  lousy Squib.  Ha.)
The Boy Who Lived Becomes a Man

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zee Fruits of Bad Writing

Recently I read a series of books that should have been amazing, but instead were kind of terrible.  It's called Kingdom Keepers and tells about a group of kids who are projected as holographic versions of themselves into the Disney theme parks while they're asleep as an effort by the Imagineers to prevent the baddies of the movies and attractions from taking over the world (or something).  The premise was pretty cool but the execution was sadly really bad.  The characters were flat and unpleasant, the plot meandered and didn't really make sense, and the technology and mythology didn't make sense and contradicted itself continually.  Worst of all, this book series referred often to characters who already exist in Disney films and rides such as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, Chernabog from Fantasia, and any number of audio-animatronic pirates and small world dolls.  While this isn't inherently a problem, especially since the books take place in Disney parks, and it's sort of the idea, so you expect Disney characters to appear, the problem arises because the author evidently felt no need to stay true to the personalities of the characters that had already been painstakingly and expertly developed by filmmakers and authors and artists, and this lack of respect for others' creations extended to their physical descriptions.

So, I was reading along in the fourth book in the series when I came across the following passage (the background is that one of the characters has somehow "crossed over" into one of the Disney parks one night, even though there's supposed to have been a block preventing this from happening further):
        "Close zee ranks!" came a heavily accented Frenchman's voice.  Willa didn't see him at first; she was far more concerned with the circle of green Army Men tightening around her.
        Then she spotted him: a man in a red velvet dinner jacket, beneath which was a frilly white shirt and a bizarrely large black bow tie, the tails of which disappeared into the velvet.  His pants were three-quarter length, tight around the calf, and puffy on his upper legs, with hook-and-eye laced brown leather books spit-polished to gleaming.  He had long curly hair--a wig, perhaps--beneath an exaggerated hat like those worn by the Three Musketeers."
At this point I already had a really hard time picturing what this character looked like and who he could be, though I had my bewildered suspicions due to the cover art of the book.  And then came the next line:
"Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Like... you know, Frollo.  Then I had a really hard time reconciling the character I have known for the last 15 years and this description.  Not only that, how in the world would Willa have recognized him as Frollo when he is not at all how he appears in the movie or the parks??  I mean, besides it being way too much description writing-wise, can you possibly get that picture in your head from reading that paragraph?  It was such a bizarre thing to me that (at J's insistence), I just had to put the discrepancy down on paper.  It looks like this:
The tray of champagne and glasses was a personal touch, a suggestion from J.
So yes, how in the world is the man on the left supposed to pass as the man on the right?  Besides the obvious character differences that manifest themselves as the pages go by, including that ridiculous accent and invented background, the image is completely different in just about every way.  It just seemed kind of offensive and I had to do something about it.  You can't just mangle characters that people spent months and years creating and developing, even if you think you're creating a more period-accurate one (which is the only reason I can possibly think of for this nonsense).  This was just one example, but probably the most ridiculous.  J thinks I should post it somewhere online where I'm sure the author will see it, because authors who do stupid things, especially with well-known and well-loved properties, should be called on them.  We'll see.  I'm not ruling it out.

Don't read the books, by the way.  They're not at all as good as they should be with an idea like that, and not anywhere near as good as the fans deserve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Half Shell Hero

I took a nature appreciation class in college, where I learned so many fascinating things about the animal world, past and present. In that class there was one of Those People who is always asking ridiculous questions. One day the topic was turtles and she raised her hand and asked, "So do they have, like, a little body in there? Can they crawl out of their shell and walk around?" No, young lass, real life is not Looney Tunes and turtles live in their shells. DUH.

The point of that story is that, well, turtles can't crawl out of their shells. But while we're talking about turtles, let's talk Ninja Turtles. They're my original favorite fandom, and I'm still a big fan. Now and then I like to draw the characters as they look in the latest movie (which I love). I use screen shots because, to be honest, I have always been confounded by drawing turtles freehand. Here is my latest TMNT effort:
I did this with my trusty mechanical pencil in my sketchbook...it's fun to do something with pencil that isn't as involved or time consuming as M. Legolas. Maybe a little Raphael next...?

