Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jolly Olde England: A Christmas Surpreeze (D)

This isn't exactly a Sunday Sketch, though I did original draw it over a series of Sundays, as I recall.  In any case, here is one of the Christmas surprises I planned for J.  We have such fond memories of our summer in London, and I did the sketch of this back then as a sort of visual record of some of our favorite happenings there.  We have a sort of English decor in the living room, so I thought (kind of at the last moment) that this might be a nice addition, so I colored it up, framed it, and she had no idea!  That's the best kind of surprise.
For fun, here's the original sketch.  As you can see, I added a few elements for the final version.  I'm a little surprised at some of the things I left out, especially since I remember several times kind of racking my brain to think of more of our activities.  Silly me, how could I forget Big Ben?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Hobbit (J)

Back in ye olde days of the past, I spent many many many hours drawing all the different characters from Lord of the Rings.  Wait, I still do that.  Anyway, I used to do it a LOT, and so with the arrival of The Hobbit, it seemed only fair to give it a little bit of the same treatment.
This was a faster drawing, done with just a mechanical pencil in my sketchbook, but he still seemed to take quite a while.  Somehow I started this without realizing his shirt is completely covered in stripes.  Let's just say it was a happy moment when I finished those stripes!  But it seems like every drawing has something in it that makes you insane--like curly hair, embroidery, sequins, what have you.  (If it features Mrs. Lovett, then it has all three of those things and then some.)

Anyway, I can't promise to follow this up with a bunch of dwarf portraits but we'll see.  I'll probably get more inspired with Legolas turns up again...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Sketches: Now With More Bending (J)

Let's not talk about how long it's been since I posted Sunday Sketches!  But here I am again, armed with a new sketchbook and the same pencil I've been using since 2006.  Except this week I used a pen.  I'm such a traitor to myself!

Recently we started watching Avatar: the Last Airbender.  (Side note: we're on season 2--don't spoil me!)  I like it and stuff.  I like how the different types of bending involve different types of movement, so today I drew a montage of benders.  You can try your hand as guessing which type each person is!  Maybe next week it'll be actual character drawings, though one character did sneak onto this page...

Yip yip!

(Also, trying to do a signature using the touchpad?  Not my forte.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Merida and Mum, Take 2 (D)

As a sort of P.S., by "popular" demand, here is the preceding set of sketches colored!  I tried a couple of new techniques with this to make it look not quite as polished as usual, just for fun and to try something a little different.  That hair:  It's crazy.
Like I said:  Cheeeange yerr feeeat!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Merida and Mum (D)

When I first saw Brave, I thought it was pretty, but it didn't really amaze me or anything, though I thought I would probably like it better the second time. So then when it was released on DVD and we watched it again, I realized I had thought right. It's still not my favorite Pixar movie, but I liked it a lot more the second time (and Merida had grown on me a little more earlier on, and didn't seem like SUCH a brat for almost the entire movie this time, ha ha). So then not yesterday but the Sunday before I did some sketches of Merida and her dear mum, Kenai Elinor.
That foreshortened piece with the bow and arrow isn't fantastic or anything, but it turns out that angle and pose can be challenging to achieve (truth be told, that was my second take at it...  thanks for letting me erase my sketchy attempts that I drew over anyway, Photoshop).

Cheeeange yerr feeeat!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Halloween Edish (D)

If I love anything where reading is concerned, it's a good theme/marathon/series, so when it came time to choose some seasonal reading this Halloween I decided to re-read/read some of the classic monster literature. It was interesting to read the source material for so very many famous stories and characters and movie adaptations to know the true literary origins (and to note just how far dramatized/cinematic versions can sometimes stray from the originals, while sometimes staying surprisingly faithful in some ways).

So now, I present character sketches from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (review here):
... Bram Stoker's Dracula (review here):
... and Guy Endore's The Werewolf of Paris (review here):
I had read both Frankenstein and Dracula in my teenage years, and enjoyed them (probably a little more than I did this time around), but I had never even heard of this Werewolf of Paris thing.  I read it mostly because it reportedly does for werewolves what Dracula does for vampires, and it was the closest I could discover was the "literary origin" of the werewolf character.  It was pretty interesting, but at times surprisingly unsettling, though that probably shouldn't have been that surprising.