PS: It's Leonardo, for you people not in the know.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Noxons

Several months ago an old friend of mine and his wife tragically lost their twin sons due to complications of premature labor.  He asked me to do a drawing of their family as a surprise for his wife, and I really dragged my feet for a while--how could I approach such a personal and tender subject and give it the care and respect it deserved?  We talked back and forth several times about more complex concepts and other ideas, and finally his persistence paid off.  After a few drafts and a few abandoned ideas, we ended up with this:
The Noxons, Photoshop
Jeff has written a beautiful post on his own blog about the process, from inspiration and development to completion and delivery, which you can read here.  I'm so glad it turned out, and that this family was so pleased with the result.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- Dancing Princesses (and a Random Pirate Captain)

A little while ago we posted our submissions for a coloring context celebrating the release of Entwined.  Though J was awarded Honorable Mention, we sadly didn't win, but we bought a copy right away anyway.  We both really enjoyed it  (you can read my glowing review here), and today I just felt inspired to draw, well, the entire principal cast.  J has also done some beautiful character sketches that perhaps will be posted at a later date.  I loved all the characters, and although there were many (twelve sisters are quite a handful), they were all so distinct and evenly-handled.

You should read the book so you will know who all these delightful characters are.  It was magical and mysterious and all that.  Some of them turned out on paper exactly as I pictured them in my head!  And most of them even look like sisters.  Maybe we're among the first to do fanart for this book!

And now for good measure, not at all in the same vein, and just because we recently saw the new (so-so) Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I present my very first-ever drawing of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Aye, avast!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Everyone's a wizard! (Even Ron)

In honor of the fact that we are leaving in the morn for Disneyworld and Harry Potter land, here are some recent HP fanarts of mine. I like to do little batches of characters and call them HPeeps (for Harry Potter Peeps). This is a group of the prior generation--Remus Lupin, Lily Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter and Severus Snape.
A bonus of doing these periodic HPeeps fanarts is that I can look at the previous ones and see improvement in myself. Here's the first one and the second. A new high, yes? The next grouping will be a jump into the future and hopefully it will look better than ever!

Comments? Construction criticism? Questions? Outright flattery? All are welcome and encouraged!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Arts: the Entwined Edition

A few weeks ago one of my friends from my old BYU art classes announced that a book she's been working on has been published at last.  To celebrate, she decided to host a coloring contest, in which J and I were excited to participate.  The art for the coloring contest was done by the author herself, and participants were allowed artistic liberties in their interpretations.  The winners of three ages groups would be awarded with a free copy of her book.  Of course we were interested in reading the novel, and we always love a good digital art project.  Plus, our two entries doubled our chances at winning.

So, here are our submissions, which we entered before the deadline of last Friday, after which we waited for Easter Sunday when the winners would be announced.
I hemmed and hawed for a long time about colors, and I still don't think it's my very best, but it was great practice.
J has a little more finesse when it comes to Photoshop tricks and know-how and such, as seen here.
After waiting with bated breath, the results were at last posted yesterday.  Unfortunately, neither of us won, but J was awarded Honorable Mention, and her art was featured on the author's blog along with a link to her art website.  When I saw J's submission, I knew I couldn't possibly beat her, but it was still worth the experience.

We were bummed that J came so close to winning, but are still excited to read the book, which should arrive tomorrow.  Thanks for the fun contest, Heather, and congratulations on publishing your book!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Legolas. And some options.