As a side note, these were also suitable reading for our recent Mediterranean cruise.  They just seemed so European, and covered so many countries and even continents.

Happy Halloween*, everyone!

* And remember, it's pronounced "Hallow-een", not "Hollow-een".  Just one of my favorite seasonal pet peeves.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Thomas the Third (D)

As I continue my epic Year of Hardy, I have another round of characters from the next three books (previous posts here and here have art from the first six novels).  Here are a few drawings that were done on Sundays from August to October.  These kind of run the gamut as far as my reactions go, from one I liked pretty well to one I thought was so-so to one I loved.

Those Loveday Boys, or, Beware Fess Derriman and That Sassy Matilda!
Paula the Powerful, or, What's a Laodicean Anyway?*
 Two On a Tower (1882)
Tabitha Too, Just Because, or, Yes, the Tower Is a Character Too

* By now I know what a Laodicean is, of course, but before I read it, the reference was forgotten and therefore lost on me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Neverending Characters (D)

Although I have seen The NeverEnding Story movie many times (who hasn't?), I had never until very recently read the book on which it was based.  I had mixed feelings on it overall (see my review here), but there were some great characters.  Yesterday I did some drawings of a handful of them:
Poor Artax.
Starting at the top left, clockwise: Bastian and Bastian (I know it's confusing, it kind of is in the book too), Falkor, Gmork, Artax (Artaaaax!  *sniff*), Atreyu, the Childlike Empress, Xayide.  I'm not terribly satisfied with Falkor or Xayide, and I don't like how Atreyu looks kind of like a girl, but I like the others all right.

If you haven't read it, you should!  You could probably just stop at the halfway point and be just fine, but still, it's a nice little fantasy story.  (And, contrary to reputation and title, it does eventually end.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mermaids (D)

Just now that song from Flight of the Conchords started playing in my head...

Anyway, a couple of months ago I was commissioned by a friend (for whom I have done some work before) to do some mermaids for her daughter's bedroom.  Apparently her little one is currently obsessed with mermaids, but the only artwork that seems to be readily available is either Ariel or... not really appropriate for a child's bedroom.  So I did these!  I tried to make them all unique, so I worked with different colors and moods, while trying to make them still look like a series.  I specifically decided to stay away from red hair for obvious reasons, and I was told the intended recipient very much adored the Barbie mermaid movies, so while I didn't exactly want to go for that style, I tried to add a few flourishes they might have, while of course keeping them distinctive in style and design.  This girl now has three totally original mermaids of her very own!
I like how they turned out.  I am rather proud that their tails don't exactly resemble the Disney version of mermaids, ha ha.  (Though I admit that third one has a lot of Ariel in her face.)  I am told the third one is Lily's favorite. which was no surprise.  She actually described very carefully the details she wanted to appear in at least one, and that was it.  I understand that they also were planning on adding extra sparkles and/or glitter post-printing to make them even more sparkly and/or glittery, as befitting a six-year-old girl's bedroom decor.  I can't wait to have a little girl so we can spoil her with original artwork of her own.  (Now watch, she'll just want the Tangled poster from Walmart instead, ha ha.)

P.S.  Thank goodness for bubble brushes.  I'm sure I could have done some myself, and I had thought through a few techniques, but it would have just been much more time-consuming and less uniform.

(Phew!  Finally I have posted these!  J has been prodding me to for months, and I just didn't for some reason.  And now I have.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Promotion! (D)

Today J was promoted! It's very exciting. So exciting that I decided to take an old sketch (that I did a long while ago when she was told she was "promotable") and color it up. Here it is:
And just for fun, here's the original sketch:
Way to go, Wife!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday Sketches: Of Egypt and Mutants

A while ago I made a book reading trade with my sister-in-law where she agreed to read one of my favorite books (My Cousin Rachel) and I read one of her's.  She loved MCR EVER so much (...), and I quite liked her pick, Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.  It's a young adult novel about Mara, a slave girl in Egypt and the political intrigues she gets herself into in her quest for freedom.  It's a fun read, with plenty of Egyptian culture and history in the mix. 