Legolas is pretty much done. And yet he is not complete. Take a look.
No matter how much I try to plan this from the beginning, my drawings rarely wind up centered on the page. Thus, I have a history of making things look centered, or at least intentionally off center. In the past I've done lines (here and here) and maps (here). And now along comes Legolas. Lines won't work for him because he's got that line from the bow string happening. I originally planned on a map but will that look good? Here are the options, as I see them:
  • Figure out some kind of line system.
  • Cut the paper (this feels like cheating).
  • Do some kind of map.
  • Stop spazzing about it and just let him be done.
He's been at this stage since the start of April and I have yet to make a decision. Of course the last, most horrible option of all is to keep drawing and give him more body until I get to the bottom of the page. I call this horrible because let me tell you, this whole Legolas project was so much harder to finish than I expected. I whined, I got angry and I won't deny that I cried about it more than once. I used to have so much more time to devote to these kinds of projects so now that I don't it just went on FOREVER and for so long it seemed like I didn't make any progress at all. So...I just don't want to add to him. At least not now. So I guess I could add one more option.
  • Leave him at this stage indefinitely until I feel like adding more to his person.
So, Internet, what do you think? Give me guidance! To make it extra easy I'm going to add a poll. Help!

(PS: Sorry that picture is so crummy.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 10 April 2011

The date posted above my be confusing to you, so allow me to explain.  It has been far too long since we posted some Sunday Sketches, and although it's Sunday again, we didn't really get a chance to do many sketches this week, so here are some new drawings I did last weekend and haven't had a chance to post yet.

I recently finished reading Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, and since it has infiltrated pretty much every other online avenue I visit, I might as well post something relevant here!  I loved the books, so naturally the characters made their way to my sketchbook pages.  I like how a lot of these turned out actually.  If you have read these awesome books, you might recognize some of these characters, and if you haven't read them, do!  They are a wonderful read.

Stay tuned!  More artwork is shortly on the way.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yesterday after our most recent post, the handy little counter there on the right had this to say:

We have reached another milestone!  1000+ visitors in just about four months.  That seems like a pretty high number of visitors to me, especially for such a new endeavor.  Thanks to everyone for following our little blog, and to those who have left comments and checked back often for new posts.  You're more than welcome to share with your friends, the more the merrier.  Stay tuned for more updates!  There's been a slight lull of posts in the last week or so, but there are a lot more on the way.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wife in London Rain

Just over six months ago, J and I returned from a nine-week stay in London.  J had been selected to do an on-site project for work, and as I work remotely, I was able to pack up my equipment and tag along.  We had a glorious time, and although we were both working full time, we had plenty of time during our evenings and weekends to sightsee and take in so much of what England has to offer.  It had always been a dream of J's to visit, and we had a nice couple of months to at least approach getting our fill (for now!).  We thought there might have been a chance to return at some point in the near future, but it seems that won't be happening anytime VERY soon, but I thought I would post this piece in fond remembrance of our stay in London, and the indelible impression it has forever left on us.

This project falls under "professional development" (random, fun projects done during downtime at work to become ever more acquainted with the graphics programs I use daily), as on one occasion, I was inspired by J, her love of London and a recently-acquired touristy souvenir, and the city's famous rainy late-summer weather.  I feel like I could have worked on this forever and continually found things that need improvement, but at some point I had to call it good.

Wife in London Rain
Created from start to finish in Photoshop.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Legolas 3/17...and then some

When last we met to talk about Legolas, he did not have a complete torso and I was out of sandpaper. In the meanwhile I'm sure you all thought I had stopped working on Legolas and was too ashamed to post about my lack of progress. But tis not so!
This is actually a really out of date picture...so...just continue to be in suspense until I post an update on him again. I'm hoping that he'll be done in another week or so. But then again, I haven't worked on it much this week. I tried on Monday but he was not cooperating and after my lead broke I sent him to the corner. I haven't worked on it since but I did do this tonight:
I haven't done much computer art this year at all so it's nice to mess around with colors again. One of my art goals for the year is to get better with contrast. Contrast has always kind of been my foil, but I think I made some strides with this. Looking at this one kind of makes me laugh at the version I did last June (that I loved at the time). That's a good sign right? I suppose I can look forward to snickering at this one next year.

Here's to progress and here's to finishing Legolas!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 27 February 2011

It's been a few weeks, but we're back with more Sunday Sketches!

On Saturday night we watched the Irish animated film, The Secret of Kells.  It was a pretty remarkable movie, and the next morning I sort of couldn't stop thinking about it.  The result is this:

The shapes and and colors of the characters in this movie were just so unique and interesting to look at.  Aisling is such a great character.  And now we want a white kitty to name Pangur Bán.  It inspired some Kells art by J as well:

Okay, so I only did one Kells character.  I just can't remember the look of animated people (especially after one viewing) the way the Mister can.  We saw Deathly Hallows again this week so I spent most of the time drawing the trio looking kind of angsty.  That movie is so good.  

(Also I really would like a white kitty too, but I think my favorite name is still Waffles.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Ball That Bounces

And now for something completely different...

As many of you know, my study in college was animation, and my emphasis was traditional, hand-drawn animation.  I took the required 3D animation classes, but they were just never my thing.  I would just rather use my hands and draw all day than model and troubleshoot every frame.  It's been over five years since I graduated from college, and my current employment unfortunately doesn't allow for a whole lot of animation in the traditional sense, but I do have a little bit of downtime when I work on improving my skills on the graphics programs.  One day I decided it had been way too long since I did some animation, so I decided to go WAY back to the VERY basics, and dug into my memories of Intro to Animation to do one of the classic animation exercises:  The bouncing ball.  This is a very common practice for animation students, and gives a chance to work on the principles of squash & stretch and timing, and allows for some creativity as to what the ball is made of, how and how much it bounces, etc.  For this one I went pretty simple and made it pretty squishy. (What's it made of, you ask?  Um, goo.)  While I usually used paper and pencil in the past, my current resources include Flash and a nice tablet, so that's what I used for this project.

So there you have it!  My classmates might feel some proxy shame that I'm proud enough of a recently-produced bouncy ball project to publish it online, but I was just pretty excited to be animating anything at all again, and while it's rough, I think it's fun and a little bit of a different post for the blog.  And now I feel kind of inspired to do more (and more complex) animation!  Basic human figures, you're not too far off...

(By the way, this is just one sequence of bouncing that works best on a loop, but I have looped it a few times in the video so you can see its movement more smoothly without having to restart it.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hogwarts Kids for Christmas

Occasionally we do commissioned artwork or requests.  A very good friend wanted drawings of her kids as Hogwarts students for last Christmas, and we couldn't possibly refuse, since 1) she's a very good friend, as I said, and 2) we obviously just love Harry Potter.  In this case we traded services rather than moneys (see the photo to the right under "About Pen and Pencil").  I did the sketches and some of the digital coloring, then passed them on to J to finesse the shading and highlights, do some  detail stuff and work on the composition and backgrounds.
Lily first wanted to be Gryffindor but later fancied herself a Ravenclaw.  Easy peasy.
Holden makes a fine Slytherin.  It's all in the gleam in his eyes.
We tried a few different ideas with the backgrounds, but in the end a parchment style was requested, the better to fit the theming and framing.  We haven't seen them fully framed and matted, but we have heard they were a big hit on Christmas morning.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 30 January 2011

Yesterday was Sunday, so we did some sketches!

Although I so enjoyed doing figure studies the last couple weeks, I felt like doing some original characters.  It's fun to throw down a bunch of characters, and to try to make them look interesting and individual.
Then, since I seem to feel like drawing Rapunzel characters at pretty much any and every opportunity these days, I did a few of those.  I'll post some fanart-type drawings sometime soon, but I wanted to show some OCs this time.

J also did some original characters this week:
I pretty much picked up where I left off last Sunday with my own peeps.  Later on I drew a couple of Harry Potter characters and actually did some bodies.  I mention this because I have been stuck on the bust drawings for, well, a long time now.  Maybe next week I'll shake things up a little more and draw past the neckline.  Nothing like drawing figures to keep me humble!