My sister-in-law also requested I do some Sunday sketches of the characters after I read it, and after a few hideous attempts and a BSG delay, they finally happened this week.  I hope they were worth the wait, Sarah!

It's been a while since I read the book so I cannot entirely vouch for their accuracy compared to it but I like how they turned out anyway.  Pay no attention to my faithfulness to Egyptian historical details--or lack thereof!  Left-right/top-bottom they are: Mara, Hatshepsut (in her lady garb); Sheftu, Inanni, Thutmose III; Nahereh and Hatshepsut again (in her pharaoh garb).  I may have exaggerated her love for My Cousin Rachel.  Just a smidge.

And now tis the Husband's turn.   

We rewatched all the X-Men movies last week!  Some of them are awesome and some of them are terrible, and some of them are in between (three "somes" add up to five movies, right?), but in any case, I felt these itching to get out of me shortly after:
And there you have it! Hopefully most of them are pretty self-explanatory (hint: the one with the glasses is Beast. Just kidding).  Probably the one that's least obvious is Storm there on the left, mostly because I think Halle Berry is terrible in the movies, so when I drew her she turned out decidedly UN-Halle Berry-ish.  In the end, really, Wolverine FTW of course, although I do quite love Jean Grey (but not SO much in this drawing).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Art Trade: Kitties in Clothes and Sad Pandas

Today we present an art trade!

One day we were watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and when Mrs. Weasley uttered that immortal line (responding to Ginny's question as to where her jumper was), "Yes, dear, it was on the cat!", we as usual wondered what it could mean...  Was the cat actually wearing Ginny's jumper?  Was the cat lying underneath it?  And since when do the Weasleys have a cat anyway??  Or was her jumper sitting on some other object known to the family as "the cat"?  In any case, I told J she should illustrate what was going on there, and this is what she came up with:

It's so happy and dancing!  And what a fashionable jumper.  The animation was an afterthought, but a stroke of genius.

And then one day J was feeling a little blue, and said she felt like a sad panda, and then she asked me to illustrate that.  And I did!  And it looks like this:
Poor sad panda.

Sometimes it's nice to give each other ideas for interesting and unusual arts.

P.S.  Here's a tiny and pixelish version of the Weasley kitty:

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday Sketches: Men of the Fleet (J)

Here is a fact I have learned over the last two weeks: there are a lot of dudes in Battlestar Galactica.  So, it took twice as long and twice as many pages to draw all these than it did the ladies.  I left off most of the minor fellows, but I think I got everyone that's most important (except you, Zak Adama--oops).  I tell you, I have been living in fear of even attempting Bill Adama or Colonel Tigh.  And what do you know, they slid right out of the pen without a problem.  Anyway, the menfolk of BSG:

Some random stats of this little project: Simon took two tries, Helo took three and poor Leoben took five and I still don't think he turned out.  Ah well.  Overall, my favorites are Admiral Adama, Dr. Cottle and Romo's kitty.  Hah!

Roll call (l-r, t-b): Doral, Cavil, Leoben, Billy, Cottle; Simon, Lampkin (& Lance), Hot Dog, Hoshi, Zarek; Jammer, Tarn, Chief; Gaeta, Crashdown, Helo, Tigh; Gaius, Anderssssssss, Apollo, Adama; Bonus Gaius.  

I thought I should probably draw the actual Galactica at the end of all this:

 Hey, guess who can't draw spaceships?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Warrior and Princess (D)

Happy Sunday!  No Sunday Sketches to post (yet!), but I do have something that seemed appropriate for this particular day of the week.  When I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I naturally spent a lot of my time reading The Book of Mormon, which in turn inspired a sketch of a sort of ancient times warrior.  In recent days I've been going through a bunch of my old art and trying different things and practicing painting them in Photohsop, and this is how the Warrior turned out:
I like the textures and highlights, I think they make him kind of stand out.