This morning I'm just sending a quick message to let everyone know we've reached 500 visits since we launched our art blog.  It's a smallish milestone, but it's a milestone nonetheless!  Thanks to everyone who visits and comments and follows, and be sure to come back often!  If we're listed in your reader, take time to visit the actual blog to check out updates to our template and formatting.
Thanks again, everyone!  Check back this evening for some Sunday Sketches.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Legolas 1/27

Another week, another bout of Legolas work. I spent several hours on it this week so I made good progress, technically.
I say technically because what I did doesn't look as good as I would like it to. His hand is only half done, mainly because I haven't decided on including the bow or not, which changes what I do with his fingers. So that looks unfinished and weird. And when I was working on his shirt I felt a little overwhelmed with the amount of fabric and where all the folds had to go and intercept and squish and squash. The last few peeps I've drawn, I realize now, didn't really involve a lot of detailed clothing (like this). So I think I'm just out of practice. Anyway, I also decided I need a new bit of sandpaper because, for the life of me, I could not get a nice long point on my lead, which also made things frustrating. Urgh.

Anyway. This weekend I am going to get some new sandpaper, and I always have the option of going back and changing and fixing things. So it's not over yet. I press forward!

**Okay, after looking at my things I realize that hello, I have done a lot of messy fabric recently. Like this and this and this. What the heck, Legolas? Why can't you be more like Sweeney?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 23 January 2011

Time for more Sunday Sketches!  Today, like I said last week, I did some gesture studies of the male figure.  I felt especially inspired after going to a former BYU animation teacher's excellent figure drawing exhibit on campus this week (It runs until 29 January!  Go!)--it brought back a lot of great memories of spending long hours with a huge newsprint pad, a piece of Conté crayon and a live model.  As I did these drawings, it kind of surprised me as I went along to find that some of the poses and sketches seemed a little more detailed and less simple than those in the female study, but it makes sense that they would look and feel different from each other since the male and female forms really are so different in shape and gesture.
I really enjoyed doing this little series, and I think I'll have to make figure studies a more regular practice.

J did some drawings this week as well, and I will turn the time over to her to explain.

Yes, so, I did some stuff this week.  I started off the day with a couple of ugly things, which was really frustrating.  So I decided to start over again and draw some clothes, like I used to do in my note margins in school.  I had some success with those so I moved on to some heads, as usual.  They're all my own peeps, from something I like to call "Long Story."  And...that is all I will say about them, except that I am pleased.  Also I will say that I wish drawing clothes would make them real.  Dang.
A bientot!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Legolas 1/20

Okay, this was not my finest week, Legolas-production-wise. In fact, all that I did I did this very night, in about 45 minutes. Yikes, too fast. I wasn't really feeling it so I didn't try to draw any longer than the minimum I had set for myself. But still, progress is progress and he's coming along faster than he has in the last six months. Here he is:
And just to make things interesting, here is my set up at the moment.
I just sit on the floor. Maybe one day I'll have an easel. Anyway, the lighting is not great, but since I'm not home during the day for the natural light, I make do with the lamp.

And here are the tools of my trade.
I have a really hard time throwing away bits of pencil leads that are really too short to work with. In fact, I have never thrown any away. Hah! Take that!

Here's to another week! Hopefully this is the week Legolas gets a hand and some more torso.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 16 January 2011

It's time for more Sunday Sketches!  J didn't really have anything to show this week, but she'll be back next time.

This Sunday I decided it was time to stay away from drawings of characters from books or movies, and turned instead to some classic figure study, which I haven't done for a while.  It's usually preferable to draw the figure from life, from a live model if one is available, but since there wasn't one handy, for these I tried to work with interesting gestures and poses from memory.

It's nice to post some more original artwork.  Next week I think I'll do some studies on the male figure.  It's so different from the female in shape and posture, so the contrast should be interesting.  We'll see how that works out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Legolas 1/13

Accountability works! It's been kind of a busy week, due to apartment hunting, but I still fit in about 3-4 hours. He's coming along! This week's picture also features a lovely orange-ish glow. One thing I really miss about being a college student is the access to a nice scanner. One day, Epson, one day.

So, this week I did the last patch on the top, and started the belt (okay, it's not a belt but it is like belt). Tonight I did his arm band (okay, they aren't arm bands, but they are like arm bands), and finally worked out his hand. I haven't really decided how far down to draw him. My original plan was to stop at the line of the the bow string, but I'm not sure now. I'll probably just continue with what I have and then decide when it comes to it. I don't really want his body to just run off the page though so...we'll see. Here's to progress!