And now, for something completely different, though I guess similar in a way, here's an old Giselle that I likewise recently refreshed:
For reference, here are the original sketches.  It's interesting to me the difference color makes, though a sketch can also be dynamic in different ways.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Even More Favorable Odds (J)

Sometime early last year I decided to draw some side characters from the Hunger Games.  I drew a few, meant to color them and then forgot.  Well, last week I finally got to two of them, so here's a little PS to my last HG-themed post: Finnick and his lady love Annie.

Here's a secret: I don't actually care for most of the Hunger Games characters.  They are little more than names to me as far as emotional attachments go.  But I did like Finnick, and though I don't really care for Annie's character, it seemed nice to do the set.  Here's another secret: her outfit=100% inspired by Survivor.   

Overall, I liked how they turned out.  They were both pretty quickly done, but it's easier to get decent results with less time.  Improvement?  I like to think so.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Space Edition (D & J)

Lately we've been watching some space type things.  J just finished her latest re-watch of her much beloved Battlestar Galactica, and last night we finally re-watched the newest Star Trek movie.  We're not Trekkies by any means, but we still really like that new movie.  What a great cast and script and story!  So, this is what happened in my sketchbook today:
Boldly Go
I'm quite surprised at how well I like how pretty much everyone turned out.  I think my favorites are McCoy and Chekov, and maybe Spock.  Oh yes, and I added that lame green girl on the bottom because I was finished and was asking J who else to add in case I forgot anyone, and she was the only person who came to mind, so I just dropped her in there.  Also, yay for that weird little alien companion of Scotty's.  *so weird*  I'm pretty sure this is the dorkiest fanart I have ever done, though I will say that I think the new ST is the least dorky incarnation of the franchise yet.

And now I'll turn the reins over to J to introduce hers!

*turns reins over*

Story time: As I watched the final (epic/spectacular/Anders/satisfying/AWESOME) season of BSG I decided that this weekend I would try drawing the different characters.  And even more boldy, I decided to draw them in PEN.  I can't remember what inspired that decision. 

It took many ugly drawings before these Battlestar people started turning out.  I nearly gave up, I maybe nearly cried but with the Husband's encouragement, I tried again.  Here's a trick I discovered today: when drawing characters from a book/movie/show/etc., it can be helpful to first draw the one you like least, thus leading to less frustration if they don't turn out.  Once things started coming together, this morphed into a page of all the lady characters from the series, and I think I got pretty much every single one (those who appeared on more than one episode anyway).  If you're in know, take a whirl at guessing who's who!  Answers follow the image.

I like how most of them turned out, especially Dee, Roslin and Six.  And yes, Cally is first because I dislike her the most, haha.  

Roll call (l-r, t-b): Cally, Tory, Kat / Dee, Boomer-Athena, D'Anna / Ellen, Six, Roslin / Hera, Starbuck, Racetrack, Eshay / Cain, man-haired Seelix, Kendra.  Whew.  Next week I'll go for all the Battlestar dudes.  This is a much more daunting prospect but if they turn out, I will have gotten a lot of practice at drawing cropped hair. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Favorable Odds (J)

As much as I hate to take the top spot from the last post, it's been WAY too long since I had anything to say on this here blog.  A while ago (ie, several months ago) I reread all the Hunger Games books.  I like them, though I don't love them, but I wanted to draw the three leads again.  

It's always interesting to see what happens along the way from sketch to finished thing and in the case of these, Peeta is the only one I prefer finished.  This year I've been trying to face my fear of going lineless, and I think doing these helped (though I didn't get rid of ALL the steps!).  Even though I have some issues with them technically, they did turn out pretty much exactly how I envision the characters and that counts for something.

(Sorry you're so flat, Katniss.) 


Here are the sketches for comparison.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Three Years Ago (D)

Today is our third anniversary.  Go us!  I wasn't planning on doing this until this morning or so, and therefore it is a complete surprise to J.  Happy anniversary, Wife!  This piece was rather a challenge, since it's very difficult to capture how radiant you were that day three short years ago, but I did my very best and had to call it done at some point.  I hope you like it!  (You meaning Wife, but also everyone else, ha ha.)  She looked so incredible, my jaw literally dropped when she walked out in her wedding dress.  I experimented with a couple of textures on this one, which I think added a nice effect.
I'm ever so lucky to have you!  You're as beautiful as the day we were wed, if not more so.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Potter P.S. (D)

One more thing...