Tangled, Via Photoshop

At the risk of posting another fanart-type drawing, I'm going to opt for some Photoshop work this time.

While I'm pretty sure it would be better to use some of my own art to improve my digital colorization skills, a while ago I heard of people using coloring book pages to use as a quick jumping-off point for practice.  Having seen and loved Disney's Tangled, I thought I would look up some Rapunzel graphics to practice on.  (Can I just say here how much I love seeing these characters officially in the classic hand-drawn style?)  Those who know me know how much I was hoping Disney would make an animated film of Rapunzel, and how much more I wanted to have a part in its production.  As it is, I'll have to settle to participate as an entertained viewer, but that doesn't mean I can't do some Rapunzel art of my own (and decidedly better than the concept artwork I did in 9th grade).

So, here are my fairly finished pieces:
Rapunzel!  The glowing effect seemed kind of primitive for some reason during the process, but I like how it makes her hair look like it's glowing.
Flynn!  I kind of hurried through this one, especially the background, but I like how it turned out anyway, it's kind of cool in contrast to the warmth of the Rapunzel piece.
In a way, it's kind of like a really graduated form of using coloring books.  And, if you go outside of the lines, you can just control-Z it away!

I do have some Rapunzel drawings that I actually sketched myself, and soon I'll post some of those, and I promise that I do have some original characters and sketches on the way as well.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Sketches -- 9 January 2011

And now, we present our first edition of what we call Sunday Sketches, a continuing series of drawings to be posted weekly.  In school I had teachers who recommended we keep our sketchbooks with us at all times, including (especially?) during church.  Some people think this would be a distraction from listening to speakers and lessons, but drawing actually helps you focus on what you're listening to (and there are plenty of free live models handy).  So, we usually bring our sketchbooks with us, and we hope to post samples of what we work on each week.  Sometimes they relate to things we've done or movies we've watched that week, and sometimes they're just character or figure studies.

D's Sunday sketches:

I have lately introduced J to Daria, a TV show that my sister and I enjoyed for many years.  This collage started as a drawing of a couple of the main characters and then I decided to draw them in my own style.  It was fun to see them in a different way, and I like how they turned out. 

J's Sunday sketches:

Today I was despairing over the fact that lately I seem to draw everyone exactly the same--what can I say, I like the safe option.  But safe is not progress!  And since D is so helpful, he suggested I try drawing people and exaggerating a particular feature and push it as much as I could.  So he gave me the task of noses, which was really fun and a lot more successful than I was anticipating.  After that he told me to try drawing people with ovals as the basis for their head shapes, as you can see at the bottom (poor lemon-headed boy...).  The rest were ones I just did at the end.  Doesn't the fellow at the bottom look rich?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolution! aka Legolas

Cast your mind back to the end of 2001. Do you remember a big, glorious movie that came out then? No, not that one--I mean Lord of the Rings. Long story short, I loved it (LOVED IT). Shortly thereafter I got myself a lovely calendar and started drawing everyone in it. I started here:
Despite the fact that that drawing was perfection, I drew that same picture again, about 3 years later. By that point I'd spent a year in the illustration program and basically relearned how to draw. Fast forward another few years to my first year of graduate school and I drew it again--or at least I started it.

Last January I started drawing it again. Why? No, not because I needed a reason to study Orlando Bloom's face for 30 hours. Basically I was hit hard with some first-year-of-college nostalgia, when I used to play the Fellowship soundtrack and draw. So I started again, and I made some great progress. Then I got a job and have only spent a handful of hours on it since.

But! I have a list of art goals for this year, and at the top is to finish poor dear Legolas. It's been so long since I started it I'm a little tempted to start it all over again, but since I'll probably draw it again in, oh, three or four years I'm not going to worry about that.

Here is Legolas today.
I'll take a picture* of him every week and post his progress, even if there's been none (accountability!). When he's done, I'll post all four of them so you can see how he's changed over the years. Then maybe I can finally take another whack at Aragorn.

*When it's all done I'll do a proper scan, but for just updates this is a lot easier.