This is just another little piece I did intermittently while I was working on the last montages I posted.  It started with Luna (I just love her so much in the movies), and then Ginny and Neville naturally followed.  I thought it was a nice companion piece to the previous post.
That Other Trio
I love these kids!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Potter Through the Years: A Retrospective (D)

It's Harry's birthday!  To celebrate, we wore Potter shirts, had Full English Breakfast for dinner, watched a few Olympic events from London, ate cake and watched the final installment of our epic week-long HP moviethon.  That is a lot of minutes spent watching movies, but we enjoyed them all very much as always.  I decided to do a daily drawing of each of the trio during every movie to show them through the years, which would then be ready to post on 31 July.  It was kind of a challenge to age them just a year each time, but it was fun, and I really like how a lot (not quite all) of them turned out.  For all the times I've drawn these kids, I was surprised that there were a few variations among these that I had never done (like Kitty Hermione and Chess-Lovin' or Love-Struck Ron, and maybe even Prophecy Harry).

The Boy Who Lived!
Weasley Is Our King!
The Cleverest Witch of Her Age!
Seven magical years!  Splendid.  Happy birthday, Harry!  (You too, JK.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Sketches -- Thomas Times Three Take Two (D)

The Year of Hardy continues!  A few months ago I posted this.  Now it's been a few months more and I've read a few more of Thomas Hardy's books, so I now present a some Sunday Sketches that took place on various Sundays from May through July.  These include characters from some of not only his most famous, but also my favorite of his books.

The Unearthly Appeal of Miss Everdene, or, Poor Fanny
The Tangle of a Love Hexagon, or, Look, There It is!  Her Hand!
A Tragedy Waiting To Happen, or, Queen of Night and Others

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hogwarts Peeps (J)

Lately I have been feeling an absence of Harry Potter in my life.  Next year I'm going to read all the books through again but in the meantime I did some arts to fill the void.  Earlier this year I started playing around with this method of coloring and I gave it another whirl this time.  It all took a lot longer than I anticipated, but in the end I like how they turned out.  Ginny is probably my favorite, and I did her first, go figure.

Hopefully they are all pretty self explanatory but just for the record it goes, t-b/l-r: Ginny, Luna, Neville; Hermione, Harry, Ron; Goyle, Draco, Crabbe. 

Now to work on something with fewer people.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Souls That Are Old (D)

Last night I finished reading Oldsoul, the debut novel of one of my college friends.  It was great!  I thought it was exciting and surprising, with lots of characters that I could picture quite vividly in my head.  So vividly, in fact, that they evidently couldn't even wait until Sunday to appear in my sketchbook, and therefore appeared on Friday on my tablet instead.
Oldsoul Peeps, digital
You can read my review of this book here.  Check it out!  And see if the characters stand out in your mind as much, or as similarly, as they did in mine.  They actually turned out a lot like how I picture them!  I hope at least the author can recognize who's who, ha ha.  And maybe, just maybe, I'm the first ever to do Oldsoul fanart!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sunday Sketches: Brave Style (D & J)

We saw Brave on Friday night, and it was good!  Not great, but good.  Regardless, whatever faults I found with this movie (though I did like it), Merida's memorable character and feisty personality definitely added interest and spark to the story, and she naturally found her way onto the pages of my sketchbook the following Sunday.  This is my third or fourth attempt at Merida, but one of very few that I did since seeing the movie, and the first one I've been satisfied with.  Sometimes CG characters can be a little challenging to get just right with hand-drawn materials, but I think I managed to get her attitude and character a little here.
And now I will turn the time over to the Wifels.

So, yes, we saw Brave and I liked it well enough and it was pretty and whatever. Sometimes when we are both drawing I just copy whatever theme Drew is drawing so when he started drawing Merida (again) I decided to give it a whirl myself.  And what do you know, I was happy with how she turned out.

So happy with it, in fact, that I colored it later that night.  Side note: my poor tablet has become quite dusty of late.  It was happy to be used.  Anyway, the colored version also turned out just as I'd hoped.  Win-win-win!